Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Children’s friendships matter in the scramble for secondary schools

01.11.2007
Now is the time that many parents will be choosing secondary schools for their children but with education policy mostly focused on individual success and achievement, the importance of children’s school friendships is largely ignored, according to a study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

For many youngsters, having friends with them during the move to secondary school enables them to settle in, get on and become more independent individuals, says Dr Susie Weller, of the Families and Social Capital ESRC research group, London South Bank University.

With Professor Irene Bruegel, she conducted a four-year project involving some 600 children and 80 parents, mostly in areas of high deprivation in London, the south-east of England and the Midlands, where access to highly esteemed secondary schools was limited.

Dr Weller said: “A child’s last year at primary school is widely viewed as a stressful and challenging time for many families. The current focus of British education policy on parental choice means that children are in competition with one another for places at well-resourced schools.

“This often means that relationships such as friendship are sidelined and little attention has been given to the positive and constructive resources and experiences such networks can provide.”

Dr Weller argues that the benefits children glean from their friendships have at best been overlooked, and at worst been regarded in a negative light, particularly by some prominent social theorists.

She said: “They have focused on the ‘youth problem’ - describing peer group interaction as having a negative affect on educational attainment and associated with destructive activities such as membership of a gang. Until now, work in this area has had little emphasis on children’s own experiences.”

About a quarter of all children in the South Bank study were unhappy not to be moving on with all their friends. And of the 10 per cent who were moving on alone, though seven out of 10 were excited to some degree, this compared with more than eight out of 10 doing so with a lot of their friends.

Whilst still at primary school, some children forged allegiances with others they knew would be moving with them.

Dr Weller said: “These relationships were short-term bonds which often gave children confidence in new and unsettling surroundings, since being seen on your own makes you stand out either as different or unpopular. Being seen as part of a group during the first few days projects a more confident and popular persona to your new peers.”

Fear of being bullied made it vital for children to have a solid group of friends who acted as ‘back up’, ready to support and defend them. Those without solid friendships were inherently more vulnerable.

For the minority who found the move challenging, friends from primary school were particularly important.

Moving schools with friends did not mean that children did not make new ones. Instead, having a stable base of friendships helped them make more. Older brothers, sisters and other relatives attending the same secondary school also provided a variety of support and ‘insider information’. They helped younger siblings become familiar with their new surroundings, establish relationships with teachers, peers and older pupils, and tackle their academic work. Siblings also helped their younger brothers and sisters to come to terms with the new school journey, which was particularly significant for many, as it was the first time they had travelled without an adult.

Danielle Moore | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk
http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Sibling differences: Later-borns choose less prestigious programs at university
14.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung

nachricht Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ
09.11.2017 | Vanderbilt University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Previous evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope completes final cryogenic testing

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond

21.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>