Go to navigation
It is currently Wed Dec 07, 2016 8:44 am

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 25 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Which school is right
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:36 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2014 8:01 pm
Posts: 23
I know some people are going to find themselves in the enviable/unenviable (delete as appropriate) position of deciding which of their choices of schools they want to entrust with the education of their child and as I've been through that I thought I would give some personal feedback.

Some will have children who sail through the 11 plus and get automatically allocated (it is said they don't but they do) a place by one or more of the schools and for them the choice is then mainly about history (are there siblings there, is there any other family history there), transport (how long will the journey be), and friends (who might be going with them).

Of these the first shouldn't be an automatic binary option. Having siblings at a school is not always a good thing. My personal experience was that having older brothers that had passed through my school meant I was constantly trying to live up to their reputations and never felt the school was "mine". Hopefully in these more enlightened days teachers know not to compare kids with their older siblings (at least not to their face) but the idea of fresh start in a fresh school that the child could claim as their own is certainly appealing to me. Similarly the idea of the parent having attended the same school is not necessarily a good thing!

Journey time is a clear consideration as exhausted children coming home after an hour on a sticky bus and having then to launch into homework (or worse, revision) is not a pretty sight. Also the further away the school the further away the school friends are likely to be. Having said that sitting on a coach playing on your newly issued smart phone for an hour is not the worst fate that could befall an eleven year old.

Going to the same school as primary friends is clearer cut to me. Don't sweat it. Your child will make new friends in an instant; the schools make a great point of settling them and squeezing the together just hard enough so that form new relationships within hours. Don't make your decision based on something someone else's child is doing no matter how tight you think the bond might be.

The biggest issue for me, in retrospect, is will your child thrive there. The grammar schools are (not to put too fine a point on it) exam factories. They are wonderful in all sorts of other ways but arguably their priority is to deliver A* exam results and if your child might not thrive in that environment don't insist that they try to.

Very few children will benefit from being the bottom of the class so if you squeeze into Pate's - who will be taking a good portion of the highest scorers - please don't automatically assume that that is the decision made and that you have found the the correct school. It might well be that the competition and the intense focus on exam results might be dispiriting.

Your child is bright and bright kids, with good support from their parents or carers, will succeed wherever they are educated but it is possible to overcook them.

Similarly with all the other Grammars. Don't forget we have a wealth of fantastic non-selective schools in Gloucestershire where your child will also thrive. I'm certainly not saying that I think people shouldn't try and reach for the best available but that sometimes the best available isn't the obvious choice.

I will declare an interest here. My child started Pate's last year and is finding the regime rigorous whilst not impossible. A particularly unnerving discovery was the intensity of revision expected before the end of year exams which was quite a shock to the system for both of us and did make me wonder whether deciding that they try and compete with that group was the best decision. An even bigger shock was finding out (I will admit to not really having done due diligence when choosing the school) that there is no automatic entry to the sixth form there so after 5 years they might have to go elsewhere to finish their secondary education.

So, I have had my eyes opened somewhat to the sense of competition and risk of failure endemic in the Grammar School system - particularly at that level - and in retrospect perhaps I wouldn't have made the same choice I did if I had known. Or would I?! I'll tell you in 7 years!

I don't envy you all the decision but it will be made soon and soon be forgotten about so good luck everyone and remember that support at home is the biggest indicator of success at school.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:57 am 
Online

Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
Posts: 4598
Location: Essex
An interesting and thought-provoking post and most points applicable to most areas
I would point out, though, that all schools treat year 12 as a separate point of entry (with the exception of a certain boys' grammar school in North London), with entrance criteria which need to be met by both internal and external candidates, even if the rule is usually that internal candidates who meet those criteria are guaranteed a place in the sixth form, with competitive entry against the same baseline criteria for external candidates in the case of oversubscription. Even at the aforementioned certain North London boys' grammar school which does not admit external candidates at year 12, progression from year 11 is according to certain rules and not guaranteed.

_________________
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:07 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11942
essaouira wrote:
Some ...... get automatically allocated (it is said they don't but they do) a place by one or more of the schools

The biggest issue for me, in retrospect, is will your child thrive there. The grammar schools are (not to put too fine a point on it) exam factories. They are wonderful in all sorts of other ways but arguably their priority is to deliver A* exam results and if your child might not thrive in that environment don't insist that they try to.


Two points:

No-one is automatically allocated a place - parents have to name the school on the CAF in the position of their preference and then the LA allocated places. The school with the highest preference that can allocate a place is then allocated to the child.

Some GS are NOT exam factories - Pate's might be but plenty aren't. Pastoral care is very important as are non-curriculum activities e.g. sport, music ...


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:31 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2014 8:01 pm
Posts: 23
Quote:
No-one is automatically allocated a place


My point is if you are within the PAN they will offer you a place. Should you choose to take it is up to you. I remember someone insisting to me that although my child was in the top 120 for Pate's that didn't constitute an offer of a place. In practical terms it does.

I'm not saying the pastoral care isn't there but the ultimate goal is exam results and that becomes clear. Maybe particularly so at Pate's as they are proud of their historical results and want to maintain them. Some children might prefer a less results orientated environment despite their intellectual capacity.

I'd be interested to hear if some of the other Grammars are less focussed.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:33 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2014 8:01 pm
Posts: 23
Quote:
I would point out, though, that all schools treat year 12 as a separate point of entry


So I have discovered. Perhaps though the danger of aiming high in year 7 is that your child may struggle more to achieve that school's standards in year 12 and have to, in effect, leave their school.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 1:40 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
Posts: 5922
essaouira wrote:
The grammar schools are (not to put too fine a point on it) exam factories.
Not all, I am sorry. Some definitely are and some are not. Go and look with your eyes open would be my advice to parents and don't be dazzled by flashy facilities and newspaper headlines.
essaouira wrote:
I'm not saying the pastoral care isn't there but the ultimate goal is exam results and that becomes clear
Sorry, no. This may apply to Pates ( I wouldn't dare comment :wink: ) but I can honestly say that at my sons' grammar pastoral care is at least as high a priority as exam results and there is a heavy focus on the individual child. Look at the head, look at the staff, look at the kids. If you look with your eyes open you will see.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:00 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2014 8:01 pm
Posts: 23
I would say that the chief focus being A* exams doesn't preclude excellent pastoral care. On the contrary a happy and secure child will probably produce better exam results. I certainly have no complaints with Pate's in that regard.

My point, rather clumsily made, is that in choosing a school you are choosing a pack to run with. If you want to pitch yourself against the fastest runners then be prepared for the intensity of that environment. You may well be offered the finest of everything but if you struggle to keep the pace you may suffer. You also may benefit from the challenge.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:03 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:26 am
Posts: 722
essaouira wrote:
I'm not saying the pastoral care isn't there but the ultimate goal is exam results and that becomes clear. Maybe particularly so at Pate's as they are proud of their historical results and want to maintain them. Some children might prefer a less results orientated environment despite their intellectual capacity.

I'd be interested to hear if some of the other Grammars are less focussed.


I have a child in Y11 at Pate's and I have not found this to be true, nor has my child. I'm sad that this is how you feel in Y8. I do have another grammar school to compare with. My second child is at SHS and she doesn't find that pressured either.

I agree, one should not 'aim' a child at a school. We took a far more lax approach. They both had similar preparation for the exam and both had a lot of say in which school they wanted to go to. The child's happiness is the most important thing - after all they have to spend a considerable amount of time at school.

It would still be possible to move your child to another school which he/she/you may find less pressurised and perhaps a better fit.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:04 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11942
Sorry I don't see the Grammars as 'intense' - prehaps it is your choice of school that is the exception rather than the rule?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:21 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2014 8:01 pm
Posts: 23
My child is quite happy and doing well but I do know of a child who went to another local grammar who, although very bright, couldn't really cope and moved schools within a couple of months. My point is that when choosing a school it is not always necessarily wise to reach for the highest rung on the ladder. Nor is it always a bad idea of course.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 25 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
CALL 020 8204 5060
   
Privacy Policy | Refund Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright © 2004 – 2016