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 Post subject: Too much pressure?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 2:17 pm 
I have been reading some of the posts on this forum and felt that I wanted to give the benefit of my experience as a grammar school kid from 20 years ago.

I have always been classed as 'bright', 'top of the class' etc. I went to TOGS. I was still classified as 'bright' and 'top of the class' even in this environment. I was pushed to my full potential, got lots of A grade O & A Levels etc, went to a top 5 Uni, got a First class degree, qualified as a professional.

Basically, ticked all the boxes of success.

What has really made me happy in life? - my friends & family & time to myself to do lots of other stuff. My career has never fulfilled in the manner intended.

Everyone along the way thought they were doing the best thing (including me!) but please, please remember that there is a huge amount more to life than academic achievement.

My daughter is in year 5 & I have just started down the road of getting hold of practice materials for the 11+. She is bright as well & I was already following the herd in believing that pushing her along is the right thing for her. Having visited schools recently, I am now thinking that non-super selective grammar may well be the best of both worlds. Hopefully she can achieve a pass without too much intervention but I hope to be brave enough to let her choose her own favourite place that will mean she can delight in lots of different views of the world.

My wish for her is that she gets to grow up in a safe environment where she will get all the same academic opportunities but without the true, unremitting pressure of being continually held up as an example that others should aspire to.

Think your choice for your child through very carefully. The 'kudos' of having your child at a top school does NOT guarantee their happiness. Isn't happiness in life what we are all aiming for for our children? If the local non-selective school is their favourite place because it means they stay with their friends and get to do dancing twice a week then why not let them? If they want to be a scientist / academic then support them - don't push them.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 2:42 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2007 11:24 am
Posts: 16
I felt compelled to share my experiences also... I went to a grammar school and started in 1987 (20 years ago - oh my goodness!). I had previously been in the top 2-3 in my class and 'big things' were expected of me, according to my head and teacher in primary.

I enjoyed the first year, then I became angry and tired of the elitist attitude, I was cross with the pressure without support, and 'opted out' (or physically walked out sometimes). I stood my ground and locked horns with some important teachers. I exerted more energy on avoiding lessons and key teachers than I did working. I left there with mainly B's, but some C's and D's and went straight into manual work, so glad to leave the stifling atmosphere.

I spent 4 years standing still but when I had my son I realised I wanted more for him, and for me. So I am now qualified in the profession I eventually chose (at the age of 21), and earning my original full-time wage many times over each year. I take education very seriously now, but didn't for a long time and felt like a real drop-out when my friends stayed on for 6th form, went to uni, and I was working. I feel the school really knocked my confidence by not allowing me to progress at my own level and not encouraging me to enjoy my own personal achievements. I am so glad I went back to evening classes, but it may not have happened.

I very much hope that some of what I experienced is now well out of date. The attitude from my teachers was the same my mother had experienced 20 years prior at the same school, so perhaps I am being too optimistic that times would have changed for my son!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:32 pm 
My sympathies with your situation - I know of several others with similar experiences. Truly well done for going to evening classes in later life.

Don't get me wrong, my school was & is great but each school has it's natural pupils and those who are there for the wrong reasons. Once you are on the wrong path it is difficult (as you found) to fight against the expectations.

I'm sure your son will thrive wherever he goes to school because you are supporting him in the right way & unfortunately only too aware of how it can go too far.


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