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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 1:56 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 10:14 am
Posts: 171
Location: Lincolnshire
You will all have to bear with me, but I have been agonising over whether to post this topic for over a week and have decided that even though I may receive a lot of criticism I would appreciate your thoughts and considerations whatever they might be.

We were fortunate in that our son passed the 11+, which he sat at Spalding Grammar, with a exceptionally creditable score. I was very pleased for him as I have said before, because he received very little encouragement to try the 11+ from anyone, but he wanted to do it and so we gave it a go and he has been quite badly bullied in the past.

We had an unplanned moved just before he sat the 11+ and he changed primary schools for Yr 6 just 3 days before. At his old primary school he was in the top group for everything, in the top 5 in fact, but this was only out of class of 31 and predicted to get level 5's in Yr 6( He achieved 4a-4b in all subjects in Yr 5 and missed a level 5 in his maths by 1 point).

As I have said he has changed primary school in Yr 6 and at a recent parents evening, they were very non-committal about how he is progressing. They said that he had the ability to get level 5's but would only say that he would definitely get reasonably high Level 4's.

He is still in top groups for everything, but recently children were chosen to attend the local comp as they were "deemed" G&T in either Maths or Science. Children that went are not in the same group as my son (i.e. in lower groups) and he was not chosen to go.

The next concern is that he has began to form some good relationships with some of the children that will be going to the Local Comp and I think if you were to ask him now which school he would prefer to go to he would say "the Comp."

We put the Local comp as our 3rd option on the CAF form, it is a good school, with good facilities and literally just around the corner from our home. We are out of catchment for Spalding GS but were hoping with a good score that he may get in.

My problem now is if we get offered a place at Spalding GS should we accept it as
a) is he good enough if he does not get level 5 in his SATS?
b) will he struggle if he goes there?
c) Would it be better for his confidence to go to the Local Comp and be one of the higher achievers than someone needing help at Grammar school.
d) He has Aspergers Syndrome traits and lots of changes and new relationships are hard for him to deal with
e) one of the boys that "bullied" him may be going to the same grammar school but so might one of his really good friends from his old primary school
f) If he went to the local comp it would mean that he would have more free time for homework and extra curricular activities as he would not have to travel for 40 mins in the morning & 40 mins at night too and from school and could easily maintain the relationships that he has started to build
g) If get offered Spalding GS and decide against it I would have to appeal to Local Comp to get him in. What criteria could I use for appeal.

I know there are many of you out there who are probably hoping to appeal if you do not get into a grammar school and that I may appear insensitive to your plight, but indeed I am not as I also just want what is best for my son. I just want him to achieve his potential, be happy and not be under pressure.

Your comments and thoughts are gratefully appreciated. Of course this may all be academic as on Thursday we may not even be offered a place, but I just want to be prepared either way.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:42 pm 
Sj

Don't feel bad about posting. That's what is good about this Forum. You'll find lots of opinions and suggestions,sometimes even judgments on your queries and decisions but at the end of the day, something may help you decide.

Everyone's situation is so unique to their child,family etc, so you have no need to worry.

My son was always top of his class in Junior but we chose to sit for grammar as most of his peers were going to the local school and quite a few were bullying him as he was the youngest and always faring better than him academically.

He wanted to go to the local school as some good friens were going as well. Seeing that he made the grade for grammar, we persuaded him to go and promised to keep in contact with his old nice friends.

He's in Yr. 9,finds the work in grammar very challenging,made lots and lots of new friends,sees his 2 'old' best friends regularly and does not miss all the unkind boys who made his life a misery.

He's glad he went to grammar as he knows the local school would not have stretched him. Also,there are bullies in the grammar but the discipline is very good and there's very little disruption in school whereas in the junior, it was quite a differnt matter. He stays away from troublemakers ( not many, but he has learnt to recognise them)and does his work well.

Most boys are in the same boat when going to a selective school as they are worried they will be bottom. Everyone who makes the grade will be nearly at the same standard. His Maths teacher said that it is very easy to teach them as a class(they are 2 levels ahead of average) and not to be particularly worried if they are in the Top,Middle or Bottom set as the range of the boys' abilities is very narrow.

My son was in the middle set for a Language subject but was not able to move up to the topset as everyone is doing too well to move down..but we're ok with that as it means he's doing well as they are prone to do .

With regards to his Aspergers' is it very mild only..that may be the deciding factor in your final choice.

I feel a fresh start in an excellent grammar is the better choice.Only problem is the boy who might go there...but the schools are so big and he might not see much of this boy. A friend who works as a teaching assistant requested a senior school not to place her son in the same class as another child (they have a history of not getting along)..She explained the situation and the school accomodated her request.

Hope this helps.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 1:06 pm
Posts: 437
Hi SJ

Don't think yu're insensitive for raising this - a few points spring to mind which may help (or not :) )

As your son has Aspergers traits (as does my son so I fully understand) different considerations apply than for other children - I am currently having to look at secondary for 2008 for my son so here are my thoughts:

- have you spoken to the SENCo of your prospective schools, a good SENCo and SEN friendly ethos will make all the difference to your son's secondary experience, if not do this when you know which school you have been allocated

- If you are allocated the Grammar, speak to them about bullying - you say that your son has been bullied, present this scenario and ask how such instances would be dealt with - you can glean a lot from the response. (Ditto if allocated Comp BTW)

-don't base your son's placement on one friendship which can always be fostered even if at different schools and some primary friendships don't survive the move to secondary anyway

- how is the day structured at the Comp compared to Grammar, look at how many lesson changes there are per day, here in Herts my daughter's school has 5 hour long periods each day, some schools have up to 9 short periods - this can impact on organisational skills dramatically.

- Look at the pastoral aspect of the Grammar school, is it geared towards encouraging social development or just academic acheivment.

- check out the DFES website and compare number of children on the SEN register at each school

- Is the 40 minutes travel based on car or bus? If your son doesn't cope with a bus journey, or misses the bus at the end of the day it car an option? Travel time can be "chill" time for some children

- Finally don't be swayed by your son's new primary school, they don't know your son as well as you do and unfortunately SEN kids don't always have their needs fully understood or their potential recognised.


Hope this helps - good luck

HP


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:48 pm 
Quote:
always faring better than him academically.


Sorry, meant better than them

Also the journey to school was 30minutes each way sometimes 40 and we found it very tiring in the beginning...but we have got used to it. He still finds time to have his music lesson at home, go for sports twice a week , go to church at weekends ,stay for orchestra practice and chess club once a week and watch TVat 5pm. on sundays!!


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:37 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2006 8:54 pm
Posts: 1770
Location: caversham
SJ,

Have similar concerns ( premature I know ! ) about transfer when it comes for my year 2 boy, he is diagnosed autistic spectrum disorder but very able, his teachers say he is aspergers type. He is currently mainstream without support.

During our process of discovery one piece of information that stuck in my mind was the advice that it's easy to transfer from mainstream to special needs school but hard to make a successful transfer the other way.

So our philosophy has been to treat him as normal as possible and support him in mainstream and if the opportunity arose go down the more academic grammar route. ( now I think about can not see him on a school bus, but will cross that bridge if we come to it ).

If it does not work then transfer to local comp., your decision may be more finely balanced.

It is important to try and weigh up all the options but sometimes we slip into over protective parent mode.

What ever you decide don't look back, make the best decision you can and then get on with it. You must have worried about the previous school transfer, I would say it has been a success as proved by the 11+ result.

Best wishes,


stevew61


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:55 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 1:06 pm
Posts: 437
Hi SJ,

Any News
:?:
HP


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:37 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 10:14 am
Posts: 171
Location: Lincolnshire
Thank you for your support and comments and yes we have been successful in being allocated a place at Spalding Grammar. Little man reminded me this morning that we could find out today, so he has obviously been thinking about it a lot. He said that he was worried that Spalding wouldn't think he was good enough. HP any news?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:49 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 1:06 pm
Posts: 437
Hi SJ

Eldest Dd got a place last year at first choice school, have son in Year 5 with SEN and dd in Year3, so no anxiety for me this year.

Really very pleased to learn about your son's success :D , funny, my dd said recently something alonfg the lines of "do you remember how stressed I was this time last year" - the kids aren't as chilled as they appear.

Your son's comment is very telling about Spalding not thinking he would be good enough, he must be very proud to have been offered a place and very good for his self-esteem.

Are you going to send him to Spalding now?

HP

P.S. have posted previously that we could do with an SEN thread in relation to the 11 +, I was really pleased to learn from this site that there are obvioulsy many dyslexic, dyspraxic and ASD children who are successful at the 11+, might ask forumadmin if this could be set up.. any thoughts?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:50 am 
Congrats SJ and your Little Man, he will feel like a BIG man today.

Have you made any decisions as to whether you'll let him go to grammar now that he's got a place?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:53 am 
Well done SJ, hope this result can now help you to make the best choice for your son. Good Luck with whatever you choose.


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