Thank you for your responses
Yamin, you asked how my daughter feels about all this. She knows that her head teacher want us to appeal because they feel she would be better off at grammar rather than one of the local secondary schools/academies.She is ok with this, although she liked the school on the open evening, she was more concerned to know if any of her friends would be going, and that has been the underlying theme. I have had conversations with various parents and mostly they will go to the same school. She just says she wants to go to a school where there are no boys messing around and where everyone wants to learn,play music (she plays trumpet so wants to go to a school that she will be able to play within the curriculum)and can have hot dinners!
The chosen secondary school is on a par with the others in the area. We are rural so effectively if we exclude the GS we have only one to choose from in the DTA. She doesn't want to go to this one and so we have chosen the further away one which is not in the DTA so we will have to pay if she goes there. The grammar is in the DTA. The school she has chosen is academically ok, but has a better reputation, and I think this is what's behind the Head Teachers request we appeal the 11+. Ofsted stated that 'teaching does not challenge all students, especially the more able...' and that does have me worried because when we visited the school for a chat, we didn't get the feeling that this had changed.. they did say that some of children go on to grammar later on.
Kenyancowgirl, Hi, thanks for your response. The grammar did not seem any better than the chosen secondary school, if anything, they emphasised the exam rates for the school. In the course work we were allowed to see, I didnt see anything that struck me any better than the non selective schools. Daughter liked the school, and thought the children were very polite and nice. We (husband and I) were very underwhelmed by it, but I am not sure what we expected to find, maybe just.. 'more'
Alex, thank you for the welcome.
We are in the East of the county, you sound like you know the county very well. My daughters head teacher says that the grammar is usually under subscribed, but with the changes in population, that is likely to change in years to come. We made a decision not to coach or tutor for our daughter, so the only mitigating circumstance (one I know the head teacher will be mentioning) is that the examiner didn't remind the children how long they had left in the first test. None of the children finished the paper. I only mentioned this to the HT because daughter told me the man forgot to tell them how long they had left. (they had been doing mocks in school and had been told to expect a time reminder) The HT checked with the others who all said the same, and when they came to the second test, they were reminded. I thought the exam was designed like that. The HT is keen to impress upon the appeal board that daughter would have finished/passed that paper had they been reminded of the time. Daughter however told me that if she had rushed, she would not have done it properly!
Right now, we are still sitting on the fence, we want the best education we can have for our daughter, and so far I have yet to be convinced that any local school can do this, grammar other otherwise. I dont know enough about the grammar school system or the usual sort to compare differences and make an informed decision and I dont want to make a mistake,my daughters education is far too important to get it wrong.