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 Post subject: Grammar or Independent?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:45 am 
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Last edited by Loopyloulou on Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:00 am 
I don't want to open up a league table debate on your thread but they are not to be trusted when comparing independent school and state school results. Often bright children in independents sit exams that count as a fail in the league tables or if they sit them early then that also counts as a fail. When I look at how good an independent school is I tend to look at their results A'level by A'level and not the overall score. I don't know how selective the indie is but if it is less selective than the grammar and still achieving outstanding results then it shows that the quality of teaching, in my opinion, may be superior. I also look at how flexible a school is e.g. if the average number of A'levels sat is three but there are a clutch of pupils getting 5 or 6 A'levels then that shows me that they are willing to go above and beyond to offer these very able children more teaching and resources. There are some well known very selective schools that only let a child sit 3 A'levels so its frankly not surprising if they constantly hit the top of the league tables as it is often based on % of A's.

If you have been offered a good scholarship and the school is closer then I would opt for that one and I would probably say the same if the grammar was very close and the indie was further away. When it comes to your decision it is probably coming down to very tiny pro's and cons either way, so if you are really struggling with what to do you could always justify sending her to the indie because not sending her to the grammar may mean you are opening up a place for a child who has no options. :wink:

I said some stuff previously in my pm about how they look after scholars, although they are not singled out, and I know this to be the case from my experience and I think it is also the case for some of the others on here whose kids are scholars.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:56 am 
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Sounds as though your daughter is on my side in our spat about reasons for choosing independents...:lol:

Unless you've got real reservations about the independent's academic strength and it doesn't satisfy the social expectation end of things, I would say there's no contest when money isn't an issue. Although grammars have the pick of the brightest children, the statistics suggest they don't do nearly as well by them as independents. What are the university entrance figures like, for example? Which school is better at getting its pupils into the top universities?

Mike


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 Post subject: perplexed
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:22 am 
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Location: kent
Watch out and do your research well. No general considerations about independent versus grammar can give you an answer.

You need to find out in detail what each school offers both curricular and extra-curricular, and what their results really are. And don't just go on the glossy prospectus.

My step-daughter goes to an independent school which offers scholarships to attract or keep some brightish kids, but most of the girls are not that bright but are willing plodders who do surprisingly well through learning by rote and years of practising GCSE questions. There is very little extra-curricular stuff, and there are many things in the prospectus that do not exist in reality. They have a narrow range of subjects at GCSE and A'level, and then, those listed in the the prospectus do not always run. They have almost zero careers advice; their sole aim is to get everyone into their "first choice" university - they succeed at this, but that is not difficult as long as you help them with the choice of first choice and write their personal statement for them.

They have some good tricks up their sleeve for keeping their GCSE and A'level results looking quite good too (but not as good as the grammars as they do not have the calibre of pupils) !

However, this school serves its niche well - those who want average children to get better than average results. But it would not be what you were wanting. My husband did not appreciate all its downpoints - he was taken in by slick presentations, beautiful buildings, immaculate word-processed work stuck on the walls, etc etc.

Round here there are plenty of grammar schools and highly selective independents, so without a few scholarships this school would struggle to have some highish achievers. I'm sure that your school does not fall into this category - but watch out for the hidden clues.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:11 pm 
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To be fair, some of those points can be applied quite widely across all sectors of the education system! But it's certainly true that you have to look at the schools individually.

Mike


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:28 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:12 pm
Posts: 1301
Location: Birmingham
Hi Loopyloulou

Perplexed is quite correct in saying that you need to do some significant research. There are some really fantastic Independent schools but some are very poor to say the least.

My other half had the misfortune to teach at a poor 2nd tier Independent for a few years and there were some real horror stories.

A few Dos and Don'ts:-

DO try to find some parents whose children are in the Independent School and ask them what's it really like. worts and all
DO contact the Grammar school and see if you can take a further tour around with your child during a normal school day - most Grammars will accomodate. Look in the toilets and cloakrooms - that tells at lot!
DONT be afraid to tell the Grammar that you have a scholarship offer from an Independent School.
DO the same for the Independent School - ask for a further tour.
DONT pay much attention to Independent School Inspection Reports - most aren't worth the paper they are printed on.
DO check up if there are any unreasonable conditions on the Scholarship offer - do they have to stay on till 6th form for example or can they leave after GCSEs

Hope this helps


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:36 pm 
Neither the ofsted nor isi inspection reports are worth the paper they're printed on!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:27 am
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Location: Barnet, Herts
tipsy,
Have sent you a pm


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 12:15 pm
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Forget league tables, forget practicalities, forget inspection reports....
Pretend tomorrow is the first day - where in your heart of hearts would you feel happiest dropping her off ???????

(Only later look at the league tables, practicalities, inspection reports... and see if the difference is any big deal)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:44 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 4:20 pm
Posts: 4660
............................. and equally importantly, where would DD be happiest being dropped off ? (and after looking at the price of uniforms yesterday - check out which one's cheapest :lol: )

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