Go to navigation
It is currently Sat Dec 10, 2016 6:40 pm

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:45 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:33 pm
Posts: 329
Hello everyone
We have yet to attend the appeal hearing for our daughter in Bucks, her having come very close to automatic qualification. However, I have spent a good deal of time on this forum and wanted to share some thoughts which may help some of you (and may annoy others - sorry).
My main point is that it is not so much the schooling a child receives from 11-18 that determines their eventual success, it is their attitude and approach to work and life afterwards. I run an educational business for young people and employers and so can state this with certainty. If you allow the 11+ selection process, from early coaching through to possible appeals, to totally consume family life, you run the risk of exacerbating the pass/fail culture that is inevitable with selection at a young age. It is an emotive time and an emotive subject (my wife and I have had many discussions about the merits and fairness of the system,) but if you are determined (desperate, even?) to get your child to GS, you run the risk of transmitting this to the child. What might they think if they do go to a GS? Think of the pressure they might feel, knowing how hard you had to work (and possibly how much money was spent on coaching) to get them there. And if they don’t go to a GS? How will your behaviour up to that point prejudice their opinion of the school they will attend? Will they work hard if they believe that the school is “inferior”? These are heavy matters with which to burden an eleven-year-old mind.
I had six years at a GS and those years were entirely forgettable. Not because I didn’t enjoy them, simply because I “passed through” GS lost in the middle of the normal curve. A third of my life to that point was unmemorable because at that age, I did not have the maturity to make the best of the opportunity I was given. GS is not an automatic ticket to success. Personal and career success is largely built on work and behaviours as an adult, not on the type of secondary education experienced.
In principle, I believe the selective system to be a good one. Matching a child’s ability and learning style to a suitable type of school is a positive move. In practice, however, the system is flawed. Yes there are flaws in the selection method but does a perfect method exist? The main flaw is the way the system is perceived by parents and the behaviours parents exhibit as a result. Who, other than parents, perpetuates the thinking that a GS is always better than an upper school? Who is responsible for continued use of the terms “pass” and “fail” to describe the test results? They are not terms I see on official literature or terms used by schools. The answers to these questions can be found in many posts on this forum.
It is easy to get caught up in the emotion of results day. My daughter only just missed out on automatic qualification and the tight deadline for appeals means that many appeals are made in the heat of the moment and with the emotion of results still evident. Having had two months to reflect, I am much calmer about the whole thing and enter our appeal in a relaxed frame of mind. I sympathise with parents whose children were expected to qualify – if those children do not end up at a GS when a GS is the best destination for them then the system has failed them. I am confident that my daughter would suit a GS education but I am also happy that she will do very well at an upper school. We do not believe that attending an upper school will be a lesser experience for her, we have made sure that she knows that this is our view, and as a result, she is relaxed about the appeal outcome as well. I know that in ten or fifteen years’ time, we will look back and smile at the anxiety this whole process caused. I hope everyone else has cause to do the same.
Thank you for reading these thoughts. I hope they provide some much-needed rationalism and that they may calm the nerves of some yet to experience the appeal. There are not many things more important in life than education, but education is about so much more than a school. What are your children learning from you at this time in their lives?


Last edited by anotherdad on Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 5:05 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
Posts: 7063
Thank you very much for sharing these thoughts, anotherdad.

Reminds me of Woolford's recent post:
viewtopic.php?f=35&t=18317&p=222166&hilit=Our+ds+is+happy+with+the+secondary+school#p222166

_________________
Etienne


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 5:41 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 9:39 pm
Posts: 508
I agree with all of this .....in principle ..... however there is a stumbling block - and that is the quality of the upper school allocated if the 11+ standard is not attained. My DD got a high enough score - so we can relax, but if she had not I had very big issues with the upper school which is our catchment school. Just some of my reasons for these issues were thus:

1. They only offer one language - French - and no others at any point. So if your child is a bit of a linguist there are no options here for them!
2. They do not offer 3 separate sciences - so again no options for those with a scientific bent - even if destined to be a Dr, vet, nurse etc etc - you simply cannot get 3 science GCSE's here
3. The children were rude and undisciplined at the open evening - they were there, in many cases (not all - we were shown round by a lovely polite Y7) just for a fun evening out withe their mates. On one occasion during the evening I was expected to hold the door open for them whilst they barged through!!
4. There was a very strong negative discipline culture - all class rooms had very well used charts explaining what happens if you step out of line - and far less well used ones for those who do well! Clearly behaviour was a big issue - and those who really wanted to learn had to get past this in order to do so.

Personally I do not have any issue with the children going to the school which suits them best academically - but they absolutely must be given the best opportunity to be the best they can be - and restricting their choices in such fundamental ways at age 11 as this school does is not a choice I would ever make for my children. Incidentally I did look round a fabulous comprehensive nearby which I would have had no issue with whatsoever - but we are out of catchment!

So - we remain stuck with this lottery system - and I will continue to do all I can to make sure my younger DD gets the opportunity to also go to GS like her elder sister! Until I see a massive improvement in the Upper schools alongside!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:08 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Nov 28, 2010 6:35 pm
Posts: 58
I agree with both posts... the devil is sadly in the detail. Ideology is one thing and the practical realities are another. Idealogically I am happy for my DS to go wherever he will be happy and fit in-and this could be in a number of schools in principle, I dont much care what they are called, and I dont see a GS as a panacea. Unfortunately, our local Upper School is one of the very weak ones, and lacks facilities for sciences (which is what my DS is interested in and good at). The contrast is incredibly stark when the local GS has all the right bits and is the nearest school to us too.

The appeal panels require the judgement of Solomon to do what they do, and allowing them to act with such a wide ranging brief and so few fixed criteria will inevitably result in inconsistencies. Having said that, I cant see how an alternative could be done cost-effectively, so I will put up with well intentioned and professional people doing their best. I applaud their committment as I for one could not bear it.


good luck to all

RRR


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:16 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 6:36 pm
Posts: 188
Location: High Wycombe
I do not think that anyone would disagree with the principle that all upper schools should offer the same academic opportunities and positive environment that is supposed to exist at the grammars. What I took out of the post by anotherdad was the responsibility that we have as parents to ensure that whatever our aspirations may be for our child (and we as members of these forums are joined as a whole by this), that we should make sure that our children do not feel like failures if they do not get a grammar school place, nor that the school they end up going to is a "rubbish" school.
If we can do this, then they will have a good start to the next stage of their education.
Woolford's child and many others of my acquaintance have proved this to be the case.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:24 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:36 pm
Posts: 2
A voice of reason from anotherdad and one I echo completely. Very well put.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:41 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:50 am
Posts: 36
I agree with absolutely everything you have said, anotherdad. In fact, I have such an issue with the whole attitude towards gaining a GS place/tutoring frenzy (as I call it) that we decided not to go down that route and did some practice at home with my DD in the preceding weeks. Fortunately she got through, and yes I am happy because I believe everything about her suits the GS system, but I would have been equally happy (and so would DD) if she attended our local Upper; her older brother attends the school and is doing well. We knew it was unlikely he would achieve the required 11+ score despite doing pretty well in school, and he was almost terrified at the prospect of attending a GS....in fact whatever the 11+ result we were always going to send him to the Upper. Admittedly it means that in some areas we occasionally need to stretch him a little if we feel he can do more.....but the way I see it isn't that my job as a supportive parent anyway??

Whilst I realise some schools give cause for concern we are very lucky in Bucks to have many good upper schools... and I feel people do not always appreciate this :( :x . My sister lives in London with DD the same age and I also have friends in other areas where they have NEITHER a GS system or good schools...in fact pretty poor. Now that's something to worry about.....


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:11 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:57 am
Posts: 272
Agree with most of all this, the problem with my local upper, is it would not need the parents to make them feel like it is a 'rubbish' school, and neither would the teaching nor the facilities it provides..it would be a lot of the pupils themselves. By no means all of course, I am sure there are quite a few diligent hard working students amongst the masses enrolled there, but given first hand accounts from both an ex-pupil and an ex-employee, and some very unsavoury encounters courtesy of living closeby..I would not want my daughter to spend the rest of her educational years surrounded by a disruptive majority. Thankfully, we are in an almost manageable position to be able to consider an alternative, but it does come down to more than academic aspirations in the end.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:11 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:50 am
Posts: 36
I can understand what you are saying about some of the pupils mm23292 and agree that if you truly know this to be a major problem at a school then yes it would be an issue. This is exactly the problem I am referring to when I mentioned my sister in London. Her DD is a really lovely girl and clever, always has been; all good 5's at end of year 5 and banded in top stream when they had their secondary school assessment. With support from her parents she could continue to achieve well at a less than ideal school, but my sis is more concerned with the behaviour and attitude of pupils which is a major problem in the majority of schools in her area.

It is incredible what she is having to do to try and get her daughter into a half decent school, she has put down 6 choices but only one (her back up) in catchment. The few decent schools are so oversubscribed it is almost impossible to get in unless you are on the doorstep. ...one of them has a catchment of 800m!!! There is nothing else she can do, either she will be lucky or she won't....and so she waits until March...

That's why I sometimes feel very defensive about our schools in Bucks.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:53 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Nov 28, 2010 6:35 pm
Posts: 58
Gertie- this is why many of us with school age children flock to Bucks from London each year!

Faced with no realistic options at all for schooling (save an insane 4 hours a day in the car) or a damascene conversion that we felt was not setting a great example to our children, we had to up-sticks and move.

We are incredibly lucky and should be supporting our schools as much as we can- I am a school governor and have been for many years, and I know many who post here are also the even more praiseworthy PTA activists who keep our schools going.

Tricky decisions get us all heated- opening that envelope will not decide my childs future, but will probably have the single largest impact on my finances of anything I have ever done. At least with the help Etienne and Sally-Anne and all contributors here I can feel that I went in as prepared as possible

RRR


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


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