I went to an all girls high school and absolutely loved it and am very much in touch with my friends many many years later. I have since heard that some people didn't like going to an all girls schools because of the perception of the 'in-crowd' etc. I think children tend to gravitate towards like-minded people. I remember having lots of friends at schools and within the fom groups, there were several groupings of friends who did different things with their time (different clubs etc.) I don't think my class had an 'in-crowd'. some of us were weird in similar ways.
I think my area was a non-grammar one but I can't be sure. Certainly, no-one at my middle school (Junior school) sat the 11+ (and I was one of the top three students so I would have been put forward if we did)
I think I've done quite well academically as this was an expectation of my parents (no stick or carrot - just expected)
I did A-levels in Maths, Physics and Economics at school then studied Engineering at university and then worked in a high responsibilty position in a small company (low pay and no progression because jobs only came up if people left their's)
I worked there for a year and happily they relocated my function to another country meaning that I could leave honourably (I only stayed that long because they'd sent me to the US for 3 weeks training)
I'd missed the round of graduate vacancy applications the year that I graduated - due to various reasons.
with a MEng and over a year's work experience I applied to several companies for a position on their graduate training scheme.
The first time I've ever come across NVR and VR questions was at such recruitment selection stages and because I passed all of the ones I went for, I realised that I was naturally good at them.
Much later, when I came to know more about the 11+ I did lament the fact that I didn't have the opportunity to sit the test because I really think I would've done well.
Although I have been quite successful academically and employment-wise, much of it seems to have been pot luck and my own attitude. by this I mean being in the right place at the right time and recognising an opportunity and creating them for myself.
I do wonder how my own parents' approach to studying has encouraged me - they didn't actively help with anything but expected me to listen to my teachers and do well - and I did try to adopt this with my 2 DDs hoping that it would spark natural drive and ambition in them.
It doesn't work with DD1 - everyone's different. she's a bit of a dreamer. forgets all her belongings in various places but still manages to do well at school. She could be better with more focus.
Just when I thought I'd failed - DD2 - works out mental maths questions creatively from what she knows and doesn't want to drop a music club in favour of a more popular one because she doesn't want to let them down
actually DD1 told me last night that she'd volunteered to be form council rep but the class thought it was a popularity contest and she got less votes than the person who won but was told she could help with those duties as well. (yayyyy) when I asked her why she hadn't told me any of this - she thought I'd be cross that she hadn't won
I told her i was delighted that she'd volunteered and that's what makes me really happy that she showed the interest and had the confidence to volunteer. big YAYYYY!!
I think that's really what I'm after - for them to have the tools for success