Hi, Janeymorris. Lots of feedback for you.
Dd2 very happy. I've been worried (I'm a worrier) that she'd make new friends when she is with one class of girls for every single subject except IT, but it's worked. She's with four girls from her junior school, but after two weeks has made a new "best" friend (I know, having a best friend isn't always good). This week, Dd2 has made three other friends. For IT she is with another class (they're sorted alphabetically) and she enjoys meeting up with girls from her junior school in this other class. Dd2 is with the next girl in the alphabet every time they are paired up. I would find this a little claustrophobic; fortunately the girl Dd2 is paired up with is "ok".
She has said there are a few "very clever" girls in her class. But otherwise she says they are "all like me". Not exceptional then.
She has to carry a very heavy bag around; I thought RHS had lockers - they do - for PE only. She has a lot of working books and text books to carry round. Ashlawn have much fewer and no text books at all. She also does some subjects that Ashlawn don't. Ashlawn do French and German in the grammar stream; RHS do French, Spanish, Latin. Spanish is proving quite easy so far. And RHS do philosophy and religion (Ashlawn don't). And for a few subjects she has three books to write in. She has a lot to carry around. They have to carry dictionaries and geometry sets all the time - and she does. I haven't heard anything about bullying or drugs at all but of course now there is no school gate every day, Dd2 cycles, I wouldn't know. Twelve girls went from her school, I think one had a fall out with a friend, otherwise they are, according to Dd2, happy, in her opinion. But then she said she doesn't see more than about six of them.
Homework is similar to Ashlawn, covering books, sticky back plastic, printing things out, but also some work which she's found challenging. She doesn't know what is expected of her. Ashlawn teachers don't in my experience with my two older dc mark homework very often, RHS the teachers are already marking - but occasionally the girls mark each others work. Comparing homework, I don't think there's much difference. I think RHS expect quite a lot from their girls. No detentions until after half term.
She likes the teachers, the lunches (and morning snacks) and seems happy. For the first week she looked almost grey with tiredness but insists she is happy and at the right school for her.
She had one bad evening, she lost two books, she was in tears. I emailed the school and by quarter to nine, the lovely pastoral care lady had found Dd2, who had realised by then that she had actually handed these books in ... honestly
impressed by the pastoral care lady though.
This is hard, her closest friends went to Ashlawn and I'm confused; there are apparently now four grammar classes there (and I think there are only about eight classes in each year). I find it hard to believe there can be so many, some of the girls in them were always at the bottom at Dd2's junior school. And now they're in the grammar stream - I've seen this for myself. But these girls, her friends, are happy too, and in fact they get more homework. More writing to do. Dd2 gets 12 lots of homework a week (but hasn't yet worked for more than half an hour, I think), her friends at Ashlawn get 14 lots of homework.
She has changed now - she is organised and very keen to be early to school. Still needs nagging to do her homework - but does it. I'll ask her about bullying and drugs. I don't think she'll have a clue. I think she is at the right school for her. But I know it's early days.