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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 8:55 pm 
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Location: Birmingham
This is a sad story, I suppose, but it kind of shocked me and I thought I would seek other posters' opinions.

My husband has an acquaintance, he lives in inner-city Birmingham and his son went to a local Primary school there. His son got in last year to KE Camp Hill Boys, the hardest Grammar in Birmingham to get into. He hadn't had tuition or great amounts of home support, but clearly this kid was very bright. He is from a humble but supportive background and it seemed to be the beginning of a great 'success' story.
My husband saw this friend again today, who said his son had left the school - he hadn't fitted in and had been unhappy - and he has now joined a local comprehensive (National Challenge school - nobody wants to go there - regarded as failing) and is much happier. He was offering us his son's barely-used uniform, as my son is fortunate to be going to that Grammar in September.

But something about this whole story just made me feel so down...what could have gone so wrong? Why would someone want to transfer from the 'best' school in Birmingham to arguably the worst?
Are these Grammars really only for middle class children from very good Primaries or the Independent sector? Do situations like this often happen?


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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 11:02 pm 
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very interesting post. The boy did sound like he should have gone on to do very well but obviously grammar does not suit all no matter how bright they are. I have dd1 at grammar and dd2 going in september, we are not middle class but maybe enjoy things that may be classed as middle-classed activities. I dont know? Theatre, books(classics i just loved). My dd1 just loves to learn and dd2 is so determined to do well its untrue. So maybe its a state of mind? The child really needs to want this type of education, not just the parent. How did the child feel about grammar school? Had he really wanted to go to the comp with his friends? :)


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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 11:09 pm 
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Um - I suspect we don't really know the whole story behind this - he had only been there a short time.

I went to KEHS donkey's years ago (rather harder to get in there than the GS in those days) and it really did not matter what your background was or where you came from - so I suspect that that has little to do with it.

Maybe the lad had found everything very easy before and suddenly had to work rather harder.

Maybe he was bullied

Maybe he was teased by friends from his old school

Maybe he was too full of himself and put people off.


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 9:11 am 
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Location: Not in a hole in the ground but in a land where once they dwelt-the Beormingas
It is difficult to understand the reasons behind it all.
The boy in question (he was in the same year as DS) is exceptionally bright.
My husband met the boys' father at the AFS last year and his father stated that the only reason he entered for the KEGs exam was because his ex -teacher at primary suggested it: so there was no 11+ training involved and no time... :shock:

My experience with DS in Y7 so far, is that you are competing with children who are very bright and are required to meet the very high standard that the school establishes.

All grammar schools are different and have their own standard. My husband is a grammar school teacher and although, he works in a good school.. the teaching at KECHB is generally outstanding.


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 9:44 am 
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DIY Mum wrote:
father stated that the only reason he entered for the KEGs exam was because his ex -teacher at primary suggested it: so there was no 11+ training involved and no time... :shock:


As hermanmunster says it is pretty imposible to second guess this situation, but given the above, perhaps it was a rushed decision and the boy always wanted to be at another school?
Certainly I would not draw any conclusions about grammar schools, or any schools based on one example.Hopefully he is happier now?


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 5:55 pm 
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I can't comment on the case because I don't know the family and our son wasn't aware of it. However, speaking in general terms, the transition to CHB can be tough - in many (most?) cases is a boy is the only one there from his primary and doesn't know anyone at all. It takes quite a long time for the group dynamics to shake themselves out (my perception is that they've only just about settled down in the last couple of weeks). Add to that that these boys are going from being one of the cleverest at primary to being middle or bottom of the group (especially if they're coming from a state primary and finding themselves just not as far along as the prep kids); they need a lot of support and encouragement from home to get them over the first couple of terms.

The fact that there's only one so far suggests that it's not that common an event, but in most cases parents (and usually kids) have been aiming for CHB for months or years, it may be that the last minute nature of this family's decision made it easier for them to change their minds. A family who have had their hearts set on CHB for a long time and have invested a lot of time and effort (and probably money) trying to make sure they get there might find it more difficult to decide that they'd made the wrong choice.

[edit - by coincidence, I've just been talking to someone who's child is going through exactly the same thing at a very good local comp - it's not just a GS thing.]

Mike


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 6:11 pm 
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I know of someone whose child lasted three days at a local comp. Three days! Moved to an indie and doing fine, but really, can you tell after three days? My DD was in a state of permanent nervous collapse for the first three weeks of secondary, and just as we were starting to consider home education again, she breezed home and said 'I love it now.'


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 7:22 pm 
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Mmmm, after three days I'd be snarling "pull yourself together!". It took Master 1880 until final term of Y6 to settle into junior school :shock: , while he's had his ups and downs in the first two terms at CHB he's always seemed much more comfortable there than he ever was at primary. The pace and standard expected will be a bit of a shock to a boy coming from a fairly relaxed state primary, but we always knew it was going to be like that.

Mike


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 9:58 pm 
Camp Hill, boys or girls, doesn't suit everyone, however clever they are. I admire these parents for putting their DS's happiness over what I assume would have been their own feelings of pride in having a son at CHB. I doubt if they will regret it - he will no doubt go on to an excellent sixth form college in due course and pick up lots of brownie points from universities for having survived a sink school up to GCSE.


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 11:46 am 
Camp Hill Boys may be the best school for some boys but I have had many pupils who wouldn't suit that environment at all (including some of my very brightest) and it would actually then turn out to be the worst school in Birmingham as far as they were concerned.

My own daughter doesn't like Camp Hill Girls but, as she admits honestly, she doesn't like school full stop. She is not unique as her class has lost 2 girls on Year 8 to the private sector, with no reason given for the transfer; both children were in the top 5 of the class so it certainly wasn't down to academic struggle.

Forty-five years ago I remember going up to secondary school and finding myself in the Latin stream (due to a test that was barely mentioned before it was sat) which was dominated by professionals children. I felt a fish out of water and, if anyone had offered me an out, I would have transferred to the B stream, pronto. But it definitely inspired me to work hard; it wasn't that I wanted to be like these middle class children but rather I wanted to prove just how much better I was than them.

I suspect this poor little chap also felt like a fish out of water, possibly listening to accents posher than his (CHB is very much favoured by prep school children) or being intimated by the posturing of more confident children or even possibly just bored by its falseness.

Having had children in both the grammar and comprehensive set-up, I have certainly found that my son's comp friends are definitely more genuine and loyal, and less prone to posturing than the uber-confident grammar school boys I have met.


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