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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:49 am
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Location: London
My kid isn't due to start 11+ school for a few years, but obviously its been on my mind what to do for a while and in an ideal world I don't want to pay ridiculous school fees if there is another good alternative out there.
My son and daughters went to a very selective independent prep school for two years and although they coped academically, I noticed that the parents were very pushy and only interested in how many A grades their kids were getting. This independent school was once known for not only its academia but also its debating and extra-curricular activities. It still has these but the parents who send their kids there now are not interested in these things and I think the school has lost so much of its character. I also noticed that the kids were like coiled springs and their behaviour outside of school was apalling. They had poor social skills, and always had too much homework so could never get together with their peers.

So my one concern about grammar school, due to their selective nature, is not the school, but the parents and therefore the kids that are heavily coached. I don't want my sons cohort being highly strung and stressed as these should be the best days of their lifes. Has anyone experienced this - or more positively - is this not he case?


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:13 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2005 12:49 pm
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Location: berkshire
My personal opinion is that all cohorts in a school will be a mixture. Some children are exceptionally gifted in one or more subjects, some children are academically able and so will achieve through natural talent and some hard work. There will always be others that have been tutored to pass the exam without really having the natural ability to shine at grammar school.
My son was given 6-8 weeks of prep for the 11+ and scraped a pass but is thriving in grammar....moans about the homework but still finds time to be out with his mates (as he is at the moment..... "I'll be back at 5.30 to finish my geography....I promise").
There are many extra curricular activities... sports, art, warhammer club, debating etc. but a child can pick and choose whether they want to be involved.
There is a child that sits up to 2 in the morning revising... or so my son says.... but it is not the norm for the class.
Expectations are fairly high for all pieces of work but is quite reachable for a normally bright child. My son could be classed as a worrier but he has thoroughly enjoyed his experiences at grammar school..... so far.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:29 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 8:55 pm
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Location: Bexley
I think a lot also depends on the type of grammar school. My son in year 8 doesn't seem to get a lot of homework or to have to put in much effort for exams to get good results. He goes to a grammar school where children are selected if they achieve a pass mark in the borough 11+ and live within a certain distance from a school. He doesn't seem to be put under huge amounts of pressure and certainly has loads of time for other activities.

It seems to me though that there are the more high profile grammar schools which set their own entrance exams and take those children with the highest pass marks. These are sometimes referred to as "super-selectives" and I get the impression that children are often really heavily coached to get into them and that, once they've got them, the schools pile on the pressure to maintain their high standards.

Might be worth posting in your area Monstermunch, to see if you can get some feedback on specific grammar schools.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:46 pm 
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Location: London
Thanks for the replies, although again its not the schools I'm too concerned with but the parents. In saying that I really want to be convinced that we should choose grammar over independent as we have struggled for too many years with school fees, and they're not getting any easier to pay - I dream of a nice holiday :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi Monstermunch

monstermunch wrote:
I dream of a nice holiday :lol:


I'm with you there! :D

I'm not aware of any "coaching culture" at my son's GS. There is a particular problem with one subject, and I know a couple of parents have brought in a tutor to help their kids because of it, but beyond that I haven't come across anyone who is using a tutor. The same applies as far as I know at all our local Grammars.

After the independent prep school the non-competitiveness of the GS parents is like a breath of fresh air. (Or a long peaceful holiday, maybe? :wink: )

Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:04 pm 
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Location: Bexley
Yes, I don't know if I'm a typical grammar school mum, but if I'm honest, my feeling is that, having helped them get to grammar school - I've done my bit and now it's over to my sons and the school!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:15 pm 
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Location: London
I'm glad to hear that the GS parents are more laid-back - I honestly thought it would have been the other way around. Maybe its a London private school thing! :D


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:27 am
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I would definitely say the grammar school parents' attitudes are more laid back. However, the grammar schools are not so good at motivating non-motivated children. I feel the independent schools to a certain extent push the non-motivated children more (only personal experience with friends in the private sector....). Certainly the grammar school parents I know are nowhere in the same league as some of the local private school parents in the 'pushiness' stakes.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:40 pm 
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Location: London
Believe it or not I am not pushy so I need a school to motivate my kids. So nice parents but lazy child, or nigtmare parents but child working hard :?


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:48 pm 
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Depends what you want: happy child having a nice time, or child being pushed to its limits or, conversely, child being pushed to limits AND happy. I think most grammar school parents are pretty laid back because they are not having to 'prove' anything. Also depends on what the child wants to have as career in the long run and most children at 11 have no idea...although there's always a smattering of 'I've always wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer', or is under intense pressure to follow parents down Oxbridge route.....or to be 1st in family to go down Oxbridge route!! Fortunately for me, my children aren't that ambitious, but are bright and are/have been at grammar schools and have been able to receive the grammar school education.


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