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Selecting non-grammar school - fall back option
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Author:  mh1 [ Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:55 am ]
Post subject:  Selecting non-grammar school - fall back option

Dear Parents

It is important to select at least 1 non grammar option in case the grammar route doesn't work out. What measures are parents taking in this regard? What factors would you consider to be important?- attainment scores etc.

For me distance to a given school is important as well as general feel of the school which I think in the current climate is going to be impossible to judge due to restrictions on open days. I know some schools have taken to virtual tours.

I have been browsing various local secondary school websites and also Birmingham Council website to get more information about admission criteria and especially statistics on the last child to be admitted to the school based on distance from school but am non-the-wiser.

Surely there has to be some published data about this aspect. Any leads welcome.

Thank you

Author:  Nella [ Thu Sep 24, 2020 9:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Selecting non-grammar school - fall back option

It’s a really tricky one this year.

For me visiting the school on a normal school day was really important. The open evenings show the school with all ‘bells and whistles’ and the reality of a normal day can be quite different. It would be worth seeing if your local schools will allow you to visit on a normal school day- it may not be possible.

We did look at exam results but this was not a priority. Lots can change in 6 years! The most important thing for us was how the school felt (caring, nurturing, polite children etc)
It was interesting visiting the schools during the day. We went on a Friday afternoon to both potential schools. In school 1, the children were paying attention and engaged in the lessons. The other school’s playground was full of litter and the children were bouncing off the walls. That made our decision easy!

This document gives the furthest child admitted- you have to look at each individual school: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/download/ ... s_2021.pdf

Author:  JM40 [ Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Selecting non-grammar school - fall back option

Birmingham Mail’s real schools guide collates lots of additional data points beyond academic results, which may be useful to you.

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/l ... y-13334057

Other things we considered were distance from home, travel options and journey times, size of intake, whether we preferred mixed or single sex, and our feelings about the faith component of some schools. I also looked into the range of subjects currently on offer at GCSE (of course, this can change, but gives a current flavour of the school e.g some girls’ schools don’t offer Product Design) and the extra curricular opportunities. Of course schools are very limited in what they can offer right now, but their website/prospectus/newsletters should tell you what the usual offer is. I found reading old newsletters on school websites an interesting insight into the style of communication and leadership as well as the school’s activities.

I should say that all of these factors also informed our order of preference for the grammar schools on our CAF too, as the grammar schools are not identical.

Best of luck with your decisions.

Author:  mh1 [ Fri Sep 25, 2020 7:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Selecting non-grammar school - fall back option

Nella, JM40 - Thank you for your words of wisdom and the relevant links.

Guaranteeing a place at a good non-grammar state secondary is a a bit of lottery if you don't live close enough to the school.

Have been looking at various decent localish schools and sadly it appears from their past admissions data and admissions criteria that we don't stand a chance. A tad too far from school + don't meet faith criteria for one of the schools.

Sadly, I fear it is a case of having the good fortune of living close enough to a decent school.

Hoping the grammar options is going to work out.


Author:  hermanmunster [ Fri Sep 25, 2020 8:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Selecting non-grammar school - fall back option

it is always a problem - some people seem to get very well ahead of the game and end up living in the right place even before the kids are born! 30 years ago I remember house hunting and everywhere we went people were "moving for educational reasons" - didn't make any sense to us but cue the arrival of kids and it suddenly did.

Of course getting a house in the "right" place can often cost ££££ more than one a few streets away in the "wrong" place.

other issue is that there are probable relatively few schools that any one family as any real chance of getting a place at (in rural areas it is often just one...) so best to really concentrate on looking at those.

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