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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:03 pm 
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My DD passed the Trafford (CEM) exam for all the CEM consortium grammar schools (x4) but she cannot choose between AGGS and Stretford Grammar. We are 6 miles away from AGGS but only 1.8 miles from Stretford Grammar. We are OOC for SGS and my DD does not want to go to Urmston.
We get conflicting messages about AGGS. Some parents tell us it is a great school. Others have told us that AGGS girls need tutoring to get through and there is not much support for those girls who appear to be ‘underperforming’.
It would be helpful if other parents who don’t necessarily live near AGGS could share their experiences. How does it feel like for an 11/12 yr old to spend one hour each way to travel to/from school?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:24 pm 
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We were in a similar position to you last year and in the end chose Stretford (our nearest school at 1.6 miles away). My DD has settled in really well and I am now quite glad we didn't opt for one of the schools further away. I think that that she would have found the longer journey quite tiring - certainly this year. Also from a social point of view I think it is easier living close to a school. She has made a lovely group of new friends who all live fairly locally and it just makes it a whole lot easier meeting up outside of school. Also from a parenting point of view it's been quite reassuring knowing that she has a short journey each day and if she has a club after school I can always pick her up easily if need be. I imagine that AGGS is probably a more pressured environment but it's an excellent school so I can see why you are undecided. Good luck with it all and well done to your daughter!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:01 pm 
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Quite a lot of girls near us from AGSG and also Loreto seem to deal with the hour journey but the idea of getting on the bus at 7.30am feels very early. I’ve heard similar things about AGSG being very high pressure whilst SGS is more friendly and homely. But I guess any very high performing school in top schools lists will be like that.
My dilemma would be if that’s what I want for her. Or is a good school with local mates a better all round option?!? I want high school to be a positive experience


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:00 am 
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We are in a similar position. My DS passed for Sale, Urmston and Stretford. We live 1.1 miles away from Stretford and 3.7 miles away from Urmston. We are OOS for Sale for wouldn't be able to get in anyway, as although my son scored highly I don't think it would be enough for a OOS place. We are within Urmston's catchment, but he would need to take a bus to get there, and I rather he had the option of walking to school or an easy cycle ride which is what Stretford would be for us. We like both Urmston and Stretford, but choosing Stretford as I think it's important for him to have local friends, and knowing him, he would want to do after school sports etc which would be easier if the school is closer. My DD is sitting next year for the 11plus and even if she passed for AGGS I think I would still stick with Stretford because of proximity. Whatever perceived advantage a "better" school has, I think it is negated by having to make a long commute, ending up with tired DCs and the lack of opportunity to engage with after school activities and have local friends. Like a pp, I want high school to be a positive experience.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:35 am 
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As mine do loads of extra sports and other activities at both their current school and outside, I wasn’t sure if there are late buses like there is at MGS for example? A neighbours boy often gets home after 6. I think on balance mine would thrive with local friends around them: or at least ones within 4-5 miles. A friends daughter goes to St Bedes and rarely sees her school friends outside of school. If I had totally academic children, it’d look at it very differently I think


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:22 pm 
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The other thing to remember is that they get a lot of homework too. I know that if DD wasn't getting home until 6pm and was then having to do homework she would probably be pretty exhausted. As it is, she is home by 4 (5 if she stays for a club) so can relax a little or hang out with her friends before she has to tackle school work. Or she can get it done when she gets home and then still have the evening ahead of her.
Re additional buses, I really don't know about the times. I think most of the school websites have details about the bus routes and timetables so might be worth a look on the AGGS page. For what it's worth, Stretford feels like a great school - academically very good but also very nurturing. Most of the children in DD's class are local; Stretford, Chorlton, Firswood , Sale - and the friends she has made all seem to be quite similar to her. I think that counts for a lot. It's a tough decision though!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:52 pm 
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Nice to hear positive views of Stretford grammar. We live in Firswood and hopefully my DS will make friends locally if he gets a place there for next year! My DC go to a school a bit further away so they don't have any local friends at the moment.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:59 pm 
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Can I ask a naive question? Why is Alty for Girls an excellent School? Is it because it only admits girls who have scored high at the CEM test or it is because it stands out in another way (e.g. quality of teaching, ethos, culture etc)?
Is it true that Alty girls need to be tutored to get through?
I am just trying to figure out what is the tradeoff between distance and school ‘excellence’. Why is it that local parents don’t seem to have any reservations about sending their daughters there whereas pp leaving further away value other aspects such as happiness at school?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 1:19 pm 
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If Alty was our nearest school we would have possibly sent DD there. No objections to the school at all but personally I think that a long journey each day and not having local friends might have made transition to high school a little tougher. As for tutoring to get through, I really don't know about that. I have heard that it is quite a competitive environment and personally my preference would always be a mixed school rather than single sex one.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 1:28 pm 
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A lot of people I know have moved to Alty for the sole reason that they want AGSG and AGSB. Many of these moved whilst their DC were pre school age. All have used tutors for some time. There’s also a lot using prep schools for the same reason. I guess if they go to local primary they’ll move up with local friends too. That makes it an easier decision - local, with friends but highly selective.
For the DC who are over 5/6 miles away, adding in an hour bus trip either way changes it all. The impact has to be considered; no school mates near by, car journey for any extra stuff etc
If my DC went the local high, they’d just walk themselves everywhere when they liked


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