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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:08 am 
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Morning all

Not sure how many of you read posts on the mum net secondary forum - but there is a thread there about Mental Health in Grammar schools and particular experiences have been shared about Tiffin Girls. Reading this is very upsetting and places huge worry about making the right decisions for my DD. Of course we have no idea if my DD has even passed and will be a offered a place at Tiffin's - but very interested to hear from parents who have girls there to honestly share their insight of the school and the support they offer to girls.

RS.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:13 pm 
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I saw this too and it is concerning.

I had some concerns around this aspect of TGS. My rationale for putting it 1st in the end was that we hope that we will be able to help her understand how to spread her workload and to see the bigger picture that, to us, her well-being is more important than test results. We felt that as she is really very able in English so that hopefully she will not feel dreadfully under pressure and instead will enjoy challenges. We will help her with maths if she finds it hard and is worried. If her mental health and needs were not being supported and she was suffering, we would take her out. I don't think we will get TGS anyway due to being designated area and the few places that there are; we will cross that bridge if/when we get to it.

I do think TGS needs to address well-being and mental health as there is a bit of a reputation around this. It's something that many parents are worried about. By contrast, Nonsuch seems to have worked really hard not only to act to support girls, but also to make a lot of positive press around it and use this as a selling point.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 1:58 pm 
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Location: Reading
Unless the posts are by parents of current or recent students, it’s possibly best to ignore.

I’ve heard all sorts of rumours about DDs school told to me over the years. Most of it completely untrue, and always from people who don’t have a connection to the school. It may be just one student who has had issues (and you are only getting one side of the story, possibly exaggerated, maybe not even by a real parent).

If you have concerns then talk to several different parents and students if you can. Get the info from the horse’s mouth. That way you know if it’s a general issue with the school (and maybe a reason to give to a wide berth) or an isolated incident.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:00 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
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Location: Essex
Tinkers wrote:
Unless the posts are by parents of current or recent students, it’s possibly best to ignore.

I’ve heard all sorts of rumours about DDs school told to me over the years. Most of it completely untrue, and always from people who don’t have a connection to the school. It may be just one student who has had issues (and you are only getting one side of the story, possibly exaggerated, maybe not even by a real parent).

If you have concerns then talk to several different parents and students if you can. Get the info from the horse’s mouth. That way you know if it’s a general issue with the school (and maybe a reason to give to a wide berth) or an isolated incident.


The posts do purport to come from parents of current or recent students there. Someone has tried to shut down the recent reincarnation of the thread - the OP started it a few years back - by a shouty ZOMBIE THREAD post (which seems to be a 'thing' over there, when someone adds to a thread even when only a couple of months has passed since the last post - not sure whether she is a TGS groupie or just an inveterate Zombie thread! interjector.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:17 pm
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Reading on Metro just now and it says 1/3th of secondary girls could be subjected to MH(or having MH issues) while less in boy(11%).

Another thing worrying me is: is it a norm with secondary schools that you still carry on with tutoring, even for high achieving pupils and at both grammar and Indie(my friend’s daughter had all 9 A* gcse and she had tutors, she is in one of a super selective grammar school. I dont understand, especially for private, why paying for the fee and still has to pay for academic tutoring.

Whats real story?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:13 pm 
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My DD is in year 12 and has had no external tutors. Only one of her friends did and that’s because her parents didn’t like the fact she was in the bottom maths set. She is still doing A level maths, so it’s not as though her maths is bad. It’s a GS so the bottom set is still going to do well for the most part.

I also know students at comprehensives who have had private tutors for a subject or two, but it’s usually because it’s a subject that they don’t have great teaching for (shortage of teachers in some subjects or just not a teacher that suits the child).


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:56 pm 
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Have a daughter in year 7. I have to say I am surprised by how little homework there has been so far. However, there has been quite a bit of testing. The sports clubs/ lunch time clubs have been a bit disorganised and some of them are run by 6th formers - which according to DD is not ideal. DD hasn't commented on any other issues. Can't comment on anything else as have not seen the article in question.

I should imagine people will have tutors for all sorts of reasons - and I would not concern myself with that - but at this stage I haven't seen a need for it.

Obviously it's a school proud of its academic record. The head teacher was delighted in announcing that 54% of GCSE's awarded this year were a 9. I should imagine that is not achieved without some hard work.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:56 pm 
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I’ve had a look at the thread you mentioned elsewhere. One of the posts is from a parent of the cohort that complained in writing to the SLT about pressure. That happened before the current head teacher’s time (and may even have been a catalyst for the regime change - who knows), and before “our” time, so I cannot comment on what the school was like back then. In case it matters, we have not needed to access formal pastoral care, so I can’t comment on that either, but as a current parent, I can tell you honestly that my daughter is very happy, loves her friends and her school.

As gently as I can put this, every secondary school has some young people whose mental well-being would plot closer to wobbly than resilient. It can happen to anyone, anywhere, any time. I’m sure lots of things can tip the balance:
Sometimes it will be an underlying mental illness manifesting itself for the first time.
Sometimes it will be a combination of experiences at school.
Sometimes it will be a combination of experiences at home.
Sometimes it will be a combination of all of the above.

TGS is a selective school. The teachers cover ground at a fair pace, homework isn’t overwhelming, the school really encourages art, music, drama and sport. There are regular trips: local, national and international. Of course school as a whole plays an important role, but how happy your daughter will be is also significantly influenced by how comfortable she is in her own skin in general, the other girls in her year group (some years are better than others, but that’s also true in every school) and how much she participates in life-beyond-lessons, both inside and outside school. When parents put children under extreme pressure to deliver X results to ensure access to Y course/university and become a Z, the burden of expectation can become overwhelming. What if that goal is pursued to the exclusion of everything else, what does the child have to fall back on? Is their sense of self built on shaky grounds?

I don’t doubt that they exist, but I have not come across parents with the experiences described on the other site. For additional colour, the kind of occasional parental grumbles I hear are:
“Teacher X gave a homework exercise that needed to be completed over a half term.” [unusual, discouraged, shouldn’t really happen]
“There’s not much happening with <insert co-curricular activity of your choice>, is there?” [yes, actually, there’s loads, but your young person just doesn’t want to do it anymore/prefers something else/dashes home before it starts]
“<Some facility> should be better.”
[well, perhaps -have you thought about how YOU can contribute or get involved with fundraising to help make that possible?]
“Why isn’t there a private bus from where I live (far away)?”
[well, the school hasn’t moved recently, but perhaps you could/should?]
None of these caused me much surprise or concern.

In my experience, most parents seem to be happy with the school in general and the number of school places cropping up over the years is minuscule, suggesting that few move for any reason. Should your experience be less satisfactory, it would be far easier to find a space at another school in due course than vice versa.

The usual caveat: Your mileage may vary.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:17 pm
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MH and/or selfharm much depends on case by case basis. I remember I was so stupid and wanted to harm myself only because I was told off by my dad over something I didnt do. Everytime I thought of that moment and the stupid self harm plan that luckily I didnt have the gut to do anything then I couldnt understand why I felt that way at that moment(aged 14). (I am closest to my dad and always my dad favourite). As parents we partially are or rather mainly responsible for the children well being. If the school is extremely pressurised and hot house and isnt suitable to the child anymore then the patents have to take a decision. Ofcourse its so hard with friendship and worrying of uncertainties. I hope the school read the topic and speak to the said child, parents and if it hasnt happened then should take immediate appropriate action.
Regarding to tutoring, such a relief reading Tinkers post. I spoke to a mom who has a daughter goes to local comp and she said everyone is tutored from yr 10 in her school too and that worries me. Whats the point of exams when everyone is tutored to have A* regardless of what school you go to. Then whats the point of going to school when exams are everything. However ofcourse, parents with young children like me tend to overthinking and could eventually follow “the trend” when it comes to the time.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:24 am 
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I don't know the local comp this mum is referring to, but I can assure you Littlebird that when someone says "everyone" is tutoring - or "everyone" is doing anything...they AREN'T. Think about when your DD says, "everyone is going to the party" err no, they aren't. "everyone has the latest Apple phone"...err no they don't. "Everyone goes abroad in the summer"....."everyone" when someone is trying to justify doing something, usually means "one person I know" or something similar.

W/r to the thread on that other, less regulated, forum - I think Stroller's thread sums it up really. It's just that where you do not have strong moderators on a public forum, things can be said and embellished and not really counter claimed (that particular site does tend to use shouty capitals and swearing to shout down anyone who offers anything alternative). As Stroller has said, any school that says they are MH free or bullying free, is one to be avoided - but any that can tell you what their chain of pastoral care is, or (like ours) has a counsellor coming into the school that can be accessed by anyone who feels they need it etc etc, is one that knows what they need to do to try and help avoid/restors balance.


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