I don’t know what happened exactly but I do not see any reason how the pressure can be so high at GCSE level that it drives anyone to suicide. A GCSE is a low level qualification and if DC find them that stressful than perhaps they are not as bright as one may think. Also whatever the HT was like I don’t think it is fair to point the finger for all that has gone wrong in a school at just one person, even if it was the HT. The HT was appointed by others & ultimately parents are choosing to apply for places in certain schools.
If one of my DC had serious issues would I sent her to school in a highly pressured environment? I don’t think I would. A GCSE qualification does not have extra value because the child went to a super selective. But I fess up to being rather relaxed about my DDs school work in that I don’t expect them to come home with top grades and be the best at everything all the time, just doing their best and still have time to do other things than school stuff and have fun is good enough for me.
I think as parents most of us are doing what we think is right for our DC, very sad for the family and friends…
If this was the same case as that reported in the Times yesterday (and good grief, one would hope the same school hadn't had two such incidents at the same time?), then the girl concerned was still a way off GCSEs. The precipitating factor was said to have been that she had committed a misdemeanour at school and received a punishment not totally untoward in normal circumstances; however there had been some agreement - overridden by the HT - that given her mental state she was not to be subjected to the normal regime of sanctions.
It is possible that the girl's parents (and possibly the child herself) had regarded an all-girls' grammar school as a 'nicer' / less threatening option than other available schools? Is NW generally known to be a particularly pressured environment?