AIBU to want to let a 10yr old decide?

(84 Posts)
waffilyversati1e Fri 07-Oct-16 09:53:30

My daughter is off to secondary school next year and where we are we have the choice of sending her to the local academy where our older son goes or to try and pass the entrance exam for a much better school (stats wise), she's a bright kid and (without too much smug) I think she would easily pass.

That school boasts that 97% of its pupils leave with 5 or more a/a* GCSEs and a high percentage go on to university (plus its a cathedral school so if she did get to be head girl she is allowed to get hitched at the cathedral - I know, I know but could you imagine the pics!! lol) but its in the middle of the city so it would mean 2 buses there everyday and possibly struggling to afford all of the extras (they apparently have a £900 skiing trip every year as well as the more educational trips) but academically I get the feeling that the children and school would be better for my daughter

The academy is not an awful school but during my sons time there he has been bullied (including being physically attacked) and the school have been really a bit rubbish about the whole thing in my opinion. He has never enjoyed school too much (hes just more of a practical person) and tends to coast when it comes to his grades. Only now in year 11 are the school finally responding to my requests about keeping in touch with regards to incomplete homework etc. It is local though so travelling in would mean a 20 minute walk and of course most of my 10 yr olds friends will go there.

My OH really wants our daughter to go to the "better" school and thinks we need to fill in the application based on our preferences but I ultimately think it should be our daughters choice since she is the one who will effectively grow up there! She is happy to take the entrance exam (her idea anyway) but has said that having seen both schools she much prefers the shiny new academy building (the other school is old, it was founded in the 1500's) so she thinks she would prefer to go there.

MadAsABagOfCats Fri 07-Oct-16 10:05:05

Is there a reason you're not putting your son in the a better school, if (by the pictures you're painting of) the other school ""is a bit rubbish". Surely he should get the same opportunity to learn and progress as your daughter? You seem to have boxed him off and hold your daughter up on a pedastel.hmm

Cupcakesarah Fri 07-Oct-16 10:05:13

I think there's nothing wrong in letting her take the entrance exam if she wants to. If she passes you can both help her make the decision, and explain the pros and cons of both in a child appropriate way.

TeenAndTween Fri 07-Oct-16 10:05:40

Is she currently y6 or y5?
If y6 won't you have missed the selective test date already?

imo a 10yo isn't mature enough to make the decision (especially if it is going to be based on 'shiny new buildings')

You need to weigh up pastoral care, academics, extra curricular, travel, location of other friends etc, maybe with her input, and then decide.

TeenAndTween Fri 07-Oct-16 10:07:44

ps Of course a selective school will have better results. You need to look at the results of the academy for children like yours (ie 'high achievers').

catch22squared Fri 07-Oct-16 10:13:16

She's basing her decision on shiny new buildings so I would say that's a no.

We all want to foster responsibility and independence in our DC but I think here I would look at the consequences. My parents allowed me to go to my choice of school - a choice I made on the basis on something that turned out not to be the case at all - and I really wish they had pushed me to go to the far better school. I was 16 so this was for my A levels too.

Is there a better school your son could go to?

Get your DD to sit the exam then make your decision.

TeenAndTween Fri 07-Oct-16 10:17:34

OP's son is in y11. No way will he be moving mid GCSEs.

VioletBam Fri 07-Oct-16 10:18:12

MadasaBag I assume it's because OPs son is not academic...

Allthewaves Fri 07-Oct-16 10:21:28

Do the bus journey a couple if times together and see what it's like. Myself and my parents decided against a better school as it was 1hr30min in travelling on a train then a bus

alafolie29 Fri 07-Oct-16 10:22:23

Do not let a 10 year old decide something so important! It's a no brainer as far as I'm concerned.

chocolateshortcake Fri 07-Oct-16 10:23:02

My parents let me decide, after I gained scholarships to the "better" school. I was 10 as well. I chose to go to the comp where my friends were going. I don't think I have done too badly for myself but I was not challenged at school and found being intelligent embarrassing. I sometimes wonder what other doors would have been opened if I had gone to the better school.

CoughingForWeeks Fri 07-Oct-16 10:26:45

My parents let me choose my school and (weird kid that I was), I chose the one with the better library. Turned out I was happy there and that the friends I made on my first day are still some of my closest friends 30 years later. I might have done better academically at another school or had a shorter journey time if I'd gone to one nearer home, but given the choice again, I wouldn't choose an alternative school.

Having said that, it wouldn't do any harm for DD to sit the exam anyway and then have a proper look around both schools/speak to kids who already go there/check out extracurricular activities to make a more informed decision.

Dobinette Fri 07-Oct-16 10:26:52

Send her to the better school. She is too young to make the decision for the right reasons and you need to maximise her chances for success. Easy.

britnay Fri 07-Oct-16 10:30:16

She has nothing to lose by taking the entrance test. If she doesn't pass, that's fine as she is already happy to go to the academy. However if she does pass, she has the choice.

Shiny new vs old buildings is a bollocks reason to choose. She needs to look at things like GCSE options (selective school likely to have a wider range of options so she is more likely to find something that suits her), sports/music/art/IT/language etc facilities, extra mural activities.

What does she enjoy? What are her hobbies? What subjects does she excel at? What does she want to do with her life in the future? Which school is more likely to allow her more chances of reaching her goals?

I think that at 10 she can certainly have an opinion, but as her parent you should make the ultimate decision.

tristerflexu Fri 07-Oct-16 10:32:11

I assume that she's not moving the son because he's in year 11 and so can't move. Presumably there are other valid r as one why he's still there. OP I think that you make the decision not a 10 year old.

Nabootique Fri 07-Oct-16 10:34:36

If the entrance exam is very tough, I assumed the OP did not get her son to take it if he would be unlikely to pass. It could be a real knock to the confidence.

normage Fri 07-Oct-16 10:35:19

We live in an area with grammar schools, which my three older children went to. At 10, IMO, children are not mature enough to look objectively at the options available and understandably would go for things like shiny new buildings, or because all their friends are going there.
We would never have let our 10 year olds make such a big decision, but the way we put it to them was that they didn't have to worry about making the choice, because we would pick the school we felt would be best for them.

LikeASoulWithoutAMind Fri 07-Oct-16 10:36:56

I'd involve my dc in the decision making and listen to their views but as the adult have the final say.

Not an issue for us as where we live there is basically one school that everyone goes to. Thankfully it's great.

MrsMcMoo Fri 07-Oct-16 10:38:42

What dobinette said. Send her to the better school. It is a no brainier. She'll be bored at a less academic school.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Fri 07-Oct-16 10:39:20

I was your DD many years ago. My parents didn't want me to go to the local (pretty shit) comp, and they didn't like the less local and a bit less girls' comp that everyone else was going to. I took the entrance exam for the local private school, but if I hadn't got in there, I would have gone to a different secondary (girls') school, that had a better rep than the other 2, but only one girl from my entire year was going there, and I didn't really know her.

Did they give me the decision? no. They knew I'd choose based on my friends, and they didn't think that was right for me - they wanted me to go to the place that would be best for me, educationally.

As it turned out, I passed the entrance exam and went to the private school, and there were a few girls from my junior school there too, even in my class - but I made new friends without trouble, and really didn't need those girls from my old school. We weren't friends before, we weren't friends there - they were just faces I recognised.

I think YWBU to put the weight of your DD's future on her 10yo shoulders - by all means allow her some input, but ultimately you have to think longterm for her, which she is unlikely to be able to do for herself. I'm very grateful to my parents for their choices.

Chewbecca Fri 07-Oct-16 10:39:26

I would ensure she sits the entrance exam, then make the decision when the outcome of that is known.

DidIMissSomething Fri 07-Oct-16 10:40:23

I think you should decide - I was offered a full scholarship for a great school at that age but choose to go to the local comp as my parents let me decide. I was too scared to make the change and move away from my friends. I still regret my decision 30 years later - 10 is much too young to be making such important choices for yourself. That's what parents are for.

Lweji Fri 07-Oct-16 10:41:27

boasts that 97% of its pupils leave with 5 or more a/a GCSEs and a high percentage go on to university*

The school doesn't need to be good, as it selects the best students already. smile

Anyway, in terms of confidence, if she goes on to be on the bottom of all excellent students, she may lose some confidence, whereas she might do better at the top of an average school.
You also need to factor in the travelling time for her. If it's over one hour, she might end up tired. Socially, living far from the school may mean she will have few opportunities to see her friends outside of school.

I'd try to speak with the heads, and get a better feel for the other school and their students.

worldsworstchildren Fri 07-Oct-16 10:41:39

I'm in same boat. Dd is impressed by shiny new building when alternative school with better marks is quite shabby.
We will be making decision for her. Friends DC went up last year and chose to go where most of her friends went. Three months later she didn't have a single lesson with any of her former schoolmates so has a completely new group of friends.
In reply to earlier poster, Selective school exams usually take place in Jan/Feb in our area.

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