OK, who's done it? Anyone moved their child out of grammar to ordinary secondary (year 8)?

(29 Posts)

DD1 is 13 this week. She has never prospered in grammar, coming to the end of year 8 its still tears most days, some days refusing to go in and us having screaming matches at 8.30am. Her grades are ok, not a high flyer but her homework is never turned in, all her books etc are torn and dirty, she's cut her skirt with scissors, detentions here and there. She has no friends in her class (she does have a couple of friends in other classes). But to be fair, she didn't like primary school much either! she's a very quiet girl, but very independent and strong minded - that doesn't seem to sit well with a grammar school.

Backstory - I moved my DDs from our local village school to the nearby "sink estate" school (which incidentally went from strength to strength afterwards) - they were happier there although DD1 was the least content ifyswim. (DD2 is in year 6 going to another secondary, not grammar, a couple of miles away in September). Having done this once I am reluctant to do it again, most people think its an outrageous action to take and bad for the children etc. What do you think Mumsnet?

I think that just because it's a grammar doesn't have to mean it's the right place for everyone and if you think your DD might be happier it's worth a try.

The torn dirty books and the cut skirt - are you certain she's responsible for that? Is it possible she's being bullied?

NigellasDealer Thu 24-Apr-14 12:25:58

if you and she think she would be happier then move her.
Grammar and high flying schools are not for everyone despite the mumsnet obssession with them

Xihha Thu 24-Apr-14 12:29:47

My DC are still at primary but I moved from a grammar in year 8 (in 2000) to an ordinary secondary, because I hated the grammar and didn't fit in, never did my homework, bunked off as much as I could and was generally a nightmare to get to school. also I had enjoyed being one of the smartest at primary and didn't like being average at grammar. It worked out really well for me, I started going to school with far less fuss, had less homework set so would actually bother to do it sometimes and I left school with good GCSE results (A's and B's) I was much happier and had far more friends at the ordinary secondary.

Whilst Grammar school has been amazing for my sister, it doesn't fit everybody and isn't always the best option, so if you think your daughter would be happier at the ordinary secondary I think she'd probably be better off there as you learn far better when you are happy.

Nocomet Thu 24-Apr-14 12:40:41

I never pushed DD2 to do the 11+ because she would have hated the tons of HW and a 'public school' uniform (and the very long days).

The question is, Do you have a good, properly set, comprehensive as an alternative? Does it have really good pastoral care and a firm discipline system.

Having passed the 11+ she needs a school that expects a decent number of A/A* GCSEs. The comp nearest the grammar school here doesn't cut it and DD2's school gets DCs who travel to avoid it.

Changing schools once friendships have been established isn't easy. She needs a supportive school, that will nip any bullying in the bud and keep her more rebellious edges in check. Not wanting to do grammar school levels of HW is one thing, rebelling to much against the amounts the DDs get is to waste the brains she obviously has.

Thank you everyone. Empress she was bullied initially in year 7 but to be fair the school were on to it immediately, I was impressed. I know that the books/skirt are self inflicted as I see her throwing the books around and cramming them into her bag, tearing them as she does so. She also draws on herself at at school - well, writes more like, its in her own handwriting - on her shoes, legs, skirt sad.

The homework situation is dire - that can't go on surely - she never hands anything in. She says her teachers forget to collect the work they've set, then if she were to hand it in she would be ostracised by the rest of her form so no one says anything. Its all over the house, scraps of what was A4 lined paper, or in her "homework folder" which has months of homework sheets in, which never go anywhere - to school in the folder, stays in her bag, comes home in her bag.

Nocomet we have 2 very good academy schools here; I wouldn't consider moving her otherwise, so I know we are lucky to have choices.

HavantGuard Thu 24-Apr-14 12:46:14

I would want to find out a lot more about what's going on with her before I moved her. You need to know exactly what the problem with this school is for her before you can pick a school that's a better fit.

She sounds very unhappy. That could carry over to a new school unless you can get to the root of it.

The danger will come if you expect moving school to fix your DD's problems. It sounds like there is a lot going on with her which you need to get to the bottom of.

knickernicker Thu 24-Apr-14 12:50:47

Its possible that a change of school will change things but it's also possible that she will be what she is wherever she is.
You need to get onto the homework thing. Arrange to meet head of year. Find out their side of story. Sounds like she should be getting mire organisational support at school and home. Perhaps a short time on homework report will help.

What do the school say? Have you spoken to them about homework? Do they have any insights or ideas for supporting your DD? They must be very concerned about her too or are they just treating the symptoms by doling out detentions re:homework and behaviour?

Yes this is what I was thinking too - there is always the chance that she simply takes these problems with her. School are polite but distant - they have people queuing up to get in, there's only so much angst they are willing to deal with.

Unexpected Thu 24-Apr-14 16:31:02

She sounds very unhappy and with problems which are not necessarily related specifically to this school. Does she talk to you at all about what she feels/thinks? I don't understand why handing in her homework would cause her to be ostracised by her class. Surely grammar is full of the most motivated, brightest kids? I would have thought not doing homework would have been more likely to make her stand out?

Lizzie568 Thu 24-Apr-14 16:49:05

I dont have a child at a Grammar school, but I did go to one myself and Im really suprised the school hasn't contacted you to go through any issues your daughter has - especially not handing in homework, etc. Ours was pretty strict and whilst we did have some rebellious students, they were still bright and were the type who could hand in their homework without even trying and still get good grades. If you didnt hand it in, there would have been contact home. I would def talk to the school first to find out if they know why she is so unhappy there.

Yep, I would have thought that too, but the Head of Year tells me that the teachers are too busy to mark it, so it not being handed in isn't the end of the world. DDs classmates would be angry if she handed hers in, thereby "reminding" the teacher who would then ask everyone else in the class where their work was. Its some sort of perverse code of honour.

She does talk to me, not as much as she used to, she's well into teenage behaviour, lots of door slamming and "its not fair" etc., she's very intelligent and wise beyond her years, but she's also only just about to turn 13 and has all the teenage attitudes and thoughts that you'd expect.

Unexpected there are motivated kids at the school, but not in DDs form.

JodieGarberJacob Thu 24-Apr-14 16:58:03

The homework thing is outrageous! How can teachers be too busy to mark it? They shouldn't set it if that's the case.

What does your dd want to do? Other schools will expect a higher level of commitment than this and as you say, her problems could just go with her unless you get to the bottom of them.

AnimalsAreMyFriends Thu 24-Apr-14 17:04:51

I moved my ds from a high flying grammar school, to a high school. It caused me no end of anguish at the time, about being the right thing. In my ds case, he was being dreadfully bullied and the school were less than supportive (suggested ds "set himself up as a target for bullies by being 'different'" << the words of a SENCO )

His grades were dropping and his profess slowed to the point of regression. I had to appeal & then go to a judicial review to get him into the high school - but oh my goodness, what a change! I have my boy back!

He is still 'different', but has a fabulous set of new friends who like him for who he is - his grades have rocketed (e.g., when he left primary school, he was a level 5A science, by the time he left after 2 years at grammar school, he had dropped back to a 5C, now, 4 terms in his new school, he is a 7A, & sitting GCSE papers with the year 11s & outperforming them! He is Y9 now)

It was absolutely the right thing for my son - what does your dd think about the situation?

AnimalsAreMyFriends Thu 24-Apr-14 17:05:48

*profess = progress blush - sausage fingers!

FavadiCacao Thu 24-Apr-14 19:54:56

We had a similar situation in regards to homework and detentions...We moved Dd too another grammar school, where the lack of discipline was even worse...but a not so local (still catchment area but on the edge) was successfull: she now has 2 Uni unconditional offers (1 Russel group).

But1 The homework, detentions, tantrums about going to school, cutting her skirt are big red flags! You are right about the perverse code of honour which extend to school not just peers!
But2 A grammar school to GCSEs looks great on Dd's CV and she gained emplyoment because of it. the grades were a factor but she has been explicitly told that the Grammar school got her to interview stage
But3This is the age where the 'it's not fair', also turns into 'I don't want to do that 'activity' anymore; I regret having allowed my Dd to drop out from her activities one by one (she now tells me that it was like not handing in her work!--a form of sel-harm--)

HolidayCriminal Sat 26-Apr-14 18:01:46

I'd ask what she wants to do & go with that. She has to live it.

creamteas Sat 26-Apr-14 19:46:38

I was sent to a grammar school and it was a disaster. I didn't fit in and didn't work. They didn't care. By what is now year 10, I was only going to about 50% of my lessons. Whilst I know monitoring attendance was not the big deal that it is today, you think they someone would have said something at the time. I scraped through a few O levels and left at 16.

My only explanation for why the school turned a blind eye was so the could keep up the illusion of no behavioural issues on the books.

BTW I don't regret this at all. Some of the best days of my life were spent bunking off and hanging out in cafes with other disaffected youths smile. My skills on the pool-table and the dartboard were fine-tuned, and remain good to this day. grin

I went back into education later, when I was ready. I now have 3 degrees and a career I love.

Madrigals Sun 27-Apr-14 07:46:30

I've done a fair bit of recruitment and I can honestly say we never take account I the school attended.

TimeToThinkOfYourFuture Sun 27-Apr-14 07:56:09

Just because it is a grammar school, it doesn't make it good. If they are not interested in your daughter's well-being and they are not interested in homework marking, they do not deserve the privilege of educating your child. The academy I am pastoral assistant head in, in a deprived area with lots of social problems, is doing far better than that. I would be so ashamed if a parent came in and told me a member of our staff was not taking homework in. I would also not allow the kind of 'code of honour' stuff to flourish.

HolidayCriminal Sun 27-Apr-14 07:57:44

oh gosh, this reminds me of a friend's story, sent to a Naice private school & simply loathed the other girls. Begged until allowed to transfer to bog standard comp where she was quite happy and achieved as much as she was ever going to achieve.

If OP's DD is that independent & strong minded then she is probably quite self-motivated & will rise to her potential as long as she's not battling emotional problems, too. Definitely let her choose.

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