Poll: Would you rather...?

(38 Posts)
noisyhome Sun 01-Sep-13 07:06:16

Would you rather your pretty-average, not too terribly gifted DC attend:
A) a school with a relaxed attitude to academic study, not likely to push your DC. However, DC is likely to be middle of the class with mediocre grades. DC is likely to enjoy being at this happy go-lucky school, which is fine except that I am the one worrying about their academic future.
B) a school full of over-achievers, teachers who push DC and provide a strict study environment, and generally high standard of teaching and learning. Risk is that DC will likely be at the bottom of the class wrt grades, which might knock confidence but can benefit from being influenced and inspired by tough teaching ethos and other DCs who are "reaching for the stars".

Please vote! Thanks!

Cheryzan Sun 01-Sep-13 07:09:25

I'd go with A every time.

You don't want school to push him. You want him to be self motivated.

And you want him to be happy.

A definatly.

richmal Sun 01-Sep-13 07:52:12

I would go with B. To me, the chance of better GCSE's and A levels means more career oprions. Is this what most children would want when they leave school?

senua Sun 01-Sep-13 08:39:52

Life isn't simple.
You could go 'A' but bolster it with tutoring and change at sixth form.
Or you could do 'B' but ensure that they go to community clubs so they gain confidence there (by being good at a non-academic thing eg sport) and also see the wider world so they get some idea of their place in the overall pecking-order (not just the school pecking-order).

anyway, the important thing is the home environment, not the school.

Gatita1980 Sun 01-Sep-13 09:48:28

As I teacher I would say B - your child will still need encouragement, and getting the best out of your school years is important, it would be terrible for them to look back and wish they had done more. I always set high targets for my students, half of the fun is showing them that they can achieve them - there is nothing better than doing something someone told you was not achievable.
Your support as a parent will help shape their self-belief and give them stability and faith in themselves.
There is nothing worse than an overly pushy parent, especially if the student shows no aptitude, but settling for less than they could possibly achieve is possibly as bad. They may find the teacher that inspires them to future greatness.

pinkdelight Sun 01-Sep-13 10:26:16

Do schools like B exist?? "Full" of over-achievers? Would be amazed if there aren't a fair amount of pretty-average pupils in School B (after all, average is by definition the dominant category), unless this is a hidden state vs private poll and School B is highly selective (in which case presumably DC wouldn't get in?).

On those assumptions, I'd go for School B because the teaching sounds better and if it's state/non-selective I can't believe DC would be bottom of the class just because they're not terribly gifted. If the teaching is good, they should be good at stretching all levels to fulfil their potential.

Elibean Sun 01-Sep-13 10:52:58

Depends on what I know of the dc, I suppose, but generally speaking: A.

Emotional health and maturity beats academic school results every time.

breadandbutterfly Sun 01-Sep-13 13:37:31

I'd go for C. grin

Move house if necessary. It would have good teaching BUT not be too pushy. That's what I went for for dds (and did move house to be near enough, incidentally).

Fraxinus Sun 01-Sep-13 13:58:37

Are you talking primary or secondary?

I am assuming secondary, but just to clarify.

For primary I would go for a. For secondary it would depend on other factors such as ease of travel to school. Are friends going there, what place pastoral care has in the school, does the school specialise in any subject area, and do I feel the head is trustworthy.

Tigerblue Sun 01-Sep-13 14:30:27

If you are talking secondary, most schools will have open evenings in the next six weeks, so go to all schools which are possibilities, stay the maximum amount of time and ask questions about the school and talk about her academic ability - you may get a few answers from that. Obviously take your daughter with you. We only looked at two schools, one the Headmaster was in reception to welcome and answer questions with, loads of teachers were around, they were all proud of their children and their work. Teachers interacted with our daughter and gave her and us plenty of time. The other school we looked at was the opposite on every count and we just stood there not knowing were to go, there wasn't work on display, not many teachers around, had no idea who the Headmaster was. We felt so much more comfortable with the first school and are pleased we made that decision.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 01-Sep-13 16:36:29

You don't really say what DC is like do they thrive on competition, do they naturally try their best, or are they a coaster?
For my DD I would choose B, but even she herself admits that she needs teachers who expect the earth from her.

colander Sun 01-Sep-13 17:05:06

For my sensitive DD1, school B has helped in some ways (she needs the organisation and structure of the day) but really knocked her confidence. Schools like B definitely exist, DD1 is there, but it is private. She now thinks she is bad at certain subjects like maths (she's not, it's just that she is in a class full of incredibly bright kids). Also think about what the other kids will be like at school B. It's been an eye opener for me!

For year 7 she will go to school with a more gentle ethos. You need to think about what your DD is like. I wouldn't send DD2 to school B for example, but DD1 has coped.

iseenodust Sun 01-Sep-13 18:04:45

I would go for B if your DC had a chance to do well in something eg sport, music, drama, art to balance out the academic side.

My guess is both are private ?

toolatetobed Sun 01-Sep-13 21:50:47

For most children in that situation I think B would be the right choice, although it is possible to envisage circumstances in which A would be the right choice (eg child is a rebel who is likely to end up expelled from school B!)

Fairdene Sun 01-Sep-13 22:32:16


How does a child over achieve?

Fairdene Sun 01-Sep-13 22:34:39

I should qualify that.

A for primary ed, B for Y7 - 13.

Adikia Mon 02-Sep-13 04:20:46

B, but that's because I know what my children are like and they would never do any work in A

lljkk Mon 02-Sep-13 07:57:09

Inclined towards A. I would always choose social happiness over academics, anyway.

If your child got run over by a bus in middle of yr9, which school would you be happier she had attended?

Some kids rise to a challenge, though, DS is misplaced in top set maths but he seems happy enough being bottom of the class and sometimes even inspired to try a bit harder.

BeckAndCall Mon 02-Sep-13 08:02:09

If B is selective, and your DD meets the criteria, then it would be B.

If its not selective, then it'd still be B as they can't all be 'over achievers'' ( whatever that is - surely you mean 'achievers of their full potential'?)

If B is selective and your DD doesn't get in, it still wouldn't be A because a casual attitude to achieving your best still wouldn't cut it for me.

cory Mon 02-Sep-13 09:17:58

Me, I would be hoping for C: a school where there are enough academic children and enough support of their aims to show ds what can be done, but also understanding and empathy towards pupils who might struggle academically.

But if only A and B were available, then I would make it about the personality of the child: how sensitive are they, how would they be likely to react if they did find themselves towards the bottom (some children work harder, others give up, yet others become rebellious and disruptive).

Ladymuck Mon 02-Sep-13 09:18:20

How do you know where your dc is likely to be in each class?! Have you been given class lists and grades of the other pupils?

I guess it can only mean that B is selective. You may be surprised at how many children of similar non-genius ability there are at selective schools. And assuming that the selection was done on 2 or 3 tests rather than in every subject there is every chance your dc may have some talent at a language, or drama or geography or science.

You seem to have written off your dc's abilities rather early. In which case, yes, they may well have their confidence knocked in whichever school they go to. But more importantly you seem unhappy with school B, and think that your dc won't thrive there. For that reason, and only that reason, I would avoid it: if you are unhappy with their ethos and approach now, you will not get happier over the next 5 years.

What does your dc think out of interest?

DalmationDots Mon 02-Sep-13 11:18:38

DC went to very academic selective schools, they are both now at uni. I was talking to them about whether they found them pushy because I, as a parent, didn't find them pushy. Never had tons of homework until GCSE/Alevel and even then it was on par with most other less selective schools, no chucking pupils out because they weren't good enough.
DC both said they never felt any pressure other than that their peers were all working hard but in some ways that was a comforter as there was no embarrassment or stigma about getting on with the work and wanting to do well. The environments at both schools were great, atomsphere of sucess (For every pupil), opportunity and that in life you try to achieve your full potential in whatever it is you are passionate about.
DC were both just below middle of their year groups and never felt inadequate or not good enough, they knew it was a selective school and at most other schools they'd be near the top. Their reports recognised their effort and their attainment was not compared to other children but to the teacher's recognition of your individual child's abilities/potential.

I like BeckAndCall's comment - can't all be 'over achievers'' ( whatever that is - surely you mean 'achievers of their full potential'?

DC had a lot of fun at school, lots of great friends, happy memories. They spent sixth form balancing parties, boyfriend/girlfriend, uni applications and hard work... but that is the real world, they have great work ethics and very much work hard play hard.

WhoreOfTheWorlds Mon 02-Sep-13 11:37:33

Definitely B.

I see school as simply a place that educates my children and enables them to get the best exam results they are capable of. I don't expect anything else of them. Dh and I can provide them with all the enjoyable fun things at home, and at weekends.

wearingatinhat Mon 02-Sep-13 16:35:18

Well, if I went for A and I was left worrying about the education and academics, DC would have fun at school but none at home! Seeing as I send DC to school to learn, I would prefer school B, then home becomes the fun, relaxed place it should be.

School A sounds as if my DC would coast and I know they actually like learning and find it fun. Many children actually do like being pushed to acquire interesting knowledge.

wordfactory Mon 02-Sep-13 19:12:03

No chanceof a school whoch is nurturing and expects high achievement?

If not, I'd say B.

I couldn't stand knowing my DC was settling for an easy life and thus under achieving.

Can B really be stuffed with over achievers? Really? If so, how do you know your DC will get in?

Talkinpeace Mon 02-Sep-13 20:44:06

How do you know that school A has a relaxed attitude to academic study?
Have you been in the classrooms for each of the ability groups?

How do you know that school B provides high standards of learning?
If its selective, the job is half done before the school day starts.

There is a lot more to schools than Ofsted reports and raw exam results.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Tue 03-Sep-13 06:43:00

B everytime.

Also, as stated above, B can only be full of Brainiacs if it's selective. If your son can get in, he must be more capable than you're giving him credit for and the school must think he can cope. He might be towards the lower end of achievement for that school, but he will probably still do better academically than at A.

Also, even though he might be happier at A during the years he's there, that doesnt necessarily translate into greater life happiness because better grades = better and greater life options.

evamummy Tue 03-Sep-13 06:57:48

B, assuming he gets offered a place.

Tough - if school B is selective then it can be sapping to be bottom, and the teachers might not be as inspiring as the children will probably learn and do well anyway - certainly my experience at a selective school - some teachers were great others wouldn't have survived five minutes in a different school (think falling asleep in lessons after telling us which pages to read).

School A however might have a number of children who are disruptive and who take advantage of the situation. Also I know that dd1 works harder because she sees other children around her working and aspiring - not convinced she would do that in another situation. Dd2 and ds, so far seem to want to work/ learn regardless of peers.

If B isn't selective I would go for that, if it is selective then I would consider some tutoring for familiarity with the format but not enough to really hothouse the child and just see whether they pass - there will be other children who have been tutored out of their little minds who then will not actually be as academic as your dc. Also discussing with your dc as they progess through the school is important so that they realise that their school has some high achieving children but it doesn't mean that they too can't succeed.

StressedandFrazzled Tue 03-Sep-13 10:11:14

Would DC get into B? It sounds as though it is selective.

umbrellahead Tue 03-Sep-13 13:07:40

I went to a school very much like A for GCSE years and A levels. If you are at a school where self motivation is required I think that is the best atmosphere in which to prepare for life after school, be that university or work. I was at university with a lot of students who went to very pushy, competitive schools who crumbled due to not being used to working for themselves and being expected to structure their own learning.

Obviously it depends on other factors and not just the academics, but I would go for school A.

noisyhome Wed 04-Sep-13 12:36:17

Thanks for all your views! I am leaning towards B now. Primary school is A and secondary school is B and given that DC will be in year 7 next year, I think it's time to switch so thanks to all who made that suggestion and showed me the light! Grades do matter and if they leave school happy but with no qualifications I'd be pretty hacked off! Love, support and happiness will come from home, school is for education. That's my conclusion but I still welcome views to convince me that I have got it wrong!

mummytime Wed 04-Sep-13 12:49:50

I would ask what B does with the less high achievers? Does it give options to go to the local FE college from 14? Do they do BTecs? And so on.

B could describe my DCs school, but it does also offer great opportunities for those who are "less academic".

cory Wed 04-Sep-13 15:17:04

noisyhome Wed 04-Sep-13 12:36:17
"Love, support and happiness will come from home, school is for education. That's my conclusion but I still welcome views to convince me that I have got it wrong!"

I wouldn't put it quite like that. If things go badly wrong at school and there is no support, even the most loving and happy home may not help.

Dd went to a junior school which was not great at pastoral support. Looking at the dd I thought I had (academic, motivated, well behaved), I did not foresee any problems. A few years later she had developed medical problems, been completely unsupported by the school and ended up developing a school phobia that carried on into (her totally supportive and lovely) secondary school and culminated with her taking an overdose one day just before the start of school because she could not make herself believe that the school could be understanding about her stress levels. I believe we have been as supportive and loving as any parents could be. But we nearly lost dd that day. sad

Of course there is absolutely no guarantee that a school with a poor academic record will be any better at pastoral care. Often schools that are a bit crap are a bit crap across the whole line. The worst secondary we looked at were unable to answer any questions about pastoral care except in the shape of fluffy cliches about how they value each student blah blah blah. Otoh her very caring secondary had good exam results too.

But I would never assume again that any child of mine may not need a support net.

So I would speak to the schools, ask them questions, how do you deal with pupils in x, y and z situation. You may even find that it is the B school that is the most clued up.

NoComet Thu 05-Sep-13 12:33:43

DD2 pretty much choose A herself by refusing to do the 11+

Suits her just perfectly as gets discouraged if she isn't reasonably near the top of the class. She likes to see her hard work is achieving something.

Also she loves sports and at the grammar a lot of Girls have been to private/large town primaries and played Netball and hockey really seriously in Y5/6. Her little primary didn't.

Her big comp can happily field two teams and give everyone the chance to learn.

Also I'd worry B would dole out heaps of HW and a lot of HW before year 10 stops DCs enjoying their extra curricular activities for no academic gain what so ever.

Elibean Thu 05-Sep-13 13:06:48

I agree with Cory.

Yes, of course grades matter - they matter a lot after Y10 - but happy children/people work better, and learn better.

So definitely check out the pastoral care/support/happiness of children at school B. If it checks out well, then obviously go for it smile

(Would add that some kids, like the last poster's, do better when not in hugely competitive environment. So it does depends on the child)

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 05-Sep-13 13:12:04

I think you often feel a lot clearer after looking around, at least once.

If school A seems tatty and unloved and the children seem lacklustre or whatever, you might feel the more relaxed attitude isn't worth it.

If school B seems a bit grim and unfriendly (as one comprehensive sixth form here with a good reputation for results did to me) you might feel the pushing isn't worth it.

On the other hand if both seem great in different ways, you're just as confused as before, of course! grin

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