Grammar schools - how close do you have to live?

(19 Posts)
Lottie4 Tue 07-May-13 14:34:21

Our nearest grammar is Pates in Cheltenham which takes in the brightest from seven counties. When my daughter was at primary school her headmaster said she had little chance of getting in there, but with her ability could basically just walk into the girls grammar at Gloucester, about ten miles away (bus leaving here at 7.05am). She wanted to go to grammar, but when we looked at our local comprehensive school we were really impressed and she was more than happy to go there with her local friends. She is in the top sets with a few early predictions of A/A* in her GCSEs, but there are those who are brighter than her and for whatever reason are there. There is extension work in some subjects if they (or you) want, so even at comprehensive school they can be stretched. My daughter doesn't want the extension work, but will happily spend 3 hours a night getting as much detail into homework as possible.

Not saying she shouldn't go for grammar at all, but just that if there is the right comprehensive school locally it's worth considering - do have a good chat with any school she might go to, ask them how the support high achievers, what clubs they have - a large school will have fun clubs in most subjects and sports. Any good school will happily give you time an answer all your questions.

lottieandmia Fri 03-May-13 11:45:00

Thanks keepcalm - that is kind of you.

keepcalmandparty Fri 03-May-13 11:15:14

For Birmingham grammar schools you only have to sit one test to apply to all of them due to the Consortium of Grammar Schools in Birmingham (though I think Handsworth Grammar has a separate test but that's a boys' school) so you could, for example, have both a King Edward VI school and Sutton Girls on your preference form and only have to sit one test. www.birminghamgrammarschools.org/ will be useful.

keepcalmandparty Fri 03-May-13 11:08:38

Hi lottieandmia- as far as I know none of the girls' Birmingham grammar schools have a catchment area. I went to Sutton Girls and only left a few years ago so feel free to PM me if you're interested in the school and want to know more about it, though if you live between Birmingham and Cheltenham it's probably on the wrong side of Birmingham for you. Some of the King Edward VI grammar schools are in more southern Birmingham and all have an excellent reputation smile.

Mandy21 Thu 02-May-13 15:58:54

In my area, the 11+ has stopped, children taken individual entrance exams for individual schools.

lottieandmia Thu 02-May-13 15:29:07

I looked at a few and some say there is a catchment and some not so I suppose it just depends. It is confusing - someone upthread was saying that in some schools children further away have an advantage.

So, do children have to sit the 11 plus and then the school test on top? The 11 plus I assume is the same for all children trying for a grammar school place?

BrigitBigKnickers Thu 02-May-13 13:53:46

Depends on the school. Some schools have a catchment where a certain number of places are put aside for those in catchment and then they have a small number of places for out of catchement. At the school where my DD attends the out of catchment pupils have to get a much higher mark in the 11+ than those in catchment.

The school is 17 miles away but there is a very good coach service which takes about 40 minute.

Mandy21 Thu 02-May-13 11:57:21

You need to look at the admissions criteria of the schools you're thinking of. Where we are, there are grammar schools but the admission criteria is fairly complication. It goes something like this – of all the applicants, the top 10% of scores will be offered places, irrespective of distance from the school (within or outside of catchment). Everyone else who attains the pass mark within catchment (about 7 miles from school) goes into a pool. The children are then awarded places dependant on distance from school (for the last few years, the maximum distance of a child getting a place has varied between 3 and 6 miles I believe). So if you were our area, your child would need to be in the top 10% of the children taking the exam to get a place if you lived 40 minutes away.

lottieandmia Wed 01-May-13 21:52:54

Thanks Smartie. I think she would be old enough because she'll be 12 in the December after she would start.

She could stay at the (very small) independent school for secondary but I think a grammar school might expand her horizons a bit which is why I was considering it.

Smartiepants79 Wed 01-May-13 21:24:53

11 is not too young in my opinion. I went to an independent school and travelled 40 mins in either direction on a train from the age of 8. There were others doing it with me and we had a great time!

lottieandmia Wed 01-May-13 21:20:56

Thanks for replies. Assuming she had to get a bus or train there do you think 11 is too young to do this by herself? My mum is saying it won't be safe when it gets dark early but I assume other children must do this?

Anyone know why in the schools where there is no catchment that they would prefer a child from further away?

BooksandaCuppa Wed 01-May-13 20:33:09

And an hour's travel is not uncommon in many rural areas just to go to your local school...

Our grammar schools give places on distance to all those who pass the minimum mark but there is also a reasonably complicated tiebreaker system of official catchment/feeder schools. Usually not enough children pass every year though and everyone gets in who does pass.

piggywigwig Wed 01-May-13 19:28:23

We live in Essex and DD2 has got a place at a superselective. This means no catchment area. It's not only in London GS's that children travel more than an hour each way - there are children who travel more than an hour each way to get to the boys' or girl's GS in Colchester

Arisbottle Wed 01-May-13 18:44:34

Ours have a catchment area and if you live outside it is harder to get but not impossible .

My son travels about 5 miles to get to the grammar , as opposed to my other children who walk about 1 mile and I think that is too far, 40 miles I would not consider.

lottieandmia Wed 01-May-13 16:23:07

Well, we live in the midlands so the nearest grammars to us are Birmingham area, or perhaps Cheltenham. Dd is in year 4 at the moment so I thought I should start looking at what our options are.

Thanks for your advice - I expect if she did go I would have to buy her a train pass or buss pass for the year.

tiggytape Wed 01-May-13 14:50:23

The grammars in the London area have people travelling for miles and over an hour each way to get to them. The transport links are good but the buses are slow and busy. The trains are easier but much more expensive.
I guess you could do a trial run on a school day in rush hour and see what the journey is like and whether it would be feasible for a child to do each day.

lottieandmia Wed 01-May-13 14:12:52

Ok thanks tiggytape. I am not sure how practical it would be without us moving but thought it might be worth considering.

tiggytape Wed 01-May-13 13:55:48

Some grammar schools have a catchment area. People inside the catchment have a higher chance of getting a place than people outside the catchment area.

Some have no catchment. A child scoring 257 who lives 50 miles away gets priority over a child scoring 256 who lives opposite the school gates. Such schools are often described as 'super selective' because well over 1000 pupils apply from a huge geographical area

You'd need to look up the admisisons criteria online for the school you want.

lottieandmia Wed 01-May-13 13:33:00

I think my dd would have a shot at getting into a grammar school (although I know there is a lot of competition) but the nearest one to us is about 40 minutes away.

Would it be silly to apply unless you live close? The school I looked at said you did not have to live in the same town to get in.

Dd wants to go to an all girls school (currently at an all girls prep).

Any advice?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now