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Do you live in a grammar school area and have an academic child but decide not to enter them into the 11+?

(27 Posts)
TurtleBabies Mon 14-Sep-20 18:32:26

Just wondered if there was anyone else who did this. I question my decision quite a lot. DD (10) has always been academically bright (e.g., in our fairly small 2-form entry state primary, we've always been told she's "top" academically). However, she responds badly to pressure and suffers with anxiety. She told us categorically and consistently that she didn't want to take an exam, or do any extra work, so we didn't enter her for the 11+. I basically feel that this is right for her, but when so many around us took and talked about the 11+, and extended family seem to disapprove, I wonder whether I let her down.
Academia is far less important to me than her wellbeing, obviously, but... well, can someone tell me I did the right thing please?!
TIA

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TurtleBabies Mon 14-Sep-20 18:34:05

She also looked round the local grammar and comp, and preferred the comp (which is a fine, if not academically brilliant, school). And we offered her support to do it, told her it wouldn't matter, etc. She just didn't want to sit it, so we let her not sit it.

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Hoppinggreen Mon 14-Sep-20 18:35:57

If she didn’t want to do the exam and you had somehow managed to force her too the chances are she wouldn’t have done very well.
The dc round here that scored highly were very self motivated

TurtleBabies Mon 14-Sep-20 18:42:26

You're probably right, @Hoppinggreen. I suppose I envisage a situation where I'd persuaded her it was a good idea.

I do know a few kids who seemed solely motivated by external pressure who did well, but that's not ideal in any case.
Thanks for the response.

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GreenGoldRed Mon 14-Sep-20 18:42:32

We are in a Grammar School area . Eldest is going into Y5, which round here means he should have a tutor if we are aiming for Grammar School. He is the brightest boy in his year. We have looked round Grammar Schools and discussed it all and he does not want to go. He doesn’t like being pressurised. He wants to go to a non-selective independent, which has a lovely holistic attitude.

I can tell a lot of the other Mums think we are lying when I say he’s not going. I presume they think we will tutor and put him in, but say at last moment, “we thought we would wing it”.

GreenGoldRed Mon 14-Sep-20 18:44:21

So yes I think you did the right thing. I was very academic. I went to a pressurised academic girls school. I hated it. The girls were horrid. It has really impacted on my mental health. I have done well in life, but I don’t think I would have done any worse if I’d been at a more nurturing school.

Punxsutawney Mon 14-Sep-20 18:45:47

I live in a grammar area and my Ds has just left his grammar school after his GCSES.

He passed the 11+ without any tutoring and I had hoped he would love it and do well.

Unfortunately he had undiagnosed SEN and the last five years have been awful. The SEN support and pastoral care were dire and he has been left with significant mental health difficulties. I deeply regret sending him there.

I don't think you have let her down at all, her happiness is far more important than attending grammar school.

Ds has some good GCSE results but struggles to function normally some days, so results mean very little when his anxiety is so high.

He's just started sixth form at a local secondary modern school and I'm really hoping that it will be a better environment for him.

FreiasBathtub Mon 14-Sep-20 18:51:55

Not yet...but I was that child and it worked out really well. Honestly, it was more my parents' decision than mine, but they were right that I wasn't ready for the pressure. I had 7 years of easily sitting in the top 5 in my year for most subjects, loads and loads of extracurricular opportunities, and when I went off to a very selective university at 18 I was much better prepared to be a little fish in a big pond.

She's your kid, you know her best and it sounds as though she is being sensible, as long as it doesn't become a narrative that causes her to limit herself in future.

billybagpuss Mon 14-Sep-20 19:05:48

We are in a grammar area in the SW from what you’ve described you have absolutely done the right thing. I teach music privately so teach kids from across a wide range of schools, from what you’ve said I think you’ve absolutely made the right decision, you can always apply for late entry if you get to year 8 and think you’ve made a mistake..

SpangledPandemonium Mon 14-Sep-20 19:10:14

Yes. Eldest actually passed the test and chose not to go. She's year 10 now and flourishing. Youngest not sitting the test at all - she likes the school her sister goes to. It was the right decision for us but horribly stressful with the eldest for a while. I wouldn't change it.

GlowStickWoman Mon 14-Sep-20 19:10:28

Yes. As a victim of 7 years at grammar school myself!

He has just done really well in all 11 GCSEs, loved every minute of 5 years at high school, has some amazing friends and has just started sixth form and a Saturday job.

So pleased we made the right choices for him.

Kazakaren Mon 14-Sep-20 19:10:35

Yes. DD decided not to sit the 11+. It was definitely the right decision.

QueenBlueberries Mon 14-Sep-20 19:13:54

Yes. I was shocked at how boring the curriculum was at our local grammar school. At parents evening, the head teacher actually said 'if your child likes art or likes sports, this isn't the school for them'. We DS didn't sit his entrance exam there, despite having a sats score of 119 and CATS within the top 0.5% of the country.

tiredanddangerous Mon 14-Sep-20 19:17:02

Yes. DD is academically very able but has ASD with its associated anxieties. We try to keep her stress levels as low as possible so she goes to an outstanding school a short walk from our house rather than having get on a bus to get to the grammar.

Hercules12 Mon 14-Sep-20 19:23:28

Dd is now doing A levels at her grammar. It was the right choice for her and she really wanted to go. She's thrived in the academic environment but I wouldn't have sent her had she not been so keen to go.

LindainLockdown Mon 14-Sep-20 19:27:00

Yes, DS recently achieved 3 grade A's at his comp, and he's off to a highly rated uni very soon!

ErrolTheDragon Mon 14-Sep-20 19:37:38

As someone whose DD went to a GS and thrived there... I'll say it sounds like you are doing 100% the right thing for your DD. It sounds as though she has self-knowledge and knows her own mind. You'd have undermined and let her down if you'd not respected her strong wishes on this, wouldn't you?

One thing though - if she's been used to being top in her primary, part of this may be fear of failure. That can be debilitating- if she doesn't already, maybe it would be good for her to participate in activities (ones which don't matter too much) which she's not always best in iyswim?

Westcoastlover Mon 14-Sep-20 19:40:44

OP I could.have written this post and understand completely. We are in the SW with a couple of Grammars. The local secondaries are not very good for academic children, but I have had to accept my bright ds is too anxious about the pass/fail result of the 11+. This system seriously fails a lot of children. But think you are right to not pursue it. Our dc know how they feel and we have to respect that however hard it may go against our instincts. I hope your daughter will be very happy and thrive in the school she goes to.

TurtleBabies Mon 14-Sep-20 20:56:39

Thank you all so much for this. It helps enormously to hear others' stories - and to hear from people with experience of this who think not going for the grammars is a valid choice. We live in an extremely competitive grammar area, with a huge tutoring culture, and it can feel overwhelming sometimes.
Thanks again - this has made me chill out a lot and stop regretting grin

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Haggisfish Mon 14-Sep-20 20:58:11

Yes me. For very similar reasons to you.

Delatron Mon 14-Sep-20 21:21:13

The more I’ve become involved in the 11+ process the more I hate it and wish I’d opted out.

We tutored because everyone else does. I have a bright boy but maths is his strength. I don’t think he’ll pass at the moment (especially having missed so much school) but I think he’ll be so upset and see himself as a failure despite us not putting pressure on him. We tell him it doesn’t matter but they know if you’ve spent a year on a tutor that it clearly does matter!

I wish I hadn’t gone down the tutor route as his scores haven’t really got much better. Maybe speed has improved and he is familiar with the test. I regret the whole thing now though.

SocraticJunkieWannabe Mon 14-Sep-20 22:39:03

Yes you have definitely done the right thing. DD did the 11 plus and is now happy at her grammar school, but it was 100% her choice (I had never even mentioned grammar school to her until she asked me if she could do the exam - we're not in a "full" grammar area) Absolutely no way I would have considered doing 11 plus if she hadn't wanted to and especially if, as you describe, I thought the pressure would be very detrimental to her.

BigGlasses Mon 14-Sep-20 22:42:41

DH admitted to me that me deliberately failed the 11+ (Many years ago) as he didn’t want to go to grammar school. He was by far the cleverest at his comp, but he loved it, and enjoyed having no real pressure. He probably would have got better a levels if he went to a grammar but he did good enough to get to uni. And he went of to get a good PhD from a top uni so hasn’t held him back

AlexaShutUp Mon 14-Sep-20 22:49:16

My parents sent me and dsis to the local comp in a grammar school area, because they did not believe in selective education. We both did well and went on to Cambridge, so I don't think we lost out academically. I also think it was a much better decision for our mental health - my best friend from primary school went to the grammar and it was horribly competitive and pressurised.

Thankfully, we don't live in as grammar area so we haven't even had to think about that issue, but from what you've said about your dd, I think you've done the right thing. I'm sure she'll thrive at the other school.

IloveJudgeJudy Mon 14-Sep-20 23:14:53

I haven't rtft but have three DC and live in a grammar school area. All three went to a local comprehensive school and didn't want to take the 11 plus. Initially, I was disappointed, but

DS1 stayed on and did his A levels at the comp (even though it isn't really a comp as the top stream is creamed off), went to uni, got a First.

DD changed to a grammar 6th form, as did DS2. DD had various issues and was unable to finish her A levels but has a job and is starting AAT this year.

DS2 actively chose not to go to uni, having seen how much debt DS1 has and is doing an apprenticeship with BAe.

I must add that every year at least one pupil from the'comp' goes to Oxbridge.

Imo the grammar school DC may be more spoonfed than the comp DC, at least in 6th form, eg not being allowed out at break/lunch. Horses for courses. Your DC will achieve at whatever school if they're academically inclined.

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