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to think a grammar school is the only option for my DCs...

(157 Posts)
secondaryfool Thu 08-Mar-12 08:23:16

A bit of background: Wasn't brought up here, neither was DP. In our country there is a system with five different types of secondary schools, depending on how well you achieve at school you go to a grammar school, a comprehensive school etc. Both me and DP went to grammar schools. We are told DCs are very bright, and they are doing very well at school....

Personally, I think primary schools are pretty brilliant in the UK, not so much secondary schools...

We live in a rough area of the country and even at primary school it seems quite normal to use swear words etc. I've found drugs and condoms on on the school premises (not from primary school kids, I hope!, teenagers hang out there in the afternoons) - and this is one of the better schools of the city!

Anyway, I'm not bothered with primary school. The secondary schools though bother me. So many pupils seem to have no respect for teachers, they are called names on a daily basis. Pupils smoke weed like we used to smoke cigarettes, there are seperate entrances and car parks for teachers, they have to swipe a card to enter, for safety reasons. In some schools there are up to seven safety doors you need to go through to be in the actual school. It's like a prison. So alien to me where at our schools anybody can enter any part of the building at any time...

I don't want my children to be influenced by those kind of people, and I know from primary school how much children are influenced by their peers: hair style, clothes, language, interests, video-games, who has already got a mobile and who hasn't, etc. Hopefully, it will be recommended that they go to (state) grammar school (is that how it works, recomendation of teacher?). Don't really want them to go to a posh public one, no need for that, but a normal school with kids like them who have been brought up with values and morals...

gethelp Thu 08-Mar-12 08:25:13

Oh no. Here we go. Good luck OP.

AFuckingKnackeredWoman Thu 08-Mar-12 08:27:53

You right you need to go grammar. Imagine if any of the urchins touched Tarquin!!

Gumby Thu 08-Mar-12 08:28:15

Do you live in a grammar Sch area?
If you do your child has to pass the 11+
if it was me I'd be moving to a nicer area though

catgirl1976 Thu 08-Mar-12 08:32:02

I second moving if you can, but no YANBU not to want your DCs to go to a school like that. I am sure no one does.

If you have other options, take them.

tabulahrasa Thu 08-Mar-12 08:32:33

The swipe cards and security cards are to protect the pupils from anyone just being able to wander in...why would it be a good thing that adults who shouldn't be there can get into a school? hmm

tabulahrasa Thu 08-Mar-12 08:33:19

Swipe cards and security doors even

GrimmaTheNome Thu 08-Mar-12 08:33:42

I'll take this at face value that you really don't know how the UK system works.

>Hopefully, it will be recommended that they go to (state) grammar school (is that how it works, recomendation of teacher?).

absolutely not - the UK has many unfair admissions criteria but not that one!

If you are in an area where there are any state grammar schools left, then your child needs to sit the 11+ exam for one. In some places there are catchments, other areas there aren't so exactly how it works varies, but that's the basic criterion. You'd need to look at exact criteria for the school(s) within travelling distance.

Most parts of the UK though, the normal comprehensive schools are nothing like what you portray. You may have got the wrong idea about those as well as admissions.

Strawbezza Thu 08-Mar-12 08:33:56

Where do you live? Most areas don't have grammar schools.

throckenholt Thu 08-Mar-12 08:34:29

most areas don't have grammar schools any more. You need to find out what schools there are in your area, and then take it from there.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 08-Mar-12 08:36:56

Oh - I missed the bit about doors.

DDs school has keypads, not swipe cards. Its a girl's grammar school.
Its to keep random people out. You want anyone to be able to wander in?

The car park is only for the staff... who else would it be for? confused

LIZS Thu 08-Mar-12 08:36:57

Entry to state grammar is based on performance in one day of tests early in Year 6 (age 10/11) and the geography of where you live and location of school. No teacher recommendations come into it and many areas no longer operate a selective system anyway. If you don't have secondary aged children yet then it is easy to be put off by hearsay and appearances, don't make assumptions and visit for yourself.

RuleBritannia Thu 08-Mar-12 09:00:34

I went to a grammar school myself but I have to add that there are comprehensive schools around that have superb results for their pupils, some of whom go on to Oxbridge. The schools stream their pupils and the top (and perhaps the next) stream do the more academic work. Lower streams do more vocational things like cookery, woodwork etc but do GCSEs as well. The one my DCs attended got their pupils in Year 10 to do some GCSEs a year early if they were good at certain subjects eg Maths / French and in Year 11 they would do Additional Maths / Further French. Look at your local league tables to find out which comprehensive has the highest rate of A level (proper) passes and GCSEs. Yes, though, if you want your DCs to attenbd a grammar school there will be an entrance exam in IQ, English and Maths.

secondaryfool Thu 08-Mar-12 09:01:13

Thanks for your opinions so far. I really don't know much about UK school system, so thanks for all the genuine answers.

I'm not going by hearsay, these are things I have experienced first hand, e.g. I pass a secondary school every day and it smells of weed every blummin day, in fact, they smoke it openly in the streets.

I live up north, there are a few grammar schools within a 10 mile radius.

Re security, even if it's from keeping people out - still speaks of a rough area... They are not needed where I come from, and I've not even heard of a single incidence where someone has intruded. But then you don't even have to look houses, cars, bikes.

Car parks could be for pupils too, some of them have cars you know? So we have mixed car parks at secondary schools, for teachrs and pupils (there usually isn't any other staff, maybe one receptionist and a caretaker).

tabulahrasa Thu 08-Mar-12 09:17:11

I live about 40 minutes away from Dunblane which I know is what brought about a lot of security measures that are now pretty standard - for what it's worth, it's a fairly nice rural town and has a well performing secondary school (which I've spent time in professionally) full of nice middle class children, so no, the security measures don't reflect a problem area.

The security measures are standard to prevent unnusual events, not because the adults near that particular school are suspect.

MollieO Thu 08-Mar-12 09:21:39

I went to a grammar school. Loads of my friends tried drugs. It was impossible to go to a party from about the fifth form onwards and not see someone smoking weed. Depends how you raise your dcs as to whether they partake (I didn't as I knew my dad would kill me).

Ds's school has a huge gate and an intercom system. I think security is perfectly normal.

Chopstheduck Thu 08-Mar-12 09:22:01

Agree with tabulahrasa, it could just be special measures. Our school has special measures because it is within a set radius of Broadmoor! Doesn't mean the kids are at any risk. The schools here are excellent.

Jajas Thu 08-Mar-12 09:23:46

Are you sure that there are a few grammar schools within a ten mile radius? I thought that there were only about 3 counties in England where the grammar system still operates. Kent, Bucks and maybe a couple of others. I don't think that you will be spoilt for choice it's fair to say!

Many many secondary schools are absolutely not as you describe, the minority I would imagine.

Jajas Thu 08-Mar-12 09:25:28

Mollie, I also went to a single sex grammar school run by nuns and we had barbed wire running around the tops of all the very high walls! Not sure if it was to keep us in or the riff raff out, didn't work either way grin!

gettingalifenow Thu 08-Mar-12 09:25:45

My suggestion is that you visit your local education authority's website to get an idea of how things work in your area - it should tell you about the admissions procedure, the selection policy if one applies, the relative league tables of the schools etc. then look at the individual school sites to see if you think they would suit your family.

I don't think you'll really get much useful information from this thread as all areas are different....

Google Dunblane OP. Then you'll know what the security gates are for (or at least, when they were introduced)

As for grammar schools being the 'only option' for little Tarquinius & Tarquin, well, they'd need to pass the 11+ first.

Fayrazzled Thu 08-Mar-12 09:34:50

You do know "good" middle class schools still have drug problems too, don't you? My friend teaches at a well regarded independent school and tells me they have a drugs problem. They don't shout about it (of course!) but drugs are a problem because the children have disposable income to spend and often parental freedom (e.g. own car).

Basically, you need to do some research on your local authority website to find out what the options are for sec schools in your area. identify which are the grammar schools you are interested in, then research whether you are in or out of catchment etc. You may or may not need tutoring for your children. Some rgammar school entrances are very very competitive.

tabulahrasa Thu 08-Mar-12 09:35:01

Also the car parks, you can't start learning to drive until you're 17, even for the few people that pass their driving test within a few months and can afford the thousands in insurance that a young driver has to pay - that still leaves not much time where a pupil could drive to school.

I've also never been in a school where there was enough parking for staff, nevermind anyone else, lol.

I think some of the things you're judging schools on are just down to differences between countries rather than anything to do with education.

Oh, as for car parks, pupils are rarely allowed to use them. I dunno, might be something to do with the fact that they generally live within a few miles of school while teachers commute. And, you know, the fact that they're pupils (sorry, but I do think staff should have privileges!)

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 08-Mar-12 09:39:34

If you don't want your children mixing with 'that sort', you're going to struggle, since you actually live there.

You do know they select for grammar based on intelligence not class, or behaviour, don't you (in theory at least)?

The car park issue is a new one, I must say! Never heard of that being the criteria on which you judge a school. IME car parks are primarily for staff as that's who mainly drives there - sixth form may be able to park if space isn't an issue, but priority is for staff, which seems to me very sensible.

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