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to prioritise the gifted school place?

(28 Posts)
MissMud Thu 04-Apr-13 16:06:16

Hiya

I will try to be brief! We live in a big city (not in the UK), which has a catchment system and also a small number of schools - six in the whole city - which run 'gifted' programmes for children. We have 3DC. Moved to this specific (v expensive), part of the city because in catchment for good school. DD1 and DD2 both attend, DS due to start in Sept. We are renting and rent is a huge chunk of our income.

DD2 and DS both took the entrance tests for the gifted programmes a few months back. We heard back recently and DS was offered a place at our last choice. But places at all are hen's teeth.

Getting to this school and getting the older DCs to theirs is going to be a logistical nightmare - realistically DD1 will end up being in charge of getting DD2 to school (they will be 12 and 7), while I travel for an hour with DS.

I don't know... our local school is a good one, but we are just renting so there is no security, I feel like we should be doing everything we can to ensure DS gets the best start he can. I am thinking we should move closer to the gifted school - there is a possibility then that DD2 could get in as an in-year sibling applicant and DD1 is old enough to travel to the school here (she can keep her place as her year is not oversubscribed), if we are careful to be near public transport.

What do you think?

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 04-Apr-13 16:19:53

I have never understood why the 'gifted' child gets priority. This is happening in my family at the moment. Surely if a child is 'gifted' they will do well in any school. Maybe with a bit of tutoring. There is some evidence to show that children who are told they are hardworking do much better than children who are told they are clever. Worth bearing in mind.

MissMud Thu 04-Apr-13 16:23:44

Well it is because this place is for the whole of DS's school career, whereas the school we are at now depends on us staying in catchment. Also in this system only gifted schools teach MFL, latin, feed into the 'best' 6th-form equivalents.

I don't see why DD2 couldn't do well anywhere by your logic tbh.

merrymuzzie Thu 04-Apr-13 16:29:29

Op I think It's very difficult to answer a question like this without knowing more about what your local school system is like. (ie where you are)

Otherwise I agree with Terry, its a lot of hassle for a child who by your own admission already has a place at a good school and could presumably do well there.

Tailtwister Thu 04-Apr-13 16:32:58

I'm sure I've read somewhere that schools are generally set up to cater for the average child, but regularly fail those who need extra support or are gifted like your DS. Tbh, I would be very tempted to take the place since it's for his entire school career. What will happen when your DD1 goes to senior school? Will she still be able to take the younger one then? Would a move closer to DS's school be an option?

lljkk Thu 04-Apr-13 16:34:05

I was in specialist Gifted Children programmes as a child & they were crap. My parents moved house & went to great lengths to get me there, too.

But agree we don't know enough about your ordinary school options.

MissMud Thu 04-Apr-13 16:37:57

schools here go right through to a-level equivalent so theoretically DD1 could take DD2 to school right through - but I don't think we'd want to pay this much rent for so long when it's only really DD2's school place which is an issue. If I knew for sure she could get an in-year place at DS's potential school I'd not think twice.

The school system in this city is really sharply defined between the 'good' schools (in expensive areas, chicken/egg), and the 'bad' ones. Then private schools are a big thing and there's these six gifted schools. We went into this quite naive (still are), being from a different country. DD2 ending up in a bad catchment school is the only real reason to consider trying to stay, but there is always the worry that our landlord could ask us to leave or similar.

MissMud Thu 04-Apr-13 16:40:01

It is a silly system really - these six gifted schools test 5 year olds and if they get in they have a place right through til they are 16... what if it is a good or a bad day or they need the loo or whatever! I do know.

If we owned a home or could otherwise be sure of staying in this school's catchment I would be happier, but our rent is 1/4 of our income already.

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 04-Apr-13 16:42:08

I have never, having lived in three countries, seen a gifted program I would bother with at the expense of any fuss or money at all. If you are in an area with 'good' schools i would stick there. Is long-term renting normal where you are? If so, could you ask for a long lease?

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 04-Apr-13 16:44:53

You rent being a quarter of your income is an enviable position for a lot of people. I know that doesn't help.

MissMud Thu 04-Apr-13 16:48:28

I do know. We got lucky with the rent here (and the landlord knows it). Where we live is all families like us, here for the school, they either got lucky or are renting like we are. Though we are in a 2-bed with the 5 of us so it feels like it has to be temporary (another reason it's 1/4 of income).

MummytoKatie Thu 04-Apr-13 21:08:07

Reading this makes me appreciate the British education system!

Seriously - only those who are defined as gifted at 4 get to learn a foreign language?!?

Ok - summary of the situation as I see it:-

Option 1. Kids all at current school. Nice and simple. Good school. But your living situation doesn't sound like it is sustainable long term.

Option 2. Girls at current school. Lad to gifted school. But it is a very long way for a 5 year old to travel every single day. If you spent the travel time teaching him French he'd be fluent by aged 8! Also a lot of responsibility for a 12 year old. Plus what happens when 7 year old is ill?

Option 3. Try and get 7 year old in new school. Move. But what if you can't get her in? Plus - presumably not ideal for 7 year old to be in "gifted" school when not gifted? Or are there lots of "non gifted" siblings? Plus a long way on the bus for 12 year old every day and hard for her to see her friends. Also how would she feel about being the only one not getting the opportunities at the gifted school. (Not saying don't do it for that reason but you do need to consider possible impacts.)

None are great. Is there future opportunity for the gifted school? Could you go with current school for now then reapply for gifted schools in a couple of years? Or if you send ds to the gifted school can you try for the sibling place before you move? And then only move when / if you get the place?

With the kids starting school is there opportunity for you to up your income to improve the living situation? And mean that you can get more security in the current school situation?

MissMud Thu 04-Apr-13 21:59:14

I dunno, we were really stressed about the british system before we left!

for option 3, the gifted school also run a regular programme for catchment area children. So we would have to move first. But there is sibling priority so good chance of DD2 getting an in-year place when one came up. They would be learning different things, but at least at the same place.

You can learn languages if you pay extra! Mad I know. Some schools in the really posh areas have MFL but not here.

There would be a chance for DD1 to go to the gifted school too for the last 2 years but she'd rather stay where she is I think.

Unfortunately I can't work here.

lljkk Fri 05-Apr-13 12:03:22

Desperate to know which city you live in, MissMud.

Snoopingforsoup Fri 05-Apr-13 13:04:22

YANBU.
Prioritise the gifted place.

EmmaGellerGreen Fri 05-Apr-13 13:39:25

Good grief, your academic future decided at 5 years old? My 5 year old can write really nicely some days and barely at all others depending on his mood!

JockTamsonsBairns Fri 05-Apr-13 13:51:01

I can't understand all this, not specifically this OP, but the general angst these days about schools. Don't people just go to their local school any more then?

Probably just me. I'm old (and Scottish).

Journey Fri 05-Apr-13 13:53:21

I think I would question how gifted my ds really was. Gifted is a misused word in my opinion. If I truly thought my ds was exceptional and the school was great for his development then I would consider the logistical nightmare. If, however, deep down I just thought my ds was bright but nothing outstanding then I probably wouldn't.

LIZS Fri 05-Apr-13 14:00:56

What if ds doesn't live up to expectation , could you find yourselves out on your ear with even more awkward logistics ? Seems a very odd situation if they can take children later at whim. Surely MFL and Latin could be taught outside school hours if that is the critical difference.

LeeCoakley Fri 05-Apr-13 14:07:22

So dd2 getting in on the sibling rule goes to a school where she knows she is a 2nd-tier student and doesn't get any of the 'gifted' teaching because she didn't perform well at 4? Sounds lovely.

lljkk Fri 05-Apr-13 14:08:36

Anyone remember the chapter in Nurtureshock? About how wrong it is to ID Gifted kids too young. This article.

Bloody hell, a version of 11+ for 4-5yos. Madness.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 05-Apr-13 14:38:12

lljkk that was what I was not very well referencing in my post. Not only wrong to ID them because it's meaningless but also bad for them.

This is going to sound like a not very stealth boast but whatever. A child in the family has just been told he's gifted. We all said that he was bright but, you know... The we heard the criteria. Top 5%. That means that me, my sibling, my father, pretty much the whole family would qualify. We are just a bit academic. Not geniuses, not gifted, just a bit bright. And, knowing I was bright made me extremely lazy at school. Unlike my DM who was told she wasn't very and works hard. Still doing university courses in her 70s.

Get them all in the local school, tell them all they have to work hard and get tutors for the things they are either crap at or fantastic at.

Xales Fri 05-Apr-13 14:56:42

Is it an hour each way or an hour in total? If each way you will be spending 4 hours a day travelling for a child to get to school. Even only in total is several hours a day. Travelling that much every day will be knackering for a 5 year old.

Will you leave for the hours journey before the 12 and 7 year old leave? Will they get home from school before you? If so I think it is extremely unfair to make a 12 year old responsible day in day out for the other child. What if either is ill. What if the 7 year old pisses around? What if the 12 year old pisses around?

What options does the gifted child get over the other two? More courses, trips, music, languages?

How much extra will you fork out for the gifted child? An hour each way in travel straight off?

What will the others maybe have to go without for the gifted child to keep up with the others in the school?

Or moving closer. What if the second child does not get a place and then you have 2 children travelling the best part of an hour for school because you want to give just one a better start? The elder will live best part of an hour away from friends/after school activities etc so will miss out somehow. If you stay where you are the same will happen for your gifted child. All their friends/after school activites etc will be an hour away.

I think it needs a lot more thought before you prioritise one child to such an extent over the others.

Personally I don't think I would do it.

RedHelenB Fri 05-Apr-13 15:21:48

I would stick with the school where they can all go tbh & pay the extra money for rent/MFL lessons for them all.

RedHelenB Fri 05-Apr-13 15:22:27

I mean the extra money saved on travelling.

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