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To be stressed & upset about poor secondary schools?

(65 Posts)
Stressingismyhobby Sat 23-Mar-19 22:15:29

Daughter is 8. We live in a grammar school area. I have a tutor lined up for her starting in yr 5 ( never thought I’d tutor but everyone here does which raises the bar).

Probably sounds stupid but I’ve only recently really looked into the non-grammar secondary school options and they are really, really not good. I have no idea which I’d choose if my daughter fails the 11+. It’s made me wonder if we should move area but I know she would be absolutely devastated if we moved her away from her friends.

I also have a younger daughter who would be upset (but would take it slightly better).

Anyone else in this situation? I’m so worried that I’ll be devastated if she fails the 11+ not because I’d be disappointed in her but because I don’t want her going to a shit school!!!

cardibach Sat 23-Mar-19 22:17:16

Are the schools shit? Or just getting lower results than the grammars because all the more able kids have been creamed off?

Katebob22 Sat 23-Mar-19 22:19:00

Agree with cardibach. Is it a fair comparison with other secondaries.

Stressingismyhobby Sat 23-Mar-19 22:24:38

Well, that’s a fair question, I suppose. They’re mostly average, below average or well below average at the end of key stage 4. But speaking to other parents with older kids, they’ve all said they really struggled to find a secondary they were impressed with.

nattynoonoo821 Sun 24-Mar-19 02:06:58

i failed my 11 plus. went to a truely awful school. was one of 5 pupils who got 10 a-c gcses, met lifelong friends and thrived from being a clever fish in a dumb pond. please dont heap pressure on her to pass this. failing wont necessarily ruin her life.

Gettingstronger2 Sun 24-Mar-19 04:20:37

I’m in Scotland and our secondary school league tables were published this week. My Daughters catchment secondary which she will start in August has come 318th out of 339. It is concerning. A secondary just 2 miles away has come over 300 places above - in the top 10. Myself and my Husband have debated for two years what to do about secondary and I have only just settled myself now with the decision. To move into the catchment for the better school, which would be less than 2 miles away, would cost us about 100 grand more for the same house we have now plus increased council tax bill and factors fees. Could we manage an increase like that - maybe just. Could we have the family life we have now - no! Does my Daughter want to move - no! She has anxiety issues already and professionals agree moving her would make these worse. Even if she didn’t, I think forcing her to move would not be good for her. I have settled myself with the fact it’s not just the school it’s how the child and parents work alongside the school as well. As a teacher once said to me ‘education does not just happen in the classroom’. This hit home to me when we went to Florida two years ago and managed to arrange our visit to Kennedy Space Centre to coincide with a rocket launch. Life experience’s and knowledge like that can not be learned in a classroom. Doing these things as a family makes it all the better. Could we have done this and all the other things we have done as a family if we moved into the better catchment? Definitely not. I like all others parents would love my child to get the best grades, go to uni and be successful but I realise there are a lot of other ways to achieve what you want to these days and don’t want to put any more pressure on her than I have to. I know the next 6 years will be tough for her but I still want to enjoy my little girl as well and for her to be happy.

cardibach Sun 24-Mar-19 10:58:58

So, children who failed a test designed to select the above average and send them to a different school turn out to be average or below. Not really a surprise... Most people are average. It’s what average means.

BarbarianMum Sun 24-Mar-19 11:02:14

If they are that bad then why not bite the bullet and move? Not an easy choice but better than years spent tutoring and stressing. Your dds would make new friends.

Stressingismyhobby Sun 24-Mar-19 21:07:50

Thanks for all your responses. Pros and cons to staying and moving. I am kicking myself for moving to an 11+ area in the first place but we lived here before my daughter was born and it’s just not something I gave a second thought when she was little.
Totally agree that education doesn’t just happen in school and like a PP said, I failed the 11+, went to an ok school but did well, went to uni etc. It’s not that I think success is ONLY about exam results, I just want her to be at a school where she’s able to fulfill her potential, whatever that may be. And I don’t want her at a school with mostly little oiks who couldn’t care less about education!! 🙈

Myextensionisgivingmeaheadache Sun 24-Mar-19 21:12:54

@Gettingstronger2 I s* myself when I was the Scottish tables too. Mine are only early primary but it’s made me think ‘do we move now?’. The secondary they’ll go to is just a year old so I’m hoping the school just needs to find its feet. I do know people who went to the school in its old campus who have done really well though so a lot of it (most probably) is down to the individual and their parents but I feel awful at having chosen this area for them.

AJPTaylor Sun 24-Mar-19 21:18:41

Move.
You have 2 kids. What if the elder gets into grammar and the younger one doesn't? You are hardly going to take the older one out.

Tidy2018 Sun 24-Mar-19 21:31:08

Another Scottish school parent here, agonising periodically about the choice of moving house to a top ten catchment area, or staying where we are all settled and hoping that the school improves over the next three years when DC starts secondary.

LondonJax Sun 24-Mar-19 21:39:27

Do your secondary schools have a grammar band? We're in a grammar school area and our DS passed his 11plus.

But we went to look at both the grammar and the comprehensive school (which has a grammar stream) and all of us decided that school would be better for DS.

Our reasons were that his old school friends go there (albeit in different streams), he can walk to school as opposed to buses so he's home almost an hour earlier than his school friends who went to the grammar school. Although the comprehensive has a lesser reputation than the grammar we found the teachers more open and seemingly warm - case in point, we got to the final classroom on the grammar school tour with 10 minutes to go until the end of the sessions. The teacher was locking up (early) and refused to let us have a look around because 'it would take more than 10 minutes'. At the comprehensive we peeked into a classroom as we were leaving and, even though it was after sessions had ended (we were on the way out) the teacher called us back and asked if we wanted to have a quick look around. We just felt we (and more importantly, DS) were important at the comprehensive. So that swayed it for us.

He's learning at a rate of knots and is really being stretched. He's in a class with similarly academic children (obviously) so he's bouncing ideas around with kids who really want to learn, who really want to achieve.

It's worth checking and finding out if there is a stream for the grammar level kids. DS had to sit a test (along with all the other kids to help them stream them correctly) so, even those who didn't sit the 11 plus or failed it ended up in the grammar stream if they should the aptitude in that test. The nice thing about it is that, if the kids begin to show aptitude they can be moved up streams and if they're struggling they can be moved down. Two of the kids in DS's year were moved down last term because they really were struggling to the point of tears. They love their new stream because they're near the top in it and can cope with the work. They wouldn't have had that chance in a grammar school.

Ihavealwaysknown Sun 24-Mar-19 21:39:38

We don’t live in an 11+ area but the two high schools in our town fluctuate massively over time. Our safety net was getting out DD christened Catholic to allow her access to 1 of 2 local(ish) catholic high schools. Not ideal, but we figured it was important and can’t see ourselves moving out of current town as we quite like it here!

bibbitybobbityyhat Sun 24-Mar-19 21:41:36

I would move house if you possibly can. The schools are much better in a non grammar area and you won't have to put yourself and your child all the ridiculous 11+ shite/worry.

Mustbetimeforachange Sun 24-Mar-19 21:44:43

Is it Buckinghamshire? The quality of the secondary modems (known as Upper Schools) is very variable. You do have to remember that the grammar schools have creamed off 30% of the students, so the results are always going to look much worse.

FullOfJellyBeans Sun 24-Mar-19 21:52:39

YANBU. I live in a grammar area and did some volunteer teaching in local schools. They were terrible. Really bad and have always been (overcrowded class rooms, terrible bullying - children don't feel safe around the school or using the bathrooms, no resources or teaching for higher ability students). I would move to avoid them to be honest. There are some genuine comprehensives a little further away so it's possible for people I live to move a little way while keeping younger siblings in the same primary.

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Sun 24-Mar-19 21:58:33

I would move area. I wouldn't want my kids to have the years of tutoring typical in grammar areas, and I wouldn't want them to have the stress of the exam and possibly failing. I would move to an area with good comprehensive schools.

Your DC will make new friends if you move.

puppy23 Sun 24-Mar-19 22:00:17

It isn't just about the grades she's likely to get at these other schools. Its about the behaviour in these lower ranking schools too, which is often much poorer. Using the poorly ranking school near me as example I've heard some true horror stories surrounding bullying, and many children concequently having to leave the school. I don't want to worry you further, but its another important variable.

Stressingismyhobby Sun 24-Mar-19 22:03:46

Thought of moving makes me want to cry...I know they’d make new friends but they’d take it so,so badly...

It’s Bexley. Any experience of schools in this area much appreciated!!

wejammin Sun 24-Mar-19 22:04:04

YANBU, we are also in a grammar area and our local non grammar is appalling. We need to move anyway as we have just had DC3 in a 2 bed house, and the secondary school issue is one at the top of our list.

SnowdropsiUnderTrees Sun 24-Mar-19 22:08:30

Move to Winchester.

Mustbetimeforachange Sun 24-Mar-19 22:09:27

Honestly, by Christmas of year 7 your children will have new friends even if they go to school with the current ones.

Kolo Sun 24-Mar-19 22:10:28

I think you’re worrying prematurely. You really need to have a look round the comprehensives yourself, and look into their exam stats better. What do you mean by ‘average’, for example? Average progress, achievement? Because, in a grammar area, the comprehensives will always take a hit as the highest achievers are creamed off.

I went to a grammar myself, then taught in comprehensives. Most kids, wherever they are, want to do well. The idea that comps are full of ‘oiks’ Is pretty insulting. Having known thousands of students and their parents over the last 2 decades, the vast majority are good people, want their kids to be happy and do well. There are some proper sink schools, though, but you’d have to actually visit the schools to find out.

missyB1 Sun 24-Mar-19 22:12:23

I know exactly what you mean, we also live in. Grammar area. Here people start tutoring from year 2! The comprehensives here are awful, it’s not just the results it’s behaviour, violence, drugs etc
We are lucky that we can just about afford to go private to avoid the whole shit show. I’ve tried to persuade dh to move but it’s very tricky with his job.

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