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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!!!

Stressingismyhobby Tue 26-Mar-19 22:20:21

Yes, I know, grammar school doesn’t guarantee nice kids. Pretty tricky to get a true picture of bullying, I imagine - I expect any students at an open day will be keen to defend their school?

Kolo Tue 26-Mar-19 21:42:50

I don’t think there are any schools without bullying. A grammar school isn’t an escape from bullying. I’d be looking for a school that tackles bullying properly (visit the schools and ask the students).

Stressingismyhobby Tue 26-Mar-19 14:11:11

I fully intend to look round the schools in September - who knows, maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

In theory, I’ve nothing against children being selected based on ability - that’s just life, isn’t it - but yes, like others, what I don’t like is the stress of the whole 11+ process and the effect that grammar schools have on surrounding schools.

And yes, I don’t know where her friends will go, of course many won’t go to a grammar.

I just want a good school -grammar or not. And nice kids. And by “nice”, I don’t mean middle class or anything snobby like that, just kids of a similar mindset as her, no bullying etc. The same as everybody, really...

bibbitybobbityyhat Tue 26-Mar-19 13:53:50

I'm sorry for those of you who feel trapped in your grammar school areas, I really do, but am pleased to see that so many people on this thread can see the grammar system for what it is: divisive, insane, undesirable and altogether just a really shitty way to treat our kids.

Phineyj Tue 26-Mar-19 07:45:07

Would you consider moving to Bromley? You'd have a choice of good comps (if you choose your house carefully) and could still access grammars for one or both kids if that suits. I sympathise as we will be facing a similar decision in a couple of years.

TheNoodlesIncident Tue 26-Mar-19 07:11:20

We've got the same situation in our grammar school area - four grammars, two for each sex, plus two selective faith schools. No wonder the rest of the secondaries look "bad", with all the top attaining children creamed off. But it's not really the results that concerns parents, it's the behaviours. I do worry a little about the disengaged kids who don't value education and don't care about anyone else's, but I suppose they would be encountered anywhere.

I think RedHelenB has a good suggestion - go and see what the secondaries are like, although bear in mind there could be a headteacher change before your dc are old enough to go there. But you might be surprised.

(As a separate point, it's a change to see Scottish posters admitting they have secondary worries - usually any thread on this topic is full of them saying how rubbish the English system is and they're glad they don't have the stress of it. I have experienced both and prefer the English system myself)

SummerDog Tue 26-Mar-19 07:03:47

I'd move. My DSS and DSD go to secondary modern. It's dire and really rough. DSS missed the 11+ by 2 points. His mother refused to tutor. He's a really bright boy but he's easily influenced. The social group is dodgy and the teachers spend a lot of time on behaviour management. They just want to get a pass out of all the kids they can. There is no stretching going on. It's about dragging as many over the line as possible. DSS now scraping a 3s and 4s in most of his mocks. He could have done much better elsewhere. Think long and hard OP.

Look at how their top set are doing? What does the progress 8 look like?

RedHelenB Tue 26-Mar-19 06:46:47

Have you actually been and looked round these schools during a school day?

I really don't get the school angst, if your child works hard and is roundabout grammar ability she will do well in any school. She won't be the only "try hard" in her year and when she makes a group of likeminded friends she'll be fine.

Babygrey7 Tue 26-Mar-19 06:37:36

Where would all her friends go? They can't all be going to the grammar?

We moved when the kids were 6 and 4 to a county with comps, to a catchment where all comps are good.

Seemed bonkers at the time, maybe it is...

But I can understand not wanting to leave friends,and support network and home

So am curious, where will her friends go?

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Mon 25-Mar-19 22:46:03

Out of borough - could I recommend the Leigh Tech schools and Wilmington Academy. Only ever hear good things about those.

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Mon 25-Mar-19 22:45:22

@Stressing - both

Look at the Dartford tests too, Wilmington is reputedly easier.

Trouble is, schools evolve so quickly, once the academies sweep in - Bexleyheath turned right round, then slumped back again.

Are you in catchment for Haberdashers - although, colleagues say it has the worst behaviour in the borough and they are not backed up by SLT.

Banded entry, those not taking the 11+ obviously have to look at the other schools, most of those dont take in by catchment - they do a 'banded test' which divided the school into academic bands - theoretically it is to stop a sought after school from creaming off he rest of the best, but in reality they artificially expand the top bands.

You'll go through all this very shortly at a Y5 preparation parents evening.

Stressingismyhobby Mon 25-Mar-19 22:37:37

I could cry. This thread makes me want to move...but telling my DC that we’d be moving them away from all their friends -and ours! -as well as our support network breaks my heart...😞

time4chocolate Mon 25-Mar-19 21:38:52

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

This was exactly my situation a few years ago and, knowing what I know now, I would have moved out of the area well before my two DC started primary school. I think you have to live in a grammar area to truly grasp the craziness of it.

TFBundy Mon 25-Mar-19 21:23:19

OP I haven’t read the whole thread but I think you should seriously consider a move. No axe to grind - I went to grammar and hope to get DS into one. In my day it was less of a big deal - no tutors or advance preparation (at least not in my class!) Howeber if DS doesn’t pass then I will continue to send him to private school rather than use any of the state secondaries around here. If we don’t have the means to continue privately then I will move.

It’s one of the major downsides of grammar areas imo.

I also have a friend with 2 kids of which only one passed. It’s been a nightmare for them. She did everything humanly possible to get her DC2 in but it’s oversubscribed and ultimately his marks weren’t good enough. It’s cause a lot of bitterness and problems between her DC.

Stressingismyhobby Mon 25-Mar-19 21:05:50

Yes, because I’m talking openly on an anonymous adult forum. There are many subjects I discuss very differently depending on whether I’m talking to my children or adults. I’ve also referred to “crap schools” on here - again, not language I have, or would, use in front of my children.

fc301 Mon 25-Mar-19 20:56:23

You've used the word repeatedly on here. It's a bad habit & children do hear your conversations even if you think they aren't listening.

Stressingismyhobby Mon 25-Mar-19 20:45:50

I don’t use the word failed around her. I don’t talk about any of this around her. She knows about the 11+ and knows that if she passes it, she’ll have a greater choice of schools. That’s it. I’m not pressuring her at all. I feel all the pressure is on me to make the right choices for her and her sister.

fc301 Mon 25-Mar-19 19:07:07

Please please do not use the word failed. Especially around your DD.

No one fails the 11+. Some pass. Some don't pass (about 80% don't pass!). It's about finding the right school for each child. No child should labelled a failure at 11.

As you were.

Stressingismyhobby Mon 25-Mar-19 18:55:58

Thanks modgepodge, all good points. I do agree with you about being better off at the top of a mixed school than struggling at a grammar. I guess it’s just no one likes to think they’ve sent their child to a ‘bad’ school.
Anyone have any positive Bexley secondary school stories??

modgepodge Mon 25-Mar-19 15:19:34

Ignore the headline results - of course non grammars don’t get 10 a* per pupil average, because anyone capable of getting that passed the 11+ and went to grammar. You need to look at the progress made (I think progress 8 is the measure) - how well does each pupil do, compared to their KS2 sats results? If they make good progress, there’s no reason your children wouldn’t do well there.

Also look at OFSTED reports - what are the areas of strengths and weaknesses and do they matter to you? Eg poor provision for SEN children might only matter to a small percentage of parents. If your child is very arty/sporty/musically inclined you want to be looking at provision for them. Consistent issues with bullying would be a concern for many I’d imagine.

Also, most importantly, go and look around and get a feel for the place. Lots of children will do well at most schools. I often think a child will do better at the top of a mixed ability (comprehensive/secondary modern) school, than scraping along the bottom of a very competitive grammar.

Stressingismyhobby Mon 25-Mar-19 15:05:56

Plainspeaking - do you teach in the area or are you a parent (or both)? I’m not in Welling, I live in Bexley (i.e. the town, I don’t just mean the borough)

What is banded entry based on (god, I know nothing)!

anniehm Mon 25-Mar-19 12:26:27

Not a grammar area here so the schools are all equally rubbish! Well the fluctuate between just about ok to truly horrendous (think average 5 gcse passes in the teens). Rather than move just ensure that she's ready for the exam and if she doesn't pass work out which school is right for her as that means she's not right for grammar school. (Ps mine both got a's/8&9's despite their school being in special measures by the time dd1 left, dd2 switched to a different school which was "only" needs improvement.)

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Mon 25-Mar-19 12:24:46

@Stressing - the Bexley Grammars take in 22% of the cohort - except 82% of those places are filled by external candidates, those from Greenwich, Lewisham, Bromley, Dartford

The only true comprehensives in Bexley are King Henry (bilateral), and St Catherines and St Columbas. You might want to consider Blackfen Girls – still gets good results. You also need to look at those schools which have banded entry. Because again you may fail the selection again.

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Mon 25-Mar-19 12:20:24

OFSTED for TKAT - all dire. Progress 8 - all dire

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Mon 25-Mar-19 12:19:37

*s'cuse typos, stabbing one fingered on the phone

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