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Not very bright DD - would she get into a private school or do they only want super smart kids?

(37 Posts)
snail1973 Sat 26-Jan-13 09:05:03

DD (yr2) is in the bottom group for most things at school. We live in an area with high achieving children, so I am aware that bottom of her class area is probably around or just below the national average. We also live in 11+ area (Bucks). I know she wont pass the 11+ and the school that we are in catchment for if you dont pass is not brilliant.

So DH and I are thinking about private. But now I am worrying that private schools are all so selective that they would not be interested in DD.

ANyone got any thoughts or advice?

seeker Sat 26-Jan-13 09:09:12

Have you looked at the admission criteria for the schools you are interested in? That's the best place to start.

What national curriculum level is she working at at the moment?

JakeBullet Sat 26-Jan-13 09:09:43

Firstly I would say she is still young so might just not be ready to shine yet. Lots of time for her to blossom academically smile.

Secondly my understanding is that there are lots of private schools out there, some will be super academic and selective and some will not. I suspect if you research this you will if find a local (ish) Independent school which will welcome her.

I have a feeling there is a website called The Good Schools Guide (or something similar) which is good for looking at various options.

BoundandRebound Sat 26-Jan-13 09:10:38

What are the non grammars like?

Yes you can get non selective private schools

I think year 2 is too early to judge. My eldest was pretty average in year 2, by year 5 he was starting to be recognised as good at maths, in year 7 he is boy genius and getting level 7s in core

My youngest was low level, now year 4 is high middle

Children develop differently so don't make your plans yet

JakeBullet Sat 26-Jan-13 09:12:05

Also do her current school have any concerns about her academically or is their feeling that she just isn't academic. my son isn't academic either but is autistic with ADHD so it's to be expected with him. I am fortunate that we have a mostly good choice of state schools locally.

Theas18 Sat 26-Jan-13 09:16:12 long as she didn't have actual special educational needs then a non selective independent is likely to take her happily.There are many that are not selective.

There are free paying schools for diagnosed sen too but they tend to be more expensive.

Imho we would have payed to educate a child who was struggling in the state system above one who was in all the top groups etc.

Dh teaches year 3 in a prep and has as wide a range of ability as in his state school-though with a smaller group so each child gets more individual's a mixture of ones who started at reception and new kids too.

snail1973 Sat 26-Jan-13 09:18:20

I do agree that there is still time for her to shine, and she has made some great progress since YR. But as its only the top 15% that get into grammars I honestly dont think she is going to move from the bottom of the class to the top 15% in the next 3 yrs, but would love her to prove me wrong!! What I do want is for her to be really well supported in secondary school so that she continues to make as much progress as she possibly can during her school life. I don't care what grades she gets as long as she achieves her potential.

There is only one non grammar option for us (that we are in catchment for anyway) and its not that great.

I don't honestly know what curriculum level she is at. I do know she didnt pass the new phonics check in yr 1, and has been in early literacy support (yr 1) and early numeracy suport (yr 2) and is on the daily readers list. SO her infant school is doing everything right for her. We are v happy with her school right not, just worried about secondary (and thinking we might need to start saving up now!)

TotallyBS Sat 26-Jan-13 09:47:20

I am not familiar with your area but, speaking generally, selective private schools are actually in the minority. It's just that here the discussion tend to centre around the selective ones in and around London. So, providing distance isn't an issue, you should be able to place your DD in a good non selective indie

That aside, year 2 is too early to judge your DD's chances at the 11+. Perhaps you could look into private tuition. It could get her the few extra points that gets her in at the GS.

TotallyBS Sat 26-Jan-13 09:55:40

Cross posted. I agree, its going to be very difficult to get into the top 15% from near the bottom of the class. Nevertheless, if money is not an issue, I still think you should consider private tuition even if the end objective is not to pass the 11+.

Is the alternative that bad? I mean, the 85%, most of whom you described as high achieving, can't all be going private. Surely some/most will be going to this school. If that is the case then the cohort will be of a high standard.

snail1973 Sat 26-Jan-13 11:23:56

I agree in that I dont understand why a school that seemingly 85% of kids go to can be that bad! But we are keen to explore the options so we know what else is out there.

She is already having some 1 to 1 tution at home on a sat morning.

thanks for your help everyone, it has helped

iseenodust Sat 26-Jan-13 12:09:02

We don't live near you but have been looking into private schools round here. Imo the majority don't only want super bright - it would leave them all fishing for pupils from far too small a pool. They can be quite flexible too. One school said to me 'we take quite a few new starters in year 6 so they are properly prepared for the exam into the senior school and parents are happy to avoid the misery of yr6 SATS if the child isn't going to be continuing in the state system.'

LIZS Sat 26-Jan-13 12:17:50

sad at you labelling her as not bright so young. There are plenty of less academically selective schools around and I'm sure you'd find one to accept her. If academics turn out to be not her strong point maybe she could develop other skills - music, sport, art, drama etc - which would give her a direction. fwiw ds wouldn't have set the world alight at 7 but went on to get an academic scholarship. SIL lives in that area, DN narrowly missed 11+ selection but has thrived at a comp where she feels academically at the top.

perceptionreality Sat 26-Jan-13 12:20:12

The private schools where I live are not selective although they do have entrance exams. In the current climate there are not many private schools who will want to turn away paying customers imo.

perceptionreality Sat 26-Jan-13 12:21:00

Agree it's far too early to know what your dd could achieve yet - some children really blossom even as late as half way through high school.

racingheart Sat 26-Jan-13 12:38:39

Snail in Yr2 my DS moved from bottom 10% of his class in literacy to top 10% within a year. It all just suddenly clicked. DC do develop at different times.

There should be lots of non-selective schools out there. Good independent schooling isn't all about exam grades. It's about having smaller class sizes, encouraging pupils to excel in what they can do and try their best at what they're weak at, and about confidence building socially as well as academically. (I'm not saying state schooling lacks all these, but there may be a greater risk if she's in bottom sets of being put in with disruptive children.)
The non selective indie close to us turns out teenagers who are happy, confident, spirited, enthusiastic. Have a look around.

Charmingbaker Sat 26-Jan-13 12:41:05

My friend could have written this post around 10 years ago. They did put there daughter into a private school and she remained in private education until completing her GCSEs last year. She got good enough GCSEs to attend a local sixth form college, but not to stay in the private sector. My friend was talking a few weeks ago about wether the money for private school had been worth it. However there is no way to know. My friends DD was very happy in her state school (a high achieving primary) but was below average academically. She went to private schools were children were not accepted on ability. My friend had realised that paying for private school does not mean you pay to get excellent GCSEs ( I am making her sound like a monster, she has never put pressure on her children to get top grades, but secretly hoped they would do well.)
The questions you need to ask are-
Is your daughter happy at her school
Visit your secondary school options, what are there strengths and do they suit your daughter. Remember schools can change, our local secondary has massively improved in last 10 years (from below 40% 5 grade A-Cs to now almost 80%, it is also excellent for music and art which would have been more suited to friends DD).
Visit your private school options and weigh up what they will offer.
Remember, whatever you choose you will always wonder if the alternative would have been better, all you can do is make your decision on what you believe is the best for your daughter.
Would some private tutoring help your daughter?

50shadesofvomit Sat 26-Jan-13 12:44:52

I live in Bucks and our local comps are excellent- 3 outstanding ones in a 5 mile radius. Could you move?

As others say, your dd could move up if properly supported. My son was bottom group in y1, average in y2 and top groups in y3 and my other son was bottom group in y1 but in y2 he's a group higher. In their cases I feel that they had to attend school before they were really ready and had formal education started at 6 or 7 they'd have been better off.

wildirishrose Sat 26-Jan-13 16:36:50

One bit of advice. Its not what the school does, its what the parents do that counts. My children have always been in private schools but without my input they would be nowhere near the standards they're at now. Teach your child the basics and watch her flourish.

snail1973 Sat 26-Jan-13 17:00:08

Lots of great replies, thanks again. I know if I had read a post written by someone else I'd also be saying that it is far too early to label your child as not bright. I wrote that to convey a simple scenario. We are already using a tutor to help boost her confidence and specifically help with her maths. We are 100% happy with her current infant school but she will move to junior school in Sept and who knows how she will get on. I have heard mostly good things so hopefully that will go well, we are mostly pondering what will happen after that and thinking about whether we need to make some financial plans so that private school is at least an option.

I am a total novice to private sector but I myself went to selective grammar school so I totally know what that system is about. We just want to keep an open mind and choose the best school for her (with her input). I must admit that the one private school that has caught my eye is girls only. I guess that is a whole new debate - single sex vs mixed?!!

I'm interested in what an entrance exam is for if the school isnt selective? I assumed that if there was an exam then they must be quite choosy about which chldren they would admit. And it was that which made me think would our DD even get in to one of the local private schools. I certainly dont want to put her through pressurised exams only to have her 'fail' time and again and be disappointed, that would be horrendous.

Inclusionist Sat 26-Jan-13 17:14:19

What geographical 'zone' of Bucks are you in?

People will be able to give you suggestions of independent schools around you that you can look at, if nothing else to reassure yourself that you have options if that is the road you choose to go down.

I know the South Bucks schools quite well.

grovel Sat 26-Jan-13 17:17:36

The entrance exam at the non-selective prep near me is mostly about the school being ready for its new cohort (setting etc). Very occasionally they will find a child who they are not sure they can can offer proper support to (even with their specialised department).

Inclusionist Sat 26-Jan-13 17:22:59

Pipers Corner springs to mind.

snail1973 Sat 26-Jan-13 17:49:49

Geographically anything between Oxford and beacons field would be an option

Anyone know anything about pipers corner?


Inclusionist Sat 26-Jan-13 18:17:57

As far as I know Pipers Corner is fine. A bit off the radar exactly because it is not the cut throat academic environment so common in Bucks/ Berks/ NW London.

In Oxford Rye St Antony's has a reputation for nurture and inclusivity. It is Catholic though so depends how you feel about that.

Inclusionist Sat 26-Jan-13 18:21:04

Cranford House seems nice too and is firmly non-selective. It's a shame they don't have a 6th form though.

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