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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?

WMDinthekitchen Sun 27-Jan-13 23:21:02

lisad123everybodydancenow Sun 27-Jan-13 23:04:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ipadquietly Sun 27-Jan-13 23:00:17

With my knowledge of Bucks education, the OP is very sensible to be forward thinking, particularly as her dd is having a few problems in class. She is not 'labelling' her dd, and I'm sure she will be watching her dd progress brilliantly over the next few years.

However, the OP is rightly concerned about secondary options in Bucks, and is mulling over alternative strategies. There are no comprehensives here - it is grammar or secondary modern. Some of the sec mods are good..... and some are not so good.

TwoKidsAndCounting Sun 27-Jan-13 19:50:47

It's way too early to be labelling your child not bright because she didn't pass a couple of curriculum base tests. Bare in mind that the curriculum as followed by all state schools in the country is not how the 11 plus works, totally different in fact. There are many kids who don't successfully follow the curriculum but will excel at intelligent tests like the 11 plus!

spookycatandfluffydog Sun 27-Jan-13 19:42:34

Have you considered St Marys in Gerrards Cross?

ipadquietly Sun 27-Jan-13 15:14:52

My huge great sympathies.

I think you're being realistic, having been faced with the same dilemma in (I think!) much the same part of Bucks. Some of the SM schools are dire. Luckily ds got into GS on appeal - the option being a very poor SM, and probably a house move! Furthermore, from my experience in schools, you can generally predict who will pass the 11+, or be borderline) in Y2. (The more verbose/linguistically developed in Y2 don't always reach the academic standard by Y5/6.)

Tutoring for the 11+ is also a bit of a problem for all in S Bucks at the moment (lots of money has been poured fruitlessly down the drain), as it is changing later this year.

I know a number of people who have used Pipers Corner and have been very happy with it - the dd of a colleague got very good A levels and has just started a law degree. Also, another advantage is that you can send the child at any age between 3 and 18.

BooksandaCuppa Sun 27-Jan-13 13:08:40

Ok, fair point. But I don't think anyone would suggest that any school can make a high flier out of someone with limited academic potential. But a very good school, be that state or private, will get the best 'results' it can out of each pupil as well as allowing them to explore other interests, access a broad curriculum and grow into rounded, caring individuals.

The Op merely wanted to know if all private schools were very academically selective and the answer is no, they're not. And they probably vary as much as state schools do. So, of course, be careful that you know what you are paying for if you do decide to go down the fee-paying route.

JoanByers Sun 27-Jan-13 12:59:02

Well she did drop out after the 1st year of uni another subject first because she found it too hard.

Actually I think 'these kind of schools' are fine whether you are bright or not, my point was more about the 'not very bright DD' than whether the school is up to scratch.

BooksandaCuppa Sun 27-Jan-13 12:54:28

How snobby, Joan. I know people from grammar schools who are studying media studies at uni..maybe it's what they want to do? And how do you know that, for the girl you mention, that's not a whole load better than she would have done at a state school?

How ridiculous to imply that the only the very top selective schools are worth paying fees for - it could be argued that the very selective schools add less value when you consider the intake they have.

'Those kind of schools', indeed! As if all non-selective private schools are one homogeneous lump only good for teaching manners???!!!

JoanByers Sun 27-Jan-13 12:42:21

I know a girl who was expensively educated at one of these sorts of schools. She is doing media studies now at uni.

She's not particularly academically capable, and obviously the private school didn't change her into a genius, but on the plus side she is very pleasant, kind and well-spoken and so on, and thought that's not necessarily the school's doing, I guess it wasn't harmful.

Annelongditton Sun 27-Jan-13 00:01:19

I would absolutely second Irishrose's comment

"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."

BooksandaCuppa Sat 26-Jan-13 23:43:40

Not in your part of the country but as an example, ds's non-selective has a very broad intake where they have bands of roughly 40% of higher ability, 40% of middle ability and 20% lower ability. They also specialise in dyslexia and dyspraxia and for that reason often 'pick up' extra children before the exam years who are not doing so well in the state system. The lower sets are half as small as the top sets. Their exam results (and therefore 'value added') are very good. I'm sure you would have an option of a similar school.

As others say, and you agreed, it's far too early to tell how she'll be doing by 11, but it's always worth knowing your options. As ds has AS and we'd decided we wanted this school for him since year 4, we were able to save a considerable amount towards fees before he started.

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.

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.

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 17:22:59

Pipers Corner springs to mind.

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 17:14:19

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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