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One child gets into Grammar, the other doesn't....

(213 Posts)
NotEnoughTime Thu 07-Jan-16 19:47:46

Does anyone have any experience of one of their DC passing the 11+ and a subsequent DC not?

My oldest DS is very happy at his Grammar school. We are hoping that our younger DS will pass the 11+ too and join him there. Younger DS really wants to go there too. I think he has a very good chance of passing as his brother as he is equally bright.

However I know from my eldest son's year that many children who "should have" easily passed who didn't and vice versa. I'm worried that if he doesn't pass he will somehow feel inferior to his big brother.

For background, we are in a opt out 11+ area so every child sits the exam so it is a very big deal here. People often say things like "I bet you will be going to school with your big brother" which although kindly meant makes me and him feel more under pressure.

We are not in a position to move out of the area so that is not a option. Neither is private school.

I'm really starting to worry about this as I have tried very hard to give my boys the same opportunities in life so far and would hate my younger boy not to have the same chance in life sad

What also make matters worse is I really dislike the school that younger DS would have to go to if he doesn't pass the 11+ and no, it's not because it's not a Grammar-I love the non Grammar in the next town along but we are out of catchment for that.

If anyone could give me any advice then I would be very grateful.

SoWhite Thu 07-Jan-16 20:16:08

Just go with the flow, don't stress now, and let him sit the exam.

If he gets in, great no problems.

If he doesn't, lay it on thick about different types of talents, and spend a hell of a lot of time encouraging the hobbies he is better than his brother at. Not as a competition, but as his own niche.

Kids can get their self esteem from many places. But not from competition with a sibling.

NotEnoughTime Thu 07-Jan-16 22:04:47

Thanks SoWhite.

I agree with the advice you have given me smile

tiggytape Thu 07-Jan-16 23:15:36

The time to really talk up the alternative school is before the school allocations are known else of course it all sounds a bit hollow.
Does the non-grammar have any good facilities, exciting trips, interesting clubs, a sport he likes? Maybe look on their website and try to talk about some of the positives in general terms and reassure him about people who do well there.
That way, if he doesn't pass, it will be genuine consolation. And if he does, he will at least be able to be positive with any friends who don't.

We live within commuting distance of superselective grammars where there is no sibling priority and the grammars only take the top few scorers from nearly 2000 children who apply.
As such lots of families with 2 or 3 equally bright siblings have only 1 child at grammar school (sometimes the oldest one who applied when application numbers were 'only' 1000 not 2000, sometimes it just seems luck on the day of the exam).
As such, people go to great lengths to push the idea that getting into grammar isn't the be all and end all, that the children at the non grammars still get great grades and still have the same opportunities. Hopefully you will find that is also the case for your region and your DS will feel that not so much hinges on it.

30somethingandticking Fri 08-Jan-16 09:24:43

I grew up in a family where this was the case. It was fine. Brother got pretty similar grades to me from his comp as I did from my grammar. He just matured later.

Neighbours currently have two at grammar and one at comp. All the kids and parents seem fine with it.

Dogwalks2 Fri 08-Jan-16 09:34:14

I've a few friends who have children st both schools. Is no doubt a sad time when a child doesn't get offered a place but in my experience that's short lived and all the siblings go on to enjoy their new school as much as the children that are at grammar schools

Branleuse Fri 08-Jan-16 10:00:31

Most people i know with a child in grammar school only have one who got in. Thats absolutely normal, and ive never known it to be a massive issue between siblings by itself.

Devilishpyjamas Fri 08-Jan-16 11:51:58

Happened here.

DS3 is more academic than ds1, brighter (IMO and that of the primary school teachers) and didn't pass the 11 plus (for the local superselective)whereas ds2 did. I think i was the only person who wasn't particularly surprised when he didn't pass.

I don't particularly like the grammar, and liked quite a few of he alternatives so bigging up others in advance wasn't an issue. We may have overdone that though because when we took ds3 out for a 'well done for working hard, never mind not getting in' brunch we ended up with ds2 having a right strop at us for sending him to 'a prison' grin He does actually like the school!

Anyway will find out which school ds3 has got on 1 March. 1st choice I'd be delighted with, and second and third are good as well. I also think it will do ds3 good to be a different school than his brother.

SoWhite Fri 08-Jan-16 12:04:39

Brother got pretty similar grades to me from his comp as I did from my grammar. He just matured later.

That could be just as much of a personality/gender thing, as a school thing.

cantmakesenseofthis Fri 08-Jan-16 12:15:56

Just thought I share this. I am one of five, two of us had private schooling, I attended grammar school and 2 state. I attended the state school and I can genuinely say that there was no fallout about the type of school we attended (lots of fallout about other things). My parents were very good at celebrating our successes and now as adults there is not much between us.

ErgonomicallyUnsound Fri 08-Jan-16 12:20:11

We are in a fully grammar area. DS is at a SS, Y5 DD is not academic and a grammar would be all wrong for her. She is, however, taking the 11+ as she wants to, as all her friends are and I don't want her turning round age 18 saying I never let her but I fully expect her not to pass and if she does we are in a right old mess.

I've identified a non selective that suits her, just have a year or so to persuade her it's the best school for her. It's hard when you have one v academic one and one not, just have to big up her other skills all the time.

Devilishpyjamas Fri 08-Jan-16 12:23:57

Oh my ds1 should say ds2.

Point being my academic child (the one I can see going into academia) DIDN'T get into the grammar, whereas my lazy bullshitter, wants to be an actor - did. Unfortunately the one who didn't get in is younger (easier if not following in footsteps I think).

EstuaryView Fri 08-Jan-16 13:03:26

I wouldn't even go down the 'different talents' route. The 11+ is a single snapshot in time. On a different day with a different test the 'pass' cohort would be quite different. It is tough to accept this at 11, especially if you are the younger one with a weight of expectation from whatever quarter. But as the alternative is to pull them from the exam, you just let them get on with it. And try not to get over-anxious yourself!

TheClacksAreDown Fri 08-Jan-16 13:15:45

I went to a grammar, my younger sibling didn't get in. I think roughly 30% of applicants got in. At primary school they'd always got sick of being compared to me as I was a very high achiever and whilst they're by no means dim, they weren't quite as smart or academic as me. They'd also had issues that had temporarily held back their learning so I don't think the 11+ reflected their potential well.

In our situation DSibling was pretty upset about the situation and was quite resentful of me for quite a long time. And I can absolutely get that, its a pretty big red flag from the education system that you're viewed as having less worth than your older sibling.

However our parents were fortunately able to get them a place in a decent non selective in the next town over. So whilst this wasn't what anyone wanted I don't think the outcome was too bad - DSibling didn't have another 7 years of being the mini (but lower performing) Clacks so was able to carve their own path and ultimately did reasonably well academically. Although given their personality type, I think they may have done better with the higher level of expectation and monitoring that my school had of us whereas I was more internally motivated.

jeanne16 Fri 08-Jan-16 13:17:49

It happened to friends of ours. Their DC1 got into a super selective after over a year of intensive tutoring. DC2 had even longer and more intensive tutoring but did not get in 2 years later. I would love to say it didn't matter but actually I think it did. I believe it knocked DC2s confidence. They then managed to get DC2 into quite a selective private school so that went some way to fix the problem.

Twowrongsdontmakearight Fri 08-Jan-16 13:23:11

Happens a lot here too. Friends have DC at 3 different schools.

Indantherene Fri 08-Jan-16 13:36:45

3 of mine took and passed the 11+. One didn't take it. He was happy in the High School he went to and joined the others at the Grammar for 6th form.

NotEnoughTime Fri 08-Jan-16 13:41:20

Thanks so much everyone for your very helpful views and comments flowers

I will take them all on board.

LaurieLemons Fri 08-Jan-16 13:51:53

It will be fine if you teach them that nobody is 'inferior' to anyone and that some people are better at different things. My brother went to a private school and I didn't and was always very up his own arse even as a kid, made me actually dislike him but I believe it was down to his mother and not the school itself, and if you DC are both academic I honestly don't think it will matter, they will both do great anyway smile

tiggytape Fri 08-Jan-16 13:57:24

I wouldn't even go down the 'different talents' route. The 11+ is a single snapshot in time. On a different day with a different test the 'pass' cohort would be quite different.
Yes I agree with this too knowing quite a few families who say the sibling who did not pass the 11+ was either as bright or brighter than their sibling who did.

Some year groups have more children competing for the places than others. Some children are better in formal exam conditions at age 10 than others. Some children find the ratio of maths to English to reasoning papers works in their favour (some grammars have reduced the weighting of maths or abolished reasoning tests for example which is better for some children but worse for others).
And some 10 year olds just have a headache on test day or get their answers out of sync with the tick boxes or have a wobble. It isn't an absolute measure of academic ability and isn't intended to be. It is a way of choosing 180 bright pupils from a pool containing more than 180 bright children.

Duckdeamon Fri 08-Jan-16 14:02:32

It's a competition between those sitting the tests on that day.

If you're really unhappy with the "secondary modern" fall-back option you'd need to move house sharpish!

Dandelionandburdock1 Fri 08-Jan-16 14:06:53

It happened to me, I took the 11+ and failed to get into a grammar school, 3 years later my sister passed and went to grammar. I know this was the other way around, but I can honestly say it didn't affect me. My parents praised my successes, I knew that my sister and I were different and had different "skills", and our parents were equally proud of us.

Ultimately as others have said, it's only a snapshot in time, and I went on to have a very successful and probably what would be Perceived as high flying career, my sister also but I was probably on 3x her salary so if you wanted to compare, I probably did better in the long run.

I've ended up having 3 children and she has none, she is happy with her life, I'm happy with mine. I think it's about seeing the bigger picture, also I was in the top streams at my school whereas if I'd gone to the grammar school I'm guessing Id have been in the bottom sets.

Going to different schools doesn't equal not having the same chances in life. They will both sit the same exams, they will continue to have the same opportunities and "failing" the 11+ doesn't predict future grades.

They will be fine and you sound like a great parent!

thisismypassword Fri 08-Jan-16 14:08:10

I am not putting my older daughter in for the exam for this very reason. If she got in and my younger daughter didn't the only thing that would not make me feel guilty would be private school and that's not an option. So we're not doing it at all. My dh got into grammar and his younger brother didn't. Their lives have turned out very differently and not for the best. Bil has always been under the shadow of dh. Bil couldn't leave home fast enough albeit into the arms of an inappropriate woman.

NotEnoughTime Fri 08-Jan-16 14:09:50

Thanks Laurie smile

I agree tiggy. The problem is I know that but I hope to be able to get it across to my son (in the event that he doesn't pass the exam) as I would hate for him to feel rubbish about himself. Friends of mine who grew up around here have told me how much not passing the 11+ made them feel at the time and for some they are still upset about it to this day sad (which is over 30 years ago!)

Devilishpyjamas Fri 08-Jan-16 14:58:11

I agree with tiggy.

We did a lot of 'it's an exam anything can happen' BEFORE the exam.

I would say that less-acedemically-bright-but-passed-the-11-plus ds2 is much more of a performer than ds3. DS3 worries a lot more about things and gets flustered, whereas ds2 performs better under pressure when he stops daydreaming for 5 seconds.

But also we had an awful lot going on with our eldest severely disabled son when ds3 was preparing for the 11 plus, which we did not have when ds2 was doing it. I made sure therefore that ds3 knew we were proud of him for even making it into the room. Ten minutes before his first paper we couldn't even get out the house because of issues with ds1, so ending up in the room giving it a go was an achievement.

You really have to ensure that they believe the other choices are equally as good BEFORE they go into the exam room. Ds3 was upset at not passing - for about 30 minutes, then he seemed to be a bit relieved and was delighted when granny said she'd take him to KFC to commiserate.

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