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Which school for DD? Opinions gratefully recieved.

(30 Posts)
ScrabblingFuriously Wed 24-Feb-16 14:37:41

DD is in Y5 and we live in a grammar area. She wants to take the 11+ in September so we are working with her to help her, and ensure she has the same opportunities as her elder brother. She isn't as "academic" as her brother, she finds learning new things a challenge, especially maths, and her spelling is not good. She is however, good at literacy and off the scale good at NVR. She's fairly quiet and values her female friendships greatly. She's also quite musical, plays three instruments and is in two bands.

I'm not sure grammar is right for her, even if she did manage to pass the test. I'm not sure she'd keep up. I do think a girls only environment would suit her much better, she has a strong preference for girls only environments and always has. Grammars are all single sex.

The non selective options are tricky. The closest academy is mixed and recently reviewed by OFSTED as RI. I've visited it three times and dislike it intensely. Her primary friends who don't pass will mostly go here.

The other academy I'd have to drive her to each day, which I don't really want to do as I want to work longer hours once she's at secondary. It's mixed and its OFSTED is good, as are its exam results, for a non selective.

My favoured option is a girls only non selective. Good Ofsted, good exam results, nice feeling, can see DD fitting in there. Problems are that its not close - it's either a 50 minute bus ride or two trains and a long walk - and she wouldn't know anyone else going there. For this reason she's very, very anti it.

Private not an option.


Alwayssunny Wed 24-Feb-16 14:40:38

Move house

ScrabblingFuriously Wed 24-Feb-16 14:42:08

Doesn't work for DS, he's at a fantastic school and I don't want him moved.

Partron Wed 24-Feb-16 14:43:12

Pick the one that has the best school band smile

Alwayssunny Wed 24-Feb-16 14:43:35

I wouldn't want that commute. It's a killer as an adult let alone a kid with homework or after school clubs etc plus all her mates would be miles away too.

So go with the local better non selective I guess?

ScrabblingFuriously Wed 24-Feb-16 14:46:47

The local better non selective means I don't get any life back as she can't get there using public transport from where we live, and it's mixed, which isn't what I want either. Aaaargh.

Partron Wed 24-Feb-16 14:51:49

I had a hour and 15 minute commute on a bus as a child and it was hellish.

Lucsy Wed 24-Feb-16 14:56:49

Let her sit the grammar test.
I have a very academic son who is in the grammar and I thought he would be average when he got there. He isn't. He's right at the top.
Dd also passed very easily and I'm sure she will be more average than her brother at grammar.
In short the standard isn't as high as I thought it was, and my children were brighter than I thought they were. It was just that I was comparing Dd to ds and he is off th scale bright

Summertimeinthecity Wed 24-Feb-16 14:57:14

I wouldn't give up on the grammar options.My daughter scrapped in my the skin of her teeth and is now doing much better than many of her classmates who got much higher marks in the 11+.My son who was one of the highest in his year group is very much middle of the road in his grammar school.I think hard work wins out in the end.Girls do much better in single sex and it sounds like it would suit your DD.Which part of the country are you in?PM me if you like is your daughter in a state school at the moment?

Happymummy007 Wed 24-Feb-16 14:58:39

Your comment "I don't get any life back" jarred slightly with me. Could you not put your career on hold until your DC don't need you to ferry them around - be that school or whatever? I'm sure that your DC are your priority, rather than your job.

Summertimeinthecity Wed 24-Feb-16 15:05:03

This is an unhelpful coment,part of growing up is starting to make your own way to school and learning to organize yourself.I think it's very clear how much of a devoted mum th OP is Happymum

Happymummy007 Wed 24-Feb-16 15:07:25

Apologies - I absolutely didn't mean to offend. I did also comment that I was sure that OP's DC were her priority which I certainly do not question.

willconcern Wed 24-Feb-16 15:08:14

Could you not put your career on hold until your DC don't need you to ferry them around - be that school or whatever? I'm sure that your DC are your priority, rather than your job.

FFS. I find this "jars" with me - how insulting.

willconcern Wed 24-Feb-16 15:11:51

I think it was the tone that came across - you sounded rather patronising. It jarred with me Happymummy because I CANNOT put my career "on hold" while my DCs need me to "ferry them around". I am a single parent. If I have no job, I have no money, and my DCs would have no home.

willconcern Wed 24-Feb-16 15:13:56

Sorry to derail. OP - in your shoes, I think I'd put everything into trying to help DD get through the 11 plus. Can her current school help with whether they expect she would pass or not?

I'd also visit all the other schools with your DD - she may get a different vibe in them to you perhaps?

ScrabblingFuriously Wed 24-Feb-16 15:59:41

Yes there's some selfishness on my part there - I am aware of that. I hadn't thought I'd need to "put my career on hold" for 21 years! Pre School yes, primary a bit but secondary - really?! I'm not talking about working FT, just until 3 or 4pm!

State all the way here for both children, primary and secondary.

I take the points about the 11+ and am aware of comparisons to DS being odious, not least because he's old in the year and DD is August (and there is hardly any differentiation in age standardisation in the test these days). He's at a SS, I'd be looking for a scrape into a "normal" grammar for DD but even worry that this may be a stretch too far, and as her self esteem isnt especially high, I'd worry she would feel like she's scraping along at the bottom. But then another part of me thinks she may be one of those kids that blossoms at 13/14.

Appreciate all the views.

howabout Wed 24-Feb-16 16:52:41

In your shoes I would push the 11+.

DD2 was not in the primary top set for Maths because she could not be bothered to learn times tables and addition facts. She is now top of her year for Maths and science at secondary. She is an atrocious speller but has always been really good at close reading and creative writing and is excelling at secondary. DD2 has also grown up in the shadow of DD1 who is a driven overachiever, perhaps a bit like your DS. I suspect that your DD being so good at NVR may well indicate that you have a late developer like mine who will thrive in an academic environment. I also suspect you may be underestimating your DD as I have been known to do this with DD2 as I don't want to push her to be like her sister when they are so different.

(caveat - I am glad I don't live in a grammar school area and both my DDs are thriving at the local comp. If all the academic DC were being taken by a grammar then I do not think they would be)

FlatOnTheHill Wed 24-Feb-16 17:02:10

Why cant your DD go to a mixed school. Why at her age does she preference girls only environments. I think it would do her good to be mixing with the opposite sex. You say she is shy. All a good reason to get her mixing more to bring her out of shell.
I would continue towards 11+ and see how it all goes. The option with the 50 min journey would be a no no for me.

FlatOnTheHill Wed 24-Feb-16 17:05:37

OP by the way. You sound a lovely mum. Ignore some of the silly comments. Secondary school is a good time for you to increase your hours and start doing things for you. I leave work at 4pm, it works well.

SavoyCabbage Wed 24-Feb-16 17:20:42

Have you exhausted all of the public transport options for the 'other academy' that you would have to drive her to with the good ofsted?

PerspicaciaTick Wed 24-Feb-16 17:31:14

DD has a longer commute than the OP's DD would have, and she has taken in her stride (and rather enjoys the time with her friends).
Very few of the girls had existing friends from primary moving with them to secondary - so they have been very good at making new friends. In fact friendship groups seem much closer knit and more stable than the nightmare that Y6 turned into.
There are lots of chances for the musically inclined to get more involved.
I think it sounds like the OPs DD would potentially really enjoy the grammar option provided she can keep up academically. There isn't much point pushing her beyond her abilities with lots of tutoring, but if she passes the exam then she has pretty much proven her abilities.
The problem seems to be the plan B if she refuses to try for the grammar, or if she doesn't get a place.

ScrabblingFuriously Wed 24-Feb-16 19:05:37

DD is happiest and most confident in a girl only setting. She has plenty of exposure to boys through her brother and his friends. I don't think it would be of benefit to her to be with boys at school.

Re transport options for the other academy. She could get a bus but I'd have to drive her a few miles to the bus stop, by which time I might just as well have driven her to school. There aren't any trains.

Twowrongsdontmakearight Wed 24-Feb-16 19:41:31

I'd ask her to give the Grammar a go. DS and DD both go to our local Grammars as did plenty that were not in top set maths. All were tutored in Y5 though. Can I second what a pp said, not everyone at the Grammars is super bright. Those that need a bit more support in maths are in a very small group and get close attention so maths shouldn't be a worry.

Like your DD, my DD chose to be all girls too. I'm glad she did as she's focussing on work and there doesn't seem to be the silliness in front of the boys that some of her old friends at the mixed schools are experiencing.

PettsWoodParadise Wed 24-Feb-16 21:02:20

Re the comment about standardisation. I just want to correct the assumption that not much is done. In the Bexley test they do make a great differentiation to the extent some September borns I knew who were used to being ahead didn't pass. Likewise some who were July/August who were open minded about the result, giving it a good go found a positive result. The raw scores Bexley supplied showed quite a difference in what was required for a September and an August born.

My philosophy throughout the process was to keep as many reasonable doors open as possible so we had as many good choices as possible and that has held us in good stead. We never said to DD that one school was better than another. She was however motivated (by identifying with the girls at the open day) to try for one school over the others.

ScrabblingFuriously Wed 24-Feb-16 21:07:05

Bexley maybe. Not everywhere, not where I am. Don't get me started on it! It's boils my blood, I've done a fair amount of research on it in my area and the number of Sep/Oct borns taking the test vs the number of Jul/Aug borns is shocking reading.

I know no non top table summer borns that pass, but many "average" autumn borns.

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