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Has anyone else got a bright 10-year-old who......

(23 Posts)
countrylady Tue 15-Jun-04 10:19:50

doesn't want, and refuses to contemplate, trying for a place at our local grammar school? Our dd is doing well at school and is in top sets for maths and English but, recently, has lacked confidence. Most of her friends who are doing well have tutors now and are preparing for the 11+ which they will sit in the autumn. However, our dd says she is quite happy with the local comprehensive school. She doesn't like too much homework and prefers sport to reading or academic work, even though she is very good at these. But I can't help feeling very disappointed, and that she is wasting her talents and will regret it later. Also, I feel left out. All the other parents I know at her primary school are talking about tutors, exams etc except me. Has this situation happened to anyone else? I wonder what we did wrong that she doesn't seem to have the enthusiasm she once did.

Tissy Tue 15-Jun-04 10:37:20

do you have a problem with the comprehensive, countrylady? I personally don't think it's right to "cram" a 10 year old- if she's that bright she'll surely pass the 11+ without extra tutoring?

My dd is not at primary school yet, but I have a colleague whose daughter is going to secondary school this Autumn. She is very bright, but chose the local comp. because it has a good girl's football team, and music lessons. If your daughter has decided what she wants, and why, and there are no major concerns with the secondary school, then I'd go with her decision.

Tissy Tue 15-Jun-04 10:38:24

There was an Archers plot about just this subject not too long ago....

spacemonkey Tue 15-Jun-04 10:42:17

imo she is more likely to do well if she is in a school that caters for her needs, likes and strengths - it sounds to me as if she would be unhappy at an academically pushy school. If she's happy with the comprehensive school, what's the problem!

Tinker Tue 15-Jun-04 10:46:25

countrylady - Is she effortlessly top of the class? She may be aware that schooling comes easily to her but assumes it may be more demanding in a grammar school. She may prefer to be a big fish in a small pond. If she prefers sport is she, maybe, quite competitive? She may only feel confident about doing something she knows she can certainly win. Plus, she may want to be with some of the people who are going to teh local comp?

countrylady Tue 15-Jun-04 14:21:09

Thank you for taking the time to reply. The answers have made me feel a bit reassured. The local comprehensive gets good GCSE results, in fact it is well above the national average. Our dd would have friends going to either of the local schools. I may sound a snob, but some of the students I see each day coming out of the local comprehensive seem rather brash, eg smoking, shouting, swearing. Now not all, by any means, are like that, but I fear she might be led astray and see a poor attitude to work compared with the grammar school. I worry that she might not be encouraged to fulfil her potential career-wise, but just 'get by'. It's hard to get her to give reasons for her choice but, Tinker, I think you may have summed it nicely with your "big fish in a small pond" description! Yes, again Tinker, you almost sound as if you know her! She only feels confident if she is sure she will win. Tests often stress her. Usually, she is fairly effortlessly top of the class and more mature than many in her year-group. I feel she may be wasting her talents by not going to grammar school, where they have very high expectations of their students.

Toothache Tue 15-Jun-04 14:28:23

Countrylady - I have friends who went to very posh schools and I have friends who didn't. The only one I know who has excelled academically went to the not-so-good school.

My first serious boyfriend went to a Private School, very expensive and highly reputable. He was also the guy that supplied any student with hash if they wanted it.

Why can she not excel at the Comprehensive? Surely it's the same curriculum nationally anyway??

I'm honestly trying not to be offended by this, but it's difficult and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Doctors/Lawyers/Architects etc etc are products of Comprehensive schools too. I'm sorry you feel so strongly that children who attend Comprehensive schools are somehow all going to lag behind.

Flip Tue 15-Jun-04 14:35:28

My sister was given the opportunity to sit an entrance exam to the best grammar school around here but it was my parents who refused it for her. In hindsight it was the best thing they did. My sister is very clever and got high results but she also had a break down, wouldn't go to school and ended up taking AD's because of the pressure she put on herself to suceed. I actually finished higher education before she did and she's two years older than me. She needed time out and she was very depressed.

I was left to amble along at my own pace and while everyone else was cramming for their GCSE's I was reading a Nancy Drew book. I got good results and I'm much happier with my life than my sister is with hers.

ds1 won't read at home but he can read and when he wants to he's excellent. But I never push him and insist he reads. I hope I can carry that on all the way through his school life. So it's a happy time at school.

foxinsocks Tue 15-Jun-04 14:37:44

she's only asking a question toothache...we all want what's best for our kids and as countrylady doesn't have anyone in a secondary school yet maybe she doesn't have any experiences of them.

I don't have a 10 year old but I know children who have excelled at both grammar and comprehensive schools. If you are worried about how she would do at the comp, could you go and ask what provision they have for more able children? As Tinker says, is there another reason she may not want to go to the grammar school?

In the end, there's no harm in her sitting the exam and taking a position after she's done it but perhaps getting a bit more familiar with the comp school first hand (i.e. speaking to the teachers) will ease some of your fears.

Toothache Tue 15-Jun-04 14:40:23

Foxinsocks - Jeeeeso And I was only answering! I just was saddened by the fact that she has such a low opinion of Comprehensive schooling.

foxinsocks Tue 15-Jun-04 14:44:32

I wasn't having a go toothache! Honest!

Toothache Tue 15-Jun-04 14:47:44

Must be the heat and the hormones... I'm a bit tetchy.

Countrylady - Why do you think she wouldn't be able to excel at a Comp? Is it purely to do with the children you see cming and going from it? She will be exposed to smoking etc etc whatever school she goes to. There will always be rebels. But she sounds very sensible and intelligent and I'm sure she'll choose her friends carefully.

foxinsocks Tue 15-Jun-04 14:53:50

what I should have said toothache is that it seems a shame to get offended as its good to hear everyone's views without getting tetchy so I didn't mean to get your back up! (digging a hole here a bit but I hope you get my drift because I've got to get to school now!)

countrylady Tue 15-Jun-04 14:55:07

Toothache, I do not have a low opinion of comprehensive schoolong per se. If you re-read my entries, I said "may" and "might" not reach her full potential.Of course, they are not "all going to lag behind". I do not think this nor did I say it. As Foxinsocks kindly said, I was only worried and asking a question, and describing what I have seen and heard near our home. Like every parent, I want my dd to be happy and reach her full potential. Choosing a secondary school is a difficult time for many people, myself included. In our area, 8 children try for every 1 place in grammar school, and pay a considerable amount of money for private tuition. I am sorry if I caused offence to anyone. None was intended.

Toothache Tue 15-Jun-04 14:58:13

Countrylady - She *may* or *might* not reach her potential equally at a Grammar.... that's all I'm trying to get across, especially if she doesn't want to go there. Obviously if it's a case that the particular comp. school has a bad education record then that's a different matter entirely.

Like I said.... hormones and the heat are making me tetchy.

Piffleoffagus Tue 15-Jun-04 15:01:26

Golly... If she isn't wanting to, the you really need to check out the comprehensive to make sure it offers her a good chance too.
If she joined the grammar and under achieved as she was unhappy, that would be more of a waste, whereas if she is happy in the comp, then so long as it caters for bright kids, then she should achieve as highly as she could at any school...

Oddly we are moving to a county with grammar school system (Lincs) from Hants, but looks like DS will sit 11+ here as he is yr5 now... due to hosue sales being slowed up etc... I have never thought about the reverse side to it, but then my son does not have the friends and background...
Tough decision

Tinker Tue 15-Jun-04 15:18:23

countrylady - I recognised myself at the same age and the same dilemma my parents went through.

elliott Tue 15-Jun-04 15:29:09

tinker/countrylady - I also saw myself in the post parents put me in for the local independent school when I was 11, but they did it in a very low key way - no tutoring, they just told me the night before the exam that I was going to do it! I wasn't AT ALL keen on the idea of going to a girl's school, I wanted to go where all my friends and brothers had gone. I took the test, got a place but fortunately my parents decided to go with what I wanted....I did just fine at the local comp
Maybe the idea of tutoring is putting your dd off? It just makes it sound like such a big deal and if she's not confident, pressure and possible fear of failure will probably be a complete turn off for her.
Research evidence shows that bright kids tend to do just as well wherever they are....try to have confidence in your daughter and I'm sure she will too. And please don't make any decisions based on feeling 'left out' and doing something different from what others are doing - this should be about what's best for your dd, what YOUR friends think and do are not relevant here.

tallulah Tue 15-Jun-04 17:35:50

countrylady, has your DD actually been to visit the grammar school? We went through a very similar situation & my v stroppy 10/11 yo DD was adamant she wasn't going to the grammar. Then we went to visit & she chatted to the Head & completely changed her mind... She was worried about it being an all-girls school & the uniform & other really silly things that she hadn't even mentioned. (She hadn't realised that they had a girls football team)

Unfortunately for us, by the time she realised that actually she DID like the school, it was too late & the primary Head wouldn't recommend her (v long story). She ended up at a private school & did very well.

I do understand your dilema. It may be worth having a quiet word to see what her expectation of secondary school is & whether she has any worries about the grammar school that she hasn't expressed which aren't to do with the work. Also arrange to visit both schools & take her along so that you can both get a feel for which one would suit her best. Good luck!

(& I wouldn't worry about a tutor as she is in top sets)

AussieSim Tue 15-Jun-04 18:19:02

My half-sister is v bright, when she was about 10 she was offered a scholarship to a really good school, but opted to stay in the crap school she was planning to go to in order to stay by her friends. I was devastated but her mother defended her choice saying that bright kids had been able to get good results in said crap school.

8 years later half-sister has started uni, having got great marks in her final year of school and getting into the course she wanted. Soooo all will not be lost if my sister is anything to go by.

I'd just be careful that she isn't shying away from excelling academically due to peer pressure or unwanted attention (even from family).

polly28 Tue 15-Jun-04 23:37:59

Countrylady,myy dd is in year seven at hte local comp and we went through exactly the same thing.She was in the top extended sets for maths and english all through junior school without really trying.We asked if she'd like to go to the grammar but she wasn't interested.Various reasons put her off; friends going to comp
longer travel to school hence friends being a drive away instead of in local neighbourhood
didn't relish the presumed extra pressure.

She has been at the local comp and is really challenged there.she is in al the top sets but is not top of the class so there is plenty of bright kids to keep the motivation.
I was a bit worried that she would get in with the wrong crowd but she seems to hang around with likeminded kids ,some bright,some average.Life is full of different folks and she has enjoyed the varied kids at the school .It is a well thought of comp with good results and a thriving sixth form.
I have friends with kids at the local grammar that were not the brightest at the junior school,they are staggerd at the amount of homework the local school gives and impressed generally.
The kids that hang around looking tough and smoking are in the minority.GIve your dd the trust that she will do well wherever she goes.

bobs Wed 16-Jun-04 00:18:57

Have you tried showing her round the grammar school? My dd flatly refused to contemplate any other school but the local on till I took her round another one - just to see it. Now she really really wants to go to that one

robinw Wed 16-Jun-04 07:23:51

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