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Fish and ponds - big/small? Moving to secondary

(7 Posts)
Habanera Thu 16-May-13 22:59:46

Experienced parents- what is better for DC who are at the top of their primary class when moving to secondary? To continue to be at the top or to have to step up a gear to keep up with new peers? What personalities suit the different circumstances? If you have been through it and could do it over, might you decide differently?

herladyship Thu 16-May-13 23:06:27

dd was streets ahead at primary (only one doing level six sats, always top of class in tests)

She's gone to a very competitive secondary where she is probably in top third academically & she is thriving.. I think she feels under a lot less pressure & enjoys not being expected to always be getting the top mark!

She's developed socially so much since September & seems more confident smile

pointythings Wed 22-May-13 20:41:26

DD1 has thrived on this. She is in Yr7, the school doesn't actually set until Yr8 but classes are grouped by ability. There are two top ability classes in her year group (total of 8 in Yr7) and she is in the top 5% of hers, but does have to really work to stay there. She says she feels more at ease being in the company of children like her, getting work that suits her abilities and actually finding some things tough.

DD2 is still in primary (Yr5) and she is one of only four children working three years ahead of age. The school does cater for her and her group very well indeed, but she's like to be part of a larger group - as it stands, she is aware that in some ways she is different, and her classmates know it too.

Habanera Fri 24-May-13 06:39:47

Thanks for the replies. Our situation is complicated by DD1 in year 8 at the local comp, "outstanding" but our experience hasn't been anything but! She wanted to go with her friends from primary and turned down a chance to apply for a grammar (part selective). She hated year 7 but doesn't want to move or leave her new friends. She is cross that I don't want her sister to go there. But she has had zero challenge for two years in several areas especially English language, DD2s passion, and endless trouble with bullies and disruptive behaviour.

Theas18 Fri 24-May-13 10:28:00

Dunno. Depends on the child I think and how much their self esteem hangs on academic competition. My 3 I think get self esteem from external sources (musical).

DD1 went from in the top 2 at primary, to grammar with her best mate ( the other of the top 2!) and they just continued to be at the top, fighting for the class prize etc! Nothing changed LOL

DS we rarely knew how he was doing (he didn't really, well care isn't the right word, but comparison with peers, except in rugby didn't bother him). He went from top 2 or 3 at primary to.... dunno from year 7-11 to top few in year 12 where he's started benchmarking himself again. But he's been happy which is what matters.

DD2 know's exactly where she is I'm sure and it's again fighting for top but she plays it cool LOL

I know other kids that were peers of DD1 and DS who went along the comp route and were much much happier to be at the top all the time there than they would being middling /bottom at grammar. Parents " devastated" etc when they didn't get in but they have done OK and rejoined grammar at 6th form with a better level of self esteem and coped well/gone to uni etc

I also know some kids who have had a miserable school career at grammar, hanging on by their finger nails. one mate of DD1 especially. She is now studying medicine in Bulgaria because she didn't get a UK place on 2 rounds of applications. I do hope it works out for her, but I don't know if she's happy (and what quality a Bulgarian medical degree from a non central university will be ??

Theas18 Fri 24-May-13 10:37:06

Caveat dunno of my kids are G+T - by definition in a super selective I guess they are but when they were in primary there wasn't G+T labelling or provision, infact even " shall we sit her for grammar" was almost a whispered behind the bikesheds conversation as school wasn't allowed t promote the selective route LOL

lljkk Fri 24-May-13 13:34:07

I think I would decide this on the basis of other criteria. So if I had a child prone to social anxiety, smaller school = better (probably). If I had a child who loved clubs and lots of diverse opportunities, then bigger = better. In other words, I honestly can't envision deciding this purely on the basis of brains. A clever kid will probably do well at a school where they are otherwise happy for other reasons.

What OP said about the DD1's school having poor provision in the DD2's passion subject is a strong reason to not send DD2 to same school as the DD1.

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