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anyone with experience of the GDST schools - question about leaving the 'system' after juniors.

(4 Posts)
DuchessOfWeaseltown Sun 21-Feb-16 20:29:57

We very much like a GDST school close to us and in many ways it is the ideal school for DD to attend as a junior (if she gets through on assessment!)

It has a wonderful atmosphere and speaking to current parents it doesn't seem at all the 'hothouse' I was anticipating.

However. DH and I are both idealogically wedded to co-education at senior level. Even if we change our minds about this I don't know that I feel comfortable with the idea of DD spending her ENTIRE school career from 4 to 18 on one site, at the same school. Even if we didn't feel she was suited to co-ed at 11 I think I would feel happier with a change of environment at 11.

The GDST school concerned say that about 15% of girls leave at 11, some to go to boarding schools or to super-selective state schools nearby. Or girls move out of area.

The question I have is - does anyone know how 'geared up' a GDST school would be to supporting a move to another (probably co-ed) school for Year 7, when the majority of girls are simply expected to move up from Year 6 to the senior school? I guess I'm not thinking so much of how well they would help them prepare for the 11+ assessments at other schools but more along the lines of the guidance they might give about which schools would make a good fit etc.

We do have a co-ed prep school that we are also considering which, I know, is very geared up to discussions with parents about which schools their child would fit best with, from about Year 5 onwards. I know from speaking to parents there that the head and the staff are very good at helping guide this tricky decision. they have no senior department so obviously their leavers' destinations are important.

However this second school (the co-ed) is much less ideal for other reasons, mostly distance and cost.

Does anyone know from experience whether or not a GSDT school might be good at guiding the decision to leave at 11+, or if we'd most likely be left very much to make decisions in the dark? Obviously by then we would be much more clued up about what would suit our daughter but it would be nice to know there would be some sort of guidance/advice from the school. But with a GDST school there may not be?

PettsWoodParadise Sun 21-Feb-16 20:52:16

DD joined a GDST school in Y3. We chose the school as DD wasn't thriving in an all ability school. Her school did nil support to transition to another school. I might add they 'expected' each child to progress to the senior school and made it 'awkward' to do anything different. I think they must have written a nice letter to an independent school we applied for as DD got a place (which we sadly can't afford, another story...) but beyond that is has been us doing all the hard work for grammar and eleven plus. The head gave me the time for a one to one meeting to discuss DD's future which and she was understanding that DD was just too academic to stay at a school which in a grammar area was competing for the brighter girls and also as the school DD had been attending the sporty ones seem to get the most attention. I will add that each school will have its own strengths and emphasis so my experience isn't necessarily the norm. DD will most likely be joining a SS grammar from September but that isn't with any obvious help from the current school. On the positives DD had an advantage as she is in top few of an already strong cohort. DD was co-ed to end of Y2 and the disruption and hair pulling she experienced was enough to put her off boys in the classroom right through to choosing her secondary school as one without boys.

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 22-Feb-16 12:51:09

my experience is very out of date but I went to a GDST school (or GPDST as it was then) and had a very positive experience. if we lived near one and had the money I would have liked my girls to go to one.

I never missed boys in the classroom I can assure you (was single sex education from 5-18) and there was always encouragement to do the subjects which were traditionally male.

When we were taking the 11+ there were a few the school felt might not pass it so their parents were told in time to allow them to consider other options and the school helped support this as well as helping the girls try and pass the 11+ to give them the choice.

Obviously it depends on the school and times have changed but we had girls leave at various times to go to boarding school, to move city or country or who were struggling to keep up as it was highly selective. I have kept in touch with some of these girls and they all seem very positive about their time there too.

DuchessOfWeaseltown Mon 22-Feb-16 19:14:08

Thanks so much Petts and nonickname!

Hugely appreciate the feedback.

I do have to say that my view of single sex versus co-ed has changed gradually over the last few years and it's perfectly possible we would end up deciding single sex was right for DD later down the line. Both DH and I were educated at co-ed schools and instinctively have been in favour of this, but I can totally see the benefits of single sex more than I could. I guess part of me fears bitchiness at a girls' school, which is probably silly of me in one sense as I was badly bullied (by girls) for a time at my co-ed school so it can happen anywhere!!! I think probably that from a purely 'educational' position, girls learn better in single sex schools, and boys likewise. I would never have said this 10 years ago!

Main thing is that I really like the GDST school near us and I'd in no way be unhappy if DD were to continue there for her entire school career.

Thanks for the advice again - much appreciated!

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