Do I move my son or not?(8 Posts)
My 14 year old DS passed 11+ and got a place in a good boys grammar school locally. Since then he has had a lot of organisational difficulties and has struggled generally, although he is very happy go lucky. Recently, at the school's request, he has been examined by an Educational Psychologist because of his organisational problems and the fact that he is better orally than in tests. He may have mild dyspraxia and will get extra time in exams (in whatever school he goes to). Now it has come time to choose GSCEs and he can't do at least 2 of the subjects he wanted to do, and as a possible solution the school have said he can do drama GCSE after school (which he would like) and have one subject less during school, when he would either have one to one help or go to the study room. A place is available in a good comprehensive a lot further away but with very good transport links, where he could do his chosen subjects. Is it wise to consider moving a child at this stage? He is really keen to move and would love a fresh start. He has a few good friends whom he could still meet socially.
Moving comes with its own issues, some unforeseen, and travelling is tiring. The school's offer makes it sound as though they are accommodating and supportive. I wonder which GCSEs he is unable to do? Are they very important to him? Will he want to do them at A Level?
The only phrase in your post which would make me think moving might be a reasonable idea is the one where you say he wants a fresh start which suggests there might be other issues bothering him at school.
if he can't do the subjects he wants to do, and he himself wants to move, then move him. Don't get sidetracked by the grammar/comprehensive snobbery issues. Is the new school more able now to provide what he wants and needs? if so, it's a no-brainer, just move him
The GSCEs he can't do are ICT (which apparently you can do for A level without GSCE but I think he'd find that hard) and RE. This would be an A level possiblity, but realistically, he will probably not get good enough grades to stay in his grammar school for A levels.
Instead he would have to do Art (which he is not particularly good at) and Drama after school. On top of that, his grammar school makes Learning for Life and Work a compulsory GSCE but in the other school he could do PE instead, which he'd love. The school has been very good with him, e.g. his maths teacher will email me particular revision topics he needs to work on. (He detests this and I think he has stopped trying at school.) The teachers recognise that he behaves well and has good support at home, so they are very patient with his disorganisation. He says that he is not much good at anything, and there are loads of boys who hate him so he would like chance to begin again. He would be the only pupil in his year with the one to one help thing, and doesn't really want to be different. He is the smallest in his year of 70 boys. The Comprehensive has girls too, and I have a feeling he would try a bit harder there. But it is a very difficult decision to make.
At 14, do you listen to your child and let him decide, even if he turns out to regret it, or do you take the lead?
Have you had a talk to his form tutor or Head of Year? I would want to discuss this with the people who teach him and know him academically. I would also discuss this with the new school's Head of Year. They will also know
Art is hard if you are not keen on it and very time consuming. You can do RE A Level without having done it at GCSE, but that isn't really your point is it? It seems as though the issues are broader than GCSE choices really. I've moved children quite a bit due to regular relocation. I would have preferred not to do it but if he wants to move then it will be easier. The only thing I would say is that you always take yourself with you! Difficulties you have don't disappear in a different setting - sadly.
I expect you are hoping though that the wider range of abilities in a comprehensive will make him realise he is not a poor student and you might be right. Comprehensives are used to supporting a wide range of needs. Special needs support for his dyspraxia might be stronger in a comp, but you would need to check that and if he passed his 11+, I doubt he will be deemed to need much or any. Are you sure about not being able to do A levels? Perhaps you are being a bit pessimistic?
I think you sound as if you would like to move him really and if you like what you know about the new school then you could move him if you feel he isn't happy where he is, which is the most important thing. Good luck.
PS, re A levels - ICT at GCSE might be very different to what you expect. It seems to be using ICT to do marketing projects and things and I can easily believe that if he uses it otherwise, he could go straight to A level.
Thanks, you've given me lots to think about. Down deep, I am reluctant to move him from a good school that I know to one that sounds good but really I don't know a lot about. However, I think at 14 years old, it might give him a sense of empowerment to be allowed to make this choice, and it might give him fresh impetus to give school a bit more effort.
I don't think he'll get as much extra help in a comprehensive, because if he hadn't been in a grammar school I don't think his special needs would have been considered special at all. His reading and numerical operations are high average, but his processing speed is low so he has trouble with complex questions and oral instructions don't stick at all. The thing is, the teachers in his school know him and make him write things down, and then hold him accountable. I am a bit afraid that in a new school he'll slide somewhat to find a comfortable level, but if this makes him fulfilled is it worth it?
If he wont get the grades to do A levels at the grammer then I think you should move him if you like the other school. I think the idea of letting a 14 year old chose is very difficult my 13 year old has to chose one from three modern languages and Ancient Greek. I favour the former he favours the later its really hard to know what to for the best; let him decide or me. In my heart of hearts I suppose that as it's them that have to live with the decisions then we should let them decide.
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