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Panicking... DS's new (independent) school for Sept got worse A level grades this year than last year....

(27 Posts)
NormaSnorks Fri 19-Aug-11 14:06:27

DS1 got two scholarship offers last year. One was 20% from school A, which seemed pleasant, 'up and coming'. but was a 35 minute bus journey away in a neighbouring town.

He also got a fixed amount scholarship (about 8%) from our local independent school 'B' which is a 10 minute walk and very much at the heart of our local community. He knows loads of people going here.

Up until last year the academics/ A level results seemed very similar between the two schools (although we also heard rumours that school A was focussing on key areas etc).

Despite the financial incentive of the scholarship at A, he/we chose school B for this September.

This year's A level results set the two schools really far apart shock. School B's results are slightly down on last year. About 14% of pupils got A* grades. About 60% were A*/A.

School A had 32% A* grades and about 75% A*/A grades - a massive leap from last year.

Now I'm thinking 'oh f*ck' what have we done? DS is academically very bright, and how I'm wondering if we've chosen the wrong school....

Words of wisdom please.....

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Fri 19-Aug-11 14:07:45

Results go up and down. You can't really base your judgment on one year.

AMumInScotland Fri 19-Aug-11 14:12:31

If 14% of pupils got A* grades, and your DS is very academic, then there is no reason at all to think the school won't push him to get an A* when the time comes. If nobody was getting decent results, then you'd wonder what had happened, but as said above, results will vary from one year to the next, as a different group of children will get different results.

Chances are that school A got a particularly academic bunch of pupils that year, and thats what you are seeing in the results.

If you are worried, you could also look at their GCSE results for the past few years - if there was a higher number of good marks 2 years ago, you can bet that was the same yeargroup coming through and it has very little to do with the school or the teaching.

NormaSnorks Fri 19-Aug-11 14:13:50

No, I know, I suppose the thing that's worrying me now is the trend..... School A has been going up for the last 3-4 years, and school B seems to be plateauing/ going down!

We also have DS2 who is due to go to senior school in two years. DH says if we're not happy with school B ay that point, we will try to get DS2 into school A, and switch DS1 at 13+ shock

EdithWeston Fri 19-Aug-11 14:15:41

One year's figures reflect the cohort - you looked at their performance as part of making the choice, they were both OK.

Try not to worry - both are high performing, and your DS will do his best at the school he "fits" best. That's the most important bit, and that's not changed.

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Fri 19-Aug-11 14:16:55

If your DS is clever he will do well if he feels comfortable in that environment. Don't change him if he's doing well, regardless of the results of the school. It's his own results which matter, surely?

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Fri 19-Aug-11 14:17:06

And don't panic!

NormaSnorks Fri 19-Aug-11 14:17:48

Neither school is 'bad' - both are in Top 100 in the country, but I guess I'll feel a bit stupid if it's going to cost us more to send DS to a 'worse' school sad

Our reasoning was that they looked very similar academically, and we felt it would be better for him to be with his friends, in our home town, and able to walk to school etc.

AMumInScotland Fri 19-Aug-11 14:25:14

Honestly, if both are in the top 100 academically, then you are worrying about nothing. Your child will be in an environment where academic success is seen as normal and expected, and he will be encouraged to reach his potential, at either of them.

Your reasons for picking this school are just as valid as they were when you made the choice - local friends, and short distances will be better for him, and what is better for him will help him to do well.

swedie Fri 19-Aug-11 14:25:27

You could be talking about the school my husband teaches at. His school's overall results were down

Lcy Fri 19-Aug-11 14:27:12

I think being with your friends, in your home town, walking to school are all incredibly important things and will no doubt contribute to his overall happiness and this is likely to impact positively on his work. Life isn't all about exam results.

Lcy Fri 19-Aug-11 14:28:01

Crossed posts MuminScotland smile

swedie Fri 19-Aug-11 14:28:18

You could be talking about the school my husband teaches at, which is also a private school. His school's overall results were down on last years. The school knew this would happen as the previous years students were academically better and worked harder than this years. I wouldnt worry about 1 years results and would think about all the added benefits of school b.

NormaSnorks Fri 19-Aug-11 14:31:27

Thanks - yes- of course, you're right......

I think I'm probably just feeling a bit wobbly about it as I really preferred school A, but DH and DS were dead keen on school B. DH 'commuted' to school and hated it - he felt it really affected his school/social life.

A couple of DS's old school friends are going to school A, and I guess I'm not looking forward to having the parents crowing about how fantastic their chosen school's results are this year, and 'what a shame' school B's are down etc sad.

baskingsharkwontbite Fri 19-Aug-11 14:36:45

School A was offering a big financial advantage to you and your BRIGHT child. I would guess they have done that for a number of years and effectively creamed off the local v bright kids who might otherwise have gone to B.

B's results are still very, very good and you have sound reasons for picking that school. Have faith in your decision. Picking schools on the basis of what you or your friends could 'crow' about would be a really, really bad reason btw.

AMumInScotland Fri 19-Aug-11 14:45:02

If DS was keen on B, then I think that has to be the casting vote between two good schools, whatever the exact details of their results. If he has "bought into" the idea of school B, then he will do better there than being told he has to go to a different school, because it is his choice.

And if his friends parents crow, well that tells you all you need to know about them doesn't it!

NormaSnorks Fri 19-Aug-11 16:10:07

Thank you! This is exactly the sort of sensible advice I needed.... smile

Actually, yes, I will be quite glad to get rid of the 'crowing' parent set by going to a different school !!

Munashe Fri 19-Aug-11 19:20:00

Why dont you wait and see how they perform at GCSE next week? Thats a far better measurement of how a school does because in some schools there is a lot of movement at 6th form. There are indies known to take in lots of bright kids (even from far eastern countries) at A level simply to boost their results whereas GCSE shows their own cohort from the start.

Giselle99 Fri 19-Aug-11 20:02:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ladymuck Fri 19-Aug-11 20:05:44

I agree that looking at the GCSE results will give you a much better indication than A levels, especially as many indie schools "buy in" very bright students at 6th form and will have lost weaker pupils at the end of GCSE. Wait until next week.

If the 2 schools start with C and R, then bear in mind that C does have more pupils in the 6th form, and takes in some v bright overseas boarders at this stage. Also far more C pupils sat maths/further maths and physics which tended to nationally have higher A* rates anyway.

NormaSnorks Fri 19-Aug-11 20:48:16

Ladymuck - I'm intrigued... how did you guess at the school beginning with R & C?

<Peers over shoulder for stalker>

grin

Ladymuck Fri 19-Aug-11 21:26:48

You're not the only parent tracking those schools... So not stalking you per se, but I'm familiar with the results.

NormaSnorks Fri 19-Aug-11 21:43:10

LadyMuck - ah, I see!

You make good points about the numbers of pupils and also the subjects....

R is about to open its new science block this year, which I think will raise the bar in that area in years to come.

I'm feeling much more calm about it now .... remembering all the reasons why we chose school B in the first place....

I'll let you know how we get on!

Ladymuck Fri 19-Aug-11 22:31:17

I got the impression that both schools had a certain amount of movement at 6th form. At this stage it is the GCSEs which are the more important, and I suspect that the gap, if any, will be less there.

Warlock Sat 20-Aug-11 00:47:05

Kids are not tins of beans and year groups will vary. Of greater concern would be a major movement of strong staff.

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