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Top 50 Grammar versus top 200 Independent

(104 Posts)
schoolfloosie Sat 22-Dec-12 12:44:11

Which school would you choose between these 2:

Super selective Grammar vs Selective Independent

Does anyone have any strong feelings on these schools. Should add that DD is already at the Independent with a 40% scholarship and is happy there but the chance to go to the Grammar has come up as someone has left.

Pagwatch Sat 22-Dec-12 12:45:13

Depends on the schools in question.

Poundpup Sat 22-Dec-12 13:10:14

This is a tricky one. In-year grammar schools places rarely come up and turning it down would mean that you would be unlikely to receive another offer.

At the end of the day you can only go with your gut feeling and what works for your financial and personal circumstances. Each school has a very different ethos and just because it's a 'good' school, doesn't mean this is the right school for your child.

If you are happy paying fees and your child is settled (without knowledge of the schools) I would stay put. Better the devil you know!

schoolfloosie Sat 22-Dec-12 13:18:56

Pagwatch, it is difficult to give the exact details of the schools for fear of being outed.

The Independent is a solid traditional one with a strong music department and DD is musical.

The Super selective is v. sought after and well thought of.

I should say that in order to pay school fees we have remortgaged and any fees that we draw down are added to our mortgage.

schoolfloosie Sat 22-Dec-12 13:24:30

Poundpup, you are right about the Grammar School place being a one off. DD made the decision to go to the Independent before the 11+ results came out. She must have stayed on the waiting list because we didn't actively turn down a place - no offer was made so no opportunity to do so.

We are not happy paying fees but don't want it to be about the money. DH made a good point which was that our other DC may not have the choice of an excellent free education so the money would be better off spent on them.

mysteryfairy Sat 22-Dec-12 13:25:59

How old is DC? I wouldn't move beyond Y8 if I could avoid it but I don't think I would be adding school fees to my mortgage either.

I have 2 at independent school and 1 at grammar for boring historical reasons and I feel awful about the one at grammar - bigger classes, some great teachers but a couple very uninspiring that the independent wouldn't tolerate, poor facilities for sport, music etc.

difficultpickle Sat 22-Dec-12 13:29:18

Surely if fees are a struggle for you then it has to be about money? How long has your dd been at the independent school? What are the terms of the scholarship? You would have to pay a term's notice and possibly pay back the scholarship too.

Ladymuck Sat 22-Dec-12 13:31:41

Depends on the schools and your dd. How will she cope with the change?

Earlybird Sat 22-Dec-12 13:31:59

Do you or your dd know anyone who attends the grammar? If so, what is their opinion on what it is like to attend that school?

Just wondering as a positive atmosphere with excellent teachers and generally congenial classmates can make a big difference to the school experience.

Expensive as it is, your dd's current school is a known entity, and if she is happy there, it counts for a great deal. Any chance of her scholarship amount being increased so it is not so onerous for your family?

DoesntTurkeyNSproutSoupDragOn Sat 22-Dec-12 13:34:02

No one can really answer that question as it depends on your DD and which school suits her the best.

LIZS Sat 22-Dec-12 13:34:42

What is dd's preference and presumably you would be liable for a term's fees in lieu of notice ? What year group is it ?

janey1234 Sat 22-Dec-12 13:34:47

I moved a lot as a child, including going to four different senior schools in different areas of the country. The grammar I went to was by far the best school I attended, and moving schools did me no harm at all. I'd save the money if the grammar is fab.

lisad123 Sat 22-Dec-12 13:36:52

I would move to the grammer school

schoolfloosie Sat 22-Dec-12 13:41:57

Thanks for all the comments.

DD has been at the Independent for a term. I was wondering if they might be able to increase the scholarship amount as that would help.

mysteryfairy, I can see why you might feel as you do.

Another problem for us is the distance. Both schools are at least an hour by bus away. The independent school has a fantastic Chapel choir that DD has been asked to join but as it is after school this is logistically v. difficult. Same for orchestra. They have suggested that DD could board for an evening and I think they might pay for this. We could drive and pick her up but I work about 2hrs away from her school and DH is even further away. DH could do it on a day that he works from home but the other DC have swimming lessons then...arrrrgh.

LIZS Sat 22-Dec-12 13:45:41

Ah so early days. I 'd expect that there may be some comings and goings still then. If she is not in a position to make the most of the musical opportunities where she is now then she might be better off at the grammar. What do you plan for other dc longer term if it is a stretch now.

schoolfloosie Sat 22-Dec-12 13:45:43

DD is in Yr7.

LIZS you are right about the terms fees in lieu of notice, not sure if there are any conditions attached to the scholarships.

I wonder if I should contact the school and see if they can offer us any more money. Think is we are not entirely skint, we just spend a lot of money on extra curricular things for the DC.

schoolfloosie Sat 22-Dec-12 13:51:29

LIZS, hoping for the Grammar for the boys. I rate the boys Grammar more than the girls, it is right up there in the league tables (top 5) and has a nice traditional feel about it, of course there is no guarantee they will get in.

I know a few girls at the grammar and they are v. happy there.

mysteryfairy is your DC at a super selective grammar?

Poundpup Sat 22-Dec-12 14:05:09


It all depends on what you think is important when it comes to the education of your children. For some it is about the end result, how many A*-As A-levels does the school achieve, how many children go on to Oxbridge or Russell group unis, but for you it may be the develop of all the abilites that your child possess.

If it is the later you may wish to consider if the grammar school has the same musical facilities as the independent school? If not, and your daughter is musically talented. I would remain at the independent school.

However, the financial element does have to be considered, espcially as you have other DCs.

Poundpup Sat 22-Dec-12 14:05:51

oops - latter

schoolfloosie Sat 22-Dec-12 14:08:29

Poundpup, interestingly the Independent does better in terms of leavers destinations than the Grammar despite the Grammar being a good 100 schools ahead in the league tables.

I would say she has the same opportunities academically but the music at the Independent is first rate - I'm not sure it is at the Grammar, how would I find out?

peteneras Sat 22-Dec-12 14:08:43

I don’t quite understand how a top 50 Grammar could be classified as a ‘super selective grammar’ but there again, what do I know?

But what I do know is top 200 Independent is no great shake. The money bit is important - it seems to me forking out 60% of the fees is quite substantial for something which can now be achieved at the Grammar. Save the money for your other child just in case. The Grammar sounds like a much better school to me.

difficultpickle Sat 22-Dec-12 14:12:50

If the school are willing to pay for a night's boarding each week then hopefully they may also be able to increase the scholarship. That would ensure your dd is making the most of the school's musical opportunities. It maybe that they could offer a couple of nights boarding which would help with the daily commuting. Ds does weekly boarding (3 nights) and loves it.

However you need to think long and hard about how much more scholarship support you need to make it viable. Also what would you do if your other dcs didn't get into grammar?

difficultpickle Sat 22-Dec-12 14:16:01

Does the grammar have a performing arts specialty? Our local grammar does and it means time and money is invested to support those aspects. Also what reputation does it have locally for music? Ds's old school had a strong sports reputation. His new school has a reputation for music both locally and nationally.

LIZS Sat 22-Dec-12 14:29:03

Does she have a music scholarship ? If so it would be the norm to require attendance at choir, orchestra, ensembles etc as a condition. If that is proving logistically difficult then you need to meet them to discuss or you may find it gets withdrawn.

Poundpup Sat 22-Dec-12 14:29:35

You may need to do a little detective work. Try looking on the grammar schools website. They might have a downloadable newsletter or there might be a specific section detailing the current available clubs or there could be a calendar.

If there is little mention of musical activities, I would take it that the Independent school has the better music department. Obviously, you if you knew a parent with a child currently at the school you could have a quick chat but there is another website entitiled - 11 plus exams. If you put a query on the forums there you should get a reasonable and honest response.

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