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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.

schoolfloosie Sat 22-Dec-12 17:20:55

Florainomad, I have been very happy so far with the academic work that DD has been doing and it feels to me that she is in the right school for her already.

Here's my letter so far:

Dear Mr X

I am writing to you concerning DD and an offer we have received for her from another school. She has been given the opportunity to attend a super selective grammar school in C. due to some in-year movement. This has forced DH and I to consider again our finances and the financial burden to our family of having DD attend I. School. Whilst we are grateful for the scholarship assistance that DD receives, it only slightly reduces the cost to us with both bus fees and lunch fees adding further to the burden. Is there any possibility that the amount of the scholarship award could be increased? There has also been a suggestion made that DD could perhaps board for two evenings a week to enable her to fully participate in the extra-curricular music provision on offer. Is this a possibility and would the school be able to cover the associated costs? Are there any implications for DD's music scholarship if she is unable to attend extra curricular music activities?

I'm not sure how to draw it together/end it. Any help welcome smile.

Bonsoir Sat 22-Dec-12 19:06:44

(a) your letter is a bit succinct. I think you need a new paragraph for each new idea, and to give more information (information that you have mostly given in this thread).

(b) your grammar isn't perfect! (eg it should read "this has forced me and my husband", not "this has forced my husband and I")

difficultpickle Sat 22-Dec-12 19:21:21

If your dd has a music scholarship then you need to do all you can to ensure she can fully participate in the music opportunities the school has to offer (I would have thought this would be mentioned in the award).

You need to add something that indicates the burden is greater than you expected and that the timing of music activities being after school makes it impossible for her to attend without the offer of a flexi boarding place.

I would also add how much your dd is enjoying the school (include detail). At the moment it reads that you aren't really bothered about keeping your dd there but you'd reconsider if they upped the scholarship.

difficultpickle Sat 22-Dec-12 19:22:29

Also explain the logistical difficulties you have had and what has been done to try and resolve this (ie appeal for lift share).

Yellowtip Sat 22-Dec-12 19:23:56

I don't care for the letter at all. It simply sounds as though you're out for a bit of extra money. A bit tatty.

Why not either leave things as they are and stay put on the current deal or jump ship to the grammar?

LIZS Sat 22-Dec-12 19:28:55

Yes would definitely emphasise how much your dd enjoys the school, chose to go there for music etc etc and is settling in (refer to recent report if needs be). Also mention that logistics are currently preventing her full participation in extra curricular activities, more so than anticipated, rather than overly on the financial.

Be clear in your mind what it is you want as the outcome . Is any increased financial assistance really going to offset the problems ? Does she want to board (it is unusual even in many full boarding settings to do so as young as 11) , do many others of her age .Would you be in a position to move closer instead ?

difficultpickle Sat 22-Dec-12 19:32:32

I don't think the letter is tatty but it does require more work to make it look what it is - a change in expectations and circumstances. My only concern is that if you knew the cost of transport and lunch and knew the music activities were after school it may weaken any argument you make now.

For example, ds has to board when he is a full chorister. It is something that was spelt out to us before we accepted ds's place. He has a probationary year to get used to the idea but once that is finished he doesn't have the choice on when he comes home. If I were to turn round and say I didn't want him to board then he would no longer be able to be a chorister and I may be asked to pay back some of the fees.

Xenia Sat 22-Dec-12 19:47:27

Colchester is 79th in the country and Ipswich is 257th so the state grammar does better (FT 2012 league tables A levels). You might though want to compare which gets more children to Oxbridge.

Does she want to stay?
Could you both earn more? I always found it easier just to jack up the income, take on a new income earning source etc etc than cut back on stuff. If money were no object would you move her? If she is top of her year is she being stretched enough where she is?

How does the music compare at the state school. 3 of my children won music scholarships (private schools) and the music side of things matters to us in a way that it woudl not for some others. Hoewver the music may be better at the other school. What about class / accent?

SpringSunshine Sat 22-Dec-12 19:54:44

I would move to the grammar now while you can. You might want to consider giving a term's notice now (before the beginning of the Spring term) which you can withdraw if necessary. If you explain it in full to the independent school they will know that they either have to substantially increase the scholarship or lose your dd - you will get a good deal of information from their reaction which will help you decide too.

The fees and extra curricular stuff will only get higher and you have no clue what the future holds as far as your future income security is concerned.

Talk to your dd properly about the fees, sacrifices they mean to all of you as a family and take her to see the grammar. Listen to what she says once she is there and make a fully informed decision.

Either way your dd has to be fully involved or she will never understand the reasons or forgive you for making such an arbitrary decision (either way!)

Good luck

schoolfloosie Sat 22-Dec-12 19:56:47

Thanks everyone.

Bonsoir, you are of couse right about my poor grammar.

The letter needs more work, I agree. In essence, we do want more money as that will encourage us to stay rather than pass up an opportunity to save 50K or thereabouts.

DD is in possession of a Queens Scholarship which is the top academic award. In previous years these have been worth 50% but the competition was extra tough this year. We were hoping for this when we applied and a music one on top. That would have been more doable for us. Also, I didn't realise that lunches were extra until later and the bus cost was an unknown until much later on in the process and again is more than anticipated.

DD has said that she wouldn't mind staying at school 2 nights a week. I may be able to work from home and pick her up one night so that is an alternative and DH the same. Not ideal for either of us but better than DD boarding, probably.

schoolfloosie Sat 22-Dec-12 20:00:48

Xenia, believe it or not, the Ipswich Uni destinations are more high ranking than the Grammar - I'm not sure what that says. Traditional school knows what dance to do to get kids to better Unis??

LIZS Sat 22-Dec-12 20:04:45

but you really need to look at what is involved in staying at school 2 nights a week. The 11, and even many of the 13, yr olds I've know do to have found it initially hard. She would have to be extra organised to keep the right books, homework and kit ready. Will she be part of a cohort she feels comfortable among and would it be enough (thinking of the concerts, outings etc). It would alter the whole family dynamic.

schoolfloosie Sat 22-Dec-12 20:08:08

LIZS, we can't move closer unfortunately.

Neither of us are in careers with high earning potential Xenia. Music is important to DD and she has performed at school ths term and gained recognition.

If money was not an issue I would be happy for her to stay. There is still room for improvement in her work - it's not as if she scored 100% in everything smile.

schoolfloosie Sat 22-Dec-12 20:11:31

LIZS, it would mean going to school on Wed am and not returning until Friday pm - I wouldn't like that and neither would her brothers. She could do it though. She is very organised and sorts herself out, never has to be nagged about homework, doesn't lose things and is pretty mature. I would miss her too much I think.

schoolfloosie Sat 22-Dec-12 20:25:12

SpringSunshine (love the name), DD is fully aware of the financial situation and she has already been to look around the Grammar and ruled it out on the basis of it being single-sex - she has two brothers and likes having boys around. DH unsurprisingly likes the idea of her going to an all girls school.

Thanks once againeveryone for helping me work through all of this. Yellowtip, I think I may be coming round to your way of thinking...

"Why not either leave things as they are and stay put on the current deal or jump ship to the grammar?"

difficultpickle Sat 22-Dec-12 20:39:33

Why don't you try a night's boarding before making any formal request for more support. If your dd hates it then you will be able to rule out that as a possible solution.

Theas18 Sat 22-Dec-12 21:23:41

Schoolfloosie sorry to be late to answer. Yes totally right for us ( year 9 now, all this was when she started). But it was a pretty easy choice as the inde was a fall back anyway and it was a pleasant surprise to get the offer really. The oldest was already at the grammar anyway

schoolfloosie Sat 22-Dec-12 21:39:07

Letter take two - if you can be bothered smile

Dear Mr X

I am writing to you concerning our DD and an offer we have received for her from another school. She has been given the opportunity to attend a super selective grammar school in C. due to some in-year movement. This has forced me and my husband to consider again our finances and the financial burden to our family of having DD attend I. School.

Whilst we are grateful for the scholarship assistance that DD receives, it only slightly reduces the cost to us with both bus fees and lunch fees adding further to the burden. DD has settled into the school very well and we are confident that the school has much to offer her and that she has much to offer in return.

There are some unresolved issues around extra curricular music provision as this is mainly provided after school rather than during school hours. The logistics of this for us as a family are proving difficult to work around and we would like to know if there are any implications for DD's music scholarship if she is unable to attend extra curricular music activities? This is important in two ways - if we were to loose the scholarship, DD would be unable to continue to attend as the financial burden would be too great. Secondly, if DD is not availing of the superb musical tradition which attracted her in the first place, is the financial sacrifice worthwhile? It has been suggested that DD could board for an evening to circumvent this but, irrespective of the financial implications, this is not a route that we would like to go down. We had hoped to be able to lift share or avail of public transport however neither of these alternatives have worked out. There is a possibility that we could change our work patterns but this is not to be undertaken lightly.

We would appreciate your guidance in this matter and would be grateful if you could look again at the financial package that we have been offered to see if the school is in a position to offer any further assistance however small.

difficultpickle Sat 22-Dec-12 21:47:52

lose not loose (pedant!)

If I were the HT I would think that you are keen to move your dd to a better school and what you (HT) prepared to do about it? I'm sure that is not the impression you want to give but maybe that is in reality how you feel? There is nothing in your letter that says what you and your dd love about the school, only what makes it difficult about your dd continuing to be a pupil there.

Floralnomad Sat 22-Dec-12 22:03:01

TBH it sounds a little like a blackmail letter - how much do they want to keep your daughter ,if they don't cough up you'll take her away! What happens if your 2 sons decide they don't want to go to an all boys school or they don't get into the grammar .As you are giving your daughter so much choice are you offering them the same choices? Are they currently in the state system or independent?

schoolfloosie Sat 22-Dec-12 22:06:44

that's DH for you! I knew it was wrong, read it about 5 times and then conceded grin

arrrgh, I hear what you are saying bisjo but I don't want to seem disingenuous either

in reality we want her to stay, we just want a bit more financial security, nothing like the offer of a free lunch to make you reassess

schoolfloosie Sat 22-Dec-12 22:09:26

Good point about the boys. They are currently in the state system. Probably not able to offer them the same choice but our local school situation is in a state of flux and I am hoping they will have different choices when they get to 11.

You are right about the letter...

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

Should we just scrap the letter and continue as normal? The whole thing was compounded by coming on a day that I received confirmation of my hourly rate for a job I was delighted to get - it was shit! About 1/3 of what I was expecting...I guess that is what has sent me into a spin.

difficultpickle Sat 22-Dec-12 22:14:52

If you want her to stay then you have to write a letter that says that. Funds are limited so why should the school spend them on your dd and not another deserving child. You need to write a letter that the head will read and want to do everything he/she can to help you keep your dd at the school.

schoolfloosie Sat 22-Dec-12 22:16:17

How would that letter go bisjo?

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