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Grammar schools.

(23 Posts)
Befuzzledagain Wed 27-Mar-13 23:12:31

May I spark up the old debate. We are in Surrey looking at secondary comp choices. We have four children, the eldest two are doing extremely well. I went to a grammar school and part of me keeps thinking we should move to a grammar school area. I think they stand a good chance but know with four it is probably unlikely that they will all pass. Just wondered what everybody's thoughts were on the matter. I guess people's preference will greatly depend on whether you live in a grammar school area or not??

happyAvocado Wed 27-Mar-13 23:18:02

on the matter of Grammar schools?

as a parent of 2 kids both in Grammar school I can see how well they are doing in them.
my daughter walks to school, my son cycles - both schools are within a mile each of our house so it's perfect for us

I can see how well they are looked after and made good friends there.
There could be improvements made in both schools, no school is perfect as it is a living organism.

Teachercreature Wed 27-Mar-13 23:21:15

Went to a grammar school myself, have taught in state and independent sector. My take on it is: schools vary enormously and the most important thing is digging into what is it like? I'd always want the best possible school for my children :-)

breadandbutterfly Thu 28-Mar-13 00:08:15

Move to S Herts - you have a choice of semi-selectives - like grammars but with guaranteed sibling places. Job done...

Yellowtip Thu 28-Mar-13 08:26:49

At the DCs school there are plenty of families where all the children of the family got in, and it's a superselective rather than a semi-selective or even in a grammar school area. I think there's a dynamic which gets going which helps the younger ones think they can probably get in.

auntevil Thu 28-Mar-13 09:32:05

We live in a Borough with grammars, but have decided not to apply.
I went to grammar, my DH didn't. Ultimately you have to fit the school to the child (wherever possible) and not the other way around.
I would have to change my DS's temperament to make him fit grammar school - and I'm not prepared to do that.

JenaiMorris Thu 28-Mar-13 09:38:24

I am very, very pleased that we don't have grammars here. Deciding whether children are university or factory fodder (or whatever the modern equivalent of that would be) at age 10 is absurd.

sue52 Thu 28-Mar-13 11:48:38

There's always Kent where 23% of children get grammar places, however stay away from West Kent as it's super selective. What would youfor a plan B if they didn't pass the test?

Yellowtip Thu 28-Mar-13 11:54:02

I'd give the opposite advice sue and say do opt for an area with a superselective. A superselective is a different creature from a grammar in a grammar school area and the comps are in a healthier state too.

sue52 Thu 28-Mar-13 11:58:22

That may be true of some areas Yellowtip but the only decent comprehensive around my way was a faith school which the DDs weren't eligable for. It was either pass or pay.

Jobforlife Fri 29-Mar-13 07:21:45

We moved to Purley in Surrey. That allowed a choice between grammar schools and non selective comprehensive schools producing great results... I was happy with the two schools we experienced - Wallington County Grammar (boys) and Woodcote High (mixed comp).

seeker Fri 29-Mar-13 07:33:30

I live in the 23%/77% bit of Kent.

It's horrible. Don't do it.

And remember that while grammar schools do very well academically, the same children do equally well in a comprehensive school. That is, if you take a Kent grammar and its associated secondary moderns and compare their combined results they are almost exactly the same as the results from a comprehensive in a similar catchment.

gazzalw Fri 29-Mar-13 08:29:38

Think the super-selectives in Surrey are a bit different though and I've heard it said that the comprehensives around the grammar schools do very well for mopping up the highly intelligent many who may pass the 11+ but sadly not high enough to gain a place. I think it's a win-win situation but I do think you have to ensure that you are positioned, house-wise, somewhere within catchment for one of the good comprehensives, as your fall-back option.

We are not in Surrey but DS and three of his classmates attend super-selectives and two others got into the selective entry stream of a neighbouring borough's comprehensive (thereby acquiring sibling rights for their sibs).

I think as Yellowtip suggested it is worth applying and all is not lost, provided you address the issue of where you live, if they do go to one of the many sought after comprehensives.

Certainly in Surrey I don't think there is the same 'big-deal' issue about being consigned to the factory-fodder heap if you don't gain a grammar school place but that's because the super-selectives don't take the top 25% but the top 5% (or so it is claimed - certainly their pupils come from a pan-London/Surrey 'catchment' in some cases!).

With four children you could probably safely assume that some will get grammar school places but not necessarily all particularly in super-selective areas. Would one child feel really hard-done-by (or a failure which could be devastating) if they didn't get a place and all their sibs did? That is to consider carefully. That is the only thing that would worry me.

seeker Fri 29-Mar-13 09:15:33

Yes, the super selectives are a different animal. I still don't agree with them personally, but I can see the argument for them. And I can see how they would be less damaging to the community.

Yellowtip Fri 29-Mar-13 09:22:26

gazzalw there's no inherent reason why all DC from a particular family wouldn't get in. But if a superselective is the the right school for one DC and not another, surely it's right that they attend different schools. I think any misplaced sense of failure can be managed quite easily in a superselective area; much more invidious in a full grammar area such as Kent. Anyhow, Surrey is good smile

gazzalw Fri 29-Mar-13 09:31:41

Oh I agree with you Yellowtip on all counts but you can never assume that all will be equally academic. It is more likely yes, but I have known families with relatively academic children, but some Oxbridge material and others (in yesteryear) scarcely getting the EE requirement for a not very popular Poly. So it is by no means a fait accompli that all will succeed and to think so could be construed as arrogance.

I agree that no-one should regard themselves as a 'failure' if they fail to secure a grammar school place, but children can be very hard on themselves and particularly if sibling rivalry is very strong. But do agree that the other options in Surrey are sufficiently good to hopefully manage such a situation well.

Yellowtip Fri 29-Mar-13 09:41:37

No, it would be very foolish to plan on the basis that places at a superselective are in the bag, but there are lots of families out there with all DC in the same school - it seems to happen a lot. That said, I know that I would have been distinctly more nervous about some of mine not passing the test in an area like Kent, even though the chances of passing are obviously much higher.

seeker Fri 29-Mar-13 09:59:44

It does make me smile when people ask,all serious, "should we move to a grammar schools area?"

You don't hear them saying "should we move to a secondary modern area?" Do you? grin

Befuzzledagain Fri 29-Mar-13 10:09:21

Thanks for the posts. Apologies for not contributing very much but I am a passive reader of your replies. I have little knowledge on this particular topic, hence this post. May I ask you to expand on where the super selectives are in Surrey? We are thinking of settling in the Bookham/Leatherhead area. Would it be possible to travel to a super selective or does it also depend on a catchment intake? I appreciate your replies.

ChippyMinton Fri 29-Mar-13 10:22:29

Have just been through a similar process with my eldest DC. We found the whole competitive 11+ set-up quite stressful, and this is with a child predicted for Level 6 SATS. The thought of going through it again and again with the younger DC was exhausting. I was relieved that DC got a place at a high-performing mixed comp. with sibling priority, so that we don't have to go through any more strife.

So my advice would be focus on finding a comprehensive that you think will suit all your DC, carefully check the admission criteria, and then move accordingly. Also be aware that pressure on places will only get worse as the current Yr6 is the last of the low birthrate years.

ChippyMinton Fri 29-Mar-13 10:26:19

Super-selectives are not in Surrey. They are in Kingston (Tiffin) and LB Sutton. Some of the Sutton ones have local priority. Have a look at for the info.

MooMooSkit Fri 29-Mar-13 10:35:41

I won't push for my son to go to one (we live in a grammar school area) he can take the test, fine, but he'll have two normal secondary's in his application and one grammar. Unfort, most of my partners friends who all went to varied schools show no proof in grammar school children do better. He went to a grammar school as did his best friend, all passed with C's but never went to uni whereas all their friends from the local secondary school went onto university. I do think 10 is far too young to decide whether kids are uni material. You could give them the best teachers, best education, state of the art everything at 12 - 13, if they get in with certain groups of people or just decide to be a teenager and not want to do what is told of them they won't do it!

Jobforlife Fri 29-Mar-13 12:01:24

Managing childrens' expectations and dealing with disappointment can be tricky. With my eldest attending Wallington Boys, we thought that the pressure for my daughter to pass the 11+ and go to Wallington Girls would be hard for her to handle. In the end she surprised us by deciding very early on in the process that she preferred Woodcote over the girls grammar school anyway (I was in total agreement with her. It was a fabulous school). She didn't pass the 11+ (wasn't even close in the end) but had a really great yr 7 at Woodcote. She's not there now, but is highly likely to surpass her brother's GCSE results for what it's worth... Every child is an individual, and as far as possible you have to find the right school for each child.

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