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Would you send your child to a grammar school ?

(332 Posts)
HeGrewWhiskersOnHisChin Wed 18-Sep-13 19:27:52

This is going to be quite long and rambling but I wanted to find out how much of my own experiences are clouding my judgement.

Okay, where we live there are not any great schools unless you are in the correct feeder schools, which we aren't as we moved to the area after Reception.

I know people say that all the time, but it's true - I'm not a snob I promise! grin

There are a few grammar schools within a commutable distance, and after researching all the local schools, look like the best choice.

I say choice as they are not necessarily an option for us. DD is bright, on the top table (apparently), but as I said already we live in a really deprived area. Half the children don't even wear the uniform let alone turn up for school. If she were at a better performing school she might be more average, I don't know.

So anyway I was going to do a practice verbal and non-verbal reasoning test with her just to see if she had any natural aptitude or not, and then consider whether we should try for a grammar or not.

BUT... She doesn't want to go to a school like that, she wants to go to one with normal people.

Oh the irony! Her words are exactly I said to my very working class parents and my head teacher after turning down a place at a grammar school. My dad was angry but my mum let me make my own mind up.

Subsequently I went on to a 'normal' school and academically I achieved as well as I would have at the grammar, but but but I can't help thinking that if I'd have mixed with girls from the other school, I may have not ended up pregnant at 18 living in a council flat confused!

I know my DD is very easily led, even more so than me (she gets it from her dad's side)grin and I think when she goes to secondary school she'll be more interested in boys and makeup than getting As.

So what should I do?

I said it'd be long!

BeerTricksPotter Wed 18-Sep-13 19:44:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

edam Wed 18-Sep-13 19:52:39

Somehow you've got to convince her to look at her long-term future. Getting a good education keeps your options open. Going to a non-grammar secondary in an area with grammar schools can limit those options. Grammar means more opportunities to do well in education which means more choices about career. You can still be a hairdresser, if that's what you eventually realise you really want to do, after going to a grammar school. But you are less likely to become a lawyer or surgeon if you go to a secondary mod (which is what comps in grammar school areas really are). Still possible but harder.

VerySmallSqueak Wed 18-Sep-13 19:54:05

I went to a grammar,for a couple of years,but it didn't work out. I would now let my DC's go if they wanted to but it has taken me a long time to decide I would let them.I was very opposed for a long time because of my own experiences but I'm assuming things will have moved on by now.

I went from a very normal background and was keen to go,and my parents keen to send me.

But as it turned out I just couldn't fit in outside of my peer group - the other girls were all from a very different background to me.

My work suffered terribly,and it was only when I transferred back to my local comp that I started to achieve again. It was the best thing I could have done tbh.

So I am adamant that if my children showed the ability it has to be instigated by them that they take the 11 plus and it has to be their choice.

So,I would say that if she doesn't want to go,I would go with her feelings.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

admission Wed 18-Sep-13 19:55:45

I would say that grammar schools are the right school for some children and not for others.
I have sat on many admission appeals for grammar schools where the parents are saying their child is bright etc, when in reality they are just reaching level 5 or even a level 4 at KS2. To me there is no greater crime than the parents insisting the child goes to a grammar school if at all possible, because that is the considered the right path to follow, when the child are simply not capable academically of handling going to a very academic grammar school. My "comprehensive" secondary school probably has 8 to 10 requests for admission every year from pupils at local grammar schools because they are struggling.
So my advice would be not to make the decision based on class structure but base it on whether your daughter has the capacity to cope and excel with a grammar school education or not. Speak to her teachers and get an honest opinion on her capability to cope, if the answer is a definite yes then wholeheartedly push to get that excellent education. If not then decide how you and her are going to make a success at one of these other schools.

HeGrewWhiskersOnHisChin Wed 18-Sep-13 19:57:11

Thank you for reading the Op!

We've talked about older girls we know who were angels in Year 6 but now walk around with orange faces and a string of school suspensions.

I'm worried that although she tries her best and wants to do well now, once she has more freedom she'll not bother.

I think the lack of ambition is already rubbing off on her tbh, and I think it might be a lost cause trying to convince her.

I was wondering if anyone would you know, erm, force her shockshock or maybe tell a lie about what school she gets into.

I sound like such a pushy mother and I swore I'd never be one of those! grin

Portofino Wed 18-Sep-13 20:01:33

I went to Grammar School. I didn't want to at all, but it was the right choice. I am really glad now that I was "made" to go.

HeGrewWhiskersOnHisChin Wed 18-Sep-13 20:04:38

If I thought she wasn't able i would not dream of coaching her. I don't want her to struggle!

She has the sort of personality where she could fit in in different situations. Me being a teacher hopefully means she wouldn't be bullied for being poor or a 'chav' or whatever somebody ^ up there was implying. grin

I always said that it wouldn't matter where she went as long as she works hard, but I know her and I know she tries so hard to fit in that she would act the way the people around her do. At the moment it's pretending she's not bright and saying she doesn't understand things, because she plays with a girl who is like that.

I'm sure if she was surrounded by hardworking girls, she'd want to be just like them too.

springlamb Wed 18-Sep-13 20:08:19

My situation slightly different.
We were moving from a no grammar area to a grammar area. The move was planned for a couple of years so DD was Yr 4/5 when we began thinking about secondary. DD is very clever and would easily have passed 11+.
She didn't want a grammar, despite lots of discussion. I felt that as we were instigating so many changes in her life with the move that we had to allow her some leeway.
So we applied (from out of borough, 60 miles away) for the three schools she had really liked on open days. Her first choice had a slightly selective policy (the top 20% in the exam were offered a place), and she got her first choice on that basis.
She is very happy and is enjoying the curriculum, is active in school life. And I must say I am rather far.

HeGrewWhiskersOnHisChin Wed 18-Sep-13 20:09:21

That's how I explained it to her, in terms of her future.

I said if she's clever at a comprehensive, she'll be set work that'll be just as hard as the grammar school. But that she'll mix with different people and have greater opportunities than if she went to our local school.

But she's 9! She doesn't care about that stuff. She won't until she's 27 and wishing she could turn back time. confused

Gunznroses Wed 18-Sep-13 20:14:13

Has she been to see the grammar school? Maybe if you went on a private tour she could get to chat with some of the girls there and see that they are quite normal.

Have you talked about what she might want to do in future? This might also be a way of making the link with the grammar schools and the oppotunities it might offer her towards that.

springlamb Wed 18-Sep-13 20:14:27

Have you visited all the possible schools? If your DD is Year 6 you will be like a whirling dervish visiting schools!
Although I expressed no preference for either of the 3 schools DD opted to put on her list, I was relieved with her first choice (which she now attends).
I felt it was a place where she could really be herself and be encouraged not to follow the crowd. I just kind of 'felt it'. It felt like a 'dd' place. A|
Me being me, I also had parked up at hometime at each of the schools to see the range of students leaving.!?

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Wed 18-Sep-13 20:17:27

Yes. My ds goes to grammar school. My mum fought to get me into a grammar school after we re-located when I was 11, and succeeded. I wasn't that keen at the time, but it really was the best decision for me.

My ds1 is at a grammar school now - dh and I really did see it as mainly our decision not his but luckily he agreed with us grin

HeGrewWhiskersOnHisChin Wed 18-Sep-13 20:17:35

We haven't been to see any schools, this is all just in my head at the moment.

I need to find out if she's bright enough first before I waste anyone's time.

Thank you for all of your responses. I don't feel like such a bad mother anymore.

HeGrewWhiskersOnHisChin Wed 18-Sep-13 20:22:40

Well she's just told me that she doesn't want to go to school with geeky, ugly people.

I asked her why she thinks they will all be ugly, and it's because clever people are ugly apparently.

Yes that lack of ambition has definitely rubbed off on her already.hmm

If she carries on with that attitude ill have to send her to a convent!

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Wed 18-Sep-13 20:28:34

Oh god OP, what an attitude to have already! confused Where does that come from?

ErrolTheDragon Wed 18-Sep-13 20:29:26

Definitely get some tours in school time when she's in year 5.

My DD is at a girls' GS - they are 'normal people'. But they do seem to have a good work ethos - one of the things that sold the school to DD was the school tour where the atmosphere in the classrooms was one which suited her (lively but focused, I'd say).

From what you've said about your DD, her peers are really going to matter - some bright kids will do well anywhere if they're self-motivated and determined, but it sounds like she could do with having the odds stacked to help her.

springlamb Wed 18-Sep-13 20:29:42

You need to go to see these schools full of geeky ugly people asap. This term's open days/evenings will be for Yr 5s as well, do the rounds.
I do think she will have to be engaged in the process and actually want to attend the school.

VerySmallSqueak Wed 18-Sep-13 20:30:18

If that's the problem,do what springlamb does and take her to see them chucking out.

VerySmallSqueak Wed 18-Sep-13 20:31:43

Are any of her friends taking the 11 plus?

It'd be worth finding out if you can.

HeGrewWhiskersOnHisChin Wed 18-Sep-13 20:32:07

It's the area we live in and the girls she mixes with at her undersubscribed (in London!!) unsatisfactory primary school.

I've begged and pleaded and cried to get her a place in the brilliant school I work in, but we live out of catchment.

She's on the waiting list and if she gets in this year, can go on to the better local school which I'd be happy with. But that doesn't look likely.

She's so easily led I'm petrified that she's going to ruin her future. I'm sure my dad is turning in his grave!

kilmuir Wed 18-Sep-13 20:33:25

My daughter is not ugly or geeky and loves grammar school

ErrolTheDragon Wed 18-Sep-13 20:35:43

>Well she's just told me that she doesn't want to go to school with geeky, ugly people.

blimey. Well, my DD and some of her friends are self-confessed geeks, but for sure none of them are ugly (as if that mattered anyway, sounds like she needs a bit of education on valuing people for the content of their character). An anti-geek attitude at this early age doesn't bode too well - sounds like she could be one of the 'being clever isn't cool' types and get dragged down- whereas if she goes to a GS its the norm (the geeks are the ones who are into electronics and computer science in particular)

HeGrewWhiskersOnHisChin Wed 18-Sep-13 20:36:44

I've worked so hard for everything we have. She knows how hard I've worked to have a decent standard of living (well I'm still trying to accomplish that one).

I thought I was doing it to have the best life for me, but what's the point if she's going to waste her opportunities.

I'm not impressed about her comment about ugly people either!!

tallulah Wed 18-Sep-13 20:37:47

My DD was adamant she wasn't going to grammar school (Kent) because none of her friends were going. Then we went to the Open Evening and she had a chat to the HT about what was available at the school and came away determined to go there.

She was exactly as you describe your DD. Her best friend was at the bottom of the class so she stopped writing in pen and gradually got herself moved to the bottom table. In those days you had to have a HT recommendation to get into grammar and ours fought us every step of the way.

She ended up at a private school and went completely the other way; really pushing herself to beat the brightest boy in the class.

I would take your DD to the open days/ evenings now so that she can see for herself that the girls at grammar are "normal".

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