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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!

meditrina Tue 14-Feb-17 19:50:40


With only a fortnight to offers day, there really isn't anything you can other than wait and see which school he is allocated. Fiddling with your application now means the application would be treated as late and you would only get a place from what is left over after all on-time applications have been processed.

If you have reservations about the offer he does get, I suggest you start a new thread then explaining the predicament and asking for advice on whether/how you can change it.

teddygirlonce Tue 14-Feb-17 19:40:08

guardian123 I'm not sure I agree with you, particularly about children at super-selective grammars. They are very much taught the art of critical thinking and most are insanely ambitious, in our experience.

Different children suit different schools though - grammars are not for everyone. BUT I would say it's wrong to think that social class has anything to do with fitting in, or not. I think very high academic achievement can be a great leveller in selective schools.

ashes12 Tue 14-Feb-17 19:17:22

Whatever happened to OP's predicament?

guardian123 Wed 11-May-16 20:56:40

Teaching to test, students are zombie like (don't care attitude and zero ambition), the national curriculum covers subjects that aren't relevant to real society and work, class size is too big, no critical thinking, students are over-protected, etc. These are the problems we discovered since we started working in secondary school. Although grammar is better than comprehensive but the above-mentioned problems remain unchanged. For the next year or so, I plan to homeschool my son meanwhile my partner will look for a teaching job abroad. Based on our knowledge, International Baccalaureate / Canadian / curriculums from nordic countries are way better than GCSE/iGCSE.

Mamahen999 Mon 01-Feb-16 00:36:25

I'm in the same position. My ds1 got a really high score in entrance test. Grammar involves bus journey. He is very academically bright and also sporty. My family and friends are being really unsupportive and I am so shocked and upset . I got accepted into grammar but my 1970s mum didn't see the point of giving herself hassle and sent me to the local comp. after a bit of bullying in year 8 I absolutely loved that place. I made friends from all creeds colours and backgrounds. I was the brightest in my year but my GCSEs were average. At a level I had to borrow teaching notes from grammar friends and go to night tech cos the teaching was bad. I git high grades and went to uni to study law. What a culture shock! Kids from grammars who knew how to work . I didn't . Now free education has made me a middle class professional. Dear husband is a grammar school boy. In my heart I feel selective education is wrong but my head says give my boy what my husband had( though I don't think he'd half the fun ) advice please

LaQueenForADay Wed 25-Sep-13 15:21:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 25-Sep-13 14:17:26

Yes, that happens - DDs school lost one girl in yr7. But they've had a few come in from other schools in yr8 and 9 - the classes were all 28 at the outset and some now have one or two extra - the transfer isn't all in one direction.

LaQueenForADay Wed 25-Sep-13 13:51:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mumslife Wed 25-Sep-13 13:11:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mumslife Wed 25-Sep-13 13:03:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

curlew Tue 24-Sep-13 22:48:57

"The thing is about GSs, they can chuck their non-performers out"

Grammar schools have exactly the same exclusion/expulsion criteria as any other state school.

Ferguson Tue 24-Sep-13 22:48:03

Hi - I normally 'post' on Primary Ed, as was TA or vol helper in Primary for 25 years. This is my first venture into Secondary (though I was TA in a very rough comprehensive for two years!)

If you are still reading this, Yes! go for grammar if you possibly can. Our DS went to grammar, and I feel, besides the academic side, there is an 'ethos' and possibly even 'tradition' that cannot probably be replicated in a comprehensive, which does help to 'shape' the person the student will eventually become.

Good luck.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 24-Sep-13 21:33:42

Disruptiveness increases in inverse proportion to SATS level at 11. Obviously.

Erebus Tue 24-Sep-13 21:10:40

A good school challenges the able but disruptive.

TBH, I think they form a far smaller minority that the non-clever, not-able, disruptive brigade in most schools. There really aren't that many, surely, who arse around in a very visible manner on a day to day basis- but then who go on to ace all the exams. IF there are, they're in the wrong school/set/whatever. IMHO, they're maybe ones who should be 'supported' by super-selectives (in the true sense of the word).

The thing is about GSs, they can chuck their non-performers out: like I said way up-thread, they can select in and out. 2 girls left my GS in Y7 & 8 but I couldn't tell you whether the school had built up a dossier of behavioural infractions against them ready to spring 'on the day' or whether, far more unlikely, they'd done really badly in end-of-term exams.

I don't buy into the 'but they're very bright, you know' idea. Bright is as bright does.

curlew Tue 24-Sep-13 20:42:23

"One doesn't need to make the assumption that the less able will always disrupt, curlew. They only will if they've been failed by their parent/s, their social expectations, their background and so forth; thus are not 'school ready' by 4 or 11. OR have SEN which must be addressed"

And what about disruptive able children? I certainly know plenty of them. Or are they always disruptive because they are "bored"? Not "challenged enough"? Because they are "very bright, you know"

Erebus Tue 24-Sep-13 20:33:01

As I said up-thread: one major reason I chose (not 'expressed a preference; chose. We moved) a specific secondary was that the school in question is in a MC area. I appreciate that the term 'MC' is considered 'lazy', but, by that I mean, in a state school-going context, a school where the vast majority of the DC will be 'school ready'. It is a committed school, so the upshot is that the upper sets (by GCSE) contain upper ability DC and the lower sets contain less academically able DC. Not more disruptive, just less able. The school actively challenges the more able but less-bovvered to perform and, by and large, they do. They aren't dumped in the D & E sets.

In this way less able DCs' education is not disrupted by chair throwers. So the less able but well behaved achieve their potential, all other factors being equal, too.

One doesn't need to make the assumption that the less able will always disrupt, curlew. They only will if they've been failed by their parent/s, their social expectations, their background and so forth; thus are not 'school ready' by 4 or 11. OR have SEN which must be addressed.

AcrylicPlexiglass Tue 24-Sep-13 19:56:16

I would never willingly choose a grammar school. I don't agree with the system of segregating children via an exam at 11 at all.


1. You cannot change local systems singlehandedly and have to make the best of the limited choices on offer

2. I am anti the idea of letting children choose their own secondary school. I told mine elder children quite firmly that it was my and their dad's choice to make, though we would take their views into account. I think choice of secondary is far too much responsibility to put on a 10 year old. Plus "choice" is such an illusion in the world of schools!

I would visit all the schools on offer and go from there. Don't take anyone else's word for it that the schools her primary feeds into are shite. You may be surprised. Plenty of schools are changing for the better but reputations can take a while to catch up.

mumslife Tue 24-Sep-13 19:35:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mumslife Tue 24-Sep-13 19:29:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 24-Sep-13 19:25:07


Like ' Positive and negative attitudes are not determined by the system of the school - I expect there's some GSs where there are kids who swan through and disrupt the grafters which could be a problem relative to a normal well-run comp. You really can't generalise.'

curlew Tue 24-Sep-13 19:17:45

The assumption on here is it is always the "lower set" children who are disruptive. Always.

mumslife Tue 24-Sep-13 19:09:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 24-Sep-13 19:05:08

No, its a good caricature.

Too much of a spread of ability in the same classroom (not the same canteen) is bound to be harder to teach effectively. That's why nearly all comps do set/stream. The 4-7 sets will typically be aiming towards GCSEs; I would guess that may not serve the best interests of many children still working at level 2-3 in core subjects on entry to secondary.

Erebus Tue 24-Sep-13 19:03:59

Well, yes, it is a good point but there's schools and schools. Some will have all the DC in the same classroom, but a certain percentage will be receiving extensive TA support; the work will be being differentiated per 'table'; some DC may even be being removed for the lesson for 1:1 tuition which might not show on the stats (as in 'they're not streamed/set').

HmmAnOxfordComma Tue 24-Sep-13 18:01:42

That's a very good point.

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