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Who chose which secondary your dc attends, you the parents or did you let your dc choose?

(82 Posts)
MilkRunningOutAgain Mon 23-Sep-13 22:13:50

dS is in yr 6 primary and wants to go to a secondary with the majority of his school friends. It isn't a great school, it required improvement 2 years ago though now has a new head and perhaps it will improve. The problem was low results, the school takes in a cohort of above average attaining kids and turns out a cohort of below national average kids 5 years later. No behaviour problems at the school that I know of. dS likes to get away with doing the bare minimum and I don't think the school will stretch him, he'll coast along being relatively well behaved.

We moved a year ago, left DS in his old primary as we are currently renting and not sure where we will eventually move to and at the tmie i thought i didn't want to alter the dcs school more than absolutely mecessary. But the catchment school where we are now , and I think we'll buy near here when we can find a house we like, is really good - at least dp and I think so. It gets excellent results, has great sports facilities ( this would suit sporty DS), and generally a good reputation and good ofsted.

DS is a horribly stubborn child and has really started arguing every night (it's helping his debating skills!) for the school closest to his primary. He is genuinely upset at the thought of going to a school away from most of his friends. And he's a child who hates change and is likely to find the whole change to secondary stressful at the best of times.

I am genuinely upset at the thought of him attending a school that may not get the best from him, he can be bright, his mental maths are excellent. Plus now we've moved and can get into a good school.

There would be no problem in getting him into the school he wants to go to, it's undersubscribed.

What would you do? Apologies, I've written too much. And I can only get on the Internet every other day or so, I won't be able to reply for a while, assuming there are replies that is...

ChippyMinton Mon 23-Sep-13 22:21:07

Take him to visit both schools, open evenings and a daytime tour.
Only then, gently talk up your prefered school and point out aspects that might appeal to him - short journey, sports etc - and let him come round to his own conclusions.

We went through this last year, and I was surprised at how few of Yr6 actually went to the local school in the end. Most parents had their own plan, and the friends thing is a red herring.

Arisbottle Mon 23-Sep-13 22:24:54

We chose, although our children have wanted the same as us.

DD1 went through a phase of wanting to go to the grammar , even took the test but in the end decided to go to the local school. Am not sure wat I would have done if she had insisted in the grammar .

SweetPenelope Mon 23-Sep-13 22:46:57

I got into a selective school and my mother let me choose which school to go to. I made the right decision and chose the selective one. One reason was because I preferred the colour of the uniform. I guess I also liked the prestige of it. The other school was the perfectly fine local high school.

However, I think it's too young to make such an important choice. Children don't really understand the consequences or that they will have lots of different friends at different stages of their lives.

I met a woman who was allowed to insist on going to the crappy local school instead of the private school her parents were willing to pay for. She resents her parents now for letting her make such an important decision at that age and for the crappy education she had compared to her privately educated brother.

mankyscotslass Tue 24-Sep-13 07:17:42

We chose for DS, although he was happy with the choice.

We did go and look round both options, and I was sure he would want to go to the sparkly new build school instead of the old tired boys school, but he didn't.

He said the school we had put as first choice "felt" better for him. If he has really liked the new school we would have listened to him, and done a bit more digging about it, but as it was we didn't need to.

Cat98 Tue 24-Sep-13 07:25:56

I am concerned with this happening here too, as we have 2 comps nearby- one is good but the closest one is not. I know ds will want to be with his friends.

I wanted to stay with my friends and go to the local comp but I won a 90% scholarship to a prestigious private school nearby. My parents insisted, and looking back I'm glad they did as I was quite lazy and probably wouldnt have achieved the grades I did had I gone to the comprehensive.

ILoveAFullFridge Tue 24-Sep-13 07:38:11

IMO the parents select the shortlist, then the child can vieit them and makes their choice.

But the shortlist mustn't be "This is the school we like and this is the other one". Itus be a genuine choice.

If there is only one school the parents feel is suitable, them they make the choice and explain it to the child.

One reason your ds may want the school local to his primary is that he think all his friends will go there and is daunted by the thought of leaving the group. My ds felt that way, too. But his 2ry had excellent transition arrangements, and by the time ds started he was no longer worried. I also explained to him that he couldn't choose his school by what fitted his friends, it had to be by what fitted him best. In any case, one friend was hoping to go to stage school, 2 were hoping to go to the Christian ethos school, and so on.

Greythorne Tue 24-Sep-13 07:39:39

You are the parent. You get to choose.

FeetUpUntilChristmas Tue 24-Sep-13 07:47:07

I took both my DD to look around the local schools when the oldest was in Y6, both were good schools but with different a focus. I wanted them to both go to the same school.

Both DD chose the same school and I was happy to support there decision.

SoupDragon Tue 24-Sep-13 08:01:21

I chose the school. DSs were allowed to express a preference but, at 10/11, they are not able to make a proper judgement on what school is best for them.

Fairypants Tue 24-Sep-13 08:06:40

Ultimately we (me abd dh) make the final decision so I didn't tell dd she could decide (or couldn't) but discussed the pros and cons. I also took her to a number of schools so she could see the range. Our local is rubbish so everyone has different plans to avoid it and about 5 girls from dd's class went there in the end whilst dd1 chose the school we wanted and managed to get a v rare place at it (700+ applications for 100 places).
It's worth talking to his friends parents as you are likely to find they are applying for other schools but maybe not telling so they don't get their hopes up.
If you go and visit them, you can always go to the English classes in one and the sports facilities in the other! It is worth trying to get him onside but I wouldn't let him make a decision line that himself really.

exexpat Tue 24-Sep-13 08:15:10

Parents need to make the final decision - 10/11 year olds are swayed by superficial things, like where their friends are going, or not liking a uniform, rather than the bigger picture of academic standards and whether a school meets their other needs and interests.

Yes, it makes the transition a bit easier if they have a few friends going to the same place, but secondary schools are big places, they are usually put in different classes from their old friends, and soon make new ones - even if they think they are going to be best friends for ever, by the end of year 7 most have completely different friendship groups from primary school. And if you have moved, and the school you like is nearer your current house, it will be good for DS to build up a local friendship network.

Talk up the school you choose to your DS, but don't get into negotiations about it - you should have the final say.

NoComet Tue 24-Sep-13 08:43:15

The logistics of getting to the Grammar school are awful.Also they wouldn't let Y4's look round to encorage them to work for the 11+.

Had DD2 been wanted to go and been willing to put in some work she could have tried for it.

She absolutely didn't want to. She wanted to be with her friends and sister. Also she likes being near/at the top of the class, it gives her huge confidence. She is very stubborn, i don't think I could have forced her to work for the 11+ if she didn't want to.

Maybe, at the comp. she'll get some As when she might have got A* or she'd have got fed up with the amount HW the grammar gives and rebelled totally.

Had she wanted to be a doctor A* would matter, she doesn't, she wants to teach. For that being at a much more mixed school teaches her things that may be useful.

You can never know if you made the right decision. All I do know is she's happy and made nice friends.

tiggytape Tue 24-Sep-13 09:04:00

I guess this is the only advantage of living in London for schools.
If I really want to veto any choice, I could just say we live 56cm too far away so cannot get in despite everyone in the same road getting a place - and it would be totally believable (and probably true!)

Mainly I think it should be the parent’s choice but it is up to the parents to sell a school if necessary and not just lay down the law. If going to open days, chatting it over and reasonable discussion about friendship groups always being broken at secondary school still leave a child absolutely adamant they won't go to a certain school, then I probably would listen to that at least to some extent. It depends if the one they wanted to go to instead was basically O.K or not.

Redlocks30 Tue 24-Sep-13 09:15:18

We chose. Our catchment secondary is v poor and we liked the grammar, fortunately DC did, too and passed the 11+ with flying colours. Had he not, we would have gone for an out of catchment school quite a trek away. Our catchment secondary has been called 4 different names since I've lived here, trying to shake off its bad reputation. I didn't think he'd do as well there.

teenagetantrums Tue 24-Sep-13 09:22:22

You get to chose, my DS may still believe that I put the local school as number one choice, I did not told him he didn't get in and there was going to school X that I had put at number one. He was very happy there, they tend to find new friends anyway once the start secondary.

roguepixie Tue 24-Sep-13 09:26:48

We took DS to all the open evenings and discussed what he wanted from the school he would go to. We also explained that the final choice remained with us - that we had to consider more than the school "having a pool" (he's a swimmer) and being a boy's school. We have always discussed things openly and made him aware that his views are valued - it meant that when the time for applying to secondary school the process was less fraught.

Fortunately he got offered a place that met all his wants smile and also all our's too. It's a truly excellent school so everyone was happy.

To my mind it is, ultimately, the parents decision but hopefully, with open discussion and treating the child fairly and with consideration for their views, you will come to a mutually happy decision.

hatsybatsy Tue 24-Sep-13 09:31:01

I think the parents get the choice. But our primary school does not feed into one particular secondary school so we don't have the same issue as you.

In your shoes, I would refuse to discuss it with him at the moment (nightly arguments sound very wearing?) - and would take him to an open day at the school I wanted.

Are there any families near where you've moved to who have sons at the new school? Get to know them - maybe your ds would feel happier knowing people there? Are there holiday clubs at the new school that he could try?

Not possible to make a 10/11 year old conform to your opinion but you are doing it for his own benefit - you need to stick to your guns but be prepared for a bumpy ride.

Scholes34 Tue 24-Sep-13 09:31:18

Our school chose itself. It's the local comp. DD did very well and now at sixth form college with excellent GCSE results. DS1 and DS2 doing well too. It's close by and all their friends are there too. No problem getting a place. We're lucky. It's not London.

dotty2 Tue 24-Sep-13 09:37:53

Only Y4 here, but was talking to my DDs about this just this morning and the question of who gets to choose came up, so I said that I hoped we'd agree and that there were things that they might need to think about that might not seem so important to them, but really were long term. Will see what happens over the next year - I think we might be in a similar position with friends going to one place and me preferring another for academic reasons, so am very interested in the responses.

FWIW, I won an assisted place to a private grammar school age 11 (having seen the advert in the local paper and asked if I could do the exam). We lived in an inner city area where the secondary choices were pretty poor - only a handful of people passing any A levels in a year, etc. (This was 30 years ago). My parents gave me a completely free choice over whether to take it or not, not trying to sway me either way. As a parent now, I'm slightly awe-struck that they let me have that much autonomy - I think it was brave of them.

Elibean Tue 24-Sep-13 09:46:14

I have a Y4 dd, and we're looking at schools. Parents look at a selection, then kid with parents (at the ones parents are ok with), then kid has very big input and we decide together.

We have the right to nix ones we loathe, and so does she smile

17leftfeet Tue 24-Sep-13 09:55:44

I made the decision but I took dd's opinion into account as part of my decision making process

we are actually very lucky that we have 2 good schools and equal distance appart and our area doesn't operate a catchment system

I was actually quite suprised when she told me she would rather go to the school that her friends weren't going to as she prefered the school

3 weeks in she seems to have developed a lovely friendship group and is very happy

she was the only person from her primary in her new form

AgadorSpartacus Tue 24-Sep-13 09:58:06

It was a mutual decision. He vetoed some, we vetoed some but what we did do was visit them all.

BackforGood Tue 24-Sep-13 10:04:40

We guided our dcs towards the schools we thought would suit them.
We looked round with the dc though, and then we all talked about the pros and cons.
I pointed out that ultimately, we were expressing a preference and the LA did the allocations.
As has been said upthread, there's a lot of talk in Yr6, but the dc actually end up going to different places from those they said they wanted (I have 3 in secondary) ~ whether that's because their parents over-ruled them or not, I don't know, but 10 and 11 yr olds are easily swayed by a well thought out open evening,(tasters of warm cookies straight out the over in the cookery room anyone? or letting them see real fire coming out the bunsen burners?) whereas I, as a parent do a lot more investigating than that one 'show evening'. Indeed, once they get to secondary, it's really common to be split from those from the same Primary school and to make new friends anyway, so I really wouldn't put a lot of emphasis on that.

MortifiedAdams Tue 24-Sep-13 10:34:24

The parent chooses. Fine to reasses at the end of year seven if they arent settling, but there is no way dd will get free rein over which secondary school she goes to.

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