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Where to send a very intelligent but poor boy for school in Monmouthshire

(17 Posts)
jojane Sat 08-Feb-14 09:17:20

Ds1 is very intelligent, on the g&t register etc but has some aspergers traits but is very high functioning, but not very social.
I am starting to think about secondary school (he's only 7 so got a few years but trying to look at options). He currently goes to a brilliant state primary who have been amazing with him and his various needs.
It seems that Wales doesn't have any 11+ schools, options seem to be state secondary (none seems to be more than average) or private at £12k + per year. We can't Afford £1k per month for school fees and none of the bursaries seem to be more than 10% for able children or we are top end of the income bracket meaning we wouldn't get much financial help.
I just wondered if there were any other options we hadn't thought about?

starballbunny Sat 08-Feb-14 09:47:21

Just because a school looks average at first glance, it doesn't mean all the DCs get average results.

The most able top set DCs still get As/A* and places at top universities. (I went to an RG university from a very average welsh comp. I have friends who went off to do accountancy, English and medicine at very good unis including Oxford).

You need to look beyond the averages at actual detailed GCSE and A level results and destinations, not just simple averages.

CareersDragon Sat 08-Feb-14 11:06:46

I live in Monmouthshire and have worked in all the secondary schools here. First, let me say that they all have had pupils that have gone on to Oxbridge, and to Russell Group universities.

Also, that schools can change enormously as a result of new staff (especially Heads) joining. Most of the Monmouthshire schools have had a change of Headteacher in the last few years, and who knows what will happen by the time your DS is ready to move up...

My advice is that in the year or so before you have to choose, that you visit all the schools within travelling distance on their Open Days, and afterwards make an appointment with the Head and or SENCO to talk about your DS's particular needs. You will get a feel for which school he will be happiest in, and whether you feel confident yourself with what the school can offer him.

There is also the possibility that by the time your DS is ready to move up, that there may be another option... There is talk of a new Free School being set up somewhere in the Wye Valley...

jojane Sat 08-Feb-14 12:55:22

I realise I am being premature and a lot can happen in a few years, it's partly as dh used to work at Chepstow comp and doesn't rate it (but also realise that was 8 years ago and things change) but mainly coz FIL made a comment how we should send him to grammar school as he would do really well at the 11+ and indicated we would be failing him be sending him to a comp (dh went to a comp by the way) but he comes from a time when grammar schools were a bigger deal I think and it just got me thinking maybe we should be looking at other options, then google seems to indicate the 11+ was phased out in Wales and I was wondering what options there were apart from pricey private and state comp.
I went to boarding school age 15-18 but had a scholarship for tuition fees and a bursary for half of the boarding fees and my grandad paid the rest I think.
I just feel we have spent up til now focusing on the things Ds can't do and needs work on (physio, hydrotherapy, handwriting, social skills, toilet accidents) that we havnt done anything to nurture his intelligence.

CareersDragon Sat 08-Feb-14 20:18:49

I'm sure that you have done loads to nurture his intelligence - and you have the time to do more before he goes to secondary school.

I'm a great fan of grammar schools myself, so can understand what you mean, but as they're not available in Wales, you'll have to choose another option.

The independent schools do offer academic & sporting scholarships, so why not investigate the ones that you like? He will probably need some coaching to do well enough in their entrance tests to qualify for a scholarship.

I'm really not sure that by going independent, you will automatically be ensuring a good education for him. So much depends on choosing the right school for him...Although you say he's not very social, he may have friendships by age 11 that will help him make an easier transition if he moves with a friend. The other thing to consider is the amount of disposable income you will be able to use to nurture his talents, by travel, cultural activities etc if you don't use it for private education!

I'm not against private education by the way! My DD was sent to an independent school because we thought that the school was the right one for her. You have time to see what happens in the next few years & how both your DS and the local schools develop...

CareersDragon Sat 08-Feb-14 22:57:51

Info on the proposed new Free School: wyevalleyfreeschool.co.uk/

starballbunny Sun 09-Feb-14 01:31:06

Grammar schools were phased out in mid Wales over 40 years ago. We got the old secondary as our junior school.

Gym, real stage, full size playing fields, single sex changing rooms.

Couldn't believe how tiny and ill equipped ordinary primaries are. Changing in the class room for PE, not enough room for GPs to watch the nativity. We used to have the whole town!

Unfortunately, the flip side was a 12 mile bus journey to secondary school as everyone was moved to the grammar school.

pimmsgalore Mon 10-Feb-14 13:02:43

How close to the Gloucestershire border are you? I know of people who take Gloucestershire's 11+ for their grammar schools and there are daily buses up to them from Chepstow

jojane Mon 10-Feb-14 13:16:31

We are just outside Chepstow. Didnt know that about the buses, will look into that, thought it would have to be public transport and dont think Ds would be ready for that at age 11, would either have head stuck in book and miss stop or have a melt down if someone was sat in his normal seat!
Just looking into options at the moment and obviously things will change between now and then and may decide Ds going to school locally with local children would be better overall than a school which suits him academically

jojane Mon 10-Feb-14 13:19:49

We were lucky that we managed to get into an amazing primary school. They have been brilliant with Ds, and it was the obvious choice for us even though not our catchment ( catchment line is my back fence!) but secondary doesn't seem so obvious!

jojane Mon 10-Feb-14 13:25:40

I went to comp until age 15 when I went to boarding school so have experience at both ends of the spectrum ( and actually preferred comp, although that was probably more to do with friends and boyfriends!) but my comp was a very good one in Devon.
Thanks for all the info, given me some options to explore and think about.

hotair Mon 10-Feb-14 13:26:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

jojane Mon 10-Feb-14 14:52:23

Have heard that caldicot is improving so worth keeping an eye on. Have heard that whereas has gone downhill.
We love the kids primary school, mainly for all the stuff they have done for ds1 since he started, he had the best teacher ever last year who worked with him really well and greatly improved things we were working on, hard to get a place especially now, I know 20+ siblings that will be in ds2s class when he starts which get priority over catchment

Do you have children hotair? Would be interested in what your choices were/are/would be if you don't mind sharing?

hotair Mon 10-Feb-14 15:27:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pimmsgalore Tue 11-Feb-14 12:44:48

hotair, I drive past Wyedean every day and it strikes me as horrible, BUT at least when I show it to my older children and say if they don't work hard I'm no longer paying for their private school and they can go there it soon bucks their ideas up wink

neptunemum Tue 11-Nov-14 21:15:15

Wyedean has just been removed from Special Measures and I've heard a rumour that in fact the results and teaching are so good they have received a massive OFSTED upgraded rating. Certainly the GCSE 70% A*-C results would put them right up there. AS results have improved massively. My kids report a big change in culture and expectation. We are impressed.

jo164 Wed 12-Nov-14 18:32:56

I have recently been led to believe (not personal experience, so can't vouch for it) that Monmouth school have a very good bursary scheme. It may be worth looking into it, if you feel the school would suit your child.

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