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Deciding secondary - go with dd preference or ours ?

(36 Posts)
6860 Tue 04-Mar-14 11:58:46

Dd has been given a place at our local (outstanding) comprehensive where all her friends are going. She also has a place at a lovely local (small, nurturing etc) independent and is on the waiting list for a very established independent slightly further from home. None of her mates going to the indies.

She wants to go to the comp and the transition would undoubtedly be much easier for her if she went there. She's academic, works hard most of the time, is a bit backward in coming forward and often flies under the radar at her state primary.

DP and I are leaning toward for the independent option . Although it would be hard for us financially with two dds, feel it would bring her out of herself more and raise her game on the sporting, confidence etc front.

Current conversations are going around in circles and discussions with dd not fruitful last night. Obvs we have talked this through before but not with known state options on the table.....need to decide today (have to say yes or no to the local independent school by tomorrow).

Do we let a 10 year old decide this? confused

Help.

BaBaSheep Tue 04-Mar-14 12:08:04

Personally if they both are very good schools I would go with my dc's option.

MigGril Tue 04-Mar-14 12:20:41

I'd go with the good comp. As the money you save on school fees you can use on any areas you feel the school maybe lacking or any extra curricula activities she would like to do.

She's far more likely to do well off she's somewhere she's happy.

Nocomet Tue 04-Mar-14 12:20:53

Save the money for university and let DD decide.

DD2 decided not to do the 11+
DD1 has changed her mind about her 6th firm choice.

Only when they have their A level results will we have any idea if they were right, but they are happy with their choices.

TeenAndTween Tue 04-Mar-14 12:22:32

Is not an outstanding comp likely to have more going on where your daughter can find her niche?
May it not also be more flexible later wrt GCSE options?
If you save your money you can use some of it for other things to develop your DDs such as holiday camps, more exciting holidays (and tutors if they need it later).
A good comp should not let children fly under the radar.

AMumInScotland Tue 04-Mar-14 12:24:14

The way your DD feels about the school will have a big influence on how well she settles in there, and being listened to will also help her feel 'committed' to it. So, since her choice is 'outstanding' I would definitely go with that.

I wouldn't let a 10yo pick a poor school, or one that I had serious issues with. But I would let her choose the outstanding local comp over the independent option.

CreepyLittleBat Tue 04-Mar-14 12:24:45

Go with the comp. We had this with our ds last year - put down our choice first and his second. Thankfully he didn't get a place at the school we wanted, went to his choice and it is a perfect fit for him. He is happy and working well above expectations. Sometimes they have better instincts than we do.

sunbathe Tue 04-Mar-14 12:30:29

I'd go with her choice.

Outstanding.
Local.
Friends also going.

While they might not be friends forever, I think a strong friendship group really helps them settle in.

Lottiedoubtie Tue 04-Mar-14 12:34:20

I'm going against the trend here. No I wouldn't let her decide. She isn't old enough to really understand the long term consequences of her decisions. She is thinking short term and not basing her decision on the same things you are.

I'm not saying definitely choose the small independent, but weigh up everything (including her opinion) and then make an adult decision about it. It's too important not to.

Daykin Tue 04-Mar-14 12:38:14

I wouldn't let her have the final say but I'd be inclined towards the comp anyway. My 'flying under the radar' at primary turned into 'odd' at my small indie secondary. I went to 6th form college and found my niche and I think if I'd gone to a large comp then that may have happened at 11 rather than 16.

YuccanLiederHorticulture Tue 04-Mar-14 12:44:31

If the local outstanding comp has a good attitude to academic study and a track record of decent exam results, and if her friends are generally a positive influence, then go with the state option.

A vibrant outstanding comp sounds like it would do a much better job of bringing someone out of themselves properly. A nice quiet refined small independent school may only give her the confidence to come out of herself in nice quiet refined circumstances.

steppemum Tue 04-Mar-14 12:53:40

I don't actually think that at 10/11 they have any idea what they need in a school, or understand the differences in the schools you look at.

Back in October when visiting schools, we could see that ds was heavily influenced by a nice drum kit in the hall, or a cool theatre, or the class making pizza as we went through the cookery rooms. He loved the engineering rooms in one school, whose academic record wasn't great. He simply doesn't have a broad perspective on what a good school is and even really what GCSEs are and which ones matter.

We listened to ds, and took all his points on board. But we also knew that he was way off the mark on some. eg he doesn't like the all boys school (the only grammar we can reach is all boys) but that is because in his class at school, he says if you want to get any work done, you sit with the girls. The boys in his class are also all quite rough. I know the boys at the grammar will be different, interested in working and a broader social mix. He doesn't.

Of course it is important to listen to her opinion, but in terms of friendship, they often change friends during year 7 anyway, and if the girls going to the indie are all coming from different schools they will all be in the same boat. I would listen to her, but make the final choice yourself.

But I wouldn't necessarily choose the Indie over an outstanding local comp!

MrsSquirrel Tue 04-Mar-14 12:59:41

I'm with Lottie, dd is too young to make such an important decision. She won't have a long-term perspective on things. My dd was the same, wanted to go where her friends were going. The transition only lasts for the first term or so, but she will be at the school for 5 years at least.

For dd it helped that we explained our criteria and why we felt the chosen school was better for her.

Personally, I would prefer an outstanding comp (more choices, both academic and social) to a small independent, but you know your dd and the particular schools.

whatwouldyouchoose Tue 04-Mar-14 13:06:10

I wouldn't base such an important decision on where her friends are going. In the first week of year 7 she will have made new friends. Think about what is best for your family financially and which school would suit your DD's personality

VQSV Tue 04-Mar-14 13:27:47

Do you give your 10 year old children the final decision over:
- what they eat
- what time they go to bed
- what films / tv they watch
- what time they stay out to if playing with friends

..probably not...and choice of school more important than above lifestyle issues.

Let her decide on GCSE choices / A levels / Universities etc (with input from you)...but you should make final decision on most appropriate secondary school.

There must be something you've picked up about one or both independent schools that makes you think they are worth all the extra cost.

- class sizes ?
- sport / drama facilities ?
- academic results ?

Difficult to advise on choice you have...but it is primarily your choice and not that of DD.

Nocomet Tue 04-Mar-14 13:29:16

I agree a 10-11 year old shouldn't make the choice if you are certain they are making the wrong one, but if you're fence sitting...

Also a lot of parents round here send their DDs to a small private school because they feel they must if can just afford it.

Yes it's 'naice' yes there's no distracting boys, but DDs DFs have just got pretty much the same GCSE results they would have got at the local comp. They don't seem to get much more exciting trips and opportunities than DD1 at her (sometime SM comp).

steppemum Tue 04-Mar-14 13:42:28

if the Indie is very small, does it offer a broad range of choices at GCSE? How do they do that with very small classes?

If the comp is streamed for different subjects she should be in a class of similar kids and so she should be stretched according to her ability.

Don't underestimate the value to you as a family to have the extra money, maybe dance/music/sport clubs? trips? And what about your younger dcs, will they be able to go to Indie?

BaBaSheep Tue 04-Mar-14 14:49:23

Does the indie specialise in any subject that your dd particularly interested in? Outstanding comps usually very over subscribed and hard to get a place in in year application so your dd may not get a second chance and it is free. Are you sure you can support her all the way through for the next 5 or 7 years comfortably and still have money for uni etc. Your dd needs to feel right. She has to live with it.

My dd is very looking forward to going to the comp of her choice despite none of her close friends is joining in in the same school with her in sept. She just feels it is the right school and she s already decided she will do well.

crazymum53 Tue 04-Mar-14 14:50:37

I would accept the place at the local comp for now. Which independent school would you prefer the small one or the more established one? What are the GCSE options like at both schools? Are both the state and indie schools co-ed or is one single sex? What about transport and uniform costs etc.
I would also bear in mind that it may be possible to move her from the comp to independent school at a later date, if things don't work out, but probably not the other way round!
HTH

pointythings Tue 04-Mar-14 15:00:57

I think this is a no brainer really - you say yourself that sending both your children independent would be tough financially and the comp is Outstanding - why take the risk? All it takes in your situation is a job loss and you'd be in real trouble. If you can't afford it comfortably, just don't do it.

And FWIW my older DD is a quirky, geeky type - she is at a large comp where she has met a lovely group of like minded girls. She has a huge range of options choices because of the economies of scale, a lot of extracurricular activities on tap during and after school, she plays sports for school teams and the school is excellent at academic differentiation. If your local comp is like that why would you want to pay?

curiousgeorgie Tue 04-Mar-14 16:49:50

I think I'd be temped to go with DD preference..

I sort of have experience of this from my brother when he was young passing an entrance exam for an independent school my parents were desperate for him to go to. He wanted to go to the local high school with all of his friends.

My parents sent him to the independent school, they did struggle financially (possibly not an issue for you, but worth mentioning.) and it led to a few years of resentment and arguments between them when he didn't settle well there.

Do you think this could become an issue?

creamteas Tue 04-Mar-14 17:28:00

My colleague sent her DS to a selective indie that he didn't want to go to.

He never settled, behaved badly and was asked to leave in year 8. Not only could he not get a place at the comp that he had wanted to attend, the only schools with places were a long journey away in places he didn't know anyone. It didn't get any better and in year 9 he was excluded from the state school too. He eventually left a PRU at 16 with no qualifications.

This is an extreme case, but if children are not happy with their school they will not do well regardless of the school.

TallulahMcFey Tue 04-Mar-14 17:34:47

My DD2 is now year 7. I definitely wouldn't have let her choose a poor school but our house is between 2 very good comprehensives and I let her choose. In fact she chose the one slightly closer, that her elder sister went to but her friends all went to the other one. When she had a few bad days at the beginning of the year settling in, it was made better that she knew it was her decision. Now she is very settled and v happy but think she would have been happy at either - which is why I let her choose.

TalkinPeace Tue 04-Mar-14 18:11:20

Compare the schools in terms of
- science labs
- arts rooms
- tech rooms (fabric, woodwork, textiles, electronics)
- number of sports played and number of teams in each so middling kids play to
- number of music ensembles and choirs : lots of niches
- range of GCSEs and BTECs offered

what happens at 6th form ?

cory Tue 04-Mar-14 18:34:47

I don't think a 10yo can know what will be best for her.

But then I am not entirely sure that anyone else can decide what will be best for her confidence as a teenager either. You haven't seen the 11/12/13yo her: you have no idea what that person will be like or what kind of environment she would thrive in. They change so much!

So I would go with Talkinpeace's suggestion instead: look at the concrete facilities, what is actually on offer, the variety and range of options.

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