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DD passed 11 plus but now wants to go to local comp..

(57 Posts)
timeforabrewnow Fri 23-Oct-15 10:28:58

because her friends are going there.

Dilemma for me as I know she's only 10 and really we need to choose for her as well, but ultimately we want her to be happy. The local comp has been classed by ofstead as 'good' whereas the Grammar she's got into is one of the top schools in the country.

For some people I realise this would seem like a no-brainer, but I think she would do well academically at the comp. It's not as pressured an environment either, BUT is it foolish to pass up such a good school??

Any replies from people who have children in secondary school and faced a similar dilemma gratefully received.

BuckBuckBuckBuckBuck Fri 23-Oct-15 11:13:18

Personally, friends is the one thing that I don't think should be taken into account (and we haven't). How many friends do you still have from primary school? We move on. While it's nice to have a friend to share the new experience with, kids make new friends at secondary as well, and it's far more important to be in the right school for the child in other ways.

But deciding the right school isn't down to ofsted ratings. The things we've looked at is: subject choice (I actually prefer fewer subjects to be available, the traditional basics that will take you anywhere, rather than photography and drama, but your views will vary!), size of class, intake to year, extra-curricular activities (this is where I like drama!, music, sports), trips available, teacher retention (I think it says a lot if teachers hang around), teachers caring enough about the school and kids to do extra stuff with them, access to the Head (often in bigger schools you deal with HofYear only), what kids who are there currently think of the school/teachers, and what recent leavers have to say, etc etc.

My oldest is at Grammar - the very academic one - which we favoured for her because she's quiet and conscientious and we felt she'd be overlooked in local comps, but would have done ok. She loves her small school (90 per year), and they really notice her and encourage her to have confidence in her abilities. She's not competitive, and doesn't feel pressured, but she does work hard, harder than she would at comp because it is expected. She was lucky in that her best friend went too, but she would have gone anyway.

My next has just passed too, and will go to the same school. I think she would do well anywhere as she is much more outgoing, loud, confident, and I wouldn't have minded where she went! Looks like she will have a most of her friends going too, so quite different to your girl. She is quite competitive, and I think she'll find some like-minded kids.

My 3rd will be doing 11+ next year - we'd like her to go to same school too (but you have to get the highest marks when you live out of catchment, no sibling advantage, so it is not easily achievable). She is more like the 1st, but with the added element of being more inclined to be distracted by silly friendship stuff (which has improved through primary!), so I'd like her in a school less chance of falling in with the wrong crowd, and high expectations throughout. She is unlikely to have any of her close friends going, but she is keen and excited to go. We've always emphasised that it can be good to have friends at other schools for when you find it tough at your own! If she doesn't get in there, she'll hopefully go to the only-have-to-pass Grammar, which is also a fab school. Swings and roundabouts on the advantages/disadvantages, bit further away, bigger (150 per year).

That was an essay! In summary - "ultimately we want her to be happy". She will be happy in the right school environment for her, and will make friends there, and happiness comes best from working hard and achieving what we can.... and the label grammar/comp doesn't make a difference in that, it's what each school has to offer your child that matters. I wish you well in coming to a decision you (and she) are happy with. It's not easy!

cathyandclaire Fri 23-Oct-15 11:33:07

There is a huge change of friendships in secondary school IME. Both DDs moved schools, were with friends from primary and are no longer friendly with those girls. There was no falling out or disagreement they just moved in different groups. I think I would be frustrated if they'd chosen their school on the friendship basis alone. I've also found that because of social media they seem to find it easier to stay in touch with people from other schools, at parties etc there are always lots from neighbouring schools which didn't happen in my day.

Bin85 Fri 23-Oct-15 11:37:51

She could move grammar to comp if it really didn't work out but not the other way round
She should be able to make new friends and still see old ones
Shame to turn down that opportunity and she might regret it later

SoupDragon Fri 23-Oct-15 11:42:50

Given that her reason is because her friends are going to the comp, I would send her to the grammar. Neither of my DSs went to secondary with their friends and they had a good group of new friends within weeks.

Ignoring the grammar/comp/Ofsted stuff, which school do you believe is the right one for your DD?

WildStallions Fri 23-Oct-15 11:43:52

This is tricky.

My DS just started at a grammar. All his friends went to the comp.

The school is absolutely the right school for him - but he has made no friends and I'm not sure that he will.

His grammar is almost 100% Asian. There are only a couple of white children in his whole year group. This is causing social problems for him.

The comp is mostly white.

So if you have a very stark contrast like that then YANBU to take these facts into account.

SelfRaisingFlour Fri 23-Oct-15 11:48:02

I know someone whose older brother went to private school. The parents also wanted to send her to private school, but she had a tantrum and said that she wanted to go to the very poor local comp with her friends. The parents let her go to the comp and now this woman looks back and blames her parents for leaving such an important decision to a 10 year old and allowing her to have such a bad education.

DS1 is at a grammar, but we still make the effort to see his 2 best local friends from primary school. I agree with the others. Primary school friendships is not a reason to choose a school.

Peregrina Fri 23-Oct-15 12:09:27

Have you had a good look around both schools? What is your gut feeling about both of them? A good school on paper doesn't always translate to a good school in practice.

Is it a genuine comprehensive i.e. takes the full spread of ability or is it a Kent comprehensive i.e. a Secondary Modern? How well do the top sets do at the school? If the Comprehensive is oversubscribed then it might not be easy to move if the grammar school doesn't suit.

IMO these are all more important that the friendship issue, which usually change after the first half term or so.

Autumnsky Fri 23-Oct-15 12:28:05

The important thing is how good is the local comp. All our local secondary are rated good by Ofsted, but these schools differ so much.

Is it trendy that working hard and doing well academically in this local comp? I think this is important. As one of my friend's DD was in a good comp, but all her friends are not hard working type, she actually deliberately perform less well to be in the same level with her friends. She only tries hard for important tests. My friend had been a bit hesitated to push her work a bit hard or let her to be happy.In the end , she didn't get the result for the subjet she want to study in University, has to change to a less demanding subject and a less reputable University. But she and her mum know she can do better if she tried hard.

So, I always put friends influence on top of the choosing factor.

timeforabrewnow Fri 23-Oct-15 13:17:52

BuckBuck Thank you for your detailed response, it has helped to clarify quite a few things in my mind.

Also thanks everyone else who has responded. In short, the local comp. is very good results-wise and is a genuine comprehensive, in that in takes in everyone.

Of course schools shouldn't be chosen on friendship issues, but then again which group of friends you fall in with does have an influence on some people.

WildStallions your son may take a while to make friends, I have 2 older boys who haven't always found making friends easy.

Brioche201 Fri 23-Oct-15 16:12:49

If she starts at the grammar, it will be a lot easier to move at a later date to the comp, than the other way round.

Kez100 Fri 23-Oct-15 17:49:18

I think if she passed marginally (do you ever know?) especially if highly tutored then either choice is fine. Likely to do well and be toward top of comp versus bottom of grammar.

However, if she flew the 11 plus, I would be more inclined to the Grammar.

Brioche201 Fri 23-Oct-15 17:50:58

Research consistently shows borderline passers do better in a GS environment than a comprehensive.

littledrummergirl Fri 23-Oct-15 18:25:05

I hate the tutored, just scraped in will be bottom of the class crap that is spouted. Ds1 scraped into his very well regarded (has been times school of the year very recently), was tutored and is now in the middle of the class floating just above class average.
His school is perfect for him.
Ds2 is at the local comp which he is thriving at.
His school is perfect for him.

We have the same choice for Dd, grammar or comp. We loved both schools and feel that Dd will do well at either. I think she will thrive at the grammar as it encourages individuality which is important to us. We still have to confirm our preference.

Suffolkgirl1 Fri 23-Oct-15 19:19:11

Why did you decide to get her to sit the 11 plus for this grammar school in the first place? Have those reasons changed? If not don't change your mind because of primary school friendships.

You need to choose the best school for YOUR DD, not for her friends.

I have had two DC go to secondary schools as the only one from their primary, neither have had any problems making friends. A friend allowed her DC to go to her local school instead of the Indi they had chosen, because she wanted to stay with her friends, they ended up moving her to the Indi at 13plus instead.
I am applying for DS2 at present, my first choice school for him is likely to mean he has, at most, 1 schoolmate moving with him. He has mentioned missing his other friends several times but he has chosen the other school and we will stick with this decision.

Rivercam Fri 23-Oct-15 19:29:59

We won an appeal to get my youngest into grammar school ( also in Kent), but then he got placed in the grammar stream at the non -gs. We wondered whether he would be better as one of the top at non -gs, or would he struggle at the gs. We plumped for the gs, and at his end-of-year exams, he achieved average marks.

I would,go,for,the gs. As others have said, it's easier to go from gs to non gs, then the other way around.

My eldest went to a gs with no friends and is fine. My youngest has made a large group,of new friends also. Very few friendship groups survive at senior school.

However, the best advice I can give is to visit them both again and see what feels right for you. What subjects do they do? What are their strengths and specialisms?

Rivercam Fri 23-Oct-15 19:31:58

Just to clarify, how marks were similar to the average score for the year, so he wasn't bottom, bit doing okay.

BertrandRussell Sat 24-Oct-15 07:00:16

If you like both schools, I would look at the extra curricular things available. If your child is sporty, look at how both schools' teams do in the county leagues, for example-if he's musical, look at the level of orchestras, choirs and so on.

ItMustBeBedtimeSurely Sat 24-Oct-15 07:04:25

It is a no brainer. Send her to the grammar. As others have said, friendship groups change and a good education is priceless.

She will not thank you down the line if you let her decide now.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sat 24-Oct-15 07:17:24

This is not a decision for a 10 year old to make

Orbiting Sat 24-Oct-15 07:39:26

Without wanting to state the obvious there is quite a change from 10 year old to teenager and therefore what seems a nice happy friendship group at 10 maybe all but that at 13 including issues such as self harm etc.
Keen year 6s may also lose interest in academic work. I would consider which of the schools is she likely to have the greatest opportunity of making new friends without it being an effort to 'fit in' personality-wise as a teenager.
I would also consider whether she would gain from having lots of other bright DCs to engage with in and out of class. If she spends her evenings in self absorbed reading and studying for her own interest then her drive to learn may be independent of peer group. However you still want a school with teaching that will add to her interest. If she is mainly just driven to do well then you have to work out whether that will become an anxiety in a more competitive environment or she would miss out by not having the work pace of the brightest DCs that you would get in a good grammar.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Sat 24-Oct-15 07:46:59

Ok my dd passed her eleven plus and went to the comp instead. She's in year ten, hasn't hung out with her old primary friends since the first week in year seven.

I guess all comps are different, hers is shitter than shit. Ive just had to email the head to comp,sin about why she hasn't had ANY science homework this academic year, she's iin Year ten!!

Also complained about the fact that her geography teacher has admitted to the class that she's given up trying to teach them due to bad behaviour in the class. Dd says nobody listens to the teacher so she just tells them to work from the text book and ignores the class all lesson.

I would say that behaviour is the main problem. I'm sure not all comps are this bad, but it's terrible. There are a small number of very non academic kids who run riot and make learning nearly impossible.

Will dd do ok? I think she will probably pass all her gcses. But there is no way she is going to do as well as if she went to a school where they set homework and which had a quiet environment.

The school have responded positively to me. Head of science had no idea that none of his teachers were setting homework (dd has three science teachers, so it's not just one lazy one). And he's kicking arse by the sounds of it. Part of me thinks this just makes it worse.....the head of dept should know what's happening. Not be getting told by parents.

Anyway, I'm waffling. My advice would be send her to the grammar no matter what she says! She will make new friends.

BrendaandEddie Sat 24-Oct-15 08:03:34

where is it , Time?

BrendaandEddie Sat 24-Oct-15 08:04:54

i recently advised another mn-er on here to send her son to the Grammar and she did! I have met her and our kids know each other.

HOWEVER, if it is where I think it is, the other ( is it girls?) school, is just as good in many other ways

BertrandRussell Sat 24-Oct-15 08:28:21

"I would also consider whether she would gain from having lots of other bright DCs to engage with in and out of class. "

If it's a true comprehensive she'll have this anyway.

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