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To all of you weighing up the pros and cons of different secondary schools

(19 Posts)
TeddTess Tue 08-Dec-15 09:37:38

can i just say do not underestimate how knackered they get.
the yr7s at DDs school are just exhausted and hanging on.
lots of parents dropping off this week
lots of kids getting "just in time" trains as can't make the earlier ones

do think carefully about going for schools further away from home just because they get a couple of higher % A*s !!

Spidertracker Tue 08-Dec-15 09:43:29

I am of the very firm opinion that kids who want to do well will do well anywhere and those that don't won't.
I also think the social side of secondary includes travel to and from, peeing about in the park and having a laugh with your mates without needing taxiing about everywhere and a local school makes this easier.
With this in mind next year (ds year 5 now) i shall put the school 15 minutes walk away as our number 1 despite knowing its not the best school.
We live in an area where all our schools are ok though so not too much of a concern.

Pointlessfan Tue 08-Dec-15 09:47:52

I agree, I'm a secondary teacher and all the kids are shattered, lots off sick at the moment too. I travelled over an hour on two buses to school as a teenager and I don't think I'd want DD to do that, especially as it was a grammar school with a massive catchment area so I didn't live near any of my friends either.

WiryElevator Tue 08-Dec-15 10:30:18

My DS is shattered - his school isn't the closest but it is the best for him, by a country mile - and his favourite thing is the journey! I underestimated how much he would love the train. grin

DSs school has a large catchment - some live up to 30 miles away. DS seems to have had the good sense to become friendly with those that live within 7 miles, clever fellow.

So I'd say when selecting a secondary don't always let "distance" put you off. DSs school is two trains away, but is only a 35 minute door to door journey, where the nearest school is a 30 minute bus ride, with only the option to catch it once a day in each direction.

TeddTess Tue 08-Dec-15 10:42:49

yes you're right wiryelevator, i should have said don't underestimate the journey.
35 minute door to door is close (in london anyway)!

Thankgoditsover Tue 08-Dec-15 11:04:57

I couldn't agree more. I've become evangelical about the dangers of long journey. My ds has a 12 minute overground (train every 5 minutes) with a 5 minute walk either end. So not so bad, but he's absolutely exhausted by it. He's also paranoid about being late and hates the later crowded trains so arrives at school at least 50 minutes early (which actually turns out to be very useful as he does his homework there).

We applied to grammars absolutely miles away. It would have been disastrous for him.

He's also been ill three times, in part because of sharing a train with a load of unfamiliar germs. At least one of the times, I'd have sent him in if it had been our local school, knowing that he could always come home. But because he goes to school a journey away, he stayed at home. This is a boy who never had a single day off primary.

minifingerz Tue 08-Dec-15 11:45:27

My ds is so very, very tired right now.

We've had tears. :-(

His school takes children in from all over as it's a lottery system. DS has a 10 minute train journey and a 15 minute walk at the other end, but if I didn't drop him at the station his journey would take 45 minutes to an hour. That's a lot for a small kid, so I'm tied in to the station run right now.

TeddTess Tue 08-Dec-15 11:57:23

we turned down one of the best schools in the UK, because it would have meant a 3 minute walk followed by a 65 minute bus ride, then a 10 minute walk. lots thought i was mad, because although long it was one bus so very straightforward. "she can read" they said. THANK GOODNESS is all i can say.

purpledasies Tue 08-Dec-15 13:48:18

I think you're absolutely right, and not just a problem for Y7s. Depends on the child too, but that's hard to predict. My DSD1 made good friends on the bus and coped fine with the commute and early starts - did really well academically though she's the sort that would almost certainly have done well anywhere.

DSD2 however is Y11 and really struggling right now. Missing a lot of school through headaches, colds, low mood, - a lot of it related to being over-tired. Hasn't had the energy to make the much use of the huge array of extra-cirrricular opportunities her school offers. Very rarely sees friends out of school as she just wants to sleep and relax at weekends. Personally I think she'd have been much happier at the local catchment school.

Madmog Tue 08-Dec-15 14:29:00

Mine seems to need less and less sleep and relaxation as she gets older and I suspect for her travelling wouldn't have been an issue, so can't comment on this one. As the Year 7s get older, hopefully those travelling will find it easier.

My DD does go to the local school. Socially it's fantastic, she walks to and from school with others and knows a lot locally, close friends and more casual ones she sometimes gets together with. She's able to take part in after school clubs. She's determined to get the As and a couple of A*s she predicted, but for her this means putting in the extra time and work at home, and not having to travel means she has that extra time. We're lucky though as we have what's considered to be a good comp within a 10 min walk.

Radiatorvalves Tue 08-Dec-15 14:38:59

We are waiting at the moment...choices 1 and 2 are about 15 mins away. One walking, one on a bike. DS is bright, but I didn't bother looking at the grammars...about a hour away including 2 trains and 2 walks).

Helenluvsrob Tue 08-Dec-15 14:43:01

They just are all knackered at the moment. But that applies to primary and secondary IMHO.

We are in a city. An hour door to door is very normal for secondary kids- to grammar yes, but also to out of catchment eg catholic schools. I see kids walking as I drive to work at 7.45.

The bus social life is huge. Don't underestimate it. A group of 6-10 kids of mixed ages get dds bus route. The fact the don't necessarily have friends in their year group living near doesn't matter - the " bus crew" meet up in the park or what ever- gives the younger ones a another dimension too when they can say a yr11 is their friend.

purpledasies Tue 08-Dec-15 17:55:59

Helen - that was my DSD1's experience of the bus - she made some fantastic long-lasting friends on it, and they were local, so that was lovely for her.

DSD2 has had such a different experience though. She's shy and doesn't seem to talk to anyone. There's a big group on the bus who go to a different school who dominate and ignore her. She finds it miserable sad

DSD1 has always been more confident than her sister, but I don't think we could have predicted quite how differently they'd find the journey.

Luxyelectro Tue 08-Dec-15 18:01:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Waitingandhoping2015 Tue 08-Dec-15 18:21:50

Seriously, waking up at midday on Saturday?????

Wish that would happen!

Saturday usually up by or before 7.30 as have to be at school for football match by 9ish.
Sunday usually up by or before 7.30 as have to be at rugby by 9.30ish.
He doesn't need waking. Maybe this will change!

BlueSmarties76 Tue 08-Dec-15 18:23:46

Perhaps a lot of the coping with school day length and travel time is just what DC get used to from an early age?

There's a big boarding school near me where the Prep department (ages 7-13) can do extra curriculars as late as 7pm. In the Senior department the Head says many day pupils stay for dinner and the evening extra curriculars so don't go home until 9pm. some pupils will do a journey of 20 miles (by car) some days of the week, or take the school bus for up to an hour.

My journey to school from the age of 12 was 1hr 15 but I loved it because it was sociable. I have no memories of being tired, I just remember being very bored when I got home!

MN164 Tue 08-Dec-15 21:01:40

11 years olds have a wide range of maturity and energy. A 50 minute journey across central London's tube system on the cusps of rush hour can be exhausting for one and not a big deal to another. It can be anxiety inducing for some and a great experience for others. I can see this "spectrum" in our recent secondary school starter and a number of his primary and secondary friends.

For some, the "toll" of the journey will outweigh everything. For others, not - even siblings can be very different in that respect.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Tue 08-Dec-15 21:31:58

I know quite a few parents who went with the slightly crappy local option rather than travel who are now regretting it. They are only in Y7 for one year ,they will be at school for 7 years. Choose the right school.

An hours journey is nothing it takes that long to check snapchat/instagram.

TalkinPeace Wed 09-Dec-15 08:56:37

Hear Hear.
Mine did not go to the local school as its utterly, utterly crap and as the bus timetable was dire I always drove them in
but they got the bus home
- the social life on public transport is a really important part of learning to rub along with people
do not make it too long.
DD's bus leaves at 7am and gets back at 6pm : 6th form
that schedule would utterly wipe out littler kids

you have to take into account the aspects of
- meeting up with friends outside school
- numbers of hours of extra curricular
- how tired they are by Friday night

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