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Schooling for an academically middle of the cohort sort of girl

(32 Posts)
ArundelTomb Thu 09-Jun-16 10:18:17

DD is academically average. I had thought she'd go to the local selective day school (like her older brothers). But it's becoming clear that's unlikely and even if she has a bit of a spurt in the coming years, I'm not certain an academically pushy school would work well for her. I'm not disappointed in any way. She's very popular, a real joiner-iner and has enjoys lots of out of school activities.

So now we have to think again about schools. Would you send her to an outstanding comp down the road which is absolutely fine for the academics but it doesn't really offer her much for her interests. Or would you send her to a fee-paying school for academically average girls grin? Where they do lots of music, drama and art and have a superb languages offering? (She is very keen on all of those things.)

It's a lot of money for the girls' school: over £20K per annum once you've factored in the bus and uniform. We can afford it.

What are the pros and cons of a big mixed, outstanding comp on the doorstep, or a small froo froo girls' school?

ArundelTomb Thu 09-Jun-16 10:20:05

She's also not sporty.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Thu 09-Jun-16 10:20:46

I think she has more chance of developing her personality if she has forces to push against - does that make sense? The froo froo girls school sounds like it will keep her in a bit of a box, whereas at the comp she may actually be pushed harder.

And you can buy a lot of extracurriculars in music and drama for 20k a year...

What does she want to do?

HangingRockPicnic Thu 09-Jun-16 13:00:23

Dd goes to a comp which I'm very happy with, but i think the froo froo school. Won't she find it a bit odd if she doesn't get money spent on school fees because she's not as academic as her brothers? Also won't an average child need smaller classes more than her more academic brothers did? Which school does she prefer?

amidawish Thu 09-Jun-16 17:59:20

that is a really tough one.
what does she think? have you taken her around both?

go through the outstanding comps results with a fine toothcomb. don't just look at averages.

ArundelTomb Thu 09-Jun-16 18:34:58

amidawish - I wish I knew how. Can you give me any clues as to how to assess the comp with a fine tooth comb?

I think getting the best fit school is more important than whether or not we pay so as to make things equal with her brothers. So long as everyone gets what they need, then I don't think the money matters.

Perhaps a bit arrogant of us, but we had assumed we were clear about where our children would go to school. Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. As they say. grin

mary21 Thu 09-Jun-16 18:40:26

My bil teacher reckons its the middle of the road kids that actually benifit most from Indie schools.

Wriggle45 Thu 09-Jun-16 18:44:40

I would pay the fees.... I still get so much out of the music background I was given at school.... And didn't even do GCSE it was all extra curricular. I don't think you can replace the depth of added activities as you always want to join in with things where you are. I'm sending my two to 2 different senior (fee paying) schools as we have picked the one that we think suits each of them... My youngest is about to start at a not academically selective option in September. We didn't even sit her for eldest' school as it wasn't right for her (I'm pretty sure she would have got in.... And then struggled).... She would have sunk without trace in local comp as is massive so maybe different to your choice

surreygoldfish Thu 09-Jun-16 18:53:15

I could have typed your post. 2DS at very selective Independent. DC3 our only DD now 9 doing fine,very popular and joins in everything but not very academic. Local comp very good but not outstanding. At the moment we are veering to less academic Independents so that she can continue to have a similar experience and ideally be pushed and supported as much as possible. She's very aware we 'pay' for the boys so I think this would be an issue - she's already at a prep school so she also 'expects' to move to an independent.

ArundelTomb Thu 09-Jun-16 19:44:43

You are all so helpful. I'm so grateful. flowers I expected to be secured in the Mumsnet stocks and pelted with grapes and mooncaps. (For not only considering fee paying but also for having preconceived ideas about my children's academic prowess.)

My daughter is slightly more keen on the comp but when pressed as to why she preferred it, she said it's because it doesn't have an entrance exam. wink The average girls' school grin is absolutely lovely. They do so many brilliant things, which refreshingly have nothing to do with the relentless quest for A*s.

SisterViktorine Thu 09-Jun-16 19:51:22

Froo froo vote here.

BossWitch Thu 09-Jun-16 19:55:25

Definitely go for the independent. Middle ability nice girls get lost in big comps. She'll have teachers who barely know her name by easter - one of 30 in a class, not standing out by being brilliant/ rubbish/ naughty, teacher has 8 classes, she'll get lost. (I've been that teacher)

Cleo1303 Fri 10-Jun-16 01:12:18

Definitely the independent. It sounds lovely and if her brothers are being privately educated I'm sure you would not want her to think she wasn't worth it because she isn't as academic as they are.

SeaRabbit Fri 10-Jun-16 01:21:29

Definitely the independent given you can mange it - my sister was the lost average girl at the comp and I'm sure she'd have done better at a school with more time to spend per pupil.

Bisghetti Fri 10-Jun-16 01:21:34

I'd go to the independent school. Sounds like there'll be more opportunities for her to explore her interests. I've worked in an independent school (not UK though, and fairly academic) and remember discussing children who were middle of the road academically with the head; he felt they were the children who got the most from the school and for whom it could make the most difference in their future opportunities (not just academic; the school had an amazing music and drama program). His view was the super bright students generally would have done pretty well at most schools but the average kids could really find their talents and interests and have the opportunity to excel in the school.

teta Fri 10-Jun-16 08:05:26

I was that person .I transferred my middle of the road DD from our local comp - supposedly good ( with lots of bells and whistles on open day) but in actuality pretty rubbish.She moved to a independent school and is now on course for A/A* at A level.She got in with a very bright crowd and works extremely hard and achieved 11 high grade GCSE's.
If I'd judged her at junior school though.i would never have predicted this.

amidawish Fri 10-Jun-16 09:33:33

i think you've got a consensus here, but re my comment on the outstanding school's results, averages hide so much. I'd be getting the data on low, middle, high achievers - see how they do. Does the school do well because it has a bright middle class cohort? Do they stream/set/how fluid is this? see if you can get some local knowledge on levels of outside tutoring (rampant at our local outstanding comp).

ArundelTomb Fri 10-Jun-16 20:29:25

amidawish - how do you get that data? Tutoring a rife.

amidawish Sat 11-Jun-16 13:09:03

there is data like this on ofsted where you can see the general intake of the school and how it compares to similar schools.

i'd have a look at the feeder primaries and see what results they get - if mostly level 5 SATS for example then the kids coming in are all high attainers.

re streaming/setting you have to ask the school or maybe the strategy is on their website?

re tutoring you'll just have to ask around. it can be hard to know.

Coconutty Sat 11-Jun-16 13:17:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ArundelTomb Sat 11-Jun-16 13:54:46

I'm much more concerned about choosing the best fit school for her. I'd be abdicating my parental responsibilities if I merely attended to financial equivalence among each family member. That isn't how family life works.

homebythesea Sat 11-Jun-16 14:03:33

You will know from your sons' schooling that friends will come from far and wide making social life a bit more difficult /tying you to taxi driving. A local school means local friends for your daughter, which may be more valuable to her as she moves into her teens. And then there's the boys (assuming comp is co-ed). There's pros and cons of course- my personal experience as mum to DD in a froo froo school as you describe is that all girls keeps them "young" for longer which I see as a benefit. But she will go elsewhere for 6th form for a bit of a taste of real life!

ArundelTomb Sat 11-Jun-16 14:15:33

homebythesea - Agree. I love the idea of her going to school locally, being a proper part of our community. Yes, it's a good idea to leave the froo froo after GCSEs and widen horizons for sixth form.

ArundelTomb Sat 11-Jun-16 14:16:06

thank you.

ArundelTomb Sat 11-Jun-16 14:18:39

Coconutty - thanks for your thoughts too. Reading back my reply it sounds rather dismissive. I didn't mean it like that. It is a very valid point. But I suppose what I'm trying to say is that I would sooner live with her complaints later down the line re money, than for her to suffer a poor-fit school. I hope that makes sense. grin

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