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Grammar Schools

(15 Posts)
chipauchoc Sat 22-Apr-17 07:46:11

If you had a DC that was academic whose teachers tell you he is gifted and will have no problem passing 11+ yet is gentle natured, gets a bit anxious at minor things, great sense of humour and liked at school by peers, but clearly on different wavelength -he likes to chat about sciencey/maths theories while many of his peers maybe talking about football or WWF, very academic and able but a bit lazy at focusing and getting head down, lives predominantly amongst women with no major male figures in his life to speak of (single mum).
Would you aim to get him in a) a super selective grammar - a fantastic opportunity if he gets in - might be pressurised but may push him to achieve well (single sex only option in this category).
b) Regular, more nurturing grammar, co-ed, well regarded but without the elitist reputation of the super selectives. Still performs well and travel is a bit more straightforward.

I can't help thinking that the super selectives are a great opportunity that we should be jumping at and not wasting but I just don't know if it's the right choice.

Pop2 Sat 22-Apr-17 07:55:36

Go to the open days and flow with the gut feeling.Having DS at SS you will find many similar boys to your DS at option A.TBH I would have liked co-ed dynamic but was not meant to be but for some this is a deal breaker.My DS is lazy as well and needs the challenge of SS and would have taken advantage of nurturing to suit his own ends.

AnotheBloodyChinHair Sat 22-Apr-17 08:01:31

Exactly what Pop2 said.
There will be lots of kids similar to the way you've described your DS in option A

Badbadbunny Sat 22-Apr-17 08:08:30

Go for the best you can, BUT bear in mind the ethos of the school. Go to both open days and see how the teachers interact with your child, i.e. how well they get on. You may think it's not important, but we discovered a massive difference. At one target school, the teachers made a massive effort to come over to our son, talk to him, even play board games with him on a 1-2-1 basis. It really gave him confident to see teachers are human and friendly. In another target, it was so different - despite still being a top school, the teachers gave a "couldn't be arsed" attitude and continued to stand around talking to each other and basically ignored parents/children until you approached them, and even then weren't particularly friendly or helpful. These were two excellent, and otherwise comparable, schools!

We went through the same thought process, so it was a similar choice. We were told by primary teachers he was a high achiever but we were worried as he was socially anxious (Aspergers), found it hard to make friends, and we really worried about a pressured environment, lack of girls, etc. In the end, after the open days, he told us he preferred the more intensive school (with the friendlier teachers) so that's where he went. We had our "plan B" of taking him out if the going was too tough for any reason, i.e. if he couldn't cope with the pressure or if he just didn't fit in with his Aspergers. We needn't have worried. He's thrived. Yes, there's lots of competition, but it's really inspired him. He never complains, has no worries/concerns, and has bloomed into a confident 15 year old with lots of friends. He's in the top 15 pupils in his year and doesn't need to spend all his waking moments stressing himself out trying to stay there - he's really relaxed about the whole thing and just goes with the flow, whether for school work, extracurricula activities or outside school friends. Basically, we worried over nothing.

So, don't be put off by the pressure of a high achieving school and peer group. What's more important is the attitude of the teachers. If they're friendly and approachable, there's far more likelihood of it being a happier place to be, with problems addressed more readily, leaving them free to actually get on with teaching/learning. If your child is being told by primary teachers that he's a high achiever, then you need to follow that - they don't say that to everyone!

Crumbs1 Sat 22-Apr-17 08:10:38

Personally, I'd avoid grammars if at all possible because of the harm they cause to children who,can't go to them.

chipauchoc Sat 22-Apr-17 09:44:44

Thanks Pop, chinhair and badbunny that's really helpful, I will try not to worry until we go and look at the schools, I think then we will have a better understanding. Just nice to have a plan of action, but I have to calm down and not rush these things! Thanks all.

Floweringjasmine Sat 22-Apr-17 09:48:11

It really depends on the school, we have two SS near us for boys, ds is at one. They have a completely different attitude to pastoral care than the other one, I chose one over the other for this reason.

Dd2 has aspergers and got in to the girls SS which she didn't go to after a taster day. She needed a higher level of care than they were prepared to give.

GHGN Sat 22-Apr-17 11:19:53

Take him to open days and he can see himself.

Taught in both types and there are very clever kids in the 2nd type. Way more clever than the super selective one but they choose the 2nd one because it is closer to home and they have better opportunities smile

katronfon Sat 22-Apr-17 11:31:32

I agree with PP, go to open days, ask lots of questions, see how the two schools feel and go with your gut. I'd expect both to look after him academically so would be feeling around the edges a bit for pastoral care.

Stillwishihadabs Sat 22-Apr-17 11:36:24

Every school is different so very difficult for outsiders to say. Ds is at a SS and I think 1 boy in his year a bit like your ds struggles, but your local SS may be more nuturing. Clever kids can be cruel.

katronfon Sat 22-Apr-17 11:57:33

Clever kids can be cruel.

Um...I'm not entirely sure about this statement. Are you suggesting that clever kids are generally crueller than less able kids?

Stillwishihadabs Sat 22-Apr-17 12:12:30

Umm well maybe not in their intentions, but they do find ingenius ways of tormenting their victims be that teachers or other dcs. An example was inventing an online girlfriend for a less popular lad- who fell for it. I felt that was using their talents in a cruel way (and I believe they escaped detection).

katronfon Sat 22-Apr-17 12:23:26

Hmmm IME clever kids can be horrid and so can much less able ones. They may even (and this is definitely a generalisation) frequently be horrid in different ways, but I think I'd dispute any suggestion that clever kids are nastier or better at being nasty than less clever kids.

I've met some bloody horrible clever kids, less able kids, kids who are white, kids who are black, educated kids, less well educated kids, straight kids, gay kids, rich kids, poor kids etc...and some bloody lovely clever kids, less able kids, kids who are white, kids who are black, educated kids, less well educated kids, straight kids, gay kids, rich kids, poor kids etc.

I think I'd find it quite challenging to decide that any one section of young society is crueller than another. But I guess it would make sense that the cleverer you are, potentially the better you are at thinking things through and ensuring you don't get caught, but I don't think that necessarily makes you crueller.

teabag20048 Sat 22-Apr-17 12:25:40

Definitely go with what you feel after looking around, go on a normal school day, you will get a feel for how it runs. We knew as soon as we went to one school that it was the right school for our son as we could see him there.

CookieDoughKid Sat 22-Apr-17 21:53:33

Be prepared with options if your dc fails to get into grammar. It does happen. My lodger failed her 11+ exam, 13 years ago. She ended up at Oxford Uni and got straight As and A* across board. She was a late developer. Now she went to an OK school for Secondary Upper and then a grammar sixth form. Both schools were very supportive but failing the 11+ does happen. So worth being prepared for that.

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