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Son just been offered place at grammar

(125 Posts)
gramadilema Thu 06-Sep-18 16:31:56

I know this is maybe a bit of a luxury problem but we are on the horns of a dilemma and I’d love some mumsnet input .
DS started comprehensive (2nd choice) this week. Got a call today from grammar where he was on waiting list. Great, but he’s enjoying the comprehensive after 3 days there. He’s enjoyed his lessons and is feeling positive. He also feels he’ll get into top sets and will be challenged. The grammar will mean a one hour journey and that is the main drawback. The comp is 20 minutes away. We have no car and if trains aren’t running to schedule we’ll be stuck.
Arguments in favour of grammar are a proven track record, popular head, good attainment at A level ( average score B+ to comp’s C).
would it be silly not to take up the grammar? I have to get back to them tomorrow.

OP’s posts: |
Plutonium Thu 06-Sep-18 16:38:39

No it would not be silly not to take up the grammar at all. You have a bright boy it seems, who is on track for top sets, so he will do well academically. I’m not of the school of thought that “a bright child will do well anywhere”, but in this case it sounds like he is already in a good academic environment. What about gcse subjects? Does the comp offer a broad enough range compared with the grammar?

He has settled in and its near home, so an all round good school experience. What is the grammar offering? Good academic reputation, but he’s not at a failing school. Longer distance, exhaustion from travelling etc. I can’t see the point.

TeenTimesTwo Thu 06-Sep-18 16:43:38

The grammar may set higher entry standards to the 6th form. Read some of the other recent threads where schools are setting high standards to stay on or do specific subjects.

Plus he could perhaps later transfer to grammar for 6th form if he meets the entry requirements.

Lindy2 Thu 06-Sep-18 16:43:50

If he is top set and feels he will be challenged then that sounds good. That can sometimes be a better set up than just being one of many similar ability children in a grammar.
Why was he not offered the grammar initially? An hour a day travelling each way would be very tough.

Plutonium Thu 06-Sep-18 16:44:22

On the bit about A’level attainment, bearing in the mind the grammar is selective , it doesn’t sound like their average is that great if it’s only one grade above the comp! Also pls remember its only an average grade, it doesn’t mean your dc can’t achieve higher than the average.

gramadilema Thu 06-Sep-18 16:45:36

Thanks plutonium. The comp is a much improved school with an outstanding at last ofsted. It has a similar progress score to the grammar. However the head who turned things round over the last 10 years has left and there are 2 temporary heads job sharing until they recruit permanently. I just hope it doesn’t slide back. The comp offers the same GCSEs although it teaches science ( combined bio, chem and physics) for the first couple of years whereas grammar teaches them separately from the get go.
The journey is an issue, it’s a 20 min cycle ride which will be good for his fitness ( he’s not into PE), the journey to the grammar will be more tricky at least until he gets used to it ( travel to train station 10 minute cycle, get bike on train if that’s allowed, get off, cycle over to grammar school / if bike not allowed walk to and from station).

OP’s posts: |
gramadilema Thu 06-Sep-18 16:47:37

Lindy2 he wasn’t offered grammar 1st off because other kids scored higher than him, also we don’t live in the catchment area.
Teen it did occur to me he could transfer to grammar at A level if we lost confidence in comp for whatever reason in the intervening time.

OP’s posts: |
HeadsDownThumbsUpEveryone Thu 06-Sep-18 16:47:59

I would leave him at the Comp. He's settled in well and is happy, both of which are more important than the potential to get 1 grade higher at GCSE.

If you move him, he is likely to be exhausted with the travelling and his friends won't be local.

TeenTimesTwo Thu 06-Sep-18 16:48:50

Any one science lesson will be bio, phys or chem though, even if it is just timetabled as 'science'. Last year, y8, DD did a chunk of one science, then switched to another, then the third, then back to the first. So they could concentrate on a topic rather than doing 3 in parallel.

ZenNudist Thu 06-Sep-18 16:52:18

3 days into a new school then up sticks and start again. I suppose not the most traumatic event ever but could certainly be a bad start. Damaging confidence and setting him back.

If the comp was awful then id say do it. Its sufficiently early days. But as you are finding the positives then staying where you are makes sense.

Its difficult to know without knowing about the schools. You are making it sound like a neutral choice. An upheaval with no great benefit.

I know if my dc got into the idea of going to one school then whipped out elsewhere they would resent it.

PandaPieForTea Thu 06-Sep-18 16:57:39

Are there other grammar schools closer? I ask because it influences where the other more able pupils go. I wouldn’t be keen to send a bright DC to a comprehensive in an area where their academic peers all go to grammar schools. If it isn’t like that in your area and the comprehensive is truly comprehensive then it sounds like he should stay put.

Lindy2 Thu 06-Sep-18 17:00:53

I went from being one of the top achievers at my primary school to being a bit below average at a grammar. It was quite a tough change and although I did ok I do think I would have done better at a less demanding school where I was perhaps still one of the higher achievers. It knocked my confidence a lot and being slightly below average became my expectation.
There are sone extremely clever kids at grammar school.It was only when I left school that I realised I was better at things and more intellegent than I'd thought I was for the last 7 years.
What do you think would suit your son's personality best.

JaneR0chester Thu 06-Sep-18 17:01:33

Stay at the comp. It will boost his confidence to be in the top sets and also, if there's a good alternative (which he is at) then there's no point in subjecting him to 2 hours of travelling every day... for at least 5 years!

Change to the grammar for A levels if you then feel that he needs a push.

FrayedHem Thu 06-Sep-18 17:12:02

My brother had a similar experience to Lindy2 it was a real shock to the system for him. He came into his own at university and has done very well for himself. He still maintains my parents were wrong to send him to grammar, though they gave him the choice he said it wasn't right to have put the decision on his shoulders.

OTOH I remember a girl in my class at my secondary comp. She was highly able academic-wise and stood out by a country mile. My comp was considered to be one of the good comps in the area. She was a nice girl, there was no bullying or anything like that, but she didn't really relate to the peer group and preferred to sit and read war and peace at break time. She transferred to the grammar in the first term and I would imagine that was the right decision for her.

So I'm not sure that's helpful(!) but I'd consider both sides.

gramadilema Thu 06-Sep-18 17:22:11

Thanks everyone. He’s finding it stressful and we’ve had to row back and give him some time out . DH spoke to some colleagues today who seem to think teachers are leaving the comp, but the grammar does not have retention problems, not sure if that’s true.

OP’s posts: |
Couchpotato3 Thu 06-Sep-18 17:27:41

If he didn't pass with the first cohort, then chances are he will be towards the bottom of the heap academically at the grammar. Don't think the other kids won't work that out pretty swiftly too. I think if he's had a good start at the comp and it's going well, it would be foolish to uproot him and risk a less good start at the grammar. He's happy and presumably you have spent the last year giving him positive messages about his current school. What will that do to his confidence in your advice if you now tell him the grammar is better and then he doesn't like it? I really wouldn't risk it.

cantkeepawayforever Thu 06-Sep-18 18:03:43

If he didn't pass with the first cohort, then chances are he will be towards the bottom of the heap academically at the grammar.

That is not true.

The 11+ isn't a great reflection of ability. i mean, it does its job, buy selecting children who are in the 'upper part of the normal distribution' when it comes to ability, but it genuinely doesn't accurately select the top 10%, just '10% of children, who will almost all be within the top quarter or so in terms of ability'.

In normal everyday school life, across a range of subjects (rather than the particular skills used for an 11+ test) the performance of an 11+ passer vs an 11+ 'just failed' are indistinguishable, in fact in a different test, or even the same test on a different day their positions in the results might well be reversed.

DinkyDaisy Thu 06-Sep-18 18:10:33

The journey would put me off, apart from the fact he seems happy at his current school. He sounds like he will do well and may like to shine at his comprehensive.
It seems a hassle to get to the grammar with possibly, no benefit at all.

UserHistory Thu 06-Sep-18 18:10:37

The fact the good head teacher has left the comprehensive would swing it in favour of the grammar for me.

These things really do slide.

The grammar has no problems with staff retention... I’d go there, and consider the three days in the comp as a “foster school” arrangement 😃 it’s good your Ds can find his feet anyepwhere, but he doesn’t have to stay on a sinking ship just because he enjoyed the first few days.

He’ll find his feet in the grammar as well, and it will make the full journey.

UghNoWay Thu 06-Sep-18 18:12:01

I'd be tempted to suggest he stay out mainly due to the travelling. It will
be a lot of extra time He can spend studying.
If he is unsure could he spend a couple
of days at the grammar? Could you go in with him and have a chat and try and get a feel of the place.

Ultimately I would let your son decide. I let my own kids chose.

UghNoWay Thu 06-Sep-18 18:12:32

Sorry typo
I'd suggest he stay put ....

gramadilema Thu 06-Sep-18 18:24:28

userhistory that is the dilemma in a nutshell. The comp is aspirational and talks the talk but will they endure? Apparently 3 kids got into Cambridge from there this year which is good and I would imagine they’ll want to keep it up. A lot probably depends on what kind of head they recruit this year. At the end of the day we can’t force/ coerce DS but if he decides for the comp I’ll be crystal clear with him that he is going to have to stay focused. He’s quite competitive and has ideas about what he’d like to study at university so I hope he’ll keep working hard even when the turbulent teenage years kick in and some of his peers start mucking about.

OP’s posts: |
booklover21 Thu 06-Sep-18 18:45:12

I think the odds are stacked against him making a truly objective decision when he's already at one of the choices. It might be worth considering what option you wanted originally. I would suspect it was the grammar school.

Three days is nothing in the grand scheme of things. I travelled an hour (two buses) each way to get to my grammar school and most people did. I loved my time there and wouldn't trade the experience for anything!

MillicentMargaretAmanda Thu 06-Sep-18 19:27:20

I know someone who had pretty much the exact same thing happen about 3 days into the new school year in year 7. Moved to the grammar, settled in very quickly and loved it. Possibly similar situation where It was a super selective grammar and they took the top 100 scores . He was something like 108th and I assume someone didn't show up in the first week hence they moved to the next on the list.

MaryandMichael Thu 06-Sep-18 19:28:40

Grammar all the way. It's a wonderful opportunity. Don't miss it.

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