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Bright enough for super-selective grammar but prefer comp

(35 Posts)
Mymadworld Thu 04-Oct-18 19:25:48

DS is yr5 and we've started working together at home with a view to taking 11+ next September. It's school open evenings this week but so far of the 2 grammars we've seen, neither have wowed us that much so we're now wondering whether 11+ prep is worthwhile. Unfortunately the only other grammar option is the one I know very little about and doesn't hold open days until next summer.
Our eldest dc is at the comp (if you can call it that in a grammar area hmm) and we've been really pleased with both his progress and the school as a whole but he's far less academic/motivated than his sibling and I can't shake the feeling that I'd be doing dc2 a disservice by not sending him to a grammar.
Any thoughts or experiences?

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HappyHedgehog247 Thu 04-Oct-18 19:27:43

I went to a comp and a grammar (parents moved) and the grammar education was in a different league. It’s only one comparison and it’s a long time ago. I can imagine it would also be much more convenient to have them at the same school.

tartanterror Thu 04-Oct-18 21:43:14

same dilemma in our house. where will your DS be happiest?

Mymadworld Thu 04-Oct-18 23:37:47

I won't lie and say the convenience aspect isn't appealing but ultimately I want him to be the best he can be and enjoy his school years. My only slight reservation with the other super-selective we haven't seen is its reputation (quite possibly ill-founded) of being a bit geeky and my dc is definitely not in that camp BUT they are big on the sports he enjoys and the comp aren't particularly plus i can't believe all the children are geeky! The single sex issue is something I haven't quite decided upon for him either as he is friends with a few girls at primary school. Blimey it's such a minefield!

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Cedar03 Fri 05-Oct-18 08:32:04

Consider what it was you didn't like about the grammar schools. Was it the buildings - did they seem run down? Or was it the teaching staff - did no-one seem inspiring or particularly interested? Was it the head teacher and the way they talked about the school?

If it was me I would continue with the 11+ prep for now. You don't have to make it a massive thing but just keep going with it in a low key way. Then you can visit the school when they hold their next open days next summer. If you decide then that you really really like it then he'll have done the prep for it. If you decide that you don't and that you don't like the other schools either then you can stop the prep. Or he can sit the exam and you can have another round of visits and see what you think when you have the results.

BubblesBuddy Fri 05-Oct-18 08:47:44

I can assure you that every child in a grammar cannot be a “geek”. That’s just impossible and is probably only a small minority of children. I bet the rugby team are not geeks! I would go and have a look when you can. You don’t need to decide until y6 anyway.

If there are two Grammars, the comprehensive doesn’t have a top stream in that these children are in the grammar. If your DC2 might get to a grammar, I would try and support his needs. The Grammars are not always “wow” when you first see them but you have to think of where you Ds’s needs will be best served. Definitely keep plugging away with the tuition and see how it goes.

admission Fri 05-Oct-18 15:17:04

I might not completely agree with BubblesBuddy that a grammar is the right school but I 100% agree with them that you need to support your child's needs and establish where he will be best served. I think you need to garner much more information about all the schools that might be appropriate before making a decision. Anything could happen at any of the schools before you need to be making a final decision in September next year.
I have to assume that the end goal here with younger son has got to be them going to university. I think things have changed in terms of it is not now a necessity to be at the "grammar" to get to university but you do need to be convinced that the "comp" has a thriving sixth form and is currently getting pupils into university. If that is questionable then you would be well advised to be looking to a grammar school.
As for doing 11+ prep, that is not going to be any bad thing to start doing to see how your son reacts to it as it may well give you a good indicator for which type of school will suit.

RomanyRoots Fri 05-Oct-18 15:23:38

Go to the grammar, unlikely that their position will change.
A good comp or even good private school can deteriorate over a short space of time.
All it needs is a new head, change in staff, and results can drop and the whole environment change.
less chance of this with a grammar as they tend to stay true to form.

Hoppinggreen Fri 05-Oct-18 15:30:45

Not a Grammar area here per se but there a couple of Grammars in the next town so some kids do the 11+ ( including dd)
The one thing I noted that made a real difference between the kids that did well enough to get a place and the ones that didn’t was that THEY really wanted it. If your child doesn’t want to go to The Grammar unfortunately they May not be motivated enough to put the work in to get a place
A lot of dc we know didn’t want to go to The Grammar schools here because most if their friends weren’t and also the schools are older with worse facilities than the Comp alternative so very few took the 11+ and the ones who only did because the parents pushed them to do it didnt do so well no matter how bright they were.

DieAntword Fri 05-Oct-18 15:37:41

My dad had 3 brothers and a sister. This was when the whole country was a grammar school area. His sister and two brothers went to direct grant grammars. One brother went to the secondary modern. By far the most successful of them has been the secondary modern brother (and happier too). Like none of them did badly in life or anything. All the grammar boys have good middle class lives, families etc. But yeah, it’s not going to make or break anything if you’re there to support them. By far the defining thing in their lives was their mother more than their schools.

CookieDoughKid Fri 05-Oct-18 16:22:33

If your comp is decent and gets good attainment 8 and progress 8 scores for its higher ability pupils then go to the comp if your ds would be happier. Grammar isn't for every child. I'd only reconsider if your comp was one that was dire or required improvements. I'd look carefully at the comp in a lot more detail to be sure.

mostlydrinkstea Fri 05-Oct-18 16:31:59

Two of mine went to a super selective grammar. It was in a different league to the comprehensives where my others went in terms of expectations and the speed and depth at which they tackled subjects. There were geeks at the grammar but there were also artists, musicians and sporty types. The buildings were run down but the education they got suited them.

TeenTimesTwo Fri 05-Oct-18 17:00:25

do you mean 'super slective' (eg takes 2%) or standard 'grammar' (20%+).

how much of an impact do the grammars have on the other schools?

If only sduper-selective then the comp is more or less a comp.

If standard grammar then options at the comp may be reduced by them not having top set (and possibly second set too).

so e.g Does comp offer triple science / 2 MFLs?

What are results like for the high achievers at the comp? (don't compare headlines as comp will never compete on them)

Taffeta Fri 05-Oct-18 17:06:10

The big question is - which school can you see your son thriving at?

I have one DC at a SS and one at the local grammar. Neither are stuffed full of geeks. There are probably more geeks at the SS, but it’s also a very sporty school so a real mix of kids there.

dingit Fri 05-Oct-18 17:09:37

My dd went to local academy then went to 6th form grammar. Worked well for her.

glintandglide Fri 05-Oct-18 17:11:34

I agree it depends whether it’s a super selective or a regular grammar

AChickenCalledKorma Fri 05-Oct-18 17:50:27

If your eldest dc is at the comp, surely you are in a very good position to find out how well the higher achievers do at that school. Do they offer "hard" subjects? What results did their top achievers get at GCSE and A-level last year? Do they have a thriving sixth form that people are keen to stay on for? Is there a culture of valuing achievement which the students respect, or are people teased for being brainy?

I can't offer experience of a grammar system, but DD1 is at a comp which has fairly non-descript headline results, but where the top achievers are right up there with the best results in the country. And she's found that there's quite a lot to be said for being a big fish in a small pond.

Mymadworld Fri 05-Oct-18 19:31:11

Thanks all really helpful stuff. I've looked at the results but can only find league tables up to 2017 and they read as follows for progress 8 / attainment 8 / % maths & eng at c or above:

Comp: 0.51 / 56.7 / 79%
SS1 (disregarded): 0.66 / 71.7 / 100%
SS2: 0.58 / 74.9 / 99%
Regular grammar: 0.25 / 64.9 / 98%

Clearly the grammars perform better but then so they should as they have the brighter/brightest pupils - hard to know how the comp caters for its more able pupils so I'll need to do a bit more research in this area & whether they have 11+ stream (so might be worth taking it for that even if we decided against grammar). We are lucky to have such a good choice but it's tough to make the right choice when in reality I don't know much about his learning style as he's always been such an independent learner and never really had any need for in depth discussions with his school as his reports are all very positive.

We will definitely continue with 11+ and as suggested may well revisit schools in the summer or this time next year when it's a bit closer. DC quite enjoys the practise papers esp those ghastly NVR/VR that I have to peek at the answers before helping him so whilst he's still motivated and keen we will support and encourage 11+.

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StealthPolarBear Fri 05-Oct-18 19:38:11

Surely there are plenty of eery bright children in the secondary moderns? Those whose parents didn't help them get into grammar schools! Or are primary schools really good at getting the right children in?

TeenTimesTwo Fri 05-Oct-18 19:41:41

Those comp results look pretty good.
Can you filter them on just the higher prior attainers?

Mymadworld Fri 05-Oct-18 20:02:26

@TeenTimesTwo where would I find that?

@StealthPolarBear some of the the independents offer 11+ prep but none of the primaries I know will even discuss it let alone assist or encourage tuition. According to dc2 his (new & clearly not versed in the don't mention 11+ rule) teacher recently asked for a show of hands for those who have an 11+ tutor and dc2 reckons he's the only one without a tutor grin - clearly not true but I'll best at least half will by now if dc1's class was anything to go by (24 out of 32 took it & 10 or 11 passed). The need to get your child into grammar school is quite astonishing around my way and there^^ plenty of children who would have gone private if they didn't get in so were fairly heavily tutored. To be fair, the comp is a faith school so if that isn't your bag then for some, grammar is the only local alternative or you risk being shipped off to another town to one of the less desirable schools.

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StealthPolarBear Fri 05-Oct-18 20:12:06

Yes so where do the really bright kids who go to these primaries end up? The comp. So why doesn't it have a top set?

TeenTimesTwo Fri 05-Oct-18 20:14:11

e.g. For one of my local schools, a top performing comp in all-comp area:

Scroll down until you find 'Results by pupil characteristics', click on Prior Attainment to expand and you can see attainment split

Mymadworld Fri 05-Oct-18 20:45:44

@StealthPolarBear it probably does have a top set but dc1 isn't top set ability so it's not been in my radar until thinking about dc2. These are things I need to find out but it still doesn't take away the little voice saying bright child = grammar.

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Mymadworld Fri 05-Oct-18 21:20:35

@TeenTimesTwo I've found it but not entirely sure what it means confused.

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