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Harry is currently year 6, so in a couple of weeks we will have to start looking at secondary schools.:anxious: Our local one is a science specialist school, or another choice is a CTC. This is one of the best schools in the country, but is in the next county and massively oversubscribed. They have to take about 30-40% of children from our area as they receive private funding from our towns local businesses


The dilemma is, do we apply for the CTC as first choice and risk not getting a place at the local school or not give him the chance to go to this academically superior school and settle for the local comp'


The local school is 3rd best (so again oversubscribed) in the area, the other 2 are the girls high and a church school with very strict church attendance criteria, so he could attend neither of these


Any advice, reassurance, gratefully received.


Dan is hopeless (sorry Dan) as he seems to think you can go to any school you like, I have spoken to friends and their OH's are the same


I am sure others on the forum have been through this, how do you resolve it. Harry is totally undaunted by the prospect of going to his new school and really likes the local school, he has been on several educational visits


Our local LEA will only consider your first choice and if you are unlucky not to get this you go to the bottom of the pile and are given a place anywhere that will have you :cry:

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It would be worth finding out the criteria for the super-nifty school and going from there - most schools are more likely to accept you if you're very close by, or if you have older siblings already in attendence etc.


I would find out their criteria, and see how well you fit it (i.e. how likely you are to be accepted) before making a decision.

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I'd agree with Dan - but I'm a bloke..


and if (as you say) Harry likes it - then I'd be happy enough.


unless a school is totally disfunctional (and I know there are some) then I believe most children will do well wherever they go.


there's a lot to be said for going local - not least the possibility that some of his new friends will live nearby enough for him to walk/cycle to their houses...


we have a very similar pair of schools here - the one local to us and the private-school-in-all-but-name that constantly breaks the rules over selection which is further away.. (Coopers)


fortunately my oldest decided that all the s"Ooops, word censored!"s and keep-up-with-Joneses went to Coopers - so he chose the local school (which, fortunately, is very good) - and his brother followed him and his sister will do likewise next year.

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We have the same thing with Christopher, who has just gone into yr 6,


The secondary school that the older 2 go to is a very good one, and therefore has a large number applying,


the younger 2 attend the same primary that is a feeder to the high school, but as more houses go up nearer to the school, and we are actually out of catchment for both schools :oops: I wonder what will happen?


The high school we are in the catchment for is where I work! (don't want the younger 2 to go there)


We have alsready filled in our forms for the LEA and hope to get the one we want :?


karen x

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Good luck with all that paper work-it seems such a long time since I was doing that-it wasn't though, I've only just started Year 9. If you get the form in early enough and list the one your child would really like to go to put it first.


To decide on which one go around them all on the open days/evenings. It really is the best thing to do. Then you get your own opinion of what the school's like. I chose the nearest school to us, it happens to be the best in the area and got in there first time. Just as well really as I didn't like the other two secondary schools.

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You can cheat outrageously by renting a property in the catchment area of the school of your choice!


Having 3 older children who have been through the comprehensive system and who have all done well, I would suggest that unless you are prepared to risk being turned down by the "better" school and thereby jeopardising your child's place at the local school, and then having to go through appeals processes etc, I would go for the local school. If you feel so inclined, get a bit of extra tuition as necessary. Most people seem to do this anyway. it is no longer seen as "cheating".


There is also the social advantage of going to the local school to be considered, and the being an "outsider" if you don't.


A difficult choice for you. I'm glad I don't have to go through it again!


All the best.

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Super point again Phil. That might have been your best post ever because I agree with almost everything you have put



where's my medicine, nurse! nurse!






PS - there are no easy and glib answers to these questions - I know many parents agonise over it - and we are fortunate because our local school (5 mins walk) is actually very good..


but if Harry has asked to go there - his mates are going there (very important consideration) - and it's an OK school - and it's local - then (in my view) you'd have to have a very good reason to send him somewhere else...

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I do not necessarily believe that if you put children from a rubbish school into a good school then they will automatically do well.


True Dan, it depends on the child doesnt it? And the support it gets from its parents.


A child in a rubbish school does not necessarily mean they are below average.

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:? I don't usually like chatting about schools and education, but just had to add to this topic to say;

"I totally agree with all the above posts made by Dan and Phil! You can quote me on that." :wink:

Debs, it's a dilemma! (and Esther is in year 6 too but we have an easy decision on this one).

In reading your post, the local school leapt out at me, and this was confirmed when I read Dan's. Harry is such a lovely and well supported boy, I'm sure he will be fine wherever he goes, and if he'll be happy locally, what could be better?

Still, none of my business, much easier when it's someone else, & thanks for reminding me that I should fill in a form sometime :oops:

PS.Am I turning into a bloke? :shock:

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Thanks everyone especially you Phil :D


I am happy for Harry to go to the local school, in my heart and my head it is the best choice. (I think)


I was in the same situation as Dan and moved schools at the age of 13. I had been with the same friends since I was 5 and then all of a sudden at a very difficult age had to try and make new friends. It was the most awful time of my life. Still got 8 O levels despite that


The school I went to was in quite a rural area and almost all of the pupils were bussed in, so the few friends I had lived miles away from me.


It is good watching Harry go off on his bike with his mates and having them over for tea etc


I know the local school is the best choice, but it it still a difficult decision, I think it is a matter of wondering what if.....

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My children don't go to the local school, which is pants, but still experience the difficulty of being 'odd one out'. Fortunately we have an excellent church secondary school for which we are eligible.


My only view on 'child will succeed anywhere' is that it does depend slightly on who they are with at school. This may not be PC and I am certainly not claiming that children of church-going parents are all angels (they are not!) but the chances of my children being with other children with a similar home-life are higher than if they went to the local school. There is a larger 'rough element' at the local comp. I don't know if this is true where you are.


My question would be: if Harry didn't get a place at the CTC how likely is he to get a place at your local school? You might be able to appeal for a place there on the grounds that you can't get Harry to wherever else he's sent because you have to take Juliette to and from school.


Definitely go and see both these schools and see if Harry is attracted to the CTC. If he isn't, decision made! If he is, then you and he need to discuss the possibilities and assess how much he wants to go there.


I don't envy you! It's tough. I have one more to go (currently year 4) but he's a boy and more likely to want to stay with his friends! :roll:

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Re the friendship group thingy:


All of mine were glad that their friends form primary school were going "up" to big school with them, but two out of the three had made new friends by the first half term. That is not to say that they had fallen out with their old pals, they had just moved on.


Don't let the issue of friends be your main criteria, as the above is quite likely to happen, although I agree that your child may think it terribly important at the time.

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My only view on 'child will succeed anywhere' is that it does depend slightly on who they are with at school. This may not be PC and I am certainly not claiming that children of church-going parents are all angels (they are not!) but the chances of my children being with other children with a similar home-life are higher than if they went to the local school. There is a larger 'rough element' at the local comp. I don't know if this is true where you are.


While I do agree with you to a certain extent Ginette, I DO believe that if you bring your children up properly, and manage to instill a a large degree of good sense, and the ability to know right from wrong (and to know the consequences of 'wrong' actions), then it doesn't matter - your child will be able to make sensible descisions when it comes to who they make friends with, and who they don't.


Sadly, certainly up here, even the 'good' schools seem to have their fair share of the 'rough element' nowadays.

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I really sympathise with your decision - its so hard to know what to do for the best for your kids - you just want to give them the best start they can possibly have - the rest is up to them! :roll:

Where I live we have the added trauma of still having the 11+. We were lucky with my son - who got through by the skin of his teeth and now goes to the local Grammar school over the road. (literally!) He has just started Y7 and seems pretty happy so far.

My daughter was classed as equally bright but failed her 11+. We took the decision to send her to an independent Grammar school about 3 miles away. Our local Secondary school that we were zoned for was in special measures and we couldnt get into the better ones in the south of the borough. The local council were well up on all the scams about renting properties (Had to have legal proof that you had disposed of your old property!!) and separated parents (Took a mid distance point between two housesand if that wasnt in the catchment area then you still didnt get in) Needless to say she is in Y9 now and VERY happy where she is, even if it does cost us an arm and a leg! You can worry and worry but I would send them where they will be happy and where they will be able to fufill their potential.

I am SOOOO glad I dont have to go through that again!!



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Debs & Dan, I don't envy you, it's such a big decision selecting secondary schools, and we agonised for ages.... have we made the right decision? Is this a school where my child will be happy and flourish? and so on.


But I think the biggest points are whether your child will be happy in that school, where his friends will be, or where he will meet like-minded youngsters who are likely to become friends, where he can travel to school easily and safely, where he will have the opportunities to learn subjects that may interest him (a factor that may be important for schools with specialist status). I'd suggest visit the schools, both for the formal open evening, and also during the day if possible, see them in action so to speak, and form your own opinions, obviously taking Harry's opinions into account as well.


We made decisions that many of our friends considered insane..... I refused to tutor, coach and coerce my children through the 11+, Seb was capable of passing without tuition, but loathed the local grammar schools on sight, despite them always being highly placed in the league tables. He told us he'd fail the 11+...... failed by 3 marks after not answering the final few pages of questions :shock: , but got accepted into his first choice school, a large, 1300 pupils, boys, technical college. He's worked hard and flourished and last year achieved better SATs grades than many of his Grammar school mates. Heaven knows what will happen with GCSE's, but I believe that if the child is happy, supported by the school and parents, and motivated, they will do well in almost any environment. Although peer pressure can be a problem, especially if you think that your child could be easily led, or some of the other pupils could come from "difficult" backgrounds.


Good luck with the decision. It's not an easy time for you.

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All the forms are in. We have been able to apply to the CTC (separately) and have also put his name down for the local school, which we are visiting tonight.


I think we have all decided the local school is best (especially Harry), it is within walking distance it is good academically and most of his friends have applied to go there.

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We went through all this agony 2 years ago. My son took his 11+ and got a place at the Grammar School. He does have a long journey on a school bus but it is worth it. As his old primary school teacher said to me a few weeks ago - 'at last - a round peg in a round hole'. My son needed the discipline and challenge of the grammar school which my local comp couldnt offer. Now he is flourishing and is happy.


The most important thing though is finding the right school for your child whatever type of school that may be.


It's time to start all over again with my youngest son who's currently year 6!

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It is a nightmare isn't it, deciding the right thing for all concerned. :anxious:


Harry will have to sit an assessment exam for the CTC, along with most of his friends and hundreds of others. It is one of the top schools in the country so competition will be very high. They take all levels of ability, so they look for motivation, commitment and attendance as well as ability.


I don't think any of us will be devastated if he doesn't make it, but we will have to think very carefully if he is considered for a place


Oh well, in another 2 years we will have to do it again when Juliette is in year 6



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It is a nightmare & I do sympathise :?


We had all this a couple of years ago with Devon,who is now in year 9


There is an excellant girls grammer school in Reading,which is regularly in the top 10 of the country,but we decided on the local school.


Firstly,the Reading school would have meant a train trip starting at 7.45 each morning (I couldn't have juggled cars & other schools!).

Then - I prefer mixed sex schools.I think they are more well rounded.


There are 70 odd places & 4000 applicants each year,with the top 80 entrants getting awarded a place after an entrance exam.

We felt it was a little too hot-house for Devon,even though she would have probably been awarded a place.


So,shes at the local school,in the top set for everything,& loving it :P


All this came up again last year when she was invited for an entrance exam into Christs Hopsital School (the one on Rock School) which is a boarding school with an amazing reputation.

We were VERY tempted to go for this one,but decided against as she is so happy where she is :P


At her local school she meets people from all walks of life.

There are a few rough kids,but hey,thats life isn't it?


Good luck & I am sure you will reach the right decision :D

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