Aiming high

Just before my younger son started grammar school, I listened to the head teacher speak and I was in awe. In awe of what an amazing school my son was going to. Highly academic, yes, but that wasn’t all. This is a school that cares for its pupils and treats them all as individuals. It is a school which values and encourages sport, music, drama and art. And I felt very, very happy that my son had the opportunity to go there.

But I also felt a bit sad. Sad for my eldest that he would have never have this.

And then I realised. He COULD have this. Because my son’s school doubles its intake in year 12. Yes, the required grades to get in are still high, but they’re lower than year 7, and they’re by no means impossible. Excited, I told my eldest about my great idea.

And he rejected it. Just like that. Because his brother’s school was full of ‘snobs and geeks’ (it totally isn’t). My biggest boy was staying put for 6th Form and that was the end of discussion.

Fast forward a few months and my eldest, now well into year 10 and his GCSE courses, announced that he wanted to go to another grammar school for 6th Form. I was gobsmacked, but VERY, very pleased.

Since then, he’s researched a number of grammar schools in the area and their pass marks. He’s even opened his mind a little bit to the idea of applying to his brother’s school.

This is a HUGE turnaround. My eldest has always lacked aspiration and lacked a belief in his own ability. Sadly, his comprehensive school seems content to let him coast and be above average, but he’s not been achieving anywhere near what he’s capable of. Living with super-talented siblings isn’t easy, nor is having problems with his handwriting. He is a lot brighter than he gives himself credit for.

His year 10 report, containing predictions for his GCSE results, made depressing reading. I wanted to see mainly Bs, with a couple of As and a couple of Cs. That wasn’t what I was seeing.

But the results of his year 10 exams gave me more than a glimmer of hope – they were way better than his predictions. He’d done some revision, not what I’d consider ‘enough’, but a lot more than he’d done in the past.

GCSEs, Exams, Son, 365, 366

It’s impossible to push a 14 year old boy into doing what he doesn’t want to do. He needs to take the decision to do it when the time feels right for him. Finally, my son is starting to believe himself and starting to aim a bit higher. It is so good to see and I really hope it will continue.

Dare I start to dream that I will have three kids at grammar school come September 2017?

 

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Author: Sarah Mummy

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28 Comments

  1. I’m pleased for you that you’re on the way to finding a good fit for all three kids – but find it utterly depressing that the local comprehensive is seemingly not providing good education for the whole spectrum of ability (which I would say it did a decent job of in the 80s and 90s). What do you think has changed?

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    • Thanks very much! There are good comprehensives in the area (but not near enough for us to get into) and there’s one which is really on the up – and then there’s my son’s school! It has been declining for a number of years, sadly. Most people put the blame on the previous head. There’s a new head now, who seems to have some good ideas, but sadly not in time for my son!
      There’s also the issue that my son needs pushing to make him work. Other, more motivated kids would probably do well at his school, but he needs the push and he hasn’t had it!

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  2. We are lucky in that our comp is superb – a really good school with great results. Betsy was similar to your eldest, she had a few struggles (of the dyslexia type rather than handwriting, but they all knock their confidence in their own abilities) but at a similar age she seemed to come into her own and achieved far better GCSE results than she was predicted at a younger age. Actually tho after a year of a-levels at this brilliant school, she decided it wasn’t for her and changed to doing a BTECH at college. I was initially concerned but it actually ended up being the best thing for her – she got a distinction, which is the equivalent of 3 A*s at A-level! I think letting them make their own choices about post GCSE education, like you are doing, is the best thing – it gives them both control and responsibility – and Betsy totally stepped up to the mark and did really well! And she has just got a First in her latest piece of uni work! 🙂 I hope your boy finds a school he really wants to go to and that goal inspires him to do his best in his GCSEs xx

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    • Thanks very much! That’s reassuring to hear how much Betsy came into her own. It’s good to see this change in my boy and I really hope he can make things happen for himself.
      You’re lucky to have such a good comp. Sadly the good comps around here are on the other side of town. Ours isn’t the worst, but hasn’t been good for quite a long time now 🙁 x

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  3. Oh, good for him! It’s great that he’s made his own decision about it. I think statistically boys do better in a-levels than GCSEs anyway so it would be an ideal time for him to have the extra push into academia that a grammar school might offer.
    Nat.x

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    • Thanks very much! I think you’re right. He seems quite dedicated to the idea. Now he’s just got to put the work in! x

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  4. It sounds like he’s really coming along and making excellent progress. It’s so true you can’t force them, especially teenagers. I can’t even make my 5 year old do what he doesn’t want to some days! It sounds like he’s having a good think though and hopefully the next couple of years will bring amazing things for him x

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    • Thanks very much, I really hope so! I never thought I would see the day that he would be interested in grammar school!

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  5. That is so good to hear! I think you are so right and that with older children it is difficult to make them do anything they don’t want to or feel confident in. Such a pity his school weren’t more supportive but it looks like he has got there off his own back! Congratulations.

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    • Thanks very much! I think his school are satisfied he’s doing OK, but they don’t know what he’s capable of as they’ve allowed him to coast and not pushed him. It’s nice to see he finally wants to push himself!

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  6. It’s so good that he has made the decision for himself. You must be so pleased.
    Wishing him the best of luck x

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    • Thanks very much! It’s definitely a decision he needed to make for himself, now he’s just got to make it happen! x

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    • Thanks very much, they really are! Or maybe it’s kids rather than boys?!

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  7. Wow! You’ve a right to be pleased. There are no grammar schools around here and our local high school is an Academy which seems to be really similar to the way your son’s comp is. It really makes me sad to think that kids are just allowed to coast these days, but apparently that’s just the way it is. Wishing you luck for 3 x grammar school places in 2017! xx

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    • Thanks very much, my fingers are firmly crossed! It really is sad that schools can be so different and that some do leave kids to coast. It could have such a big effect on their futures 🙁

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  8. Well done for sitting back and letting him make those decisions for himself. I think it’s good to sow a seed but then they need to work it through in their own minds. Sounds like he’s going to do loads better than expected. Aim high I say!

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    • Thanks very much, it really does! He’s very set on the idea of going to grammar school, so I really hope he can make it happen now!

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  9. Ah I am sure wherever he is he will do amazing! And that is a great mark for a mock! It looks like he has took on board some of what you are saying (which is no mean feat for a teenage boy!). Will be interested to see how it pans out! x

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    • Thanks very much! I think he must have taken some of it on board, thank goodness! I really hope he can make it happen now. x

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  10. Oh wow Sarah what a turnaround, that’s amazing. Even better is that it was his choice too I’ll bet. I’m sure he’ll make it happen! X

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  11. It’s never easy negotiating with teenagers and well done to your son for considering and deciding his preferences.
    I hope it all comes through for him & thanks for linking up with #SSAmazingAchievements

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  12. I’m so glad your son is seeing all the possibilities open to him before it is too late. My brother didn’t have the right support at school and he kicks himself that he didn’t push himself enough. I really hope your goal for 2017 is achieved #SSAmazingAchievements

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    • Thanks very much! So many teenagers, particularly boys, don’t see the importance of pushing themselves at school and regret it in later life. I’m really hoping this won’t be my son any more! x

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  13. Good for him, it looks like something’s clicked and he needs a change. Hope it all works out.

    You’re lucky with grammar schools in the area. We’re just about in the catchment for Stratford grammars, but they’re so heavily oversubscribed, and we’re as far as can be I think N would have to have a super brain spurt to get in when the time comes to it. I think round here, comps have always been fairly good in what they offer facilities and extra curricular wise, but pushing kids, it doesn’t happen despite them all being over the national average. It didn’t happen when I was at school (I did ok off my own back, but not as good as I maybe could have done like my peers with straight As who had extra tutoring), and looking at the nephews at the same school I’m not sure anything’s changed. My brother drifted although intelligent, and got by, changed 6th form and got better A levels than his work level and attendance should have led to. It really does make a difference having the kids choosing to work and aspire to better.

    Thanks for linking up to #schooldays

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    • Thanks very much. We are lucky to have the grammar schools as they do offer the right sort of education for the brightest kids. Your comprehensive sounds a lot like my son’s school (which was my old school too). It’s interesting to hear that your brother did better than expected by changing schools.

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  14. I was really happy with my oldest son’s grammar school at sixth form – he didn’t want to go to your sons grammar because he was happy where he was, with his friends too. I didn’t realise the grades dropped that much (as I was pretty impressed with my son’s results as it was). But may consider seeing if my teen wants to swap grammars when the time comes. And yes thinking of the next boy to go up I have heard it is a bit prestigious at your son’s school – is that not the case at all – I would hate for my son not to fit in.

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