It is nearly a year since my eldest, the bright boy who does very little school work, announced his intentions to go to grammar school for 6th form. We were all very pleased. We were even more pleased when he got his mocks results and it looked like a grammar school would be a very real possibility for him.
When he first decided he wanted to go to a grammar school, it was to a boys’ school. But, not long afterwards, he started talking about going to a girls’ grammar school. (All the single-sex schools round here take the other gender for 6th form). Possibly the initial reason for this was because the grade requirements are a bit lower than for the boys’ grammar. But, having been to the 6th form open evening, I am convinced that the girls’ school is the right place for my boy.
Needless to say, boys are massively outnumbered at the girls’ school. But the advantage of this is not that they will have the pick of the girlfriends. It’s that they will all bond together. Year 12 and 13 boys stick together and form really strong friendships. Every single one of them is new to the school and they have all come from different schools, so they are all in the same position. That’s very different from being one of a handful of new boys from a comprehensive starting at the boys’ grammar.
They have boys’ sports teams – football and rugby – and with so few boys, nearly everyone takes part. My boy has hardly ever played rugby for the school and was gradually pushed out of his club rugby team. He was never quite good enough, always pushed to the back by the boys with the big egos and that’s not great for a boy’s self-confidence. The girls’ school is a chance for him to get involved in sport again. He won’t be brilliant overnight, but he’ll be good enough and will be a valued member of the team. Hopefully this will reignite his interest in sport and be something he can carry through to adulthood.
My boy has never really shone or stood out in any way. He’s bright, but not bright enough to get noticed. He’s well behaved, but not so impeccably well behaved as to get noticed. And I’m pleased to say that he is nowhere near bad enough to get noticed! At a girls’ school, all of the boys will get noticed. That will make a big change for my son and should give him a real confidence boost, which will hopefully help him academically and socially.
We haven’t yet looked round the boys’ grammar school and of course he hasn’t yet been offered a place at the girls’ grammar, but I’m absolutely convinced it is the right choice for him and his chance to shine.
Now to get those GCSEs…