Why I think a girls’ school is the right place for my boy

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…

Grammar School, Son, 365

Bubbablue and me school days linky

Author: Sarah Mummy

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20 Comments

  1. I was surprised to see the headline, but having read what you’ve written, I can absolutely see why. As you say the boys will all be new to the school and there won’t be many of them. I think it makes a lot of sense.

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    • I never really understood why he wanted to go there before, apart from the slightly lower grade requirements, but now it makes perfect sense to me. I just really hope he can get in!

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  2. Well I wasn’t sure where this was going to go but after reading this, it sounds like the perfect school for him. I think it’s so great that he gets this choice, I’ve never heard of it before x

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    • Thanks very much. I really think it will work well for him. We’ve got a few single-sex grammar schools in the county and they all take the other gender in the 6th form, which gives the kids lots of choice. x

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  3. I didn’t even realise single gender schools and sixth forms did this but it sounds like he’s making the right decision and great that you’ve actually considered both of them. feels like a big few months coming up for all your lot x

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    • It certainly is a big few months! All of the single-sex schools round here take the other gender in the 6th form and it really seems like it will be the right thing for him. x

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  4. Sarah,

    One point that occurs to me about the girls’ grammar school: would there be male teachers to act as male role-models? (For football and rugby I imagine there would be male teachers, but what about academic subjects?) I’m sure that your son already has excellent male role-models elsewhere, but it would be no bad thing if he had even more of them throughout the school-day during his sixth-form years.

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    • A good thought! There are male teachers there, but not as many as you would get at a mixed school. Hopefully he would get at least one male teacher.

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  5. This does sound like a very good choice for him. You’ve clearly thought through the pros and cons. Great news about the mocks! If he can do that now then it’s all very promising for the real things in June! Well done him.

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    • Thanks very much! He’s done really well and with not a lot of work! I just hope it’s enough to get him into this school.

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  6. This is fab to read, I agree that it sounds perfect. And as an aside, isn’t it odd how the school systems differ in neighbouring counties? We have no single sex schools and no grammar schools. I would love my children to go to a grammar school and would consider driving them over to your county to do so, but actually I’d prefer it if they didn’t go to a single sex school, so it would be a big decision depending on where they got into. Best of luck to your son with his choice of grammar school, it sounds like he knows exactly what is best for him.
    Nat.x

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    • I’d never given much thought to whether or not I would prefer a single-sex school, if I’m honest! My choices are based on the idea that I think they should go to the very best school they can get into – and if that’s single-sex, so be it! Comprehensive education hasn’t done a lot for my son and I really hope he can get away from it.
      Yes, it is amazing how different the educational systems are. You have middle schools too, don’t you? x

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  7. Fascinating. I’m not a huge fan of splitting the genders in the education system but I do admire your logic. If it works for your son, then do it.

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    • Thanks very much! I’ve never given a lot of thought to single-sex schools, even though my daughter will be going to one. My theory is that my kids should go to the best possible school they can get into – and if that is single-sex, so be it! A comprehensive education certainly hasn’t done much for my son.

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  8. That’s really interesting but I think you are the best judge of what is right for your children and as you say, all of the boys will be in the same boat starting together. I also think that girls at that age tend to be quite sensible, so I imagine the general ethos of the sixth form will be a good one.

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    • I’m sure it will be a good one! I hadn’t even considered girls being sensible, but that’s a real bonus. We all had a really positive feel for the place.

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  9. Love this post, and I had the experience the opposite way round. Going to a boys school for my 6th form (private rather than grammar). I’d never really thought about the points you put here – for me the choice was being able to continue sports and music where at the local area 6th form (my comp didn’t have a 6th form at the time) said most sports were either over or under subscribed so the chance of doing any was minimal, and the teachers didn’t seem to care much.

    Everything you say here is true though. I was quiet and although bright at secondary school, as well as doing music and sport, I was probably not really noticed and recognised for what I did do (story of my life tbh). But being one of only 36 girls did make you noticeable, make the teachers support you, the boys throughout the school generally knew you, and there was the opportunity to do everything. One of my friends said she’d hated sport at school, but doing it 3times a week at 6th form meant she was in the tennis and hockey 2nds teams, and started playing squash. I know I’d have not had the same opportunities at a girls school (my mum wanted to send me to one in Oxford instead of the local comp aged 11 but I refused). I’d have been downtrodden by superconfident girls.

    It sounds like there’s some great reasons why your son should go to the girls school. Fingers crossed he gets the grades he needs and the place.

    Thanks for linking up #schooldays.

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    • Thanks very much! It’s great to hear that it was a positive experience for you and it’s good to hear how well the sport worked out. I’m really keen that my son gets the chance to take part in sport again. I think going to this school will be a really positive new start for him. I just hope he can get in!

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  10. I think it’s so important to know your child because a school may have amazing facilities but if it isn’t right for your child it isn’t right.
    I think you made some really interesting points especially about the opportunity to be noticed. It is so hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re not super awesome in any one field, and confidence at this age can be easily bruised. I really hope he gets the grades he needs.

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    • Thanks very much! I really hope so. It’s almost a chance to reinvent himself and start afresh somewhere where nobody has any preconceived ideas about him. I think it could be really positive.

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