Welcome to our feature on choosing a better School fit that matches your child’s individual needs; and the subsequent new school transitions that will occur as a result.
Finding a better school fit
Grammar school vs. independent school
A never-ending discussion can continue on Grammar schools and Private/Independent schools. A grammar school is a secondary school of the state that is managed and funded by the government. The selection process is simple. All the children of 11 years old appear for this entrance also termed as 11 plus exam. The primary subjects involved are mathematics and English.
Certain scores are set to achieve and, on that basis, the selection process for admissions takes place. No fee is charged from the students at Grammar schools whereas independent schools charge a specific amount from each of the students.
Independent schools manage their finances independently, and they receive no funds from the government. They have their own designed entrance test for the admission of the students in secondary classes as per the norms. The infrastructure and the facilities are attractive compared to grammar schools.
History of Grammar Schools
There is no scarcity of excellent schools and knowledge in both Independent and Grammar schools. It is just the preferences of the individuals depending upon their convenience. The history of grammar school is ancient. It started basically to teach Latin during the 12th to 14th Century. Later the syllabuses were expanded, and it incorporated other subjects such as English, mathematics, natural sciences, liberal arts, and other European languages. Earlier the grammar schools were for primary education only. However, post the expansion of the courses, it became a secondary /11 plus course.
Why would your child prefer a grammar school?
Grammar schools provide equality in terms of level in class. The students can only study here if they clear the entrance test which shows it provides opportunities to the most efficient students. It is observed that the pupils selected from Grammar schools are more proactive and successful.
Parents and students from the lower-income group can access this highly efficient and knowledgeable source of education without being partial to any specific community. This way it leads to an extraordinary academic result. The individuals from these schools are the high achievers. The politicians and celebrities are often from Grammar schools.
This system provides opportunities to every individual who is eager and capable of studying. It helps them in gaining access to high-quality education systems. Some observe that the culture in Grammar schools is so professional and respectable that the students feel less bullied and thrive towards learning more and more.
It requires intensive knowledge and ability. Sometimes it can be a pressurizing situation for the children. To get admission, students put in all their efforts and prepare for the entrance exam from a very early age. They gain extensive knowledge and skills.
It is analysed that the students from Grammar schools are more energetic and competitive. They are more vocal and grounded. It grooms the students to deal with difficult situations and work accordingly.
What is the difference between a grammar school and an independent school?
Grammar school follows the concept of free public education whereas, independent/private schools have their fee structures designed. A uniform 11 plus entrance exam is the key to Grammar schools.
However, independent/private schools set various entrance tests and criteria for the selection and admission of pupils. The infrastructure and technologies are much advanced at the private schools compared to the grammar schools.
Things to know before enrolling in a grammar school:
Even if it has hundreds of advantages, it is always advisable to consider the demerits along. The government funds grammar schools. Some also say that the 11 plus exam is unfair as it builds fear of failure in students from a very early age and affects them badly.
They also say that 11 is not the age to take this test as the students remain in the cognitive and learning stage at that interval. It creates a lot of pressure on the students and the parents as the students keep on preparing for this entrance from a very early age.
Proactive measures to improve grammar schools
Provision to provide free teaching and coaching to students coming from weaker economical sections can be valuable in bringing uniformity and equality among all the sections of the economy. We can do it through free tuition projects. Judging a student on his/her English proficiency and basic mathematics is unfair.
The PERSONALITY TRAITS of a child can lean more towards art and creativity based on his/her interests. There have been examples where students have been poor in mathematics but have achieved a lot in their lives. Hence, conducting an entrance with no bar to subjects or other abilities is a good initiative.
This way pupils can select the best suitable courses and curriculums as per their interests. Many researchers have mentioned that if it can delay the selection process a year or two, then it will help the students. When the entrance exam will be conducted for students over the age of 12 & 13, they will get a little more time to develop their interests, understanding, and strengths.
The above measures can help contribute towards uniformity with a suitable process to bring a better and systematic educational opportunity for the students at grammar schools. Some observe that children develop much faster and become progressive when grouped by ability. Putting a goal in their head to achieve and thrive is a good initiative.
However, it has to be systematic and vigilant. Grammar school is an attractive and persuasive approach to a better education system. If considered with some improvements, it has magnificent potential.
Most applications to private schools require parents to write about their children in a parent’s statement or by filling out a questionnaire. The purpose of the parent’s letter is to add dimension to the candidate’s statement and help the admissions committee better understand the applicant from the parent’s perspective.
So, exactly how do you go about deciding if your current school is meeting your child’s needs? And if it’s not, how do you go about choosing the right alternative high school option for your child? Check out these tips.
Does Your Child’s School Meet His or Her Needs?
When you evaluate your current school, and when you look at potential alternative high school options, be sure to not just think about this current year, but also consider the years ahead.
- If your child is struggling now, can the school provide the necessary support to augment mainstream classes?
- Is the school challenging your child enough? Are there advanced classes offered?
- Does the school offer the academic and extracurricular programs that your child wants?
It’s important to make sure that the school your child attends is the best fit for the long haul. Your child will grow and develop in that school, and you want to be aware of how the school will change over time. Does the school change from a caring, nurturing lower school to a demanding, competitive middle and upper school? Gauge the temperature of all the divisions before selecting a school.
Does Your Child Fit in at His or Her Current School?
Switching schools can be a big choice, but if your child doesn’t fit in, he won’t be successful.
- Does your child enjoy going to school?
- Does your child have an active, healthy, and engaged social life?
- Is your child involved in multiple sports and activities?
The same questions should be asked if you’re looking at potential new schools. While you may be tempted to gain admission to the most competitive school possible, be sure that your child is a good fit for the school and that it won’t be too demanding—or too easy—down the road. Don’t try to shoehorn your child into a school that doesn’t nurture her interests and talents just to say he’s enrolled at a name-brand institution. It’s also important to make sure that the classes meet your child’s needs.
What if you don’t get your first choice school…
Welcome to our latest feature offering school application advice. This is specifically for those unlucky parents who don’t get their first choice school.
No first choice given from your school application?
92 percent get their first-choice primary school.
Whereas for secondary school, 96 percent get one of their listed schools.
Give the allocated option a chance
If you do not know much about the school, get nosey on their website and give them a call see if you can visit. In many cases, second or third choice allocations turn out to be brilliant and families are really pleased with the decision. Give the school a chance, it might work for you!
Manage your own (and your child’s) disappointment
Sometimes the biggest issue is managing the disappointment you and your child might feel. Look after yourself and take some time to be sad, angry and frustrated; these are important and valid feelings. Communicating positively with your child is important if you can, so they don’t feel nervous about their new school.
Get on the waiting lists
Plenty changes between the spring and September and there is still a good chance you can get a space at your first choice school or another you feel happier about.
So what’s the local authority’s role?
Well, your local authority may automatically put your child on a waiting list or you may need to request this with your local authority or directly with the school.
If you are still feeling unsure about the school options, there is time to look at other schools and request a change. Both starting school and moving to secondary are big events and you need to feel as happy about it as you can. There are also options to appeal; although this can be challenging, it may be worth a shot. Again, your local authority website should explain the appeals process.
Telling your child
Where possible, after taking a little time to process your own feelings, tell your child with a positive spin. Explain to them that there is a different school that wants them to join.
Find some specific things about the school they will love and show younger children pictures of happy children and fun activities on the school website. For older children, visit the website together to look at what is on offer.
Give them some examples of times when a change or difference in a plan has been good, for example ‘it was raining on our walk but we found some great puddles.’ Children of all ages are really receptive to these examples of bigger life lessons and it gives an opportunity to talk about how they feel.
Stories are a great way to explore feelings and talk about sadness.
Appealing a school decision
Each local authority has an appeals procedure, which they follow and can be found on their website.
It will explain how to appeal and what reasons you can use for appeal. It is quite difficult to be successful with an appeal and in most cases, this only happened where children have additional needs which cannot be supported in any other setting. In a nutshell, if you appeal a decision, you are effectively asking the school which is full to remove a child from that allocation and move them to a different school. As you can imagine, that is an unlikely scenario.
It can be worth going through the process though, as there are situations in which schools may take on more children if they are able to and by appealing, you are showing you are serious about wanting a place at that school. Once you appeal, the case will be heard by a panel, you may be invited to the hearing and you will be given a decision with reasons.
Can You Afford to Switch Schools?
If switching schools is becoming an obvious choice, it’s important to consider the time and financial investment. While homeschooling is usually very low cost, it’s a major time investment. Private school might require less time than homeschooling, but more money. What to do? Consider these questions as you do some research and make your decisions.