Choosing a secondary school

Dave Herbal

Striker
Do you believe you should choose the best possible school to give your child the best possible chance (even if it involves moving house or changing religion)? Do you go with the school that’s most convenient? Or do you ask the child and let them go where their friends are going?
Long story short: son is at a poor school (monkwearmouth) but it’s convenient (walking distance)
Daughter’s got to choose now, and all her friends parents have chosen a ‘better’ school (Whitburn) but it’s a bus ride away. Some have even chosen the catholic school (St Anthony’s)
I’d rather she went to the convenient one as it makes everyone’s life easier. I also believe cream rises to the top and bright kids (she is) will prosper at any school, so I’m not that concerned about her prospects. But if it was me I’d hate to be separated from my friends (although I know you make new friends right away at a new school).

Dilemma.....

How did you choose?
 

Zak's Dad

Midfield
Do you believe you should choose the best possible school to give your child the best possible chance (even if it involves moving house or changing religion)? Do you go with the school that’s most convenient? Or do you ask the child and let them go where their friends are going?
Long story short: son is at a poor school (monkwearmouth) but it’s convenient (walking distance)
Daughter’s got to choose now, and all her friends parents have chosen a ‘better’ school (Whitburn) but it’s a bus ride away. Some have even chosen the catholic school (St Anthony’s)
I’d rather she went to the convenient one as it makes everyone’s life easier. I also believe cream rises to the top and bright kids (she is) will prosper at any school, so I’m not that concerned about her prospects. But if it was me I’d hate to be separated from my friends (although I know you make new friends right away at a new school).

Dilemma.....

How did you choose?
On this one point, she'll achieve a certain level in an average school, but bright kids being taught in schools which foster higher aspirations as normal, surrounded by other bright kids will achieve a higher level.

By the time she's choosing a university / course the paths may be demonstrably different.
 

Dave Herbal

Striker
On this one point, she'll achieve a certain level in an average school, but bright kids being taught in schools which foster higher aspirations as normal, surrounded by other bright kids will achieve a higher level.

By the time she's choosing a university / course the paths may be demonstrably different.
How do you mean a higher level? If you’re planning on going to sixth form/college, as long as you pass all your GCSEs with good enough grades you’ll get on the A level courses you want. Once you’ve reached that stage, nobody looks at your GCSE results ever again. Once you get beyond showing off to other parents, 9 Bs and Cs are as good as 9 A*s, or whatever they are now. Might be different if your planning on going straight into a job of course, but why would you waste that big A* brain?
 
How do you mean a higher level? If you’re planning on going to sixth form/college, as long as you pass all your GCSEs with good enough grades you’ll get on the A level courses you want. Once you’ve reached that stage, nobody looks at your GCSE results ever again. Once you get beyond showing off to other parents, 9 Bs and Cs are as good as 9 A*s, or whatever they are now. Might be different if your planning on going straight into a job of course, but why would you waste that big A* brain?
The top universities look at gcse results as part of the application. Education in the better schools isn’t just about passing it’s about passing at the highest possible achieved grades.
We tried to get The bairn to do her 11+ but she wanted to go to where her mates were going which I think we all now regret.
It’s a different mind set “passing “ or “excelling “
 
Go to the open nights for the different schools you're considering, look at their results if you want, talk to parents or children already at these schools, factor in friends and practicalities, and the entrance criteria, and then make a choice. It's not always obvious which is the right school for your child until then, and you may never really know, but you've got to put all the factors into the decision. The open night can be important in getting a feel for the school IMO. Let the bairn be part of the decision too, but don't leave her future entirely in her hands either. Good luck.
 

Gillythedilf

Central Defender
Do you believe you should choose the best possible school to give your child the best possible chance (even if it involves moving house or changing religion)? Do you go with the school that’s most convenient? Or do you ask the child and let them go where their friends are going?
Long story short: son is at a poor school (monkwearmouth) but it’s convenient (walking distance)
Daughter’s got to choose now, and all her friends parents have chosen a ‘better’ school (Whitburn) but it’s a bus ride away. Some have even chosen the catholic school (St Anthony’s)
I’d rather she went to the convenient one as it makes everyone’s life easier. I also believe cream rises to the top and bright kids (she is) will prosper at any school, so I’m not that concerned about her prospects. But if it was me I’d hate to be separated from my friends (although I know you make new friends right away at a new school).

Dilemma.....

How did you choose?
I know of 4 instances where I can comment on this ;

Personally I got my kids Christened as Catholic’s so I could send them to a better school that wasn’t mixed sexes .

An old mate of mine sends his boy to school out of town and goes to the trouble of moving house to make it easier to get him there .


Another good friend of mine sends his Boys to a private school as he thinks that will give them a better start in life .

Couple next door who have just moved in came from Cleadon to Sunderland so that they are in the catchment area for St Aidens and St Anthony’s .

You do whatever you thinks best at the time for your kids ,all 3 of us are probs wasting our times but you’ve got to try imo .



Saying that a mate of mine let his daughter go to Thornhill school as it’s the closest .I warned him that there is a good chance she will get in with a curtain closer going there and he laughed .
I was correct .
 
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Longy

Striker
Do you believe you should choose the best possible school to give your child the best possible chance (even if it involves moving house or changing religion)? Do you go with the school that’s most convenient? Or do you ask the child and let them go where their friends are going?
Long story short: son is at a poor school (monkwearmouth) but it’s convenient (walking distance)
Daughter’s got to choose now, and all her friends parents have chosen a ‘better’ school (Whitburn) but it’s a bus ride away. Some have even chosen the catholic school (St Anthony’s)
I’d rather she went to the convenient one as it makes everyone’s life easier. I also believe cream rises to the top and bright kids (she is) will prosper at any school, so I’m not that concerned about her prospects. But if it was me I’d hate to be separated from my friends (although I know you make new friends right away at a new school).

Dilemma.....

How did you choose?
I really wouldn’t rule out Whitburn because of an inconvenient bus ride like. I’m not sure where you live in relation to Monkwearmouth school, but Whitburn school is walking distance to Monkwearmouth school.

I went to St Aidan’s from Newcastle Road, just what you do. Jump on a bus to the town, walk to Ashbrooke. Done it for 7 years, piece of piss.

St Anthony’s is also easy to get to as there’s regular buses to the town & it’s a short walk after
 
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Wilfy

Striker
I really wouldn’t rule out Whitburn because of an inconvenient bus ride like. I’m not sure where you live in relation to Monkwearmouth school, but Whitburn school is walking distance to Monkwearmouth school.

I went to St Aidan’s from Newcastle Road, just what you do. Jump on a bus to the town, walk to Ashbrooke. Done it for 7 years, piece of piss.

St Anthony’s is also easy to get to as there’s regular buses to the town & it’s a short walk after
Ooh, look at me, I took A levels. Pathetic.
 
D

Deleted member 44322

Guest
We had a similar dilemma as you, with the same 3 schools actually.

We live closest to Monkwearmouth but our daughter wants to go to St Anthonys. We aren't catholic so will be towards the bottom of the list for getting in, but are just keeping fingers crossed that she gets a place. Its definitely the best school out of the 3, the results speak for themselves, and when we looked around at the open day, it had a nice feel, the buildings and facilities were top class and the teachers were lovely. I think she would be happy there.

There are a handful of girls from her class who are putting it as first choice too so I'm hopeful she will know people there. Her best friend is going to go to Whitburn but we have zero chance of getting her in as first choice so we put it as second.

None of us, including her, wanted her to go to Monkwearmouth, so its not even on the application.

We just want our daughter to have to best possible chance at doing well in these life forming years and for us, St Anthonys is the place for her.
 
How do you mean a higher level? If you’re planning on going to sixth form/college, as long as you pass all your GCSEs with good enough grades you’ll get on the A level courses you want. Once you’ve reached that stage, nobody looks at your GCSE results ever again. Once you get beyond showing off to other parents, 9 Bs and Cs are as good as 9 A*s, or whatever they are now. Might be different if your planning on going straight into a job of course, but why would you waste that big A* brain?
If you're taught better and learn academic skills better at GCSE stage, you're likely to do better at A level stage because of the grounding you've had.
 

Tunstall2Bignor

Subs Bench
In my opinion, the ‘best school’ means much more than the academic results. The best schools are those that allow children to relax, enjoy themselves, develop resilience and the tools to self-start and take an interest in learning for life. They are all going to have to be flexible thinkers, self motivated and with good emotional management, ready for a future that promises rapid social and economic change. Also you wouldn’t want your child struggling at a highly academic school, when they could have gained more confidence somewhere with more rounded aims. So find the best fit for child and a school that shows willingness to adapt to the child’s needs.
 
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Not Catholic but sent mine to a Catholic school 10 miles away as it's a really good school. They were in a Catholic primary (because I can see it from our front door!) so we were further up the selection criteria as it's a feeder school. They get used to going on the school bus. If she stops back for anything, she's happy getting two public buses home.

Did do the open nights for the other schools in the area but got a better feel for the Catholic one.
 
Do you believe you should choose the best possible school to give your child the best possible chance (even if it involves moving house or changing religion)? Do you go with the school that’s most convenient? Or do you ask the child and let them go where their friends are going?
Long story short: son is at a poor school (monkwearmouth) but it’s convenient (walking distance)
Daughter’s got to choose now, and all her friends parents have chosen a ‘better’ school (Whitburn) but it’s a bus ride away. Some have even chosen the catholic school (St Anthony’s)
I’d rather she went to the convenient one as it makes everyone’s life easier. I also believe cream rises to the top and bright kids (she is) will prosper at any school, so I’m not that concerned about her prospects. But if it was me I’d hate to be separated from my friends (although I know you make new friends right away at a new school).

Dilemma.....

How did you choose?
Our daughter has picked st Anthony’s as first choice for next year, she’s done her research and wants to go even if none of her good friends get in (she should do as she’s catholic like her ma so high up the criteria) she was impressed with the extra curricular activities and Exam results. She has her heed screwed on.

The boy chose monkwearmouth and loves it, he’s doing well and has a good set of mates which is really important to him. I know he would have hated going to a catholic school and resented us for sending him to one, depends on the kid so let them decide if that’s possible.
 
Do you believe you should choose the best possible school to give your child the best possible chance (even if it involves moving house or changing religion)? Do you go with the school that’s most convenient? Or do you ask the child and let them go where their friends are going?
Long story short: son is at a poor school (monkwearmouth) but it’s convenient (walking distance)
Daughter’s got to choose now, and all her friends parents have chosen a ‘better’ school (Whitburn) but it’s a bus ride away. Some have even chosen the catholic school (St Anthony’s)
I’d rather she went to the convenient one as it makes everyone’s life easier. I also believe cream rises to the top and bright kids (she is) will prosper at any school, so I’m not that concerned about her prospects. But if it was me I’d hate to be separated from my friends (although I know you make new friends right away at a new school).

Dilemma.....

How did you choose?
You choose the best school. Kids make friends the first week of senior school. If you wanted convenience dont have kids.
If she is bright she needs to be with brighter kids or could just coast along.
 

Dave Herbal

Striker
Go to the open nights for the different schools you're considering, look at their results if you want, talk to parents or children already at these schools, factor in friends and practicalities, and the entrance criteria, and then make a choice. It's not always obvious which is the right school for your child until then, and you may never really know, but you've got to put all the factors into the decision. The open night can be important in getting a feel for the school IMO. Let the bairn be part of the decision too, but don't leave her future entirely in her hands either. Good luck.
Haven’t got time. The application has to be in today and this is the first i’ve heard of it
 
I can't speak as a parent however will give my opinion as a relatively recent student.

I would absolutely go for the school which has the best proven track record at achieving high pass marks, not only high pass marks but more importantly you need to be looking for consistency. I went to Sedgefield Community College which was pretty decently rated at the time I started (2004) but by the time I left it was a fucking shambles. I completely feel like I was let down by the school in that they couldn't keep teachers and the ones they employed were inadequate. I once had 6 different science teachers within a year, I went the last year having no business studies teacher so they got in a student from Newcastle uni to work on a placement teaching us (fuck me she was fit, the only reason I managed to get double AA :lol: ).

Look for the school which has consistently exceeded averages in the area, I went to Sedgefield due to convenience I think as it was only a few miles away. I'm not doing too bad now but I think had I went to a different school and performed slightly better my career choice would have been drastically different, for the better.

Make sure you encourage the child to stay in contact with their friends from different schools but as they say, you make new friends straight away, sometimes
(more often than not) for the better if you are attending a better school.
 

Dave Herbal

Striker
You choose the best school. Kids make friends the first week of senior school. If you wanted convenience dont have kids.
If she is bright she needs to be with brighter kids or could just coast along.
Trouble is, I base my choices on my school experience, which was spending most of my time pissing about and having a laugh but still got all my GCSEs with B grades. I wasn’t swotty enough to get A’s, and frankly couldn’t be bothered to put any more effort in than I did. I think these kids who appear in the Echo with 9 A*s need to get out more. Anyway, The point is that I don’t think this would have been any different if I’d gone to any other school.
What lessons you looking forward to most Dave?
PE
 
Trouble is, I base my choices on my school experience, which was spending most of my time pissing about and having a laugh but still got all my GCSEs with B grades. I wasn’t swotty enough to get A’s, and frankly couldn’t be bothered to put any more effort in than I did. I think these kids who appear in the Echo with 9 A*s need to get out more. Anyway, The point is that I don’t think this would have been any different if I’d gone to any other school.

PE
It obviously depends on the schools and the kids.
When we moved back here from relatively good 'private' schools abroad, my two kids both had a hell of a shock. My daughter in particular was hassled by other kids for taking an interest in class. she was told - 'What are you doing, we don't answer questions from the teacher here!'.
My son settled better than she did but when we bought a house, we decided to move areas and the school was one of the factors. As it turned out, my daughter loved the new school but my son hated it - so it just depends.

Not helped you Dave I'm sure but just got that off my chest.
 

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