The 11 plus exams are right around the corner and parents are busy with supporting and preparing their children for the 11 plus exam. Some parents take the exams so seriously that they don’t take a summer holiday so that they can support their child.
Now we need to ask the question, do parents just choose grammar schools randomly? or do they attend open days, look at classrooms and sports facilities, meet with teachers, and let their children decide which school they prefer? Doing all this can still be hard work. When you have so much choice, how do you know which grammar school is the right one for your child?
First, consider your child’s personality:
1. Is your child more academic than sporty?
2. Is your child competitive or more of a team player?
3. Is your child full of confidence or a shy student that will avoid questions?
4. Does your child like taking part in extracurricular activities?
You need to keep in mind that all grammar schools have an atmosphere that is quite competitive, and your child will just be expected 'to keep up' with their studies.
Secondly, the following points are an outline for what you should look for in a grammar school.
Ask friends and family:
1. Ask those friends and family whose children are currently studying or have studied at the grammar school you have chosen.
2. What kind of facilities are there?
3. How is the teaching faculty?
4. What extracurricular does the school provide?
Read school reviews:
1. Reading reviews online or newspaper can be very helpful in judging the school.
2. Read reviews online, especially from parents, teachers, current and alumni students.
3. Check school website for achievements and awards won by the school.
4. What is the school’s ethos and where does it see itself in the future?
5. Check OFSTED reports and independent review websites like “The Good Schools Guide” and “School Guide”.
6. Check secondary school league tables for the school’s ranking for quality of teaching and overall results in GCSEs.
Grammar school open days:
1. Attending as many open days with your child should give you more insight into how the school operates, what a typical school day is like and helps your child to get a feel for the place.
2. Check the school grounds, facilities and activities on offer.
3. Meet pupils, teaching staff and if possible, the headteacher.
Discussion with your child:
1. This is the most important part in deciding a grammar school. The more you’ll be able to judge what school might be the best fit for your child.
Some things that you may want to consider with your child include:
1. Your child’s first impressions of the school and how your child found the teaching staff and pupils.
2. The distance to the school from home and how they will travel to school.
3. Your child’s academic strengths, weaknesses and social skills.
Remember this advice:
When discussing the options with your child, try to determine the reasons why they prefer one school over another. Listen to them and try to keep your opinions to yourself to begin with, so as not to influence them one way or another. Children may choose schools for fickle reasons, such as who else is going from their school. Despite this, disagreeing with your child too early can make them all the more determined to stick to their decision.
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