A new school of thought…

So we’ve entered a new phase at Mumsomnia Towers. Year 5. The point when you realise the primary school days are nearing their end *sob*. We’ve visited a few high school open days (as I tried to hold back tears/panic) and now this box has found a place on our table.

This box represents Boy1 starting with a tutor to help with entrance exams for grammar schools. Weekly lessons and additional work to prepare him for exams in a year’s time.

I’m always so torn about this process. I’m not against a selective process, don’t get me wrong. These schools do a great job with pupils that are suited to a more academic environment. But it’s a shame that parents end up paying silly amounts of money to improve child’s chances of getting in. What about the children who have the ability and potential, but their parents can’t afford to pay? What about the one who lives too far out of the catchment area?

Before you say it, I know he doesn’t have to have a tutor, he could just sit the exams. But I have it on good authority from school teachers that even the brightest of children probably wouldn’t pass without a tutor. And no, I don’t have the ability (or patience) to tutor him myself. But he’s a bright, academic child so as a parent I have to at least give him the opportunity.

We are lucky. Our local high schools are very good, so it won’t be the end of the world if Boy 1 doesn’t get a place. But it’s such a shame that we are just that. Lucky. Or should the world be privileged – because we can afford to live in an area with so many good school choices.

I’ve always been passionate about the importance of education. This process is reminding me of it. Outstanding schools shouldn’t just be for those in the middle class suburbs. They shouldn’t just be for those that excel in maths and English.

I really believe that any child can excel if they are in the right environment for them, not because they passed a ‘non-verbal reasoning’ exam at aged 10.

Wouldn’t it be great if every town had a great selection of schools that suited different pupil? Yes, you’d have the more traditional formats for the academic pupils, but there’d also be a school that encouraged learning through the arts, maybe a forest school for more hands-on learners, maybe a format that focused on physical activity?

Wouldn’t this ease the pressures on certain areas where schools are massively over subscribed and house prices soar as a side effect?

Too many children are missing out on the chance to shine because they are either in underperforming schools or just in the wrong environment. To me, that’s wrong. Its sad that we don’t have a system that truly embraces different types of learning.

Who knows if Boy2 will be ‘right’ for this process when the time comes, but I’m so much more aware of the importance of finding the right place for the right child.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the minefield that is secondary education…


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