Thursday, 8 October 2009

Moving On Up

Joshua's tour of possible secondary school choices ended last night and finally he's made his selection and order of preference. Now all I have to do is fill in the forms and send them off.

It's been interesting watching him throughout his deliberations. Seeing him form opinions before he's even seen some schools, reasoning that certain schools are worth a visit for this reason, why this school seems good for that reason and why some schools are just a plain no-go in the first place.

Having been encouraged by his form teacher to sit the local grammar school exam, Joshua's first reaction was to completely balk at the idea and protest because everybody would think he was a geek if he went there. Until that is, he found out that three other boys in his year group at school were also being persuaded by their parents to sit the exam. All these boys being non-geeks in Joshua's opinion.

So, the visit to the school was arranged, with Joshua moaning fervently in the back of the car that the children would all be Tefal headed, goofy teethed mad professor types with middle partings and how his future as a normal kid was doomed. He wanted a school where he could hang out with his friends, come home on his bike and do just enough homework to get some good grades at GCSE. He has no intention of university because apparently nowhere offers a BA Chef's degree!

But the view was to be quashed when moving around the school he met and spoke to schoolmasters and current pupils who explained things to him, who engaged him in conversation, invited him to take part in experiments and went through puzzles with him. His utter joy at seeing the football posts relegated to the side of the field to see the older boys playing the only game worthy of a ball - his beloved rugby!

His assessment at the end - school choice number one - both because the criteria for entering grammar school is based on it being first choice on the council application and because, 'Actually, it looks really good Mum, and they don't all walk around with jam jar glasses holding their fingers in the air shouting Eureka!'

School choice number two has turned out to be the local catchment comprehensive. I am not qualified to comment as his father viewed this one with him, but having heard back from both of them that it is indeed pretty impressive, with an outstanding Ofsted, I have to back down from my original opinion of it being a cattle market due to the sheer volume of pupils on the roll. It has a proven record - I can't argue with that.

Number three is another local comprehensive that specialises in Computing and Maths, one which Joshua spent a maths day at earlier this year and thoroughly enjoyed.

It's difficult knowing whether the choices we make for him are right. But I hang my head in shame knowing that his deliberations at the age of 10 were far more mature than mine at that age. I had a choice of the local comprehensive mixed school or the single sex one nearby. My sole reason for going to the mixed was because I didn't like the fact the headteacher at the girls school was so strict and the uniforms were ugly.

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