The Transfer Test… Which School To Go To?

Is your child about to do his or her transfer test, and thinking about what school to go to next? Or are you concerned about your child’s choice? Then this article may make you think about the school system a little differently writes grammar school pupil Lauren Burns.

We all feel nervous when results’ day creeps closer and closer, but which schools place the most pressure on their students to succeed?

[caption id="attachment_51829" align="alignleft" width="350"]Transfer test After the transfer test – which school to go to? [/caption]

Statistically we know grammar schools tend to do ‘better’ than most high schools, achieving grades which seem a lot more impressive to the general public. However, are grades all that matter?

Grammar schools claim to be preparing their students for the world of work, where you will constantly be under pressure to look the part and to succeed beyond expectations. However, some people may argue that children in our modern society are expected to grow up too quickly, and that grammar schools discourage our development of originality as individuals.

I have attended a grammar school for five full years and know as well as anyone the pressure that is placed on the shoulders on some so young to ‘achieve their full potential’. I am also aware of the rewards students reap from all the hard work they put in.

The ethos is that of success in these schools and for some academic students they thrive in such an environment, but for those who struggle they may find themselves left behind.

Grammar schools may do well, after all, they statistically contain the top 25% most academically capable in the country’s population. Therefore, I believe that high schools deserve a lot more credit for teaching some students who need a bit of a push, rather than those who have it in their blood to learn.

To investigate the real educational desires of our young people, I have decided to get three opinions from three different young people… a student with high grades who attends a grammar school, a student who has transferred from a grammar school to a high school to complete their A-levels and also a very high achieving student from a high school. Each of these young people live in the local area.

Amy McGrattan (16), a student as Assumption Grammar school, Balynahinch said: “High schools are better than grammar schools in some ways for example you get more help, in grammar schools they expect you to know the stuff and they leave you to do it by yourself.

“I’m not 100% sure of the high school way of working but grammar schools give you a lot of work which puts you ahead in exams and gets you a better overall grade.”

Sorcha White (16) currently studying at Shimna integrated college, Newcastle said: “Going to an integrated all ability school it allows you to work in an environment that’s suited to everyone and gives a better understanding of working with people of all-abilities.

“I think it’s a lot less pressure on students so it kind of creates a friendly atmosphere which is a lot easier to learn in. My school really helped me achieve the best I could with my GCSE’s, especially the likes of English as after school classes were organised, a few of the teachers also offered one on one help which shows how much they really care about their students.”

When asked if she would rather move to a Grammar school she explained: “No, I would rather stay in a place that accepts everybody no matter what religion or how smart they are.”

Finally, I asked Shona Fegan (16) what made her transfer from a grammar school to a high school: “The system is clearly a fantastic system and suits majority of students. Rules and regulations are clearly a necessity but there’s a difference between being strict and putting too much of a strain on 16 year olds. That was my biggest problem. If you forgot a pencil in maths you were told how disorganised you were and qualities like this would get you no where in life, quite harsh words.”

It is clear from these comments that those who attend a high school seem very happy with the way they are treated and feel the education they are receiving is more than enough.

Perhaps grammar schools should listen to what their students are saying and become a more friendly, light-hearted environment as this is where students seem to thrive.

Some children love a more structured environment, so parents please consider your child’s personality before sending them on their next big adventure. After all, they will spend a great deal of their time there learning and growing into the next great generation.