I’m buyin’! (Only virtually, of course.)
Jess (DsSis) is 11. Time to find that all-important high school.
Default local comprehensive is much better than it was, but given that it was in Special Measures with a big drug problem and Headteachers rarely lasting more than a year a few years ago, that’s not saying much. Big-name city grammar school was WAY too expensive (annual fees exceeding current DsD annual income). Local grammar school has a privacy-invading financial-help policy bordering on theft, so all of those were off the “by happy choice” list. She’s not a girl (and we’re not parents) who would survive the boarding school culture for somewhere far away. And we ain’t Catholic or Muslim. So we were left with three possibles. One was blown out by being about to be merged and rebuilt, on which unknown results I’m not prepared to gamble my daughter. Of the other two, Jess absolutely HATED one after a visit. So we were left looking at one basket only for our most precious egg.
To be fair, that one basket’s a belter. Free of charge grammar, OFSTED Outstanding rated, loved by its pupils, and achieving top twenty exam results in the entire country. Less than two miles from our door, still got HUGE playing fields, just started building a £1million language block extension, Specialist Science status, massive extracurricular programme. And Jess loved it on the Open Day. Really couldn’t be better.
The catch? 1500 of the brightest Yorkshire kids a year apply for 150 places, via an old-fashioned 11-plus, all-on-the-day entrance exam. Jess did the exam a couple of weeks ago, and we’ve all been on [very tetchy] tenterhooks ever since.
The results letter came today. Now, this can’t, by law, be an offer. Every kid’s parents fill out the preference form for a 5-school choice in October, and we don’t find out where they’ve been allocated until March. But if Jess could come into the top 150 in the exam, she’d be just about certain of a place. Given that the exam is a shared one with the school she hated (also a 150 entry), any result in the top 300 would get her a grammar place, but with a 50/50 chance it could be the “wrong” school. From 300 to about 370, the schools advise you put them as 1st/2nd choice on the form, as there are inevitably some drop-outs. In the 400s or lower, fuggeddabouddit. Buy the polyester uniform for the comp and cross your fingers.
So, what happened? Two minutes after the postie arrived, DsMam rang me at work … she was snuffling and admitted she’d just had a little cry. Ohshitohshitohshitohshit . . .
Jess came THIRTY-SIXTH out of fifteen hundred.
THAT’S mah girl!!!
Chuffed and relieved doesn’t even BEGIN to cover it.
I don’t know about her (well, I DO actually; she’s two floors above me fast asleep), but I’m buzzing far too much to sleep, and I’ve had far too big a celebratory glass of Myers to be sensible for what time I have to be back in the car in the morning. But what the hell. If I can’t be proud of her now, when can I be?
[Er, next month when she plays at the Royal Albert Hall, maybe? - Ed.]
Oh, yeah, temporarily forgot about that. Jess is playing the finale at the Children’s Concert at the RAH as part of the (very large) Bradford Junior Ensemble in November. Busy busy busy …..