Are Grammar Schools Always The Best Option?

Are grammar schools always the best option?

It’s that time of year when we’re visiting school open evenings and applying for secondary school places. 

I’m going through this with my son now, having done all of this with my daughter a few years ago.

Siblings rules don’t apply to my two as Boo goes to a girls’ school, so my son is completely free to make his own choice. It means we’ve been looking at everything afresh so he can pick wherever he feels most comfortable. 

We are lucky to have two grammar schools in our town, along with others a train or bus journey away, and we then have several good secondary schools to choose from. It’s great to have this much choice, but it does mean we’ve needed to make a decision, it’s not been an obvious pathway. 

It also means that with good secondary schools, there needn’t be a huge push for the grammars. 

We considered the grammar school options, but my son and I weren’t sold. 

I’ve always been one to make decisions with my gut instinct and my gut’s telling me the grammar route isn’t for him. However, I can see him fitting in really well at one of our local secondary schools.

But he’s bright, naturally bright. So isn’t the grammar the best option for him?

That’s been the question and that’s the question quite a few people have put to me. 

It seems that the assumption is that kids should go to grammar schools if there’s any chance that they can get in there, but is it always going to be the best option?


I don’t think so. He didn’t love it when he visited one of them and I just couldn’t picture him there. 

So we decided this wasn’t for him, he didn’t have any tuition and only did a handful of practice books and papers – very reluctantly on his part! I wanted him to at least sit the exam as it would give us a couple of other schools we could put down on our application if he passed it. That worked out for us, as we have to put 6 schools down, so we’ve been able to add in some grammars, below his top choice comprehensive. 

Now, I must stress, I am not anti-grammars. 

I went to a grammar school and really enjoyed it, I have great memories of my time there. 

My daughter attends that same school, and there was no doubt in my mind that it was the right school for her. We looked around it, she loved it, she wanted to go there, and I knew it was right for her. And it is, she’s happy there, she’s doing very well there. 

But I don’t feel that grammars are a one size fits all option.

My son’s bright and I feel that he’ll be just as bright in whichever school he chooses to go to. 

The thing that surprises me is the big push to get kids into grammar schools, kids of all abilities, and I’m not sure I understand it.

Again, remember I am not against grammar schools, don’t come for me grammar school parents, I am one too! I just don’t understand the push to get every kid into them. They’re right for some and not for others.

My son does very well at school and I think he’ll do just as well at the comprehensive as he would at a grammar. He’s that kind of kid. 

He is fortunate in that school work comes easily to him, he will want to do his best, his grades will be just fine. 

If anything, he may well do better as he’s chosen the school himself based on where he thinks he’ll be happiest.

I have one child in a grammar school, it’s the best option for her without a doubt. I have one who’ll be at a comprehensive school and we know it’s the best option for him.

I suspect they’ll do equally well, and most importantly, I hope they’ll be equally happy. 

OK guys, it’s over to you, what do you think? Are grammar schools always the best option? I suspect I’m in the minority with this view. 

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2 thoughts on “Are Grammar Schools Always The Best Option?”

  1. They’re not the best for society, that’s for sure. The Reading grammar schools admit hardly any pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

    1. That is interesting, and another good point. I think that varies from area to area as I believe the Birmingham grammars do, but that inconsistency is an issue.

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