Updated: Dec 18, 2019
Don’t worry buddy, attending a grammar school is not the be all and end all. Not by any means.
1. Rumours might suggest it’s easier to get better grades by attending a grammar school - that’s not wholly true.
Again, grade attainment doesn’t come easy just become one attends a grammar school. To get the best grades, hard work, a good attitude and dedication is required.
What may be true is that there are fewer distractions in Grammar schools to working hard. The schools are pretty focused on grade attainment and make that their main priority. As a result, it’s pretty difficult to slack off working in such a school. However, State schools are just as good - if not better - and happy to provide the teaching and material for you to go and ace those exams.
They’re passionate about their students doing well. This may not always show since teachers all have lots to deal with. Having said that, the moment you need that extra support or a lunch time session to go through a concept you don’t understand - make sure to ask. It’s about taking that initiative in your learning; which should happen in all schools.
2. Ultimately, you’re looking to have the best secondary school experience possible. That is largely dependent on your attitude towards learning and school.
Try to remember that your attitude will propel you forwards on this secondary school journey. It’s a ride about to be full of many changes, development and growth. Not only are you beginning a new school; puberty will hit, you’ll begin to see life from new perspectives and face challenges you won’t have ever experienced before.
A grammar school isn’t necessarily any more equipped than any other school to support you through these changes. Whichever school you decide to settle in, so long as you keep an open mind, you’ll have no trouble settling in.
Which should lead to the best secondary school experience possible. Once you’ve settled in to the school, it’s up to you to do the best you can. Use the support available to you for both your own personal wellbeing and in the development of your academics.
Every school should have a pastoral team, heads of departments and a form tutor available on hand for you. That’s regardless of the type of school you attend. So, make use of them. They’re being paid to aid your education!
3. There are pros to not attending a grammar school, take advantage of them!
Well, different students work differently (no surprise there). So while some will thrive under the intensity of pressures placed on Grammar school students, others will break and crumble. You might find that the pressure in a non-grammar school is slightly less. But that isn’t always the case; the pressure from each school is different. What’s important is trying to get to grips with the pressure you’re placed under. Or the lack of pressure and support around you.
Here, self awareness and motivation needs to kick in as best as possible to aid in striving for the best grades possible. Personally I did attend a grammar school and in Year 12 (the start of Sixth Form), we had an influx of girls join from across the city and various non-grammar schools.
For me, the stark difference in levels of self motivation between the girls that had gone through a Grammar secondary schools and those that hadn’t were astonishing.
Whereas the old girls were almost being dragged through the process of having to get good grades simply because that was what was expected of them, the new girls that joined had an energy radiating off them which I truly found inspiring. They were keen and eager to work for their own good.
Use this as a learning experience, and know that to have that self motivation is better for you in the long term than to be placed in a high pressured environment where good grades are constantly expected of you. Having the strength to work hard and aim high for yourself are traits everyone needs to develop to be able to thrive in the working world. So, learning them sooner than later can only be a good thing.
4. Overall, stay focused and work towards your own personal goals and the hard work will pay off.
It won’t be easy. There’ll be obstacles, ups and downs, swings and roundabouts but never lose yourself. Stay true to who you are, ensure to try and build a good support network around you and embrace the opportunities you have.
Take the extra curricular activities your school offers you, participate with enthusiasm in your lessons, and most importantly, just do your best. That’s all that anyone can ask of you.
Good luck starting at a new school!