Girl1 is approching the end of her primary education. After the summer she’ll be starting at a big school. Not just a school for bigger people, but a big school- somewhere between 700 pupils and 1,800 pupils. There are about 300 at the primary school, so it will be a big step. In her current year group there are 25 pupils; one of the schools we saw has an intake group of 240. No matter where she goes, she’ll be one of the smallest, trying to find her place in a whole new world. There may be friends from primary school; there may not. She’ll find her way, make her own path.
I’ve mentioned the selection tests, and the rather overwhelming nature of school open days, but I missed a bit. I’ve just discovered another aspect of the selection process. (Maybe it’s hiding in the information under ‘supplementary evidence’.)
After the test results come out, we get to fill in a form, putting preferred schools in order. We say how we think she meets the criteria e.g. ‘she scored X in the test’ and/ or ‘she is the eldest in the family’ and/or ‘we live X miles from the school, so are part of your catchment area’. Spurs Fan will check and cross reference and make sure all the boxes are ticked. Enough? No, don’t be daft.
I’ve been oblivious of this until now, but it seems to be expected that we include a letter to each school Principal or Chair of the Board of Governors, saying what an asset to the school community she would be.
Dear Ms YYYY
Girl1 is really looking forward to the opportunity of attending your school, ZZZZ. We attended the Open Day and were very impressed by the caring, supportive environment along the wealth of curricular and extra curricular activities available.
Girl1 plays trumpet, tin whistle and is a member of the school choir, performing at religious and social events. She works hard in school, and undertakes home based research activities with enthusiasm. She accepts responsibilty well, and enjoys being a ‘buddy’ for a class of 4 and 5 year olds. We are sure that the report from the primary school will confirm her positive attitude to learning, discipline and school attendance.
Girl1 participates in a range of after school activies- currently dance, netball and Gaelic football. She also plays Gaelic football for the local GAA club, training twice a week and competing during the season. Girl1 is particularly keen on Irish dancing, attending classes twice weekly and competing when possible. All these activities have developed her confidence, willingness to perform, social and physical skills.
Girl1 is quietly confident, and seems reserved until she’s comfortable in her place. She responds well to structure, and will meet the clear expectations of ZZZZ school.
We hope you consider her application in a positive light. We’d be happy to meet to discuss any queries you may have.
Speccy and Spurs Fan.
A CV/ resumé for a 10 year old?
One that glosses over the lack of music practice, the huffing about homework, the doing as little work as possible. One that suggests she’s other than a normal 10 year old girl. A letter that, somehow (Spurs Fan’s influence), doesn’t say “Just follow the obvious criteria and take her for goodness’ sake.”
Obviously, I think Girl1 is wonderful, amazing, delightful etc, and I fully expect everyone else to think the same. Schools must get hundreds of letters saying “ABC is brilliant. I’m his mum and I know.” I can’t see how that helps them select. Girl1 is a regular child. She meets some selection criteria, somewhere. Why do we need to jump through other, invisible, hoops? What happens if we don’t send off a series of gushing letters?
As long as we don’t end up having to home school her …