Immense regret and questioning sixth form choice

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claus666999
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#1
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#1
long story short i had to pick from 2 sixth forms

school 1 -
i know the teachers well
i did okay at gcse here (99977654)
not many friends but know people
is not a grammar
very close

school 2
i dont know anyone there
grammar school
rated as outstanding by oftsted
has extracirruicular activities
but is an hours or so bus journey away

i took the huge risk and went to my school , i've gotten a B in eng lit so far and i'm questioning if i can actually do well in this school ? Will unis take students from better schools/ grammars ? Can i perform just as well as a grammar school student considering that they gave me an offer to go there and i met there requirements? I find my school not entirely terrible but in perspective of oftsted reports my decision to come here seems entirely illogical and everyday i'm doubting , should've i been more opportunistic and applied myself at the grammar school? Not to mention that i dont enjoy myself here that much and i know its too late to change but i wasnt getting this doubtful feeling a few weeks ago when i had the chance to change.

I wish i had went to the taster days of the grammar school but my mum was barely supportive and i didn't know how to get there or what to wear ( essentially too nervous )

Essentially i need reassurance on the following:
Do unis care about which secondary school i went to ?
Can non grammar students get the same as grammar students at a level ?
How differently are grammar schools at sixth form ?
Is it worth meeting new friends and having fun at sixth form ?( my other friends went to new schools that aren't exactly good but they seem to be having fun and enjoying school )
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johnnnh
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#2
I don't know much about that, but I do know that if you get good grades at the school your at rn it will actually help you. unis look at the grades you get relative to your peers to an extent. if you come from a random local college where the average grades are C/Bs in your year and you get a A/A*s your application will look extremely strong because you've done well relative to your environment and with your resource. private schools tend to get high grades so you just look good in relation to your peers, but this obviously isn't a HUGE advantage because if it were trust fund daddy's would just take their kids to **** schools and get them the best tutors out there.
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bleepbloop_
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#3
(Original post by claus666999)
long story short i had to pick from 2 sixth forms

school 1 -
i know the teachers well
i did okay at gcse here (99977654)
not many friends but know people
is not a grammar
very close

school 2
i dont know anyone there
grammar school
rated as outstanding by oftsted
has extracirruicular activities
but is an hours or so bus journey away

i took the huge risk and went to my school , i've gotten a B in eng lit so far and i'm questioning if i can actually do well in this school ? Will unis take students from better schools/ grammars ? Can i perform just as well as a grammar school student considering that they gave me an offer to go there and i met there requirements? I find my school not entirely terrible but in perspective of oftsted reports my decision to come here seems entirely illogical and everyday i'm doubting , should've i been more opportunistic and applied myself at the grammar school? Not to mention that i dont enjoy myself here that much and i know its too late to change but i wasnt getting this doubtful feeling a few weeks ago when i had the chance to change.

I wish i had went to the taster days of the grammar school but my mum was barely supportive and i didn't know how to get there or what to wear ( essentially too nervous )

Essentially i need reassurance on the following:
Do unis care about which secondary school i went to ?
Can non grammar students get the same as grammar students at a level ?
How differently are grammar schools at sixth form ?
Is it worth meeting new friends and having fun at sixth form ?( my other friends went to new schools that aren't exactly good but they seem to be having fun and enjoying school )
Hi, I think I had a similar situation where I had the choice between 2 schools: one where all my friends were but I didn't necessarily like the school and one where I had no friends but the school itself is supposed to be really good. I ended up choosing the second school and don't really regret it but I do think there are things that are a shame (e.g culture).

Firstly, I can't really answer the first question as I am not an admissions expert, but I would say that secondary school wouldn't exactly affect whether a uni will give you an offer. As for sixth form/college, I doubt that it would really bias that decision either but honestly, I have no idea.

For your second question, I think that this boils down to your work ethic and how dedicated you are to achieving the grades you want. While I think that a grammar school would be more strict and push you to get high grades, it really just depends on how hard you've worked. If you have a clear goal of where you want to be in 2 years time (I'm guessing you're in Year 12) and what you want to achieve, it makes work a lot easier.

I wouldn't know how a grammar school is like, but I can tell you about my experience from state school to private education (which I feel is probably quite similar to grammar schools considering most private school kids go to grammar school for sixth form). I feel like at my sixth form, they push you a lot harder to do well and generally, it's a good environment to work in. The teachers support you much more education-wise and reaching out to teachers for help is much easier. Although, it would be a good thing to note that if you aren't white or rich, many things are cultural shocks. For example, nobody really realises that they're loaded!

(That's not to say you can't ask for help at state schools; by all means, do try! And if you feel like you aren't getting the help you need, I would recommend going on A-Level Discord servers or other forum sites to ask for help on your respective subjects!)

As for the last question, it again really depends on your goals. Most people would benefit from making lots of friends, myself included. I think that if you start by listing out goals you want to achieve and then think about what you actually want to get out of sixth form, it will be a lot easier for you to make your mind up on that. If you do decide to make new friends and it doesn't work out, that's fine too! You won't click with everyone you meet but as long as you still have a solid support network, I don't think not being able to make friends in sixth form is that big of a deal. Most people don't really stick with their sixth form friends if they don't become close anyway and you'll still have plenty of opportunities in the future!

I think that hindsight will only make you more depressed about your situation so you should try to make the most out of your situation. Hopefully, this was at all helpful and I wish you the best of luck!
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Muttley79
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#4
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#4
(Original post by claus666999)
long story short i had to pick from 2 sixth forms

school 1 -
i know the teachers well
i did okay at gcse here (99977654)
not many friends but know people
is not a grammar
very close

school 2
i dont know anyone there
grammar school
rated as outstanding by oftsted
has extracirruicular activities
but is an hours or so bus journey away
Yes - they look at your results compared to those of the school.

How old is the 'outstanding' judgement? Some are pre-2012 when the grade requirements changed.

A long journey is wasted study time -

I teach at a selective school but they aren't 'magic' some students aremuch lazier than the comp I used to teach in.
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claus666999
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#5
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#5
(Original post by Muttley79)
Yes - they look at your results compared to those of the school.

How old is the 'outstanding' judgement? Some are pre-2012 when the grade requirements changed.

A long journey is wasted study time -

I teach at a selective school but they aren't 'magic' some students aremuch lazier than the comp I used to teach in.
So selective schools are generally more supportive but its still down to the individual ??
Last edited by claus666999; 1 month ago
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Muttley79
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(Original post by claus666999)
So selective schools are generally more supportive but its still down to the individual ??
Where did I say that? In my mind the only difference I see is that some GS students tend to be lazier than students in the comp.

AAA in a non-selective will be viewed by unis as 'better' than AAA in a GS.
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claus666999
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#7
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(Original post by bleepbloop_)
Hi, I think I had a similar situation where I had the choice between 2 schools: one where all my friends were but I didn't necessarily like the school and one where I had no friends but the school itself is supposed to be really good. I ended up choosing the second school and don't really regret it but I do think there are things that are a shame (e.g culture).

Firstly, I can't really answer the first question as I am not an admissions expert, but I would say that secondary school wouldn't exactly affect whether a uni will give you an offer. As for sixth form/college, I doubt that it would really bias that decision either but honestly, I have no idea.

For your second question, I think that this boils down to your work ethic and how dedicated you are to achieving the grades you want. While I think that a grammar school would be more strict and push you to get high grades, it really just depends on how hard you've worked. If you have a clear goal of where you want to be in 2 years time (I'm guessing you're in Year 12) and what you want to achieve, it makes work a lot easier.

I wouldn't know how a grammar school is like, but I can tell you about my experience from state school to private education (which I feel is probably quite similar to grammar schools considering most private school kids go to grammar school for sixth form). I feel like at my sixth form, they push you a lot harder to do well and generally, it's a good environment to work in. The teachers support you much more education-wise and reaching out to teachers for help is much easier. Although, it would be a good thing to note that if you aren't white or rich, many things are cultural shocks. For example, nobody really realises that they're loaded!

(That's not to say you can't ask for help at state schools; by all means, do try! And if you feel like you aren't getting the help you need, I would recommend going on A-Level Discord servers or other forum sites to ask for help on your respective subjects!)

As for the last question, it again really depends on your goals. Most people would benefit from making lots of friends, myself included. I think that if you start by listing out goals you want to achieve and then think about what you actually want to get out of sixth form, it will be a lot easier for you to make your mind up on that. If you do decide to make new friends and it doesn't work out, that's fine too! You won't click with everyone you meet but as long as you still have a solid support network, I don't think not being able to make friends in sixth form is that big of a deal. Most people don't really stick with their sixth form friends if they don't become close anyway and you'll still have plenty of opportunities in the future!

I think that hindsight will only make you more depressed about your situation so you should try to make the most out of your situation. Hopefully, this was at all helpful and I wish you the best of luck!
Thank you , looking back at this i was probably quite dramatic as i had these feelings building up over time. I've always been the type to individually work hard and i consider myself quite smart but i think the doubts came because i was wondering why i was so over confident that i could reject a grammar school offer and do well in a levels at a lower performing school; I thought i was perhaps over confident . I see ,so what you're saying is stark contrast seems to be how far they push you and the environment? May i ask more about your sixth form subjects , what grades you were receiving at the beginning of the year , your goals now and how your state school friends achieved ect ? Your advice helped a lot btw and your last point was very true , my hindsight perspective will worsen things if i keep overthinking
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claus666999
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Muttley79)
Where did I say that? In my mind the only difference I see is that some GS students tend to be lazier than students in the comp.

AAA in a non-selective will be viewed by unis as 'better' than AAA in a GS.
My bad and that will be my main advantage if i'm able to pull off high grades ? Also is that because GS are viewed by the average performing student and so therefore AAA in a GS is valued less than AAA in non-selective ?
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Muttley79
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#9
(Original post by claus666999)
My bad and that will be my main advantage if i'm able to pull off high grades ? Also is that because GS are viewed by the average performing student and so therefore AAA in a GS is valued less than AAA in non-selective ?
Your school goes on your UCAS so your GCSE and A level grades are considered in the light of the school you go to. Focus on doing well where you are - my nephew changed schools for the sixth form [he was at an 11 to 16] and it took the teachers a whole year to realise he was very able!
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janijay
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#10
Do unis care about which secondary school i went to ?
NO


Can non grammar students get the same as grammar students at a level ?
Yes, honestly to do well in A Level, its about how much work YOU put it and how much self study you do. You can have the best teachers or whatever, but they are not sitting the exam, you are.

How differently are grammar schools at sixth form ?
Not much, for a levels at least.

Is it worth meeting new friends and having fun at sixth form ?( my other friends went to new schools that aren't exactly good but they seem to be having fun and enjoying school )

Not really, focus on your exams, you'll have fun at uni (if you go).


So I had this exact situation when I was 16, so I feel compelled to give you my advice. I went to a state secondary school, but I really wanted to do well and so, even though most of the school was full of chavs, I got really really good GCSEs. It wasn't a terrible school either to be honest and I actually really enjoyed it there. I reluctantly moved to a grammar school for A Levels (on the advice of my parents) where I didn't know anyone. Everyone already had their friendship groups, so it was very hard for me to fit in and just an extra worry on top of A Levels that was not needed. I was also not familiar with the school surroundings and it was also much further than my previous school. Some of the teachers really had it in for me, because I came from a 'bad school' they automatically thought I was some sort of delinquent. In the end I became SO DEPRESSED. It was the worst time in my life. The classes were normal sized, teaching wasn't that good. You had to teach yourself. I fell behind. In the end I ended up failing all my exams (which I knew I was going to). I ended up moving back to my old school which was very embarrassing and everyone was quite shocked. All my former classmates were now a year ahead of me as I was re-taking, and I was in classes with the year below, which was even more depressing. That year at that school pretty much traumatised me and I ended up with mediocre A Levels.

I think you made the right choice. Especially during A Levels, the disruption of moving school has a huge effect. Well it did on me anyway. I think you need to stop thinking 'what if?' and just get on with your A Levels. You've made your choice and stick with it. I realised that my original school had much smaller class sizes as well because back then you could leave school after 16.

In the end I say, if you want to do well, you need to live and breath your subjects, self study, do ALL the past papers throughout the year, and make sure your mental health is good. Wishing you the best of luck in your studies!
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claus666999
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#11
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#11
(Original post by janijay)
Do unis care about which secondary school i went to ?
NO


Can non grammar students get the same as grammar students at a level ?
Yes, honestly to do well in A Level, its about how much work YOU put it and how much self study you do. You can have the best teachers or whatever, but they are not sitting the exam, you are.

How differently are grammar schools at sixth form ?
Not much, for a levels at least.

Is it worth meeting new friends and having fun at sixth form ?( my other friends went to new schools that aren't exactly good but they seem to be having fun and enjoying school )

Not really, focus on your exams, you'll have fun at uni (if you go).


So I had this exact situation when I was 16, so I feel compelled to give you my advice. I went to a state secondary school, but I really wanted to do well and so, even though most of the school was full of chavs, I got really really good GCSEs. It wasn't a terrible school either to be honest and I actually really enjoyed it there. I reluctantly moved to a grammar school for A Levels (on the advice of my parents) where I didn't know anyone. Everyone already had their friendship groups, so it was very hard for me to fit in and just an extra worry on top of A Levels that was not needed. I was also not familiar with the school surroundings and it was also much further than my previous school. Some of the teachers really had it in for me, because I came from a 'bad school' they automatically thought I was some sort of delinquent. In the end I became SO DEPRESSED. It was the worst time in my life. The classes were normal sized, teaching wasn't that good. You had to teach yourself. I fell behind. In the end I ended up failing all my exams (which I knew I was going to). I ended up moving back to my old school which was very embarrassing and everyone was quite shocked. All my former classmates were now a year ahead of me as I was re-taking, and I was in classes with the year below, which was even more depressing. That year at that school pretty much traumatised me and I ended up with mediocre A Levels.

I think you made the right choice. Especially during A Levels, the disruption of moving school has a huge effect. Well it did on me anyway. I think you need to stop thinking 'what if?' and just get on with your A Levels. You've made your choice and stick with it. I realised that my original school had much smaller class sizes as well because back then you could leave school after 16.

In the end I say, if you want to do well, you need to live and breath your subjects, self study, do ALL the past papers throughout the year, and make sure your mental health is good. Wishing you the best of luck in your studies!
I really needed to hear this and thank you for sharing your story with me; I share all of the fears of the things you went through and relate to how the school we both attended at secondary was not terrible and gave us good grades. The aspect of you not being received well by the teachers i just very immoral and was something i was warned of by other external students who received a lack of support in the TAG process of 2021 ( essentially they were disadvantaged ) i feel like this would've happened to me because of how unsociable quiet and expressionless i can be and social stress upon a levels is totally unneeded as you said . I have heard grammar schools are very pressuring and big on the whole ' teach yourself' tactic , so everything you're saying aligns with everything that i have heard about them. Not to say they're terrible but some people work better in different environments.

You're right I need to focus on the present task and work the hardest i possibly can in my school and not worry about what i think in hindsight and i find small classes a lot better so if it was also optional for people to not have to attend like back in your times i would be happy.

Your advice was beyond reassuring , i'm sorry for the trauma you received during those years , I understand it must have been extremely hard retaking a year after dealing with those pressures.
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bleepbloop_
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(Original post by claus666999)
Thank you , looking back at this i was probably quite dramatic as i had these feelings building up over time. I've always been the type to individually work hard and i consider myself quite smart but i think the doubts came because i was wondering why i was so over confident that i could reject a grammar school offer and do well in a levels at a lower performing school; I thought i was perhaps over confident . I see ,so what you're saying is stark contrast seems to be how far they push you and the environment? May i ask more about your sixth form subjects , what grades you were receiving at the beginning of the year , your goals now and how your state school friends achieved ect ? Your advice helped a lot btw and your last point was very true , my hindsight perspective will worsen things if i keep overthinking
I'm glad that my advice helped I don't think you were being overconfident at all in rejecting the grammar school. Everyone works differently and honestly, going with your gut feeling is the best choice for anyone.

I am on an academic scholarship and I do Maths, Further Maths, Geography and Physics. At the beginning of the year, I was getting maybe Cs, Bs? Not great, but not bad for the beginning of the year. I was averaging 40-60% on all my tests bar Physics, which was averaging 20% . I tend to work quite hard and actually, for the first few months, I pretty much cut myself off from everyone because the workload was just so large. Because I am on a scholarship, I felt the obligation to do well and essentially not fall behind because I may lose it and that thought really stuck with me the most.

After my first report, I decided to make goals in order to improve my performance which was to achieve the highest grades for my course (so for Geography and Physics, they were just A cos it's AS and for Maths, since I sat it early, I aimed for A*). These were mainly goals working up to the EOY exams as well as my Maths A Level. And, in order to do this, I had to completely change my work ethic and actually work hard to get where I want to be. One disclaimer would be while I did get those grades in the end, I probably would avoid doing this since it's a bit too ambitious? Like, it's the type of goal that if you don't achieve (which is a high likelihood considering that you never really know what circumstances your exam will have), it will just bum you out and put you in a slump even more. My goal now is just to get through A Levels with the best grades that I can achieve so I can go to a good uni. I think, for goals, it really does help if you know what you want to do. That way, you can do research early on unis that you'll like and has a course that will cater to your aims.

As for my friends, they seem like they're doing okay. We don't really discuss grades that much but, to be honest, I think that they all work very hard independently to achieve their goals. The main difference though is that the access to help from teachers and also the option not to do 4 A Levels really did highlight a difference in their school life and mine. For me, I found that even though I didn't have as much time because honestly, I was working like a dog, the access to resources from my teachers was so much better. As for them, they mainly relied on independent working and looking for resources themselves, which would take more time but they had time to do so as they had much fewer lessons due to doing 3 A Levels. It was mainly the difference in how relaxed the environment was. I feel like my school is a very high-pressure environment but the hard work pays off. That being said, I would have appreciated some more free time for myself, considering the commute was very long as well (around 1hr to go home).
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janijay
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(Original post by claus666999)
I really needed to hear this and thank you for sharing your story with me; I share all of the fears of the things you went through and relate to how the school we both attended at secondary was not terrible and gave us good grades. The aspect of you not being received well by the teachers i just very immoral and was something i was warned of by other external students who received a lack of support in the TAG process of 2021 ( essentially they were disadvantaged ) i feel like this would've happened to me because of how unsociable quiet and expressionless i can be and social stress upon a levels is totally unneeded as you said . I have heard grammar schools are very pressuring and big on the whole ' teach yourself' tactic , so everything you're saying aligns with everything that i have heard about them. Not to say they're terrible but some people work better in different environments.

You're right I need to focus on the present task and work the hardest i possibly can in my school and not worry about what i think in hindsight and i find small classes a lot better so if it was also optional for people to not have to attend like back in your times i would be happy.

Your advice was beyond reassuring , i'm sorry for the trauma you received during those years , I understand it must have been extremely hard retaking a year after dealing with those pressures.
It honestly still traumatises me to this day. On the other hand, if like you I didn't move schools, and I somehow did badly, I probably would've also been thinking 'what if I moved schools? I probably would've done better'. So having experienced literally both situations, I think it's not worth it to move schools purely on the fact it has a better reputation. If it was closer or you had friends there it would've been different. I honestly thought I would've gotten more support or better teaching at the new school, but it was honestly the same - some cases worse, as you end up being the small fish in a big pond as well. It was literally the worst mistake of my life, but it was my parents decision, not mine and back then I was super obedient to adults.

Also another thing, at the new school you had to wear a uniform and they were quite controlling and strict, which I didn't like at all. In my original school, you wear your own clothes for sixth form, which I preferred in the end - it gives you the freedom to express yourself. I did think it would be easier to wear a uniform as then I didn't have to worry about what to wear, but I realised it was actually quite an important thing to be able to choose what you wear and experimenting and figuring out your style, especially before you attend university, as before then I only ever wore a school uniform. As I was seen as a 'good student' at my original school, they didn't keep tabs on me either and I had so much freedom and honestly that was great because at university, nobody is going to tell you to do your work. So I found the freedom much better and honestly felt I was being treated and trusted like an adult more rather than still a little student who needs to be told what to do.

Honestly it was the worst experience of my life and I WISH I had someone reassuring me when I was 16. After that experience I decided that I will always give whatever advice I can to those struggling with it. But yes, in A Levels it's mostly about how much independent work you do and the school certainly DOES NOT MATTER. Btw make sure your predicated grades are all good, depending on what you are aiming for, (usually based on your first year results, although now I think you sit all your exams at the end of second year?) for when you come back in September, as you'll be applying to university then. Another tip is, for English Lit, do loads of essays and get them marked by your teachers. If your teacher is busy or not very helpful, find another English teacher that teaches the years below on a lunch break, usually they shouldn't mind - you'll find someone who will help you! Good luck stranger! :-)
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