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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 2:45 pm 
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Tina wrote:
My DD passed the Trafford (CEM) exam for all the CEM consortium grammar schools (x4) but she cannot choose between AGGS and Stretford Grammar. We are 6 miles away from AGGS but only 1.8 miles from Stretford Grammar. We are OOC for SGS and my DD does not want to go to Urmston.
We get conflicting messages about AGGS. Some parents tell us it is a great school. Others have told us that AGGS girls need tutoring to get through and there is not much support for those girls who appear to be ‘underperforming’.
It would be helpful if other parents who don’t necessarily live near AGGS could share their experiences. How does it feel like for an 11/12 yr old to spend one hour each way to travel to/from school?


Can only speak from my experience with a DD at AGGS. I can't see the GCSE or A Level results for Stretford so can't compare but AGGS does get outstanding results year on year. You'd expect that though to a certain extent because it takes the highest achievers from the Consortium entrance exam. I think there is pressure to do well, but support with lunch clubs (run by sixth formers) and extra classes run by teachers if someone is struggling. They have recently changed the homework policy so there is a maximum amount set, and they're very keen on mental health and general well being. The careers provision is very good. I would say it suits conscientious, self motivated girls. I don't know of any girls using tutors once they're at AGGS - and certainly not all the girls were tutored to get there. I think that was one of the reasons for changing the exam format from GL to CEM a few years ago to make it more "tutor proof" and to level the playing field between state / private schools - certainly there are far more state school children getting in now.

An hour each way seems like quite a tough ask, but there seems to be quite a lot of girls who travel in - seems the school buses can be quite social. Having said that, we do often get emails from the school about various bus routes being changed / cancelled so I think you need to have a couple of options.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:52 pm 
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My daughter is at AGGS. We live more than 6 miles away. It wasn't our first choice school (which was a faith school), but actually it's working v well. We live nearer to Stretford Grammar but the bus journey there on busy roads would have taken longer than the tram to Altrincham. As the trams don't have to negotiate traffic, the journey's pretty quick & easy. She gets home around 4.10pm from school, so the journey time is very reasonable.

There are local friends - all the Trafford grammars take pupils from a fairly broad area - and AGGS has girls from all across its wide catchment area. My daughter also travels in with lots of ex-primary friends (from Old Trafford/Stretford/Firswood/Chorlton area) who are at other Trafford high schools - BTH, Loreto etc. The tram is absolutely full of high school kids from various schools. My children (who all travel to school by tram) enjoy the social aspect of the tram journey and the older ones have turned down the offer of a lift home occasionally to go with their friends on the tram.

So far the work/homework at AGGS seems no more or less difficult, pressured or plentiful than that at other grammars (I've got parental experience of two other Trafford Grammars - not all of them by any means!) and I'm impressed by the AGGS policy not to give homework over the school holidays, which is certainly not the policy at my other children's schools. My daughter is enjoying her new school v much so far - lots of fun, extra clubs, sports and music offers. She has friends and siblings at other Trafford grammars and non-grammars, all of whom seem to be happy and settled, all of whom also have plenty of local friends at their school.

It's a tough decision - good luck!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:13 pm 
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Location: Cheshire
Hello, fellow Traffordites and adjoining areas. My DD now in year 13 has anecdotally said to me that AGGS is not suited to all girls particularly w.r.t the lower quantile academically of the girls who can have a real hard time and struggle at such a competitive school as AGGS and few of them choice to progress to AGGSs sixth form and opt for other less intense schools. There is very little pressure in the first 3 years then it mounts and mounts and some find it difficult to cope with the school's expectations and some girls are just not cut-out for single gender education to begin with.

1 hour commute one-way is a lot for most young children.

Hope that's helpful there is nothing special about AGGS it's; selection, selection and more selection and their results simply reflect this. Their pastoral care is average at best, imho.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:52 pm 
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Thank you so much for taking the time to post.
I had a niggling feeling that what you said maybe how it is.
A highly selective school should get the results to match; tutoring is an economic advantage, plus local area, plus type of girls applying ..


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:56 am 
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Please don’t think that there’s no pressure at other grammar schools. The pressure ramps up at GCSE level considerably - ALL grammar schools expect pupils to work at a swift pace. They have extra clubs & lunchtime sessions for those who they feel aren't keeping up. Some kids feel that at A level, those not heading towards Oxbridge are left somewhat to their own devices / don’t get as much targeted support. Grammar schools get the grades because they have bright pupils to start with and then push them in expectation of getting the top grades. AGGS gets those grades by selecting the highest achieving pupils from the consortium exam. They’d be getting top grades in other schools too. If you’re worried about your children not being under pressure, then perhaps a grammar school isn’t right for them. There will be pressure, competitiveness, a somewhat unwholesome celebration of success and winning and achievement at most, if not all, grammars. By its very nature, it’s not an egalitarian and cosseting environment.

As for the journey, if you’re lucky enough to live along the tram route, then it opens up the possibility of v quick and stress-free journeys to most of the schools between Manchester City Centre & Altrincham. Lots & lots of children happily travel in by this route with their mates.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:06 am 
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To be fair all schools ramp up pressure at GCSE!


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 5:59 pm 
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mitasol wrote:
To be fair all schools ramp up pressure at GCSE!
Haha - I'm sure that's very true!

I'm baffled by people thinking Alty Girls is somehow different than other state grammars. I agree with @Catseye that there's nothing special or different about it than any other selective state school, and also that no school is suited to all children. In my (admittedly limited) experience as a parent of the school, the pupils seem to be ordinary, bright, girls, who've come from average state primaries from across Trafford/Manchester. There are probably some children (as there are at all grammars) who've been at prep schools and/or had years and years of prepping and tuition in order to pass the exam. Maybe these are the ones who struggle once in selective state schools, esp with large class sizes where they're not getting lots of individual attention and support?

Also agree that single sex schools suit some kids perfectly and are awful for others. Perhaps that's the main issue. I'm a fan of single-sex schools myself, esp for girls.

Just want to reassure anyone considering schools that there's nothing different or unusual about the girls at AGGS, and that other local grammar schools are also competitive/focused on achievement/not suited to pupils who would struggle with this environment, so please don't be put off by thinking this applies to AGGS alone. And to ram home the ease of travel message: it's a quick & easy journey to both Sale & Altrincham from Manchester/Chorlton/Old Trafford area via tram, so please don't think children will be coming home at 6pm (unless they want to!)


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:45 pm 
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In our case we aren’t on a team line. If we were, if would be a very different decision.
The grammar school children in our area have an hour bus journey


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:35 am 
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Hi, I have children at AGGS who have different strengths and weaknesses. I too was worried that they might be 'left behind' if they weren't up to scratch with subjects. It's just not true! If I call to speak to the school about any worries, teachers always call back immediately, send over work sheets and are generally fantastic and really want to help. There are informal sessions at lunchtime where girls can drop in if they're feeling concerned about work in any subject. Homework is on the lighter side now, which is great for all of us :).

They travel by bus or tram to school and so have to leave the house at 7.30, but they never complain about it. They get to spend time with their friends on transport - friends from other forms - so make important new alliances outside of their forms - so important in the earlier years at senior school.

I can't recommend this school enough.

Hope that's useful :)


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:49 pm 
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My youngest is in Y10 at Stretford. I can't fault the school at all. He is doing really well and all his friends are local or live in Urmston. However we had the same dilemma as you have. My eldest went to AGSB but at the time that was the only option. My youngest son passed both AGSB (OOC) and the CEM however the problem I had he was 10 minutes walking distance from SGS. We had moved to Stretford since the eldest did his 11 plus and also he was leaving AGSB when youngest was about to start. DS wasn't really bothered which school he went to ... if he lived near to AGSB I think he would have gone there because his brother did but I think the journey time put him off.

Just want to say don't think SGS is a poor choice I have experience of both AGSB and Stretford and both are equally as good.


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