to consider 11+ tuition even though DS scores well on past papers

(20 Posts)
MaryBerrysSoggyBottBott Fri 18-Nov-16 14:17:25

Have given DS some past papers and downloaded 11+ apps on his ipod. He's scoring around 90% rate on maths questions and 75% on the English vocab, comprehension. Is this enough? Or should I still think about tuition for him. He's in yr5.

Jinxxx Fri 18-Nov-16 15:02:34

I think it depends what you are trying to achieve, and what the context is.

We have only one local grammar school, and those scores wouldn't get him in to it (sorry to be blunt). You should easily be able to look up what sort of exam results would be needed to get him into the school(s) you are interested in.

My elder son got into the grammar easily without any tuition. His primary teachers told us they were relieved he had got to "where he should be" as he would fit in much better than at the alternative. He has thrived there, not least because there is a much more accepting attitude towards studious, possibly geeky, kids and he is not bullied as he was at primary and quite possibly would have been at the local comprehensive. He got 9 A stars and 4 As in his GCSEs, one of which he studied solo.

We were less sure the next son would pass the entrance exam, but after agonising, decided not to give him any tuition and to let him find his own level. This was partly because we found that my elder son's form was decimated in the first year or so, with loads of boys being asked to leave because they could not keep up academically. Many of these had been prepared to the hilt for the exam but were not able to sustain the effort.

We felt it would be more damaging to his self esteem to work like crazy to get the marks to get in and then struggle and possibly even have to leave, than to take a more laid back approach and let him go along for the entrance exam, give it his best shot and see where that led. As it happens, he did get though, possibly partly because he was reasonably relaxed about the whole business. He needed marks in the 90%s for every paper and we were pleasantly surprised when he did it. It gave us more confidence that he would have the natural ability to hang in when the going got tough, and it has certainly been tough at times.

It can be a brutal process. The exam process and the wait for results fray the nerves. Expectations on the children are very high once they get in. I would hesitate to inflict all of this on a sensitive soul. My first son is very sensitive but also very able, so has kept out of trouble. My next son is nowhere near as academic, but also more temperamentally able to take the criticism when he falls below the very high standards, and to come back fighting rather than being crushed.

Another consideration is the effect on friendship groups. Both my sons now at grammar were the only ones from their primary to get through, so had no friends going up with them. The local private schools tend to get a handful of boys in each year and it can be a bit cliquey in year 7. My elder son was not keen to keep up primary school friendships and did have a rather lonely time at first. The younger one has kept up with his old mates through clubs and scouts and that has helped him be less lonely at school.

Sorry for the rambling essay. There are a lot of issues to consider and hope this helps.

MaryBerrysSoggyBottBott Fri 18-Nov-16 16:46:35

Thank you Jinxx thats a great help, and given me plenty to think about. Think maybe some extra lessons are something to think about then. We have lots of grammar schools in our area so it might be different. Thank you.

Hoppinggreen Fri 18-Nov-16 16:54:57

Those scores wouldn't get him into our local Grammar either. The maths is ok but borderline and the English is far too low.
He really needs to be scoring 90/95% across both.

Toomanycats99 Fri 18-Nov-16 16:55:27

We have two girls grammars in our area. It was suggested in y3 my daughter would not need tutoring and indeed in her assessment prior to the start of tutoring she scored very highly. However I have decided still to proceed with tutoring. The competition is very high and I am mainly aiming to et her familiar with the question style and also then sit a couple of mock exams. I know my skill set and tutoring her myself just won't work! However given her assessment results I am confident the level of work once there should not be an issue. To the pp I didn't realise they can ask them to leave - I don't know if that happens here.

MaryBerrysSoggyBottBott Fri 18-Nov-16 17:27:54

Think it works a bit differently round where we are. According to council website: To be given a grammar school assessment, children need to get a total score of 320 or more, with no single score lower than 106. The lowest possible score is 69 and the highest is 141 on each test. The highest possible total score is 423

Three papers, so that would be a scoring of 76% average over the 3 papers.

Toomanycats99 Fri 18-Nov-16 17:50:52

Having just looked up on the council website it seems that over 1200 children sit the second stage test for the girls grammar. You are only allowed to sit this if you pass the 11+ with enough marks. So that's 1200 good enough pupils for maybe 450 ish places across the two schools.

TheBlessedCheesemaker Fri 18-Nov-16 17:54:41

Sounds like you are in Kent. I would say be very careful and make sure you are testing with the correct books. I found with my DC that the bond books were ridiculously easy (and the kids learned how to question-spot very easily on these), the GL Assessment books were harder, and the First Past The Post books were very difficult. We only got a good idea of DC's ability when we mixed them up.
We also found that with English we needed to do quite a lot of teaching ourselves - DC found the higher level stuff like poetry critique easy, but I had to start from scratch in terms of grammar construction and teaching rules on stuff like abstract nouns and synonyms and the like. If I hadn't done that I don't think DC would have progressed in English because the schools weren't going over this kind of stuff as standard. We didn't need a tutor because I had time and am fairly good at all the stuff myself, so you need to also feel confident. If you can't teach all the stuff yourself then I suggest you get the first past the post books and see how your son rates on those, then make the call.
Never used any apps, so no idea how they compare.

Marynary Fri 18-Nov-16 17:55:10

I think it works differently in different areas so hard to tell if those marks are good enough. My DDs are both at grammar schools and they did have tuition because everyone else on the top table at their primary school also had tuition so I wanted them to be on a level playing field. Also, those having tuition were learning more advanced maths so I felt that should be even regardless of whether they did the grammar school exams. It also gave them more confidence. They used to have one hour and a half lesson a week in a "class" of about 12 other children.

altiara Fri 18-Nov-16 17:59:21

It does depend on where you live to some extent, where I live there is 1 girls and 1 boys grammar, you can achieve the pass rate and easily not get a place because of the number of applicants.
Maybe some group tutoring if he has to do any tests that he's not familiar with. You want to make sure he can achieve the speed in the test, but not go too far and get him into a school he can't cope with.

TheBlessedCheesemaker Fri 18-Nov-16 18:00:32

By the way, jinxxx points very valid. I would never allow any of my DC sit the test unless I was 100% sure that they were not only able to get into grammar but that if they went then would comfortably float around the 2nd quartile at least when they got there (I had both CAT -not SAT- scores and EdPsych-assessed IQ scores for my DC). 75% in English sounds borderline so you ought to explore further.

MaryBerrysSoggyBottBott Fri 18-Nov-16 18:14:57

Thanks everyone, he is yet to familiarise with the style of questions, so more practice needed over the next 10 months in that case, maybe some tutoring too. We are currently using the 11+ Confidence book (which is quite tricky) and as well as apps. Thank you for the First Past the Post recommendation Cheesemaker, will try those out. Yes we are in Kent and also have access to the Bexley test too, so quite a wide choice.

Jinxxx Fri 18-Nov-16 18:26:26

Echoing what Altiara said above, make sure you look at the grades required to realistically stand a chance of being offered a place, not what grade you need to be theoretically eligible. The actual grade required will vary from year to year as it will depend on what marks are awarded. I think in our case you would be eligible for a place at about 80 something percent, but everyone actually offered a place was well into the 90s.

MaryBerrysSoggyBottBott Fri 25-Nov-16 19:08:47

School have given me his test results and and he's scored 140+ for NVR and 128 for VR. Apparently these are 'standardised age scores'. I have no idea what this means although teacher said they were above average. These scores were achieved before we had done any kind of practice. Can someone explain if I need to do plenty of prep for the 11+ (currently yr5)?

Toomanycats99 Fri 25-Nov-16 19:30:50

I don't know if they are ranked the same but my daughter got 124 for reading age which translates to just over 12 years and 140 for spelling which translates to age 13.7+. Again this was in her pre tutoring assessment. I was this was was high scoring. I'm still tutoring however aS very competitive area and can't leave anything to chance!

Toomanycats99 Fri 25-Nov-16 19:31:41

Basically 100 would be average for age.

Lambbone Fri 25-Nov-16 19:41:13

MaryBerry those scores you quote look like standardised scores to me, so the pass is unlikely to represent 75%.

fc301 Fri 25-Nov-16 19:51:34

YES.
Ask yourself how you will feel in a year if you don't give tuition and he doesn't pass. Will you feel you gave all possible support or that you have failed him. You only get one shot at this.
(I am making the assumptions that you want grammar and that you consider him grammar school material).

arethereanyleftatall Fri 25-Nov-16 20:08:08

I really wish tutoring could be banned. Please just stop it. Where will it end, tutoring a 3 year old to make sure they're ahead?

MaryBerrysSoggyBottBott Fri 25-Nov-16 20:31:30

YY arethere I agree, but because everyone is at it, it pushes the pass mark up so you feel you have to too, to give your DC the best chance.
fc301 I see what you are saying and will give him everything that I possibly can, but as a single parent family we will have to tighten the belt in order to afford it. I will of course practice as much as I can at home....but I'm no tutor. That said, I will swot up myself to be able to supplement at home any additional learning he receives.
Lambone I'm not sure I understand your post, sorry, could you re-explain?
Apparently 140 is the maximum they mark up to, he achieved beyond this in NVR, and scored 128 in VR, where grammar schools (around our area) cut off is apparently around 118.

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