"tutoring for grammar school is cheating". AIBU to be fuming at DSIL's attitude?

(665 Posts)
twiceupinarms Fri 26-Apr-13 19:29:46

namechange coz as much as I don't care if she reads this, I don't want her to know my normal nickname.angry
I am getting my DD tutored for grammar school. DSIL thinks it's cheating if she can't get in without being tutored and will therefor struggle when she gets there. for fucksake, the exams are not based on school curriculum - it's like being a brilliant footballer but been trialled to get in the team on your ability to tie your laces. fucksake.
Anyone else encountered this attitude?
Oh I can add hypocrisy to the list? Her DD audtitioned to go to Stage Boarding School. Did she do any practice/preparations for the audition? Only 9 lessons a week, every week, for 6 years.
AIBU to be cross?

HollyBerryBush Fri 26-Apr-13 19:33:05

I agree with your DSIL as it happens.

DS2 is at grammar, I refused to have him tutored so he got in on merit and ability. His friends who were tutored cannot keep up and get slung out at the end of Y11 and there are second wave of thank-but-no-thanks in Y12.

yabu, your sil's right.

if he needs tutoring, he's going to struggle massively.

she, sorry, not he.

coocoocatchoo Fri 26-Apr-13 19:39:23

Balls to that. I was tutored for my place at grammar school and had absolutely no problem with 'keeping up'. Good GCSEs and A levels and recently went on to achieve a distinction in my MA. Don't really understand what this natural 'merit' and 'ability' is supposed to refer to hollyberry?! hmm

Nanny0gg Fri 26-Apr-13 19:40:30

I agree OP.
I had one of my DCs tutored, as at the time, the NC bore no resemblance to what would be faced at the exam. I had had a long chat with the HT to make sure that they would be able to cope if they passed. He was more than happy for us to go ahead. There was no problem with the maths or the VR, but there wasn't anywhere near enough English Grammar being taught then. So tutor came for an hour a week, with a bit of extra from me.
The !!+ was passed and Grammar school was a brilliant experience.

Go for it!

WorraLiberty Fri 26-Apr-13 19:41:36

Why do you give a shit what she thinks?

seriouscakeeater Fri 26-Apr-13 19:42:03

Hell no! YANBU! Why the hell would any one leave there child's education to chance. If you can afford it, go for it! My dd went to grammar and loads of kids had a weekly home tutor. Dd had one around exam times as that what we could afford.

echt Fri 26-Apr-13 19:43:45

Wouldn't the tutoring be about practising the kind of tests set by the school? When the 11+ was done back in the day, we all sat practice test at school so we wouldn't be flummoxed by the style of questions on the day.

If the OP's child need fundamental support in literacy or numeracy, then yes, they probably would struggle,

Wouldntyouliketoknow Fri 26-Apr-13 19:43:45

YANBU and YABU. In theory, children going to grammar school should naturally be the brightest, and shouldn't need tutoring. However, these days it does seem as if everyone who wants to apply has some kind of extra support (so even more well done to those who get in without it).

Bottom line - would I give my child extra tutoring to get them into a good grammar school? Yes.

Yama Fri 26-Apr-13 19:44:03

It's the system that need to change, not your SIL's attitude.

overprotection Fri 26-Apr-13 19:44:43

Any parent worth their salt would do whatever it takes to get their kids the best education, ignore her.

Kaluki Fri 26-Apr-13 19:46:40

I wouldn't say its cheating as such but I agree that if she needs coaching for the 11+ then maybe she will struggle.
But you know your own DD 's abilities and its actually none of your SiL's business.
Just be sure that you aren't setting your DD up for a lifetime of feeling inadequate at a school she isn't suited to.

SacreBlue Fri 26-Apr-13 19:46:45

Ditto, tho YANBU re the hypocrisy. Folks here went mental re tutoring when the minister ruled on the 11+ and frankly coming out of the exams my DS commented on the number of kids crying, that's a load of pressure and it doesn't let up once they are in the grammar school.

Wanting the best for your DC is to be commended of course, realistically I know some children would be better off exploring what they are talented at and want to do rather than being coached to get in somewhere they may later struggle at.

Fwiw I don't agree with schools 'giving up' on kids who don't get to grammar - that's a cop out. As parents we can support, help and guide whatever school they go to though, mine passed, by no means at the top, but I knew that since he did so without 'hot housing' that he could cope with the inevitable workload.

Of course if you have the money and time to keep up that level of extra coaching you may feel ok about it, my thoughts were that I might actually put him off learning altogether if that were the case.

twiceupinarms Fri 26-Apr-13 19:47:05

The exam does not reflect what the kids learn at school these days. DD does very well at school. Should I kjust throw her into the exam with no idea of the style or content of the questions and see if she then thrives? hmm
I care because I am being accused of cheating, WorraLiberty. I don't think that that is a difficult concept to understand?

MyDarlingYoni Fri 26-Apr-13 19:47:24

lots of DC are naturally bright but still struggle in some areas. From MN one would imagine every child in grammar was being tutored anyway, so must all be same level

twiceupinarms Fri 26-Apr-13 19:47:51

Yama, you're right, I am doing what it takes to achieve under an unfair system.

Charlie01234 Fri 26-Apr-13 19:48:57

Both mine tutored for local GS - both scraped in. Both thrived and did really well. Ignore your sil - everyone is tutored whether they admit it or not. You know your child.

GenghisCanDoHisOwnWashing Fri 26-Apr-13 19:50:44

Glittery skulls. That is just NOT true. My dd is academically very able - well above average, always has been. School have said she is definitely grammar school material. HOWEVER as op said she has not covered a lot of the things that come up on the maths paper as it is simply not part of curriculum. She also is quite a slow worker (not learner, WORKER) - she is therefore practising NVB and VB tests to get her speed up.

So should she get a grammar school place she will not be struggling. I do think that if she had gone into the test 'blind' (dh and I are tutoring her) then she might well have struggled to get a place. We are in Kent and the competition for grammar places is HUGE.

OP - your SILs attitude is ridiculous unless you are deluded about your child's ability and trying to scrape them an undeserved place (not saying you are but it does happen) - unfortunately though, to give your child a level playing field you really do need to have them tutored. I wholeheartedly disagree with the system but it's the one we've got.

Yama Fri 26-Apr-13 19:52:07

Yes, Twice - in Scotland pupils are zoned. Pupils go to the Secondary School they are zoned for.

I truly believe that if the parents value education, the children are likey to, that parenting is all.

Lets stop deferring parenting to outside institutions.

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 26-Apr-13 19:52:23

I kind of agree with SIL. Tutoring is cheating, but everyone does it. You have to 'cheat' to keep up.

Bowlersarm Fri 26-Apr-13 19:53:00

It's not necessarily right but YANBU. So many children are tutored to pass the 11+ that you need 'to be in it to win it'. If you don't your DD is disadvantaged to pass it.

lashingsofbingeinghere Fri 26-Apr-13 19:53:26

I think tutoring is fine. Being prepared for the exams is no different to an athlete going into training for an event that every other competitor is training for. Level playing field and all that.

piprabbit Fri 26-Apr-13 19:54:01

Most children who sit the 11+ around here are tutored.
Not because they aren't academically capable, but because the tests are not covered by the national curriculum and sitting the exams is not something they will have experienced, so formal exam practice can reduce the chance of freezing on the day.

I think it makes sense to tutor if you can, but that doesn't mean I think the whole 11+ system is good.

Pleasesleep Fri 26-Apr-13 19:56:32

"Any parent worth their salt would do whatever it takes to get their kids the best education, ignore her."

this ^^

Raspberrysorbet Fri 26-Apr-13 19:56:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WellJustCallHimDave Fri 26-Apr-13 19:57:27

Is your SIL jealous, insecure, stupid or all three?

FWIW, in response to those who are saying you're unreasonable, the national curriculum is dire and doesn't cover many of the areas which come up on the grammar school papers and so the chances are that any of the few children who won't be tutored for the tests will be severely disadvantaged.

Chewbecca Fri 26-Apr-13 19:59:07

I live in a grammar area too and really hoped to follow your sister's idealistic view.

But now the time is getting close(ish) - DS will be sitting 11+ in Sept 14 - I have caved in and put his name down for tutoring starting this September. He is in top sets at school indicating he is GS material.

Reason is that I have discovered that almost all his contemporaries are already tutoring so I know he will be a step behind if we don't.

I thoroughly dislike the fact I've caved into this way of thinking but I do not want to jeopardise DS chances of a better education by sticking to my principles. The local non-grammar school is not good.

The system makes it tough to be brave enough not to tutor, I would like to see a movement to the so-called 'tutor-proof' papers that I believe they're introducing in the Chelmsford schools. Until then I will put my son on an equal footing with the other children sitting the exam.

HollyBerryBush Fri 26-Apr-13 19:59:11

everyone is tutored whether they admit it or not.

Not everyone no. Although DS2 is very average at GS, he only got A's and a couple of B's, he certainly isn't with the elite 15 x A* brigade, but he wasn't down with the strugglers who flat lined B's and C's and got asked to leave on GCSE results day.

greenteawithlemon Fri 26-Apr-13 20:00:52

I agree with your SIL.

I went to a grammar school and we all knew the kids who had been tutored to get in. They did struggle.

LadyBeagleEyes Fri 26-Apr-13 20:01:01

I'm just glad I live in Scotland.
The English system is nuts.
And what about the student who's parent's can't afford tutoring? As far as I've read on this thread, it's not about the intelligence of the child, it's about the 'tricks' to learn how to get through the test.
IMO it is cheating.

dopeysheep Fri 26-Apr-13 20:02:31

I think I would rather struggle at a grammar school than drown completely at a standard comp.
I don't think it's cheating at all, I think it's helping your children achieve their potential.
Does your Sil not have grammar schools where she lives, is she jealous of you? Does she not want your children to succeed academically?

MyDarlingYoni Fri 26-Apr-13 20:02:55

Why did you not mention her DD auditioning etc...

"sil"DSIL thinks it's cheating if she can't get in without being tutored and will therefor struggle when she gets there"

" oh really oh dear, is this is what happend to your DD then? are you speaking from experience"

greenteawithlemon Fri 26-Apr-13 20:08:41

however , tutoring was much rarer then. I, and practically everyone else, did a few practise papers and relied on very ordinary community primary school to teach us well enough to get in.

If everyone is tutoring though, like they say on here, then I can see why you'd go down that road. I would!

dopeysheep Fri 26-Apr-13 20:09:40

Agree totally with Raspberrysorbet.

CarolBornAMan Fri 26-Apr-13 20:12:28

Grammar schools here do not teach the skills needed to pass 11+. Like any other test, familiarity and awareness of what is going to be tested in necessary for success so I agree you do need to be prepared, whether that is tutoring or any other way. It is not unreasonable. My untutored son failed his 11+ and is now going to Oxford so I am very sure it is not an intelligence test just a skills one

Raspberrysorbet Fri 26-Apr-13 20:14:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CarolBornAMan Fri 26-Apr-13 20:15:42

sorry meant primary schools don't teach the skills needed to pass state grammar 11+ exams.. no non verbal work is done which anyone can pass with practice to determine the patterns.. maths that is not on national curriculum is on 11+ etc etc . S my personal experience is that tutoring is needed but it is for parents to determine if their kids are actually bright enough to cope once they get in .. the enterance exam does not determine this

WinkyWinkola Fri 26-Apr-13 20:17:32

Learning HOW to learn and learning exam technique is not cheating.

And who gives a fig what your sil thinks?

The exam results at 16 and 18 are all you need to think about.

MTSgroupie Fri 26-Apr-13 20:21:11

grin at all the comments about how a DC will invariably struggle to keep up if they are tutored in order to pass.

Some DCs scrape a pass despite heavy tutoring. Consequently they struggle to keep up once in. So of course ALL tutored DCs will struggle goes their argument.

Mine scored 60ish% in mocks without tutoring. With tutoring he scored 90ish%. He passed and is thriving.

As for tutoring being cheating, is going to training sessions before a competition cheating? Or is one expected to just turn up on the day without any prep?

Lucyellensmum95 Fri 26-Apr-13 20:22:25

"any parent worth their salt would do whatever it take to get their kids the best education" But what if grammar is not what is best for the child, what if they get into grammar because they have been tutored - so are just repeating a formula in the 11+ and not really a true representative of their abilities. That is what you risk by tutoring, yes you get a "better" school but your childs self esteem could be damaged by struggling at school and feeling a failure.

I think YABU OP

SacreBlue Fri 26-Apr-13 20:24:27

everyone is tutored whether they admit it or not like Holly says this just isn't true - but keep telling yourself that if it's what you want to believe.

Parental support is key to education whatever school your child goes to, if you are going to keep up that support after the 11+ go ahead, my major beef is that many 'abandon' their support afterwards or ruin their child's enthusiasm for learning by placing unrealistic burdens on their DC. My DS's kids are totally fricking awesome and thrived by DS and BIL recognising their talents - that didn't include forcing them into an academic path they wouldn't have been happy with.

Bit of snobbery to think that grammar or academia is more important than being hugely talented at any other type of learning.

jacks365 Fri 26-Apr-13 20:27:06

There is a difference between practicing papers and being tutored. My dd did practice papers at home her friend had a tutor the friend started to struggle after yr8.

If you feel your child's education has not been up to scratch through primary then yes use a tutor but if a good primary then just do practice papers instead.

greenteawithlemon Fri 26-Apr-13 20:28:15

Grammar schools aren't more difficult...for the children that have the right level of ability.

It's like only teaching to the top two groups in primary, all the time- that's where the teachers aim their lessons. And where they should be aiming their lessons- the whole point of a grammar school is to push the able kids to the best of their ability for those A*s! Not for teachers to spend the bulk of their time effort getting the C/D students to pass.

If the ability isn't there, then yes- grammar school will be more difficult.

Catering for special needs eg dyslexia where the brightness is there, I very different from differentiating across a large range of abilities.

greenteawithlemon Fri 26-Apr-13 20:29:34

*is very different

SlingsAndArrows Fri 26-Apr-13 20:30:52

I don't think it's cheating - I would do the same to get my son into grammar school. In our area, getting into the grammar opens up huge opportunities that other schools do not.

However, I think the whole 11+ system is grossly unfair and flawed. The test is meaningless and it is increasingly becoming the case that those who can afford to be coached get in - hardly a level playing field for all. There are some incredibly bright kids at high schools who have been scandalously short-changed because their parents could not afford a tutor, they had a bad day on 11+ day, or their brains simply don't work in the very particular way that the test is set.

And of course he won't struggle if tutored to get in. You're just teaching him the very particular (and archaic) rules he needs to follow to pass.

Madsometimes Fri 26-Apr-13 20:35:37

I know someone who has two dc that went to grammar school. Her dd scraped in at 11, but she was hard working and thrived. She's now studying law. Her ds was very smart in primary school and sailed through the 11 plus. However, since he was so bright, he had not developed a good work ethic. He got very average GCSE's, and only just was allowed into the 6th form. He's had to resit his AS levels, and is considering if Uni will be right for him. His mum describes him as bright but lazy.

So it's a bit simplistic to say that every child that scrapes in will struggle.

QOD Fri 26-Apr-13 20:37:49

My dd was in special class for maths in yr 4. She had a dreadful yr3, her school burnt to the ground infront of them whilst they were trapped in a small play area, her male teacher just had no sympathy or empathy for the children who were psychologically affected. She was bullied and every school day was 2 hrs longer after that as they had to be bussed from our village to a town to a different school.
I knew she was capable, she'd always been capable, always quick on the mark. She's now yr 9, not been tutored since yr 5 and predicted A in GCSE maths.
If she hadn't been tutored she wouldn't have got into grammar as she had holes in her learning, she has never had an extra support lesson in grammar school.
However, several of her friends who passed without tutoring at all, have had extra lessons in maths and English provided by the grammar as they are lacking base skills. Funny that.

BackforGood Fri 26-Apr-13 20:38:37

I agree with your SiL too.
But, if you believe you are doing the right thing for your dc, then why worry about what someone ele thinks ? confused

SwishSwoshSwoosh Fri 26-Apr-13 20:39:29

Hahaha at 'cheating'!

Passing exams, jumping through hoops, same difference - it's just a trick.

Whether it is worth doing, for an individual child, is another question entirely, but cheating it is not.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 26-Apr-13 20:44:06

Your SIL should concentrate on end own children instead of yours. Lots of people have strong opinions against grammar schools, even more have strong opinions against tutoring.

They can use their opinions on their own children's education, and leave everyone else to do what they think is best for theirs.

Szeli Fri 26-Apr-13 20:44:46

Doing practise papers isn't tutoring; practise papers get you used to the exams and I am aware schooling has changed dramatically since I was there but Sod the curriculum if we were further ahead at primary we got harder work and this was reflected in how far you could get through the Maths and English parts of the test.

As for the verbal reasoning (the main part of the test) that was laid out very much like an iq test anyway so I don't see how traditional tutoring would help.

I think yabu your child won't necessarily struggle but perhaps it will end up with the teachers having to teach to the lowest common denominator and it boring the girls meant to be there resulting in their lack of interest and then effort...

IMO practise papers fine/tutoring is unfair on your child and unfair on the children who will have to have lower ability children in their classes x

letseatgrandma Fri 26-Apr-13 20:45:46

DS has just recently taken his 11+ and whilst in the past, I have always thought that you shouldn't need to do anything extra, like we didn't back in the day (25 years ago), things just aren't the same as they were then.

Our catchment school is dire-so I felt the alternative to grammar was something I would go to a lot of lengths to avoid. The private schools nearby do VR at school every day from Y3, as does the local 'grammar crammer' state primary school. Every single other child in DS's year at his state (not grammar crammer!) primary who was taking the 11+ (about half of the year) had a tutor. I could have stood by my principles and done nothing extra for/with him, but I was fully aware that it wasn't a level playing field to begin with so I was immediately putting him at a disadvantage by doing nothing.

I didn't get a tutor for him, but I did do VR and comprehension/maths with him at home myself for the year before the 11+. I would do this for him if he struggled with any subjects at secondary school, so whilst I didn't see this as anything out of the ordinary for me and wasn't paid tutoring, I know that I was tutoring him! I had a few wobbles about it but I didn't think a tutor would have offered much that I couldn't. As it was, DS passed and got the best mark in his year; I think it was worth it. Had I not been confident in my subject matter though, I would have found a tutor.

Only 15 children in DS's year passed. 44 had tutors. As far as I could see, a lot of people hired tutors and then switched off and assumed their DC would pass because they had a tutor. This was absolutely not the case-so even if you do get one, make sure you are aware of what's going on!

I've waffled completely-sorry! As for your SIL though-have you pointed out the hypocrisy in her words!

Coffeeformeplease Fri 26-Apr-13 20:46:39

We had to give our children extra stuff to do because they were both bored at the end of year 4. Primary school refused to give them advanced things to do, they were sent to sort out the library/help in lower years/clean the playground etc.
I asked about having them jump up a year but was told it's unheard of. They both started Kumon, because they love maths and weren't given any challenges at all.
Before the 11+ we did papers with them and explained them. How on earth can a child do nonverbal reasoning without ever having seen a paper? They could thankfully do them (as I was clueless), but needed some exercise to do them at speed. If that's cheating, I can live with it.

Lots of the maths had also not been covered yet at the beginning of year 6. The primary was completely unconcerned with 11+, they didn't care and didn't even ask what school they got into. All they cared about was the Sats, which got on my nerves, because that was just for the school, not for the children.

Both got into very selective grammars, both are doing well, they love it.

Regarding what your SIL said, ignore her. Listen to your instincts. My children wanted those schools, they went to the open days and came away asking what they had to do to get in. They never moaned about the practice papers. I think that's the attitude to look out for. They will need to be self motivated to do well. If they're not, they will start to struggle once puberty hits. You can't teach them this, it's intrinsic.

jamdonut Fri 26-Apr-13 20:46:42

There are no Grammar Schools in our vincinity and I'm glad. It seems like an awful lot of pressure to be dumping on an 11 year old just because you want the 'best ' education for her. High achievers tend to continue to achieve highly even if they go to a common old comprehensive.

I can see how people perceive it as cheating,and it seems particularly unfair on bright kids whose parents cannot afford to get their children tutored.(That would be me,if I was so inclined)

But even if the exam is not stuff covered by the National Curriculum,aren't the children sitting it supposed to be clever enough to work out what is required? To be able to 'think outside the box',which is why they should be attending Grammar School in the first place?

HollyBerryBush Fri 26-Apr-13 20:46:57

I live in a grammar area.

DS2 is naturally bright. DS3 scores equally in tests with DS2, but would not cope with the pressure at GS.

Our borough was compulsory 11+ testing until last year. I toued with to withdrawing DS3 on the grounds (a) GS was not my chosen model of school for him (b) he cracks under pressure. I was coerced into 'giving him a chance' - he cried solidly and had to be taken out. He was still only just short of a pass for GS. But I would never have sent him to a GS, he is far better in the GS stream of the sec modern. big fish, small pond syndrome works for him.

All three of mine went to very different schools, comprehensive, grammar, sec modern. You can tell the difference in education. DS2 is far more self assured than the other two. He is groomed to succeed in life. There is a fine line between arrogance and self assuredness, I do stamp on arrogance which does come to the fore now and again.

Even those who were let go at Y11 results day and have to trade down (in their eyes) a lesser 6th form, carry themselves with a work ethic that is rare in a sec modern. BUT there are those who mature later and take their A*'s into the GS 6th form and do very well.

I don't see GS as the holy grail that some parents see it as. If you have a child that is capable mentally, academically and emotionally then go for it. Pushy parents unfortunately rarely ever care about the emotional well being of their child.

Undertone Fri 26-Apr-13 20:47:30

I had to be tutored for 11+ because primary school hadn't prepared us for those types of questions. Passed, got into grammar school, thrived.

No reason to get bent out of shape about tutoring. Maybe primary schools should look at 11+ prep as a matter of course.

Kids don't have "natural ability" to know what to do in an exam. Bloody irresponsible to not equip them with the proper tools if the means are available.

MagicHouse Fri 26-Apr-13 20:47:48

I think what you're doing is absolutely fine. I wasn't "tutored" for the 11+ (a million years ago!) but my dad talked me through lots of practice papers and I remember my scores going up from in the 60's% to in the 90's. It was just like you say - being familiar with the sort of questioning. I didn't struggle at all at grammar school.
I think though, the fact that you're "furious" means there's more to this than meets the eye. If I had my dd "tutored" and someone said I was cheating I would laugh to be honest, or else calmly disagree. It wouldn't make me furious. It would make me think the person who said it was jealous or miserable about something. I think she's trying to make you feel bad, and it's working, but people who try to make you feel bad are usually pretty miserable underneath! Give her a big smile, say you disagree and change the subject!

kilmuir Fri 26-Apr-13 20:49:10

, as much as I agree that excessive tutoring is doing the child no favours, I did get DD to do some 11plus prep. Non verbal reasoning type of questions needed going over.
I do have friends whose children passed 11 plus exam but are now struggling as they are basically not bright enough

MmeThenardier Fri 26-Apr-13 20:53:23

Its a real shame that some very bright children go into the 11+ exam with no idea of what to expect and how would they? Many primary schools don't prepare them for the 11+. Some children wont have sat so much as a test paper.

Meanwhile those with tutors will know exactly what to expect, be used to the questions and very importantly be well versed in exam technique for eg had skills reinforced like reading the question twice. Doing the easy ones first, going back and doing the harder ones etc etc They will have all the confidence that comes from practice and experience.

The system may be flawed but who wouldn't want to put the child on a level playing field?

assumpta Fri 26-Apr-13 20:53:46

A lot of tutored kids DO struggle to keep up with the naturally bright kids, and yes the 11 + can be passed by a child that has not been tutored, and I know that for an absolute fact. I also know that those tutored to get in are identified by their teachers within the first 6 weeks, mainly through difficulty with maths. However, if you, like a lot of other parents, are willing to pay for outside tuition in various subjects to keep your child in the top set, then, why not. At the end of the day, you know your child.

Fleecyslippers Fri 26-Apr-13 20:58:41

I assume then that she, and others who share her view, will never ever allow their children to revise or prepare for exams ever - because it's all just cheating ? hmm
Sour grapes OP - just ignore.

SacreBlue Fri 26-Apr-13 20:59:23

Clarification on my part - tutoring re the type of exam is very different to tutoring to the level of an exam. I totally stand by my comments re the parental involvement though - if you aren't prepared for the long haul - why should your kids be

HollyBerryBush Fri 26-Apr-13 21:02:55

When the English paper was removed (well it was here) the GS schools were having to extend their SEN units to deal with the influx of below par literacy pupils who were very numeric. The English paper has been reintroduced.

From my perspective, with a falling birth roll for Y7's until 2015 this is good business for the sec modern I work in, we fight tooth and nail for pupils who . Those in GS who have struggled with literacy are bums-on-seats fodder for me to pick up when they get slung out on results day.

In my experience, professionally, and anecdotally through DS2, the GS don't give a flying monkeys about pastoral care, it is all about results. Non performers are shifted out very quickly - but their intrinsic work ethic can be harnessed.

The way I see it (first hand professional story coming up), If your mum died of cancer when you were in Y10, and your dad did in a car crash 6 months later and your nanna took you in and you are dealing with that level of berevement and councelling in Y11 and you only managed to get B's and C's you, the school, have a duty of care to that pupil to keep her in her surroundings, not announce she's not fit for A level purpose and chuck her out, isolating her from her peers, teachers and routine.

That is the side of GS I don't like

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 26-Apr-13 21:04:33

I personally feel that tutoring for Grammar IS cheating - but that may be because my untutored 11yo DS1 missed out on a GS place by just one point - despite having an IQ that measures as 134 and a parent with no hope of affording either tutoring or private schooling.

He lost out to plenty of boys nowhere near as clever as him, but that had had two years of tutoring to pass the test, with established tutors.

My DS1 had me.

It IS cheating - GS's should be testing an equal playing field, not one skewed by tutoring.

There is still hope that my DS1 will get in from the waiting list though...

PrettyKitty1986 Fri 26-Apr-13 21:04:52

To me, it seems like a huge amount of pressure to put a child under.

I am very, very glad we live in Wales tbh. No grammar schools to worry about.

FreedomOfTheTess Fri 26-Apr-13 21:05:03

It isn't cheating as such, but I do think if a child cannot get pass an entrance exam for a grammar school without extensive tutoring, they're not cut out for it in the first place.

So in that regard, I do agree with your SIL.

landofsoapandglory Fri 26-Apr-13 21:06:15

Each to their own.

We moved from an area without grammars to an area with just as DS1 started Yr6. We took advice from his previous HT about doing the 11+ and he was of the opinion of not to bother as the vast majority of the DC would have been tutored to an inch of their lives, so DS1 would have been at a distinct disadvantage. He went to a comprehensive and gained 10A*&As at GCSE. He is in Yr 13 now and is on at least 3A's at A2. The DC who left his primary for grammar, who had been tutored, did not do as well in their GCSE's.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 26-Apr-13 21:07:47

Thank goodness I live in an all comp area!

This just sounds like hell on Earth to me

MyDarlingYoni Fri 26-Apr-13 21:13:41

Hollyberrybush I went to Grammar and I had a tough time at home, I was sobbing in nearly every lesson for a long long time, I was helped enormously and they got people in to try and support me.

I found it to be a brilliant supportive warm wonderful school that looked after us all in a caring holistic manner.

LucilleBluth Fri 26-Apr-13 21:13:56

Tutor all the way baby......I don't give two shiny shites if people think it's cheating to use a tutor. My DS1 is very bright but you need to train specifically for the 11+ ,........ my son had a tutor who not only prepared him for the exam but he also did GCSE maths work with him and now he is flying in maths.....thanks to his 11+ tutoring.

HollyBerryBush Fri 26-Apr-13 21:19:40

I do passionately believe in the tri part system I grew up in (70's)

Grammar for the academics
Techincal for the hands on
Sec Mod for the pen pushers

FWIW I'm a pen pusher and paper circulator grin

Oddly, 4 of us at primary, we all went to different secondaries (S) mixed comprehensive (C) girls tech (L) the elite mixed grammar (Me) girls sec mod

this is how we panned out at 16:

(L) obviously got the best O level results, followed by (Me) then (C), (S) did CSEs

(L) did not do A levels, (Me) did one year then worked abroad, (C) did nicely at A level (S) went straight to work, no 6th form

At 17/18 this is how we panned out

(L) dropped out, (C) got pregnant (S) married well (Me) had the only thing discernable as a career back in the 80's and 90's. I am the only one who married late, had late children, who isn't a grandparent.

imour Fri 26-Apr-13 21:43:49

yanbu how is it cheating , if your daughter passes then shes got the brains to go there and keep up , sounds like a bit of envy .

anothermadamebutterfly Fri 26-Apr-13 21:48:55

YANBU - around here, some primary schools have extra classes to prepare the kids for the 11+, others don't. Private schools likewise prepare the kids for 11+. There is no level playing field to start off with. Very few kids get in without tutoring of some sort (the parents who don't tutor tend to be the ones who can help the kids prepare for the exam without a tutor).
Do as you feel best.

greenformica Fri 26-Apr-13 21:58:15

I totally agree with you and so do all my friends.

I think a child could be a genius but fail the 11+ because they weren't familiar with the specific question techniques used in the exam.

My DS's teachers suggested he attend the grammar and so we started practicing this month for a 2013 test. We do about an hour a week and cover the different problem solving styles. At the moment he has a go at an exam paper and then I help him work out how to solve any missed/wrong questions. He is very quick to catch on and I'm sure he will do well. If I felt he was boarder line I wouldn't enter him as I wouldn't want him to be bottom of a grammar school.

Exams aside, I think that it's quite helpful/fun/stimulating for children to learn problem solving and verbal reasoning.

eminemmerdale Fri 26-Apr-13 22:03:21

sorry but agree with your sil. DD was entered into, and passed with flying colours, the entrance test for prep school. Four others in her school year also entered and passed. They were coached to within an inch of their lives - I had a brief look at the practice papers, thought, 'yes, she should be ok' and thought no more of it - she went, she enjoyed, she passed; they went, they struggled through, but, they passed. Who are the ones that will be struggling when they get there??

MsJupiterJones Fri 26-Apr-13 22:26:37

I think some logic on here is upside down.

I did lots of entrance exams at 11 and the only preparation was to look at a few past papers. I was always told how naturally bright and brainy I was and passed no problems. However, I'd never had to work really hard to achieve academic success and had no discipline to get to the high standards of secondary school; it was only around GCSE time that I realised I couldn't just coast. I think those going to tutors and doing lots of extra work really appreciate the value of putting those hours in, doing the kind of structured study that prepares you for later exams.

The tutored child is still sitting the exam themself, that study isn't going to waste. Far from cheating, I think tutoring stands them in good stead and I won't hesitate to do the same for my DS if he shows promise. (He's 6mo at the moment so not booking him in just yet)

exoticfruits Fri 26-Apr-13 22:34:36

I would love a system where they all went in cold and had never seen a paper before but, since it is impossible, you have to accept that most have been tutored and follow suit. A bright child who has been tutored is going to do better than a bright child who hasn't.

PatPig Fri 26-Apr-13 22:41:31

It's absolutely cheating, but everyone does it.

Most have been tutored. My very bright 12yo was tutored to get into a super selective in London with an approximate entrance rate of 3200 for just 120 places. She got in on the waiting list at 141 and got into the school. She does very well there and if you aren't tutored y have NO chance. No utter chance. Non verbal and verbal reasoning and getting in the top 120 or so without tutors isn't going to happen. The brightest kids in the year were tutored- the 11+ is a pretty bad test and basically uses no real logic or previous maths or English or comprehension knowledge. Private school tests are usually different as they use basic knowledge and understanding in the form of maths and English in my area, so if you ate bright at either you stand a great chance without tutoring.

Tbh, if you entered the 11+ in our ultra competitive area without tutoring your child, most people would have laughed. Because the sad reality around here is that you need tutoring to come close, even if you come near bottom you gave probably had tutoring because there is s much competition. It's the reality- not cheating,Np in a fairer test it wouldn't happen, but the test isn't fair. That's the problem.

Dominodonkey Fri 26-Apr-13 22:45:22

YABU but I can see why you do it.

Almost everyone I know passed their 11+ (we have a proper old fashioned grammar system in our area.

No one I know had tutoring at all. If we passed then we passed and if we didn't we weren't clever enough for grammar. Seems simple enough to me. Means the cleverest get in, not the richest.

Nothing wrong with showing her a few papers but if she needs tutoring to pass she is potentially taking a place from a child who is poorer and has less pushy parents. This doesn't seem fair.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 26-Apr-13 22:45:30

There seems to be a lot of people on this thread that don't understand the meaning of the word 'cheating'.

AngiBolen Fri 26-Apr-13 22:49:26

Tutoring is not cheating, it's putting your DC on a level playing field with all other tutored DC (of which there will be many).

Yes, there will be some DC who aren't tutored, are at the top to their class, will do well in SATS but won't get a grammar place. Yes, there are kids who will mess up on the day, and not be offered a place. There are middle of the class kids who are tutored daily from Y3 and just scrape a grammar place, only to spend the next 4 years feeling shit. The whole thing is unfair, so feel free to tutor. It's not cheating, it's jumping through hoops.

I say this as someone who's DC could have passed the 11+ for the super selective with some tutoring (he missed by 2 points). I am actually glad DS didn't go to the grammar school, but goes to a much better school (IMO). It makes me sick to see on FB the "Oh my DC is sooo speshul they are going to the grammar" Yes, because your DC was tutored intensively, and then you appealed when they weren't offered a place, and hung around on the waiting list for three years. It's not the be all and end all, as you will see if you glance at the school's alumni. Cheeting? No. Jumping through the necessary hoops? Yes.

Ponyo73 Fri 26-Apr-13 22:50:18

Agree with Worra on page 1. Why are you even thinking of anyone ' s opinion when it comes to your lovely bairn. No one has any right to comment or have an opinion on how you raise your child. Sometimes I think it's best to go on gut reaction and have confidence in ourselves to make these decisions.

Ponyo73 Fri 26-Apr-13 22:57:15

Oh and would get as much help and tutoring as possible if needs must. Wouldn't every parent? It's so competitive out there and you have to think about what's best for your kid. My hackles go up when I hear about children learning mandarin or whatever is deemed the right thing, but that's just me being jealous.

Dereksmalls Fri 26-Apr-13 23:00:45

Am a bit confused by this. I don't know much about grammar schools (live in Scotland) but are the exams different from the ones sat by everyone else? Would a kid "inappropriately" placed in a grammar school get a poorer mark then they otherwise would? The whole thing seems like a waste of time to me, why not one school with streamed classes, what's the difference?

OddBoots Fri 26-Apr-13 23:11:48

It's not cheating but it is playing the system. Sadly our education system is presently laid out like a puzzle game designed to compound advantage and disadvantage. I don't think anyone can blame parents for trying to push their children to the front when such a system exists.

AngiBolen Fri 26-Apr-13 23:17:57

The GCSEs taken by grammar school and secondary modern and comprehensive DC are exactly the same.

Grammar schools tend to get great exam results, which is why parents are desperate to get their DC into them.

Grammar schools provide an education free of thickos and riffraff, provided by the state, which you would normally have to pay 10K pa for.

Grammar schools tend to be girls/ boys which many parents like. (Personally I don't)

In this town grammar places are offered to 2/3% of DC. Therefor there are many very able children in the "secondary moderns". So why do those schools not get great results too?

I have no idea, and send my DC to a school in another town where they no longer have this ridiculous system.

ReallyTired Fri 26-Apr-13 23:20:47

There are in excess of 160 grammar schools in England and some of them are super selective and some just take the top 25% in the area.

I think a lot depends what you want to the tutor to do. One of ds' friends got into Parmitars with some tutoring. He came to the UK at the age of seven unable to speak a word of English. At the age of ten his English was good, but not outstanding. Having a tutor meant that he could compete with children who have English as a first language.

Life is not fair. It is unfair that my children do not attend an acceptable (to OFSTED) primary school. It is unfair that milions of children live in povety.

tiggytape Fri 26-Apr-13 23:22:20

I only know about the area I live in but if you're talking about super selectives and tutoring - well it is not only the norm but considered totally necessary.

1700+ children compete directly with each other for less than 200 places and the top scores win.
No sibling priority
No distance criteria
You simply have to beat over 1000 other people to a top spot.
You can get 95% and still not get a place.

Tutoring isn't about helping a not-very-clever child cheat for a place. It is about making a super bright kid get 98% instead of 92% which is the difference between getting an offer and being stuck on a waiting list that hardly moves.

But I know it is different in some places
Some areas have grammars that take the top 20% of all local pupils or even more. For superselectives, you're aiming for the top 5%

AngiBolen Fri 26-Apr-13 23:22:56

Oh and would get as much help and tutoring as possible if needs must. Wouldn't every parent?

No, I have an away with the fairies friend who had no idea how bright her DS was.....put him in for the 11+ with no tutoring, and he turned out to be G&T at the grammar school.
I have another friend who thought the 11+ was in March, not October, and didn't tutor...her DD scraped in to the grammar school, and flourished there....out performing the other DC who had been heavily tutored.

I also know of DC who were heavily tutored, and got into the grammar school....and their parents never mention how they are doing academically. I have no doubt they will do well, as they are in a good academic environment, and will be expected to go to university.

Mrstyphoo Fri 26-Apr-13 23:35:16

I agree with your sil, however that's only because I believe such papers should be taken and awarded on a child's actual merit. Likewise I don't agree with schools prepping the class for their stats.

That aside, we all do what is best for our children and that is the school you want your child to go to.
I agree with other posters once in attendance your child will obviously excel compared to not such a good school.

SacreBlue Sat 27-Apr-13 07:24:49

Pfft well what does it matter to us parents, it's the kids who have to go to the school and put the work in and if you think you have done your best, let your DC tell you when he/she gets to the end.

Vizzage Sat 27-Apr-13 07:29:12

Assuming tutoring is helpful to a child's education, whereas being able to tutor and choosing not to is unhelpful to a child's education, I would say provide tutoring for her.

SacreBlue Sat 27-Apr-13 07:34:28


SprinkleLiberally Sat 27-Apr-13 07:48:35

I dont like tutoring because it puts poorer children at a disadvantage.

It is not "cheating" because it is allowed, I might even do it if we had GS here.

But I don't think it is fair.

JakeBullet Sat 27-Apr-13 07:49:09

Your SIL is sort of correct.....but this ignores the fact that virtually every child sitting the Grammer school exams WILL have been tutored to within an inch of his/her life. It seems that for there to be an even playing field for your DD you almost HAVE to have a tutor. It isn't right but it's reality.

FrauMoose Sat 27-Apr-13 08:01:10

I think that tutoring is an industry which plays on parental insecurity and - inevitably - tends to discriminate against parents who are struggling to pay for real basics (food, utilities, rent/mortgage). These parent then become less likely to enter their children for selective schools believing that their children won't be prepared.

Some grammar schools - such as the one my daughter attends - advise against private tutoring, and recommend inexpensive books of test papers so that children can familiarise themselves with the basic format of the entrance test.

My stepchildren were privately tutored/coached. I think the coaching was dull, expensive, and did very little for their wider education. It simply benefited the tutor's bank balance. The general pressure around the issue also made my stepdaughter feel like 'a failure' when she wasn't awarded a grammar school place. Although she went to a well-regarded non-selective school it took her some years to get her confidence back.

Witnessing this made me and my partner quite clear that we wouldn't get our own daughter tutored

Squarepebbles Sat 27-Apr-13 08:08:08

If we are going to keep grammar schools I think only kids from state schools should be allowed to apply for a start.

They were designed for state kids(not rich parents who want a school fee break). A private education in primary gives you an unfair advantage(lots of hours free from Gove in order to teach 11+,tiny classes etc,etc).

Then in state Year 4 primaries a letter should go home to all year 4 kids asking which parents would like their kids to have a go.Teachers should see those in particular they think would be suitable.Then schools should provide an 11+ club either parents club together to pay a tutor or an allotted teacher could run it like any other club(not that hard to bone up on it). Perhaps said teacher could get a couple of days a year as support,extra PPA time etc.

Schools provide for all sorts of extra needs and to be frank if tax payers money are going on these schools all suitable kids should get an opportunity.

coralanne Sat 27-Apr-13 08:11:55

I'm in two minds about this.

They probably should practise previous exams but the thing is, when they get out into the "real world" they have to sink or swim on their own merit and abilities.

When they front up for a job interview they are not going to be given a "practise" interview or be tutored before they are accepted for the position applied for.

On the other hand (can you tell I'm a Libragrin) academic achievement is the same as sporting achievement.

You can't just stroll up to an elite sporting team and expect to be picked for the team. It takes years of training and practice.

My DD has won a ballet scholarship.

The scholarship exam also included an academic exam.

If she had not been training since she was 5 years old, then she would not have won the scholarship.

I think that if their natural ability is outstanding, then it doesn't hurt to have them tutored in the mechanics of the application process.

Squarepebbles Sat 27-Apr-13 08:12:37

We know several people who have kids that got in with just a couple of exam technique sessions friends have read up on and given them.

My dad (poor gardeners boy)and uncle got into what are now the super selective grammars in Kent with zero tutoring. My dad was a lazy tyke at primary but clearly amazingly G&T at grammar,if he hadn't have gone I seriously wonder what would have happened to him.

CombineBananaFister Sat 27-Apr-13 08:13:58

I don't think it's cheating but I don't think it's fair either. Wasn't the point of grammar schools to be a non-fee paying higher education based solely on developing the brightest?

By having an entrance exam that you can be tutored to an advantage - for a FEE , makes it unfair to those who cannot afford it and who might be more naturally intelligent and deserving of the place..
Obvs. the ideal solution would be to make the exam more reflective of the curriculum.
Having said that I don't think their is a mother who wouldn't want to give their child anything they could to help, unfortunately some of us don't have that level of income to do it.
It probably is jealousy but it's justified IMO.

Squarepebbles Sat 27-Apr-13 08:18:18

It seriously wouldn't cost state schools that much to provide an after school club with homework and some generic info letters home re technique.

A lot of parents wouldn't know where to start to do tutoring but with support from school they could make a difference.

Very hmm as to why 11 + clubs aren't provided,makes you wonder if the Tories want to keep the status quo,labour never liked grammars so you can see why they didn't support parents.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sat 27-Apr-13 08:21:11

Clubs that the primary schools provide?

Aren't they busy enough with what they have to provide curriculum wise, and don't they have enough of their own extra curricular clubs to run?

Squarepebbles Sat 27-Apr-13 08:24:12

As a said if they had a couple of days a year off a year,extra PPA to prepare it would be doable.All sorts of random clubs are run which involve planning and prep.The amount of hours (and money) put into sport at our school sorry I see no excuse not to have 11+ clubs.

MTSgroupie Sat 27-Apr-13 08:24:18

Square - A lot of teachers aren't in favour of selectives. Others aren't keen to work extra hours. Pro active parents are busy at home tutoring their kids.

Hardly a great conspiracy.

Squarepebbles Sat 27-Apr-13 08:25:12

Mts uneducated parents don't have a chance.

Squarepebbles Sat 27-Apr-13 08:28:15

1 hour a week,sorry not a big deal(you should see our club list,there are masses of things on it and most schools expect teachers to do 1 club a week). I did archeology,art and several others.Wouldn't have bothered me if it had been 11+ prep instead particularly if I had some extra PPA time.

TheSecondComing Sat 27-Apr-13 08:30:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sat 27-Apr-13 08:32:31

I just don't see why a school should devote their time to providing support to get a place at another school!

Surely it would be in the interest of the grammar schools to provide such a service, if anyone at all.

primary schools are not there to wallpaper over the injustices of a system that simply does not involve them, they have their own curriculum to deliver.

frankie4 Sat 27-Apr-13 08:33:06

Is it cheating if your child goes to a private prep primary school? Or goes to an outstanding ofsted primary school instead of a satisfactory one? One hour tutoring a week will help children all have the same chances whatever primary school they have been to. At my dc's primary school I would guess about three quarters of the class in year 5 and year 6 have tutoring whatever school they want to get in to.

seeker Sat 27-Apr-13 08:34:43

I don't think it's cheating- that's just a silly thing to say.

However, the selective system is inherently divisive and unnecessary.

However again, if you are going to have a selective system, deciding who goes to grammar school by using an eminently coachable for test is just bonkers, and automatically gives advantage to children based largely on their circumstances, not on their braininess. If state selective education is to remain, a way needs to be found to test thechild's ability, not their parent's "savvy", wealth or determination.

Squarepebbles Sat 27-Apr-13 08:42:18

Yes an hour folks is all it would take which is perfectly doable.

Personally as a parent of non sporty kids I don't see the issue when you consider the man hours spent on sports fixtures many kids are never and will never be involved with.

I think a lot of parents wouldn't like to see all the extra competition from the oiks.grin

PoppyFleur Sat 27-Apr-13 08:44:11

YANBU - your SIL is being so petty with her comments, its barely worth raising an eyebrow in annoyance. Good parents strive to do the very best for their children.

Having said that, I went to a comp that was rated as a fairly poor school & I thrived. I was in the top stream in everything & I went on to complete a degree & post grad. I am successful in my work & more importantly I really enjoy my job. My parents were always supportive & encouraging, that's always made the difference in my life.

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 27-Apr-13 08:48:33

Ignore her, I left grammar school 13 years ago and the majority of my year had all been tutored to get there! And we all managed to keep up. I think you would be mad not to tutor.

redexpat Sat 27-Apr-13 08:56:50

I think it's sad reflection on schools in England that you feel you need to get your daughter extra practice. The school should be preparing all the children - and I don't mean coaching, I just mean getting the familiarised with the form of testing.

MTSgroupie Sat 27-Apr-13 08:57:06

Some people go on about how unfair the 11+ but they never advance a fair alternative.

IMO the 11+ (VR, NVR) is about as fair as you can make it. After a few weeks familiarisation the rest of the prep time was spent on exam technique ie working to the clock, if stuck move on and come back to it at the end if there is time etc etc.

MTSgroupie Sat 27-Apr-13 09:02:19

Square - uneducated parents don't have a chance? A significant proportion of the kids at the Watford GSs are from 'uneducated' immigrant families where English isn't their first language.

Unless you don't know how to Google '11+ example papers' then being uneducated isn't much of an excuse.

seeker Sat 27-Apr-13 09:03:54

The alternative is properly streamed comprehensive schools. As exemplified by many LEAs in the country.

gazzalw Sat 27-Apr-13 09:09:08

Well we are a family where DS got into a super-selective (he actually passed for all the super-selectives) without intensive tutoring. We did go thro' papers at home though for about six months, although it was fairly laid back as DS is not naturally an overly-keen child!

I'm afraid I'm in your DSIL's camp. It was very much my belief that if you're capable, you're capable and if you require three years of tutoring you are getting up to speed with practice rather than natural ability and essentially that is cheating.

That said, I guess tutoring does fill in all the gaps that state primary schooling and parental guidance might not....

I agree with Coralanne though with her sporting metaphor.

It is an essentially tricky one though and there is no right or wrong answer. What does worry me though, as someone from a very working-class family who did get into grammar school myself, is that this type of intensive-tutoring-to-get-in-mentality, is just so not fair to the children with natural ability from less well-off backgrounds.

Also, because we are not a well-off family (albeit a highly educated one), I think lots of (the better-off) parents at school naturally assumed that if our DS could get in then of course theirs could too. hmm. I think they were rather aggrieved that none of current Year 6s have got in...

I do believe though that in the areas with super-selectives, it is not as simple as throwing money at a tutor and relaxing. A child does have to have a latent natural ability. Nothing can be assumed, even with long-term expensive tutoring....

OhLori Sat 27-Apr-13 09:09:13

Personally I wouldn't have my son "tutored" as I think he's 10 he should be doing creative stuff, enjoying school and playing out with his friends. Its bad enough the school already getting hysterical about normal SATs next year, I think they need to get a grip.

I would never criticise another parent for choosing tutoring - I am sure there are positive motives for tutoring. But there are also grabby, competitive ones ...

MTSgroupie Sat 27-Apr-13 09:12:22

seeker - The next time you post about your DC I hope that I will be around to remind you of your comments here about how the 11+ is eminenently coachable and favours those with well off 'savvy' parents.

Squarepebbles Sat 27-Apr-13 09:15:16

Mts it takes time,the internet,inclination and confidence.

If you're uneducated,work all hours,don't have the Internet,don't think your child would ever be the type,don't have the confidence to attack exam prep why should any child be penalised?

I was a teacher and quite frankly find finding out about current day maths techniques bewildering and time consuming at times let alone verbal reasoning so heaven knows what a parent who works full time and left school with low literacy levels or limited qualifications would feel like.

seeker Sat 27-Apr-13 09:19:05

MT- I have never said it was anything but.

TheSecondComing Sat 27-Apr-13 09:32:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Sat 27-Apr-13 09:34:55

It's not cheating. Peoplw prepare fir loads of exams in life. Is it cheating if I practice driving in advance of my test? unfortunate that it's as competitive as it is now but c'est ca. And yes your sil's approach to getting her own child into the school they want while criticising you would irk me greatly.

MTSgroupie Sat 27-Apr-13 09:44:17

gazz - you are cool with tutoring your DCs for 6 months but doing it for 3 years is cheating ???? How does doing something for longer than others make it 'cheating'. Is a gymnast cheating because she started at 4? Strange perspective

In anycase, being tutored for 3 years offers no advantage IMO. After 6 months my DS was scoring on average 90% in his mock papers. Another 2 yr 6 months would probably have reversed he mark since he was showing signs of being over cooked.

Music teachers will tell you that pass a point in time having a child practice an exam piece on and on has the reverse effect so I'm a bit hmm at the parents who think that it's unfair that the next kid has been tutored for a number of years

PanicMode Sat 27-Apr-13 09:49:09

I have only skimmed the thread, but we are in Kent and have a child whose teachers are confident he'll get into the superselectives here. However, given there are 12 children applying for every place, we are going to send him to a tutor in order to ensure he has the best shot at it that he can. Even the private prep children here are tutored - so sending a state primary child into an exam he's never seen before would be like sending a lamb to the slaughter. DS will take his 11+ in Sept 2014 and I believe will be the first cohort to take the 'less tutorable-for' test which Kent are proposing. I am massively in favour of making the playing field more level and trying to eliminate the 'coaching' that goes on here, but I'm not going to not tutor purely because it might be seen as 'cheating' if every other parent IS 'cheating' and giving their child a competitive edge over mine, especially when I know that he has the innate ability to get in. That's not to say it's not a hideous system, but sadly, life is competitive and people will always play the system to get an advantage.

Suzieismyname Sat 27-Apr-13 09:52:16

It is cheating those from families who can't afford tutoring out of a place...

CecilyP Sat 27-Apr-13 10:02:44

But even if the exam is not stuff covered by the National Curriculum,aren't the children sitting it supposed to be clever enough to work out what is required? To be able to 'think outside the box',which is why they should be attending Grammar School in the first place?

Certainly this was the idea behind replacing an English and Maths type 11+ with a VR and NVR type exam. The theory was that it would level the playing field between children who went to good and less good primary schools. Of course, parents then realised that, with practice at VR and NVR, their children could greatly increase their scores and so this tutoring industry was born. Meanwhile, far from putting on extra classes, in some areas, primary school teachers a forbidden to teach to these exams - they may be allowed to give children a fixed number eg 3 familiarisation papers - that is all.

MTSgroupie Sat 27-Apr-13 10:03:02

Why do people keep equating tutoring with money?

The Internet offers a wealth of (free) 11+ papers. And are people really saying that some parents can't support their kids in passing a test aimed at 10 year olds?

CecilyP Sat 27-Apr-13 10:12:06

^What is a 'super selective' in co parison to a selective???

Am I missing something? I keep seeing it on MN and have actually never heard of one.^

It is not an official term but it refers to selective schools, often in areas that have kept selection but are easily accessible from other areas that have a comprehensive system, so they attract the top-scoring children from many neighbouring LEAs and often a wide geographical area. Tiffin schools in Kingston upon Thames and Latymer School in Edmonton are typical examples. Whereas in places like Kent which has kept a fully selective system and most of Kent is not really accessible from any other LEA they have normal selectives. However, to complicate things even further, some Kent selectives are more selective than others.

seeker Sat 27-Apr-13 10:16:13

"What is a 'super selective' in co parison to a selective???

Am I missing something? I keep seeing it on MN and have actually never heard of one."

It's not something that's relevant to many people- only to those of us in the few remaining selective LEAs. An "ordinary" selective school takes 20/25% of the cohort, with the remainder going to what amounts to an old fashioned secondary modern. A "super selective" takes the top 5ish%, usually drawn from quite a wide area leaving what is virtually a comprehensive school for the remaining 95%.

PatPig Sat 27-Apr-13 10:18:33

Not really seeker, a super selective will take top 5% (at passing the stupid test), but this leaves numerous comprehensives of different levels, religious schools, and so on.

TheSecondComing Sat 27-Apr-13 10:28:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I've worked out that our local super selective takes roughly 3.5%!

ReindeerBollocks Sat 27-Apr-13 10:34:02

DS will be privately tutored from September to coincide with the start of year 5, but that is merely to ensure that he has a good grasp of key stages 1&2 - he has missed large sections of schooling, and whilst his teacher acknowledges that he is extremely bright, his patchy knowledge is going to hinder his education in the future, if it is not sorted.

Everyone else in our stupidly competitive school has had their children in some form of private education since year 3! So it's more uncommon in our area not to do it.

However, I think parents are so hard pushed to get their child into the right schools that they don't think about the particular capabilities of the child. If a child is able to pass the entrance exams but their strengths lie in other areas then it seems a waste of a place at a school which doesn't fit their particular areas. There are lots of grammar schools here - some excel solely in academia, some focus on practical based solutions, some way more all rounder types, and some are sport and science based. So many parents I have spoken to say X is going to the 'Y' school because it is better, when their child might actually be better in school 'Z'. That is why I have asked our school about the best school for our son. Not just about the best school - and not surprisingly I've been given a different answer than just the best school.

ReindeerBollocks Sat 27-Apr-13 10:37:42

My last sentence is very badly explained but I hope that you can understand it!

TheSecondComing Sat 27-Apr-13 10:38:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CecilyP Sat 27-Apr-13 10:50:50

^I still don't understand. We live in an area which has grammar schools.

I think they are all the same no?^

No, they are not all the same! They can have widely differing intakes. The superselectives will have almost 100% pupils coming in at level 5, whereas, with the ordinary selectives, it can be as low as 65%.

ReindeerBollocks Sat 27-Apr-13 10:51:25

Haha I think you know which one wink The one which all the boys go to and has a 98% pass rate - always in the paper as they get into Oxford and Cambridge. That one! Yeah, DS wouldn't get in there - but it wouldn't be right for him either.

We are good thanks, how are you and more importantly how was your holiday?

seeker Sat 27-Apr-13 10:53:05

PatPig- it was a broad brush explanation. The big difference is that in areas where 25% go to grammar school, there are no comprehensives. In areas where 5 (or3.5!)% go to grammar school, there are ( to all intents and purposes)

TheSecondComing- you may not have a super selective. Not all selective areas do.

seeker Sat 27-Apr-13 10:54:23

"No, they are not all the same! They can have widely differing intakes. The superselectives will have almost 100% pupils coming in at level 5, whereas, with the ordinary selectives, it can be as low as 65%."

I would be very surprised if many grammar schools have 65% level 5 intake.

TheSecondComing Sat 27-Apr-13 10:58:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

seeker Sat 27-Apr-13 10:59:23

You may have done! What % of the people who took the test got a place?

CecilyP Sat 27-Apr-13 11:01:29

I would be very surprised if many grammar schools have 65% level 5 intake.

No there won't be many, but I could, but won't, name 2 - one in Kent; one in Birmingham.

MmeThenardier Sat 27-Apr-13 11:01:40

reindeer do you mean its a boys school or they just let in more boys than girls?

TheSecondComing Sat 27-Apr-13 11:03:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

seeker Sat 27-Apr-13 11:06:44

Not half arsed- a tad disingenuous perhaps. Unless you never talk to any other parents, read the local paper, look at the school website, attend any school events, listen to the transfer talk at your primary school........grin

ReindeerBollocks Sat 27-Apr-13 11:07:02

It's MGS however I know that AGS and Ambrose are also highly sought after.

And yes, you did send your DD to a super selective grin but I wouldn't worry about it, it sounds like she is more than excelling.

DS has been recommended the SGS, near your good self. What is that like as a school?

Our primary aim to have a large percentage of students at level 5 when they leave, so I don't think it's too uncommon in our area, plus as there are so many grammars it's slightly different than in areas where there are only a couple.

Glad to hear the holiday was good. Carnage at night sounds fucking fantastic - I'm jealous but pleased you had a great time. Hope DS is better soon too - my DS will be in that hospital soon too, bloody chest related illnesses!

ReindeerBollocks Sat 27-Apr-13 11:07:55

Mme yes it is a boys school.

TheSecondComing Sat 27-Apr-13 11:18:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hackmum Sat 27-Apr-13 11:18:51

Obviously your SIL is BU because she made a very crass remark that implies your DD isn't very bright.

However, you are being a little bit BU because you seem to fail to understand her point. You say the exam isn't based on the school curriculum but that is exactly the point of the 11+. The idea is to test "raw ability", not what someone has learnt at school, so that if you take 100 children who have never seen an 11+ paper before, you could set them the test and from that work out who are the 20 most naturally able.

Now people can and do argue about whether you can actually measure raw ability, and indeed whether it even exists - after all no child is brought up in a culture-free zone, so there are plenty of influences (school and parents in particular) that will help them pass or fail the test, regardless of supposed natural ability. And of course children develop at different rates.

But if you accept the premise that the 11+ is supposed to test raw ability, then parents who coach their children are skewing the results. So in that group of 100, if 30 have been coached and 70 haven't, you can easily end up with a situation where a middling-ability child who has been coached does better than a naturally bright child who hasn't.

Is it cheating? Well, once you're in a situation where other people are coaching their kids, not really. Most parents want to do the best for their kids. Is it fair? Obviously not.

So the question for you is whether you think your child will struggle at a grammar - do you think she's bright, but needs a little help from coaching? Or is she an average child who might struggle if surrounded by clever kids?

landofsoapandglory Sat 27-Apr-13 11:24:20

Isn't level 5 where bright kids end up after 5 years in school?? Dd was level 5, as we're all her mates.

I thought the same, TSC. DS1&2 were, and their mates were.

ReindeerBollocks Sat 27-Apr-13 11:33:28

I am so glad to hear that about SGS TSC it's a big weight off my mind. It's apparently able to cope with DS and his extra needs which will probably increase during high school. I've heard it also caters for everyone, not just the high achieves.

I would love DD to go to the school your DD goes to currently, as it is a brilliant school and has a great reputation and it sounds like your DD was well suited to the school too.

Nothing overly wrong, just routine IV AB's for his chest (DS has CF). Gotta go in tues and if he doesn't need O2 hopefully we'll be out shortly after.

ReindeerBollocks Sat 27-Apr-13 11:33:59


TheSecondComing Sat 27-Apr-13 11:34:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MsJupiterJones Sat 27-Apr-13 12:03:11

Life isn't about 'natural ability'. It's about working hard and putting the hours in.

seeker Sat 27-Apr-13 12:29:47

The 11+ is supposed to be about natural ability. It is now to a large extent about the parent's ability to work hard!

greenformica Sat 27-Apr-13 12:54:45

I think your SIL is wrong.

However I do wish there was a fairer test of IQ.

I know lots of very bright children who have been put in for 11+ and all were tutored at home or with a tutor for a minimum of 3/4 months. I don't know of any child who has just walked into the exam with no preparation and passed.

The grammars round here take the top 10% with one school taking the top 2%. If our local school took the top 25%, I think many would all be less interested in tutoring as it would be easier to get in.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sat 27-Apr-13 12:57:06

But the only way to judge 'natural ability' is to put all the children in an unlit cave for 11 years then test.

ReindeerBollocks Sat 27-Apr-13 12:57:44

I think most who get in SGS are at level 5. I thought the national average was level 4 when leaving primary school, to aim for level 6/7 when sitting year nine sats (if they still have them). High ability children are at level 5 at the end of primary and about level 8 when entering GCSE years.

But I could be wrong?

DS gets extra time in exams and is currently working at sat level four but will hopefully be level five come year six sats.

Or is that not what you meant at all?

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sat 27-Apr-13 12:59:21

Greenformica - grammar schools are not designed to be fair, that is the whole point of the system!

GirlOutNumbered Sat 27-Apr-13 13:07:58

I've worked in a grammar school. Those children that were coached start to struggle before the end of year 7. Even quite bright kids find it hard to cope being only average amongst peers.

wintertimeisfun Sat 27-Apr-13 13:09:34

i don't agree with tutoring and according to my local grammar they say they shouldn't be and that the 11+ is based on natural ability BUT.......ashamed to say that i am going down that path too (tutoring) as it is SERIOUSLY competative where i live. all girls at the local grammar were HEAVILY tutored and thus i feel pressured to play the game although i think it stinks. having said that, i have looked at dd's Bond books her tutor made me buy. pretty different stuff compared to what they are learning at school thus i think if you have no idea of verbal/non verbal reasoning before exam you may get a bit of a shock. no idea how they can find a way of creating an 11+ exam that cannot be prepared for but would be fantastic if they can come up with something. i think the tutoring thing stinks even though i am doing it too...

JuliaScurr Sat 27-Apr-13 13:12:12

it depends which 11+ they do - non verbal reasoning could/should be done without tutoring, but the maths is totally different to NC

JuliaScurr Sat 27-Apr-13 13:13:30

agree with wintertime

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sat 27-Apr-13 13:16:17

I hope loads of people do tutor their kids to get it, bring the system down from the inside grin

I know the thread may have moved on, but this is based on the OP.

My brother went to grammer school. The exams were english, maths and science. He excelled and got in and did amazingly and ended up with a 1st class hons in business at uni.

I didn't get into the girls grammer school. The exams were maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning. I went to the local comp and got 11 A/A* GCSE's and am on course to get a 2:1 degree. It would of been a 1st but had DS and halfway through and have struggled this year.

I would agree that tutoring to get in, kind of shows your child isn't naturally good enough. However, if they are stupid verbal/non-verbal tests then based on personal experience they are a total fucking waste of time and totally unfair.

CloudsAndTrees Sat 27-Apr-13 13:19:56

In SS grammar schools where competition is high, children will not get a place unless they are clever enough and deserve one. They just won't. The standard is high enough that plenty of very bright children who have had tutoring wont get a place, simply because there aren't enough places for all the children that would benefit from them and do well with them.

chickensaladagain Sat 27-Apr-13 13:31:07

Dd passed 11+ with no tutoring but then didn't get in on distance so is going to the local academy

I didn't get her a tutor because I share your SIL's view that it should be natural ability

That being said I don't live in an area with a full grammar school system, in fact there is only one in the county, and there are some really good high schools where the top stream do every bit as well as the GS children

If I lived in a full GS area with secondary moderns I may think differently

seeker Sat 27-Apr-13 13:39:14

I don't know about super selectives, but I haven't actually come across this tutored children can't keep up thing. The tests beat very little relation to actual school work, and the tutoring is mostly about speed, accuracy and holding your nerve. You have to tick boxes very fast and accurately to pass. Once you're in, you are unlikely to need the box ticking skills again.

tiggytape Sat 27-Apr-13 13:42:22

CloudsandTrees - this is the same for London super selectives
Parents tutor bright children because it is perfectly possible to pass the 11+ easily and yet not get into grammar school.
There are thousands applying to go to grammar but only a few hundred places therefore not all of those of selective ability (i.e. pass the 11+) will actually get a grammar school offer.

Only children in the top group normally opt to take the tests as competition is such that it really isn't worth entering unless your child is already a level 5 in year 5. Despite being predicted 5a's and level 6's in Year 6, those children will still be tutored (or coached at home) because thousands of children in a 30 mile radius are of this high standard however only a few of them can go to grammar

Budgiegirlbob Sat 27-Apr-13 14:05:21

Both my sons go to a super selective grammar school, and competition to get to these schools is strong. Both my sons had some tutoring, about 1 hour a week for 3 months before the test.

I fully understand why it could seem like cheating, but my DSs went to a state primary, where there is no prep for grammar. Many private schools in our area provide years of tutoring as part of the curriculum , so if my DSs hadn't had tutoring they would have been at a disadvantage before even stepping into the exam room.

As long as there is an 11+ , there will be tutoring, and while in an ideal world children should get in on natural ability, that's not the real world we live in.

At an open evening at a local SS grammar (one of the best in the country), a parent of a potential student asked the headteacher if he recommended tutoring. He replied " Would you send your child for a driving test without having had some lessons first?"

ReallyTired Sat 27-Apr-13 14:30:54

I imagine that with so many tutored children passing the eleven plus that the grammar school can easily set up a bottom set to cater for their needs in the same way that a secondary modern caters for bright untutored children who should have got the place.

In fact it makes the whole grammar/ secondary modern system a bit of a farst. The grammar school has plenty of stupid children and the secondary modern has plenty of bright children with no way of swopping the children to the right class.

I feel that there should be burseries to pay for children from low income families to have a year of small group tutoring. (Ie. children whose family income is less than 20K but have level 3s in key stage 1 SATs)

MTSgroupie Sat 27-Apr-13 14:49:31

Brilliant idea Really. Tell the not so low income families that their kids can't get help because they aren't poor enough.

At our primary school there were various afterschool clubs where you pay a nominal charge of £2 for materials for example. Other clubs like football and netball were free. Some clubs are run by teachers, others by parents. (one of the mums was a county class netballer in her youth).

You don't need bursaries or help from the government or your LEA. You just need a few proactive parents and a teacher or two and you have yourself a 11+ Club.

TheSecondComing Sat 27-Apr-13 14:50:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

seeker Sat 27-Apr-13 14:59:28

"You don't need bursaries or help from the government or your LEA. You just need a few proactive parents and a teacher or two and you have yourself a 11+ Club."

Except that schools are specifically prohibited from providing 11+ preparation, beyond 2 practice papers. Obviously they do, and nobody reports them because it's not in their best interests to. But if they did, there are sever sanctions. Some schools stick to the letter of the law- some don't. Which adds yet another layer of complication and unfairness!

3littlefrogs Sat 27-Apr-13 15:08:23

I think it depends.
My DC got into grammar school without tutoring. IMO they didn't need it and I really felt that if they needed tutoring they wouldn't cope once they got there.

Some children in the school had some tutoring, but are naturally bright and have no trouble with the workload.

Some children in the school were tutored from the age of about 7, got into the school, but struggle with everything, are terribly stressed and very unhappy.

TBH, the school is academically outstanding, but crap at pastoral care and has no clue about supporting pupils with any kind of emotional or health problems. Parents are aware of that and put up with it.

You know your child best, OP. Passing the exam is only a very small part of the picture. If you are confident that it is right school for your child, and they will be able to manage the work load and the expectations of the school, then you do whatever you feel is best. It isn't anyone else's business.

MTSgroupie Sat 27-Apr-13 16:10:23

seeker - are you telling me that the authorities will object to an after school club run by a couple of pro active parents and/or a few teachers donating their time like they do with the football club.and rugby?

comfysofas Sat 27-Apr-13 17:05:20

A child I know got into grammar with tutoring [ his dad was a primary headmaster] in his tests throughout school he got 3/10 for spelling 4/20 for maths etc etc etc.

He hates grammar as he struggles so much.

FreyaSnow Sat 27-Apr-13 17:28:42

Grammar schools have never been about educating children with natural ability. They have never claimed to be, and the test providers have never claimed they are testing natural ability.

They are simply testing ability of eleven year olds, which is largely about the formal and informal education the children have been exposed to.

Some children who are generally very able will have weak spots. It is part of the job of grammar schools to help pupils in those areas so they reach their potential, as it is with all schools. The nature of that help with a child with general high ability may be different. They may struggle with essay writing due to lack of practise and poor motor skills, while a child of generally low ability may struggle with basic analytical skills as well. Going to a grammar school does not mean you have to be brilliant at everything and have all level fives. A four could just mean the child had poor science teaching, or has intellect but not the maturity for creative writing.

MTSgroupie Sat 27-Apr-13 18:32:50

comfy - the college of FE that I attended years ago was in a deprived area. I was studying for three A levels alongside kids who didnt even have 3 O Levels or CSEs. The college wasn't in a position to be choosy.

I mention the above because it sounds like the DC is at such a GS ie they lowered their pass mark in order to fill their student quota.

If so then the DC wasn't screwed by being tutored. I blame the parents for pushing a kid that wasn't academic into a GS and the GS for admitting the kid just to put arses to chairs and to get the funding.

seeker Sat 27-Apr-13 21:41:30

"seeker - are you telling me that the authorities will object to an after school club run by a couple of pro active parents and/or a few teachers donating their time like they do with the football club.and rugby?"

If it takes place on school premises and if teachers are involved - yes.

ReallyTired Sat 27-Apr-13 21:46:57

I think an eleven plus club sounds an excellent idea, but I think the teacher who runs it should be paid.

I seriously doult that any pro active parents are going to be wanting to help the competition. A pro active parent wants the grammar school place for THEIR child.

"Brilliant idea Really. Tell the not so low income families that their kids can't get help because they aren't poor enough."

The not so low income families can afford group tutoring. Prehaps 20k is a little low for a cut off. What cut off would you suggest?

I don't think its financially realistic for a school to provide small group tutoring for all children who want to attempt the eleven plus. Primary schools need to concentrate on actually teaching maths and basic literacy.

QOD Sat 27-Apr-13 21:51:53

I've been told that seeker

LaLaGabby Sat 27-Apr-13 22:03:12

"Any parent worth their salt would do whatever it takes to get their child a better education?"


Would you intentionally deceive someone?
Would you commit a crime?
Would you infect a competing child with an illness?
Would you pay a bribe to a headteacher?
Would you perform sexual favours for a headteacher?
Would you commit an act of violence?
Would you steal money from a member of your family?
Would you defraud a charity which helps deprived children?
Would you do something specifically prohibited by your religion?

No? Turns out a child's education is like many other things. People will do certain things, but not what they personally consider to be immoral. The OP's sister considers coaching to be immoral.

ReallyTired Sat 27-Apr-13 22:21:45

"Any parent worth their salt would do whatever it takes to get their child a better education?"

Lots of perfectly good parents aren't that bothered about which school their child end up at. They are quite happy to send their child to the nearest school and don't worry about results. Often their chidren do turn out well even if they don't go to university.

There is more to life than education. Having good school results makes it easier to get a good job, but it doesn't guarentee anything.

MTSgroupie Sat 27-Apr-13 23:16:42

LaLa - are you seriously comparing tutoring to theft, bribery, fraud etc ? You have my vote for the stupidest post to this thread

MTSgroupie Sat 27-Apr-13 23:24:13

seeker - I just googled 11plus school club and I got several 'human interest' hits from various local rags about teachers and parents running clubs at their schools either at lunchtime or after school.

These schools better hope that the suits from their respective LEA don't see the articles eh?

mathanxiety Sun 28-Apr-13 07:10:41

I would do it. I think your SIL is mistaken. How does she know a child wouldn't respond positively to the challenge that tutoring poses? For many children the one on one attention from a tutor, or being in a grinds class with other motivated children makes all the difference to their confidence. Often if they are stuck with a teacher who has lost interest or sitting with disruptive students in school they are not really focusing. It's hard to tell what is a case of being not too bright from having a bad teacher or being surrounded by disruptive schoolmates who slow the class down.

seeker Sun 28-Apr-13 07:48:11

That's fine, MT. You know best.

Budgiegirlbob Sun 28-Apr-13 08:30:58

I seriously doult that any pro active parents are going to be wanting to help the competition. A pro active parent wants the grammar school place for THEIR child.

I agree with this. There is no way that any parent round here would want to tutor another child. Competition for grammars is fierce , with only about 5% of children accepted to grammar, I can't see why any parent would want to increase the competition!

Also the primary school would never allow it. They would barely even discuss with us the option of grammar school, it almost felt like it was a taboo subject, and it was very much left to parents to find out any info regarding them,

MTSgroupie Sun 28-Apr-13 08:42:52

seeker - You have a history of posting as if your experience in Kent is typical of the whole of the UK. Is this another example?

I mean, I Googled it and there appear to be lots of local rags with stories about 11+ clubs being held at their local schools. Sometimes there are interviews with the HM, sometimes with some talking head from the for-profit organization running it.

Perhaps in future you shouldn't use Google.co.Kent as the source for your postings.

MTSgroupie Sun 28-Apr-13 08:47:26

Budgie - In my case, once word got around that my DS got in, a number of Year 4/5 parents asked me for help and advice. I obviously wasn't going to tutor their kifs

MTSgroupie Sun 28-Apr-13 08:51:43

.. (I don't have the time) but I was happy to share tips, sources for free papers etc).

Ok you can argue that I wouldn't have been so forthcoming if their DCs were in direct competition with mine. I probably wouldn't but I like to think that I wouldn't be Machiavelli-like about it.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Sun 28-Apr-13 08:54:50

If children were meant to be 'prepped' for these exams, would the school not incorporate it into their curriculum?

Genuine question.

seeker Sun 28-Apr-13 09:02:54

That's fine, MT. You know best.

Budgiegirlbob Sun 28-Apr-13 09:03:36

MTS, as it happens, I was quite open about the fact that my DSs were sitting the exam, and was more than happy to offer advice to parents who asked. In fact, one child in the same year as my eldest DS went to the same tutor as DS after I recommend him. I do think that's very different though from offering to tutor a whole group of kids in the same year as DS !

hackmum Sun 28-Apr-13 10:12:23

"LaLa - are you seriously comparing tutoring to theft, bribery, fraud etc ? You have my vote for the stupidest post to this thread"

Of course she's not. She's simply challenging the statement "Any parent worth their salt would do whatever it takes to get their child a better education?" by pointing out that, actually, they won't. Everyone has limits to what they would do, it's just that some people draw the line in a different place.

Slightly ironic that you've misunderstood a very simple point, yet are calling LaLa "stupid".

MTSgroupie Sun 28-Apr-13 10:15:48

seeker - feel free to post a link or am I suppose to take your word that you speak for all the LEAs in the Uk?

seeker Sun 28-Apr-13 10:21:25

That's fine, MT- you know best.

Budgiegirlbob Sun 28-Apr-13 10:59:04

seeker - are you telling me that the authorities will object to an after school club run by a couple of pro active parents and/or a few teachers donating their time like they do with the football club.and rugby?

Our primary would absolutely object , whether that's because of the headteacher or the LEA I have no idea, but it would definitely not be allowed.

I mean, I Googled it and there appear to be lots of local rags with stories about 11+ clubs being held at their local schools. Sometimes there are interviews with the HM, sometimes with some talking head from the for-profit organization running it.

MTS,If you could post a link to a club where parents voluntarily run it, I would genuinely love to see it. I just find it hard to believe parents would tutor "the competition". It's not like running an after school sports or art club, and I say this as someone who is a cub leader, and who's husband does run an after school football club.

MTSgroupie Sun 28-Apr-13 11:07:32

Budgie - I suggested that pro active parents could start up a club. I didn't say that i knew of such parents.

What is being questioned here is seeker's assertion that the ban on such clubs is not at school level but higher up. I am merely asking seeker for a link.

MTSgroupie Sun 28-Apr-13 11:14:08

... Not quite 11+ tutoring but DD's music teacher coached DD for a music scholarship audition (she got it) despite her niece competing for same scholarship. Ok, she gets paid for it but she didn't have to put 110% into the prep.

You and I (and a lot of others) wouldn't tutor the competition but that's not to say all mums are like us :-)

Snoopingforsoup Sun 28-Apr-13 11:17:36

YABU. It is cheating.
I love how parents who tutor compare the 11+ tutoring to be the same as an athlete training. Not everyone can be an elite athlete either!
Lance Armstrong was discredited for using drugs. Is it not the same principle at the end of the day?
There's nothing wrong with hard work and natural ability but you are supporting a tutoring industry that means kids can no longer write an essay at A level without a tutor holding their hand!
Sorry, but you asked!

racmun Sun 28-Apr-13 11:18:14

FFS of course its not cheating - cheating would be you or the tutor sitting the exam for him!!!

He's still going to have to go in and perform on the day.

Lots of private prep schools do prepare the kids for entrance exam at my sister's school virtually the whole term before exams was geared up to the 11+ Doing practice papers etc.

As far as I know the state sector don't prep the children up in the same way ? (I'm happy to be corrected).

Also are parent's helping their children prepare for exams also cheating? Is anyone really saying they send their children in totally unprepared??

What about if you're a parent who can't help your child yourself for whatever reason why shouldn't you get a tutor.

Personally I would ignore your SIL it sounds as though she is jealous and trying to our you off trying by saying he'll struggle to keep up etc.....

Give you ds the best chance you can to go to the best school. If that means a bit of extra help to be able particular types of questions then I would do it without hesitation

Snoopingforsoup Sun 28-Apr-13 11:29:27

11+ / Grammar was set up to give the brightest kids a good education regardless of background.
This has been hijacked by middle-class parents who can afford tutoring!
No one was tutored for 11+ in my area and the brightest got the places.
We had one mock exam prior to the real thing and everyone automatically sat the exam one morning.
That was always my understanding of the 11+ and I'm pretty aggrieved that now you can buy your way in! It's a stealthy way of getting a private education on the state!
It's this crap that will finally do away with the Grammars somewhere down the line!

MTSgroupie Sun 28-Apr-13 11:32:07


MTSgroupie Sun 28-Apr-13 11:38:33

Damn my fat fingers. Let's try again.

grin at the double standards being displayed

Tutoring is obviously cheating.

Sending DC to football training camp so that he can get a place on the school team is not cheating. Sending DC on a Easter GCSE/A Level cramming course is not cheating. Have individual music lessons for DC is not cheating. It's not your fault that the other kids in the competition can only afford group lessons eh?

MTSgroupie Sun 28-Apr-13 11:45:54

Snooping - I am not MC and I did not hire a tutor and all three passed.

Pass papers are free from the Internet and are you seriously telling me that only MC parents are able to help their DCs with a test designed for 10 year olds?

Some parents won't/can't Google "11+" for whatever reason. It would be great if some people could accept that instead of using MC people as the excuse as to why their DC didn't pass

seeker Sun 28-Apr-13 11:48:14

It's not cheating. It completely negates the reason grammar schools were created and is perpetuates a divided and unfair society, but it's not cheating.

seeker Sun 28-Apr-13 11:50:35

"Pass papers are free from the Internet and are you seriously telling me that only MC parents are able to help their DCs with a test designed for 10 year olds?"

Nope. Nobody's telling you that.

People might be telling you that only parents with a certain level of education, understanding, leisure and involvement can do that, though.

Snoopingforsoup Sun 28-Apr-13 12:01:04

Good for you MTS. I'd say yours is an example of how it should be and proves a point.
I am basing my response on the people I know now natch.
I am sick of reading the generalisations from people who wish to defend their choice with the comparisons to Athletes. Try buying your way into Man United with average ability! Even with endless footie camps, the kid has to have something natural and it still may not be enough!
The prep school comparison always comes up! Prep schools are nearly always preparing kids for private secondary schools, many of which no longer contain VR and NVR in their entrance exams anyway. There are not many kids go from prep to state Grammar in my experience.
People generalise to defend their actions and who wouldn't want the best education they can get for their kids? But let's not pretend it's not cheating because actually, tutoring kids is causing longer term problems.
University now requires tutoring it would seem because kids have got used to tutors telling them how to do things.
How are these Grads going to think for themselves in the workplace?
I do wonder!

MTSgroupie Sun 28-Apr-13 12:03:37

seeker - why do you have such a patronising towards WC people?

It's evident in the way you talk about the parents at your DS's school. So what if classical music is not top of their list for must-have school activities.

I mean, are you seriously saying that only educated MC moms like you are capable of googling for past 11+ papers?

seeker Sun 28-Apr-13 12:08:06

"I mean, are you seriously saying that only educated MC moms like you are capable of googling for past 11+ papers?"

Nope. I am saying "only parents with a certain level of education, understanding, leisure and involvement can do that, though."

But, fair enough, MT-you know best.

Budgiegirlbob Sun 28-Apr-13 12:34:31

You and I (and a lot of others) wouldn't tutor the competition but that's not to say all mums are like us :-)

MTS, I'll agree with you there. There possibly are parents like that out there, but I think you'd have to search long and hard to find one! If they are out there, they are certainly a better person than I am smile

I still can't really see how tutoring is cheating. Would anyone say that getting extra tutoring for a child struggling with a particular GCSE was cheating, or just helping? I can't really see the difference.

seeker Sun 28-Apr-13 12:51:04

"Would anyone say that getting extra tutoring for a child struggling with a particular GCSE was cheating, or just helping? I can't really see the difference."

I don't think it's cheating either. But the is a big difference between GCSE and 11+. Your child getting an A for GCSE maths doesn't mean another child gets an E.

JuliaScurr Sun 28-Apr-13 12:52:03

seeker you are right
the reason dd is at a sodding grammar is it has the best pastoral care and was recommended by the genius head of her last primary which she couild only attend if we went with her (anxiety) No way could that happen at secondary (instant peer group isolation disaster) and friends said the comps were crap on pastoral so we did 11+
of course it's full of middle class kids
you can tell by the names - Eleanor, Danielle, Chloe, Rebecca. Not Jamie-Lee, Britney. Chelsii. They're all at the 'comprehensives'. Friends with non-academic dc say it's hideous; two have 'chosen' home ed because the sen of dc are not met at the comps. Exactly what happened to us at the first 2 primaries dd tried.
purely luck that dd is academic. Neurotic and academic smile

JuliaScurr Sun 28-Apr-13 12:55:22

and seeker gce grades used to be ranked in comparison with the whole cohort who took it; Gove prob wants to return

Budgiegirlbob Sun 28-Apr-13 13:15:34

I don't think it's cheating either. But the is a big difference between GCSE and 11+. Your child getting an A for GCSE maths doesn't mean another child gets an E.

When I was at school, (long time ago!) it did mean that, as only a certain percentage were awarded each grade. Not the case any more I know. I was given extra tutoring for Oxbridge exams, (not that it did any good smile ), and obviously there were limited places, but I still don't consider that to be cheating, just putting in the extra effort.

ReallyTired Sun 28-Apr-13 14:08:39

Life is never a level playing field. Some children go to top private schools where as other children have to attend schools that are in special measures. Some children have kind attentive parents who look after them where as other children are regularly raped, proscuited and abused in all kinds of dispictable ways.

I think that its the grammar school system that is unfair rather than tutoring. The big issue is no transfer between different type of schools and selection being done at a young age.

I send my son to a tutor because his school in special meaures. We aren't doing the eleven plus so are we cheating. Is it cheating to pay for guitar lessons?

seeker Sun 28-Apr-13 17:27:57

"I think that its the grammar school system that is unfair rather than tutoring."


Snoopingforsoup Sun 28-Apr-13 18:27:33

I always thought tutors were for kids that were struggling!
Or music tutors to teach kids music/instruments not on the curriculum.
What I endure is parents tutoring their kids so they remain in the top set of a private primary and then pass them off as genius's/prodigy's.
They then Hoover up all the scholarships pushing the bar so high that naturally talented kids at say piano who have reached a grade 4 with a real flair, now have to be pushed to a grade 5 to compete with the robots!
Grammar Schools were not supposed to favour the wealthy but they do. And those with kids in Grammar bang on about how unfair the private schools are! It's a feckin' joke!
I look forward to generations of clueless adults who can't think for themselves.

mathanxiety Sun 28-Apr-13 20:20:21

If it is cheating to send your child for tutoring is it also cheating to read a lot to your child when he is very young, to provide educational toys, to play maths games and explain scientific principles on nature walks, to broaden your child's vocabulary and use correct grammar, to limit TV time if you believe there are better ways to stimulate a growing brain, to encourage reading and buy attractive books, etc?

Because if there are children who grow up without those elements in their lives and whose educational progress is hampered by that lack, surely by doing all of that with your child you are giving your child an unfair advantage?

mathanxiety Sun 28-Apr-13 20:22:01

I think that its the grammar school system that is unfair rather than tutoring. The big issue is no transfer between different type of schools and selection being done at a young age.

I agree with ReallyTired.

seeker Sun 28-Apr-13 20:25:24

"Because if there are children who grow up without those elements in their lives and whose educational progress is hampered by that lack, surely by doing all of that with your child you are giving your child an unfair advantage?"

Not an unfair advantage, no. But an advantage. The unfairness comes in when you then put the children with that advantage in a one school, give them access to a broader education, and tell them repeatedly how special they are, while putting the ones without that advantage in another school in a different building, and tell them that they are second class citizens.

mathanxiety Sun 28-Apr-13 20:32:00

The failure lies in the system that encourages so many tiers of students. However, given that the system is there and that the way to play it is known, and given that parents are (rightly or wrongly) inclined to want to give their child the best chance possible can they really be blamed for putting their money where their values are?

Telling children how special they are because of a position their parents' money has basically bought for them -- that I can't abide. It's a terrible thing to say to children.

ReallyTired Sun 28-Apr-13 20:41:27

"They then Hoover up all the scholarships pushing the bar so high that naturally talented kids at say piano who have reached a grade 4 with a real flair, now have to be pushed to a grade 5 to compete with the robots!"

State schools do not offer music lessons ... not not what I would call a music lesson.

Its impossible to reach grade 1 yet alone grade 4 without some kind of music instruction. I have never met a child who has passed music grades without some kind of individual instruction. I have never met a child who has mastered the basics of a musical instrument without some practice.

Becoming good at an instrument is 95% bl**dy hard work and about 5% talent. There are lots of children who have the ablity to learn a musical instrument but not the application.

I can't see how it is possible get a music scholarship without lessons and lots of practice. Scholarships are given to children who are useful and add something to a private school and this is only fair. My son got to grade 2 guitar in 18 months as his first instrument. He may well have more natural talent than a child who started at six but he does not perform like a grade 5 performer.

There is a world of difference between having "potential" and actually being able to perform. This is true of the world of work.

sue52 Sun 28-Apr-13 20:49:21

Tutoring is a fact of life in my area. There was not a single child (that I know of) in my daughter's class at grammar school who did not have extra coaching either from parents, a tutor or by attending a local prep known to give extra coaching for the 11 plus.

crashdoll Sun 28-Apr-13 20:54:25

It's the system, not the tutoring that makes it unequal. OP, YANBU.

MTSgroupie Sun 28-Apr-13 22:32:16

snooping - music scholarships is usually an award of a few a hundred pounds or a fees remittance of 5 to 10%. In a few schools that can be as much as 30%. Even at 30% that still make the fees about.£12k per year.

So its kind of silly for you to make the point that some poor musical DC can get a private education if only rich people didn't suck up all the music scholarships. I mean, if you can't afford private at £15k but you can at £12k then you aren't poor.

I accept that parents who started their kids young have an advantage but they have an advantage over other parents who can afford £12k pa. Basically, it's well off parent versus well off parent.

wasuup3000 Sun 28-Apr-13 22:47:39

Not read all this as am tired and on way to bed. One of my children is academically bright and was not tutored for the grammar test. Some of their friends were tutored. I am not for or against either option, parents do what they feel is best. My child finds the work at grammar easy and doesn't really need to revise for tests. My child's classmates know my child is good for homework help but some of them are under a lot of pressure and have to work really hard to get similar results. They are under a lot of pressure which my child does not have. They look tired and have to work hard to maintain their levels. I think the best advice is to look at the schools and try and think about what would suit your child best rather than try to fit the child into a school which might not suit them. (*disclaimer I have other children who are not so academically bright and this is not a stealth boast - just trying to give a balanced opinion*)

Snoopingforsoup Sun 28-Apr-13 22:56:50

Where I am, the parents are pushing for music scholarships as a badge of honour. Those kids are pushed into playing 3 or 4 instruments and have theory on the side!
I'm not making it up! My mind boggles how a kid can go from grade 1 to grade 5 in 1 year - you can't tell me that's natural?
A kid who has 1 lesson a week but practices and is great at whatever instrument cannot compete with that!
One local private school admissions registrar actually told me they are looking at stating kids must be of G5 standard now because everyone turning up to audition is at least that and usually on more than one instrument. Not many auditioning merely meet the G4 standard any more!
So the ones learning music the normal way, a lesson a week, playing in an orchestra and taking their time to enjoy their instruments are being held back from the scholarships by pushy bloody parenting because their kid must have a scholarship!
Please don't tell me this doesn't happen because frankly, it does! And I find it outrageous. Music should be pleasurable - not a golf club trophy!

Snoopingforsoup Sun 28-Apr-13 22:59:07

And some schools offer very generous music scholarships.

plinkyplonks Sun 28-Apr-13 23:00:18

YANBU .. SIL is maybe jealous.. who knows. What I do know is that whatever her opinion on it, she was bang out of order to say something to you. It's not of her business and it wasn't her place to say it either.

Dereksmalls Sun 28-Apr-13 23:01:44

I still don't get why kids have to go to a completely seperate school for this. When I was at school there was about 4 ability groups for the core subjects (with some off limits for kids who hadn't got up to a certain level by the end of S2) - so the top 25% were taught together in the highest class. The kids in the top groups weren't always the same, for example my friend was fantastic at English but weaker at Maths but with all ability groups in the school, there was enough flexibility to cope with this. How would she have fared at a grammar school? Would she even have got in?

I have a friend who lives in Kent, her DD starts primary school this year. She is already a bit concerned about grammar school places and her neighbour is moving her DC to a different prep school as she feels the one they are currently at isn't sufficiently focused on the 11+. As this was one of the main reasons her DC is at private school in the first place, this isn't going down too well.

ReallyTired Sun 28-Apr-13 23:05:00

"I'm not making it up! My mind boggles how a kid can go from grade 1 to grade 5 in 1 year - you can't tell me that's natural? "

Are you jelous?

If a child is grade 5 in their first instrument then they can very quickly get to a high grade in another instrument. They are only having to learn the technique involved with playing the new instrument. With a first instrument a child is having to learn the theory as well as the instrument.

"So the ones learning music the normal way, a lesson a week, playing in an orchestra and taking their time to enjoy their instruments are being held back from the scholarships by pushy bloody parenting because their kid must have a scholarship!"

Scholarships aren't meant for every child. I admire the level of work that a child puts in to get four instruments to grade 5 standard. The child clearly has a capacity for extreme hard work and that deserves to celebrated and rewarded.

A minority of children do become very obcessed with music. They are self driven and not pushed by their parents. I am amazed that the parents pay for lessons in four instruments though!

seeker Sun 28-Apr-13 23:10:31

" I admire the level of work that a child puts in to get four instruments to grade 5 standard. The child clearly has a capacity for extreme hard work and that deserves to celebrated and rewarded. "

If it is a primary aged child it is almost always the parent that has the capacity for hard work!

Snoopingforsoup Sun 28-Apr-13 23:31:08

Why would I be jealous exactly?
Jealous of kids being pushed into something for mummy and daddies' benefit?
You may have that kind of take on parenting but I can assure you I don't.
Trust me, I don't find many Mozarts in school assemblies!
I just think music shows a good example of how far some parents will go for the sake of their ego! These are primary school kids we're talking about.

Snoopingforsoup Sun 28-Apr-13 23:36:17

And for the record, I've worked with some of the best musicians the UK is known for.
Not many of them were playing 4 instruments aged 8! In fact, I dare say none of them were! Most of them learnt to love music in their teens of their own accord.
Also, the difference between say a woodwind instrument and the piano requires new techniques. It's all hard work for little kids.

MTSgroupie Sun 28-Apr-13 23:39:02

snooping - Why do you make rich people the centre of your argument?

Your original rant was about rich people using their money to deprive musical but poor kids of a scholarship. Well, if you can afford private school but only if was £12k instead of full fees then you aren't 'poor' in the first place.

And the last time I looked, pushiness whether its music or academics is not the sole preserve of rich people.

Also, if a DC isn't genuinely gifted then all the money and pushiness in the world isn't going to get that kid from grade 1 to 5 in one year.

My kids do three instruments each. That's 3 x £15 each DC per week for lessons. That's £90/week. Obviously we aren't poor but neither do we have to be 'rich' in order to afford the above.

So is it possible that these other kids are better than your DC because they simply are instead of because they have parents that are richer than you?

MTSgroupie Sun 28-Apr-13 23:47:56

... Make that 4 instruments each. I forgot to include the recorder smile

Playing several instruments isn't a big a deal as you like to think snoop. Although I can imagine you making it a big deal just to convince yourself that your DC has been cheated out of a scholarship by kids that are only at a higher grade on more instruments because of rich pushy parents.

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 06:39:23

Well, you do have to be pretty rich to commit to 4/5 different music lessons a week per child. Unless you are suggesting that any parent could download tach yourself books from the Internet?

MummaBubba123 Mon 29-Apr-13 06:50:05

I tutor.
I have some quite brilliant (academically) pupils. I've absolutely no doubt that, should they continue to be as switched on and motivated, they'll do tremendously well at a Grammar School - or at another type of school.
However, competition for GS places is fierce - with some pupils having been prepared from the age of 5 or 6.
It is absolutely reasonable to prepare your DC by outlining the format of the exam, question types, etc.
This is standard practice in preparations for school examinations (SATS) and, in general, something that is very much expected and accepted.
However, if a child is willing to follow a parent's lead, you could very well DIY. It's not too difficult to do so - but most pupils work more effectively and willingly with someone else.

HollyBerryBush Mon 29-Apr-13 07:05:42

People apportion their money according to their particular need/wants.

As MTS implies, music is important to her family, so she spends on it. Presumably foregoing what others may consider a luxury (eg cigarettes, nails, tans etc, rounds of golf, football season tickets).

FWIW, here in Bexley (South London) we don't come under the Kent LA. Four grammar schools, Theoretically they take in 25% of the borough children. Or rather, of the average 5,000 Y6 children in Bexley, 1250 grammar places are available. Only 18% of grammar places are taken by Bexley children (so in reality thats 250 children), the rest pour in from inner London, Greenwich in particular. Greenwich has a perfectly respectable comprehensive system, so the one school ethos and streaming clearly doesnt work for parents.

On testing day, it is not unusual to see 700 sets of parents and children queued up out side each of the grammars, all from out of borough. Our own children are done at primary in their own environment the week before.

There is a big parental movement within Bexley to prohibit outsiders!

As well as our own 4 grammar schools, Bexley parents will also enter the Kent tests for Dartford and Wilmington as they are perceived to be 'easier' tests, and you need a back up, the really bright ones will try for St Olaves in Orpington. We are too far away from Judds and Tonbridge.

Even with the comprehensive system in surrounding boroughs, the level of inter-borough transfers is phenomenal - parents do not want a comprehensive system. The sec moderns in Bexley pick up thousands of children, but very few Bexley children move outside unless it is into one of the better Bromley schools.

Strangely there is only one prep school left in Bexley that I know of, but there are many over in Greenwich, all grooming to go across border grin

Snoopingforsoup Mon 29-Apr-13 07:19:24

MTS, I clearly hit a nerve with you and now I see why!
We'll never agree on this - my point is not necessarily about being rich, if it were I'd be a raging hypocrite!
It's about parents buying what they want, not what is best for their kids!

MTSgroupie Mon 29-Apr-13 07:35:13

The recorder is taught at school so free. As for the other 3 instruments, 30 min lessons at £15 each = £90 per week. No lessons during school holidays so roughly £3800 k pa. My nurse friend spends that much on car payments for her Ford Fiesta (mine is 10 years old).

So grin at seeker's comment that one has to be 'pretty rich' to afford so many lessons.

So no, one does not need to be educated and MC in order to be able to download past 11+ papers and no, one does not need to be 'pretty rich' in order to commit to 4 instruments.

MTSgroupie Mon 29-Apr-13 10:21:30

Snooping - I am not rich unfortunately sad so no, you haven't hit a nerve.

Your kid has lessons in one instrument. Mine have lessons in three. It cost me an extra £30 per week per child over what you are paying. It hardly makes me rich compared to you.

My kids attend a Saturday morning session at our local LEA music school. A lot of the kids there have 2 or more instruments and often their main instrument is above grade 5.

You don't have to be rich for your kid to be proficient in a number of instruments which seems to be your complaint.

MTSgroupie Mon 29-Apr-13 10:28:09

Holly - We spend about £3800 pa on music lessons. This is roughly what my teacher friend spends on car payments for her new Fiesta. I, on the other, hand drive a 10 year old car.

So it's funny when snooping goes on about how her DC was robbed of a scholarship because rich kids were offering multiple instruments when her kid was only offering one.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 29-Apr-13 10:29:33

Why, MTS? Do you know what car snooping drives?

MTSgroupie Mon 29-Apr-13 10:31:16

Just in case anyone is interested, 'nurse friend' jacked it in and is now 'teacher friend'.

MTSgroupie Mon 29-Apr-13 10:35:08

Nit - what has her car got to do with it? confused

I'm making the point that you don't have to be rich in order to afford for your child to be proficient in a number of instruments.

ReallyTired Mon 29-Apr-13 10:37:09


My son only has lessons in one instrument. (Guitar) He got to grade 2 in 18 months, but he didn't have lessons until he was nine years old. He may well be as talented as the children who started music at six, but he did not make that choice. We chose to wait until he developed an interest. Ds also sings in a church choir which is free.

There is a girl in ds's class who is grade 7 in her main instrument (piano) and grade 5 in her second instrument. She is incredibly talented and hard working. She deserves her success and a place at the selective school.

There is difference between having "potential" and actually being able to pay. In the UK lots of people prize potential far more than working hard. Intelligence is partly down to environment and can be improved by hard work.

Some parents allow their children to play on the computer or watch TV for hours.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 29-Apr-13 10:37:26

Well, because you're saying that your car story is somehow relevant to what Snooping can or can't afford - or you seemed to be, anyway. Or maybe it was just a side issue? But then why would it be relevant to discuss the respective cars driven by you and one of your friends? confused.

MTSgroupie Mon 29-Apr-13 10:51:09

Nit - are you seriously this obtuse? If you are then engaging you is a waste of my time. If you aren't then you are merely trolling. In which case engaging you is a waste of my time. Either way ......

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 29-Apr-13 10:55:39

Yeah, I'm trolling: that's why I keep changing my name to harangue the same poster ... Oh wait.

I may be being obtuse, yes, I just didn't really see how your point about your car had anything to do with whether or not snooping had a right to feel she was disadvantaged by not being able to afford as much music tuition. It's quite alright if you don't want to engage with me though!

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 29-Apr-13 10:56:52

(I won't report your accusation by the way, unless you're regretting it and would like me to)

morethanpotatoprints Mon 29-Apr-13 11:11:15


I have to disagree with you on the instrument tuition. My dd plays 4 instruments and we are poor. However, luckily for us her dad can teach her quite a lot, but atm just music lessons are £30 per week and have been £45 at times. Then factor in transport to lessons maybe, exam fees. There are very few who can access proper music lessons if they are not well off.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 29-Apr-13 11:14:02

The only thing that is unfair about the grammar system is that there aren't enough grammar p,aces for every child that would be for from that type of learning environment.

The education system should aim to meet every child's needs, whatever that may be. Undoubtedly, some children with thrive in a grammar school and will do better than they would in a comprehensive, and some children will thrive and do better with a more technical education than they will with a traditional academic education.

As long as every child is receiving an education that suits them and which encourages them to achieve their fullest potential, I can't see what the big issue is.

The 'divisive' argument doesn't do much for me. Children are already divided by what they parents do any don't provide for them anyway. The state should not need to try and compensate for that, the state should just be providing a good education for every child. Where that takes place is irrelevant. Children already know who are the cleverest children in their class by the time they get to y4, if not before. They know who is on the top table for maths, they know who is taken out for extra reading with the TA. If they are taught to accept everyone and value everyone's strengths, then who did and didn't pass the 11+ doesn't matter.

Xenia Mon 29-Apr-13 11:19:42

Three of our children have/had music scholarships. It is a lot of very very very hard work. It is not about spending money. I play the piano, I sing, I got (not showing off) almost full marks bar one mark in grade 8 music theory so they can do all that with me if were very short of money (we aren't) free at home. All 5 got their grade 5 music theory without any external lessons. However of course that requires a music parent although I would assume you could be a musical parent and not very well off.

Mine download music free on the internet or borrow scores from libraries. It is easier and easier these days because of the internet to learn. However I accept that in most cases you need an instrumental teacher.

I would say a lot of it is down to very hard graft. I don't think there's much merit in starting very young as by age 10 the ones who started at 3 tend to do better than those who started later but bright hard working children can whizz through the grades. I did term by term for the youngest two grade 1 theory, then grade 2, then grade 3. Okay right someone will say you then have to pay the exam fee which is true but you could do the work at home and then only sit grade 5 which would be cheaper.

I certainly do not accept that mine who won music scholarships at 12 did so because of my paying for lessons. It was more because the family just happens to be pretty musical, because parents were prepared to supervise music practice, because I enjoy playing the piano to their practice and most of all because of all the hard work the child put in.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 29-Apr-13 11:25:51

And I expect you downloaded the piano, and the house large enough to keep it in, free from the Internet too, right?

I accept that in some cases you can provide more music tuition by making certain financial and spending priorities, but it's rather simplistic to suggest that's all there is to it!

MTSgroupie Mon 29-Apr-13 11:26:05

morethan - I simply made the point that £3800 pa is what I spend on music lessons and that this is roughly what my friend spends on car payments. I an not rich. I merely choose to drive a 10 year old car and use the money on music lessons.

Obviously a person on a low income isn't going to be able to afford a new car or multiple music lessons. However, my comment was in response to the poster who thinks that one has to be rich in order for a DC to be proficient in several instruments. You are proof that she is talking rubbish so here flowers

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 29-Apr-13 11:30:37

'rich' is a subjective notion though. You do show, however, that you're aware that some people might be driving ten year old cars - and even older shock - not because that frees up £4k for music lessons, but because that's actually what they can afford, so well done for that smile

CloudsAndTrees Mon 29-Apr-13 11:30:40

I don't understand why this has become about music lessons!

Music lessons prove the point that it's both talent and hard work that make the difference, not parental pay packet.

I was given the opportunity to learn (and own a) flute and piano as a child, I had no talent for it and didn't like it. No music scholarship for me, no matter how much money my parents threw at it and how much they nagged me to practice. My ds is the same. He showed an interest in piano, and is actually very good at it. But after three years of lessons and at grade four, he doesn't want to do it anyone because other things have come along that interest him more. His talent and my willingness to pay for lessons isn't going to make him put in the hours of practice it takes. It would either come from him or it wouldn't.

He is at a SS GS, and he certainly needs to make more effort to keep to the high standard now than he needed to make to be top of the class at primary school. The fact that he has the ability and the motivation to make the effort is what makes him worthy of his GS place. I don't see why a child who is equally as bright, or brighter, but that doesn't want to make the effort is seen by some as more deserving of a place just because their parents might have slightly less income than I do.

MTSgroupie Mon 29-Apr-13 11:30:53

My friend's DD got a music scholarship with her flute bought second hand from eBay for £150 and a viola on loan from her LEA music services.

So a great big grin at the posters looking for excuses as to why their DCs didn't get the scholarship

Dahlen Mon 29-Apr-13 11:35:24

I think it depends on what you mean by tutoring. If you mean preparation - so exam technique, learning styles, etc., that's fine. It's what everyone who is serious about qualifications does when faced with an upcoming exams - whether that's the 11+, GCSEs, Al-levels, finals or whatever.

If you mean intense 1-1 coaching and are pretty certain that your child would fail massively without it, you're probably setting them up for a lifetime of inability to perform to the expected standard unless putting themselves under an unhealthy amount of pressure.

MTSgroupie Mon 29-Apr-13 11:45:14

Dahlen - I can give my DD intense 1-1 coaching in the 100m sprint but it isn't going to make her appreciably faster.

People keep going on about how kids that have been coached for years have an advantage. Anyone who has DCs taking music exams will know what I am talking about. Making a child play the same exam piece every day for 3 years isn't going to get your child a Distinction. Likewise with 11+ prep.

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 11:49:12

"Obviously a person on a low income isn't going to be able to afford a new car or multiple music lessons."

By Jove, I think she's got it!

morethanpotatoprints Mon 29-Apr-13 11:51:17

MTS. Sorry I misread your post. thanks

I do think that most people do what they consider best for their dcs education. I found that it was more likely down to the parents education, culture and belief not income.
I have seen it from both sides. A really bright girl capable of passing 11+ and parents not knowing what it was, and not having a GCSE between them. It was school that alerted parents to her potential, and the possibilities.
Then another, not as bright whose parents would move heaven and earth to gain a scholarship as they knew the importance of a good education.

My dd is certainly not grammar school potential, she might just pass with several years of tutoring, but why bother. I would rather her education be fun and enjoyable than a grinding chore. If they are bright then grammar school is a good opportunity, if they aren't ffs try something else.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 29-Apr-13 11:56:23

I think it is a tricky one, which I would have to have some serious words with myself about if I lived in an 11+ area. I do find an odd logical disparity between 'my dc would do best at grammar and is suited to grammar by ability and temperament' and the next step, 'so I will do everything in my power to make sure said dc doesn't, left to him or herself, fail to pass the test which will ensure he gets a place at the school best suited to his/her ability and temperament'.

ReallyTired Mon 29-Apr-13 12:03:47

"merely choose to drive a 10 year old car and use the money on music lessons."

In my painful experience having a ten year old car is far more expensive than music lessons. lol...

Being rich is all relative.

I completely agree with Xenia that doing well at music is down to application. Private schools want children are prepared to work hard and are supported at home.

It is next to impossible to get a child to grade 1 standard if they don't want to do the work. I haven't yet met a child who can swan to grade 1 yet alone grade 5 without some parental support and application.

MTSgroupie Mon 29-Apr-13 12:06:23

morethan - I totally agree with your culture and belief comment. I dislike reaching for the 'if immigrants can do it' argument but Watford GS is near us. Anyone familiar with it will know how ridiculous it is to argue that the entrance system is biased against DCs who don't have educated MC parents.

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 12:10:51

Immigrants are often educated and middle class!

Also, immigrants are almost by definition self motivated, involved and into forward planning.

I find the "immigrants can do it, why can't everyone" argument simplistic at best, racist at worst.

I am so relieved that Northumberland is not a 'grammar area' - this is all completely horrendous & stressful.

sherbetpips Mon 29-Apr-13 12:20:35

we were tutored by the school for the entrance exams for all the local grammars. Nothing unusual there.

MTSgroupie Mon 29-Apr-13 12:31:10

You post a generalisation about immigrants and then you tell me that I am either being simplistic or racist? grin

Granted some immigrants are doctors and PhDs who fled their countries and arrive penniless but the majority tend to be uneducated poor factory workers who are admitted to the UK because of family links. The educated ones are all headed for North America or Australia.

ReallyTired Mon 29-Apr-13 13:07:49

I know plenty of lower middle class immigrants. They are neither super wealthy nor penniless. In my experience economic immigrants have a higher than average amount of ambition, courage, get up and go than most of us. It takes courage to leave family and move to the other side of the world for a better life.

Also, immigrants are almost by definition self motivated, involved and into forward planning.

I find the "immigrants can do it, why can't everyone" argument simplistic at best, racist at worst."

White people can choose to be ambitous and forward planning as well.

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 13:09:56

Fair enough, MT, you know best.

LaQueen Mon 29-Apr-13 13:21:27

Your SIL is talking a Crock. Of. Shit.

DD1 has always been on the top table for numeracy/literacy. She is in Yr 5, and is already on Level 5s...but, she's certainly not the cleverest little girl on that table.

Every little girl on her top table (and many other children in the class) are having 11+ tuition.

And, around here most of the 11+ tutors, will asses your DC before agreeing to tutor them. They simply won't tutor them, if they don't think they are good grammar school material (and, also they don't want to screw up their pass rates).

Much of the maths content of the 11+ paper won't even have been taught yet, in DD1's class, by the time she sits the 11+ in September.

It's absolutely no different to a child practicing for a cross country race/music exam...or, is that cheating too hmm

Let's not forget...the tutoring doesn't make your child suddenly, magically clever...they have to have the cognitive potential there, in the first place.

lainiekazan Mon 29-Apr-13 13:22:00

But you need to practise for the 11+ unless you can guarantee that not one single child will have seen a paper like it before.

Dd likes doing Bond papers for fun (unfortunately we do not live in a grammar school area!). At first she did quite badly, having never encountered verbal/non-verbal reasoning. After a few papers she was zooming through.

Practising isn't cheating. It's familiarising the entrant with the style of exam. Who does O/A Level without looking at past papers?

Moominsarehippos Mon 29-Apr-13 13:26:01

A lot will tutor and pull any strings possible to get their child into the school. It's not exactly in the same league as passing on a brown envelope of cash to the admissions officer is it?

melika Mon 29-Apr-13 13:26:24

Haven't read all the posts. But I think some of you are living in cloud cuckoo land not to tutor your kids to get into Grammar school.

My DS was and is very bright and I know he would have passed the test but I had him tutored to ensure he got in. There are schools who tell you not to, no one listens and goes ahead anyway. I was not going to let my DS lose out to those mediocre students who have been 'sharpened up' by a tutor. As it turned out, he had a lazy teacher in his Yr 5 and Yr6 and the work made up for the lack of homework he wasn't getting.

I have no regrets, he is happy, thriving and in the right school.

Xenia Mon 29-Apr-13 13:31:24

People should be free to pay for tutors or teach their children at home by buying test papers if they want to. I don't pay for tutors but then I pay school fees so I would expect them to learn in school where they seem to be doing 100% of their homework at present which is terribly easy. I do accompany music practice on the piano, but that's often because I like it so it's more a self indulgence for me rather than a keeping anyone to the grindstone.

Music: Okay, not everyone can afford a piano but singing is free as is music theory and some instruments you can buy on Ebay. (Our cars always cost about £800 - £1000....)

LaQueen Mon 29-Apr-13 13:37:39

30-40 years ago, the vast majority of children really didn't have any tutoring/preparation for the 11+. So, it was a pretty level playing field.

But, the culture has changed, and now a lot of schools offer 11+ prep, and lots of parents use tutors. So, the playing field is still pretty level.

All we really pay our tutor to do, is work through the Bond books with DD1 - and through past papers., and on top of that he gives her some secondary school maths (she likes maths).

It's nothing that we couldn't do for free. But, we just don't want to/have the patience to do it.

ChristinaF Mon 29-Apr-13 13:40:04

Perhaps you SIL doesn't live in a grammar school area?
Here in West Kent you would be crazy NOT to get your child tutored if you wanted them to go to grammar school. Both DD1 and DD2 are very able girls but we had them tutored because that's what everyone else was doing and it would have put them at a disadvantage if they had not been tutored. Of course you are not cheating.

wordfactory Mon 29-Apr-13 13:41:23

I think thwe idea of tutoring as cheating is at best naive, at worst disingenuous.

We all do things for our DC that give them an advanatge over other DC. It's what we do as parents.

The continuum of advanatge moves from reading your DC a bedtime story, to getting a freind to give them a job. We all draw the line of how far we will go.

Tutoring is simply somewhere on the advanatage continuum.

MTSgroupie Mon 29-Apr-13 13:41:33

The 11+ is in the rear view mirror as far as my kids are concerned. But now that I look back I should probably be grateful that my DCs were competing against kids.whose parents didn't believe in tutoring. So to all those parents wine

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 29-Apr-13 13:42:23

I assume grammar school areas are different from one another, anyway - and that in some cases tuition is the norm, and some less so? Maybe it's not usual where OP and SIL live. But anyway, it's obviously not cheating, because there's no rule against it. Whether it's right is another question I suppose.

whatever5 Mon 29-Apr-13 14:11:51

I wouldn't be annoyed with your SIL as she obviously doesn't know what she is talking about. These days, if you want your child to go to a "superselective" grammar school you have to use a tutor (or teach your child yourself) just to level the playing field.

My daughter did practice papers at home for a few months and then we switched to a tutor for six months before the exam (dd wanted to learn with other children).

Tutors don't do anything that a reasonably intelligent parent couldn't do themselves and to suggest that it's cheating or that the child will subsequently struggle if they get into the grammar school is quite naive.

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 15:25:57

"So, the playing field is still pretty level."

Yep. That's why grammar schools tend to have around 2% of children on free school meals.........

MTSgroupie Mon 29-Apr-13 15:39:09

The playing field is level seeker. The problem is that a lot of poor people subscribe to your viewpoint ie you have to be educated and MC in order to know how to Google "free 11+ papers".

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 15:58:25

Fair enough, MT. You know best.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 29-Apr-13 16:12:22

It would be interesting to see how many children on free school meals actually enter the exam, or even apply for a grammar school prospectus. It costs nothing to enter the exam, it costs nothing to tutor at home.

If parents of children who are on free school meals wanted to apply to grammar schools, then they could do so. If parents are capable of filling in a form to apply for FSMs, then they are capable of applying to grammar schools.

MTSgroupie Mon 29-Apr-13 16:12:29

Is that what your therapist told you to say seeker?

I kind of miss the old seeker. I mean, I loved how you would argue a point even though it contradicted what you posted 3 screen pages earlier. I hope you find your way home soon flowers

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 16:17:57

F.E.MT. Y.K.B.

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 16:40:06

"If parents of children who are on free school meals wanted to apply to grammar schools, then they could do so. If parents are capable of filling in a form to apply for FSMs, then they are capable of applying to grammar schools."

So, are you saying that poorer children are inherently less bright than better off ones? Or do you have another explanation for the very limited number of children on FSM at grammar schools?

CloudsAndTrees Mon 29-Apr-13 16:49:16

So, are you saying that poorer children are inherently less bright than better off ones

How on earth do you come to the conclusion that you need to ask that question from what I posted? confused


I think there is a possibility that some parents who have children that receive FSMs may choose not to apply because they think they or their children won't fit in. Some of them may not know how to apply, some of them might not want to send their dc to grammar school on principle, some of them may feel out of their depth when it comes to preparing their child for the exam at home. Some may feel they can't afford the extra transport cost of getting their child to the school if there is a closer one nearby.

There are probably plenty of other possibilities that I haven't thought of that have nothing to do with whether they can afford to pay a tutor or not.

Whatever it is, it is within their own control. It is not the fault of a grammar school when a parent can't or won't do what is needed to send their child there.

FrauMoose Mon 29-Apr-13 16:55:12

I think the grammar school my daughter attends doesn't do a lot to encourage children from the more disadvantaged areas of the city to apply or feel as if they're going to be made to feel welcome when and if they arrive. They/the parents' association doesn't hold second hand uniform sales - and the uniform is fancier/more expensive than that of comparable secondary schools. There are a a great many trips for 'cultural enrichment' but no mention is ever made about the possibility of paying for these by instalments. The last time I went to an event the Head informed the parents assembles that their children were 'the leaders of tomorrow.' Now I don't necessarily want my child to be a leader, when I look at the people in the news who have been doing the leading. It seemed like a rather smug way of saying, 'We are the elite' and the others are 'the masses.'

JuliaScurr Mon 29-Apr-13 16:55:14

Clouds I take it your in depth knowledge of Social Science was gained by dint of student fees etc. I would ask for your money back.

MTSgroupie Mon 29-Apr-13 17:02:44

FrauMoose - what do you expect the school to say? Your children will be average in their adult life and your dreams will probably be unfulfilled?

You would make a crap motivational speaker smile

whatever5 Mon 29-Apr-13 17:10:31

I think that transport costs and probably uniform costs will definitely put a lot of low income families off grammar schools. You have to pay for transportation yourself (unless it's the nearest secondary school). Many children at dd's school have to pay more than £500 a year for a bus pass.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 29-Apr-13 17:17:19

No Julia. My education hasn't gone any further than a few vocational diplomas. My suggestions are just that, based on being a parent, working in a primary school, and having children in a SS GS and a comp. And are only in response to the implication that I must think that children on FSMs can't be clever enough for GS. hmm

MTSgroupie Mon 29-Apr-13 17:24:16

seeker - in your opinion the 11+ is biased against poor kids because their parents don't know how to Google "free 11+ papers". But that doesn't stop you accusing clouds of saying that poor people are too stupid to get into a GS

Classic seeker. grin

FrauMoose Mon 29-Apr-13 17:30:58

MTSgroupie I think it's precisely because I'm a competent public speaker - I addressed an audience of 400 a few days ago - that I thought the head's address, given to parents and children interested in sixth-form entry was conventional and unimaginative. In her place I'd have said that the school (like any decent school whatever it's name/brand/status) would do its utmost to work with the parents and the children themselves to help them fulfil their individual potential. Pupils might go on to be scientists, artists, teachers, academics, pubic servants - whatever. The point is that that they should leave the school with knowledge of their particular gifts and ambitions, as well as a sense of how these might be realised. It was this idea of, 'We are all the leaders. The rest can be the followers.' that jarred somewhat. I felt that some rather unintelligent assumptions were being made

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 17:31:26

"Whatever it is, it is within their own control. It is not the fault of a grammar school when a parent can't or won't do what is needed to send their child there."

No, it's not the fault of the grammar school. It is the fault of the system. You agree that some parents can't do what is needed to send their child there- and those parents tend to be the poor and/or disadvantaged. How is it fair to have a system that a bright child may not be able to access because their parent can't/won't do what is necessary to get them there? Particularly when they whole point of grammar schools used to be, among other things, to give bright children from disadvantaged backgrounds a step up out of disadvantage?

MTS- fair enough. You know best.

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 17:36:54

frauMoose, I haven't come across a grammar school yet that doesn't come out with this "you are the elite" "you are the leaders of the future" stuff. Heady stuff for a 10 year old. Guaranteed to make for good relations when they meet their old Primary school friends on the football pitch!

HollyBerryBush Mon 29-Apr-13 17:45:09

I think that transport costs and probably uniform costs will definitely put a lot of low income families off grammar schools.

London = free oyster for all children upto 19.

School uniform - only extras between the GS and the comp is the GS prefers sports shirts to be monogrammed - therefore 1x rugby shirt, 1x tennis whites = £4 extra.

There is no swanky uniform.

Guaranteed to make for good relations when they meet their old Primary school friends on the football pitch!

Still all play cricket and football together, there has never been a social division.

Plenty of poor people at DS2s GS, plenty of parents on low incomes. I do not wear this elite shite.

I think this was covered earlier, a high proportion of DS2s peers are of West African origin, some born here, most emigrated one way and another. Most (not all) do not have professional parents. Work ethic you see, these are the parents who don't mind being cleaners and burger flippers because honestly earned is good money, and spend that money on music lessons and language lessons. The majority live, housed, on an absolutely cruddy council estate in Thamesmead that is due for demolition. They tend to speak a lot of languages fluently, native Yoruban or Ashanti, German, English and learn French at classes, plus what school throws at them, usually Spanish or Chinese.

So please, this whole elite stuff goes right over my head because it is at best projection on what someone thinks a GS is like.

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 17:49:45

As I said earlier, regardless of current occupation, many immigrants are well educated.

And, almost by definition, many immigrants are highly motivated, determined and forward thinking. And have had to learn how to deal with a complicated foreign system.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 29-Apr-13 18:03:38

How is it fair to have a system that a bright child may not be able to access because their parent can't/won't do what is necessary to get them there

We allow anyone that wants to to be able to have children, so it automatically follows that some children will have parents that can do things that others can't, and vice versa.

By that argument, no one should be allowed to help their child do anything that might give them an advantage over another child. You are basically saying that as parents we should all conform to the lowest possible level of achievement just in case a poor child is disadvantaged by us just doing what comes naturally.

You should also try to recognise that, oddly enough, some poor children have advantages that wealthier children might not have. Some children will have large families and benefit from all the wisdom and experience that goes along with a big extended family. Some might be brought up by a single parent that has no family at all. Some might have the benefit of having a SAHP that devotes time to their primary education, some might have parents that work too many hours or who just don't want to put the time in.

The education system is not there to compensate for what children do or don't have provided by their parents. It is there to educate. As long as it does that, I can't see why there is such an issue.

Particularly when they whole point of grammar schools used to be, among other things, to give bright children from disadvantaged backgrounds a step up out of disadvantage?

Personally I think it would be unfair to have an education system that is weighted in favour of any group of children, rich or poor. Why should any child be entitled to more from the state than any other child?

whatever5 Mon 29-Apr-13 18:29:58

You may not have to pay more for transport/uniform in London but that certainly doesn't apply to grammar schools in many other parts of the country.

In our area, school buses to grammar schools can cost over £500 a year. I spent less than that on a tutor! We also have to buy uniform from a specific shop and we consequently pay a lot more for it than we would if we could get it from the supermarket etc.

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 18:35:47

"By that argument, no one should be allowed to help their child do anything that might give them an advantage over another child. You are basically saying that as parents we should all conform to the lowest possible level of achievement just in case a poor child is disadvantaged by us just doing what comes naturally."

No, I'm not! As I have said before, the answer is obviously properly setted comprehensive schools. If you look at the results produced by a grammar school and it's associated secondary modern, they are broadly the same as a comprehensive is a similar area- except that middle ability children do better in the comprehensive. So there is no actual advantage to the grammar school system, and many, many social and psychological disadvantages. The grammar school types will do just as well in the comprehensive. And the borderliners can move up and down as they develop or peak.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 29-Apr-13 18:47:45

The answer isn't obviously comprehensives at all.

Don't you realise how big a comprehensive school has to be to be able to accommodate proper setting?

There is no advantage to children who are currently thriving in a GS to having a purely comprehensive system. There might be an advantage to some children, but then a grammar system has an advantage to some children.

Anyway, if you think there's no advantage to a grammar system, then it follows that you don't think there is an advantage to a child from going to grammar school. So which is it?

You are quite simply wrong in saying that 'the grammar school types will do just as well in the comprehensive'. Sometimes they won't. So what is it that makes you want the system to be detrimental to them but advantageous to others?

whatever5 Mon 29-Apr-13 18:52:43

The "super selective" grammar schools don't have an associated secondary modern. The other schools are comprehensives.

At least you have chance of getting into the grammar school if you don't have much money. You can only get into some comprehensives if you can afford to buy an expensive house very close to the school.

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 18:54:28

"You are quite simply wrong in saying that 'the grammar school types will do just as well in the comprehensive'. Sometimes they won't. So what is it that makes you want the system to be detrimental to them but advantageous to others?"

They do in the vast majority of LEAs that don't have grammar schools!

exoticfruits Mon 29-Apr-13 19:08:13

Of course they do just as well in the areas that don't have grammar schools-the top sets of comprehensive schools are the same.

FrauMoose Mon 29-Apr-13 19:18:27

I think my reservation about the grammar school my daughter attends is that I don't think they actually value education!

They provide a very well-tailored service (or factory?) for ambitious, competitive parents who want to hand their children over at 11 and have them extruded again at the age of 18 with a string of As and A stars, and a place at a Russell Group university - preferably to study some conventional subject that will lead into a professional career.

Whereas I think of education as a process of cultivating an ability to think, to explore widely, to be willing to ask awkward questions. There is a sense in which all these activities are regarded with extreme suspicion at my daughter's school.

On the positive side the pastoral care is good, it is efficiently run, the facilities are excellent, and there are some very likeable teachers.

LaQueen Mon 29-Apr-13 19:31:13

The top maths set at a GS simply doesn't compare with the top maths set in a comprehensive.

At our GS, the children are already the top 20% brightest pupils, and then there are 5 sets for maths...so the top maths set is the best of the best so to speak.

At a comprehensive, they have to take everyone and cater for everyone. So, the top maths set is going to comprise of a far wider mix of ability...from yes, the best to probably some who are just good.

I have worked in our local comprehensives. And, the top maths/English sets are comprised of student predicted to get A* - B grades. And, taking GCSE Maths/English a year early really isn't an option.

At our GS, the top maths/English sets are all predicated A*, and taking the GCSE a year early is commonplace.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 29-Apr-13 19:34:25

You don't know that seeker because a comparison can't be done. How can you prove that a student with a B in a comp wouldn't have got an A in a grammar school? Or vice versa?

How can you prove that the 15 yo who has started smoking or taking drugs would have done exactly the same if they had gone to a different school?

You can't.

School is not just about a teacher delivering lessons and takings exams. There is so much more to it than that, and you are deluded if you think grammars and comps are the same. All comps aren't even the same. There are wildly different standards and levels of pastoral care. Schools don't all have the same ethos, the same intakes, the same attitudes, the same problems, the same strengths.

One size does not fit all when it comes to education.

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 19:36:36

Still don't understand why A* pupils can only work with other A* pupils. Particularly in something like maths, where there is always a range of abilities even among the "best". The A* ones will get the A*s at a comprehensive- and might well do it early too- for all the good that will do them!

Hazyshades Mon 29-Apr-13 19:36:56

We have grammar & secondary modern here.

DS is only in Year 2 but it's a dilemma I've thought about. DH is dead against tutoring but EVERYBODY does it here. I don't want DS to lose a place to a less able but tutored child.

The whole thing makes me confused and I wish we had moved to a comprehensive area instead.

Hazyshades Mon 29-Apr-13 19:37:31

I should add I hadn't thought about a tutor now ...... In a few years time grin

CloudsAndTrees Mon 29-Apr-13 19:39:11

So you agree with proper setting but don't understand why A* pupils are better off working with other A* pupils? confused

You really don't see why there is a benefit to learning with people that have the same level of ability, and the same attitude to work?

exoticfruits Mon 29-Apr-13 19:41:13

In our area there are no grammar schools and the comprehensives are excellent-all the DCs go to them- so of course the top sets are those who would be in a grammar school if there were any. Those who wouldn't have been good enough for the grammar school won't be in the top sets. They wouldn't regularly send DCs to Oxbridge and the best universities to study Maths if this wasn't the case. DS did a science subject at a RG university-he got an A for maths at A'level to get there-of course his top set wasn't pulled down by weaker pupils-weaker pupils were in lower sets.

At our GS, the children are already the top 20% brightest pupils, and then there are 5 sets for maths...so the top maths set is the best of the best so to speak.
The top 20% are in the comprehensive-there is nowhere else for them to go-unless private and there is little point if the comprehensives are excellent.

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 19:41:45

"School is not just about a teacher delivering lessons and takings exams. There is so much more to it than that, and you are deluded if you think grammars and comps are the same. All comps aren't even the same. There are wildly different standards and levels of pastoral care. Schools don't all have the same ethos, the same intakes, the same attitudes, the same problems, the same strengths. "

I think you'll find that applies to grammar schools too!

And you said yourself that an individual might get a B who would have got an A. You then said or vice versa. So why not provide the best school for that B to get an A? Why does the system have to be geared to the needs of the "top"?

exoticfruits Mon 29-Apr-13 19:45:32

You wouldn't think that there are a mere 164 grammar schools in UK, educating a tiny percentage of our children.

exoticfruits Mon 29-Apr-13 19:46:59

What we need is for all comprehensives to be excellent.
I am so pleased that we moved out of an 11+ area.

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 19:47:28

"You really don't see why there is a benefit to learning with people that have the same level of ability, and the same attitude to work?"

Yes of course- but I don't see why it would be detrimental for an a*student to be in the same class as an a student. And even the occasional b student might just have a good attitude to work!

CloudsAndTrees Mon 29-Apr-13 19:49:56

I agree it applies to grammar schools too.

So why not provide the best school for that B to get an A?

Maybe because doing so means a grammar school? Maybe it doesn't, but as parents we don't know that when we make the choice of schools for our children, we choose from what is on offer and what we think will best suit our child. We could be right or we could be wrong, but it's good to have the choice.

The system is not geared to the needs of the top. It is better for all children to be in a school that suits their personality and learning style the best it possibly can. That's why I think it's unfair that there aren't more grammar schools and more grammar places for all the children that would do well with one. There should also be more available for children who simply aren't academic, and who have a high need for more than the average pastoral support.

The fact that grammar schools exist does not stop children who don't attend them from having heir needs met as well.

exoticfruits Mon 29-Apr-13 19:50:08

Level of ability doesn't always go with attitude to work!

exoticfruits Mon 29-Apr-13 19:50:59

One thing is for sure-grammar schools won't come back.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 29-Apr-13 19:51:38

Yes of course- but I don't see why it would be detrimental for an a*student to be in the same class as an a student.

I don't think that old be detrimental either. That's what happens in grammar schools.

Hazyshades Mon 29-Apr-13 19:52:01

I think my concern, which never occurred to me before, is that it's so final at 11.

DS is bright but not terribly bothered (he's 6 grin). I think it will click for him in year 3 or 4 but what if it doesn't? Admittedly he might be not as bright as I think (!) but if he suddenly pulls his finger out in year 7 or 8 it will be too late & he'll already be at the secondary modern.

I was a big supporter of grammar schools (I went to one) but they assume all children develop at the same rate & stay on that curve.

Dereksmalls Mon 29-Apr-13 19:52:55

I still don't understand what the advantage to to the top set of children in a properly streamed school is to be taken and placed in an entirely seperate school. What is the difference in exam results between that top set in the comp and those in a grammar school?

ExcuseTypos Mon 29-Apr-13 19:53:52

The top 20% are in the comprehensive-there is nowhere else for them to go-unless private and there is little point if the comprehensives are excellent. agree with you Exotic.

It's the same in our area- all comps and our local one is outstanding.

Dd1 was in set 1 for maths. They were all predicted A*s.

Dd2 was always in set 2 for maths and she was always predicted A/B.

So the top set certainly were the brightest of the bright.

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 19:57:22

CloudsandTrees- I may have misunderstood you- but you seem to be saying that there are no A and A*s in comprehensive schools? You aren't saying that, are you?

CloudsAndTrees Mon 29-Apr-13 20:02:37

It's not all about results.

Our local comp is huge. It's good, the best in the area, but it's huge. The top set and probably the one below that are as good as the grammar, but there are at least six other sets as well.

So while the school is good, it is also so big that the children don't even know the names if every child in their year group. The teachers don't know the names of the majority of children in the school. I don't think that creates an optimal learning environment, and I actually think its detrimental to many children. I don't believe that level of anonymity is good for any secondary age children, but some will do well anyway. But some won't.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 29-Apr-13 20:04:33

No seeker, I'm not! That would be stupid.

MTSgroupie Mon 29-Apr-13 20:05:47

I was hoping that this thread wouldn't deteriorate into yet another GS versus comprehensive thread.

As usual, seeker is leading the charge despite her DD going to a GS. Sooooo boring [reaches for HIDE button]

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 20:07:51

That's fine, MTS- you know best!

wordfactory Mon 29-Apr-13 20:12:10

Well my niece attends a comprehensive. It is outstanding.

Last year 275 sat English and 6 got an A*.
5 got an A* in maths.
3 got an A* in history...

I could go on...but it is very plain to me that the very bright are not being served by this school!

As my DDad always used to maddeningly say whilst we were growing up "Life's not fair"
< waves, Hi Dad ! >
Take no notice of SIL
I think it's a strange and rather foolish POV
If your DC's can get in then I take the attitude why would they struggle, and a bit of hard work alongside friends with a good approach to learning will probably do them a lot of good.
Mind you, years ago, I passed the 11+ having never seen anything like the paper we did. But that was the same for most people I expect (certainly in my school) But things are different now. Lots of parents are very competitive about places, and I don't blame them, we were too.

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 20:12:50

"No seeker, I'm not! That would be stupid."

Phew! I thought I must have misunderstood!

What do you mean by huge? My dd is at a grammar school with over a 1000 pupils- she certainly doesn't know the names of all the children in her year group. Do most secondary school children?

LaQueen Mon 29-Apr-13 20:13:27

"Still don't understand why A* pupils can only work with other A* pupils. "

It's not that they can only work with other A* pupils...of course they could work with A/B even C pupils, if necessary.

But, the lesson would be slower, everything would take that bit longer, the teacher would have to diffentiate more, and explain more thoroughly, in order to meet all the ability needs.

If a pupil is capable of ripping ahead at maths, needs hardly any explanation, grasps concepts immediately...then why should they be held back, by pupils who are slower and take longer to understand.

Why shouldn't that pupil be allowed to progress as fast as they possibly can? They deserve to be in a very similar ability peer group, where they can all progress very swiftly, and stretch themselves as far and as fast, as they wish.

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 20:13:52

Wordfactory- do you know what the intake's like?

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 20:17:39

"Why shouldn't that pupil be allowed to progress as fast as they possibly can? They deserve to be in a very similar ability peer group, where they can all progress very swiftly, and stretch themselves as far and as fast, as they wish."

So you perpetuate a system that is unfair, divisive and disadvantages the majority, just so that a handful of very bright mathematicians can do A level maths a couple of years early?

wordfactory Mon 29-Apr-13 20:19:16

seeker the school is a perfectly nice faith school. The proportion of students on FSM is (according to the inspection report) 'well below average' and the attainment in GCSE is 'well above average.'

What this school does very well is get a large number of its cohort through its GCSE.

What this school does very badly, is challenge its most able students.

LaQueen Mon 29-Apr-13 20:21:57

I freely acknowledge there are some comprehensives, which have Outstanding Ofsteds...where their exam results easily compare with the local grammar/independents...where there is a ethos, totally geared towards academic success, and striving to be the very best you can be...and where academic achievement is genuinely valued, and seen as being cool.

There are some comprehensives, like this...

But, the vast majority aren't. Yes, there might be some clever children in the top sets...but, they are rubbing shoulders with 800 other pupils who aren't...and who don't value education...and who don't care about exam results...and where the ethos is let's see how many pupils we can drag up towards getting grade Cs for their GCSEs

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 20:24:25

So, LaQueen, in these non selective areas, where are the children who would have gone to grammar school if they were in a selective area?

Or has all their cleverness been rubbed off by the shoulders of the "others"?

LaQueen Mon 29-Apr-13 20:24:47

"What this school does very well is get a large number of its cohort through its GCSE.

What this school does very badly, is challenge its most able students."

Yep WF - it's that all important C grade at GCSE. The Holy Grail of most comprehensives...purely so they can publish that X% of their students get A*-C at their GCSEs...

Except of course, the majority of their pupils are just getting the grades Cs...

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 20:26:37

Not any more- not now OfSTED look at the attainment of high, middle and low achievers.......

Any school which is happy for its high achievers to get Cs will come a serious cropper!

Dereksmalls Mon 29-Apr-13 20:29:20

At my streamed comp, I don't recall being held back, classes going too slowly and I got the equivalent of As in my O grade (Scottish and am old) and was top of my year in Maths and Physics. Out of interest, is anyone here arguing in favour of grammar schools with children who failed the 11+?

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 20:29:30

Another thought which has just struck me. The grammar school supporters are always saying that if children and parents are determined enough they could get to grammar school, despite massive disadvantage, and if they don't it's their parent's fault for not trying hard enough. Does this not also apply to the clever ones? If they try hard enough they should get their A*s- all this stuff about being distracted by the hoi polloi is just making excuses........

LaQueen Mon 29-Apr-13 20:29:40

Just like I've said to you 101 times before seeker on similar threads...

Yes, the same kids who would be grammar school top set pupils are in the comprehensives -, in non 11+ areas...of course they are.

It's just they're having to share the top-set, with other pupils who probably aren't as able as them, who are a bit slower, who take up more of the teacher's time, who need things explaining 2/3/4 times...

Plus, they're under the same school roof as potentially 100s of other pupils, who really aren't that bothered about their education...who don't really aspire towards university, or a professional career...and who most definitely don't think that doing their homework, or passing exams, or paying attention in class is remotely cool ...

seeker Mon 29-Apr-13 20:30:47

" Out of interest, is anyone here arguing in favour of grammar schools with children who failed the 11+?"

I'm arguing against and I have a child who passed- does that count?