To ditch the idea of Grammar as DD isn't good at maths?(237 Posts)
despite the fact that she's extremely good at literacy? She's in year 5 and one of the youngest but just flew through a test paper for verbal reasoning in literacy but the maths made her go
I COULD get a tutor couldn't I....she's "ok" in maths but finds it a struggle...her grade is as expected for her age....but she'd need a BIG leap in the coming year.
Considering we have excellent state secondarys here shall I just forget Grammar or put her through a year's worth of hothousing?
I would say just send her to a local non selective secondary.
Would you continue with the tutoring once she started the grammar school?
That's it isn't it...I suppose she'd possibly need a tutor still! I am considering the tutor anyway...I don't want her to fall behind when in state secodary either...
You wouldn't necessarily have to continue with tutoring?
Sometimes there are a couple of particular issues in maths which stop other bits falling into place and once these are ironed out, the penny drops and confidence picks up.
If you can find a tutor who can be honest rather than just be interested in taking your cash, it is probably worth considering.
It depends - do you think it will all just "click" with a bit of tutoring and she will come on in leaps and bounds and be fine by Yr7? Or do you think she will mind being, maybe, bottom of the class in maths and struggling to keep up all the way through grammar?
Local boys' grammar school head spoke to all the Y7 parents at the first parents evening "it is already very clear to us which of your children were tutored to pass the 11+, we hope you intend to continue the extra tutoring to keep their grades up to scratch"
How is she otherwise academically - is she cut out for being self motivating and just getting on with homework for a couple of hours a night, or will it be a constant battle and make her miserable and you stressed? I have 2 DDs at grammar - both are A* students (I am not bragging, honest- they are totally self motivated and doing really really well) DDs friend on the other hand does not find any of it easy, despite initially being pleased to have got in. Grammar is not best for everyone.
How does she feel about it?
I would try the tutoring and have her take the exam at least. You can always turn down a place if she's offered it and you may have a better idea of what's the right thing to do by the end of the academic year
At the very least she will benefit from the tutoring
Have you spoken to her current school?
IME tutoring is okay to teach exam/VR technique for the 11+, but if she needs tutoring in the actual subjects she may well struggle.
As a child who was clever at everything except maths, I didn't get into the local grammar. I was gutted and was really held back at the local comp. It is so hard to concentrate when in a shitty school. They put the naughty kids in with everyone else, which may help there behaviour, but it dramatically affected my level of education. How can a teacher teach when they're constantly telling certain kids off?
As a result, i'd get her a maths tutor for the exam, as long as you realise she may have to keep it up throughout school, which isn't a massive deal and would really help. Extra tutoring shouldn't be seen as a negative thing, she'll have to learn it either way, so why is it a big thing if you can afford to pay for her to be educated 'privately'?
Go for it
Depends on the child/GS...but general rule of themb around here is that a child needs to be a strong Level 5 in all three subjects in order to be comfortable at the grammar school. If they're not, then the consensus is they're perhaps going to struggle to keep up, and will need additional tutoring through out.
And, then many children (incl. our DD1) get some tutoring on top of their Level 5 abilities, iyswim - because it just teaches them technique, and timing etc.
Comprehensive does not mean mixed ability teaching!
OP- what % go to grammar school in your area? And what NC levels is she working at now?
bimba- its not as easy as that - in many areas, if you even apply to grammar, regardless of whether you then think again and decide to decline the place you are offered, the local comps will NOT offer you a place. One of our local comps ONLY offers to those who put them as first choice. OP might therefore put grammar as first choice, get offered, but then decline - and NOT get her second choice but have to go right back to the bottom of the "clearing" process - and her child may end up in a sink school miles away. With no entitlement to free/subsidised transport.
I would choose a non selective one. She then has time to improve and move up the sets at her own pace.
Are your local grammar schools part of a country wide grammar scheme which take all the pupils who pass the 11+ , or are they 'super selectives' to which people from miles around apply and often tutor madly?
It seems to me that one of the problems with grammars is that children need to be equally strong across subjects to get in, whereas at a good set / streamed comp they can be in a top set for a strong subject and learn at a more suitable pace in subjects wheree they need more help. But for a local grammar, maybe give her some practice at the Maths and then what's the harm in allowing her to take the 11+ if you think the grammar, as a school will suit her?
At a good comp in a non grammar area the top sets are in effect the grammar set anyway.
"bimba- its not as easy as that - in many areas, if you even apply to grammar, regardless of whether you then think again and decide to decline the place you are offered, the local comps will NOT offer you a place. One of our local comps ONLY offers to those who put them as first choice"
I don't think that can happen any more- "normal" state schools (as opposed to academies) do not process applications- the LEA does. So it can't matter where you put the school on the form- if there's a place and you fulfil the entry requirements, then you should get in.
well that's certainly NOT the case round here curlew, I can assure you.
I was in your situation a year ago. My DD is brilliant at literacy but finds Maths really hard we went down the tuition route, 1 hour a week plus homework. My DD was a 4b/a at the end of year 4 and a 5b across the board at the end of year 5 so certainly had the ability.
My DD didn't pass the GS exam. The tuition helped her get to grasp with Maths, but many of the other girls were getting intensively tutored (including full time over the holidays and withdrawn from school the week before the exam) so they were always going to be leaps and bounds ahead.
In hindsight I wish I hadn't put my precious child through this terrible process. I would have never considered the intensive tuition route. The local comp is great and they stream so she'll be with children of her ability and their results are really good.
Getting the results has left us with a 10 year old who has had her spirit crushed, she now has no confidence in her own abilities, it'll take time but we are working on building up her confidence again.
Hope this helps.
"*One of our local comps ONLY offers to those who put them as first choice*." If you are in England and it is a state funded school, this is not legal. The Admissions procedures are statutory and all schools must operate an 'Equal preference' system - which means that the school never even knows where on your list you have put them.
Schools work through all applicants to their school, rank them strictly in accordance with their admissions policy (which cannot include 'aplicants who put us first on the list'!) and then tell the LA which children they can offer a place to. The LA then allocates you the school highest up your list which can offer you a place.
It is true that if on National Offer day you get allocated your first (or any choice) choice school and you have changed your mind and decide you prefer a school which you place dlower down the list then at that point you will have to go on the waiting list, no 'second choice' option will have been reserved for you.
However waiting lists are maintained in strict order against the admissions criteria, so if you live on the doorstep of your local comp you should be OK ish.
Many Grammar School areas release the results of the 11+ before you have to submit your CAF, so that you are not taking a complete gamble in using up places on your list for a school your child has already failed the test for.
Have you been to see the grammar school and the other local schools? It's a good idea to visit in Yr 5 and get an idea.
Kittens she's not a 4b...I can't remember what she is but I reckon 3 something at the end of year 4. She does struggle a bit with it. The grammars are no Super Selectives...don't know what % go.Her teacher was a bit vague...she said there's no reason she couldn't pass with tutoring.
The local comp is really excellent...3 went to Ozbridge last year and others to excellent unis....it's well supported by parents from what I can make out.
DD is sort of slef motivated and sort of not...she's a perfectionist and gets stressed if things are not VERY perfect. She's very literal...don't know if that helps or hinders in this type of exam...
Blu I've not been to visit yet....I keep putting it off as I'm so stressed by it all already. I suspect a minority of children in her class will sit 11+ I am so scared of not doing right by DD....of bottling it to save us the stress...when she COULD pass perhaps.
But then again some people would kill to have such good local state schools at secondary level....it seems that the kids with potential are pushed along and sent to the best unis from there anyway....
Also the idea of my just turned 11 year old going 14 miles on a bus every day is a bit worrying....whereas now, she could walk the mile to school if we send her locally.
But it's not all about the exam, it's about the 7 years of education which follows the exam.
How will she fare in an environment where she may well be middle or bottomish of a very selective group, rather than being used to being top-ish in literacy in her primary school? How confident is she? How competitive or academically pressured is the grammar? As a child good at literacy might she want to do two MFLs, and is that possible at GCSE at the comps? Or the grammar? Might she want to do Latin - is that available at any of the schools? What is the pastoral supoprt and ethos of the various schools and what will suit her best? Music lessons if that is important to you?
It isn't a case of just assuming that the grammar is best for every bright child.
You need to go and visit! no point in putting yourself in for a potentially stressful period of prep for 11+ if you visit all the schools and decide that actually one of the comps will suit her much better!
Blu that's right and it's what's bothering me most....if I am honest and go with my instinct I don't think it's right for her...she's very like me in that she gives her ALL to the subjects she's passionate about (art, drama and Literature) and everything else can go hang! Not great but hard to get out of....
I doubt she'll want Latin....but then again I don't know! She's interested in language....music isn't important. She's had opportunities and doesn't seem bothered. She just loves art and literacy above all and the comp has strong departments in both.
I can see her doing English Lit or some kind of creative thing...like me!
We dithered a bit about putting DS in for the selective tests, and it's interesting, now that he is in the top sets of his comp (and the top scorer in several core subjects ) we realise that actually he might have been selective exam material - worth having a shot, anyway. But he was young in his year, and has only matured into some of the subjects in Yr 7, and we are very impressed with the comp (which is suiting him really well), and the selective is a bus ride away opposed to a short walk.
Sometimes you feel as if you should take the selective option, or jpin the compettion just because it's there, and everyone else is scrambling for it.
I would go and see the grammar, and either both you and DD will fall for it and see it as exactly the right school for her, worth the journey and worth a shot at the test with a bit of practice paper support, or you will wipe it off your list and you can stop fretting.
From your last post, I would be questioning why you want her to go selective?
She sounds as though she might be near the top (in English at least) at the comp and pretty near the bottom at maths at the selective. And as she will be with very bright children, she may not be near the top at English either at the selective either.
What's her science like?
Send her where she will succeed and be happy.
In that case listen to your instincts.
Does she want to try for the grammar?
I personally wouldn't put my DC into a grammar school if they were going to bump along the bottom for the next 5 years. If she will do well at the local high school her self-esteem will be kept intact.
Go and look at the schools, and see which ones you and she prefer. Maybe if someone can recommend a tutor she could have a session and they could assess her potential for the entrance exam?
The whole GS process is pretty horrible, and the children do get stressed out. I am in two minds about it all, even having been through the selection process twice.
My DSs were tutored to pass the exam, for technique more than anything, once a week.
I agree with the other posters. You know your DD and her self esteem. If I could turn back time I would not have gone into the 11+ process as it was horrid and all it has done is destroyed my lovely confident DD. The comp is local full of local kids the Grammar is super selective so children can travel for upto 2 hours to get to school. Go and see the schools and look at the children there to decide if you can see your daughter fitting in - ask about extra curricular activities and see if the children showing you around do any..
Don't feel pressured into going down the 11+ route just because everyone else is - I think the reason I did was because of the other parents, one of my friends didn't and her DD is thriving in the accelerated streams at our local comp.
If you read back your posts you'll see that you have made up your mind already. I think as a parent you feel under obligation to consider Grammar but I think you've made up your mind already
Dd is at grammar because it has the best pastoral care; she was a school refuser at 2 schools.
IME, the good comps can get better GCSE results for top streams than the grammars. Maybe grammars are better scores on average than comps, but just compare top stream comps with grammars - not mucg difference
Maths is not my strong point but I still got into a grammar without tuition.
It's maybe worth going through her maths books see where she's struggling and see if you can give her a more simplified explanation
Wannabestepfordwife not sure how old you are, but grammar exams are so different now from what they used to be. When everyone sat the exams they didn't need the prep and you got in if you were bright.
Now for the superselective you will have people who travel for hours to get to school as there are no catchments and the prep for the exam is fierce, as is the competition for places - some children are tutored for 17hours a week (full days at the weekend) and 6 hours a day over the holidays.
Seeing the sheer number who attend the exam days is a real eye opener.
My daughter was a mark or two off the top mark in her 11+ exam and only looked at two past papers. She went to the grammar school 12 miles away and did very, very well academically but didn't love going to school, though she respected and liked a lot of her teachers and she did have friends there. She didn't have a choice of local friends. She knows she did so well because of the school she was in, but doesn't really speak fondly of school. I'm not sure whether she would if she'd gone elsewhere as she found adolescence hard.
My son wasn't as academic and although I knew I could've got him tutored into passing the 11+ exam I didn't want him to be struggling in the bottom set in a lot of the subjects. He went to the local comp and absolutely loved it - he did well and has tons of local friends, who he still mixes with now. His main concern was having local friends and I could see his point.
You have to treat every child as an individual; what's right for one isn't right for another.
Kittens, frankly, those students who need that much tutoring shouldn't be going to the grammar schools - they will struggle.
I had a tutor for my DC's and I certainly don't regret it. I think it is a separate issue from the grammar/comprehensive question. If she needs a bit of help with her maths then she should have it if you can afford it. If your state comprehensive's are good then personally I would choose the comprehensive. But I agree with go and see both and see what you think is best for your DD
kittens I'm 26 so 16 years since I took the test (summer baby) god I feel old now! I'm guessing it is alot more competetive now
Interesting what JuliaScurrhas said about the pastoral care.
My dc is 4 weeks into year 7 at a grammar school after having issues with school refusal previously. She has also had some medical issues start since she began there.
I have been blown away so far at the care she has been shown.
My dc was physically bullied at a previous primary, they didn't give a s**t.
My DS got maximum points in his 11 plus and started at a grammar in September.
He is loving it and I must say that the school is wonderful. I could go on and on about pros and cons and tutoring etc etc but if I were you I would go for it, get her a tutor and see how she goes with her maths, she will be pulled up at a grammar rather than dragged down at a lesser school iykwim.
The Value Added effect at DS's comp is higher than some of our 'within reach' selectives. In what way does a good comp with well run setting drag anyone down?
A lot of grammar schools have pretty poor Value Added.
"she will be pulled up at a grammar rather than dragged down at a lesser school iykwim."
Sorry- that is such bullshit!
I think you should tutor just to help her feel confident and successful in maths, which is a Good Thing and opens many doors for her academically, whether she goes to grammar or non-selective.
My dd has just sat the 11+ and we are now breathing a sigh of relief as its all over!
She was the opposite, very hot at maths but I bit lazy when it came to English. She was/is capable but doesn't always do enough with the English iykwim. We got a tutor. A family friend who had her for 1 hour a week and set her homework. Dd asked to do the 11+, but OFTEN changed her mind whilst doing the homework for her tutor!
The first exam day she got up in tears, panicking that she wasn't "clever" enough and I seriously questioned my sanity and reasoning in sending her. However when she came out she was all smiles and had really enjoyed it. The second week (the maths paper) she positively skipped off to the exam!
I was worried. And then I went and saw her school teachers who said that since returning in September my dd was so much more focused, more mature and more than capable of passing the exam.
Now we are waiting for the results and at the end of the day if she hasn't passed then we will look at our other options.
As for the poster who eluded to children taking the 11+ not getting comp places, that's no longer right. It used to be that if you sat the 11+ whether you passed or failed you were "opting out" of the comp system and you would not be entitled to opt back in. Now that has changed.
I think that you should suit the child to the right school and not pick the school and fit your child. If they can't do it without a tutor then they are not suited. I wish they could do a tutor proof test, but it appears to be impossible.
From everything you've written, I'd decouple the maths tutoring from the grammar entry and just get her the tutoring anyway. She may not be "naturally" maths-y, but there's no harm in supporting her in the subject she's weakest in.
Nothing wrong in tutoring if she is weak in maths but I can't see the point in doing it to get a school place.
"At a good comp in a non grammar area the top sets are in effect the grammar set anyway."
This isn't strictly true.
A grammar school creams off the top 20% and then streams that top 20% into 5 more sets. The top set in maths will have (approx.) the top 5% of pupils based on ability. Maths ability in the top set will be nothing less than exceptionally good.
A comprehensive has to take all comers, regardless of ability. And then has to stream these all comers into 5 sets. The top set will have roughly the top 20% based on ability. Maths ability will range from exceptionally good...to just pretty good.
So, the top set in a comprehensive isn't quite comparable to the top set in a grammar.
And we can't have the exceptionally good mixing with the pretty good, can we?
Ah, but I didn't say the top set in a comp is in effect the top set at a grammar, did I?
But it will contain those who would have been at a top set in a grammar. As well as those who would have been in other sets at grammars.
In the minutiae it all depends on whether the comp is banded for admissions, has a local demography of geniuses or otherwise, sets or streams...
My friend's son is absolutely fantastic at MFL and English, Startlingly so - easily top 0.1% sort of talent. But he would never have got into a grammar because he can't do the maths. Likewise in DS's class there are maths prodigies who would not have got into our local selective which requires essay writing as part of the test. These kids are thriving in a comp.
I also know kids who are custom made for the super selective grammars they go to, a top-SATS achiever who is doing very well in a less than sought after comp and a very bright child who has been removed from a (different) less than sought after comp because she was coasting and skiving.
You can't generalise - all you can do is look at what is on offer in your particular location, and your individual child's spread of abilities and personality, and make what you think or hope is the best decision.
Blu yes...that's the thing. DD needs a LOT of support with her maths....she'll sit through a lesson...come home with homework and still need to be reminded of how to do it. I'm the same...and it takes a good while to get things to sink in. I do feel more confident about the whole thing now....I'm not sure DD will be capable of making the leap which will be needed in a year's time and I'm also not sure she will like the travel when the majority of her class will attend the local comp.
I am coming closer to just applying for the comp....the extra maths help is probably needed anyway, just to keep her on the straight and narrow.
She's a creative kid...same as I was and I'd like her to be relaxed about the transition and to know where she is going well in advance as she finds change difficult...if she knows "That's where I'm going" then she'll be much more relaxed I think about the whole transition.
I did, though. And, the setting for maths notwithstanding, I stick to it.
And when it comes to maths, I see no reason at all why the exceptionally good shouldn't work in the same room as the pretty good, just as they do in English, French and Physics.
"And when it comes to maths, I see no reason at all why the exceptionally good shouldn't work in the same room as the pretty good, just as they do in English, French and Physics."
I completely agree!
(I went to a highly selective grammar-type school, and do not think they are the be all and end all of good education!)
I think you should have a tutor for a term and see what happens. You could be describing my DD2. Same age. Similar abilities it would seem. It doesn't sound as though she is bad at maths. But not as good as at English
We also have 2 good local grammar schools. Although for us the other choices are really only just about adequate.
We are going to have a term of tutoring to see if it "clicks". Take stock in the new year.
Very interesting thread. My son just took the 11+ (everyone round here does it - well mostly) and we're waiting on results.
The difference in the schools is so so tangible though. It is very polarised.
One one end you have the grammars which are extremely competitive, very well-to-do and it's a bit like a Boden hall sale...in terms of elbows and outfits.
The non grammars OTOH are pretty poor. imo anyway - poor facilities in some, but good pastoral care and great facilities in others but terrible, terrible atmosphere and rude children.
We are anxious about it but he is one of the less academic children in his year, and though he is keen to please, he really would far rather be making something out of bits of wood, or building a camp or a fire at the end of the garden or just generally designing weapons.
We tried the 'plus club' which was really odd, (the looks I was given when we didn't want to come for the entire year were very much 'you clearly don't give a stuff about your child's future') and we only went three times. I hated it.
I'm also not impressed with one of the grammars which was right up its own arse. We haven't seen the other one yet.
I want him not to be written off. But I don't want him stuck somewhere that will judge him relentlessly and assume he is rubbish because he isn't academic. The decision is almost impossible and it is in the main taken out of our hands here.
Just for a moment forget the schools.
Is dd happy? Is she having a happy childhood? Hopefully you have answered yes.
Now would she continue to have a happy childhood being tutored? In a selective school? In a comp?
You can get qualifications and continue with education at any age. You get one childhood.
she gives her ALL to the subjects she's passionate about (art, drama and Literature) and everything else can go hang
How do the grammars feel about drama and art? If those are her passions but she can only do 30 mins art every 2 weeks and no drama how will she feel?
Not everyone suits the education system we have, go look at the schools, are the children happy.
Something I heard on the radio this morning - ignore ofstead, hang around at leaving time, if you are crushed in the rush it is not a good school (obviously someone's opinion but I liked the thinking).
You need to be careful about how you approach your daughter with this, OP.
I was in the same boat; great at literacy, not so great at maths. Tbh, it was a combination of an extremely overbearing father and a horrid teacher that made it so, perhaps a bit of help in the way of an understanding tutor would have made all the difference.
Not in my case though, my father totally wrote me off as useless, didn't get me any extra help and I didn't sit the 11+.
I still think I'd have benefitted from a tutor. Even if I'd failed the exam, I'd have gained confidence in a shaky subject.
"And we can't have the exceptionally good mixing with the pretty good, can we?"
Yes, of course you can curlew, and most comprehensives have to. Grammar schools generally don't - they can stream line their sets to the nth degree.
This means that the top set can streak forward like greased lightning. I have 2 friends who have taught in GS and comprehensives. In their experience the top set in a GS are faster to teach, and can move forward faster than the top set in a comp.
Naturally, this is just their experience, and I'm sure there will be exceptions etc. And, lots of children are parents won't be that bothered about streaming to the nth degree, and will be perfectly happy for the exceptional to be in the same set as the good.
Yes, I agree with you Blu. It just depends on how finely tuned you want your sets to be, I suppose?
And, yes, plenty of comprehensives are actually selective in their own way - because their pupils are selected on the ability of their parents to afford houses in very expensive areas.
"And when it comes to maths, I see no reason at all why the exceptionally good shouldn't work in the same room as the pretty good, just as they do in English, French and Physics."
Well, they don't have to, obviously. There's no cast iron reason. But, I think if a small group of exceptional students can progress forward very quickly, then they should be allowed to do that as fast as they can, and they shouldn't be held back.
Having worked in schools myself, and with several friends who are teachers, I know how even good/experienced teachers find it hard to move the class forward any faster than the speed of the least able pupil in that set.
My eldest daughter went to a super-selective grammar. She was tutored for the maths element of the 11+, although not hot-housed as she was very able anyway (primary school simply did not teach maths to the required level).
She loved it, and it was right for her. However, we did come across some students who had been hot-housed for the 11+, and whilst a number of them were OK, there were others who struggled and would perhaps have been happier in the top sets of a good comprehensive.
One other drawback for us was that the grammar she went to (and it was the nearest one) was almost 20 miles away. It meant leaving home just after 7.00am and getting back between 5.00 and 6.00pm, so a very long day, with homework on top. 7 years of that took their toll. She tended to get very tired and was ill much more often than her younger sisters.
We chose grammar for her in part because of her ability and in part because our local comprehensive had been struggling for a few years. It had just appointed a new headteacher (I am talking back in 2006-ish, when my daughter was transferring to secondary school). Seven years on now, and our local comprehensive has been turned around. It is very much on the up. Our two younger girls have not gone the grammar school route. It would not have been suitable for my middle daughter anyway (more practical than academic). My youngest could probably have done well at the 11+, but since we were now happy with the local school she has gone there. She is in top sets and very happy.
My children are a case in point for those who point out that whilst grammar suits some children, it does not suit others. There are many, many factors to take into account. Visit all potential schools with your daughter, including the grammar. See what you both feel then. I too think that you really already know what your gut feeling is, and there is something to be said for a shorter schoolday, locally and with good local friends. It isn't all about academia. It is also about balance, which I don't think we had enough of with my eldest daughter.
So people put up with the whole unfair, stressful socially divisive system so that a few exceptionally able mathematicians get to do GCSE in year 8?
One thing to check with whatever comps you look at - if your child is much stronger in some areas and weak in another (esp English v maths) is that the school sets and doesn't stream. The terms seem to be being used somewhat interchangeably in this thread, but there can be a big difference. I know a boy who went to an 'excellent' comp - where other children I know go and thrive - but it was a disaster for him because he was weak at maths and so put in a low stream for everything. He ended up being sent to a private school and going down a year to catch up, which was pretty drastic.
curlew I think your view is rather obtuse, isn't it?
Personally, I don't see it as unfair.
No more unfair than children unable to go to a local good comprehensive, because their parents only earn minimum wage, and therefore can't afford to buy a house in its naice catchment.
Neither do I see it as especially stressful. If the child is clever, and has had some decent preparation then the 11+ shouldn't be all that stressful for them.
It's my belief that no school can successfully be all things, to all children. I happen to believe grammar schools offer the very best environment for children with high academic aptitude.
There's really not that many grammar schools around anymore, so their impact on the education system as a whole isn't that marked.
On these sort of threads, I constantly read how successful and highly achieving everyone's local comprehensive is...so I really don't see there's any real problem is there
LaQueen we can't afford to buy a house at all! We rent...in a naice catchment. We COULD have gone for broke and bought in a shitty area. We'd rather have the instability of rental and a good catchment.
Just down the road...well 2 or 3 miles away, the comps are Bad....with a capital T. We could buy there...or even rent there and have more holidays. Not going to happen.
I'd rather stay put.
When do you have to apply for the Grammar school?
Could you try a tutor for a few months to see how your DD gets on and then make a decision?
Yes...I don't need to apply till spring. I've written it down and can't remember but I think it's May so I do have a bit longer.
My daughter was not the most able mathematician at her grammar school. She was perfectly good enough, and still got an A* in her GCSE when her teacher had previously bemoaned the fact that he thought she would "only" get a B. My daughter was annoyed by that comment, so she set out to prove him wrong. She excelled with greater ease at just about everything else.
I said in my other post on this thread that I did have one or two reservations about my daughter going to the grammar school, but it was not because I saw it as socially divisive. It was much more a practical issue for us (distance and cost of travel), plus the fact that it is not suitable for every child, even sometimes from the same family (as in the case of my own children).
In areas where there are still grammar schools it is an additional choice available to parents who feel their children might be capable. It is perfectly legitimate.
Children who are not suited to grammar schools for any reason at all should not be "hot-housed" through the 11+ because their parents want the kudos of saying that their child has gained a place at X grammar school. That is unfair to the child and can make for an unhappy few years.
It really depends on the school.
DD1 is at a superselective.
Unlike many grammars, they are not required to do triple science at GCSE. There is no particular kudos to doing further maths, over, art, say. They are all encouraged to do the subjects they enjoy and will excel at.
But, from talking to friends, and going to open days, I realise that this is far from the norm in selective schools.
I agree with you Top and I don't see grammar schools as anymore socially divisive than comprehensive schools in expensive housing areas.
Personally, I would rather my DDs were at school with peers who had been selected for their academic ability, regardless of their socio- economic back ground - rather than just because their parents could afford to buy a £300K house in a good catchment.
And, I also agree that in the areas where there are still grammar schools it's great that parents have that extra choice for children they feel have the ability.
I don't see why parents who are so vehemently opposed to grammars get so worked up about them - if they dislike them, think they're unfair, don't think they offer any real benefits, and are perfectly happy with what comprehensives have to offer...then that's great...send your child to the comprehensive. No one is stopping you.
So why do you want to try and stop other parents sending their child to a grammar, if that's what they want?
ICameOn I would do exactly the same as you, in your shoes
"Personally, I would rather my DDs were at school with peers who had been selected for their academic ability, regardless of their socio- economic back ground"
Well, if that's what actually happened you may have a point, but the socio economic background of kids at grammar schools tends to be very similar to those at the "leafy" comprehensives.
And for people in most grammar school areas, the presence of the grammar school means there is no comprehensive to send their child to.
I live within catchment for Bucks grammars and Berks comprehensives. They introduced a new 'tutorproof' test this year. Everyone I know who sat the exams last month had been heavily tutored which makes a mockery of the new exam.
The socio-economic background of those passing the test for admission to our local grammar is very wealthy indeed and no different to the local private schools. There is the added pressure too of external tutoring, actively encouraged by the grammar school to ensure they maintain their place in the league tables.
Other than the girls school the local comp results are poor, hence the pressure to get places in the local grammar.
I'm glad that ds won't be moving schools at 11 so we don't have to deal with this nonsense.
But curlew there's so few grammar schools now, that they hardly make an impact.
Plus, not every parent wants their child at a grammar school, anyway. Plenty of parents around here are totally oblivious to the entire GS system, and wouldn't even consider sending their children there, it's just not on their radar.
Our local girls' GS only has an intake of 175 girls every year - and it takes girls from as far away as 18 miles. That's a huge radius area for such a small number of girls.
I don't think removing them from the other dozens of local schools, is going to have that big an impact.
But if these girls have such good academic aptitude then the grammar school is the best environment for them.
LaQ - there are still a few areas where there is a full GS system, in those places the others are 'secondary moderns' not comps. In my own county, there's very few so the effect is diluted.
There are 15 LEAs ( I think) which have a fully selective system. Including Kent, which is, (I think) the biggest.
I really sympathise with those of you having to deal with this choice. I live in an area that is non-selective, and organises its catchments to be genuinely inclusive. My DS is a bit of a Lit whizz, but saw Maths as a necessary evil in year six, but in a good comp environment is beginning to turn that around. I once threatened him with tutoring, just because I thought he was slacking (never intended to follow through) and it worked, but as so many have said, we need to treat them as individuals!
I would get her a tutor. DD struggled with maths in Y5. Her teacher was able to help me pinpoint the areas she needed to work on and in the end I gave up the (fruitless in this area) search for a tutor. I was able to find lots of resources online and there are plenty of workbooks you can get in WHSmith. We talked it through and I explained it was simply about practicing in peace and quiet, and building her confidence. I also offered her 50p for each 20 min session to boost her pocket money.
It went well, the teacher was really pleased with her progress and DD was noticeably happier and more relaxed in her maths class.
She continued to improve in Y6 without additional help and now, in Y8, she's in the middle set in a non-selective outstanding school with very high standards.
You might want to get a tutor anyway as she needs to do the 11 plus, but often in maths it can be a question of confidence rather than ability.
I would do everything you can to help her get into the best school possible!
I'm with LaQueen don't get the beef.
My only problem is the privately educated applying as they are state schools so should only take state children.Places are limited and if the privately educated don't have an advantage get thee to your local primary.
I can't afford to tutor,my twin boys are bright and one in particular would be far happier in the grammar environment with kids of his ability and work ethic.Hardly a crime and surely the needs of a child should come first.I also don't want them there under ales circumstances.
So we've bought loads of books and are doing it ourselves in a relaxed fashion which anybody is free to do.It aint rocket science and due to their ability won't be that arduous.If they don't get in I'm not going to lose much sleep over it as bright kids will do well wherever they go.
Dp and I both want to utterly shitty comps and would have preferred/ been happier in a grammar environment.We still got degrees and did well.
Not sure why all bright kids have to be at the local comp and their presence will be advantageous to other kids.I pick schools to suit my dc not the entire community.
Errol yes, there are here. But to be honest, this is a very big county with not that many grammar schools. The GSs take a very small percentage overall.
There's still thousands of above average intelligence children going to the local comps/secondary moderns.
One of the areas one of my dc is extremely able in has far better provision at the grammar(we've checked) so it makes far more sense to attempt to go there.
Retro what about those parents who chose private for non-educational reasons? Prep school fees are substantially cheaper than senior school and I know lots of people who will be choosing state senior schools for that reason (both grammar and comprehensive).
I really don't understand why, in areas with GSs, the state schools don't all prepare their kids for 11+, which is what happened back in my day.
When I was at school (many many years ago) we did three practice tests in class and then the exams. No tutoring at all and no shame in going to the local secondary either (which seems to be part of the problem these days).
Errol around here, many/most of the junior schools do provide free 11+ classes, after school.
Our DD's school doesn't really. Just 6 token ones (our HT is against selective education).
But, lots of parents just aren't bothered about their DCs going to the grammars. Which is absolutely fine. But the children who do sit for the 11+ have all had decent prep' for it.
The school w're looking at does 2 free full days in prep.
I agree though.I think there should be an 11+ club for anybody interested in primary schools.If you're at a certain level it's just technique,if it takes more than that they shouldn't be there hence my relaxed approach.
Yes, I think that's partly the problem bisjo.
Grammar schools are still perceived (by many) as being the gold standard for academic excellence.
And, even if they live in a none grammar school area, and their children did very well at the local good comprehensive, some parents feel peeved off that another child, who happened to attend a grammar school (even if it's 70 miles away), will always be perceived as being more academically able than their own child.
Tbh I'm mostly interested in the atmosphere as dtwin 2 is very swotty,geeky and would imvho be happier with other highly motivated kids.Re gold standard my friend's son has just got into Oxford from the average local comp(our second choice), in our case the grammar is no better academically imvho.
Also, I think among some parents there is the unspoken element...if you mention that your child is at a grammar school, it is understood (albeit unspoken) by others that your child is academically very clever.
But, if you mention that your child attends the local comprehensive, there isn't that unspoken understanding.
A lot of parents around here, when talking about the comprehensive their child goes to, seem to feel the need to quickly always mention '...and they're doing really, really well...they're very bright...they're doing 12 GCSEs...etc, etc'
I've noticed that the GS parents don't tend to feel the need to tell you that their DD is very bright, or mention how well she is doing at the grammar, or how many GCSEs she is taking.
Retro yes, but it's the perception of grammar school excellence - and you can't deny the majority will outperform the local comps.
Only because of intake,not because they're getting anything gold plated.
We have friends who are secondary heads and teachers who say teaching may well be better in comps as they have to work harder at keeping kids motivated.
I wonder if the perception is because, at least where we live, people don't consciously choose the local comp. They end up at the local comp either because they have failed the 11+ or because they have chosen not to do the 11+. There is always that consideration, rightly or wrongly.
Ds is at a non-selective prep but will most probably go to a highly selective senior school as that is the only way I can guarantee he will do any work!
You could get very lazy as a grammar teacher.You're hardly going to leave your comfort zone very often.
We just loved the atmosphere though and the building. I really suited dtwin2 not sure about his twin,may well be happier in the comp.Will get them to visit both.
If you want red brick unis further down the line most of my teaching friends say you're better off at a comp- they're doing a lot of work to get more kids from state comps in.
Something to keep in mind which I am.
In kent, which, I think is the largest fully selective LEA, primary schools are specifically forbidden to provide any preparation. for the 11+, apart from a couple of practice papers.
Retro you're probably right. I think teaching in a GS must be a stroll in the park, compared to a comp.
"If you want red brick unis further down the line most of my teaching friends say you're better off at a comp- they're doing a lot of work to get more kids from state comps in."
I'm sure most grammar school parents are hoping for better than a "red brick".
bisjo I don't really know why there is this perception, but I really believe there is.
Oxbridge are trying to attract more kids from state comps,the top unis were vying for my friends comp educated son.
Actually, I think curlew most GS parents I know (and I know a lot) are hoping for their child to do the form of HE that is best suited to them, at the university which offers the best course, and for their DC to be happy.
Not really any different from the parents I know who don't have children at a GS.
>In kent, which, I think is the largest fully selective LEA, primary schools are specifically forbidden to provide any preparation. for the 11+, apart from a couple of practice papers.
Exactly all schools have different things they excel in.
Just to illustrate...it's very early days for DD1 now.
But, she's obsessed with graphics, making films, editing videos and anything to do with media production (DH's company does all this, and he's already taught her a lot, and she loves it).
DD1 tells us that she wants to study this further at university, and apparently the place is Coventry - they handled most of the production for Avatar, and are considered the most cutting edge/progressive in this field.
I think Oxford/Cambridge or any other RG university would be a very poor second
Reading this, I am so so glad there are no grammars around here. All this talk of 17 hours of tutoring a week and 6 hours in holidays is awful
"Oxbridge are trying to attract more kids from state comps,the top unis were vying for my friends comp educated son."
Presumably because he had good predicted A levels? I don't think universities are in competition for good applicants are they? "What sort of offer did you get from Exeter? AAB? oh, I'm sure we can do better than that- how about ABB?" "Oh, you're from an comprehensive? 3 Bs is the death- can't say fairer than that, can I?"
No but surely the point is these kids will get those grades wherever they go.Not sure how such kids missing out on a place at grammar are being wronged.
Bucks doesn't allow schools to prepare either, so Kent isn't unusual.
hester I think 17 hours a week is insane.
Our DDs saw a tutor for 55 minutes per week, followed with about one hour's homework.
Anything less than top marks isn't good enough for my son(god only knows where he gets it from because it isn't me).He will go that extra mile wherever he goes.
You only have to listen to Desert Island Discs to hear how failing the 11+ affects people.
Why have a system that divides 10 year olds up into successes and failures when all the children could all be at the same school with the same opportunities, not separated off 25/75 at the end of primary.....
From a very young age, children start failing at stuff. So to speak...
Failing to get picked for show n tell...failing to get picked to play Mary in the Navity...failing to get picked for the top reading/spelling group...failing to get picked for the school football/netball teams...failing to get pick for lunch time monitor...the list is endless.
If a child fails the 11+, that doesn't make them a failure as a person FFS.
If a child fails to win a place in the county orchestra, or a place in the county cricket team, does that make them a failure as a person?
The 11+ tests for academic aptitude, which is just a quirk of how your brain is made. Loads (most) of people don't even have this quirk. Just like loads of people don't have perfect pitch...or excellent hand/eye co- ordination.
Schools cannot successfully be all things to all children, regardless of ability.
If a child can be tutored to pass an exam to a highly selective school he can also be taught to a high level and won't struggle. Tutored kids still have to apply their knowledge during the exam, they don't just learn the answers by heart, that's why some tutored kids still fail.
If a child can be tutored to pass an exam to a highly selective school he can also be taught to a high level and won't struggle.
I think there is a big difference between one to one tutoring and learning in a classroom environment with 29 others and struggling to get teacher time. That's why tutors make so much money out of tutoring pupils who are at 'highly selective' schools.
"Schools cannot successfully be all things to all children, regardless of ability."
So are you saying that children are only educated successfully in areas which have grammar schools?
No, not at all curlew - although you do seem to love to be obtuse and try and put words in people's mouths
Plenty of children receive an education that is successful for their needs at comprehensive schools.
However, I happen to believe that if a child has strong academic aptitude then they are best educated at a school that can specialise and truly cater for their ability.
And, I believe that many comprehensives struggle to provide this level of specialism and focus - because they also have to address the needs and wants of children with hugely diverse academic abilities.
And what happens to those children in those parts of the country that do not have grammar schools?
Then that is unfortunate curlew - but just because not all children can access a grammar, doesn't necessarily follow that no children should be allowed to access a grammar.
If you insist that grammar schools are actually nothing special, and are rather pointless institutions, then why the anger that they exist at all?
No one is insisting that you send your child to a GS are they?
And what happens to those children in those parts of the country that do not have grammar schools?
I think what you actually mean is "that do not have decent schools". A good comprehensive can be just as good as a grammar or even an independent.
Plenty of children who don't get to go to grammar schools (or for that matter, have a private education) go on to do FE! While the proportion of pupils from independent and state selective schools attending top universities is greater than the proportion of pupils from comprehensives, students from comprehensive schools are likely to achieve higher class degrees at university than independent and grammar school students with similar A-levels and GCSE results.
I honestly don't understand why you think a grammar school is better than the top set of a comprehensive. Apart from your specific point about maths. And I honestly don't think anyone would believe that the selective system is worth perpetuating, or even extending, just so that a few kids could do GCSE maths in year 7. In what other ways does the system benefit the minority who go to grammar, and the majority who don't?
DD goes to an excellent State Comp, Y8. Two boys in her year got their GCSE Maths last year. One of them plays two instruments and is an all-round prodigy! The other's dad plans for his son to become an actuary. A boy in the year ahead of her also did GCSE Maths in Y7.
No Grammar School required.
Absolutely, olgaga. And no doors closed to anyone based on a test taken when you're 10. Nobody saying "Of course you can't do X- that's for grammar school pupils"
I think people are biased towards the schools their DC attend. But I still think DSs grammar offers more opportunities than the excellent comp in our area. And the kids are much better behaved at DSs school...
The vast majority in our year 11 went on to do A Levels. Almost all of us went on to FE. That was a state comp.
Curlew you're going round in circles now
That's the point! However if you tell kids "That's it, you've failed, you have no hope, the door to learning is closed to you" then sadly they might believe you and blame it all on "THE SYSTEM".
I don' think I am, olgaga- I think we're on the same side!
"But I still think DSs grammar offers more opportunities than the excellent comp in our area."
That's rather my point. Why should children already advantaged have more advantage because of their performance in a test on a couple of days when they were 10? Why shouldn't the children at the comprehensive (if it is, most comprehensives in grammar school areas are anything but- have all the opportunities open to the grammar school pupils?
But the point is surely that you will try to get your children the best education for them thatvyou can, whether thst is Independent, GS home schooling or Comp.
Whether that necessitates lots of effort on your part or the expense of a tutor, or homework clubs etc - the fact is that few children can achieve their fullest potential simply through school because no school does it all.
An excellent secondary school can take no credit for Y7 GCSEs - that's the result of extra-curricular tuition through primary school.
Curlew what are these "advantages"?
Retropear, at DSs school all science teachers are PHD educated, there is Latin, kids that want to become doctors join med. society at school, there is also a Law society. the school helps with work experiences, interviews to Oxbridge, etc, etc. Maybe some comps also offer such advantages, but I doubt it.
I don't know, retro, but there must be some, or people wouldn't be scrambling for grammar school places.....
Errr they do-with bells on.
The science provision at our local state is better you don't get a specialist at GCSE at the grammar only A level which you can only do if you get A at GCSE.
As I said our friend's son has just gone to Oxford from said average comp just fine.
Oh and re Latin you can keep it,my niece does it at state primary and I soooooo don't get the hype.
That's great Retropear, unfortunately our local comp does not offer anything like that and was in the news last year because 2 kids from this school got into Oxbridge
All of which discussion yet again proves the only general rule - that you can't generalise about schools, you have to judge which of the schools available in your area is best suited to your child(ren).
PS we DO get specialist GCSEs at DSs school.
Exactly Retro - and in doing so you will enhance their opportunity to fulil their potential, regardless of the category of school.
Great that isn't all grammar's though which is why I'm not sure I want my sciencey boy to go.
Swotty all rounder - totally different kettle of fish.
"ou have to judge which of the schools available in your area is best suited to your child(ren)."
That's a bit of a problem if you have to pass a test on a particular day when you're 10 to get into one of them.
But curlew it isn't rocket science,they should already be working at that level and not have to "perform" for a day.
What about late developers? What about kids whose parents don't know how to "play the game"?
Play the game,don't get that and sorry if kid haven't developed enough by year 6 grammar isn't for them surely.Most grammars I know take no prisoners.You can't even do the A levels you want if you don't get high enough grades.
It's not a bloody "game" curlew. That's a really sad comment. You dont have to be brainy, or a graduate professional -;or rich - to value and priorotise your children's education.
You notice I put "play the game" in inverted commas. There are a lot of parents who have no idea how the system works. Their children, however bright, have no chance. In a properly set comprehensive, they would get their chance.
I don't know any 6th form where you don't need to get the grades to get in, by the way.
Why would the presence of 2 or 3 kids have any impact on the rest of the class?
>That's a bit of a problem if you have to pass a test on a particular day when you're 10 to get into one of them
I know - my DD was only eligible for 'residual places' so she had to do more than pass. So we rather underplayed the virtues of the GS till we knew she had a place and made sure we had a solid backup we were all happy with. This must be a lot harder in full GS areas.
Ah. You're talking super selective. I agree that those do not have much impact on the surrounding schools. I think they are a bad idea for different reasons, but that's another thread.
There are several selective areas where 25% go to grammar schools, like the old days.
Also why do these kids who don't get in have no chance?
I may well have 1 in each( as do several people I know),not sure what the extra chances will be for the non grammar boy.
As I said, I don't know. But the grammar schools must have something special to offer if parents put so much time, effort, money and elbows into getting their child in. Whatever it is, why should only 25% of kids get it?
It's starting to sound a bit emperor's new clothes.
I don't know if it is important for her to go to grammar school or the local comp. (I don't know the schools or your daughter! )
But without all the details, I would say it is worth trying to improve her maths just for the sake of improving her maths. Math is important; it is the gateway into many attractive careers. Giving up on maths at such a young age is closing a lot of doors prematurely, imo. It's easy to stumble in maths and get thrown off track and never get one's confidence back. She is still only little. I'd find out where she is falling short, and try and sort it out.
At this age, the math is still pretty easy and you should be able to help her. Maybe a couple of days after school a week for no more than 30 mins a session. You could work through practise problems with her till she feels secure. Thereby making sure that her foundations are good and she is ready to move forward with confidence.
It's not about being "bright". Plenty of kis are bright, but lazy and disinterested. Plenty of kids are good at sport but don't want to make a career out of it.
Do you seriously think that all children are capable of academic brilliance? Or high achievement in any other field?
The vast majority of children, and adults, are average. Thats why about 50% go to university. They don't call come out with top degrees and get marvellous, high-flying careers.
There's nothing wrong with being average. There's plenty of opportunity to do on the job, vocational or HE study and training.
There's no shortage of opportunity and if you are "bright" and hardworking you'll realise your potential.
"Do you seriously think that all children are capable of academic brilliance? Or high achievement in any other field? "
No. But I don't think you can select those that are at 10.
And I don't think that grammar school = academic brilliance and high achievement.
Hey apologies for the typos - it wasn't my crap education, honest.
I do think it's sad that lots of children don't get the opportunities they should, but I've been thinking that since I was taking DD to toddler groups - well before school.
Have been thinking about this in the light of recent figures from school.
At dd's comprehensive last year, I think 5% got 10 or more GCSEs all at A and A*. Given that there are nine state comprehensives in the city, if we assume dd's school is about average, at a year group size of 150', which I think it is, then that's 63 year 11s who did similar. So about half a grammar year 7 intake. So to get the next half, if we were to change to a grammar system, you'd need to go into the pupils who got 10 as and bs.
So unless in grammar schools, it is universally the case that all year 11s get 10 or more a*s and as, how have those 5% (av.) been disadvantaged without a grammar to go to?
I think you should prepare for the grammar and at least she will have a choice when it came to options. If you don't practice, the grammar won't even be an option.
You have a whole year ahead and could just do hour a week. It will help with with her school maths generally in a round about way - so no loss even if she doesn't do the test.
The maths like the English is very technique based, once she knows how to crack the code it's simple. Knowing times tables will help lots.
Statistics show that the same kids get practically the same results whether in a grammar school or the top sept of a comprehensive in a similar catchment. This must be true, or the wholly selective
LEAs would have significantly better results than non selective ones. Which they don't.
Which demeans that all the angst, coaching, money, appeals and heartbreak must be for something else. Can't be results..............
But you don't know what that something is soooooo chances are neither do most parents.
If they're not ready for high standard secondary education at 10, there's no disgrace in that, but don't for a moment think they'd be able to cope with s high standard comp either.
But if problems can be identified beforehand and nothing is then done to help them prepare for secondary school, that's a shame, but the responsibility for that , in my view, lies with the parents. They don't normally have 30 or so kids to look after.
If the child doesn't get in to a grammar despite extra help, then that should lead to sighs of relief all round because they'll then be a big fish in a small pool which might well suit them better.
Honestly, what's the real problem here? If you are annoyed by grammar schools you must be just as annoyed by people who, when they are forced to move for work or any other reason,aim for the best school catchment they can afford, rather than live where they'd prefer - as we did. Mea culpa! (As they allegedly say in Latin).
And just so you know, I left school at 15, no grammar school for me. DH got into a Kent grammar but his dad died when he was 14 and he left at 16 for an enginerting apprenticeship, but has studied and worked hard all his life and is now successful in a completely different field.
Curlew, it's not just the results that matter. For example, DS had a friend at his prep school and they both sang in choir. DS continues singing in choir in his new grammar school, however his friend did not join choir at his new comp because it is considered "gay". Again, I am not sure what is going on in other schools but after watching Educating Yorkshire I am quite happy that DS ended up in grammar. But to be honest the choice was always between grammar or private school.
I was a bit shaky on maths. My mother had me tutored in maths which really helped. I passed the 11plus and attended the grammar school where I was happy, made brilliant friends and got lovely exam results. I didn't continue to need tutoring once there and was very much in the middle of the pack for all subjects, bar English, where I was in the top stream. Does your daughter want to go?
MrsMaybe... Was the choice grammar, private or non selective, though, not 'comp'? Because that's quite different, and suggests that your ds's friend is not actually in a comprehensive at all.
There are a couple of boys in dd's school choir but no, not enough. I once heard a rather bizarre if endearing talk by a catholic priest about Boys and Singing (yes, really): it's a problem.
I mean if he did not get into our first choice grammar (we got 5 in our area) we'll send him to a private school instead.
I think 20% of kids in our area go to grammar, then a lot go to private schools.
Curlew if the results do show that on a broad average the results are the same for GCSEs in both a grammar and the top sets in comps, then that's great
Academically adept children in a comp will do equally as well.
However, I would still prefer a grammar, over a comp, for an academically very able child - because at a grammar it's considered cool to be clever, and academic achievement is very highly respected.
This isn't necessarily the case in a comp. Even a good comp. It might be well respected whilst in the safe haven of the top set classrooms...but once outside in the corridors, refectory, school yard, gym, school hall etc attitudes towards academic achievement can be very different.
And, yes, agree with Mrs - at grammar schools participating in the school choir, or belonging to your house debating team, or belonging to the school orchestra is considered desirable...an asset to you...and you get kudos as a result.
This isn't necessarily the case in a comprehensive, where very often such activities are ridiculed.
And, to add I have worked in secondary schools where the more clever children came and hid in the library during break times, in order to get their home work finished, but also to essentially escape from all the shit they were getting for being swots and geeks, and whatever.
I know that bullying happens in grammars...but being bullied for being a swot, or a geek is unlikely. So, at least that's one less thing your child doesn't have to be worried about being bullied for.
Laqueen, this is very sad. DS told me that he does not have bullies in his school, it is all boys school by the way. He loves it, especially music, he plays in several orchestras and a band.
Ah well... What do I know? Our school doesn't even have a 'refectory'! Unless its that area that's been cordoned off with police wire for the last five years after the terrible head-kicking incident, come to think of it...
Do we need all the rest of the year group to be saying 'woah man, you're so totally kewell with your A*s, dude, anyone who doesn't get that is way not cool' for our children to do well? Not in my experience.
Ah yes. I remember now. I forgot how rubbing shoulders with a Level 4 in the "refectory" is such an alarming prospect.
And anyone who says there is no bullying in any school- even a grammar school- is sadly deluded. And anyone who thinks that geeks and nerds are not ridiculed in grammar schools is equally deluded.
I can completely see that the parent of a bright child in an area where the choice is between grammar and not, would want their child to be in the grammar.
What I don't see is why that means comprehensives in a comprehensive area are bad places for bright children.
Curlew. I have posted a current thread on this topic,about my friends DD being bullied at her super selective grammar school.
The sole reason for the bullyung is because she is only predicted a B for gcse maths. The worst part is the school seem to agree with the pupils who are smirking at my friends DD.
Curlew - why do you insist on deliberately being obtuse? Rubbing shoulders with a Level 4 in the refectory is obviously not an issue.
However sharing a school with teenagers who hate being there, who are completely disinterested in studying, and spend their time being as disruptive as possible is something I would prefer my DDs to avoid.
Oh...and seeing the news last night...we're 22nd in the developed world for literacy and numeracy FFS.
There might be some good comps...but clearly not enough, clearly nowhere anywhere near enough.
The reasons for yesterday's headlines occur waaaaaay before they start secondary school.Many secondary schools are left to pick up the pieces.
I would want to avoid that too, and as I say, I totally see why, if one lived in a grammar area, that's where one would want one's children to be, if they seemed academically inclined (I wish I hadn't started down the 'one' route in that sentence: it sounds very pompous, but hey ho, it's done now... )
I just don't think that ought to, or needs to, entail a particular attitude about comprehensives in comprehensive areas.
I've been thinking about the reasons my girls have ever had phases of unhappiness at school, and reasons other children have ever been bullied, that I've known of. They include; new and charismatic child moving in and altering established friendships; new groups in setting shifting friendship groups; changes in relationships with friends from primary; having a parent who is known in the community for having ruffled feathers among other parents and children (that one's not one of mine ; being late every day; being a traveller... and some general personality issues/clashes. It's a lot more complex that grrrr we hates you cos you're good at maths.
TheOriginalSteamingNit and Curlew
I don't think that my daughter will get particularly higher grades from her grammar school than from a good comprehensive. I agree that academic children will generally do well anywhere (as an anecdote of one, I got all As from a comprehensive school in the days when that was much, much rarer)
However, I do believe that her journey to those high grades will be happier in a community of other very academic children. I also think she will benefit later in life from not defining herself as 'the clever one' and struggling when she is not the clever one any more - or when that isn't enough. Based on the teachers I have met, I believe that she is more likely to be exposed to ideas well beyond what is required to go well beyond what is needed to tick off those A*.
(by the by - yes, virtually all the girls in her school get virtually all A*/A. About a third get 9-11 A*. But it's more selective than a county-wide grammar school system would be)
I and my dp went to dreadful comps,Dp's was the worst comp in his area.Both of us were bullied for being swots(I had the entire contents of my pencil case snapped and set on fire over a Bunsen burner).Happy days. Bulling for working hard and being bright happens.I also went too a very academic school(no grammar in the area) with the exact reverse where working hard was celebrated.
My dc will not be experiencing the same thing hence my making sure they go to the right school for them.
On visiting our local grammar it was clear the vast maj of kids were geeky and on speaking to staff and parents in the community it is clear that celebrating working hard,achievement at all levels and supporting each other in order to achieve is key.
Still have a lot more research to do but as it stands it looks favourable for my swotty child who gets anxious if he is working with chidren who don't have his work ethic,isn't stretched and is unable to get on and work.Maybe though being surrounded by kids just like him won't neccesarily be a positive thing.Still got a year to decide.
Maybe not always being top is a good thing for these children though,maybe being average in a grammar would be beneficial?
Aaaaaaargh hate having to make life changing decisions for them!
I went to a fairly bad comprehensive too, but luckily that was a number of years ago!
As I say: if you have grammars and no comprehensives (which obviously you wouldn't), I can see why you'd be hoping for the grammar, though.
Retropear, grammar schools are full of average pupils. My very average DS is doing very well, maybe all the tutoring had paid off.
"On visiting our local grammar it was clear the vast maj of kids were geeky"
Really? A) how on earth could you tell and b) why on earth would it b a good thing to be in a school where the vast majority were anything?.
And as I keep saying, people who think there is no bullying in grammar schools are in for a big shock. Maybe cleverer children are better at subtle bullying?
Certainly didn't say there would be no bullying(there is bullying in every school) but being bullied for working hard no.That is the bullying I wish to avoid having been through it myself.
Re a high number of geeky kids,some schools attract sporty kids,some sciencey kid,some techy kids particularly if said school is given status for their strength which many do.I don't see the difference.I would never in a million years send my kids to a sporty school,don't send yours to a grammar,we'll both be happy.<shrugs>
But what does a "geeky kid" look like?
Sorry too hard to define.
I just saw my son in sooo many of them.Let's just say he'd fit in well.The local sporty school,not so much.
All schools differ.You pick the school with the ethos,kids atmosphere that suits yours.
"All schools differ.You pick the school with the ethos,kids atmosphere that suits yours."
Except- and this is getting repetitive- if you live in a selective area, you don't. The system decides at 10 whether your child is, for example, going to want to do 3 sciences, or a second MFL or a BTec in Health and Social Care (yes, it goes both ways).
Or, if some posters are to be believed, whether the child is to be spared the distraction of the feckless.
We're waiting for results. DD loved the process, but I am so dreading getting the results. If she "fails" I hope she copes well on Monday morning when she goes back to school and others say they've passed. I've tried to prepare her for both scenarios and she knows if she works hard she'll do well anywhere but she's going to feel disappointed, I know it.
My only reason for hoping she gets into the grammar is the fact our local comp has nearly 3000 children at it. 3000! Facilites are excellent but christ on a bike!
Just going back a bit...what Curlew said about it being a game. It totally is.
Round here (we live near one another - not mates or anything IRL though, so I am impartial) there are the parents who get tutoring, and the parents that don't. It skews the results, of course it does.
Tutoring costs a packet.
It is also an opt-in and not everyone is even aware of it.
We went along to a couple of tutor group sessions where the kids were plied with sweets every half hour, taught how to answer the questions, deal with the format, I don't know, it was definitely something that would help with the test if you could afford it.
We couldn't, and anyway I thought it sucked. The people running it were like dogs with bones...and I hated the whole thing.
Ds's friend's parent wanted ds to go for some reason, as his ds was going (didn't need to, he's very academic) and they have plenty of dosh so he offered to pay when I said we were jacking it in.
I refused - not because I don't want ds to pass, but because I hated the set up. And ds didn't enjoy it much anyway, only the sweets.
I did test papers at home with him but not very many. Because I think he wasn't that bothered, and it didn't come easily to him. It was counter intuitive to push him.
We are at the mercy of a system that will favour the cleverer children and those more familiar with the format and so on...some people can afford to pay for this, some cannot.
However well ds does, if a load of kids do better, they'll pass and he won't. It's very competitive. I hate it. I wish we lived somewhere else.
Sorry I mean the other child didn't need to go. Ds needs all the help he can get
"However, I do believe that her journey to those high grades will be happier in a community of other very academic children."
Yes, this ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
DD1 is academic, and also equally very sporty. I think her journey through secondary school will be happier at our grammar, because being sporty is very highly respected.
DD2 is seriously academic, and yep...a tad geeky. I think she could easily be liable for teasing/bullying at a regular comp - whereas in our grammar she will just be one of many very clever girls.
And, I do know that some bullying goes on in our grammar (have friends with DDs at it), as it will do in any school as pupils jokey for position.
However, being bullied for being clever, or studious, or doing well in your tests isn't cause for being bullied, thank goodness.
Wrong Curlew kids from comps get into good unis too(hence my not worrying too much re tutoring). At the moment I think my son would be happier in a grammar but I don't think it'll make much odds re A level results.
Pato we can't afford to tutor so will do a bit ourselves,on looking at it it's just a bit of technique and a couple of maths topics he hasn't covered.I could give him the books and leave him to it but won't.
My dc go to a school that requires improvement and with ks2 results in the bottom quintile for * everything*. Personally I think th kids in Good and Outstanding schools have more of an advantage over my son than kids who have been tutored by some tutor nobody knows from Adam with buggar all teaching qualifications to their name.
Interestingly kids can and do go from the comp to the grammar to do Alevels so clearly said comp isn't that much of a disadvantage.
"Wrong Curlew kids from comps get into good unis too"
Of course they do!
It's only the "my dear.....surely not a comprehensive..." brigade who think otherwise.
"Personally I think th kids in Good and Outstanding schools have more of an advantage over my son than kids who have been tutored by some tutor nobody knows from Adam with buggar all teaching qualifications to their name."
Being at a good or outstanding primary makes no difference to whether you can jump through th 11+ hoop. Neither does the teaching qualifications of your tutor. The particular, and eminently teachable skills necessary to pass the 11+ are absolutely nothing to do with education.
Retropear said The reasons for yesterday's headlines occur waaaaaay before they start secondary school.Many secondary schools are left to pick up the pieces
So about 12-15 years ago roughly when these kids started school. But isnt' that when Blair introduced the literacy hour and there was all this talk of phonics being the magic answer to reading problems?
What went wrong?
Soooooo Curlew anybody can apply,they all have equal chances thus there is no issue.Problem over.
Incidentally the only poster bemoaning going to comp and missing out on something at grammar (although you don't know what exactly) is you.
"The particular, and eminently teachable skills necessary to pass the 11+"
I would have to disagree with this statement, to be honest.
Our tutor is a retired grammar school teacher, who used to be involved in actually setting the 11+ exams. His credentials are gold plated, and his pass record is phenomenal.
He was very clear with us at the begining that he would only accept DD1 if she showed true grammar school potential.
He explained that he simply couldn't make her any more intelligent than she already was. But what he could do was show her how to focus her intelligence, and apply it correctly. He would show her exam technique, and how to time herself correctly.
But that was all he could do. The inate ability and intelligence has to be there to begin with.
You could take huge swathes of children, and teach them, and teach them, and teach them tecnhique and timing - but they still won't pass the 11+.
They only have 30 seconds per question - they have so little time to work out the answer. Their brains have to process at lightning speed. All the technique in the world won't help them, if their brains can't process fast enough.
*"Soooooo Curlew anybody can apply,they all have equal chances thus there is no issue.Problem over.
Incidentally the only poster bemoaning going to comp and missing out on something at grammar (although you don't know what exactly) is you."*
Right. If you read my post,you will see that I said I don't think the school a child goes to makes much difference to their chances of passing the 11+. What happens to them outside of school, however, does. Tutoring, educated engaged parents who understand the system - both of these, for example, make a real difference to the chance of passing.
And I am not talking about grammar/comprehensive. If there is a proper comprehensive school for those who don't want to/can't go to the grammar school then that's not a problem. However, in many selective areas that is not the case- it's a grammar school or a "secondary modern"
And I am not "bemoaning". I am discussing.
And of course you have to be top set material to pass the 11+, and there are kids you could tutor til doomsday and they couldn't pass. But if you take a bright kid, and a bright kid with supportive, educated, switched on parents who understand the system and a bright kid without those things, the first kid will pass and the second one won't.
I totally disagree.
Good and Outstanding schools get results otherwise they're not Good or Outstanding.Kids that have spent 7 years in a Good or better school will have a far better chance of getting results than a child in a struggling school not producing good results.
Not sure what you mean by understanding the sytem or that gives any advantage.
Inferring that a child with parents that have bought a few Bond books(which anybody is free to do)has some advantage over a child who has spent 7 years in a Good school with high expectations and good results is daft.
The fact is life isn't fair.
Children have all sorts of advantages over each other.You make the best of what you've got.
Agree with you Retro all sorts of kids, have all sorts of different advantages...you just have to play the hand that's dealt you.
Granted my DD2 is highly academic...she's inhertited good genes ( ) and has engaged parents who know the 11+ system (although it was very easy to find out about, anyway - there's more than you could ever want to know available on the Internet - and there's endless Bond books, and GS packs which show you step-by-step how to take the tests).
However...she is utterly passionate about gymnastics...worships Beth Tweddle...but she is rubbish at it. She's goes to a gymnastics club, but she's one of the weakest ones there. Lots of girls there have been taking gymnastics since they were 3. Several girls are the children of the gymnastic coaches...they've had lots of advantages in this area that my poor DD2 simply hasn't had.
It's all on the 11+ forum- book lists for your region,exam layout for your region,tips re timing,a forum.....
Anybody could go to a library if needs be and get said info.
My dad was a gardener's boy with very poor parents in service.He went to a Kent super selective grammar- a year early.Knowing my grandmother she would have made the best of what she had and got on with it for her son.She wasn't a whiner.I will do the same.
Curlew, what exactly is your point in this debate?
To try to dispel some of the widely held myths about state selective education.
Bloody penis beakers stopping me posting last night .
Anyway - Laqueen, I don't think the gymn analogy works at all - unless all the little girls who are good at gymn will be off to a different school at 11, five days a week, for seven years. And if all their parents are saying things in your, and her, earshot like: 'I'm sure there are some excellent non-gymn schools in leafy areas, but it's not what I want for my dd. I don't want her getting smacked up the minute she gets off the .... trapeze (?).... by a child who hates gym, isn't any good at it, is uninterested in it, and resents our dds for being good at it.
(because obviously if your child failed the gymn test, she'd stop caring about gymn, and she'd hate anyone who was good at it - right?).
I also think it's rather silly to talk about playing the hand that's dealt you etc when what you're really talking about is making sure some children who started out with an ace, perhaps, are having the cards very carefully stacked in their favour before the game begins. It's not about mucking in and doing your best and rolling with the punches etc at all.
And that's all the mixed metaphors for a Thursday morning! .
I don't see anyone here perpetuating "myths".
Nit no, it wasn't the best analogy. But, there's no denying that all sorts of children have all sorts of different advantages going through their childhood...should we refuse to let them use their advantages just because not all children have the same ones.
Unfortunately, life is very often unfair.
But, I don't think there are hundreds of thousands of children out there, beating their breasts in anguish because they're being denined a grammar school education.
Loads of children would never pass in a month of Mondays...loads of children wouldn't even want to go, even if they did pass (they'd want to stay with their friends)...loads of parents aren't bothered...loads of parents are a bit bothered, but actually when it comes down to it, they decide to opt out.
So, considering how few grammars there are I don't think it's especially damaging to let the children who are interested, with the parents who are interested try out for passing the 11+.
I don't think anyone is peddling myths are they?
I have worked in our local grammars, and local comps...I have friend's who teach in both. I have friends with children in both.
I know that bullying goes on in both types of schools. I know that some comps get very good GCSE results.
I know that in grammars discipline/behavioural issues and truancy are virtually non existant - I know that even good comps struggle to match that.
I know that comps sometimes have better teachers, because they have to be. Some grammar school teachers just gently coast along, because they can, because their pupils are very clever, highly motivated and essentially teach themselves.
So, what myths are we meant to be peddling
There's one myth to start with. The suggestion that in fully selective areas there are grammar schools and comprehensives.
A lot of people think this. It's not true. In areas where there are only super selectives, the schools everyone else goes to are "near as dammit" comprehensives. But in fully selective areas, this is not the case. There are grammar schools and high schools- what used to be referred to as comprehensives.
Curlew is right.
Ds1 has a massive IQ (properly assessed by a dyslexia specialist who has referrals and constantly full books from all the local schools...people come to her during and after school for help with severe dyslexia (ds isn't dyslexic, officially though he has some elements of it - no help forthcoming from school, but we got him assessed).
as part of the assessment (couple of hours) his IQ was measured and came up at above 140.
This astounded me as he has never performed academically at all.
He is according to school, unlikely to pass the 11+.
He doesn't have a problem with intelligence. He does have a processing issue. Our school wasn't interested in helping him with this, so he is, effectively, written off by them.
The alternatives to grammar here, if you do not pass, are just phenomenally crap.
No indeed: there's just a touch of the disingenuousness-es about it all, sometimes. And needless rudeness about the children who do go to comprehensives.
That's not a myth to me Curlew.
In fully selective areas, you have grammars, and you have secondary moderns/high schools. I know because I have worked in both.
Pato do you think the school would take more notice if the assessment was performed be the LEA Educational Psychologist, in their official capacity?
Schools tend to take note of this, because if your DS is assessed so highly he will qualify as having special needs, and your school can apply for addtional funding for them. And all schools like any additional funding.
But, I don't think they could use the diagnosis of a dyslexia tutor to put forward to the LEA?
Sorry- crucial typo in my last post. It should read-
"There's one myth to start with. The suggestion that in fully selective areas there are grammar schools and comprehensives.
A lot of people think this. It's not true. In areas where there are only super selectives, the schools everyone else goes to are "near as dammit" comprehensives. But in fully selective areas, this is not the case. There are grammar schools and high schools- what used to be referred to as *secondary moderns*"
I never knew that Laqueen - thankyou. The thing is the assessment was done as a favour for us because the woman is a family friend, and said she had had a lot of help from my mum with something else so she did not charge us.
Sadly though she didn't give us anything in writing either
And she is so, so busy that we didn't like to push for it.
School has never ever suggested that he get assessed by an ed psych, and I wouldn't know how to access that now. Do you know anything about that? And might it help with an appeal if he doesn't pass?
Pato I don't know if it's different for different schools? I would start be talking to your HT, and seeing what the procedure is for their school. Or, you could perhaps approach your LEA directly.
I know it can takes months and months though, so not sure if it would be in time for any appeal? Does your GS take them for the 12+ and 13+? Because that might be an option?
Thankyou - I will talk to the new HT here and ask, I don't hold out much hope but it's worth a go.
Pato- does the school acknowledge that your child has special needs at all?
I presume you've talked to the SEN co ordinator at his school- what do they say.
I would be a bit wary of a grammar school for a child with severe processing difficulties- by definition they are often not very well geared up for dealing with special needs, and the learning is often very traditional "chalk and talk" and very fast paced, and it would be easy to be left behind. What year is he in?
The school refuses to acknowledge that he might have any difficulties. The senco is lovely but dotty and about as much clout as a wet lettuce leaf, if you can actually find her anywhere.
He's had the 10 minute 'dyslexia test' a couple of years ago and it was just, some elements but not enough. The proper assessment too 2 hours and he was either dyslexic according to that or just immature (he was 7)
The super selective one has a SN unit - very helpful - but of course there is getting in in the first place to contend with.
I would go for it in terms of working hard this year towards the aim of getting into the grammar. It's great that she's doing so well with literacy which shows how bright she is, so a little extra work on maths this year and she could get in. Then she'd have 7 years of excellent education ahead of her, with like-minded peers.
I wouldn't worry about the travel, I know so many children who travel a long way eg to DCs and other schools, and they soon seem to adapt and grow up so quickly once at secondary.
For me it's the opportunity to be with hard working like-minded peers in a good learning environment that's so appealing.
Don't rule it out for her, but go for it, but at the same time try to keep a sense of perspective about the whole thing.
It's a great life skill to be able to go for things you want whatever the outcome
My dd had a tutor for maths thru yr 5. She was doing great, school burnt down, massive trauma, new temporary site, hour travel each way, male teacher, anxiety etc meant she ended up in special maths class in year 4 with children who struggled in every subject.
Tutor, who taught at another primary, assessed her and said she had the ability but was missing chunks of basic maths.
Hour a week, fun sessions, scored 117 out of 140 in grammar test, working alone of course.
She's now year 10, predicted B at GCSE in May and currently getting B's in test papers and course and they think she'll get an A.
So, on the surface, she was in a special needs class in yr 4 and shouldn't be at grammar school. But because you do know your own child, I knew the school and situation she had been put in had failed her.
If none of the issues had happened and she was in sen class for maths, I would have still had her tutored, but she would have failed the test miserably.
She's not had any help since yr 6
What NC levels is he working at?
I'll go and dig out his report!
AFAIR he is (assessed at end of y5)
end of y6 level on reading, average on writing and slightly above on maths.
One more thing. Talk to the SN people at the super selective before you make any decisions. It is very likely that their expertise will lean towards the autism/asperger's spectrum than towards dyslexia/processing issues.
Ask a lot of very searching questions..............
"There's one myth to start with. The suggestion that in fully selective areas there are grammar schools and comprehensives.
But those fully selective areas you refer to are few in number. Trafford, Buckinghamshire, Slough, Torbay, Southend, Kent and Medway. So in the majority of authorities it is not true to say that non-selective schools are secondary moderns.
Increasing demand has led to steady expansion of existing Grammar Schools in these areas. Many of the 164 Grammar Schools have 10 applications for every place.
A further 29 authorities offer a mix of GS/Comp/SM (sometimes now called High Schools, Community Colleges or All-Ability).
Which leaves 138 fully Comp LEAs.
The real myth is that there is no selection in non-selective authorities. In fully Comp areas selection is based on what catchment area you can afford to live in - social selection - rather than the 11 plus. There are excellent, good and bad Comps just as there are excellent Grammars, good Comps/SMods and bad Comps/SMods.
There are parents with academically talented kids who will move to a selective area for the perceived educational opportunities. There are parents who will move to the catchment area of a good Comp or a specialist Arts/Science/Language/Performing Arts/Languages school for the same reason.
The real myth is that there is no selection in "non-selective" areas.
Of the 100 most socially selective schools in the country, 91 were comprehensives, eight were grammars and there was one secondary modern.
Interesting point Curlew as our guide told me it was called the 'ASD unit' 'whatever that means'! So you may well be right.
Pato yes, I agree with curlew it's very likely that at the grammar school their experience of special needs will most likely just be with pupils on the ASD spectrum - cognitively they are very high fuctioning, but there might be societal issues which they need support with. But I very much doubt any of them have difficulties with maths, iyswim?
There are plenty of kids with dyslexia and dyspraxia at my DD1s super selective. Do they get the support that apparently is on offer at posh schools? No. They don't. Do they get the same or better level of support as available at other state schools in the county? Yes they do. Is the level of SEN support at the girls grammar in the neighboring LEA miles better than at DD1s school or DS's comp? Yes it is. Conclusion? You cannot generalise. Some posh schools are good at dealing with SEN issues, some are not. It's exactly the same with grammars and comps and no doubt sec mods too.
One thing I would suggest is to not pay much attention to someone who says (of grammar schools) that 'by definition they are often not very well geared up for dealing with special needs'. That statement shows a shocking lack of understanding of both grammar schools (in general - it may stem from a detailed knowledge of one single grammar school I guess) and special needs. Many kids with SEN conditions have extremely high IQs. There is no definition of what grammar schools are or should be that excludes kids with SEN conditions.
"Her grade is as expected for her age." In which case, why are you fretting? She would almost certainly improve in maths with plenty of support from you through homework (no need for tutoring). The question of grammar or not grammar is a political one and of course she would flourish at a non-selective school too, but she is not unfit for a grammar school because her maths is average.
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