Tiffin Schools Admission Arrangements

(663 Posts)

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tiffinboys Fri 27-Apr-12 00:56:58

Tiffin Schools (Boys & Girls) have issued their Determined Admission Arrangements for 2013-14. Boths Schools have decided to ignore pleas from the local community and opted to continue with Open Selection.

Though most of the grammar schools have catchment/proximity rules, some even going to the extent of denying applications to sit for their entrance test in breach of Grenwich ruling, Tiffins would continue open selection policies. Only handful of children from Kingston & surrounding areas get places in Tiffins. Most of the places go to the children living at very very far away places, eg. Harrow, Southall, Greenford.

Grammar schools from Bromley (St. Olave & Newstead Wood), Redbridge (Woodford County & Ilford County) or Barnet/Herts (DAO & Latymer) or Slough (Langley) would not allow out-of-catchment children to even apply for admission tests. Other schools like Kent grammars would only give places to children living near to the School. Some schools have most of the places for catchment area (Nonsuch, Wallington etc.).

This year, Reading grammars (Kendrik & Reading) and Chelmsford grammars (both boys & girls) have changed their over-subscription criteria from 100% open selection to 100% catchment and 80% catchment respectively.

It is high time that children from Kingston and surrounding areas also get level playing field. Until all grammar schools are 100% open selection, it is fair that some priority is restored for these children.

We have therefore proposed that Tiffins give 80% places on the basis of proximity to the Schools (or such other Centre point in the Borough, as previously proposed by the LA) to those children who pass the entrance tests. Other 20% may be given on open selection.

This proposal complies with Greenwich/Rotherham rulings. We are aware that it would take lot of persuation for the Governors of these school to accept this proposal. We call upon all parents from Kingston & Surrounding areas t write to the Tiffin Schools in support of this proposal and copy these to your local MPs and Councillors.

zoffany51 Sat 03-Nov-12 12:04:19

Gazzalw: "If a child is bright enough to get in they will get in and if they're not they won't."

This is definitely not true. DS1 is at Tiffin; pretty much top of his year group. DS2 just took the test and will not be joining his brother i'm afraid; but his levels are higher and he is every bit as intelligent and capable.

Please all here - STOP using the Tiffin entrance tests as if some kind of benchmark of a childs intellect/ability/aptitude/motivation/drive, or whatever... meh; it is nothing of the sort.

Tiffin Entrance test is basically just some lunacy dreamt up by the school/RBK to stress out children and poor parents alike an indicator of the childs ability (or otherwise) to gain an age weighted, non-linear, HTU value that places it within top 140 by rank order. Nothing else...

We hosted a small gathering of Tiffs last night; during apple bobbing when asked why an apple floats - they struggled, each to a one. Some of the boys present scored exceptionally high in the Tiffin Entrance Examination.

After a year or so of brilliant teaching at an outstanding school this surprises me (lol: not. So what do they learn in Physics exactly; would they even know it's a Physics Question - personally, i doubt it) - anyhow, it's not exactly genius is it? grin

zoffany51 Sat 03-Nov-12 12:16:18

@BeingFluffy Tiffin Girls' is a nice school, but there are a lot of nice schools. It is high in the tables because all the girls are clever. Not because the teachers are better or try particularly hard. Totally agree - ditto, Tiffin School. If you gave the teachers at TS/TGS children from any 'ordinary school', would be a very different picture - interesting to see how they would do. Bit like Oxford & Cambridge i think - they don't do anything spectacular with their intakes either. I do not think the results of Tiffins are exceptional, if indeed the tests are effective and select children based on the highest levels of ability/potential. wink

Veritate Sat 03-Nov-12 12:18:43

The interesting thing about Tiffins is that, despite having the pick of such a large number of very bright applicants, they don't come at the top of the league tables for GCSEs and A levels. I think the major defect in their process is that they don't include anything which allows them to assess whether the child can produce a sustained and coherent, literate piece of writing, and that is where other schools are able to score.

Hamishbear Sat 03-Nov-12 12:18:59

21GumMum - what happens if the over tutored child had grown in intellect due to hard work? - some think it's possible. In fact if you believe intellect and ability can grow isn't that a reason to start 'tutoring' asap? Especially if child isn't learning well at primary for whatever reason. Some 'coach' right from the start for want of a better word. Those at a prep school have effective coaching from the start too, small class sizes, great teachers (in the best preps) etc. Why is tutoring always seen as a negative? Why not see it as enrichment where children are stimulated and encouraged, not necessarily drilled for tests - it's possible to see a tutor and just have the Tiffin test requirements as an aside, a necessary evil. That teacher can potentially talk to you about art, literature, the best poets, writers etc. The right person can add so much value.

I had a Cambridge undergraduate tutor me for an A'level resist once, my intellect definitely developed - suddenly I just got it. He was fascinating, brilliant, interesting a fantastic mentor. I'll never forget him. Everyone needs a mentor I think. I went up 4 grades in 3/4 months.

zoffany51 Sat 03-Nov-12 12:29:58

@OhDearConfused - in DS1 class there are absolute zero pupils that were not tutored to get into Tiffin; i know this for a fact, since during a lesson where the boys were considered ill-behaved & unruly (yes, indeed as with any other school it does happen) - the teacher asked the boys to 'Raise you hands if you were tutored to get here'. Every boy in class did so. So much for the untutorable test, eh? I will not relate what was said next... grin

zoffany51 Sat 03-Nov-12 12:36:40

@Hamishbear - with respect, you cannot 'grow intellect' - it cannot be cultivated like a crop; intellect is a measure of latent ability. You cannot seed or fertilize intellect by tutoring. smile

Hamishbear Sat 03-Nov-12 12:53:22

Zoffany. I am not sure. Perhaps it depends on what you mean by intellect?

Take a child that's a voracious reader, starts with those loathsome Rainbow Magic series (for example) and with an adult's encouragement quickly outgrows. With support they begin to read more and more, moving on to say the simpler children's classics. They then get the 'bug' - and they just begin to eat books. Their reading age sky rockets, their vocabulary increases, you speak to them and are blown away. They are still only 8 but they have the vocabulary of an adult etc. They could be intellectually ordinary but they appear anything but? Has their intellect not grown exponentially? A child with more latent potential who never reads may never be able to get such a high VR score.

Cultivating, fertilising of the mind - yes, I think all is possible and would hate an educator to think my child couldn't intellectually grow.

Some believe in brain plasticity and think the intellect can grow. I'm not sure. Personally I find it hard to improve my 'set' capacity for NVR type stuff and maths but for VR the sky is the limit with practice. I've seen children who many would consider far from intellectually bright write extraordinarily well. It's a tricky one and comes down to what we tend to value - logical ability seems to trump a lot.

zoffany51 Sat 03-Nov-12 15:16:11

lol: yes, well, erm... actually that's the only diff. between DS1/DS2 - lots & lots of books; so would agree. smile

zoffany51 Sat 03-Nov-12 15:17:05

...can lead a horse to water; not all choose to drink. shock

zoffany51 Sat 03-Nov-12 15:18:11

vocab comes from books, not tutoring. smile

zoffany51 Sat 03-Nov-12 15:38:06

...but is more to Tiffin than just the tests; what lies beyond - the school will be more interested in your DC's ability on the rugby pitch, even if they are successful & do get in. Of course that's where NVR/VR fall down; DS2 may be only 220, yet would literally have filled Tiffin cabinets with trophies, since he is gifted/talented at practically every sport. Lol: their loss - best hope they don't come up against hin at Grists. grin

zoffany51 Sat 03-Nov-12 15:39:01

lol: sorry, meant 'him'. smile

zoffany51 Sat 03-Nov-12 15:41:39

...for a 'rugby school' - pretty crap. wink

nals Thu 15-Nov-12 09:48:46

Could anyone help me with names of tutors for Henrietta Barnett for 11 +? Thanks

tiffinboys Wed 06-Feb-13 21:41:27

Since my last post, TS and TGS have gone different way on entrrance tests and now admission policy. TGS is consulting on a very wide and haphazard catchment area. We need to respond to the consultation as for variety of reasons, this proposed catchment is full of anomalies and does not meet the objectives TGS had set in its statement of rationale for the change. It is far better to have distance policy subject to a minimum required score in the entrance test.

Another point to respond is about 2nd stage test being taken after CAF date. IMO, this is against the spirit of the new Admission Code as parent would not have full information to make an informed decision about the preferences.

We also need to respond to the TS consultation and emphasize their duty to the chilren of the area and to strictly follow the requirements of the Academies Act, by enacting distance (or less preferably, catchment) policy.

prh47bridge Wed 06-Feb-13 22:01:15

There is no requirement in the Academies Act to use distance as part of admission criteria.

If what you are referring to as the second stage test is the test for those who apply to late to sit the initial test I stand by my view that this is what is required by the Admissions Code. To suggest that it is somehow against the spirit of the Admissions Code is nonsense. Those parents who apply in time will know whether or not their child has passed the test. Those who apply too late to sit the test will be disadvantaged as they will not know whether or not their child will pass the test prior to naming their secondary school preferences, so may end up wasting a preference on Tiffin.

tiffinboys Wed 06-Feb-13 22:11:43

It seems you didn't carefully read my post before making comments.

No, I didn't mean late tests. I meant 2nd stage test and my post is about 2014-15 consultation.

About the late tests held for 2013 entry, No, these were not required by the Admission Code. Wrong interpretation. If it was, why so many other grammars didn't conduct late tests. You would see that under the draft policies being consulted, TGS or TS have not proposed any late tests. Tiffins will come under considerable strain from appeals from the parents who may be aggrieved that late testers have push their children down the rankings. We shall wait and see.

tiffinboys Wed 06-Feb-13 22:16:15

And about the requirements of the Academies Act. Perhaps you will like to read the Act itself and the Funding agreement of the Tiffin School with the Secretary of the State.

tiggytape Wed 06-Feb-13 22:44:29

prh - The Girls' grammar has decided to use a 2 stage, knock out selection process for the 11+. So all applicants take a first test in September and the results of this are communicated to all parents.
These results however only form part of the overall mark because girls who do well on them will be invited back for round 2 in December (after the CAF deadline) to sit more tests.

I suspect though that Tiffin's stance on this is that all girls who qualify for Round 2 are automatically deemed to have passed the 11+ and this is the only information they are required to pass on to parents before the CAF deadline. Nothing says they have to give scores.

The December tests will be used to rank the 400 or so children who pass the 11+ in order to decide which ones are offered a place.

tiffinboys - My thinking was more that it poses problems for appeals. If a girl narrowly fails stage 1, she is excluded from stage 2 and cannot sit it. The appeal rules say (I think) that a child can only appeal for a grammar school if they have sat all the tests for it. It looks potentially possible that being denied the chance to sit round 2 of the exams might deny children their right of appeal but prh would know more on that and could perhaps advise?

tiffinboys Wed 06-Feb-13 23:22:22

Hi, tiggytape... there is more to this. For TGS, imagine that originally 450 girls were supposed to go to stage 2. With late tests, more took stage 2 tests. No official numbers yet, but grapevine is 530 to 580. Originally, 150 were to selected from 450; now it will be from a larger pool. One could make a good case to consider late entrants after the in-time applicants (as in Kendrick arrangements).

Same applies to Tiffin School. Originally, the 140 were to be selected from 1700 or so who registered in time. Now it would be 140 from nearly 2000. (not the official figure). Obviously, i) the cutoff score will be higher and ii) some late entrants would have scored higher and they had 2 extra months to prepare. On top of this consider the fiasco of late tests not on one day, but 2 days - week apart.

30 to 40 children below the cut-off score would have a strong case as late tests were not in the schools DAA (as in Kendrick case) and are not being considered as late applicantions.

prh47bridge Thu 07-Feb-13 00:34:31

You really want to tell me to read the Academies Act? I know it inside out. Perhaps you would care to read it yourself and point to the section that requires an academy to use geographical admission criteria. I'll give you a clue - there isn't one.

I have also read the funding agreement. Again, there is nothing in there requiring them to use geographical admission criteria. There is a requirement to consult in the "relevant area" but that has no bearing whatsoever on the actual criteria.

Now that I understand what you are talking about I agree that the stage 2 tests are debatable. However, I stand by my view that those grammar schools that refuse to test children who apply after the tests have taken place but before the deadlines are in breach of the Admissions Code unless they have some other mechanism in place for determining whether or not these children are of grammar school standard. They cannot simply refuse to give places to children who applied too late for the tests. That would be a clear breach of the Code.

tiffinboys Thu 07-Feb-13 09:12:04

How can you miss the relevant clause, if you have read these documents well enough?

Clue: these clauses were used by another grammar school in 'successfully' defending their catchment policy.

tiggytape Thu 07-Feb-13 09:32:56

I know nothing about the Academies Act so will definitely bow out of that one!

I do know however that late applications must be considered as per the Admissions Code (both old and new).
Grammar Schools are absolutely obliged to consider late applicants even if they have missed the test date. The only difference is the interpretation of how to do this. Tiffins interpreted it that they must test all late comers with a late sitting of the entry exam.
Other grammar schools offer no late test for people who simply missed the deadline but must still have systems in place to ensure that, when presented with a late candidate, they can make a judgement call on whether that child is of selective ability or not. No grammar school has the power to tell a candidate 'tough luck, you've missed the test so we won't even consider your application.’

The obligations on all grammars is the same but it is true different interpretations exist:
All grammars must have a system for assessing suitability of late entrants. Tiffins argues that this means they must test them. Other schools won’t test them but must still have a procedure to ascertain suitability
All grammars must inform parents of the outcome of the 11+ exams before the CAF deadline where reasonably possible. Some schools interpret this to mean holding one test in September, telling parents the exact score achieved and giving information as to whether that would have been a qualifying score last year. Other schools interpret it much more loosely and simply tell parents that their child is one of 400 or 700 children to have passed but that they still have a less than 50:50 chance of an offer and must come back again in December to take further tests.

In each case it might be obvious which option parents would prefer but that doesn’t mean the interpretation that benefits on time applicants wishing to get a definitive answer before the CAF deadline is the right one.

tiffinboys Thu 07-Feb-13 09:55:46

Matter of interpretation? Obviously.

We will see if Tiffins would have this late test arrangements for the next year. From their consultation documents, it clearly seems that late tests have been abandoned.

prh47bridge Thu 07-Feb-13 12:17:35

I am aware that you are referring to Academies Act Section 1(6)(d) which states that the school provides education for pupils who are wholly or mainly drawn from the area in which the school is situated. This is repeated in paragraph 10(c) of the funding agreement. However, I repeat that this does not require the school to give priority based on distance in their admission criteria.

A catchment area or distance based criteria can be a way of meeting this provision but neither the Academies Act nor the funding agreement mandates the use of such criteria. I suspect that most applications for Tiffin come from Kingston and the surrounding boroughs. If that is the case Tiffin do not need to use geographical admission criteria in order to meet the requirements of the Academies Act or their funding agreement, although I note that they do actually use such criteria as a tie breaker when test scores are equal. Even if in a particular year successful applicants from outside the area outnumber those from inside this is still not a problem as long as the majority of pupils in the school as a whole come from the local area.

Looking at the proposed admission arrangements they state that a child who misses the stage one test will only be considered in exceptional circumstances and with supporting evidence. If the child is accepted they will then be allowed to sit the stage two test. I think this can be challenged on two grounds.

Firstly, as Tiggytape says, they are required to treat all applicants who apply by the national deadline equally. I am not convinced that saying a child who misses the stage one test will only be considered in exceptional circumstances meets this requirement. That would be an interesting question for the Schools Adjudicator.

Secondly, admissions are determined by combining the score from both tests with a weighting - test 2 * 0.7 + test 1 * 0.3. The proposed admission arrangements do not explain how this will work for a child who misses the stage one test and is then accepted. If they assign an arbitrary mark for the stage one test that is clearly unfair - if it is too high they may get a place they do not deserve, if it is too low they miss out on a place they should have got. If they simply use the raw test 2 score without any weighting that is again unfair - it may be higher or lower than the combined score would have been. The only fair way I can see is to get any child who has been accepted despite missing the stage one test to sit that test. Whatever they intend to do should be clearly stated in the admission arrangements.

I note that there is no mention in the proposed arrangements of test scores being normalised for age. Raw VR and NVR scores increase fairly rapidly at this age so failing to normalise could favour older candidates.

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