How exactly do you know that your DC should go to grammar school?

(318 Posts)
plus3 Fri 05-Oct-12 11:06:38

Sorry for the ridiculous question, but I am going slightly bonkers.

DS is in yr 4 and has unspecified learning difficulties - mainly with attention and processing instructions. He is bright & remembers incredibly well. Literacy & science are his favourite subjects, and thinks he struggles with Maths but is actually above average. He craves structure and routine

My problem is that I am aware of some children in his class already doing extra work out of school (such as explore & kumon etc) and I now feel like I am letting him down hugely.

Should we be jumping on the treadmill of extra work etc to give him an even playing field? I don't really believe in excesses coaching to pass the 11+

So how do we tell if Grammer could be the place for him? When I have spoken to school, they always imply that academically he will be fine (whatever that means)

Sorry if this long & rambling, it all seems so very competitive around here (Bucks) thanks.

alcofrolic Fri 05-Oct-12 20:06:53

plus, this is such a Bucks thing to say. (I could have guessed where you were from!):
My problem is that I am aware of some children in his class already doing extra work out of school (such as explore & kumon etc) and I now feel like I am letting him down hugely.

Don't take any notice of any other parents! Most are demented! grin grin

FWIW my ds went to a grammar, received a pretty run-of-the-mill education, was not offered Latin (or even Spanish....) and was left to much around at the other end of the field whilst the good rugby players got on with it.

LaQueen Fri 05-Oct-12 20:29:22

I'm struggling with this one, at the moment.

DD1 is quite clever, confidently predicted all Level 5s by the end of Yr6 - and she is now working with a 11+ tutor, who is pleased with her. I actually disagree with a year's worth of tutoring, but that's the culture around here, sadly.

But, despite all this, I still am not 100% certain that the GS will be the best environment for her. She's not very competetive, she's quite dreamy, she's very arty, and she just has quite a takeitorleaveait attitude to homework etc.

On the other hand DD2 is an academic machine - loves her homework, always has to have top marks in any test, always questioning/puzzling/working things out - she actively wants to do the same 11+ homework as DD1 hmm

plus3 Fri 05-Oct-12 20:39:16

alcofrolic grin am feeling slightly less insane about it now!
LaQueen exactly - it is the whole,yes they are quite clever, but is that enough? Having not been to Grammar school myself, I have no point of reference. But also, they are so young. My attitude to education changed in transition from primary to secondary. I went from enjoying school to loving it academically. Who knows? If I was under huge pressure at a Grammar it may have been different.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 05-Oct-12 20:42:22

hmmm, that is a tricky situation for you.
In an area with good comps they could both thrive in the same school -
but if you are in a grammar area I assume you'll have to either fit a square peg into a round hole, or pray that the secondary modern (for that is what the other schools truly are) will have enough to stimulate her ....

alcofrolic Fri 05-Oct-12 21:20:48

All depends on the catchment secondary modern talking......

(... which is why, on one hand, I was pleased that ds got into a grammar school, whilst on the other, as an arty, dreamy, virtually comatose child, it didn't really suit him (or his teachers) at all!) Thank goodness all that's over!

LaQueen Fri 05-Oct-12 21:32:29

Talk it's a really tricky one. If she went to the local comp, I just don't think she'd push herself at all. Her teacher and her 11+ tutor have assured us she'll be fine at the GS, but I'm not 100% convinced.

Although, largely I think that's because DD2 is so focused, and academic...that DD1 seems very disinterested/vague in comparison. Perhaps with a more normal littles sister, she'd look quite keen hmm

LaQueen Fri 05-Oct-12 21:33:35

Plus in a way, I think some pressure at GS will be a good thing for DD1. But, I can see her crumbling under too much.

It's such a fine line. She clearly has a bright brain, but doesn't seem that bothered about using it.

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 21:37:06

At grammar school, the expectation is that you will not get Cs at GCSE. yYou need to think whether this is the sort of expectation that would suit your dd.

breadandbutterfly Fri 05-Oct-12 21:43:16

If you have a child who enjoys academic challenges they will relish being with other bright kids and being given harder work as they would get at a grammar school. It's a fairly good indication, I think, if they enjoy doing practice VR/NVR papers etc - if they view this as fun, then the chances are they're the kind of kid who'll enjoy grammar schools - if they can't be arsed, and have no interest in learning new stuff, then it might not be for them?

breadandbutterfly Fri 05-Oct-12 21:46:06

The danger with a bright but unmotivated kid at a comp, even a good one, is that they will not have the 'push' from the school nor the iner motivation so simply fail to achieve what they are capable of - my dh falls into this category.

WinterStepThisWay Fri 05-Oct-12 21:52:03

breadandbutterfly you have just described my DS. However, we have just moved to Kent and I'm finding it impossible to find a tutor as nobody will share what they know with a newcomer.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 05-Oct-12 21:52:08

that somewhat depends on the comp - some I know of realise that bright but lazy kids can result in belting VA scores ....

alcofrolic Fri 05-Oct-12 21:59:16

bread I think it's a misconception that GSs 'push' children. Fairly bright children land on the threshold in Y7 and achieve 99% A-C grades (no surprise there). As they have creamed off 30% of the brightest children in the area, grammar schools can be fairly complacent about achieving their results.

I wonder how they'll fare against the new Ofsted framework which focusses on progress, not attainment.

breadandbutterfly Fri 05-Oct-12 22:00:36

True, Talkin, - but do these comps exist in Bucks alongside grammars?

Winter - you really don't need a tutor - this is aimed at 11 year olds - youcan tutor just fine yourself.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 05-Oct-12 22:01:04

VA at grammars is often not great
and when DH has worked at them, the staff comment to him that at least half the kids are not really up to it but were tutored through the test

LaQueen Fri 05-Oct-12 22:04:53

My DD is perfectly happy to do her homework, when asked, and is perfectly happy to do her VR and NVR homework for her 11+ tutor...but, again when asked. But, she gives up quite easily...her brain is good, but she's happy for you to give her the answer.

But, I acknowledge that I actually can't judge her accurately - because I only really have DD2 to compare her to, and that's just not fair, because DD2 is a machine, and very unusual for an 8 year old.

Yellowtip Fri 05-Oct-12 22:07:19

Well I've always just entered all of my DC into the test without overthinking it - or at least with thinking that if they do get in, they should be fine. My DC have very different approaches to work and are clearly of different ability academically, but I'm not prepared to cut off a chance by being too precious. I just don't get that grammars are hugely pressurizing - maybe I'm wrong. I think it's mostly parents who are guilty of that.

LaQueen Fri 05-Oct-12 22:07:37

"The danger with a bright but unmotivated kid at a comp, even a good one, is that they will not have the 'push' from the school"

That's my fear bread with DD1. If she goes to the GS I know she will be given a push, not excessively so, but definitely she will be pushed. If she goes to the local secondary modern, I'm not sure she would be pushed, at all. I think she'd be allowed to coast.

LaQueen Fri 05-Oct-12 22:10:25

I think I really need to stop comparing DD1 to DD2.

I think I need to trust in her teacher's opinion, and her tutor's opinion (he has 30 years experience of tutoring with a fantastic track record, and he says she's doing 'very well'). And, I think I need to just accept that, and stop trying to second guess.

alcofrolic Fri 05-Oct-12 22:11:27

How true talking. A local grammar has a remedial maths group. (11+ is VR.)

It's such an unfair system, becoming more and more dependent on parents being able to pay for tutors, because otherwise (to paraphrase plus), they 'feel like they are letting their children down hugely'.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 05-Oct-12 22:17:27

I'm lucky DD is uber motivated, DS is not - I can avoid comparing them because of the sex thing
and as we live in a comp county its never been an issue

sadly Grammars as they now exist are a nasty MC ghetto of tutored kids - NOT the egalitarian driver of social mobility that Daily Telegraph readers remember them!

LaQueen Fri 05-Oct-12 22:29:59

Talkin you're right about the GS around here.

When my Dad, and my DH sat the 11+ no one was tutored, really. So, the genuinely academic kids, regardless of background (my Dad grew up in a council house, my DH is from an upper working class background) passed on their own merit.

Today, around here, you get already clever children (predicted Level 5s in Yr 6 etc) with graduate, middle class parents - all being tutored (at £30 per sesssion).

So, the clever child whose parents aren't that interested in the 11+, and certainly can't afford £30 per week tuition, don't really stand a chance.

Yellowtip Fri 05-Oct-12 22:31:53

Talkin what exactly is your personal experience of contemporary grammars? Are your DC at one? Do you teach at one? Are you a governor of one? Have you recently been educated at one?

'a nasty MC ghetto of tutored kids' indeed. That is not a universal truth, that's for sure.

LaQueen Fri 05-Oct-12 22:32:01

But, being tutored doesn't mean that the children aren't already clever, anyway. They are. It's just that they're tutored on top of that.

Yellowtip Fri 05-Oct-12 22:34:27

LaQueen tutoring already competent kids simply means the parents are burning their money.

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