11+

(145 Posts)
GracieW Sat 23-Jun-12 21:49:06

How much time does your Year 5 DC spend working for this (either tutoring or homework)?

Just want to get an idea of the time commitment...

TIA

CouthyMow Sun 24-Jun-12 09:43:49

I do 10 min Bond exercises with him EVERY day. At weekends he works o longer tasks, a Maths one one day, a Literacy one the next.

I will be doing more intensive work over the summer holidays, especially as he is at his dad's for 3 weeks of the Hols, and in our area, until the Government changed it, we weren't expecting to have him sit the test till November, it's the third week of September now!

No formal tutoring, as we can't afford it. Will be buying the past papers pack from CSSE when registration for the 11+ opens on 2nd July, to be worked on over the summer holidays.

kilmuir Sun 24-Jun-12 11:19:09

Whats CSSE?

During year 5 DS did about 1.5 - 2 hours work a week for the 11 plus

During the summer holidays he did 1 hour 5 days a week with 2 days off each week.

He passed.
not sure if that helps!

GracieW Sun 24-Jun-12 20:43:48

Thanks all - DS is currently doing an hour's paper every week but I don't think it's enough and looking at your answers it isn't!!

KitKatGirl1 Mon 25-Jun-12 22:43:20

Surely it depends on what kind of pass mark he needs. Is it a 'super' selective/one where the places are only allocated to those with the best 120/150/180 (however many places) marks, or one with a straight pass/fail mark and places then allocated on distance etc? If the latter then I think you should only be doing an hour or so a week for a few months (grammar schools in our area - pass mark of about 86% combined required - say that children should do no more than 6/8 practice papers in total) otherwise I/they would say that they are not really 'grammar school material'. Obviously if the competition is for the best pass mark possible, then that is a different story!

mumzy Tue 26-Jun-12 14:50:23

I know someone who did 4 hours each week for 2 years then 5 hours a day throughout the summer holidays of year five. He got into Tiffin!

mumzy Tue 26-Jun-12 14:52:16

Just reread your post i think he had 1hr week tutoring and 3 hours practise.

WoodRose Tue 26-Jun-12 15:26:09

My neighbour is a piano teacher and a number of her pupils are being tutored for North London super selectives and independent London day schools. They have on average 2 hours per day of diy and professional tutoring as well as spending 4 hours every Saturday at a tutoring centre. These children would have started their preparation in the spring of year 4 at the latest.

Hardboiled Tue 26-Jun-12 18:26:18

Sorry but these are horror stories. 5 hours a day during the hols? Four hours in a saturday school for two and a half years? Do these children do other things, like playing, reading, music, climbing trees or

WoodRose Tue 26-Jun-12 18:45:36

Hardboiled Agree, it is hideous. sad

DS is very keen to go to City Boys for secondary school but I really don't rate his chances when the competition is being prepared to such an extreme extent. I have told him that it is fine with me if he wants to put in that amount of work, but I certainly won't be making him do it! Needless to say, DS decided that 2 hours of extra work per day after school wasn't really for him. grin

CouthyMow Tue 26-Jun-12 18:54:46

CSSE are the consortium of Grammar schools in Essex.

CouthyMow Tue 26-Jun-12 18:56:29

Yes, DS1 does lots of other things, like footy training, playing his computer games, reading, playing out the back and having water fights etc, but the only Grammar local to us is a super-selective. They only take the top 90 boys...in the COUNTY.

CouthyMow Tue 26-Jun-12 18:57:06

We started prep at the start of Y3...

abc73 Tue 26-Jun-12 18:59:47

DS1 did a Bond minute test every morning in term time, and about half an hour a day during the summer holidays (not weekends or our week away). He passed the Kent Test with 140 (maximum standardised score) in each paper.

Greythorne Tue 26-Jun-12 19:06:55

This is.... An eye opener!

Out of interest, are your children naturally motivated to do 1, 2 hours work at the weekend or do you gave to find ways to motivate them, and if so, what do you do?

CouthyMow Tue 26-Jun-12 19:17:56

I used to trade 30 minutes decent prep work for 30 minutes computer time...now he is at the end of Y5 and can see the exam date creeping up on him, he is self motivated. He does extra exercises that he brings home from school too, he asked the HT for them.

He is hopeful of getting a place, he is teacher assessed as a 5a in Literacy and 6b in Maths at the end of Y5. It would be brilliant for him, seeing as I am a Lone Parent on benefits, and he is on FSM's.

mumzy Tue 26-Jun-12 21:42:05

The real competition is for the superselective state grammars in and around London: Tiffin, St Olaves, HB, QE, etc and a poster on another thread puts it brilliantly hence why dc put in so much work

"if you consider over 1500 pupils take the Tiffins test (all of whom will be a level 5 minimum or most likely a level 6 SATS in all subjects) you can see this isn't a test to see who is clever enough and who isn't.

It is a test that takes 1500 kids (of whom at least 1000 will be exceptionally gifted and easily clever enough to excel at Grammar school) and whittles them down to the last 150 men standing.

There are children who take the test who achieve level 6 in all their SATS who don't get a place. With 10 - 12 applicants per place, getting just one question wrong or being a fraction too slow is the difference between getting a place and not getting one. This is where tutoring comes in - speed and accuracy as well as short cuts and familiarity might gain you 3 extra marks on your paper and that makes all the difference.

Once upon a time (and still today in some areas) the 11+ sorted children who were clever and would benefit from a grammar school education from those who would not be suited to it.

Nowadays most people do not take the 11+ exams and the test just acts to assess which of the 1000+ exceptionally bright children who apply should be chosen"

mumzy Tue 26-Jun-12 21:49:30

I don't want to put anyone off but there is insane coaching that goes on for these superselectives and I'll bet most dc who get a place would have had it.

mumzy Tue 26-Jun-12 22:06:37

woodrose just to say that also know a lad who got into city boys and their exam is nothing like Tiffins. City wants dc who are very solid academically ( think level 6 in yr 6 for maths and english) with a spark about them. However they may demand more if you're after a scholarship or bursary.

GracieW Tue 26-Jun-12 22:22:07

Good Lord. shock at some of the hours being put in. DS would be shock shock shock!!

Luckily we are in an area where there is just a pass or fail - no super selectives here.

DS can do the test but not within the time allowed. Have got some Bond tests but will have a look at the minute tests too.

Only 3 1/2 months of this madness to go grin

letseatgrandma Tue 26-Jun-12 22:25:50

We're going a maths paper, a VR paper and an English paper each week-exam is in September.

GracieW Tue 26-Jun-12 22:37:14

Are you timing them or just getting your DC accustomed to doing them?

letseatgrandma Tue 26-Jun-12 22:45:24

Mostly not timed, but I have timed the odd one, or odd sections to get him to speed up a bit! He did a timed paper at school and completed it within the time with a good score so I have eased up a bit on timing, as he's proved he can pull it out of the bag if he needs to!

I think the hardest bit will be doing the three papers one after another on the morning-keeping that pace and stamina up is going to be rather challenging sad

WoodRose Tue 26-Jun-12 22:49:34

mumzy Thanks! That is encouraging news. DS, at the end of year 5, is working at level 5 in maths and literacy so hopefully will be in the running. He is young for his year, however, and lacks the maturity and diligence of some of his older classmates. Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained! smile

RedVW Tue 26-Jun-12 23:40:58

I have 2 children at state grammar in Birmingham where 4,500 take exams for 600 places at 5 grammar schools. Many of the 15,000 children in Birmingham who move to secondary each year opt out of taking test and quite a few from surrounding counties take Foundation exam. There is no catchment area so I suppose these schools are classed as super selectives.

Don't believe everything you hear about the amount of tutoring (paid for and DIY) that children do. I think some people like to exaggerate to show their children in a good light, that they should be in such a school because they like studying. I also believe it is what the parents want for their children rather than what the children want in some cases.

If your child is near or at the top of the year, enjoys learning and will succeed in an environment where children want to learn, move along at a good pace, happy to do nightly homework, then preparing them for the 11+ is an option. it isn't just about passing a one-off exam, it is about 7 years of their lives in such an environment.

Some areas of the country have grammars that take the top 25% whilst others take the top 5%. The amount and type of preparation depends on your child, what you and your child want over the next several years, the school(s) you are applying for, the county it is in and the competition for places. Although some of the members of the forum are quite intense, I would suggest you view www.elvenplusexams.co.uk for more information about the schools you might want to apply for, have a chat with your child and visit the schools to see for yourself and to motivate your child.

Although SAT levels are an indicator of the ability of your child, the 11+ is very different and tests potential rather than what children have learnt and remembered. I know of supposed level 6 children who didn't get into grammar schools and some level 4s who have. One doesn't know how your child will perform on the day - the elevenplus website forum is littered with examples of very bright children whose parents have been through a very traumatic appeal process to demonstrate their child's level of ability, because they didn't perform to the level expected of them on the 11+ exam day.

Please do your research and if it is something you and your child want to attempt, then put in place a realistic plan to prepare for it, including allowing plenty of time (9 months to a year at the most), understanding what your child should know, practice papers, a mock exam to get them used to exam conditions, time away from studying, paperwork to be completed for the school and the county authority and the timescales associated with this. If it takes several hours of extra study each week, perhaps it is not for your child. Many children who don't get into grammars as they didn't score highly enough or didn't take the 11+ do very well.

I hope this is useful and good luck.

mumzy Wed 27-Jun-12 21:52:59

Friends who have put dc for 11+ have rewarded them for putting the work in rather than on whether they passed the exam which is very sensible IMO. Think one got an iPhone and the other one chose a much wanted pet!

GracieW Wed 27-Jun-12 21:55:36

Red that is really interesting. DS's teacher certainly thinks he is grammar school material but he hasn't seen the schools yet (open eves in Sept, 11+ in our area in Oct). The local comprehensive is good and lots of his friends are going there and not taking the exam so we will see what he thinks.

He did a practice maths paper today and did ok but messed up the answer sheet (missed out one answer but didn't notice on the sheet so they were all out) - I said it didn't matter today but it would in the real test. Hopefully the practice papers will help him as we go along. Am going to get the 10 minute tests as today's was 50 minutes and by the time we've gone through the answers it takes ages!

The pass rate here (Bucks) seems to be around the top 20% and he is in the top sets at school (and is the top boy in the class) but who knows...

GracieW Wed 27-Jun-12 21:57:23

mums we're NOT getting a pet and even I don't have an iphone! He is very good at putting the work in (which really helps with getting his siblings to do their homework too grin)

CouthyMow Wed 27-Jun-12 22:12:50

DS1 does a timed 10 min test each day, but he usually finishes in 3-4 mins, after checking. He without fail is getting 100% in the VR, NVR (which we do as an extra because he finds it fun, our area doesn't test NVR), and Maths, and either 90% or 100% in the English.

He has also done timed 30 min prep papers made by my Nan, who tutors in a different area (Herts), and routinely gets 95% or above. He has done a full length timed test in each of Maths, English and VR. He got marked by my Nan as getting 100% in Maths, 95% in English, and 99% in VR.

She regularly emails me a passage from a 19th Century book for him to answer questions on. The last one was A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Two years ago in Essex, the English paper was to read an excerpt from Captain Corelli's Mandolin and answer questions on it. It has gone into folklore locally as the hardest 11+ exam ever.

My nan tells me that the most important thing is to ensure that your DC has come across all different types of book, especially 19th Century Books, so that thru have a basic understanding of the language used.

CouthyMow Wed 27-Jun-12 22:14:00

Excuse my rather irritatingly irksome Autocorrect!

GracieW Wed 27-Jun-12 22:36:14

Heh heh he's going to love looking at 19th century literature - not grin

letseatgrandma Thu 28-Jun-12 21:19:02

Two years ago in Essex, the English paper was to read an excerpt from Captain Corelli's Mandolin and answer questions on it. It has gone into folklore locally as the hardest 11+ exam ever.

I think the Tess paper was harder ;)

OhDearConfused Fri 29-Jun-12 16:48:40

The 11PlusForum is full of very very very scary obssessive mums even more so than MN.

I found this about Tiffin (superselective) preparation:

[QUOTE]
"Weekly Plan:
Mon-Fri

1) Category Cards = 3 (I have made picture category cards for every category imaginable, (vehicles, birds, cats, cooking utensils, tools, musical instruments, etc) and for example, the 'Tree' card has pictures of all the types of trees we have ever come across) and we use these games to play memory games.
2) First Aid Pages = 2
3) Writing, once a week
4) Reading to mum (electronic dictionary at hand, ruler to underline unknown words and pen to write definition in the margin, plus notepad to make a list of words for new flashcards)
5) Bonds Maths papers

Weekend:

1) Flash Cards = 14 new cards and testing previous cards
2) Times Tables, once a week (15 minute drill)
3) Mental Arithmetic once a week.(15 minute drill)
4) Reading to mum"
[ENDQUOTE]

shock

What on earth is a "cateogry card" or a "first aid page"? confused

I am hoping that this is just completely OTT and crazy and most people just do a little preparation (with or without tutor) and just get on with it. This type of obsessive behaviour may help a little (only "may" - you can always overprepare) but then even if it did and then you still failed - after all that..

mumzy Fri 29-Jun-12 18:13:48

For the Tiffin test you don't plough your way through 19th century novels you rote learn a great big long list of very hard words and their antonyms/ synonyms/homophones which very few ten year old would know naturally.

mumzy Fri 29-Jun-12 18:15:58

And their NVR exams could be used by M16 to recruit code breakers

Yellowtip Fri 29-Jun-12 19:10:53

OhDearConfused that parent is way over the top.

I think that it's very hard to gauge what as a parent one should do, over and above what is done in terms of ordinary day to day teaching at school. I can see now (on my eighth child/ 11+er) that it depends a lot on the school.

If a child is predicted high level 5s at the end of Y6 and has a reasonable school, IME the best thing to do is to buy the practice tests appropriate for the school and do one every week, whenever it fits with home life, in the summertime run up to the test. There's a real danger of overdoing it. It's true that there's always going to be a cluster around the mark which divides those who get in and those who don't, which is hard, but not being over the top with preparation must help that sort of a child succeed and also help with the fallout (or lack of it) if on the day of the test he's down on his luck.

3monkeys Fri 29-Jun-12 19:16:35

DS1 got 100% last year in his 11 plus. He had 2 hours tutoring per week for 11 months and about 1 hour's homework per week. DD does hers this year, she will only have been to tutor for 8 months and does less than an hour homework smile

GracieW Fri 29-Jun-12 21:55:57

That Tiffin test sounds a nightmare - how does any child have time to play / spend time doing what they want to when they're being tested to the limit like that?

Also agree that failure of the test should not be the end of the world. Have said to DS that the advantage of passing is that he gets more choice of which school he can go to (although if he prefers the comp to grammar that won't work particularly well...)

mumzy Fri 29-Jun-12 22:00:10

Just for the record the most used text in 11+ exams seems to be "Wind in the Willows"

lostinfrance Fri 29-Jun-12 22:08:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CecilyP Fri 29-Jun-12 23:15:21

How do you do that looking, lostinfrance?

shoobidoo Sat 30-Jun-12 07:43:31

Perhaps I'm too cynical but I wonder if tutors themselves are behind all this 'hype' hmm

Our prep school advises against tutoring and that secondaries can tell if a child has been merely coached or is genuinely bright .

Yellowtip Sat 30-Jun-12 08:37:50

The hype feeds itself too shoobidoo. It's very damaging in terms of deterring the parents of clever children who can't afford tutoring from applying to state grammars. I think some parents who can afford the tutoring like to add to the hype as a disincentive to other comers too; some of these parents seem ruthless.

CecilyP Sat 30-Jun-12 08:59:43

Agree with you, yellowtip, as I think most people would, that the parent above is way over the top. If the exam is based on NC subjects and the child is already excelling, there is probably no need to do anything. Where the exam is VR/NVR, this is not something a primary school will not be covering. It is a competition, and people will train for a competition. Tutoring, whether it is a paid tutor or the DIY variety, is that training.

Yellowtip Sat 30-Jun-12 09:05:38

Definitely agree that a child needs to be familiar with VR/ NVR before the day of the test. But there seems to be an idea that a paid for tutor is superior and worse still, required - it's that which acts as a deterrent and over gentrifies the state grammars, which fact can then in itself deter.

3monkeys Sat 30-Jun-12 11:05:11

The reason for tutoring for us was to familiarise them with the exams. They are both naturally bright, especially DS1, and we felt that the grammar school was right for him, so we wanted to give him the best chance. Some around us are tutored for years. If I had the patience,I could have done it myself, but piano practice doesn't go down well, let alone 11+ papers!

OhDearConfused Sat 30-Jun-12 16:32:01

RedVW curious to know why you say these GSs (certainly the supervariety) look for potential when many (or at least the ones I would be considering – such as Tiffin) are notorious for tutoring for entry. And how can you check potential when all you are doing is marking a multi-choice VR/NVR paper?

mumzy For the Tiffin test … you rote learn a great big long list of very hard words and their antonyms/ synonyms/homophones which very few ten year old would know naturally.

How do you know / find out what long words to learn?

Tiffin say in their admissions policy: The tests are prepared and the results standardised, exclusively for the Tiffin Schools, by GL Assessment (formerly the National Foundation for Education Research (NFER)) and differ from any tests which are publicly available to parents. Past test papers are similarly not available; however practice papers are produced by GL Assessment and are widely available at stationers. The unique nature of the tests make is difficult to prepare for the tests as they are not based on the content of the School’s Curriculum. However, familiarisation elements, which are not marked, are included.

So what is in the test? It is different from anything which is “publicly available” – yet they say “practice papers are produced by GL Assessment”. Are the latter similar to the Tiffin test or not?

Thanks for the tip on Wind in the Willow – although not enough pirates or explosions for my DS…. smile

Sorry to focus on Tiffin – perhaps I should start another thread….

lostInFrance As a teacher in a super selective school I would advise against coaching, prepping, cramming - whatever you want to call it. We look for naturally bright, rounded children who have potential and a desire to learn.

But how do you find that when you can’t interview? How can you tell someone has been tutored or not from a test (certainly – obviously your school may not use these – when the test is NVR/VR).

I do suspect the points about 'hype' is right. I don't think I will go in for intensive tutoring, just a little practice/familiarisation/timed tests etc - as LostInFrance says - avoid burnout. Nonetheless, I would like to know what I should be practicing for the relevant schools (again, if the Tiffin test is so unique, will a Bond paper not help).

I have a friend who's son got into St Olave's on 6 weeks tutoring (yes he is bright) but they turned it down (thought it looked too pressurised).

Ds2 is in year 5. He isn't having paid tutoring. We have been going through past papers and Bond practice papers. The biggest problem (imo) is that so much of the work is new. We started in the Spring on Year 5 but we expected the exams to be next January, not September. hmm He has a short lesson at school each week as well and homework from that. His maths has really improved with practice (although he's still a bit hit and miss), but his English comprehension less so (rest of his English is fine).

We went to see the local comp last week and loved it, so that's taken the pressure off a bit, might be first choice anyway. His school think he will pass, I'm less certain (he's bright, performs well in terms of levels, when we looked round the comp came top in some fun maths test they were running but the style of questioning in the 11 plus doesn't really suit him, imo - could go either way I think).

Most of ds2's classmates are being tutored - some for quite a few hours each week.

letseatgrandma Sat 30-Jun-12 18:54:31

Can I ask those of you who have Y5s sitting the 11+ this year-what sort of level are they working at in Maths/Reading at school?

Yellowtip Sat 30-Jun-12 19:41:57

I honestly don't know, but DD4 seems as bright as all of her sisters and brothers, and they're all at a grammar (superselective). Her school is quite slack with info re. levels, so I just go on whether she seems sparky enough to try the test, which I think she is. Apparently we're due reports next week, but last year these didn't give levels.

mumzy Sat 30-Jun-12 20:02:50

Just to say that having seen what dc are being put through to pass the "untutorable" Tiffin tests I shan't be giving out names of tutors as I don't agree with the methods they use. Also for the record I think the current Tiffin boys exams, tests for a very narrow range of abilities and it's a crying shame to put very able dc through it and for the vast majority of them to fail because everyone is tutored so hard for them now. I think Tiffin Girls new test is better and looks for a broader range of ability. Rant over!

ByTheSea Sat 30-Jun-12 20:13:27

DD2-just10 is spending 1 hour a week with a tutor and does at most 45 minutes a week on practice as well. She started with the tutor in January but has just started to do the extra paper a week in the last month or so. She sits the 11+ in September for the superselective that DD1 goes to. She is at least as strong as her sister was in reading and verbal reasoning, but weaker in maths. She is currently probably level 5a or b in Literacy and 4a-5c in maths.

I'm not sure about levels atm - might know more in the next few weeks with reports/parents evening. DS2 (year 5 age 10) said he had a reading age test last week and got the highest you can get in year 5 (??? 13 years and 9 months? something like that?? -a friend said that was right although tbh I have no idea).

I would say the main problem with the 11 plus now (other than the fact it really is a stupid exam) is that they're tested on year 6/even year 7 work (esp in maths) right at the beginning of year 6. So there's a lot of new ground to cover very quickly.

For me the problem with the 11 plus has always been the process. DS2 is a bit of a stressy head and it's seemed to me to be 'wrong' at times to be putting him through it and I have wondered a few times about just withdrawing from it - even though he supposedly has a good chance of passing. However, since seeing the local comp and deciding he really likes it, he's relaxed a lot about the 11 plus. He seems happy to just give it a go, which is fine by me as I really liked the local comp as well.

EugenesAxe Sat 30-Jun-12 20:27:52

I wish this didn't go on - it's such an arse. I barely remember my 11+; I mainly recall it as showing up at school one day and getting to do some fun tests. I remember the blocks where you had to say what came next. I vaguely remember the literacy and numeracy test. Before the day I don't think I'd ever seen these kinds of test.

It annoys me because training does work and could make a child with less natural aptitude appear brighter than another (who perhaps can't afford tutoring). DH sees a lot when recruiting - grads passing all the pre-selection tests and then getting woeful marks for the tests they have on the day.

Yes it's crazy Eugenes. But the tests are no longer designed to be ones that people could pass without tutoring. Maths for example, because a lot of questions are on topics ds2 hasn't done at school yet. hmm

I expected to be fairly neutral about the whole 11 plus process, but have found myself really disagreeing with it, and wishing we didn't live in a grammar school area.

RedVW Sat 30-Jun-12 23:01:41

Ohdearconfused -The GS consortium Exams I am referring to contain Comprehension, NVR, Synonyms, Antonyms, Long and Quick Maths sections and English. Children generally find the comprehension v difficult as well as the lack of time available to them to answer all the questions, so they have to think very quickly. Exams are set by the Univ of Durham who do not give advance notice of content. There are no practice papers available and there is no guarantee that the sort of questions appearing one year, will appear the following year. From what you have said about Tiffin exams they differ from the ones I am referring to. I understand some of the content is Year 6 level and as the exams are held in the autumn of year 6 (soon to be Sept of year 6) and content not covered at school, tutoring (by parents or tutor) of year 6 work and NVR plus familiarisation of the type of questions that may come up would appear to be a sensible approach for candidates who are serious about succeeding.

CouthyMow Sat 30-Jun-12 23:15:43

I was tutored for my 11+ 21 years ago, it has always happened. I missed out by one mark on the day, mostly because I had gastroenteritis and insisted on still sitting it as there were no resits allowed. It didn't help that they had to wipe vomit off my answer paper.

I still got offered a place, but turned it down on the basis that the school was Catholic, and my local Secondary was the best performing in the County back then.

If DS1 wasn't at least familiarised with the test, he would stand NO chance of getting into the local Grammar, which is super-selective, and takes only the top scoring 90 boys in the County. He is up against boys that have been formally tutored (rather than doing things with their parents like my DS1) for hours every week since Y3.

Why would I put him at even more of a disadvantage?

MaverickAuthor Wed 21-Nov-12 15:36:45

Our son got into St. Olaves (Orpington) supposedly one of the best grammar schools in the country but he is extremely bright. Even so without preparation he wouldn't have got in as things like non verbal reasoning just aren't taught at state schools. He did bond papers for 9 months but he was doing them very regularly and is highly motivated. Olaves has a big problem with children who have been so heavily tutored they struggle with the work so unless your child is naturally academic wouldn't consider one of the super selectives. Even so we are looking to take him out of the school and go elsewhere in year 9. Exam factories don't do bright kids any favours and at the end of the day a bright child will (in theory at least) thrive academically wherever they go. Also remember it is depth quality universities look at not breadth. Cambridge will automatically interview someone with 7A*s but not someone with 12As. Also most grammar schools are not co-ed and many like Olaves have major issues with bullying.

Pyrrah Wed 21-Nov-12 23:03:06

I won a place at grammar school back in 1985 - I was at a hot-housing prep so didn't have tutors but I still did at least 3 hours revision a day during the holidays for a year before the exams. DH won a scholarship to his indie, and was tutored for 3 years beforehand as well as his mother being a teacher.

I did CE though rather than 11+ - I do think CE is a rather fairer exam, and as we sat at least 1 paper in about 10 subjects, and 3 papers in things like Maths and English, plus optionals like Ancient Greek, the exams were spread over the course of a week so not so much pressure to perform on a single day.

Also meant that if you were a whizz at the sciences and maths and less good at English and humanities it was obvious to the examiners at the schools.

We are hoping to sit DD for the London all-girls super-selectives at both 7+ and 11+. I did ring one of them the other day with a number of questions, one of which was what to do regarding tutoring if your child was at a not great primary in an area with significant problems and with no experience of children sitting for these kind of exams - and where only 12% get Level 5 at KS2. There is no way that DD will have covered the curriculum required for the maths papers for the 11+ and there will be gaps even at 7+. The admissions tutor said that they would take the school into account when marking, but if the child couldn't attempt a question then they would obviously loose marks. Therefore , although they ask parents not to tutor it would be perfectly acceptable to do so in our case.

Even though DD is only 3.5, it is pretty clear that I will not be attempting to tutor her myself: parent-teaching-child-to-drive scenario for definite!

joanbyers Thu 22-Nov-12 03:10:25

"Our son got into St. Olaves (Orpington) supposedly one of the best grammar schools in the country but he is extremely bright. Even so without preparation he wouldn't have got in as things like non verbal reasoning just aren't taught at state schools."

The point is not to be taught. Ok, it's nice if you've seen one or two examples before, but if you 'get it', you get it.

" He did bond papers for 9 months but he was doing them very regularly and is highly motivated."

9 months? How many practice papers can there be....

"Olaves has a big problem with children who have been so heavily tutored they struggle with the work so unless your child is naturally academic wouldn't consider one of the super selectives. "

People do.

"Even so we are looking to take him out of the school and go elsewhere in year 9. "

Where are you planning to go?

"Exam factories don't do bright kids any favours and at the end of the day a bright child will (in theory at least) thrive academically wherever they go."

Not really true. GCSEs are very easy for bright children, and a school with many bright students should be able to take them well beyond the syllabus.

If you've been selected from the top 2% or whatever at 11, then you really shouldn't face any difficulty getting an A* in maths or whatever.

On the other hand if you only got in because of drilled learning specific relatively useless skills, such as spotting that 'kind' and 'sort' go together in a verbal skills, then you might not necessarily be hugely bright.

" Also remember it is depth quality universities look at not breadth. Cambridge will automatically interview someone with 7A*s but not someone with 12As."

Cambridge won't automatically interview or not, anyone.

" Also most grammar schools are not co-ed and many like Olaves have major issues with bullying."

Many schools have issues with bullying.

piggywigwig Thu 22-Nov-12 09:44:43

joanbyers
"9 months? How many practice papers can there be...."

Here's some of the many VR papers there are...to my knowledge but there's no doubt more provided via on-line tutoring sites wink

GL Assessment - 8 papers

Bright Sparks - 8 papers

Walsh - 12 papers`

Susan Daughtrey - 20 papers

IPS - 10 papers + 1 free downloadable

Bond - 8 papers

Bond Assessment Papers Books - > 65 in 10+ range + free downloadable

Lucky Gecko - 4 papers + 1 free downloadable

Dynamite 4 papers

Learning Labs - 8 papers

Learning Together - 20 papers

Nelson Thorne's Personal Tutor - 4 papers

11 Plus for Parents - 5 papers + 1 free downloadable

Letts/GL Assessment - 4 papers

Athey - 18 papers

AFN - 8 papers

Alpha - 12 papers

MW Educationsal - ?

CGP - 4 practice papers

Visuteach - 24 downloadable + 1 free downloadable Essex-type

11 Plus Exams Shop - 175 downloadable papers from various publishers

First Past the Post - 4 papers

CSSE - 1 paper

You could possibly fill 9 months with that list and it largely depends on what "very regularly" means - some people may mean every day, some every other day, once a week, once a month wink

CecilyP Thu 22-Nov-12 10:24:36

"Olaves has a big problem with children who have been so heavily tutored they struggle with the work so unless your child is naturally academic wouldn't consider one of the super selectives."

It can't be such a big problem as, according to the 2011 GCSE stats, 100% of pupils had entered the school at NC level 5, which isn't the case for every grammar school.

MaverickAuthor Thu 22-Nov-12 12:58:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pyrrah Thu 22-Nov-12 14:23:35

I'm not sure I would agree on the struggling at Grammar if you are tutored. I and many of the other prep-school kids were bored rigid for the first year of the grammar I went to.

Most of us had been to schools that were aiming for top scholarships at Eton, Westminster, Winchester etc and so were working at high pressure level for several years in the run-up.

The grammar I was at took 25% of kids who passed the 11+ in the local area. The prep-schools were sitting for the boarding places that were much more competitive. As a result we spent a year waiting for those from the local state primaries to catch up as there was no setting until the next year.

I don't recall anyone leaving because they were struggling.

When it comes to the super-selectives, the vast majority of children sitting (if they have sane parents) should be capable of surviving whether tutored or not. You are talking about picking the best scoring of a very bright cohort, not the good from the also-rans.

joanbyers Thu 22-Nov-12 15:21:45

Pyrrah 11+ tutoring is not the same as prep school tutoring.

Prep school children will be being tutored for the CE+ which covers French, Science, Latin.

The 11+ in many cases covers only covers a few silly 'which shape comes next'-type questions.

stclemens Thu 22-Nov-12 16:15:47

I think with the super selectives you need to be naturally bright anyway just to reach the basic pass score - tutoring can help a bit but it won't turn an average kid into super selective material. you need to be quick and accurate and think on your feet to be in that top 120 out of 1500 children.

There is of course a difference between being good at exams and clever - DD is highly conscientious, will study without being prompted and loves getting things right. She is also highly logical and loves puzzles. DS thinks and reads more widely and may well be the more original thinker, but will easily flunk the exams as he is much less focused.

MaverickAuthor Thu 22-Nov-12 17:07:06

Prep school is different. My son knows kids from prep schools from his out of school activities (not many at Olaves) and most spend at least a lesson a day on exam prep, plus it is expected they get into a good school. Of our 3 local state primary schools only 2 children got into grammar school - my son being one of them. The emphasis is on bringing up the lower performers to an acceptable level not pushing the top performing few - unfortunately they have to cater for the many not the few - we understand that and haven't got a problem with it. Parents with academic / bright children will of course want them to go to an academic school - we certainly did and we, as was my son were over the moon when he go in to Olaves.
He wants to leave not because he's not doing well, far from it, but because he doesn't enjoy it - too much bullying which of course the school will never publically admit there is a problem with, too many kids who are struggling and disrupting the learning of those who want to learn - like my son who loves learning, poor discipline to name but a few. Will he enjoy another school better? Maybe not but we (and he) live in hope.
As I said earlier based on what we knew at the time we would have still chosen Olaves over and above all the other schools he could have gone to. Perhaps our expectations of what a school should offer are too high - home schooling is looking ever more tempting!

Pyrrah Thu 22-Nov-12 17:34:44

I think a lot of parents believe that having got their child into a selective school that the education will stretch and challenge their child and that the pastoral care and cracking down on bullying will be equally good.

I think the super-selectives do provide an intensive educational experience - whereas many of the less selective can have a wide ability range within a class. There were still 30 pupils per class at my grammar (compared with 12 at my prep) and the difference between the students at the top of the class and those at the bottom was pretty wide.

All schools can have bullying issues - I do think that a lot of selective indies don't do enough in this respect. Maybe too much complacency over their popularity and the huge competition for places. I can only think of one school that I attended (out of 6) that didn't have bullying issues and that was The Maynard School in Exeter - they just seemed to get that little girls are inherently nasty if not kept firmly in check.

The ethos of the HT and/or housemasters/mistresses also play a big part. Schools that prefer confident good all-rounders that like sports often find the more eccentric or socially awkward children very hard to deal with and advising the child to change themselves to fit in rather than dealing with the bullies.

Agree also that children who like exams have an advantage over equally bright children who don't. I loved exams and was a child who would do the minimum all year and then revise like mad a week before and do well - compared with my sister who was super conscientious and worked hard all year and would then spend a week vomiting before an exam and do badly. It's one of the reasons why giving children a lot of exam paper practice is helpful - cuts down a lot of the anxiety.

joanbyers - I guess I'm going to have to get familiar with a whole different ball-game for 11+. I do think it is rather unfair to have such big decisions based on such a narrow breadth of exams. CE is a lot fairer to the individual in my mind. However since DD is going to a run-of-the-mill primary I guess I'm glad we only have a couple of subjects to tutor for rather than getting up to speed for the number needed for CE!

MaverickAuthor Thu 22-Nov-12 18:28:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LaQueen Sat 24-Nov-12 17:22:09

DD1 is confidently predicted high Level 5s at the end of Yr 6.

She spends one hour per week with her 11+ tutor. He provides her with approx. 1.5 hours a week of 11+ homework - this amount will increase the closer we get to the exam.

She will sit one Verbal Reasoning Paper, and one Non Verbal Reasoning Paper. The girls grammar isn't super selective, but not all girls take the 11+, and the GS creams off the top 20%.

superpushymum Sat 24-Nov-12 23:30:42

We started at the end of year 4. DC did one, sometimes two hours a day during the week and about three hours a day on Sunday. Saturday was his day off. He passed 5 exams, scored in the top 1-2% in all of them. At the end we ran out of tests and DH had to write him his own versions of maths and vr tests.

Fozzleyplum Sat 24-Nov-12 23:50:06

Have just read this thread out of curiosity and nostalgia, as we don't have State grammar schools in our county. I'm shock at all this talk of extreme tutoring.
I did the 11 plus (and passed) in the late '70's and I'm not aware that any of us who sat it did any preparation at all. The first VR and NVR tests I saw were on the 11 plus paper. Does this tutoring lead to children getting in who have been taught to pass the exam, but can't thereafter hack it in such a selective school, or is it just that the bar is raised higher because everyone does it?

Pyrrah Sun 25-Nov-12 13:04:32

Depends if you are talking about the super-selectives or the selectives.

With the super-selectives they may just take the top 60 or whatever scorers. If you've got 600 kids sitting the exam then a question missed out, a few minutes wasted working out what the question means - these can mean the difference between getting a place or not.

Parents therefore tutor a child so that they know exactly what type of questions come up, how to tackle them and how to pace themselves to finish the paper.

With the selectives it's generally a case of achieving x points in which case the extra-tuition does the same thing as above but isn't needed to the same degree.

The competition for grammar schools is far greater today:
- there are fewer of them
- in grammar school areas such as Kent, the cohorts in the non-grammar schools will have a very different ability mix than those in non-grammar areas so parents are extra-keen to secure a place.
- the current economic climate and the incredible cost of school fees today means that parents who would formerly have chosen Indies and now realising that a few £thousand invested now in a prep or tutoring and a place at a grammar will save them a small fortune.
- parents have often made a significant investment in terms of an inflated house price in a grammar school area and are determined to get the return on that.
- everyone else is doing it so you need to make sure your child is prepared just as well.

It's a whole different ball-game and demographic to the situation in the '70's and '80's.

Just a shame that all state secondaries can't perform well. Our local one (which is CofE so selective by the back-door) only gets 39% of their students to university of which only 4% to RG. I went to a grammar where 99% went to university and over 50% of those were Oxbridge or RG. I remember the shock on everyone's faces when one boy came in to say that he was leaving to go into the city after A'levels rather than applying to university. Many aspirational parents would look at our local school and decide that a school where less than half the students aim for university will not have the ethos, drive or aspirations for their pupils success that they want. So you max out any means you have of getting that grammar place.

I don't think it means that students who are not grammar school material are getting in because they have been prepared - you still have to be bright enough to make the most of the preparation. But it does mean that some very bright students won't get in because they haven't had the same preparation.

Fozzleyplum Sun 25-Nov-12 21:37:00

Interesting Pyrrah. Your Gs sounds like the one I went to - lots of resistance if anyone had the temerity to suggest not going to uni/going to anything other than RG or Oxbridge.

We've resigned ourselves to a v selective indie for the time being, as the State 11-14 provision round here has a mixed reputation and we don't have the option of State GS's in our area. Having said that, there are good indies round here for up to £8k per annum, so it's not quite as painful as it can be in the South East.

acetuition Tue 03-Jun-14 16:23:50

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voddiekeepsmesane Fri 25-Jul-14 22:28:29

Wow some of you are soooo scary and damn competitive. DS end of year 5 and a few weeks off South west Herts Consortium test. We have done 2-3 hours a week throughout the year self tutoring. He is a naturally bright boy but by no means gifted. If he gets into a good school so be it if not then that what is to be. I will not tutor him to death to get into a "better school" just for him to struggle or for us to forever more have to tutor till he leave secondary. The reason we are self tutoring is about familiarity not aptitude. Mind you each to their own I suppose meh

LaQueenLovesSummer Sat 26-Jul-14 22:50:50

DD1 started working with a professional tutor at the start of Yr 5, and spent one hour per week with. Her tutor then gave her roughly another hour's homework on top. This went on for 52 weeks until she sat the actual exams.

She was relaxed going into the exam, and got a high score.

DD2 is now doing exactly the same.

I think if a child needs hours and hours of 11+ prep every week then they're really not suitable for a grammar school environment. Unless you're prepared to make them spend hours and hours every week doing extra tuition.

Grammar schools aren't for the slow but diligent, who need to mull everything over before they get it. I think it's unfair, verging on cruel to put that sort if child into a grammar, where they will be surrounded by the quick and the sharp, who make it look effortless.

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Sun 27-Jul-14 11:42:42

Started in November for exams in January. 10 one hour sessions with a good tutor teaching all about exam technique to our state school son. he did 2 or three test papers under exam conditions in the kitchen (from various school website that provide examples).

Worked a treat - sat 2 exams, offered 2 places. No additional prep required other than normal state school national curriculum.

Outside the tutor, I'd say it's important to not make a big deal of it, don't stress yourself (and your child), do lots of extra curricular activity (music, art, drama, see plays, etc) and make sure homework is done to the highest standard. Most of all - read books, lots of books, books that challenge, easy books to relax with, and then read some more.

cod Sun 27-Jul-14 11:44:25

i have three who passed. They did an hour with a tutor then a thirty mins hw from her every week.

cod Sun 27-Jul-14 11:44:36

( started 6 months before test)

htm123 Tue 29-Jul-14 17:34:51

Just noticed this thread is two years old! DS does one hour Maths and one hour Literacy weekly with tutors. Maths tutor doesn't give him homework, or only if he thinks is need it which is very rare. The Literacy tutor always gives him something to do for the next lesson... spellings, add new words for 'word-bank', creative writing, reading task or comprehension. DS took part in 11+ mock test in June and scored very high. Well pleased. However, many other 400 children had high scores too. 1600 children in total taking the same mock test.

Atipipipi Thu 07-Aug-14 11:37:40

Wow my heart is pounding from just reading this. My son is doing the super selective latymer test in sept. he's quite bright but don't know if he can handle the pressure from exams. He's going for tutoring now which is costing me a fortune. I'd really feel bad if after all the effort he doesnt get close. I know no knowledge is lost but this is just too scary.

katy22 Tue 30-Sep-14 15:16:27

Does anyone use the schofield & sims progress papers for maths? What are the best 11+ books out there to help with practice for the exam?! Help! thanks

TheFirstOfHerName Tue 30-Sep-14 21:16:55

voddiekeepsmesane hope the academic aptitude test went well for your son and that you get the news you are hoping for on 20 Oct. I have two older children at one of the S W Herts consortium schools and we also did DIY familiarisation rather than using a tutor.

mellicauli Wed 01-Oct-14 19:33:29

People say it's really time intensive. At it's most intensive my son was doing 7-8 hours a week. But he still spent double that amount of time on his IPAD and playing football . And what would he have done rather than his maths/english VR's? Yes . More football, more IPAD!

MumTryingHerBest Wed 01-Oct-14 20:30:05

TheFirstOfHerName not sure how old your DCs are but would they have got Parmiters (252) or one of the grammars (253 boys inner, 251 girls inner) if they had sat the exam in 2014 and got the same mark? If so they are certainly extremely bight children as in the last three years I've not met a single local parent who has only done familiarization rather than tutoring. There again I suppose it depends on what you consider to be familiarization.

TheFirstOfHerName Wed 01-Oct-14 20:43:14

DS1: we will never know, as he took the test in the days when we weren't told the results. The cut-off that year for the school he got into was 242. He started preparing at the beginning of Y5 and was very motivated (it was his idea to do the test). He started with half an hour a week and built up to one VR paper and one Maths paper per week in the weeks before the test (which at that time was in November, so he had some time off in the holidays).

DS2 got 263 in the test in September 2012, so would have been fine in any year. He refused any coaching from me (apparently his methods are better than the ones I wanted to show him) but did some practice most weeks for the nine months leading up to the test, starting from 20 minutes per week and building up to one full-length 45 or 50 minute paper per week closer to the test. He also scored high in the music audition. In the end, we decided that DS1's school would best meet his needs (he has SEN) so he used a sibling place.

In my children's experience, the S W Herts consortium test is feasible with a moderate amount of preparation & familiarisation (up to an hour a week during Y5). However, I realise that others do a lot more, and many go to professional tutors.

MumTryingHerBest Thu 02-Oct-14 13:27:03

TheFirstOfHerName have you posted on the elevenplus website? I ask this because I have only ever seen one parent post about an experience like the one you had with your DS2. Another parent responded to comment that they knew the DS and their natural academic ability was significantly higher than the norm even by the standard expected at a selective school.

BTW, the familiarisation you describe for you DS1 is what I would call tutoring. Familiarisation, in my mind, would not take a year of regular work.

To also put it in to perspective, the outer cut off for Watford boys on allocation day 2014 was 260. Your DS2 would have made it by 3 points. For some that would be cutting it a bit too fine and would certainly be a concern for those who have just sat the test.

TheFirstOfHerName Thu 02-Oct-14 16:33:37

I have only ever seen one parent post about an experience like the one you had with your DS2. Another parent responded to comment that they knew the DS and their natural academic ability was significantly higher than the norm even by the standard expected at a selective school.

I think that may have been me. The other poster who commented has known DS2 since he was a baby and has a DD who was in his class at primary. Now he is at a partially selective secondary, he is in the top half of top sets but by no means unusual. I would guess that there are at least half a dozen children in his year group who I would consider to be more able (I know of one who got 280 in the test).

MumTryingHerBest Thu 02-Oct-14 17:58:14

TheFirstOfHerName I think that may have been me. Assuming it was, you will know full well that the level of preparation your DCs did is not very common when it comes to the SW Herts 11 plus.

If the child you know who scored 280 did the same level of preparation as your DC then I would imagine that they are naturally exceptionally bright given that the score would have placed them within the top 0.38 of their cohort (which will have consisted of literally hundreds of children).

It is made quite clear on that web site that many of the successful children (successful in terms of getting their first preference school) who sit the test spend a fair number of hours per week preparing.

As I have highlighted, the mark your DS2 got may not actually be enough to get a place at the most sought after schools next year (possibly this year but that won't be know until the results are out), assuming the cut off marks continue the upward trend. In light of this the level of preparation you have suggested may fall short of the mark for children now preparing for the test.

I think a point to bear in mind is that the 11 plus exam varies from area to area. A child preparing for and exam that covers just Maths and VR will not need to spend as much time preparing as a child that has to prepare for an exam that covers Maths, English, NVR and VR.

TheFirstOfHerName Thu 02-Oct-14 21:11:59

My original comment was addressed to voddiekeepsmesane and was specifically to share my own experiences of the test for the S W Herts consortium. I made the comment after the poster's child had sat the test, and it was intended as encouraging and supportive.

voddiekeepsmesane Fri 03-Oct-14 22:20:26

TheFirstOfHerName Thank you for your comments and yes the countdown to the 20th is on smile

MumTryingHerBest I think you will find that apart from the super "academic" (read pushy) primary schools in and around Watford area that many parents do not do much more than familiarisation and time keeping for the test. You can not go on what the elevenplus website as knowledge of most do ...there are some scarily anxious parents on there smile

Onlygrammarisgoodenough Fri 03-Oct-14 23:50:23

Scarily intelligent and well prepared children, too, Voddie.

My poor DD will not be able to compete sad

FelixTitling Fri 03-Oct-14 23:56:04

Zero hours here.

We (dh, dd & I) elected to remove ourselves from the whole circus and send dd to the local high school.

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 01:14:57

voddiekeepsmesane - MumTryingHerBest I think you will find that apart from the super "academic" (read pushy) primary schools in and around Watford area that many parents do not do much more Well good luck to your very bright children (they will need to be within at least the top 4% of their cohort to get a place at the boys grammar (results for this year will be released early November): www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/forum/11plus/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=10227.

My DS is in yr5. It would seem he is in one of the really pushy primary schools in and around Watford because I have yet to meet a parent who is doing just 1 hour a week preperation.

My DS is G&T for maths (4a SATs in all subjects at the end of year 4, the school does not test for level 5 at this stage) and at best I am hoping for Rickmansworth (he sits the test next year).

BTW, there is a housing development that has just broken ground within about 300-400 metres of Parmiters. Can't wait for the catchment to shrink from 1000 metres (approx) to 300 metres next year. It makes it so much easier for local parents.

Of course you already knew all this and are confident that your DC will be one of the 19 children getting an academic place at Watford Boys (out of 450ish applicants this year).

I also assume that the super pushy primary schools you refer to are Nascot Wood, Cassiobury, Knutsford, Chater, Watford Fields, Holy Rood (I know children at all these schools and not one of them is doing 1 hour a week).

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 01:24:27

voddiekeepsmesane I don't think you said how your DC did on the music test. well done if you got through to the second round.

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 01:31:55

Onlygrammarisgoodenough Scarily intelligent and well prepared children, too, Voddie.

My poor DD will not be able to compete

What year is your DD in? To be fair, I was blown away by Bushey Academy and I will be more than happy to put it as my safe option (provided I am in catchment next year). I Know someone who has a DD there so have the reassurance I need that my DC will do well there.

voddiekeepsmesane Sat 04-Oct-14 10:19:22

MumTryingHerBest you have made a lot of assumptions about what schools we do and do not want. We live 500m away from WBGS but would not send him there. Both his dad and me went to single sexed schools (QE and Catholic Girls boarding school in NZ) and we feel we would rather have co-ed for ds each to their own in regards to that though.

Also while yes I did mean those schools you mentioned as pushy but it is only 6 out of around 25 within 2 miles of Watford town hall. There are a lot of families that do not/ can not tutor but still do the test.

As for the music test DS did not do it nor did he do the sports or NVR test at Bushey Meads for various reasons.

If and that is a big if DS does well when the test results come out then we will look probably at Parmiters and Queens but we are also just as happy to put down Bushey Academy or Westfield as their results are getting better and better year on year.

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 11:36:11

voddiekeepsmesane MumTryingHerBest you have made a lot of assumptions about what schools we do and do not want. and it looks like my assumptions were correct. Many people who have DCs sitting the SW Herts tests are eager to gain a place at either Parmiters or one of the Watford Grammars (which had pretty much the same cut off mark for 2014 - Parmiters 252 and WGBS 253 so again your DC will need to be in the top 4% of the exam cohort to gain one of the academic places).

I was asking if your DS had done the music test to offer a genuine congratulations BTW. However, I appreciate that not everyone sits the test. Also bear in mind that those who do, still have to prepare for it so it adds to my previous point that the amount of preparation required will be determined by the exams.

Can you explain what you mean by pushy with regards to these schools? As I have DCs at one of the schools, I'm intrigued as to why it is being perceived as pushy.

There are a lot of families that do not/ can not tutor but still do the test. I don't doubt this. I would, however, imagine there is a fairly low success rate in getting an academic place at Parmiters for those that do not prepare for the exams.

As you know the area well you will be fully aware that there are a fair number of children gaining academic places at the most sought after consortiums schools who will have attended a private prep. The local preps,. tutor the children specifically for the 11 plus exam: www.york-house.com/info/31/senior-school-success (scroll down to 2010).

I stand by my point that an hour a week, while possibly being sufficient a couple of years ago, will fall far short of the mark now. I think you yourself have recognised this fact as you have previously stated "We have done 2-3 hours a week throughout the year".

What I don't quite understand is how a child who is tutored for "familiarisation and time keeping" is expected to learn the year 6 maths curriculum. Given the 11 plus maths paper often (granted not always) contains areas that are only normally taught in year 6 I am intrigued as to how the child is expected to acquire this knowledge.

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Sat 04-Oct-14 11:56:33

Mumtryingherbest Is can only speak for my two DDs, who took the 11+ (in an area quite far from Herts) last year and 6 years ago). In both cases they were working at level 5+ in maths in Y4, they had both covered the entire Y6 maths curriculum before Y6 began which meant a very boring Y6 for them (because their school while happy to let kids work at their level up to the end of the primary school curriculum refused to let them go any further) but was obviously beneficial in terms of 11+. They were far from the only ones like this at their school (or other local schools) - maths is one subject where kids who are good at it at primary level are given their heads and allowed to progress at their own pace, it seems. DD2 is kind of in the middle at maths now she is in Y7 at the grammar, incidentally - all the kids there were working at a high level at primary school.

voddiekeepsmesane Sat 04-Oct-14 11:59:26

MumTryingHerBest when you say that many people sitting the test want either Parmiters or Grammars it is true yes. My original point a few months back is that , yes you can tutor to excess and get a great result on the test but I was never prepared to do that then have DS struggle or us having to continue to tutor him throughout his secondary years.

The personal experience I have of knowing many people with children in schools that I described as pushy and DS being at a school that I determine to be more all rounded as shown with the more relaxed year 6 SAT approach as an example (only my opinion)

The fact that preps prepare the children for the consortium test and state schools can not is very unfair also the fact that the consortium schools allow for outer catchment children when there is a shortage of places for local children, which is reported to only worsen even with new schools being built, is not good and very unbalanced.

As for your last point you mentioned that you couldn't understand how children would be able to pass the maths test if not tutored. You said that your child is year 5 is 4a I would assume that he would be doing a lot of the year 6 maths this year as it covers from level 4b up. This is my experience last year as my DS was at the same level as your DS.

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 13:15:26

You said that your child is year 5 is 4a I would assume that he would be doing a lot of the year 6 maths this year as it covers from level 4b up. This is my experience last year as my DS was at the same level as your DS. My DS started covering year 6 maths last year (his teacher assessed him in the January and said he was a level 5, in their end of year SATs the school does not assess anyone above level 4a) and started giving him and one other boy work a level up from the rest of the top maths group.

However, this is highly unusual and would certainly not be the case for the vast majority of children sitting the consortium test. Without tutoring (at home with parents or otherwise) the vast majority would not have the full range of knowledge to get the highest marks in the test.

The fact that preps prepare the children for the consortium test and state schools can not is very unfair also the fact that the consortium schools allow for outer catchment children when there is a shortage of places for local children, which is reported to only worsen even with new schools being built, is not good and very unbalanced. This is why local parents are putting more effort into the preparation. It is not to boast that their DC is super bright etc. it is purely to get a place at a local school at a time when the odds of this actually happening are reducing year on year. The 2014 results were a wake up call for many when the pass marks jumped by 10 marks.

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Sat 04-Oct-14 14:42:22

It's really not that unusual. Kids who are good at maths have been allowed to progress at their own speed until they hit the primary school ceiling for years, IME. Literacy, that's another matter.

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 14:56:09

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria It's really not that unusual. Really, are you saying that in your DCs class 100% of them will have covered the year 6 maths curriculum by the end of year 5? I ask this as 100% of the children in my DS's class will sit the 11 plus and all of them will need to have covered the yr 6 maths curriculum before they sit the 11 plus test at the start of year 6 if they wish to be able to gain a high mark.

Out of interest what do the DC's cover in year 6 if they have already covered all the maths?

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 15:26:55

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria a point I should highlight is that SW Herts is not a typical grammar area. Realistically unless a DC is a sibling, cared for, SEN or living within a few hundred metres from the school, they pretty much have to get a specialist place - academic, music, sport, technology.

There are 7 semi-selectives

There is a projected shortage of school places in the area so there is no certainty of getting one of the three local non ranked schools.

In light of this the majority of children in the area will sit the 11 plus.

Two of the consortium schools have an allocation of academic and music places for outer catchment children (going out as far as 10(ish) miles. This reduces the number of school places actually available to local children.

voddiekeepsmesane Sat 04-Oct-14 15:34:49

I don't think it is unusual maybe not 100% but not that unusual. At the beginning of this year the school DS goes to has set them into two different classes those who were 4c and above and those working towards 4b average at the end of year 6. It is a 50/50 mix.

As for what they do in year 6 when they have already covered KS2, I can only answer for our school, they have a great teacher that extends them sometimes working from a beginners KS3 book, sometimes working out a teaching plan for a lesson to help the other class etc etc. I would advise you to be really on top of that and start from the beginning of this year to explain where they take the brighter children. We have always said the last thing we want is a child who is put off school because they are bored.

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 15:48:38

voddiekeepsmesane sorry voddie, I don't think I'm being very clear in the point I'm making.

100% of the children in my DS class will sit the 11 plus (actually there may be one or two who don't for various reasons). In order for them to be in with the best chance of sitting the 11 plus exam and get a good mark (bearing in mind that many, although granted not all, aspire to Parmiters or WGBS) they will need to cover the yr 6 maths elements that may come up on the exam. Not all the children will cover this content at school, which is where they will need to be tutored by parents or tutors.

I would imagine they will need to have knowledge of some of the yr 6 maths in order to actually do some of the test practice papers.

I was not suggesting that my DS was special, if i felt he was then I too would be considering Parmiters (not keen on single sex either). However, I'm not convinced my DS will be in the top 4% of his corhort.

voddiekeepsmesane Sat 04-Oct-14 15:54:58

And not all the children would have answered/understood all the questions and they will get a low score. Remember even to be considered with any of the consortium schools you must take the test. In fact some of them make you take the test even if you have siblings as they use it to set at the beginning of year seven. Not everyone's reason is the same and not everyone is expecting a great result. The test is available to all so most take it.

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 16:06:59

voddiekeepsmesane I fully agree with everything you have said. However, the point to note is the jump in cut off marks in 2014. People have commented to me that the jump changed the playing field somewhat.

A mark that would have previously got Queens may get you into Bushey Meads.

A mark that would have previously got you into Rickmansworth may get you into Queens.

A mark that would have previously got you into Parmiters or WBGS may get you into Rickmansworth.

The shock reaction this caused resulted in a lot of playground talk and certainly local parents are much more aware that a degree of preparation may be advisable.

There will inevitably be people who choose not to sit the eleven plus or just give it a go to see what happens.

voddiekeepsmesane Sat 04-Oct-14 16:16:32

Yeah I am well aware of the jump in marks last year and my theory well actually I have a couple. Population growth, more organised because marks are given before choices are made also the tutor boom kicked in. Again though to tutor to pass a test is easy (well relatively) to then be in the wrong school and struggle for years is silly IMO. I know this has happened in the last few years and people have had take their child out and place them elsewhere or homeschool.

The marks for last year increased because of the greater number of children taking the SWHC tests. The test marks are standardised to follow a standard pattern and and a greater number of applicants means more people on each mark. The number of places remain the same, so the successful mark has to go up.
We live in the outer area and I have DDs in both Y7 and Y8 of WGGS. The number of children from private schools seems to be greater in my Y7 DD's class too.

voddiekeepsmesane Sat 04-Oct-14 19:35:17

Not anything against you personally FiveHoursSleep but the outer catchment really needs to go , local schools for local children. Don't know if it will ever happen but the Watford parents are getting riled year on year

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 19:37:35

voddiekeepsmesane I know this has happened in the last few years and people have had take their child out and place them elsewhere or homeschool. Was there a particular reason they moved their DCs?

From what I understand, there are not many children who leave Parmiters or WGBS (not sure about the other schools). This is according to parents I know who have/had children on the waiting lists.

voddiekeepsmesane Sat 04-Oct-14 19:40:17

The whole thing about private schools has really come I the fore since the recession parents will try for higher achieving grammars if they can rather than pay for another 5/7 years of private education. This has in itself increased numbers applying to the consortium

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 19:40:51

voddiekeepsmesane Not anything against you personally FiveHoursSleep but the outer catchment really needs to go I think parts of the outer catchment should go and the inner catchment extended to include Rickmansworth and Croxley Green (which currently fall in the outer catchment). There are areas in the inner catchment that are further away from WBGS than some of the outer catchment areas.

voddiekeepsmesane Sat 04-Oct-14 19:44:41

MumTryingHerBest you are correct that not many move their child but instead invest almost the same amount of money akin to private education to tutor their children through Parmiters or WBGS/WGGS not the right approach IMO. There are a few that realise that they have chosen the wrong school for their child and move them or homeschool like I said.

voddiekeepsmesane Sat 04-Oct-14 19:52:16

No Rickmansworth has Rickmansworth school, Croxley has St Clements Danes and a new school being built, Watford is the place that needs new schools for Watford children. Apart from the grammars and Westfields all other school are either Bushey or Garston. Though I suppose it is all about space and where they would place a new school

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 20:06:06

voddiekeepsmesane I don't think there are many children at those schools that are not up to the academic standard. The results demonstrate that fact e.g.:

www.watfordgrammarschoolforgirls.org.uk/docs/exam_results/results-2013-for-website.pdf

dashboard.ofsted.gov.uk/dash.php?urn=136289

TBH I can't see how an over tutored child is any more likely to struggle than a child who gained a distance place, a music place or a sibling.

Just to be clear, my DC does approx. 2 hours prep. a week. However, if someone chooses to do more, I don't think it can be assumed that their DC is less academically able.

voddiekeepsmesane Sat 04-Oct-14 20:18:45

Because dear MumTryingHerBest the expectation of a child getting in on a sibling place and a child getting in on an academic place is totally different ( trying to keep my cool here) please do not be naïve to think otherwise. The academic results are always skewed it is a well known fact that pupils are encouraged to only go for exams that are a sure thing once at GCSE or A level, not always but often that happens. If you are indeed a member of the eleven plus site then you will know this has been the case at the grammars, Parmiters, QE etc etc

I DO NOT generalise SOME over tutored children will not do well, SOME non tutored children will do well etc etc etc

The main thing I came on here to say a few months ago is what I have said over and over I WILL NOT tutor my DS to death just to pass a bloody test for him to struggle for years to come. Whatever result he gets in two weeks time will be what it is and we will make a decision from that. DO NOT assume that ALL parents of the West Herts Consortium are as competitive as you or your school ground chums

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 20:22:25

*voddiekeepsmesane No Rickmansworth has Rickmansworth school, Croxley has St Clements Danes and a new school being built

According to this report the shortage of school places is projected for the Rickmansworth, Croxley Green and Watford area. The shortage is not exclusive to Watford (pg 19):

www.hertsdirect.org/docs/pdf/m/risingdemand

To suggest that people living in Watford only have access to the Grammars and Westfield is simply not true. I know people living in Watford who have children at every one of the consortium schools.

Based on the point you have made, are you therefore suggesting that St Clement Danes and Rickmansworth School exclude applicants from the Watford area once those areas are removed from the Catchment for the other consortium schools?

voddiekeepsmesane Sat 04-Oct-14 20:30:33

I am not saying they do not have access to other schools ....you really are on a one tracked mind. I am saying that Watford especially North Watford have NO walkable secondary schools at all. You seem to forget that you are a year behind me in looking at all this and think that I am clueless to some aspects of what is what within the consortium, I can assure you I have and do agonise over this but it is what it is at the moment and we do the best think for our children.

TheFirstOfHerName Sat 04-Oct-14 20:35:28

<waves at FiveHoursSleep >
How is your DD2 getting on?

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 20:38:33

voddiekeepsmesane it is a well known fact that pupils are encouraged to only go for exams that are a sure thing once at GCSE or A level

I think you will find that every school in the consortium insist on a minimum grade at GCSE in order to continue the subject to A level. I have specifically asked about this during the school open evenings and the levels are consistent across all the consortium schools. I am happy to stand corrected if you can provide me with an example of where this is not the case.

If you are indeed a member of the eleven plus site then you will know this has been the case at the grammars, Parmiters, QE etc etc

TBH I have never seen a single post that makes this claim regarding Parmiters or the Grammars on the elevenplus website.

The following document gives a very specific break down of results and if what you claim is true, I have to question why there are E and U grades included (admittedly very few of them)

www.watfordgrammarschoolforgirls.org.uk/docs/exam_results/results-2013-for-website.pdf

I have seen a great deal of discussion regarding QEB and the A level cull but given that school is not in the consortium, I'm not sure why this school would be relevant.

I can see your point voddie, but I don't think the outer catchment is going to go anywhere soon. The Grammars are Academies now and they can set their own admission criteria and the outer catchment area is a long held tradition.
The area we live in suffers from a lack of school places too, hence our children travelling to school, but the Dof E has just announced the opening of a new secondary school in 180, which should alleviate things in our area.

voddiekeepsmesane Sat 04-Oct-14 20:59:10

FiveHoursSleep I know most areas are lacking spaces I suppose I am defensive about places because I live in the consortium inner cathment. If I was in your situation I would do the same as you smile

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 21:09:32

voddiekeepsmesane If I was in your situation I would do the same as you people in Watford try to gain places at schools outside the county in the same way that out of county people try to gain places at the SW Herts Schools (admittedly in much, much lower numbers).

From what I have heard, 8 boys from Watford got places at Chesham Grammar this year.

Bucks parents are becoming increasingly more concerned about the trend in the same way that Herts parents are.

voddiekeepsmesane Sat 04-Oct-14 21:10:32

STOP with the documents please MumTryingHerBest it is coming across as very condescending. I have seen and read all these links you are putting up and just because I have a different view to you does not mean I am wrong in what I think just as much as what you feel isn't wrong. I suppose the whole thing of what I am saying and have been trying to say for many post is you do whats best for your child and family and just because you think everyone else is tutoring to death does not mean they are.

voddiekeepsmesane Sat 04-Oct-14 21:12:20

But not in their hundreds as North and West London children do with the consortium test

voddiekeepsmesane Sat 04-Oct-14 21:13:33

Just because some from Watford do it does not make it right ...I am not a sheep

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 21:17:10

voddiekeepsmesane just because you think everyone else is tutoring to death does not mean they are. just to make it clear, I do not think people are tutoring to death. I do think that the majority of people are doing more than 1 hour a week tutoring as you yourself have demonstrated. This will be particularly the case with people who are using tutors (which, as you have pointed out, is very much on the increase) given that the tuition session itself will normally be an hour long and many tutors give additional work to do at home.

If I'm honest I think 3 hours a week of tutoring is doing considerably more than just familiarisation. I appreciate you see it differently.

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 21:20:27

voddiekeepsmesane ...I am not a sheep I don't believe I said you were.

Just because some from Watford do it does not make it right again, I don't believe I said it was. I was trying to highlight the fact that the problem in Herts is having a cascade affect into other areas.

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 21:22:53

voddiekeepsmesane STOP with the documents please MumTryingHerBest it is coming across as very condescending. I apologise, it was not intended to be condescending, I was backing up my claims with what I felt demonstrated the reason for my view point.

voddiekeepsmesane Sat 04-Oct-14 21:31:23

You seem to think I am against you or at the very least you feel the need to justify how little/much others/yourself do tutoring or what others consider tutoring/familiarisation. Chill do whatever you feel is right, stop worrying what others do. My original post was about how competitive I felt people get about 11+ but it was near the end of our 11+ journey that I allowed myself the headspace to think about what others were doing before that we just focused on what was right for our family. MumTryingHerBest you have a year to go you will burn yourself out if you do not chill a bit IMO

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 21:40:16

you feel the need to justify how little/much others/yourself do tutoring or what others consider tutoring/familiarisation.

I was commenting on a thread as per the topic of discussion:

How much time does your Year 5 DC spend working for this (either tutoring or homework)?

I appreciate you feel my posts were completely irrelevant to this.

voddiekeepsmesane Sat 04-Oct-14 21:43:25

Sarcasm the lowest form of wit

voddiekeepsmesane Sat 04-Oct-14 21:47:09

Forget it ...I was trying to show you that there is another way of thinking within the 11+ system, actually there are many ways of looking at it. While I appreciate that you see it as a highly competitive market, I see it as a means to an end. Like I said I will be happy with the local Academy if that is what deems best for our DS.

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 21:54:51

voddiekeepsmesane Like I said I will be happy with the local Academy if that is what deems best for our DS.

I have posted exactly the same on the thread:

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 01:31:55
Onlygrammarisgoodenough Scarily intelligent and well prepared children, too, Voddie.

My poor DD will not be able to compete

What year is your DD in? To be fair, I was blown away by Bushey Academy and I will be more than happy to put it as my safe option (provided I am in catchment next year). I Know someone who has a DD there so have the reassurance I need that my DC will do well there

No, this is not intended to be funny. I have cut and pasted the post simply to back up my claim.

voddiekeepsmesane Sat 04-Oct-14 22:04:10

Fair enough MumTryingHerBest smile

MumTryingHerBest Sat 04-Oct-14 22:18:47

voddiekeepsmesane off topic but not sure if you've seen the parents survey on WGBS web site. Some interesting points in it regarding confidence of the children and academic progress smile:

www.watfordboys.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=35&Itemid=37

Not necessarily deal breaker stuff but interesting reading (there are ranking comparisons with other comparable schools which I imagine would include Parmiters)

voddiekeepsmesane Sat 04-Oct-14 22:22:05

oh oh no I haven't seen this ...thanks off to read it now

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Sun 05-Oct-14 02:58:31

Mumtryingherbest No, 100% of the kids in DD2s class were not level 6 in maths at the beginning of Y6 or indeed at the end. 3 kids were L6 at the beginning, about 6 by the end. 5 of them took the 11+ - for a superselective - including all the 3 who startedY6 on L6. 3 of them passed completely (category A) and one of them got in having passed 2 of the 3 papers (VR, English and maths). The 3 who passed completely were the 3 who started the year already L6 for maths (and mid-high L5 for English). 9% of the kids in the year therefore got into the superselective which is pretty good going servings as there were only 120 places for a massive geographical area - certainly less than 9% of all the secondary school places available. 100% of kids aren't supposed to get into grammar schools. To expect that is just bonkers. The really bright kids will be at the right level, they are the ones who 'should' be going to grammar school (if you buy into grammar schools, which I do). It's supposed to be a differentiating test. You just can't expect 100% of kids to pass it.

TheFirstOfHerName Sun 05-Oct-14 07:18:33

Parents obviously don't like the online reporting system! We have known nothing else, so have nothing to compare it with.

I am a bit shocked that so many parents think their sons aren't being pushed hard enough.

I don't know why so many parents were unhappy with the Biology teaching. One teacher, perhaps?

The school has made changes to its careers advice in response to the survey; it now starts in Y9 and is more extensive.

MumTryingHerBest Sun 05-Oct-14 07:48:38

TheFirstOfHerName I am a bit shocked that so many parents think their sons aren't being pushed hard enough. exactly what I thought given the published exam results.

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria 100% of kids aren't supposed to get into grammar schools. I fully agree. However, SW Herts is a rather unique animal.

Those who get the highest marks can choose from 7 schools (8 if they qualify for QEB and possibliy 9 if they also pass the Bucks CEM test). Those who don't sit the 11 plus or get a low mark don't get a choice, they get allocated one of the three non-ranked schools or have to wait to see where they will end up (to emphasis the point, the area is facing a shortage of school places).

The consortium schools prioritise siblings (unlike standard grammar schools where siblings get in on the test).

The consortium schools also allocate distance only places. Unfortunately given that the two grammars are surrounded by rental flats and houses people simply move into the area, procure a place at the school, move back out and then benefit from the sibling places. Given that builders have just broken ground on a housing development within 300/400 metres of Parmiters, I'm waiting to see if it has the same impact on that school too.

For first born children living near Watford Boys who are not cared for, SEN or living more than 250 metres from the school, they are looking at trying to get one of the 19 academic places or one of 10 music place (in a standard grammar they will be looking to get one of 180 places). From what I understand, in order to get one of the academic places the child will need to gain a score that will place them in the top 4% of their cohort (not the top 25% or so that you find with many standard grammars). Granted this is the most extreme example in Watford but it does affect a good number of children.

I'm not saying it's wrong, I'm not saying it's right, but for me, as a local parent, it does raise the stress levels somewhat.

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