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.

EdMcDunnough Fri 05-Oct-12 11:20:46

I don't know. Mine's in Y5 and I honestly don't know where he should go.

I just know he isn't going to the awful school across town or the other awful school round the corner.

If it comes to that I will HE him, they are just dreadful places.

So with that in mind I've ordered some practise papers for the 11 plus, just to familiarise him with the sort of thing that might come up - but he's not going to tutoring. I think a few kids are but it isn't widely talked about here.

Like yours, mine is very very bright and tends to think laterally, has a great memory etc but he is unfocussed with academic work, and struggles to concentrate and will often 'panic'.

So I don't know if a grammar will suit him. It's just, the alternatives here are so rubbish sad

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 11:27:31

Is your child top sets? Are they on target for level 5s? Then give it a go.

There isn't anything magic about grammar schools- they are just the top sets of a comprehensive school in a different building. Apart from the super selectives, which are like the top 10% of the top set of a comprehensive in a different building. Sometimes with delusions of grandeur- Latin and rugby and wearing suits to away matches.

saadia Fri 05-Oct-12 11:31:15

I was like you op and didn't think seriously about tutoring but around here practically everyone takes the grammar school tests and I do now feel that I let ds own by not starting ds' tutoring earlier. He went for lessons over the summer holidays but I don't think that was enough. The tests are not all that difficult but IMO for most children practice and preparation in technique are essential.

OTOH I am not sure that grammar school would necessarily be right for him but it's always good to have options and the tutoring would help in general as well. Btw he did go to explore learning as well but I don't know how beneficial that was so we dropped it after a few months.

Yellowtip Fri 05-Oct-12 11:34:11

I'm not sure why you see latin or rugby as deluded seeker? (agree that suits are probably a bit expensive to insist parents buy).

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 11:41:54

I don't think they are deluded- i was trying, iin what I though (wrongly!) was a vaguely humorous manner, to suggest that many grammar schools have a slightly old fashioned air!

Yellowtip Fri 05-Oct-12 11:47:43

Oh I thought you were banging an anti-grammar drum seeker. But actually I can't see any reason why grammars should feel the need to cultivate an old-fashioned air. Which ones do I wonder? I bet the best ones don't.

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 12:01:18

Happy to bang that drum if required, as you know!

They cultivate that air because prospective parents like it. And yes, even the best ones do it!

bradbourne Fri 05-Oct-12 12:19:06

I think seeker is trying to say that some grammar schools try to ape public schools. Hence the rugby and the Latin. Then again, many parents want grammar schools because they see a grammar school education as being like a private school eductaion - but without the fees.

To the OP: I know it seems early, but maybe you could go and look around some of the local schools to get a feeel for what you think might suit your child best. If you think he would be better suited to grammar school, perhaps then you could look into getting him a tutor. A decent tutor should let you know whether or not he has a realistic chance of getting in. I think children without extra help to prepare for the 11+ are at a disadvantage these days from what I have heard and seen.

LittenTree Fri 05-Oct-12 12:46:59

My GS bloody well did beat the old-fashioned drum and I believe still does, actually, yellowtip. No hockey for us, that was for the plebs, it was lacrosse, you know. Had to travel miles to play (private school) opponents. And the boater was dispensed with the year I left!

A lot of parents want the half way house with all the trimmings between private and comp and a lot of GSs appear happy to oblige!

LittenTree Fri 05-Oct-12 12:47:35

Sorry, didn't read brad's before posting mine! We do seem to agree, though!

plus3 Fri 05-Oct-12 13:10:48

Thank you for the replies!
I did try him on some of the Bond practice papers - he scores highly. Absolutely loved the NVR tests!

I do think that alot of parents around here do see Grammer schools as a half way house between private school & the local comp, hence the excessive tutoring.

My DH went to private school & although he didn't achieve fantastic grades (not really one for handing work in..) he is very clever. I passed the 11+ apparently, but my parents chose not to send me (whole other thread grin) so I went to the local comp & did very well.

Thanks seeker I think it does help to not see Grammer as the 'magical educational answer' I just genuinely don't know if it would be the right place for DS.

MordionAgenos Fri 05-Oct-12 13:32:12

@seeker Offering Latin is neither deluded nor 'grand'. I did Latin O level at my comp. DD would have loved to do Latin at her SS but sadly they don't offer it.

Rugby is, basically, shit - bit it doesn't embody delusions of grandeur either, just delusions about what is a good sport (and what is a reasonable amount to expect a family to lay out to facilitate their child doing rugby). In some parts of the country rugby is the game. Now, that's bonkers but again it's not bonkers because of delusions of grandeur. Just because of the whole it being shit thing.



seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 13:38:47

As I said, mordion- I was using smart arse shorthand- sorry.

Mind you, one school locally told my brother (married to a Spanish woman with bilingual children) that they "don't offer Spanish- it's not really a grammar school language"!

Yellowtip Fri 05-Oct-12 13:57:23

Mordion they did try to re-introduce it as a full GCSE option for the year group which sat GCSEs in 2009, but as far as I know DS1 was the only student in the whole school who listed it as their top option. Just not the take up to go ahead.

And there speaks a football fan.

MordionAgenos Fri 05-Oct-12 14:10:45

It's a shame.

I'm currently fizzing with rage about rugby, mind, because DD1 has been told she HAS to do it next term even though their PE options are theoretically 'options' ie you get to choose. Given that she is dyspraxic, that she has an important music exam next term and important auditions (for the summer national ensemble courses) it's just not going to happen. We have already written to the school to say no way, but we await their answer. Their insurance won't cover them anyway, probably - especially if she hurt someone else. I hold out hope that they will let her just jog round the field while the others play, she'll be fine with that, it's what happened in hockey and that was actually great as far as she was concerned. But it's a different PE teacher than she's had before and one of those ones who don't believe dyspraxia actually exists. sad She had a maths teacher like that last year too - very trying. Luckily her group have a different one this year and she is so much happier. Not happy enough to consider it for A level, mind. But still. Happier.

Yellowtip Fri 05-Oct-12 14:23:18

Have you mentioned the very real possibilty of your DD whacking a classmate? I'd have thought that that would certainly do the job.

plus3 Fri 05-Oct-12 14:42:40

Anyway.....(trying to refocus conversation back to MY dilemma grin)

givemeaclue Fri 05-Oct-12 14:50:46

What is the dilemma? Apply and he either will or will not get a place. Job done!

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 14:56:28

How does it work where you live, plus? Is it super selectives? 23%/77% and if you pass you get a place? Pass and get a place if you live close enough?

I have views and opinions aplenty, but the ones I offer depend on your circumstances!

scootle Fri 05-Oct-12 15:01:16

The way my dss got in was to do lots and lots and lots of practice papers (he hated it but his mum made him do it pretty much every night). He did have a tutor for a bit, but I don't think that did much for him. Can you get your ds to practise? Is he on target for 5s? if so, it is worth a try.

scootle Fri 05-Oct-12 15:01:51

He actually hates his school now too... so he is not the best example!

plus3 Fri 05-Oct-12 15:03:58

The dilemma is how do I know if it will be the right place for him?

Is Grammer school a relentlessly driven, structured, quiet learning environment? If so, DS would love it. If there is a big focus on just producing 'a project of your choice' etc, he would be hopeless.

Maybe I just don't know enough about the system to evaluate it. How much do I flog him at home to get him to pass an exam that at this moment in time he probably would fail, but given another 18mths of maturity could pass easily?

As I said, he has an unspecified SEN - I don't want this to limit him and let his primary school use it as a reason to think what he is achieving now is good enough. They all seem to think he is bright,clever whatever, but he is just about above average. Is pushing him harder to towards a Grammer helpful or even the right thing to do?

I have no idea.

PropositionJoe Fri 05-Oct-12 15:06:39

If you have a degree and you shop at Waitrose then you just know wink

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 15:08:10

Have you been to look at the grammar school?

SoldeInvierno Fri 05-Oct-12 15:32:10

if he's not grammar school material and he gets in by just working extremely hard to pass the exam, you are setting him to fail in the coming years, so I would be very careful about overdoing the tutoring.

I went to see a private secondary school just recently and one of the teachers was saying that every year they take in 1/2 way through the year, 3 to 4 pupils who have had to abandon the local grammar school due to an almost "nervous breakdown". This made me think very carefully about trying to push my DS beyong his abilities.

Brycie Fri 05-Oct-12 15:38:40

Maybe they teach Latin because it's valuable and wear uniforms to away matches because it gives the right impression, representing the school. Delusions indeed.

To the first poster: I agree with seeker, give it a go. Buy the practice books first. The maths isn't even that hard and you could probably teach it yourself; ironically it might be harder to prepare for the English as schools aren't good at that sort of prep., so a tutor might be of some help there.

Brycie Fri 05-Oct-12 15:40:25

I don't agree with : if he's not grammar material and you push to get him in, you are setting him up to fail. The other children are not all natural genii, most are bright children like yours, tutored. The level is not Einstein.

IsabelleRinging Fri 05-Oct-12 15:48:43

Ask his teachers, they should be able to tell you.

Yellowtip Fri 05-Oct-12 15:51:31

The teacher was doing a loyal marketing job for his school Solde! Not hugely professional to say the grammar is the cause of near nervous breakdown - how gauche.

mimbleandlittlemy Fri 05-Oct-12 16:22:14

You say you've spoken to the school but you don't say you have you actually been round it? However good a school looks/doesn't look on paper you don't know until you've actually been. You could go round now, in the current open day sessions, then go round in Y5 by which time you'll still have a year to tutor if you think it's right. If he is bright enough a year will be ample. It's also much more effective, I've found, to ask when you are on the spot in a classroom with a real teacher what they can do for your child than to ask over the phone, because you can see the whites of their eyes when you explain any possible problems and you'll know whether they are genuinely prepared to accommodate any form of learning difficulty or whether they just talk the talk. Sometimes the look of blind shifty panic a question about SEN induces is almost amusing (not what I was saying a while ago at a particular school I have to say but I've come to laugh about it subsequently!).

plus3 Fri 05-Oct-12 17:02:55

Sorry - I have only spoken to the primary school. Have no experience of what is available after primary. I am so heads down, focusing on current problems, that an innocent chat in the playground yesterday seemed to revel that half the parents in Ds year were already preparing their DC for this bloody exam. It has panicked me (which I know is ridiculous - but I am desperate not to limit his choices & opportunities because of the SEN) sad

I will look at websites & try to determine if we are in a super selective area. Have no idea about catchment etc, but really just wanted some advice/reassurance about my PFB.

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 17:14:20

Could you tell us where you are? If not, I suggest you look at the secondary transfer section of the LEA website- find out what aort of grammar school system you're in and we'll help from there.

mimbleandlittlemy Fri 05-Oct-12 17:16:24

plus3 I totally understand - it's not ridiculous and having been through SEN issues with ds I can offer you an awful lot of hugs and sympathy. Don't let playground talk panic you though - and do see if you can get round the grammar school and even a couple of others schools now if you are really anxious because then you can start to see what the possibilities are and they won't be nearly so scary - and you will be the person in the playground who might actually know what they are talking about too and quite often those people are rare!

I know how much playground talk whips people into a panic - ds is now in Y6 and I've been watching it and panicking away myself on and off, but if you give yourself a clear picture of what is out there now and how you feel about local schools that might or not be right for you dc then you will be able to make sensible decisions and it won't seem so bad, honestly.

SoldeInvierno Fri 05-Oct-12 17:16:42

TBH, regarding the nervous breakdown story, the subject came up because I mentioned about someone who I know personally who had that problem, and consequently ended up in that school. That's when he mentioned they have a few every year. I don't think he would have brought up the subject otherwise.

Yellowtip Fri 05-Oct-12 17:24:25

I completely agree with mimble that you should not, not, not let playground talk panic you. I hear absolute rubbish all the time about the local grammar, real scaremongering, daft statistics and yes, well, just rubbish. I know it's absolute rubbish because I've had DC there continuously since 2001. Steer a steady course and listen to the HT at an Open Day but do avoid ultra competititve mums - they're bad for your health.

plus3 Fri 05-Oct-12 17:33:13

grin see... MN is a lovely place!

Won't get a chance until after 8 now to look on websites etc, but we are nr High Wycombe/Beaconsfield.

School are (probably quite rightfully) non-committal about this subject as DS is in Yr4. They just say keep on with what we are doing at home to support him, and that he will be fine.

weblette Fri 05-Oct-12 17:42:59

Ok so you're in Bucks. It isn't superselective. If you get the qualifying score of 121 you will usually get into your nearest catchment grammar. There's no ranking on what the score is above that, get it and you're eligible for a grammar place.

Single-sex grammars tend to have much smaller geographical catchment areas than co-eds. It all depends on where you live. The county council website has details of where your nearest would be.

In terms of whether grammar is the appropriate place for him I'd say as a basic he would need to be looking to achieve Level 5s in Yr6. Analysing the last government data before all the local grammars converted to academy status, the vast majority of children have this. At the 2 single-sex schools there was no-one below this. Because of this, work is pitched at a high level from the start and it can be hard to catch up.

If you have a very science-minded child the grammars are very often the best option - they do single sciences and have far greater numbers studying to A-Level.

That said, the non-selectives round here do get really good GCSE and A-Level results.

I know it's hard but try to ignore the people doing loads of work out of school. You don't have to do two years of tuition to pass it.

Anything else you need PM me smile

plus3 Fri 05-Oct-12 19:01:15

right.. utterly embrassed...all my post I have been spelling Grammar wrong (would like to blame the predictive text at this point...) blush

A quick look at LEA website shows as Weblette states, that it is catchment area driven, 2x VR papers and all scores above 121 are offered places. An even briefer look at the 2 schools that would be offered, shows no mention of SEN support.

Thank you weblette for the offer of PM'ing you.

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 19:03:43

The next thing is to go and look at the schools- and ask searching questions about SEN. And look at the alternatives- which might very well deal with SEN better.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 05-Oct-12 19:13:34

Gramm*A*r schools only exist properly in three counties

in the rest of the country we have the luxury of all of the state schools having proper top sets without all that tutoring and selection malarkey

plus3 Fri 05-Oct-12 19:18:00

seeker thank you for your support. Out of interest - are you anti-grammar? or just the hoops that have to be jumped through?

weblette Fri 05-Oct-12 19:18:44

Actually lots of the grammars have great SEN support, the boys' ones particularly. A friend's son is dyslexic, dyspraxic and borderline ASD. He's had tremendous help. Agree that you should go and see them.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the Bucks exam is changing from next year. Because all the grammars are now academies the county council has no responsibility to administer the test. It's yet to be announced what the new format will be, they are committed to maintaining selection though.

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 19:20:42

I am anti selective education. But I know a lot about it.

weblette Fri 05-Oct-12 19:20:42

Forgot to add, my ds2 is also year 4, my eldest did the exam 2 years ago, ds1 did Paper 1 yesterday. I hate the exam and do sometimes wish we'd moved somewhere else. Bit late for that now though...

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 19:21:45

But I do have a child who is being very well served by a grammar school.

plus3 Fri 05-Oct-12 19:34:40

Can I visit them if not applying this year?

Weblette: is it too cheeky of me to ask if you are doing lots of additional out of school work with your Ds2?

weblette Fri 05-Oct-12 19:39:51

You've just missed the open evenings alas, some will do ad-hoc visits, others won't.

I'm not doing anything extra with ds2 atm, I'm not yet convinced that grammar is right for him whereas it would suit ds1 down to the ground. With my older two the only extra work I've done is to look at papers/techniques from the January before they were due to sit it and one term of formal tuition.

I'll PM you.

plus3 Fri 05-Oct-12 19:40:42

Seeker: I think that is my feeling - I don't want to go all out and overstretch DS, but I can't help feeling that despite everything, he would do well in the Grammar system (from what I understand of it)

Will keep talking with school.

plus3 Fri 05-Oct-12 19:41:17

you are a superstar

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.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 05-Oct-12 22:34:56

not just round you .... DH goes to over 100 schools a year all over the UK of every type
his views of grammar schools are unprintable

we bought a house in the catchment of a dire school, but were able to send our kids to the next comp along
if we'd turned out to be in a grammar area I suspect we WOULD have moved

plus3 Fri 05-Oct-12 22:39:54

Back again. The upper school choice is better than expected - parents who visited for this year were pleasantly surprised, but are still pinning their hopes on the grammar place.

LaQueen where does DD1 want to go? Could you give her the choice?

My DS has been described as a lateral thinker who constantly surprises the teachers with the depth of his questions.....shame that it can take him best part of 10 minutes to even write his name down.

LaQueen Fri 05-Oct-12 22:43:04

Yellow I have to agree. But, if all the other competent kids are being tutored, and you decide to not have your equally competent kid tutored on principle, you are really disadvantaging them.

LaQueen Fri 05-Oct-12 22:44:04

Talkin around here the GS are pretty much stuffed with the children of middle class, professional parents.

LaQueen Fri 05-Oct-12 22:45:42

plus she's actually perfectly happy to go to the GS, as it's where she assumes all of her friends will go. If she went to the secondary modern (which is in our village) she wouldn't know a soul there, because she goes to a school in another village.

plus3 Fri 05-Oct-12 22:48:27

She will probably do extremely well then!

Narked Fri 05-Oct-12 22:48:49

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

Lots of parents (who can afford it) in grammar school areas will send their children to independent schools if they fail the 11+. At around £3,500/term for 5 years that's £52,500. Spending a couple of grand to make sure they're prepared is a sound financial investment - it wouldn't even cover the fees for one term.

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 22:51:43

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

That's not an accurate description. However, a "a MC ghetto of kids" is.

LaQueen Fri 05-Oct-12 22:54:37

I hope so plus. I need to stop fretting about it, because I'm just stressing myself out and possibly she might pick up on that hmm

I just need to trust in her teachers and her tutor to mold her potential a bit.

Yellowtip Fri 05-Oct-12 22:54:51

Narked if they don't get in, it's clearly money wasted, isn't it though? It's either £X for the indie, or £X + £2k = £2k burnt.

Yellowtip Fri 05-Oct-12 22:56:31

Not down here it isn't seeker. Maybe in Kent.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 05-Oct-12 22:56:36

DH has worked at several grammars in different counties in the last couple of years - among the dozens and dozens of other schools he works at.
He makes his living (and no, he's not an Ofsted inspector) getting the measure of a school quickly.
Grammars tend to either be complacent or stressed - because of the distortions in the selection system

Arisbottle Fri 05-Oct-12 22:59:00

I have taught in grammar schools and it put me off ever sending my children to one . If I had the choice between a poor comp and a grammar I would choose a grammar but otherwise it would be comprehensive in most situations. .

Having said this our eldest son is in a grammar because he struggled socially in a comprehensive. That wasn't really about him being too clever for a comprehensive but the fact that there were not enough boys like him. Having said that he had a tough time at the grammar as well because he was not sporty. Looking back now I wonder if he would have been as well to stay at the comprehensive.

Our middle child wanted to sit the grammar exam because she is intensely competitive and needed to know if she could get in. She passed but did not take the place. I was surprised that she did not take the place as she is in my mind the typical grammar golden girl type. However she really stands out at her comprehensive which I suspect appeals to her competitive nature whereas at the grammar she would have been one of many very clever and very sporty girls . She also likes mixed friendship groups and I think that was a factor in Turning down a place at a single sex grammar.

Our youngest is in year 6 and working at a level 6 at least in the core subjects. She chose not to enter for the exam , to my relief , and I think that she would have been very unhappy at the grammar. She has had some quite intense friendship issues and I would have worried about her coping with the rife bullying at a single sex grammar school. She works quite hard on her homework and is always keen to be top of the class at everything but that is for herself only . She is quite low key about her academic success and I am not sure she would want to out herself - so to speak - by going to a grammar. Mind you having said that she has already chosen her university and career path at the age of 11!

I have refused to tutor any of my children, although tutoring is now rife. My dd is in an extension group in her primary school and is the only one who is not tutored . It is not necessarily the brightest that get into the grammar , I would say that my youngest dd is much brighter than my middle one who was offered a place an therefore theoretically could be at the grammar now.

Yellowtip Fri 05-Oct-12 22:59:30

In what capacity Talkin? You make these harsh sweeping statements, so it's cowardly to hide (money where mouth is etc.).

Arisbottle Fri 05-Oct-12 23:00:33

I am not sure I would use the word nasty but grammars have become a ghetto of middle class over tutored kids.

plus3 Fri 05-Oct-12 23:02:31

So rubbish grammars or mediocre secondarys.Super.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 05-Oct-12 23:03:00

I have no intention of outing DH over your annoyance at the fact that his views agree with others.

Well informed posters (mainly teachers) on these forums have worked out from my posts who he is.

Arisbottle Fri 05-Oct-12 23:03:04

I do not feel that I have disadvantaged any of my children by not tutoring them, even though almost every child I know who is a grammar potential is tutored.

My children have a confidence from the fact that they can keep up with the tutored grammar students without the extra help. I suspect that confidence will get then far in life

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 23:05:10

Grammars aren't rubbish. But the secondary schools in grammar areas are sometimes mediocre. It takes a special school to overcome the problems caused by an intake labelled failures at 10. And therein lies the problem.

Narked Fri 05-Oct-12 23:10:25

I've never understood the idea that tutoring is somehow cheating. It doesn't make children any brighter. It just prepares them for the test they'll face.

Narked Fri 05-Oct-12 23:11:13

Imagine if you were only allowed three driving lessons before your test!

Arisbottle Fri 05-Oct-12 23:15:07

I just think that children spend enough time on homework , I would far rather they read a book or we all went out for the day than I paid someone £30 an hour to prep my child for an exam for a school which is probably no better for them.

Tutoring does give you an advantage , an advantage directly linked to income.

Yellowtip Fri 05-Oct-12 23:17:10

Talkin I'm not in the least annoyed, I just find it faintly ridiculous to hide behind a shadowy DH who is adduced in evidence but who's job and therefore competence and veracity can't be named. I doubt that his experience is much more compelling than my own.

Narked Fri 05-Oct-12 23:26:12

You don't need a professional tutor! You need past papers and a desire to help!

Arisbottle Fri 05-Oct-12 23:30:15

I haven't even done past paper with my two that were offered places, does not mean I have no desire to help . Ironically the one that is quite certain that she does not want to go to the grammar loves those workbooks. She buys them with her pocket money

plus3 Fri 05-Oct-12 23:34:06

I will go investigating. Ultimately it will be the SEN support that will swing it for DS. At the moment we will concentrate on supporting school learning ourselves, and will reconsider the options at the end of this year. Thank you wise ones smile

Anteater Fri 05-Oct-12 23:44:54

90% of the kids sitting the test for our local grammar had coaching. The earlier you start the more certain the result. Not right but sadly true.

I suspect a high % have to continue with coaching to just keep up. Is this right? The school do not seem to mind.

I would say you need to go and sit in a few lessons and get a picture for yourself. Nothing like seeing something first hand. This will help you make the correct choices. And if thats your chosen school, get a tutor sooner rather than later!

OhMyGolly Sat 06-Oct-12 00:34:49

Can anyone explain the Grammar situation in Hertfordshire to me in simple terms, I gather that the children take a "common entrance" type exam for a few schools, but from all I have read passing that doesn't guarantee you entry to any of the schools confused.

Plus3 your ds sounds a lot like my dd, she loves literacy and science and has a good aptitude for both, she doesn't have any confidence in maths, although her teachers reassure me she is good at it, y4 too.

It's a nightmare to get her to do any homework, so I think tutoring will be out, I do plan to past papers with her though.

MordionAgenos Sat 06-Oct-12 00:57:47

@yellow (I know the thread has moved on. Sorry. Been tramping round NYC all day getting as much value as I can possibly wring out of my extra post conference days here). Yes, we have mentioned that. And also pointed out that if she damages her hands or arms that could have a serious impact on her actual, you know, career. They certainly took the point with hockey - she was never even allowed to hold a hockey stick (which suited everyone just fine). But as I said, her LE teacher, who hasn't taught her before, thinks she knows more than the experts and doesn't think dyspraxia exists. So we've escalated it. Whatever happens - she's not doing rugby. I'm not buying the kit, for a start.

seeker Sat 06-Oct-12 08:00:07

"90% of the kids sitting the test for our local grammar had coaching"

Not disagreeing- but how do you know?

LaQueen Sat 06-Oct-12 08:51:57

Narked I really don't think it's quite so simple as having a desire to help and some past papers.

Both DH and I are graduates, with good degrees, I'm the English boffin and he's the maths whizz... but we're both quite impatient people, and (I suspect) not that good at explaining stuff so that a 9 year old can understand.

So, the best way we can help DD1 is by paying an experienced tutor, who is patient and very good at explaining to 9 year olds.

LaQueen Sat 06-Oct-12 08:54:21

From what I hear, coaching isn't that common once children at at the GS. I have a couple of friends who work there, and the 11+ actual exam is what separates the wheat from the chaff - so if you can pass it, then you'll be fine with the day to day lessons/homework.

BigFatLegsInWoolyTIghts Sat 06-Oct-12 08:58:49

I'm like you DD is only 8 in year 4...struggles with maths but is far ahead in literacy and science....I can't cope with shoving and pushing her...she loves art...she doesn't like studying.

I can't afford Kumon.

I think I'll be leaving her alone. Our secondary schools are good...we do have a girls grammar but it's highly competitive and quite a distance.

I think my DD would do better at a local school that she can walk to or a short bus/bike journey tbh.

I have a degree and shop at Waitrose but I'm in the I'm perhaps not the best example of a pushy middle class parent!

seeker Sat 06-Oct-12 09:16:41

And another important thing to remember is that you must have a psychological and practical plan B.

Anteater Sat 06-Oct-12 09:49:13

90% tutoring is the figure at DD school for those sitting the exam. Tutor mentioned many keep her on at GS. Our DD has sat the exam last week and still wants to go to £20/hr tutor. Agree with Laqueen regarding well qualified 'helpful' parents!
Interestingly, as an employer I prefer people who have had to work hard to achieve rather than naturals..!

BigFatLegsInWoolyTIghts Sat 06-Oct-12 09:51:04

Anteater how often does DD see the tutor?

BigFatLegsInWoolyTIghts Sat 06-Oct-12 09:51:33

And I understand what you're saying about hard workers versus naturals. I'm not a natural...I don't think DD is either.

Yellowtip Sat 06-Oct-12 09:55:21

What is a psychological Plan B seeker? (I don't think I have one).

seeker Sat 06-Oct-12 10:52:20

A psychological plan B is thinking about the impact that failing would have on your child and the whole family, and how you would manage it.

Arisbottle Sat 06-Oct-12 10:57:02

All of the children at my dd's primary are being tutored, we know this because she was teased for being too poor to have a tutor. The children and parents regularly swap tutor stories.

Just because you are not tutored it does not mean that you are not a hard worker, my children all work hard at school .

Arisbottle Sat 06-Oct-12 10:57:25

All of the children who are applying to the grammar are being tutored.

BoffinMum Sat 06-Oct-12 10:59:10

I think it's time grammar schools were forced to comply with the Equalities Act, and take children with SEN and make proper provision accordingly. Why are they let off the hook?

TalkinPeace2 Sat 06-Oct-12 13:41:56

I'm sure I'll be corrected but I believe Free schools and religious affiliated schools do not have to comply either
LA schools will be turned into an SEN ghetto for the 93% of families who cannot afford fees.

Yellowtip Sat 06-Oct-12 14:33:41

seeker I'm struggling to see why failing would have an impact on the whole family. It might be a bitter disappointment but it's not a huge trauma.

This year is different to previous years so I haven't thought beyond the results, which are out in a week. A Plan B will have to emerge then if need be. I do much prefer the idea of these early tests and results, they do simplify the process to a great extent.

seeker Sat 06-Oct-12 14:48:32

Really? What about being the only sibling to pass, or not to pass?

BoffinMum Sat 06-Oct-12 14:50:29

Talkin, it is not so long ago that kids where effectively expelled from schools for having the temerity to have or develop disabilities as pupils. Looks like it's going back that way.

PropositionJoe Sat 06-Oct-12 14:53:37

Many families round here have passers and failers in their siblings. It doesn't seem to be a big deal.

seeker Sat 06-Oct-12 15:28:27

Yep. People in favour of the system are always quick to say there's no issue with failing- it doesn't have any impact on a child at all to be told that they are less clever than their friends they have to go off to a different school for less clever people!

Or that they are a particularly special snowflake and too clever to be educated with their friends and have to go off to a different school for clever people!

Neither of these are healthy things to tell a 10 year old.

Arisbottle Sat 06-Oct-12 15:37:19

The upset starts even before they sit the exam.

As I said up thread , my dd has been teased for not having a tutor, she has also been repeatedly accused of being " thick" because she is not going to the grammar. As a parents I have been accused of not caring because my child is not being entered.

Some of the children who do not get in are devastated, as are the parents ,

LittleFrieda Sat 06-Oct-12 15:51:04

I think they should make the 11+ compulsory.

seeker - how is your on getting on at his new school?

plus3 Sat 06-Oct-12 16:04:55

seeker I agree that it can be a fall out for the whole family. It shouldn't be, but have seen it happen. A friend's DD has just been tutored, high 5's across the board & expected to pass easily. Parents were bad mouthing the local Upper school & unfortunately she failed. They have had to do a huge amount of work to convince her that she's not stupid, and that her new school will be good for her. They have automatically decided not to enter their DS into the process.

Arisbottle Sat 06-Oct-12 16:21:11

Why on earth should the 11plus be compulsory.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 06-Oct-12 16:46:33

Littlefreida WHY should the 11+ be compulsory?
In counties like Hampshire with comps, all kids go to the school roughly nearest to home and are allowed to reach their level in each of their strong or weak subjects.

Yellowtip Sat 06-Oct-12 16:50:02

Ours is a super-selective which makes things a little more straightforward I suppose. I think there's probably far more pressure in places like Kent. DD would be the only sibling of eight to fail to get in which a lot of people would regard as horrendous, so there's clearly potential for fall out. I'm certainly not telling her that she's a special little snowflake hmm. I've just said what I've said to the others: you're bright but you have to show that you're bright on the day and that can be hard and things can go wrong.

seeker Sat 06-Oct-12 17:36:28

Super selectives are very different from a small town where 23% turn left at Tesco and 77% turn right.

Yellowtip Sat 06-Oct-12 19:45:38

I think that must be right seeker but do you have experience only of Kent? A lot of parents invest quite a lot of emotional capital with superselectives too. The stakes are just, as you say, different.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 06-Oct-12 19:54:15

There are only three counties that are fully grammar (Buckinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Kent) and Kent is by far the largest by population and has the most towns away from other county boundaries so is actually the "purest" (or most rancid) grammar area in the country by a long way.

The carbon footprint of 'superselectives' is just offensive - especially if you take into account the frankly incremental difference it makes in the children's education.

If EVERY school had a proper top set then chances are that UK education would not be sliding down league tables.

Those at superselectives have NO IDEA how the rest of the world (including uber intelligent children with non car driving parents) thinks : FAIL.
They are worse than private school kids as they genuinely think they had a 'state school education'.

Yellowtip Sat 06-Oct-12 20:09:35

I don't accept that the carbon footprint of kids coming in to school on double decker buses albeit from 15 miles away is that offensive. Or that the difference to those same kids' education is incremental.

My local comp is fine. But those of my DC who have now exited the secondary system have had an excellent education at the superselective and none of them would have emerged with anything like the same grades at the comp. Or the same opportunities that they now have. What is pretty unremarkable at the ss is stellar at the comp.

What is offensive is to say that they have 'NO IDEA how the rest of the world .... thinks'. Mine are only too well aware of where they are in the grand scheme of things and they can see the nuances of the system quite well. How patronising! My kids could knock spots off that kind of accusation - in great part thanks to their education.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 06-Oct-12 22:01:32

in a normal catchment secondary, many of the children walk, some cycle and a few are bussed or driven 4-5 miles
please explain how bussing kids in from up to 15 miles away - past lots of other schools - is lower carbon?

And sorry but you appear to have no idea how comp schools work so how will your kids?
NB I was private educated so had no true understanding of the true range abilities till DH started working in education
- he and I are unusual as he has direct experience of everything from uber selective private to restraint clothing special ...

Yellowtip Sat 06-Oct-12 22:32:52

Talkin reducing carbon obviously has its place but it's not the be all and end all. On that basis kids who go to boarding school and don't commute for weeks at a time are the true exemplar. Yours is quite a weak argument which attempts to distract from the one about quality and appropriateness of education.

Your own experience of comprehensive education is vicarious. Mine is too. As is my DCs'. So what. Very few people have first hand experience of each of the models. Big deal.

Babelange Sat 06-Oct-12 23:26:12

I am concerned that predicted level 5s are mentioned here as indicative of suitability for selective secondary school - half of DS's Y6 (2 form entry) state primary got L5s and a further 6 got L6 maths. This is in an area of superselectives (Herts) where two schools have 'grammar' in their names, yet there are only 40-odd academic places in each school and the local authority has 11,000 primary children in each Y group... No wonder these schools develop such a considerable cachet with parents.

Here tuition is rife and I think this is what is causing level inflation - spending time on verbal reasoning and maths is boostering these levels... but then again, I've very much appreciated the relationship DS1 and DS2 made with their tutor, spending just an hour a week going through the different question types typically on 11+ papers. They have recognisably grown in maturity as they have to communicate on a one-to-one basis with the teacher. I didn't think it was terribly expensive (in comparison to a MC staple -eg. piano lessons). I think you have to have a peculiarly compliant DC to take them through practice papers yourself - good luck to you if you have one of these angel children - I only spawned argumentative sulky ones!

We were seduced by the 'grammars' but DS1 didn't get in and so he's at the local comp (posted elsewhere about minor bumps at start of term). He got over not getting in very quickly (they are kids and I don't think can readily articulate the 'might've been'). There's no family pressure or sense of letting the side down.

The comp pushes very hard; streamed from day 1; top sets do 2 languages (French & Spanish), maths taught at a high level. They have done a rotation of sports in PE and are being evaluated for their levels - including ability to follow rules and spatial awareness. PE is not about picking the school rugby team!

So back to OP - you won't really know if your DC will be happy at grammar until they are there. If maths is a worry - find a tutor that can give your DC more confidence - they certainly have to get used to tackling mixed papers rather than focussing on one topic at a time.

I am pleased that DS1 got to the level of attainment he has done. It hasn't put us off going the same route for DS2.

I feel your pain - I was desperate for a crystal ball and would have probably sold my soul to the devil for the gift of clairvoyance - however there are so many factors outside your control. And DS1, Y7, is actually quite different to DS in Y4 - I was planning a life in the arts for him as he hated science and now he wants to be a marine biologist which he can be with intrinsic motivation - it doesn't matter which kind of school he goes to. I did start maths tuition for him in Y4 as I could tell he was very capable but lacking in confidence. Any 'intervention' is likely to be beneficial (although I wouldn't recommend Kumon as it's so boring). You'll probably find that Y5 is the catalyst year for your DC - they tend to make the most progress in Y5.

breadandbutterfly Sat 06-Oct-12 23:29:00

Arisbottle - your experience of grammar schools bears no resemblance at all to my own or that of my various family members who attend/attended grammars. I chose one for my dd and she is loving it (to the extent she begs to go into school when ill as she can't bear missing a day) - and she was not tutored.

A lot of rubbish written here about grammars by people who didn't go to one and don't have kids at them.

breadandbutterfly Sat 06-Oct-12 23:30:55

Re the Herts grammars to the poster who asked,there is no grammar system here but a few grammrs (or semi-selectives) with different tests rather than one county-wide test.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 06-Oct-12 23:35:22

that is not grammars, that is bright kids at decent schools.
ATM DD is on painkillers every two hours and on crutches awaiting orthopaedic treatment -but heaven help me if I do not get her into school on time. She bunks PE (cannot walk after all) so has personally arranged extra flute lessons with the head of music and persuaded her latin teacher to help her with self taught italian. - comps have their uses after all

seeker Sat 06-Oct-12 23:44:23

"My local comp is fine. But those of my DC who have now exited the secondary system have had an excellent education at the superselective and none of them would have emerged with anything like the same grades at the comp. "

Why on earth not?

Yellowtip Sun 07-Oct-12 00:34:52

Year in year out on results day the local paper publishes results of the top achievers at each of the schools. My DC are not extremists on the whole. They bubble up towards the middle top or the middle at the grammar. To get the same results at the comp they'd have had to bust a gut (and them some) - but that's not what they are and not what they do. They're conformists, up to a point.

MordionAgenos Sun 07-Oct-12 01:39:20

@seeker my DS didn't want to take the 11+ so he didn't take it. No trauma for the other siblings. If DD2 doesn't pass when the time comes, then she will go to the same school as all her friends and her brother. If she does pass, then she will go to the same school as her sister and at most 1 or 2 friends (and maybe one a year older). No trauma. There will be plus points either way.

MordionAgenos Sun 07-Oct-12 01:45:53

@talkin I went to a comp. My DS goes to a comp. I most certainly do know what comps are like (in the bit of London where I went to school - very different from leafy affluent Hampshire) and in the city where we live now (again, very different from leafy affluent Hampshire). I also have friends who teach at the local private schools and some who send their kids to those schools. They are as different from our SS as our SS is from the comp (I agree it is different. But not as different as it is compared to the private schools). It's also worth noting that the private schools in the city in which I now live as nothing like as posh as the private schools in the bit of London in which I grew up.

Arisbottle Sun 07-Oct-12 03:34:37

Breadandbutter I do have a child at a grammar, I also have worked at a different grammar . So I do have experience , albeit limited.

plus3 Sun 07-Oct-12 05:56:10

Thanks Babelange - a crystal ball is exactly what I am looking for!

hedwig2001 Sun 07-Oct-12 06:40:21

I'm also in Bucks. DS went through 11+ last year. I found this website really helpful. There is both useful information and moral support!

jabed Sun 07-Oct-12 08:57:34

I do not know if this has been suggested and if it has I apologise. I think if you have to ask if grammar school is right for your child then the answer is probably it is not. If it is right you would know.

BoffinMum Sun 07-Oct-12 09:07:21

I've sent my kids so far to a selective independent school (DD) and a very good comp (DS1 and DS2). The schools are comparable, in terms of academic outcomes, but I like the kids at the comp better than those at the independent school (some of the kids there were under-parented in my view, and a bit off the rails). Ultimately it's not whether it's a grammar or not that determines whether it's a good school, but whether it has scholarly leanings underpinned by vocational excellence.

WinterStepThisWay Sun 07-Oct-12 10:01:09

I disagree completely jabed. As parents, it's perfectly normal to be filled with doubt particularly when a. you're not really aware of what other kids are achieving in terms of level b. you are not familiar with the grammar system and c. you haven't been educated in the UK yourself.

I tick all 3 boxes and whilst I realise my DS is extremely bright and thrives on academic stuff, I honestly don't know how he would fare in comparison to others trying for the same test. NO IDEA. And that doesn't mean grammar school is not right for him, it just means I'm a bit clueless I need to understand more.

As for getting a tutor, fine, granted that some people can afford it and some can't. Such is life. But isn't that the point about working hard towards something? Making an effort to achieve something?

jabed Sun 07-Oct-12 11:47:03

WSTW - these days I would honestly have to say if you do not get a tutor you child does not stand a snowballs chance in hell of getting into a grammar school in this country. Either that, or pay for a private prep /independent school who will prep your child to pass the exam .

I work in an indi ( not the prep part of the school) and I can tell you we usually have near 100% pass rate in the local 11+ Not all of thjose pupils are up to it but their parental aspirations are.

Without tutorledge any child, no matter how bright will not make the cut because of all those who are tutored. Simple as.

Otherwise, find yourself a good independent senior school or the best state SM (or if they call it a comp - a comp) as you can. Thats the choice in this country today.

Someone once put it to me as "Private education or no education" but that may be taking things a bit far. There are good state schools but you have to hunt for them.

LaQueen Sun 07-Oct-12 12:01:12

"I do not know if this has been suggested and if it has I apologise. I think if you have to ask if grammar school is right for your child then the answer is probably it is not. If it is right you would know."

I wouldn't agree with that jabed. On paper, DD1 certainly appears good grammar school material - confidently predicted Level 5s for Yr 6, and her teacher (with 30 years experience of our primary to grammar school system) saying she thinks DD1 will be absolutely fine there.

She also has two graduate, professional parents on-tap to help her, encourage her, double-check her work, read with her, extend her vocabulary etc, etc.

So, you would really think she ticks all the boxes...

But...but...she's quite arty, quite ditzy, a little bit scatty. She's not especially bothered if she forgets to do her homework, and doesn't worry overmuch if she gets her spellings wrong.

She's most definitely not academically competetive, she's happy pootling along in say, the top 25% of her class, but doesn't mind in the slightest that she's not consistently in the top group.

So, I lie awake at night and fret and worry that the academic atmosphere of the GS will crush her, and that she will feel suffocated and stressed.

LittleFrieda Sun 07-Oct-12 12:05:52

This is why the 11+ should be compulsory, although of course it hold not be compulsory to have to take up a place.

I think it's ridiculous to say "you just know if your child is grammar material" because in truth the bottom third/half (if you factor in tutoring) of the grammar school is likely very similar to the top tranche at the non selective.

MordionAgenos Sun 07-Oct-12 12:25:41

The majority of the pupils at Dd1s SS were not tutored. But it would seem its a pretty unique school in other ways so maybe it's unique in that respect too.

Yellowtip Sun 07-Oct-12 13:04:55

LaQueen I think you should rest easy at night; your DD will be far from alone.

In fact DD2 (another arty one) took the ditzy thing to an unprecedented level in the school by forgetting to turn up for an AS, so she ended up with one missing. She then trumped that by muddling dates for a crucial university aptitude test and now there has frequently turned up to the wrong thing and failed to turn up when she should - but they seem to indulge her. By no means all grammar school kids go for burn out and those who do are by no means always the brightest. I bet your DD will be absolutely fine.

jabed it can be very difficult for those trying to assess their first DC, particularly when a lot of primary schools don't push the 11+ for political reasons. I was completely unsure about where on the spectrum my first DC was. You've been a teacher for years - slightly different.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 14:26:17

trust me, I know the difference between my DCs comp and those in other areas - DH works at schools where Cn isa term of affection for teachers, at least once a term.

my problem with the whole "comp" thing is that the London 'market' has become so distorted - and that is where politicians send their kids to school - that it misrepresents the rest of the UK.

once you get a borough like Ealing with 43% private, state schools are no longer in a position to offer a balanced education.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 14:34:51

My underlying point is - and trust me my kids would be hit harder than most
- state funded schools should ALL go back to distance catchments
-: No religion
-: no selection
-: none of that crap
and the catchment boundary will flex each year till the school is full without sibling weighting (to reduce carbon footprint)
{none of that junk about renting for a year and then getting Jemima, Tarqin and Felicity in}

Yes, schools will differ depending on their catchment.
No shit sherlock, they do already , under the hugely expensive and complicated current system.
But kids will not drive past one school to get to another (unless their parents are paying for the pleasure)

For those who know, If I applied this to my kids (before they got into their current school) - they would be at one of the worst schools in the country :
BUT so would 500 of their friends - magically making it no longer a crap school, just a school with a few issues
so in the long term they would probably get similar results and we'd all save loads in travel time and gain in local friends ....

breadandbutterfly Sun 07-Oct-12 14:51:14

Disagree with jabed that parents just 'know' - I had a fairly good idea that my dd would be fine, because I was top of my v good grammar school and she was better than me overall - but if I hadn't been to grammar myself in this country, i don't know how i could have made that judgement (she is now at the top of her grammar, too so I was not wrong). But even with that to go on, it was just a got feeling =- I should add that I'm also a teacher but even then I wasn't sure - I think it would be a very arrogant parent who would be 100% sure - entrance exams are imperfect things.

I'd also massively disagree with jabed that you need a tutor to get in - some practice is important but nothing that a normmally bright parent can't do with a feww books from WHSMiths - and I have the stroppiest dd but it worked beautifully and was actually v v good for our relationship - v glad I didn't waste money on a tutor.

I think there is not much point in second-guessing the exam - if your dc is bright enough to be at a grammar they will probably get in - if in doubt they can do a few exams eg for distant superelectives and if they fluff all of them then you can figure out they're probably not grammar school material. If they get in then they are.

Obviously that doesn't mean they would necessarily be happiest at a grammar - go and visit some schools to see - not all grammars are the same. Some are pushier than sthers, some have bullying or peer pressure and some don't spome are strong on art or music or sport and some not, single-sex will suit some dcs and not others etc.

La Queen - what does your dd want to do? We visited 9 schools and my dd chose her school because she wanted to go somewhere 'hard' and really wanted the intellectual challenge - is it your dd who wants to go to an academic school or is it you for social reasons? I think her views should play a big part if not the biggest in whether a grammar school is 'right' for her.

jabed Sun 07-Oct-12 14:58:42

Reading this thread, I might just add, grammar school isnt a place I would want my DS to go to these days. That despite he would be in the top percentile of entrants.

Its clearly not what it used to be. smile

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 15:32:08

grammar schools are an irrelevance.

There are only 134 of them, the vast bulk in two backwater counties
and the modus operandi is great for liberal arts or PPE type students
(a swimming buddy is delighted with what they are getting out of her son, but agrees that it would be pointless for my DCs)
but not relevant to what is to come in 15 years.
Older generation politicians seem to think that the GS / SM / TC system is as they remember it
but led by Michael (anything but evidence) Gove
they are heading up a backwater - taking many blindly ambitious parents with them.
Good oh, leaves space for the astute who graduated from comps ....

breadandbutterfly Sun 07-Oct-12 15:38:58

Talkin - not sure why you are trying to create a confrontation between those from comps and gss?

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 15:52:18

its not a personal thing
its the fact that among the psychopaths who stand for Westminster office, grammar school boys (and they are mostly boys) are disproportionately represented
and they set policy based on their experience of "state schooling"
and they are incorrect becuase what they have seen is utterly unrepresentative.

see the article in the grauniad
Michael Gove is really nice
BUT he does not change his mind

sorry, but the basis of scientific intelligence is the willingness to change your mind based on the evidence
and we are being governed by people who were not taught that

Yellowtip Sun 07-Oct-12 17:26:32

Talkin what a load of rubbish about liberal arts and PPE. The grammar I have most experience of regularly turns out large numbers of scientists and medics taking up places at Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial etc and tends to excel in Olympiads. I don't recognise any of what you say.

jabed your DS is very young still isn't he? He might peak, so perhaps don't count your chickens (I speak from experience, having peaked probably at age 7, arguably at 11, yet I was evidently a completely brilliant child (not that anyone bothered to tell me at the time, in case it pissed off my brother and sister)).

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 17:35:03

you have experience of one school in one town.
As DHs PA I have experience of hundreds of schools in every county in England.
Yours is the distorted view
Find me the PPE politician who did NOT go to either a private or a grammar school
actually, simpler, find me the government department WITHOUT a PPE graduate in its top 5 posts

Yellowtip Sun 07-Oct-12 17:41:59

No Talkin I don't as a matter of fact. My experience is somewhat broader. I doubt that your DH has a particularly in depth view of these schools tbh, given how many different schools he visits. Depth is pretty important.

And what's your beef with PPE confused?

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 17:49:55

well PPE certainly does not fit with the IOD and CBI requests for 'practical degrees'
PPE replaced greats
it is the degree of choice for career politicians
nuff said

if grammar schools ARE producing lots of fab scientists and engineers then this story is clearly out of date

CecilyP Sun 07-Oct-12 18:04:11

Find me the PPE politician who did NOT go to either a private or a grammar school

Danny Alexander? I don't know if Libdems count. I thought the problem with the present government was that they were too public school rather than that they went to grammar schools.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 18:10:30

Indeed, Danny Alexander went to school in Scotland - where there are no Grammars - but, bless him, he's never done ANYTHING outside politics : he joined the lib Dems on graduation and has kept his nose brown ever since.

The biggest problem with ALL of the current MPs is that they are 'career politicians' who do not know or care how the rest of us live - or educate our children.

jabed Sun 07-Oct-12 18:22:06

Yellowtip - I am sure that you would love my DS to be a failyre so you can say " I told you so", but I know it will not happen.

I do not believe in the eduspeak ( old time speak now) of "early developers", "late developers" and those who " burn out". It has never really happened . Its talk for the system making mistakes and needing to find an excuse for it. In your case I guess you feel a need to justify something you did not achieve?

My DS has always been very able and well above his age group. DW and I try hard to allow him to develop without pushing. Thats why he is not in school. Thats why when he goes it will be to a school where he can become what he is meant to become. I dont want him hot housed and I dont want him to p*ss off his peers or teachers so that they will find reason to make sure he does not achieve his potential or develop his interests.

If he chooses to be a lazy layabout, I will not be disappointed. The real truth about high intelligence is that too often it is over rated anyway. There is little it actually offers of itself. Other factors are more important - like focus and motivation and having a direction.

I am surprised that you see grammar schools as irrelevent. Are there really only a 100 +? There are 12 in my area. I do not see them as irrelevent but they certainly under perform. The other schools do not perform at all. So there you have it.

NarcolepsyQueen Sun 07-Oct-12 18:37:09

Hi. I was a deputy in a Bucks grammar until recently - know them all (and their ethos) really well. Please PM me with which school you are looking at - I will be able to help!

MordionAgenos Sun 07-Oct-12 19:02:37

@talkin I don't disbelieve that you know about your own kids' comps or that your DH knows about some grammar schools. You claimed that as a general thing parents of children in grammars know nothing of comps. I was pointing out that you are wrong there. I am certainly not the only parent at that school with other children who attend either the local (local here being quite a wide term) comps and community schools. DD1s best friend has a sibling at their local community school. She has another friend with a sibling at the comp DS attends. And two more with one or more sibs at other local community schools or sixth form colleges. As is the case with my kids, different schools suit different types of young person.

I also do not for one moment believe that you know anything at all about the grammar my DD1 attends (which is not in London). My basis for this is that almost every sweeping generalism you apply to grammars does not hold true for our school. You might know about DSs comp but again, probably not. I'm becoming prepared to believe that the grammar DD1 goes to is exceptional. But then, there's no reason why other grammars (eg the Kent ones) couldn't watch and learn, is there?

Incidentally my job involves going round the world looking at organisations, telling them how they are doing and helping them to do better. I never ever discuss any individual organisation with my DH. That would be terribly unprofessional.

breadandbutterfly Sun 07-Oct-12 19:22:15

talkin - I decided not to send my dd to my old grammar as it was almost entirely science-dominated (discussion on another recent thread) - would that it were full of girls inteested in politics and history etc, as that would have suited my dd absolutely,but sadly not!

I think you will find most of the cabinet (and I think a fair number of the former cabinet too) went to private schools actually - eg Eton. I have no problems at all being represented by people who went to grammar schools - or who did PPE for that matter - I do have a problem being represented by rich bastards who have never done a proper day's work in their lives and who have no idea how ordinary people live.

breadandbutterfly Sun 07-Oct-12 19:25:38

By the way, Michael Gove went to a minor private school - I would have thought that was obvious. Very few grammar school boys end up in the Tory party - everyone from my grammar is v left-wing. Grammar schools are about merit not wealth - that's why the Tories hate them - because they can't be sure of buying their way in.

breadandbutterfly Sun 07-Oct-12 19:27:30

Plus, needless to say, the Tory Party is the Stupid Party - research has shown that left-wingers are on average far more intelligent. smile

So not surprisingly, most of those who attend grammar schools can see the glaringly obvious faults with Tory policies. smile

TalkinPeace2 Sun 07-Oct-12 21:10:35

I am DHs company secretary, PA and credit controller. It is my JOB to know about the people we send invoices to.

a splendidly sweeping statement :-)

alcofrolic Sun 07-Oct-12 22:18:05

jabed just a word of warning. Never use too many superlatives about your dc. Never inflict your hopes and dreams on them.
Remember that they are individuals with their own thoughts, feelings, aspirations and ideas.

Children have a nasty habit of deviating from their parents' aspirations, and going their own sweet way!

seeker Sun 07-Oct-12 22:33:50

And another word or warning, jabed. Don't disparage other people's options. particularly when you're disparaging from a position of ignorance.

Yellowtip Sun 07-Oct-12 22:35:10

And jabed, lighten up. I was being flip. But you don't half bang on about your DS's intellectual prowess aged 6 (or 5 or 7, possibly 8). Love your metaphysical spelling btw. Of course I don't wish a small child ill - if you believe that, you're getting way too deeply into MN. And I'm not too hung up on what I may have failed to achieve , life's vastly too short.

Yellowtip Sun 07-Oct-12 23:00:11

Talkin there are 164 not 134 btw. Just saying.

Mordion absolutely right re. watch and learn.

seeker Sun 07-Oct-12 23:05:24

And whatever you think about the grammar school system, it is very silly to say that they "under perform" academically.

Arisbottle Sun 07-Oct-12 23:16:09

I think some of they do under perform academically to be honest .

alcofrolic Sun 07-Oct-12 23:29:20

The teaching in core subjects (particularly of sub-top sets (!)) was desperate at ds's grammar, and I would imagine a significant number of boys 'under-performed' (particularly as the maths was being taught incorrectly).

All in all it was a very disappointing experience of secondary education - narrow curriculum and uninspired teaching (on the whole).

plus3 Sun 07-Oct-12 23:35:45

jabed sorry, but it isn't clear cut with my DS, hence the question. I was just surprised at some of the children who are being tutored already in DS class.

I will admit to be naive about the process & feel the need to buck up. Both DH & I are graduates, but from different educational backgrounds. We recognise that one approach doesn't suit all.

Wasn't aware we were living in a backwater county though smile

naughtymummy Mon 08-Oct-12 00:29:41

Alcofrolic what you say is very interesting.I was discussing this with dh this very week(we have also got year 4 ds and on the advice of his teachers we have been to see some grammar schools this week).

We were asking ourselves, if ds was bright enough to get in to a GS. Then wouldn't he do just as well in the top set of the comprehensive.

LittleFrieda Mon 08-Oct-12 01:18:35

Jabed - Danny Alexander, Stephen Twigg, Ed Miliband, David Miliband ...

jabed Mon 08-Oct-12 05:34:17

*jabed just a word of warning. Never use too many superlatives about your dc. Never inflict your hopes and dreams on them.
Remember that they are individuals with their own thoughts, feelings, aspirations and ideas*

Children have a nasty habit of deviating from their parents' aspirations, and going their own sweet way!

Without prejudice,
I think that is an unfair comment because nowhere have I placed any suggestion of any hopes or dreams for him. In fact I have none. I am waiting to see what he decides on. He is too young for that now.

I am sorry if being open about his intelligence level causes jealousy. I will remember in future lots of MNers do not like that. Thank you for reminding me I am not allowed to say he is up at the top of the IQ rank. Its not done in this country (I had thought things might have changed but seems not)

jabed Mon 08-Oct-12 05:37:15

Jabed - Danny Alexander, Stephen Twigg, Ed Miliband, David Miliband

Some "comprehensive" the Millibands went to there! Pull the other one.

jabed Mon 08-Oct-12 05:38:16

And another word or warning, jabed. Don't disparage other people's options. particularly when you're disparaging from a position of ignorance

I am not disparaging anyone. I think you are reading more than is there.

jabed Mon 08-Oct-12 05:39:37

Yellowtip - for the record ( and I have never deviated - so dont make lies up) he has just turned SIX.

jabed Mon 08-Oct-12 05:41:27

And one thing yellowtip , you should never comment on " spelling". In my case old arthritic hands and fat fingers make for many typos. But to comment on spelling is very much the sign of someone who has no argument and needs to distract from their own jealousy, ignorance and poor manners.

jabed Mon 08-Oct-12 05:44:44

And whatever you think about the grammar school system, it is very silly to say that they "under perform" academically

When you consider that all these schools are highly selective and select for academic ability which should be demonstrated in the ability to pass through the examination system without failure, then they underperform.

There should never be less that a GCSE A* performance from any of them. They should never have less than A grades at A level. That is clearly not the case. They underperform.

jabed Mon 08-Oct-12 05:46:12

I think some of they do under perform academically to be honest

Arisbottle, many of those around me underperform, thats why I mentioned it. Thanks.

jabed Mon 08-Oct-12 05:50:07

jabed sorry, but it isn't clear cut with my DS, hence the question. I was just surprised at some of the children who are being tutored already in DS class

I am not surprised about the tutoring. Its commonplace but not always admitted, therefore probably more common than you may believe. The problem is that the 11+ tests are sensitve to such coaching ( even though those who pass by such methods may well fall back later) and that skews the 11+ results.

If your DC is borderline, then you need to look carefully I think. Even if they were not, getting thriough against all the coached individuals may not be easy.

Yellowtip Mon 08-Oct-12 08:06:42

jabed really! I simply didn't know your DS's age.

I thought you were a mathematician jabed. Your argument about GCSE A*s doesn't add up. Only 2% of students achieve all A*s so quite how you manage a synthesis between that and the fact that even the most superselective takes the top 5% of the ability range I really don't know. As for the Kent grammars taking the top quartile - come on!

Presumably you'll apply the same logic to selective independents as well? The highly selective Magdalen College School had four students only with a straight run of 11 A*s - are you going to take that sort of performance to task?

Yellowtip Mon 08-Oct-12 08:07:50

Four students in 2012 that is.

seeker Mon 08-Oct-12 08:28:29

"There should never be less that a GCSE A* performance from any of them. They should never have less than A grades at A level. That is clearly not the case. They underperform."

Are there any schools in any sector that achieve this?

jabed Mon 08-Oct-12 08:33:12

The highly selective Magdalen College School had four students only with a straight run of 11 A*s - are you going to take that sort of performance to task?

Did they really? We had more than that in my relatively mediocre partially selective independent. Just shows you how coaching can benefit doesnt it?

I think you will find the % A* at GCSE is a little higher than your 2% when across all boards. Its around 7% in fact ( have done the stas not read them off a list)

jabed Mon 08-Oct-12 08:36:20

Are there any schools in any sector that achieve this?

There are some in the independent sector who seem to get very close to this legitimately. I know of one grammar school who has claimed it this year but I also know they fiddled the They sat a lot of those who would not reach the mark as private candidtates or registered them at another school.

seeker Mon 08-Oct-12 08:38:08

Name them.

Until I actually have evidence I will continue to find it hard to believe that any school achieves 100% A* at GCSE.

jabed Mon 08-Oct-12 08:39:01

Ditto seeker

seeker Mon 08-Oct-12 08:40:00

I don't understand.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 08-Oct-12 08:47:22

Oh, the fat fingers line again.... 'tutorledge' indeed!

Nobody is jealous of your son, Jabed. But it's very silly to say of a small boy that he's a dead cert for anything that's years in the future.

jabed Mon 08-Oct-12 09:06:23

But it's very silly to say of a small boy that he's a dead cert for anything that's years in the future

Where have I said he is a dead cert for anyhting? I have said he is highly intelligent. That will not change regardless of what he does or does not do with it. G factor IQ is precisely that. It does not change.

Yellowtip Mon 08-Oct-12 09:22:20

You're right to question it seeker, since it's bullshit. Not a single school in the country in any sector gets 100% A*. Some schools make it harder for themselves than others by taking all exams in one sitting and sticking to linear exams. Is that the way your school does it jabed? (all exams in one sitting and linear).

Also, I'm not clear why you think I'm 'jealous'? The last thing I want snapping at my ankles is a ferociously bright 6 year old boy. It sounds completely exhausting.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 08-Oct-12 09:26:00

Jabed - 'That despite he would be in the top percentile of entrants.' I suppose you mean his IQ suggests he is in the 'top percentile'? But it does sound just a tad complacent!

Yellowtip Mon 08-Oct-12 09:26:31

Which grammar made that claim? I don't think any grammar this summer has made any such claim. They won't keep it a secret if true, so no need to be coy.

seeker Mon 08-Oct-12 09:31:47

Jabed, I'm sure you said somewhere on this thread about your child being in the top percentile of grammar school entrants? Or did I imagine that? If that's not saying that a 6 year old is a dead cert for something....

Andnthis accusation of jealousy is bonkers. Apart from anything else, ho have no idea of the academic capabilities of everyone else's children!

Yellowtip Mon 08-Oct-12 09:33:49

My brother in law was apparently off the scale at the same age as your DS and has epically failed to carry that through, in spite of the benefit of an expensive education and the lack of any particular issues. His genes are ok too (uncle with a double First in Classics). Anyhow, he's perfectly happy having partied his way to a Third, but it's not what his parents predicted.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 08-Oct-12 09:36:22

Anyway, no disrespect to the boy, but let's not have another thread derailed into discussion of Jabed's son... his own attitudes have far more potential for a debate!

I think, on the contrary to Jabed's initial post, that if you think you don't have to ask, you need to think a bit more. It's natural, human and humble in the face of the complexities of parenthood and education, not to be too sure what's right and best all the time, and to assume either way for certain would seem unwise.

MordionAgenos Mon 08-Oct-12 09:39:00

@seeker Per the Guardian's 'interactive map' for 2012 the top A*/A percentage was Henrietta Barnet with 91%. And that's A*/A not just A*. No grammar school got higher.

jabed Mon 08-Oct-12 11:02:04

Jabed, I'm sure you said somewhere on this thread about your child being in the top percentile of grammar school entrants? Or did I imagine that? If that's not saying that a 6 year old is a dead cert for something....

My brother in law was apparently off the scale at the same age as your DS and has epically failed to carry that through, in spite of the benefit of an expensive education and the lack of any particular issues. His genes are ok too (uncle with a double First in Classics). Anyhow, he's perfectly happy having partied his way to a Third, but it's not what his parents predicted

QED vis my previous post then. High IQ is no dead cert of anything except a high IQ. The IQ will not change. What is achieved with it is different. It may be something spectacular, it may be nothing at all.

My DS has the IQ and I have nowhere that I expect anything from that.

jabed Mon 08-Oct-12 11:03:51

Not all schools (especially independents) have published results this year.

jabed Mon 08-Oct-12 11:05:16

I could be clearer in my answer to the OP but if I did, I would open myself up for another salvo, so I have to repeat as I did, if the child is not in the top percentile then she needs to consider carefully.

breadandbutterfly Mon 08-Oct-12 12:04:03

Why? Why not apply and if the dc doesn't get in, then go for the equally attractive Pan B?

I don't see why people need to make a huge commitment just to making an application - apply, if it's right then your dc will get in and if it's not right then they'll go to another school and enjoy that instead.

The only reason poeople get het up about grammar school applications is because they imagine they need to intensively tutor for years, which is nonsense.

If in doubt, ask your dc where they would like to go - as they are the one who actually has to go there (and do any work for preparation for entrance exams) then it seems reasonable to ask them and let them make that choice.

And yes, a bright pupil can do just as well in the top sets of a comp, but may need a little more self-motivation to get there as the school may push less or expect less (but not nec, depends on the school). But it's hardly a crisis if your dc ends up at a comp!

breadandbutterfly Mon 08-Oct-12 12:04:22

Plan B - Pan B sounds yummy...

breadandbutterfly Mon 08-Oct-12 12:05:40

Oh, jabed - you do realise your posts about your ds came across as rather weird, don't you?

Remember - this is MN and we all have bright dcs on here - esp on grammar school threads...

breadandbutterfly Mon 08-Oct-12 12:09:01

I would be v worried about any school that achieved all A*s - don't see how that could be possible unless lots of subjects were banned. you can't expect everyone to be a perfect all-rounder - all A*s at Art, say? Plenty of v bright kids who can't get their head round X or Y or just hate X or Y.

No-one needs all A*s so why should it be a priority?

Yellowtip Mon 08-Oct-12 12:22:22

Jabed you say in terms that you 'know of one grammar who has claimed [a 100% A* hit rate] this year'. Which is it? Or have they made the claim confidentially only to you? I'm sure there's a public interest in knowing.

And does your school sit their GCSEs in one sitting at the end of Y11? Or does it take one or both of the soft options?

seeker Mon 08-Oct-12 12:24:51

I have already asked jabed to name names. I got a cryptic one word response. I think he is making it up.

hatsybatsy Mon 08-Oct-12 12:36:42

aha - another education thread where Jabed is taking pleasure in winding everyone up.

can he be for real?

Yellowtip Mon 08-Oct-12 12:39:52

I know seeker. I'm just pressing him.He must be making it up since no grammar scored 100% A* at GCSE this year or in any previous year and nor did any other school in the country.

Even SPGS failed to hit the jackpot in any one individual full cohort subject. That's how wide of the mark jabed is.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 08-Oct-12 12:45:57

Statistically the ONLY way any school could get straight A/A* results would be to triage all their pupils just before the exams and stop all but the top 10 from taking them.
It is patently ridiculous to expect straight As and A* from ANY cohort of pupils - even a highly selected and intensively tutored one
as every child has slightly rougher subjects and kids even have off days.

In my DCs school in 2011 they had 7 pupils get straight A and A* out of 300 - but its a comp. I'm quite happy with that as I know that the top sets are directly comparable with the local selective indie school.

DizzyHoneyBee Mon 08-Oct-12 13:02:05

My oldest did the 11+ and got a place but didn't take it up (long complicated story), now they are in year 10 and they are in the top sets for everything and getting A* grades at GCSE papers.
Going to the grammar school is not the be all and end all, and if they are bright AND work hard, then I reckon it's better to be top set in a comprehensive than average at a grammar school.

LaQueen Mon 08-Oct-12 13:20:14

bread my DD1 is actually perfectly happy to go to the GS, as she knows that most of her friends at school will he hoping to go there. She just assumes that she will go there IYSWIM?

Our nearest comp, is actually in our village, but she wouldn't know a soul there, and isn't familiar with it, at all.

LaQueen Mon 08-Oct-12 13:29:46

"But it's very silly to say of a small boy that he's a dead cert for anything that's years in the future"

jabed - you can't be that certain. If you read my posts upthread, you'll see that around here, there is a culture for even very clever children to have tutoring.

So, even if your DC is extremely clever, for their age...they may well be competing aginst equally (or almost as) equally clever children who have also had the added benefit of tutoring

My DD2 has been assessed, and is currently in the top 1% for ability, for her age group. Technically speaking, she should be able to do the 11+ with her eyes shut...but, nevertheless, she will get some tutoring, because no matter how clever she technically is ...she will still need some familiarity with the techniques, timing etc.

If my DD2 sat the 11+ totally blind, she wouldn't score nearly so well as a clever child who had ^also been tutored.

seeker Mon 08-Oct-12 13:32:24

"bread my DD1 is actually perfectly happy to go to the GS, as she knows that most of her friends at school will he hoping to go there. She just assumes that she will go there IYSWIM?"

That's why you need a psychological plan B.

Yellowtip Mon 08-Oct-12 13:33:42

Yes she would Queen, it's called 100%.

gelo Mon 08-Oct-12 18:57:15

The school with the best GCSE results that I know of achieved 88% A*/A grades (60.1% A* grades). 96.7% A*- B grades which is pretty amazing imo.

Can't imagine many schools doing better than that.

LaQueen Mon 08-Oct-12 19:55:25

"Yes she would Queen, it's called 100%."

Sorry, yellow you've lost me?

Yellowtip Mon 08-Oct-12 21:49:07

Queen you say your DD is in the top 1% of the ability range so she should be hitting the ceiling on the 11+ papers without any tutoring. You can't score more than the ceiling, so the purpose of tutoring is lost.

Potentially you risk boring the kid and you certainly stand to waste money.

LaQueen Tue 09-Oct-12 10:07:15

Yellow personally, I think it would be a waste of money, and her teacher kinda scoffed a bit, when we said we would also have her tutored...but, she really wants to have a tutor, as she sees it as fun. She already joins in with DD1's 11+ homework (and to be honest, grasps it much quicker than DD1).

figroll Tue 09-Oct-12 17:16:25

I enjoyed reading this thread - very entertaining. Both my kids go/went to the local grammar school which is definitely 'super' selective if that's the term. I genuinely don't think you know how intelligent your kids are (or aren't) until they are older. I don't think getting a place at GS proves they are clever either as there are some quite average children there as well as the brilliant ones.

What I liked about the school is the fact that the children are allowed to be as geeky as they like without any problem. They can write poetry or sing opera or do anything really and everyone is fine with it. Some of my dds friends who are at other schools have said that they wouldn't be seen dead singing in a choir but my dd is in 2. I think it is this freedom of expression that is a strength.

I think some of the teaching is rubbish though!

TalkinPeace2 Tue 09-Oct-12 17:32:15

My DCs school has choirs and orchestras and wind ensembles, they do Rock Challenge, cookery contests, rugby teams, computer clubs and languages teams.
Its a comp by the way.

figroll Tue 09-Oct-12 17:59:25

That's great, good for them. I am posting my experience by the way, not bragging that my kids got into Gs - I will leave that to others.

breadandbutterfly Tue 09-Oct-12 18:24:08

Totally agree figroll - that's what I like about gs.

seeker - totally agree that every child should have a psychological Plan B - entrance exams aen't perfect.

Plus probably some of their friend will go to other schools even if they do get in to the gs so it's good to have respect for your friends' schools too.

seeker Tue 09-Oct-12 19:13:52

No orchestra or choir or ensemble at ds's high school-sad- but isn't that an argument for comprehensive schools where these things are available to all? Rather than the privileged getting even more privilege?

PropositionJoe Tue 09-Oct-12 19:16:22

No, it's an argument for starting them at your DS's school

breadandbutterfly Tue 09-Oct-12 19:21:49

It's an argument for having no comps if they are crap - not ending grammar schools because they're good.

seeker Tue 09-Oct-12 19:23:06

But why would the comprehensive school be crap?

MordionAgenos Tue 09-Oct-12 19:28:02

@seeker there is no reason why a SM shouldn't have an orchestra or choir. In fact I'm hmm about whether this is in fact the case. My DS who hates singing told me there was definitely no choir at his school. There are 4. grin

If your DSs school was suddenly gifted a 'top set' it wouldn't automatically change into a school where music was valued. If the decision to not value music was based on the pupils interest, the addition of a top set would still leave 75% of the pupils uninterested. If every single person in the top set was interested (and they wouldn't be). If the decision to not value music is down to the staff then fiddling with the pupil distribution will have no effect at all.

breadandbutterfly Tue 09-Oct-12 20:44:39

I didn't say the comp was crap, seeker but you implied it was currently unsatisfactory - not me.

breadandbutterfly Tue 09-Oct-12 20:47:28

You obviouly believe in the trickle-down theory of education - that if you have bright pupils at a chool then their positive associations like music clubs and good rsults will follow.

But it's also possible you could have a trickle-up effect - general lack of interest currently meaning that the overall effect is worse than the status quo.

seeker Tue 09-Oct-12 22:30:09

I didn't imply anything about a comprehensive- because we haven't got one -we've got a high school. It's a very good school, but it suffers because of the presence of the grammar school. It doesn't have an orchestra, while the grammar has two, because the children who have already had the opportunity learn to play instruments tend to be at the grammar. So the kids at the high school will never find out whether they might like to play or not- because they won't hear their contemporaries play.

seeker Tue 09-Oct-12 22:36:12

"@seeker there is no reason why a SM shouldn't have an orchestra or choir. In fact I'm about whether this is in fact the case. My DS who hates singing told me there was definitely no choir at his school. There are 4. "
Are you suggesting that my music loving ds is lying about this? How bizarre!

Is your ds at a high school in a town where the richest and/or cleverest 23% have gone to a different school?

TalkinPeace2 Tue 09-Oct-12 22:39:46

Out of interest Seeker,
is there much of a difference in calibre of teacher qualifications between the two schools in your town.
I assume (but am willing to be corrected with evidence) that better teachers will go for the school that will get better results for their CV's
Which of course perpetuates the vicious spiral that is SO clear in the league tables in Kent....
And results in eg music teachers less minded to having a go at setting up a wind band or a small orchestra. There MUST be other parents like you whose kids could populate it?

MordionAgenos Tue 09-Oct-12 22:48:23

I'm suggesting that 11 and 12 year old boys are not always the most reliable of information providers. If your 11 year old is atypical in that respect then well done. But the fact is most boys that age tune out stuff they aren't interested in (and some stuff they might actually be interested in, too). It's not lying. It's being a Y7/Y8. Also, you need to lose the chip on your shoulder - interest in music is not confined to the rich or to the clever. You should know that. There is no reason why a SM can't have as much music as a grammar school - it's just up to the teachers. If you had a head at your SM who wanted there to be music at the school, then there would be. Perhaps the head is just one of those heads who don't rate music. You can find them in grammar schools too. And comps. And even private schools. It's a real shame if your DS does want to do music and he has no opportunity (are there really not any peris at the school either?) but the LEA music service will likely do all sorts on a weekend.

seeker Tue 09-Oct-12 22:50:56

I don't know about qualifications. I do know that both schools have very good teachers qnd teaching. And yes, we do have choirs and orchestras in the town. It just frustrates me - using music as an example- that there are loads of year 7s at the grammar at at least grade 4 level, so a brilliant nucleus for doing something which would attract others to have a go. And at the high school there are precisely 3. So the kids who most need their schools to show them new things and broaden their horizons because home probably won't have nothing while the privileged minority get even more opportunity. It makes me so mad!

seeker Tue 09-Oct-12 22:53:42

Mordion- please don't trot out the "chip on the shoulder" thing. I really don't have one. But if you accuse me of having a chip qnd my ds of lying we can't really have any sort of discussion. Which would be a shame.

seeker Tue 09-Oct-12 22:56:42

And yes, my ds gets the music he wants and needs. I can provide it for him. But other children who aren't as lucky as him but may be just as musical won't.

You didn't say, mordion, whether your child is in a high school?

LittleFrieda Tue 09-Oct-12 23:02:19

that is a shame about the music. Is that something you could help to change? If you had a bit of time? I would think that would be v rewarding.

MordionAgenos Tue 09-Oct-12 23:04:19

@seeker Seriously, at DD1's school I can only think of a small handful (maybe 5?) of kids who started a new instrument from nothing when they started the school and have stuck with it. By Y10 there are not many of them left on the music lesson timetable. At my own comp, back in the day, a school which was renowned for its music, I can only think of two people in my entire time there who started an instrument from scratch in the first year and became any good. Admittedly, one of them is now an internationally famous musician. But still. I do know some professional musicians who didn't pick up their instrument till secondary school (I was at college with a couple, I know one from my own music stuff, and one teaches Dd1 in her national ensemble/orchestra) but it is quite rare. But, that notwithstanding - it's nothing to do with the grammar, why there isn't much music at your SM. it's to do with the people running that school - the SMT.

I'm quite surprised though that you can state with such certainty that only 3 children in the whole of your DSs school are grade 4 or better on an instrument. How do you know? I don't even know about all the kids as DSs school who came frm his primary, let alone from all the other feeder schools. And we don't get the music timetable for the whole school from his school (unlike with DD1s school) so it's difficult to gauge how many kids are involved in things - but the numbers look big from the performances I've seen. And that's a comp.

MordionAgenos Tue 09-Oct-12 23:04:51

Seeker I've said many times in this thread and in others that DS is at a comp.

seeker Tue 09-Oct-12 23:05:43

Don't worry- I'm poised for the next governor election!

But the fact remains- the majority of the children who've already started to learn seriously will be going to the grammar school. Not much seed corn left for a high school orchestra!

seeker Tue 09-Oct-12 23:06:53

Sorry, mordion, I missed that. So not a high school, then.

MordionAgenos Tue 09-Oct-12 23:07:22

And I most certainly did not accuse your son of lying. I assumed he was a typical boy. But since you seem convinced he is exceptional then of course I accept that. Obviously I wish my boy was more like yours because then I'd have an easier job of finding out what is going on without resorting to Laurence Olivier marathon man tactics.

MordionAgenos Tue 09-Oct-12 23:10:15

You haven't told me how you know that only 3 children in your son's entire school are grade 4 or higher on an instrument (you didn't say whether you were only counting orchestral instruments or whether you were including other instruments in that). Or how you know how many decent musicians have gone to the grammar school. Even if you knew everything about your son's primary school classmates (and that would represent some pretty impressive/scary information gathering) what about the kids at all the other feeder schools?

seeker Tue 09-Oct-12 23:11:17

I don't think he's exceptional at all. Anything but! . But he does actually like music! And I checked with his form tutor as well.

seeker Tue 09-Oct-12 23:14:06

Because I asked. While I was being outraged about the lack of music. And I know how the grammar school organises it's year 7 orchestra.

MordionAgenos Tue 09-Oct-12 23:20:35

If he volunteers information of any kind without having to have it prised out of him with know, those dental pliery things....then he is exceptional compared to most 11/12 year old boys. Believe me. grin similarly if he takes notice of stuff and finds it out, rather than wafting through life only noticing stuff when it smacks him in the face. When DS was at the start of Y7 last year, he was telling me with complete honesty on his part that as far as he knew there were no music activities for Y 7 boys although 'the big boys' had sme things, he thought (very vague as to what). Once he had found his feet, by Xmas he was in the jazz band, the clarinet and sax band, the samba drum group, and he was using the School's music facilities (and one of the school's bass guitars) for band practice with his mates a couple of lunchtimes a week. And his form teacher seemed very vague about music activities for the Y 7s (she couldn't be less interested in music from what I can see, she tried to schedule his SEN mentoring sessions to take place during music lessons because 'it isn't a proper subject'. But that's her, that's not the school in general, which has a performing arts specialism). I guess what I'm saying is please don't give up hope. All may not be as it seems at this point. Give it some time. That's all.

Pooella Wed 10-Oct-12 03:45:56

What a lot of bollocks about carbon footprints. Come on now, the reason iit's bad to go to school 15 miles away is because it takes too long and you won't have many friends locally. No reference to carbon needed (it's ok because we go to Morecambe on holiday, whereas little Johnny next door to school went to Mauritius).

LittleFrieda Wed 10-Oct-12 10:27:55

It's totally unsurprising that children who are playing instruments by the time they go to secondary, are mostly going to the grammar school. But children from non-musical and/or unmotivated homes should be offered the opportunity to play music at school. At my state senior school, lots of us learnt to play an instrument. The music lessons were state-funded and we were loaned our instruments. Music has been viciously cut from state education.

Music has sadly become much more of a middle class sport: you only learn music if you can teach your children yourself and happen to have a piano in the dining room/old clarinet hanging about or if you can afford for your children to be taught privately. I pay for my two youngest children to learn the recorder outside of school, whereas not many years back, pretty much ALL primary schools taught all of their children to play the recorder.

seeker Wed 10-Oct-12 10:30:16

I agree. And it's not just music.

seeker Wed 10-Oct-12 10:32:36

And in a comprehensive school the musicians would probably congregate in the top sets too. But at least they would be there, and visible, and it would be possible for others less privileged to discover an interest.

plus3 Wed 10-Oct-12 10:42:09

There have been some really useful posts - thank you. However, it is all pointless as DS is currently utterly miserable in yr4. sad doesn't bode well for a life long love of education.

WinterStepThisWay Wed 10-Oct-12 11:08:21

Sorry to hear that plus3. Why is he miserable?

seeker Wed 10-Oct-12 11:15:08

I'm sorry your thread has been so derailed. Can you tell us why he is so miserable?

plus3 Wed 10-Oct-12 11:17:58

New teacher, new routine, new expectations. Frustration on his part.

MordionAgenos Wed 10-Oct-12 11:22:19

Frieda, there are a wealth of musical opportunities at primary schools these days. The widening participation money has made a difference (and funded a lot of recorder teaching) and then there's In Harmony which is doing brilliant work now. I am incredibly worried about the future not least because DD1 wants to do music as a career and inevitably teaching often forms an important strand in a musician's portfolio - but the fact is that right now kids at primary school have more opportunities than they did ten years ago (when DD1 started school).

And there really is no reason why musical kids should be at grammar rather than SM or comp. My DS hasn't suddenly become unmusical because he goes to a comp.

plus3 Wed 10-Oct-12 11:22:54

I don't think it had been derailed - it's good to read the opinions of grammar vs state.

Towards the end of yr3 his teachers were delighted with him - he was really shining & doing well (less bad days etc)

Have discovered this morning that he has bitten 2 friends at playtime. Think he is misbehaving in order to get remove from classroom to head teacher's office (something he used to do in yr1)

LocalSchoolMum Wed 10-Oct-12 11:28:39

Plus3, don't despair. My DS who has mild ASD was pretty miserable for the last couple of years in primary school. He didn't fit in and everyone had started to notice. He is now in Year 10 in a London secondary which is not in the 'most popular' category with local parents. He loves it, he is in the top sets for setted subjects, he has a group of friends who come and play on the console after school (something that never happened at primary), we pay for solo instrument lessons and he plays in the school band. Secondary school seems scary when you're in Year 4, but actually it can be wonderful.

agendabender Wed 10-Oct-12 11:34:01

I don't have time to read the whole post, but I hope this is helpful.

I am - deep breath - a chally, and have siblings and friends who have and are going through bucks grammar schools. Most of them are quite supportive of learning difficulties e.g. dyslexia, as well as organisational and personal problems. However, we all knew each other's intellectual level, and we all knew who was not really up to scratch. Children coached for the exam who didn't really have the ability naturally were easily identifiable by the other children. People weren't nasty about it, but I wouldn't have wanted it to be me. There were four girls with dyslexia statements in the year. I could give you their names. It makes me shudder.

LittleFrieda Wed 10-Oct-12 11:42:35

My children are at a state primary school and there's no music at all so far (DD is in Yr 2, DS3 in reception). My older two went entirely through the state primary school system and there was virtually no music ioffered at school either.

It wasn't my experience at my state primary school many moons ago. Music was a v big part of my school, and we all played recorder, and clanged away on instruments pretty much daily. We aso had a very active and energetic choir. It was such a joy!

Successive goverments seem to have managed to reduce primary education to a few worksheets and focussed on pupils getting 98% or more in them.

jeee Wed 10-Oct-12 11:42:59

OP, having a bad start to year 4 does not say anything about whether your son is grammar school material, or not. It is simply a bad start to year 4.

Ultimately, the only way you'll know that your child 'should' go to grammar school is if they pass the 11+.

The only thing I would say is, don't allow your child to try this unless you have the time and inclination to spend time on practice. Allowing a child to sit a test that they're unprepared for is extremely unfair on the child.

I hope that whatever route your son takes will be right for him.

plus3 Wed 10-Oct-12 11:43:43

Trying not to despair....part of his frustration is that he knows answers, just struggling to get it out & onto paper within the allotted time span.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 10-Oct-12 11:46:24

(*plus3*) Its ever so hard when they act up and you cannot get to the bottom of it. Have you tried "lovebombing" him to see if you can rebuild his confidence in himself and willingness to confide in you?
And having to stress about Secondary schools makes it all worse.
Not an entirely daft suggestion : could you move during the next four years to an area with fab comps that he will get into on catchment and you can then worry about other things ....

seeker Wed 10-Oct-12 11:49:35

Are the school being helpful?

plus3 Wed 10-Oct-12 12:08:14

They think he has ADHD, ADHD clinic says absolutely not. New teacher is doing a good impression of someone who thinks it is all nonsense. He may or may not have AS.

Maybe I am just annoyed that his SEN is not as supported as it should be, and that it is limiting his options.

Remove the Sen - & I would say absolutely - he would thrive at a grammar school, I wouldn't have any qualms about the exam etc. Indeed, I exect no such dilemma about DD.

The SEN aspect clouds everything. It takes away the purely academic aspect & I was wondering if a GS would be a better (or worse) environment for him.

I am not talking about desperate coaching to get him into a school which he would then struggle through.

plus3 Wed 10-Oct-12 12:09:42

Anyway giving up now.

Will try the love bombing idea - can only make us all happy smile

seeker Wed 10-Oct-12 12:19:25

I think you really need to talk to the individual school. My dd's grammar school prides itself on it's SEN provision- but another local grammar looks away and shuffles it's feet if such a thing is mentioned. I really don't think there is a "type" of school that is best for SEN- it is the particular school that either is or is not.

MordionAgenos Wed 10-Oct-12 13:19:19

@frieda that's a shame but it's not the same everywhere. I have seen a big difference in what is on offer in the same primary school from DD1 (who is now in Y10) and Dd2 who is in Y5. Some of the schemes, like In Harmony, are not on stream yet everywhere. When I was at primary school music only started in Y3, mind you (and this was at a school which made a Big Thing of music). When Dd1 started at the primary there was NO music. Now (partly as a result of the fuss we made, the example she set which made other parents enquire about music etc and the actual going in and helping which both I and DH did) the school has loads of kids learning with peris, whole class instrument lessons from Y3 onwards (paid for by wider opportunities), a choir and an orchestra. If I hadn't seen the changes myself and lived through them I wouldn't believe it either, but obviously I know what has happened at our school because I've lived through it. Hopefully you and other parents can be catalysts for similar change at your primary......

seeker Wed 10-Oct-12 13:40:37

I don't want to derail the OP's thread even further, but I wanted to make sure that everyone knows about Music for Schools here. They are fantastic.

And mordion- it goes without saying that there will be more children who have had some musical education in a grammar school than a high school.

LaQueen Wed 10-Oct-12 13:44:31

Talkin that's an interesting point about the calibre of teacher at a GS/comp.

Several of my friends/relatives teach at secondary schools/GS, and they all say that at least at GS you can actually teach your subject. At a comp, it's all to often glorified crowd control, unless you are lucky enough to have a few of the top sets.

seeker Wed 10-Oct-12 14:13:32

The top sets of q comprehensive are the same as grammar!

TalkinPeace2 Wed 10-Oct-12 14:18:29

The top sets of many comps are indeed comparable with grammars and indies
only heads of department get to teach exclusively top sets
at DCs school, every teacher has to do their stint with sets 4 and 5 - where some kids are very willing and others could make one believe in Eugenics.
Those sets are missing from Grammars and Indies

on the other hand, some of the 'academic' set 5 kids are astounding sportsmen, musicians and artists - which is the selective schools loss and our gain.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Wed 10-Oct-12 14:21:50

Sorry is set 4 and 5 the bottom or top sets?

TalkinPeace2 Wed 10-Oct-12 14:24:18

Not much call for eugenics in set 1.
A cattle prod to stop them being lippy (including my DCs) though !

MordionAgenos Wed 10-Oct-12 15:05:57

@seeker No, it really doesn't.

MordionAgenos Wed 10-Oct-12 15:07:21

@seeker and no, they aren't. Not in SS areas. Maybe in Kent. But as we keep trying to tell you, Kent is not the world.

MordionAgenos Wed 10-Oct-12 15:08:23

@talkin IME you are right about both the sporty Ones and the musicians. smile

seeker Wed 10-Oct-12 15:09:12

Grammar school kids generally come from more privileged and educated backgrounds than high school kids. Their parents are far more likely to have had the knowledge and the money to provide music lessons. Simple.

MordionAgenos Wed 10-Oct-12 15:09:23

@talkin and even more so if you had included the theatrical or dancer ones.

MordionAgenos Wed 10-Oct-12 15:09:30

@talkin and even more so if you had included the theatrical or dancer ones.

MordionAgenos Wed 10-Oct-12 15:09:49

@talkin and even more so if you had included the theatrical or dancer ones.

seeker Wed 10-Oct-12 15:11:56

In a completely comprehnsive area, assuming that the super selective candidates went to state school, they would form the top of the top set. The top sets would be the kids who would go to"ordinary" grammar schools. And everyone else would be the high school.

Or am I missing something?

PropositionJoe Wed 10-Oct-12 15:14:29

Seeker - you are very keen to tell us ad nauseum why grammar schools are a bad idea. But have you considered learning about the ones outside Kent? If you look at Trafford or North Yorkshire you might see that some of the secondary moderns are excellent and the overall standard extremely high.

MordionAgenos Wed 10-Oct-12 15:17:08

You are missing the point that the SS kids would form a tiny proportion of the top set (if the kids who go to DD1s school were at the comps they would have gone to without the SS, there would be at most 4 at DSs school. The other 6 would be spread between the 4 other comps). 4 kids doesn't make a top set. And that's assuming that none of them went to the posh schools (and at least 2 would). It might be slightly different at @yellow's nearest comp because more kids go to the SS from near her but not, I think, 30 in any year group.

MordionAgenos Wed 10-Oct-12 15:18:42

She only cares about Kent. Which I can understand - what I can't understand is her refusal to accept that Kent isn't an analogue for anywhere else.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 10-Oct-12 15:22:55

I have to admit that your view of comps is very distorted by the lens of Kent.

Here in Hampshire each of the comps has a catchment, from whence between 60 and 80% of its kids come.
The remainder come from neighbouring catchments (especially on the Southampton and Portsmouth borders)
I've no idea what percentage of each school would pass a random academic test to get into a Grammar (superselective or otherwise). Its irrelevant.
Because the top sets for each subject are NOT the same kids (that would be streaming).

My kids happen to be at the top academically. So they are in sets with other bright kids most but by no means all of whose parents are middle class or upper class.
But PE, Art, music, drama, design, computing - the top sets are often full of kids who would never have passed any sort of 11+

The only weirdie of the schools round here is that they do not have Sixth Forms - Hampshire use Sixth Form colleges. But that's another issue!

Have a look at the websites for Bohunt, Thornden, Kings Winchester, The Petersfield School and Ringwood School to get a feel for how access to all schools work ...

MordionAgenos Wed 10-Oct-12 15:22:58

OP the SEN provision is excellent at Dd1s grammar. Apart from the rugby thing (now resolved. Although we have had a lab accident this week resulting in burned fingers and a minimum of 5 missed music lessons which I am very pissed off about - however the upside is that the boy who caused Dd1 to have the accident has zinged himself more than her as she will not not be able to help him with his ensemble piece for GCSE music). It sounds to me as if your DS might actually need more stretching? If he is frustrated and depressed at school that might be one reason?

seeker Wed 10-Oct-12 16:25:42

Indon't only care about Kent. I object very strongly to all selective education, although I have been persuaded by people on here that there is an argument for the super selectives.

But I''m not up for a kicking at the moment, so I'll be off. With a reminder to the OP that, particularly when it comes to SEN, it's the individual school you have to look at, not the type of school.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 10-Oct-12 16:33:11

I did not say you only cared about Kent. But the Kent system is one of the most dysfunctional (and that is per DH's work there long before I discovered the joys of Mumsnet)
Lincolnshire make it work - I suspect because they are NOT next door to London.
Bucks are teeny
and everywhere else the grammars are a comparatively minor fly in the ointmnent
but in Mid and southern Kent (not sure where you are) the schools are very distorted - and you are caught in the middle of it.

That is one of the reasons I suggested to plus3 that she moves OUT of a grammar area in the next couple of years to alleviate that area of stress.

PropositionJoe Wed 10-Oct-12 16:49:49

I didn't say you only care about Kent either. I said you only know about Kent.

RiversideMum Sun 14-Oct-12 07:46:55

I have family and friends in Bucks and would agree with what others have said about most children being tutored for at least a year before the exams. One of my friends got her child into grammar school on appeal and the basis of the appeal was his SEN. He has had a very difficult time at grammar school to the extent that some of the teachers have broken the law (DDA) in terms of how he has been treated. OK - so that is one anecdote. But this child has a diagnosed and obvious SEN. If the OP's child had undiagnosed difficulties, I'd also advise to be very careful about choosing a school indeed - grammar or otherwise.

KitKatGirl1 Sun 14-Oct-12 12:10:18

And for the record, TalkinPeace, Lincolnshire is really, really not wholly selective/grammar. The city of Lincoln itself has purely comprehensives. The market towns have 14 grammar schools (and attendant secondary moderns) amongst them, each of which is a minimum of 20 miles from Lincoln.

So the bulk of the county's population who live in the city and surrounding suburban sprawl/villages go to proper comprehensives. (There is of course some overlap of 'catchment' available to some dcs in some villages). The comps with the best results can be those where the dcs have the ability to choose grammar (just on edge of catchment) but many of them don't because the comps are very good/not single sex/whatever else.

And even in the grammar towns many parents prefer not to use the grammar schools - particularly in the single sex towns - because many parents prefer a mixed sex schooling for their dc (unless the sec mod is very bad). You can tell there's a tipping point in some towns of enough dcs choosing the sec mods (often they call themselves comps now) so as to dilute the system.

It's nothing like Kent or Bucks.

KitKatGirl1 Sun 14-Oct-12 12:12:31

Agree totally with seeker, attitude to SEN can depend totally on the school not the sector. Some grammars can be a very good place for dcs with SEN because there are fewer SEN dc they can get very good provision. I know of children who get excellent additional support in the grammar where I work who simply wouldn't in the comp where dh works because they just wouldn't be 'bad enough'. IFSWIM. Look at each school on its merits.

ibizagirl Mon 15-Oct-12 05:48:44

Sorry but i have one small question. Why do children need coaching/tutoring? Surely if they are not bright enough to get into a Grammar school without tutoring then they are not bright enough and wouldn't belong there? Would they be able to do the work once they are in? A new girl started at dd's school recently from local Grammar (non 11+ area). Dd said she is very bigheaded!. Someone asked why she is not at Grammar any more and she said the work was too hard. Dd is in all set 1 for her subjects but this girl is set 4. How did she manage to get in?

tiggytape Mon 15-Oct-12 08:26:02

ibiziagirl - it depends where you live. Some grammar schools only take the top 2% - 8% of children. In truth probably at least 10 - 15% are bright enough to do well at grammar and will pass the 11+ but there isn't room for all of them.

Out of all those who pass, the school decides who to take and who to reject based on their score. So a pupil on 245 might pass the 11+ but get no offer whereas one on 247 might pass and get accepted into the school.

It isn't the case that one is brighter than the other - they are roughly equal but with too many bright children chasing too few places, the line has to be drawn somewhere. Tutoring improves speed and accuracy and makes the difference parents feel between a potential 245 and edging it up to a 247.

Not all grammar schools work this way but an awful lot do and they turn away many children who are easily of selective ability and pass the test so parents need their children to not only pass but to pass brilliantly on all papers.

tiggytape Mon 15-Oct-12 08:28:49

... and of course the tutoring arms race means that this year a 247 might not be enough, it might be 250 that's the cut-off between passing without an offer and passing with a grammar school place. The aim of tutoring in many parts of the country isn't to get mediocre children to pass but to get very bright children to pass with as near to a perfect score as possible so that they actually get an offer.

HappyTurquoise Mon 15-Oct-12 09:06:25

Plus3, don't be too quick to rule out GS for your son. Haven't read the whole thread here, but there is a great elevenplusexams website, go to the forum, and regional pages, Bucks. Get the right types of papers for the Bucks exam! Don't use Bond, they are the wrong question types, they are too easy and will not help. (The forum will tell you which publishers to use for Bucks).

I know of extraordinarily bright children in Bucks who didn't get into gs because they were not as prepared for the papers as everyone else. That's exactly why parents are cagey about having a tutor in Bucks, and it really sucks, imo! If children haven't practised the question types, they will waste time in the exam working out what is expected, and slow ways of answering.

You can do it yourself, without a tutor, but treat it as tutoring and put aside an hour a week. As you go through the questions you will discover what your ds needs some extra practise on, such as speed of recall of tables,telling the time, basic algebra, and a good, sound vocabulary.

I recommend you also get him reading (for pleasure) every day, if he isn't already.

notanotter Mon 15-Oct-12 19:40:47

se4nd the brightest kid in the county into an 11+ with NO prior knowledge of the paper and hewould fail to score in the top 20%

in some areas schools do some work so it smooths the way for less 'advantaged' kids

people paint this whole thing as so black and white and really it's not

NWThreeMum Thu 08-Nov-12 02:10:30

I used Hippocrene Tutors because a couple of friends had raved about them and I know they have exam papers on the resources bit of their website, I tell everyone how amazing my tutors were but they were also mega expensive, so I used them more for guidance and the odd session to go over problem areas instead of intensive coaching, and I got my son to go through their papers in between sessions. I honestly don't think he'd have stood a chance if he hadn't had tuition, even though he was bright... Partle because it gave him a lot more confidence than he'd have had otherwise. All the mums I know get tutors in for their kids and it artificially raises the bar, so you have to start doing it to keep up (and keep away the guilt). I went to a grammar school and had some tutoring beforehand (and did some practice on my own) and I didn't struggle when I got there, but I can tell you that if I hadn't been through those types of questions before there's no way I'd have got in... So just because a child has tuition it doesn't mean they're not meant to be there, it just helps them to fulfil their potential.. It's worth having a word with your child's school and put a bit of pressure on them to target lessons to 11+ stuff. A group of friends and I approached my son's head together to suggest the school adapt its priorities in the run up to the exams and they were pretty amenable

MillyDLA Wed 14-Nov-12 19:35:27

You could also use the tutoring clips on youtube, available for each 'type' of question that the 11+ will consist of. There are only so many possible types of question that are set. This is easy for a child to watch and gives the parent the relevant information.

I used this (free of charge of course) and followed it working with my child myself. I am a primary school teacher but the concept for the questions are not beyond the understanding of most adults. The preparation gave my child an insight into each type of question and how to answer it. He needed to be able to interpret this for the exam.

Yellowtip Wed 14-Nov-12 21:55:17

When I sat the 11+ long, long ago no-one had tutoring. Tutoring was never mentioned. I remember vividly sitting the test (just another day at school, except for the test). I can remember where I sat, the not so great view from the window, everything really. I also remember the questions. Or at least the type of queston: exactly the same as now. I can't see why so many parents seem to think that children have to know how to 'interpret' each type of question. And that their child 'wouldn't stand a chance' without tutoring. I certainly recall really enjoying the test and finishing very early (which is why the already boring view got even more boring).

It would be great if a survey could be done to show which childen would have got into their chosen grammar had they not had tutoring and which children would have got in had they only had tutoring. I would expect that the results would overwhelmingly stay the same. I'm guessing that the main difference if tests could be made tutor-proof would be that more of those not currently able to afford tutoring would come forward. There seems to be quite a push for this at the moment, and right across the country, which can only be healthy.

mrsbaffled Tue 20-Nov-12 17:27:39

Hello! I know this thread is a little old now, but I am rather confused my the whole grammar thing.
We live in North Bucks. I understand the system is changing? Do we know how it will be administered? Does anyone know roughly what % get into grammars?

My DS (yr 4) has SpLD (dyslexia affecting writing and spelling, not reading) and I am concerned how it will affect his chances of getting in, and whether he would benefit from this environment. He is extremely bright, and both DH and I are academic, so went to similar schools and thrived in them.

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 20:03:22

If you have a crystal ball!

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 20:09:59

I would move out of any grammar school area if I was you. Children change so much over the years and can move up and down sets in a comp but once down the grammar or secondary modern they are limited.

mrsbaffled Tue 20-Nov-12 20:24:34

If only we had the money to move!

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 20:30:53

He is only four though you may be lucky and grammar schools in your area will be abolished.

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 20:35:48

Seriously though if you asked me whether my ds who did not really learn to read until 7 would have been suitable before year 5/6 I would have said no but now he is level 6s in etg at the beginning of year 8 which is grammar school level. Some kids are late developers. He was in all special low groups from reception to year 3. My dd still is in year 4 but now coming on both me and my ex were high academic achieves but again he was considered a special Ed kid in infants. It is impossible to tell really.

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