hindsight's a wonderful thing! Post 11+ thoughts

(103 Posts)
minecraftfansmum Sat 02-Feb-13 13:14:58

My little minecraft fan managed 100% in his non-verbal reasoning test - giving him an IQ of 131+. However he missed out on the 11+ by 3 points in September 2012, the pass mark was 236 he scored 233 - which I think is fantastic since verbal reasoning isn't his strongest area. The appeal by the headmistress of his school was unsuccessful. He's always been a shy little dreamer - head in the clouds and chatterbox in class (only child) and his Y5 sats results were level 4s (he's a young end of July birthday). His new Y6 teacher called me up to school a few times to complain about his talking in class and moved him to sit with a group of girls for a while. This upset him a lot, hours of sobbing at home, however his sats practice tests have shown a big jump in his ability and I'm thinking he needed the kick up the proverbial! He's passed for St Anselm's, which is wonderful, managing 77% in their English papers and 81% in the maths. I'm wondering if it's worth appealing to the grammar admissions board on March 1st - or whether to leave it as St Anselm's seems to be a great school? Does anyone have any advice? (ps if your practicing for the 11+ do lots of timed work - don't let them diddle daddle!)

CountingClouds Sat 02-Feb-13 13:28:48

If your happy with St Anselm's, wouldn't he fit in better there anyway?

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Sat 02-Feb-13 13:32:38

You might get more specific answers on the 11+ forum.
I'm a bit confused; you said the exam was non-verbal reasoning, then said he'd done quite well as V R is not his strongest area.'

auntevil Sat 02-Feb-13 14:12:18

Horses for courses is my mantra for school.
I have a DS in Y5 who is academically bright but a lazy unmotivated so-and so.
We - including him, have decided not to go for grammar school as he would loathe to feel that he would have to have a rocket up him for the next 8 years!
We have decided to let him sit for a part selective school, where there will be mixed abilities, but where if he wants to get suitably challenged in the areas he likes (maths and science) the opportunity is there.
Happy children learn.

seeker Sat 02-Feb-13 14:17:30

I would go for the appeal- you can decide after! Is it the St Anselms in a road with another school in it we're talking about?

seeker Sat 02-Feb-13 14:21:44

And black blazers?

Eastpoint Sat 02-Feb-13 14:56:23

As he hasn't coasted in to the grammar school but has a place at another good school why not just leave it. Your head has already made one appeal on his behalf which was unsuccessful, at this point you need to accept this school is not the right school for him & move on. He has plenty of time to do well in public examinations and as he matures may grow to be one of the stars at St Anselm's rather than just another pupil at the grammar.

I'm not sure how a 'shy little dreamer' can be a 'chatterbox in class'...

minecraftfansmum Sat 02-Feb-13 17:29:08

Thanks for your replies. This is the first time I've done this and it's so reassuring to read points of view from those who can look at it all more objectively than me. Yes, he could be happier at St Anselm's - the only problem being that we hear where he has been allocated a place on the 31st of March. He isn't Catholic and if the school is over-subscribed he may not get a place there! The other thing is - I know of a lot of children who have been tutored for a number of years in preparation for the 11+, which I couldn't afford. Since the end of the autumn term of Y6 he has been in the top group of the top stream for maths - ahead of those who passed the 11+ (he's jumped a couple of levels and has become competitive after being spurred on by examination success in the St Anselm's entrance exam, he's always previously felt he's not as clever as the other kids) he's taking level 6 sats in May. He's shy in groups - will not push himself forward - too inhibited (like me unfortunately) he won't speak up in class, but when sat next to another boy had running jokes and chatting, that was important to him. Anyway, he wants to go to Pensby Boys (old secondary modern which i think is probably a good school) with one of his best friends. His father (we're divorced) wants to go for the appeal for the grammar. I absolutely agree that a happy kid will do better and the public examinations and decisions he makes in the future are what are so vital, I need a crystal ball!

minecraftfansmum Sat 02-Feb-13 17:43:02

Also in reply to auntevil, Pensby could be the option most similar to your choice in that he could shine in maths - be put into the top stream - do well in his art, and yet not be made miserable with pressure from other curriculum areas, I'm thinking aloud here, time for a coffee! Thankyou!

NewFerry Sat 02-Feb-13 17:54:33

Do you know how many places went to catholic boys in each of the last few years?
And if they did get to category 2, (assuming your ds is baptised), then what was the lowest scoring child who got a place last year?

I think you need that info to understand whether your DS has a reasonable chance if being offered a place at st anselms.

tiggytape Sat 02-Feb-13 18:04:42

You can appeal if you wish but appeals don't happen on March 1st - you submit your appeal form after March 1st and the appeal hearing is scheduled for the summer

Yours would be an non qualification appeal as opposed to an oversubscription appeal which is where the child meets the pass mark but so do lots of others and therefore not all can have a place. This means the emphasis on you will to be to prove to the panel that his academic ability is such that the 11+ can only be viewed as a blip. You would need evidence that he works at a very high ability at school - his NVR score is the kind of thing that will help but you will need other evidence as well. You need to show that his academic ability is easily equal to those that have passed and explain the reasons that his needs will be best met attending this school.

Some of these appeals are successful but it depends on the school. Some schools cannot take all of the children who pass so a child who hasn’t passed would need to have a very strong case to get admitted. Some aren’t under such huge pressures and a strong case has a chance.

tiggytape Sat 02-Feb-13 18:08:18

By appealing you have nothing to lose. You could potentially end up winning the appeal and having to decide quickly whether to take the grammar place or keep the one offered. Or you could lose and just be left with the school you've been offered.
Appeals can be stressful and take time to prepare but if you feel you can demonstrate his academic ability (this is mainly what matters in non qualification appeals) then there's no reason not to go for it. Your DS doesn't have to be involved at all - the stress is mainly for the parents and the worst that can happen is that you don't win it.

pollypandemonium Sat 02-Feb-13 18:12:22

Why can't he go to his local school? Why the competition?

auntevil Sat 02-Feb-13 18:30:52

I'm not answering for minecraft , but our local secondary which would be offered as the only school place in our LEA's magical catchment area, fails high achievers. This is based on their own published results.
When you live in an area that has a 2 tier state system - grammar and comprehensive, the former creams the top, the latter takes the rest. There is a disproportionate % of low achievers and mid achievers to high achievers in the local population.
This causes some schools to opt for serving well one of their higher proportion groups.
All schools would argue that they differentiate well and that all children receive a good standard of education. Realistically this is not the case. The school that we would be offered shows an above average attainment for low achieving pupils, average for mid attainers and low for high achievers. Why would I want to send a high achieving child to that school?
His nearest school is a grammar, so therefore his local. The next nearest school is as above. That's why he can't go to his local pollypandemonium - that's why there's competition.

tiggytape Sat 02-Feb-13 19:21:30

Not everyone can get into their local school even if they are perfectly happy with it (we can't).
If your very nearest secondary school is 1.2km away but has a catchment (or last distance offered) of 700m, you won't get in and instead will be offered a school further away. Sometimes many miles further away.

There is a huge shortage of places in many areas and parents face being sent to any random school that they may not have even heard of or joining the rat race for grammar and selective places.

minecraftfansmum Sat 02-Feb-13 21:03:01

Thankyou tiggytape, we will go down that route, it's a fair way of deciding whether he is able to cope with grammar school. In the meantime he may have a place at the catholic grammar.

It hadn't occurred to me, auntevil, that the differentiation in comprehensive schools can be more effective in a non grammar area, particularly if your child's motivators are competition and achievement. Life would be simpler without the grammars however reading your message, tiggytape, that's not necessarily so.

I wonder how other countries organise their high school system. I wonder if they have this minefield to deal with. I somehow doubt it. Yes, it is a rat race for grammar and selective places.

IDK Sun 03-Feb-13 09:22:09

You asked for hindsight: here's our story.

DS was a high achiever in a high achieving Junior school but didn't get enough points in the Grammar entrance test. Part of the problem was "ps if you're practicing for the 11+ do lots of timed work - don't let them diddle daddle!" He was slow on the part that is designed to test speed.
Six years later, we discover that he has a learning difficulty (processing problems). Because he is intelligent, he could overcome the worst of the effects so teachers never spotted the problem. But, because of the learning difficulty, his intelligence was never demonstrated properly in exams. i.e. his 'really good' and his 'really bad' aspects cancelled each other out to become merely 'above average'.
Now DS has been diagnosed he gets extra time in exams and is supposed to have support in school.

Is it worth having your DS assessed? I could be reading too much into "shy little dreamer - head in the clouds" but could that be indicative of something?

pollypandemonium Sun 03-Feb-13 12:34:31

It's only a rat race if you want it to be. Most comprehensives love a good bright child that they can nurture. He might actually enjoy it - have you asked him what he would prefer?

socharlotte Mon 04-Feb-13 08:45:23

*When you live in an area that has a 2 tier state system - grammar and comprehensive....'

They are not comprehensives, they are not taking the full ability range.They are what used to be called secondary moderns

tiggytape Mon 04-Feb-13 09:01:32

Some of them are charlotte.
Some Grammars only take 2-8% of local children (because they have no set catchment area) and therefore the comps nextdoor have children who start on level 6 in Year 7, who will get straight A's at GCSE and A Level and who will go to RG and Oxbridge unis.

Some grammars take 25% or more of local children so the other schools in those areas do lack a top set as you say but for now many areas, this isn't the set up at all.
Grammars (taking children from a 30 mile radius) co-exist with true comprehensive schools who have top set children of the same ability as those at the grammar school and who have systems in place to meet their needs (early GCSEs, setting by ability, help with Oxbridge interviews, triple sciences offered etc).

There is one comp near us that gets better GCSE results than some Grammar schools in other cities and yet there is also a grammar school within easy commuting distance of it. The reason for this is that the grammar has less than 150 places and takes children from outside London so relatively few local children get 'creamed off' and the comp retains a proper 'top group' of high ability pupils.

socharlotte Mon 04-Feb-13 09:32:56

But even if they are only taking 8%, then the other school isn't getting that 8%, as a comp would, so it can't be comprehensive.

Sulawesi Mon 04-Feb-13 09:42:35

I also thought that it was either grammar and secondary modern or comprehensive - you can't have both in the same county unless the grammar is fee paying.

seeker Mon 04-Feb-13 09:50:56

There are some areas that have superselectives- that is, schools with no catchment who take the top tiny % of all who apply.

These areas have other schools which are nearly comprehensives.

The two main "grammar" areas- Kent and Bucks have a completely grammar/secondary modern system where 23-25% of kids go to thie grammar and the rest go to a high school- what used to be called a secondary modern.

But remember that there only 160 odd grammar schools anyway.

NewFerry Mon 04-Feb-13 09:56:12

I think you can have both in the same county.
I would argue that Wiltshire is a comprehensive county, despite having a grammar school option in the south of the county at Salisbury. As a rural county, with poor public transport links north to south, getting to Salisbury each day would be a complete non-starter from about 80-90% of the county. Therefore not an option.
Luckily there are some great comps, but also some pretty poor ones, which tend to reflect the socio-economic areas they serve. Much like most of the rest of England I guess.

tiggytape Mon 04-Feb-13 13:17:13

But even if they are only taking 8%, then the other school isn't getting that 8%, as a comp would, so it can't be comprehensive

To give you an idea - one London Grammar took it's current Year 7 pupils from 75 different primary schools last year.

That means that the top 1 or 2 children from each primary school within a very large radius will get a place at grammar.

The majority of top group children will end up at comp not a grammar school and as a result of the grammar's existance, a comp with 240 children per year might miss out on about 10 pupils that it would otherwise have got. It really doesn't dilute the top group at all anymore than having a 100% comp area with a blip year group with 10 less bright children in it than normal might.

If 25% or 50% of all children were disappearing off to grammar school, and if the comps didn't offer triple science or A Level Further Maths or Oxbridge guidance then I would agree with you, but that's not the case at all.

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