decision on 1st March? Anyone want to sit and sweat it out with me?

(418 Posts)

Urgh I am starting to feel queasy. I just want to know now. PFB (dd1) doesn't care which school she gets into and dh is being irritatingly pragmatic.

Is anyone else twitching nervously?

tiggytape Mon 18-Feb-13 12:55:56

We're dreading it too with DC2 because the numbers applying go up each year and since there weren't enough places (initially) in a low birthrate year like DS's, then goodness knows what will happen in future years. They certainly aren't expanding any schools or adding bulge classes in the way that primary schools are and, given that so many London secondaries are now academies, I don't even think there's a mechanism to force any of them to expand at all.

MrsInga - definitely ring them and ask. Most LAs have a set timetable for March 1st so they'll be happy to advise.

Good luck everyone. Not long to wait now.

gazzalw Mon 18-Feb-13 14:09:21

Tiggytape, do you think that's why schools such as Tiffin Girls are now bringing in designated catchment areas - they can see how ridiculous it's going to be, in terms of numbers of candidates sitting the 11+, in a matter of a year or so, that they are acting now before you get situations where they will be processing over 2000 applications for 120 - 150 places?

tiggytape Mon 18-Feb-13 14:55:54

Yes - I do think it is based on numbers but I also think (cynical me) that it largely cost motivated - not that I blame them.

Once upon a time, a maximum of 1000 children took each Tiffins test. Now it is nearer 2000 every year per school and they are obliged to test all who apply for free. It costs them an absolute fortune - over £30 per candidate I believe so tens of thousands of £.

The reason for more applying is in part people using it as a mock test for private schools. Private schools test in January as Tiffins used to do years ago. Now Tiffins are obliged to test earlier, their tests are of some value as mocks to people who have no intention of going there. People are prepared to travel to sit 'free' mock tests.

Mainly though increasing populations and less money for private schooling leads to an increased worry about not getting into schools all over London and the South East which leads to an increased willingness by parents to consider grammar schools miles away from home as long as they have no barrier in the admissions criteria based on distance.
Tiffin Girls was a prime school to target since most girl's grammars elsewhere have preference for local candidates (even in Sutton where the boys grammar have no preference for local candidates, the girls' schools do). Now some girls are effectively ruled out of a place, Tiffins are probably hoping that admission numbers significantly decrease or at least cease to rise as they were doing.

There is a lot of bluster about it being in the girl's best interests not to travel too far but a glance at the admission zone shows areas included that are well over an hour away with others 35 or 45 minutes away ride away excluded. If they've based it on travelling time, they've messed up calculations somewhere.

BoringSchoolChoiceNickname Mon 18-Feb-13 15:10:00

There are also unconfirmed mutterings I've heard about the Sutton Grammars going to a two stage process, multiple choice followed by a written English test for the top X% - the idea is to enable them to determine the truly talented more effectively, but it would be much more expensive, hence the need to cut numbers.

gazzalw Mon 18-Feb-13 15:26:11

Yes, I see where you are coming from. It's a bit 'off' though to just use the 11+ tests as mocks - there should be some way of charging for those who are doing so. I know that we did put our DS's name down to sit the Tiffin exam but then decided not to put it on our CAF form, we let the school know directly that DS wouldn't be sitting the exam and I got a feeling that they were grateful to be saving the money - certainly got that impression! It is an awfully high expenditure for the grammars which seem to get less funding than other secondaries if their seen-better-days-facilities are anything to go by grin.

Yes, we are fortunate enough to still be in 'catchment' although with a walk to the bus stop it would be a good hour for our DD (should she be lucky enough...), door to door on a rush-hour schedule. And we are in SW London!

Do you think that putting catchment areas in situ makes any difference to the caliber of the DCs who get places - I imagine not!

It will be interesting to see if numbers do decrease or flatline. It might be that if they do markedly decrease, other parents who have been put off by high numbers of applicants feel that it is worth their DCs having a go.... I guess only time will tell.

I do think that the whole thing seems to have spiraled out of control though. There is such a lot of spin about the 11+ and getting into grammar schools in SWLondon that it seems to be as much about competitive parenting as it is about the child(ren)'s abilities....

legallady Mon 18-Feb-13 15:28:48

BoringSchool,

They are much more than unconfirmed mutterings, the arrangements are currently being consulted on. Wilsons, Sutton Grammar and Wallington Boys are suggesting they have a joint first stage exam which is just multichoice. Those who "pass" that first stage can then sit each school's individual test which will include a written English paper and maths paper.

No similar suggestions as yet for girls grammars though Nonsuch have suggested their exam will only consist of VR and English comprehension. Again multichoice and interestingly no maths or NVR.

tiggytape Mon 18-Feb-13 15:53:41

There are also unconfirmed mutterings I've heard about the Sutton Grammars going to a two stage process
It seems pretty certain a lot of the schools will be doing this very soon. Sutton Grammar has already confirmed that they will and others are expected to follow. Tiffin Girls' will have 2 stage testing as well but not part of a joint process - more of a knock out round type arrangement to narrow the field.

Do you think that putting catchment areas in situ makes any difference to the caliber of the DCs who get places - I imagine not!
I don't think it will because the catchment area is absolutely huge. As it is, there are always far more who pass the test with very high scores than can ever be accommodated at the school. You don't need 12 - 15 applicants per place to find the best pupils.

Ok that sounds scary! Glad we aren't in SW London! DD had to take a 45 minute NVR test and apparently all they do is sort them into 5 ability bands and choose equally from each of the bands. Not sure if this is actually what happens hmm

The admissions team said that the emails will be sent out in batches during the morning of the 1st by the IT team...

I think our allocations get sent out in batches from 00:01 on the 1st.

I will want to stay up or set the alarm to wake me, DH, who is so laid back he is horizontal, will laugh at me if I do. blush

I think I'll stay up til midnight and if there's nothing by half past, give up til morning. I am so sad.

grin

gazzalw Mon 18-Feb-13 16:53:33

Hope you've all got something to keep you well occupied during the day otherwise you will spend the whole time just glued to the computer!

Another fretter here. DD1 sat the 11+ for a consortium and got good enough marks that she would have got in to the school she wants any other year, even though we are out of area.
But who knows, there are 18 places and about 300 girls sat for them.
Our second choice is a good local comp, much closer and we will almost certainly get in there so I swing from preferring one over the other almost daily!
I just want to know now.
We are in London, so will spend the whole day wishing it was 5pm.

I have 3000 and 2000 word assignments due for uni not long afterwards. That ought to do it smile

gazzalw Mon 18-Feb-13 17:57:09

It's probably the only time ever that two assignments will be welcome - should distract you sufficiently!

I should hope so, if I finish them by then it means I have a completely free Easter holiday with the kids too. Win win.

gazzalw Mon 18-Feb-13 18:39:42

Sounds good grin!

Poundpup Mon 18-Feb-13 20:00:32

Got my fingers crossed that you are allocated one of your preferences. I know that the last two week countdown is unbearable and can send you quite insane!

VoldemortsNipple Mon 18-Feb-13 22:11:47

I'm getting nervous now.

1st choice is a Catholic faith school 5 minutes walk from our house. Although Ds2 is catholic, he doesn't attend one of their feeder schools, which is their main criteria. Hopefully he will get in on the next criterion which is Catholic children not attending a feeder school. This goes by distance to the school, so we are pretty close.

2nd choice is also a catholic faith school. Ds2 attends one of their feeder schools but the criteria for this school is to live in the parish, not attend the feeder school. Ds1 attends this school and I'm confident ds2 will be offered a place here but it is two bus rides and about an hours journey away.

Ds2 couldn't give a flying fart where he goes as long as I let him join Facebook to keep in touch with his friends hmm

VoldemortsNipple Mon 18-Feb-13 22:17:17

I actually can't remember what my third choice was blush

that's hysterical Vold smile

I am hoping ds1 gets a place at the all boys school. The alternative is the new build school, created by the amalgamation of two failing schools. If he get allocated the new school its not the end of the world, but i would far prefer him to attend a school with a proven track record. The new schools results gave actually dropped again this year.

For those of you that need to log in, do you remember your username and password? We haven't used ours since October.

VoldemortsNipple Tue 19-Feb-13 08:22:17

He's going to get his third choice isn't he? I can just see it now. Opening the email saying, oh that's what our 3rd choice was!

ChippyMinton Tue 19-Feb-13 08:26:40

Gah. I was determined not to join this thread but observe you lot getting angsty whilst chanelling calm thoughts. But Threebeeonegee has made me panic and I'm now searching for my login, which I swore I'd saved on my phone but is not there! I'll be back to join in when I've found it.

As 1st March is a Friday, it's going to be odd in terms of the DC finding out where their schoolmates are going, depending on what time the results come out. Last year I remember all the Yr 6s bouncing around comparing notes the next morning. Anyone know what time Surrey results will be available?

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