BBC news Kent 11+

(113 Posts)
Startail Tue 19-Mar-13 11:03:09

stopping coaching

I am confused how does making the 11+ maths and English based reduce the value of paying for tutors.

Surely it increases the value of paying a current teacher to tutor your child to the very very top of the primary curriculum. Well of parents are still not going to leave it to chance that their DCs class teachers have.

I'd be quite happy to buy a few bond Verbal and non verbal reasoning books and tutor my own DDs (I'm not Kent and in the end DD2 decided not to try for our grammar which is a very long day).

DD1 gets 131 on non verbal reasoning without having ever practiced at all, she just likes them.

English on the other hand I certainly would need to pay someone, I've tried marking SATs practice papers the mark scheme is in gobbledygook teacher speak. It's not simply right or wrong like maths or VR/NVR

sue52 Tue 19-Mar-13 11:21:42

I am in Kent and am pleased to read this. Anything to help level the playing field is a welcome move. As I recall, the maths covered in school did not include all the 11plus course work so I think that subject could do with a revamp.

weighingitallup Tue 19-Mar-13 11:25:11

I totally welcome this - i am in kent and cannot afford a tutor for my DD many of her classmates will be "coached"

tiggytape Tue 19-Mar-13 12:22:26

I am confused how does making the 11+ maths and English based reduce the value of paying for tutors.

It doesn't.
I am in London where lots of the Grammar schools already test maths and English - sometimes alongside reasoning skills but sometimes instead of these.
The demand for tutoring is high – most children who sit the 11+ will receive some sort of help even if only at home and, at the extreme end, 3 years + of formal tuition with a specialised tutor for each subject is not unheard of!
For English, children are taught how to construct a short story and formal letter using pre-learnt vocabulary, rhetorical questions, similes and metaphors. They practice ways of demonstrating varied sentence structures for any topic posed by always including some semi colons and ellipsis.
For reading papers, they are taught to practice skills like underlying key words, understanding when questions call for inference and generally practicing over and over until they are well used to the types of question posed.

Children can easily be drilled in maths – it is just identifying gaps, teaching a method and then practicing against the clock for several months.

Much of London is super selective though so these techniques won’t help an average child to pass but top group are fighting it out for relatively few places and as such tutoring is very much utilised and the norm even if it is only home tuition and not paid for.

Startail Tue 19-Mar-13 12:23:26

Yes, but I still don't see why well off parents won't coach. Good primary level maths and English is more dependant on good teaching than NVR.

As I say DD1 can just pick up a NVR book and do it, she's never practiced at all. Likewise she's now pretty good at VR too.

She practiced and practiced for maths SAT to be sure of a reasonable grade. No way did she do enough in school to have passed at grammar school level.

Seriously, maths and English based 11+ can only begin to be fair if all state schools offer free upto L6 extra lessons for all able DCs in school time, this is Not going to happen.

Startail Tue 19-Mar-13 12:31:57

Thanks tiggytape you put it way better than I did.

DH and I are bright graduates, had DD2 chosen to go to our, not very local grammar, I'm absolutely certain we could have tutored her in VR well enough to get in. If they added NVR and maths that would be OK too!

But English marking schemes are so prescriptive,and so far removed from my write and essay do a comprehension O level, that no way would I be happy to judge if my DD was working at the required level.

I suspect trusting there DCs primaries is a leap of faith very few parents will risk.

Startail Tue 19-Mar-13 12:34:44

"For English, children are taught how to construct a short story and formal letter using pre-learnt vocabulary, rhetorical questions, similes and metaphors. They practice ways of demonstrating varied sentence structures for any topic posed by always including some semi colons and ellipsis."

I can't even remember what these things are!

tiggytape Tue 19-Mar-13 12:45:11

The only truly un-coach-able exam is the completely unpredictable one. One where nobody knows in advance what will be set, what the mark scheme will be or which subjects will be covered. The format would also have to change every single year.
Of course that would be far too expensive to administer and mark so schools try to find a middle ground. You have to accept though that, where school places are fiercely contested, nothing will stop most parents going to any lengths to give their child an advantage.

Startail Tue 19-Mar-13 12:53:07

From what DH says the old Cambridge entrance exam got pretty close, but that was a crazy collection of general knowlage and educated guess work that couldn't work at 11.

Also DCs also had very formal O'level and A'level grades to be considered too.

seeker Tue 19-Mar-13 13:02:43

Or just get rid of the whole unfair antiquated system and have comprehensive schools like everywhere else.

If selective education was so fantastic, Kent would have GcSE and A level results stratospheric ally higher than other LEAs with similar demographics but with no selective schools. But it doesn't.

MTSgroupie Wed 20-Mar-13 09:39:05

Our primary school wasn't particularly academic so we paid for extra help with maths and English for my DCs right up to the end of Year 6. Consequently they finished primary school over a year ahead of their classmates academically speaking.

So the proposed changes aren't going to give pushy parents like myself an unfair advantage wink.

The current system isn't perfect but IMO any parent with a bit of intelligence and an Internet connection can get loads of free resources. The proposed changes on the other hand will favour the prep school kids and well off parents like myself who can afford academic tutors.

Lucyellensmum95 Wed 20-Mar-13 09:56:25

wow - MTS, do you realise quite how smug your post is? Of course if you had a bit of intelligence i suppose you could have got onto the internet and looked up some free resources.

socareless Wed 20-Mar-13 09:58:50

you keep using same argument seeker. are all schools in Kent grammar schools?

MTSgroupie Wed 20-Mar-13 10:08:39

That was me being smug???

That is the 2nd time in a week. Apparently me posting that my DCs, when they were toddlers, didn't chuck food around when eating out was also me being 'smug'.

The 'intelligence' comment was directed at posters who think that you need an expensive tutor or a uni degree to go to the school's website and to download pass papers.

MTSgroupie Wed 20-Mar-13 10:16:18

seeker - in all your rants about the Kent GS system I don't think that you ever mentioned whether your DC was tutored, either by a tutor or by yourself

If you didn't (pardon the Americanisn) then that is like taking a knife to a gun fight and then complaining that it's unfair.

If you did then perhaps you should accept that your DS isn't as bright as you like to think he is and stop injecting the issue into every thread that touches the subject
I mean, the thread is about whether the proposed current changes will make the selection process better. We don't need yet another rehash of the evils of the grammar system.

Lucyellensmum95 Wed 20-Mar-13 10:18:34

Well, maybe its something about your posting style if you have been accused twice in one week wink

Lucyellensmum95 Wed 20-Mar-13 10:19:53

Fuck me - "if you did then perhaps you shoul accept that your DS isn#t as bright as you like to think he is" Thts not smug, thats just plain vile

Lucyellensmum95 Wed 20-Mar-13 10:24:01

Living in Kent i can't make the comparison but its seems a bit of a daft system to me - I have a friend who "thinks she is better than me" (it is a joke, we tease each other about it) just because she passed her 11 plus and I didn't. However now i think im better than her, and tell her frequently because I have a PhD and she only has a paltry veterinary degree grin I can't help but wonder thouh if i had have passed 11+ and gone to the grammar school instead of the comprehensive if i woudlnt have had to gain all of my acedemic qualifications as a mature student.

We live in a different grammar school area. They switched to maths and 2 x English papers this year. The head said he was uncomfortable with a system where you really HAD to be tutored (he was talking about VR - which the English comprehension/grammar paper replaced). He said that at least maths and English is covered at school so you have some hope without tutoring.

FWIW we didn't tutor ds2 (although he did do past papers) and he got in.

seeker Wed 20-Mar-13 10:28:20

"you keep using same argument seeker. are all schools in Kent grammar schools"

No, but they are all selective.

ReallyTired Wed 20-Mar-13 10:30:09

I think the only way to "level" the playing field is to have seperate competitions for parents from different income brackets and/or limiting the number of places for private schooled children.

If a family has an income of 100K then they are making the choice whether to hire a tutor. If a family who can afford to tutor chooses not to then that is their stupid fault when their child cannot compete with children from a similar financial background.

A family with an income of 20K does not have the option of a tutor. Surely its better for them to compete with similar children for a grammar school place.

There's nothing difficult about preparing a child for an English paper(s) at home. The mark schemes are available. Often the comprehension is a bit bonkers and out there but the essay is easy to prepare for, and the rest of the comprehension paper is multiple choice grammar questions. Easy enough to pick up an 11 plus book and go through it - the same type of questions come up again and again.

Incidentally on the essay this year a lot of the tutored kids struggled because it was a non-descriptive letter. They'd been so drilled on writing descriptions I have come across a few who were completely thrown.

Startail Wed 20-Mar-13 10:44:18

I'm Gloucestershire and we don't really have enough grammars for all grammar standard DCs to go to them.

Geography means some comprehensives have far more higher ability DCs than others. DD2 doesn't go to the grammar because it's an insanely long day, then loads of HW. It's also £1000 bus fare a year, which we could find, but which also hardly makes a level playing field.

For us losing the grammar schools would make my DDs education better as it would release good teachers.

For bright inner city DCs, I don't know. You would need outstanding comprehensives to exist instantly and I don't think that would happen.

Lucyellensmum95 Wed 20-Mar-13 10:46:00

What I have a problem with is selection full stop - whether income comes into it or not (althouh i have a MASSIVE problem with children from well off families having an advantage over those from poorer backgrounds).

My DD is dyslexic - I would say she is about a year behind (being the youngest in the class doesn't help). I KNOW she will get there in the end, she is a bright little thing but definately behind her classmates both in intellect and emotional "age". I would have started her a year later but of course that wans't allowed, even though she is closer in age to children in the year below her than the year group she is in.

She probably wont pass the 11+ but my dillema is - should i push her (im perfectly capable of tutoring her myself actually) or should i just let her be a child and not put the pressure on her when she is,imo, far to young to cope with it? I have a few years yet but i find it sickening actually that children as young as 10 are under this sort of pressure, earlier even if you take SATS into account. All to tick boxes on a poxy league table.

seeker Wed 20-Mar-13 11:06:53

"There's nothing difficult about preparing a child for an English paper(s) at home"

Provided you have the language, the knowledge, the confidence, the time.........

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