sutton schools selective test today

(87 Posts)
Lily99 Sat 21-Sep-13 18:31:16

My DS sat the eligibility test today for the Sutton schools and didn't finish the English - should we prepare him now for bad news or did many children find this one tough?

Ladymuck Sat 21-Sep-13 21:20:16

General feedback so far is that the English was tougher than the maths. The resuts are out on Thursday though, so not long to wait.

merrymonsters Sat 21-Sep-13 21:33:33

My DS said that the maths was 'very easy', but he 'struggled' with some of the English paper. His Maths is better than his English so not really surprising.

Minniemouse65 Sat 21-Sep-13 22:03:53

Disappointed to see the Sutton Grammar schools being less than honest about the content of the selective eligibility test - it said categorically that there would be NO Verbal reasoning in the exam, yet there was! How ridiculous what are they trying to prove?
Interested to hear that no one seems to have finished the english paper my son missed a few out too, I understand there were 72 questions which is a lot in 45/50 mins.
I would love to know how many sat this year ???

merrymonsters Sat 21-Sep-13 22:08:44

I just asked DS and he he said that he did finish the English, but with only a couple of minutes to go. He also said that there wasn't any VR in it.

He's going to do the Tiffin test so he's been practising VR/NVR so he would recognise it.

Ladymuck Sat 21-Sep-13 22:42:19

Ds finished the English, but felt it was harder than the maths. He said there was no VR, though I overheard one child talking about having to put pond, lake, sea etc in order which sounded akin to some VR questions. Sounded as if those children preparing for L6 SPaG would have been well prepared - 2 of the spellings were from the SPaG sample paper. If anything prep school pupils could be at a disadvantage as it certainly wasn't like the traditional NFER/Bond papers, and many of the local preps don't sit SATS.

The lack of any familiarisation paper seems a bit unfair in comparison with other areas. Especially as next years boys will be better prepared as to what to expect.

So, given we're all in the dark together, expectations as to Wilson's English paper? Comprehension and essay, 45 min essay or 2 shorter pieces of writing?

Ladymuck Sat 21-Sep-13 22:52:25

In terms of numbers they had expected 2,500 across 4 venues, so I am guessing that a 5th sitting meant they exceeded that, so somewhere between 2,500-3,000. I am more curious as to the geographical spread as I wonder whether everyone would sit for all 3 schools. If today's pass mark is to select the 600-700 who will be eligible to sit the exams for the 3 schools, and yet some of these will also be sitting for schools in other areas, is there a risk that they won't get 420 who want a Sutton place (ahead of their local school)?

tnatnat01 Sun 22-Sep-13 00:27:59

My DS did the test today, finished the English paper with more than 5 mins to spare, he said that the Maths paper was not that difficult but time wise it was as he did not answer the last 2 questions.
He also said that the papers were what he does at school, he only goes to a local wallington primary school.
I think as parents we may want our children to get in to a good school but if we take the view that say 2800 took the test today and only 700ish will get through then 75% will be disappointed on Thursday, with another 50% being disappointed after the second round of tests.

The point here is that the system it's self is the problem, comps don't meet all parents ideas of a good education(I went to a comp and was very happy and so did my friends who in the main have gone on to have very good careers) The supply does not meet the demand and the fact that the grammer schools are so focused on keeping the positions in league tables means that they have lost morality, if my son got in to one probably none of his friends would which in real terms is a shame. The local grammer schools should be taking the top 5-10% in sutton schools before opening up the places to anyone and everyone from anywhere in the south of England.
Just to confirm this point a friend was in the que at Wilsons and a women asked where the local town was, her son by the sound of things is being carted to every school in the Home Counties taking tests.
Good luck to you all and your DS's

Ladymuck Sun 22-Sep-13 08:19:22

There are just under 2,000 year 6 children in LB of Sutton. So around 1,000 year 6 boys. Which would give a very different intake, especially as there are 420 boys grammar places.

Minniemouse65 Sun 22-Sep-13 08:19:57

I agree the test this year is unfair, my son told me about the sea pond put in order question which IS VR. In answer to your q I reckon they will do comp and essay hedge their bets. I have a wider issue with the tests, my son is dyslexic despite having an iq in top 2% - multiple choice by the very nature are unfair for dyslexics due to two questions being v similar. There was no extra time given. I understand but disagree with this belief that tutored kids may not keep up but sadly it's necessary because the standards of education are so poor( in our experience) . How can we compete with a boy privately educated with classes half the size ? My son wasted 2 school years with awful teachers who utterly destroyed his confidence. His dyslexia was only picked up a few months ago and so has struggled through believing he was stupid or at best scraping average. I provided my son with what he missed. He went to classes not 1-1 and loved every minute of it. What are they testing? The ability to do tests? The standards of education they have had or THEIR POTENTIAL ?? If the latter then just do IQ tests put everyone on a level playing field. !! By the way my older son is at one of these schools and every mother I know gave their son tuition - they are all keeping up ! Good luck to you all too on Thursday x

Minniemouse65 Sun 22-Sep-13 08:24:30

Really good point - how bizarre if they were under subscribed - I presume they have done this whole selective eligibility thing to save time and costs ? You're right though it could fail big time , especially as they have no idea of the "top 600" 's intentions to sit which school .

Ladymuck Sun 22-Sep-13 09:03:52

I'd assume the individual schools will test problem solving and writing skills, which requires a human to mark each paper which is more expensive, hence having a computer mark the first round. I'm assuming that if they are that over subscribed they may need to increase the number of "eligible" boys to ensure that they have enough boys who would pass AND place them first.

I have always assumed that ds's literacy would be too weak to pass a grammar school test, but given that this was one test that would eliminate that possibility, and that mc isn't arduous for him, he sat it anyway. So he's one who wouldn't have sat under the old system, but had nothing to lose under this year's system.

gazzalw Sun 22-Sep-13 15:31:07

I'm pretty sure they know what they're doing.....think it's highly unlikely that they're going to find themselves short of eligible boys...

I don't think it's unfair in terms of the content of the exams. I think possibly it is to ensure that they're getting latent intelligence/IQ rather than 'trained/tutored-to-test' candidates.....

You may well find that they slightly alter the focus of the tests every year just to wrong foot the heavily tutored ones...

I seem to recall that in my chemistry O Level (many moons ago), I could recall the results for various tests but in the exam the question was turned on its head (find the tests rather than the results). As I was not very good at chemistry I couldn't easily do this (and got a D!) - it's a common ruse to really test understanding....

Good luck to everyone's DCs awaiting results - at least it's a fast and furious turnaround....

Ladymuck Sun 22-Sep-13 15:51:38

Well if nothing else, it adds a dimension of interest into the system. Certainly amongst the boys I've known I generally haven't been too surprised as to which pass for Wilsons and Wallington and which don't. I'm intrigued to see if we get an "as expected" outcome this year, or whether the 2 rounds make a difference.

gazzalw Sun 22-Sep-13 15:58:20

At DS's superselective, in his class, very few of the boys passed Wilson's, Wallington and Sutton (even the super brainy ones) so it will be interesting to see what anomalies this "one size fits all" first round exam will throw up.....

If a boy is having an 'off day' even if he's a dead cert academically...he might not make it thro'....

Yes, Ladymuck, I agree with you.....I think it could throw a spanner in the works for a fair few boys....

Don't you also think though that the upped number of applicants could be because this year, unlike previous years,a DS might only have two bites at the cherry, instead of four or five of yesteryear. Fine if they pass the first round for the Wilson's/Wallington/SGS/Greenshaw one but if they don't, then they've only got the Tiffin 11+ exam/Graveney in which to possibly redeem themselves (if you look at it in those terms...)

legallady Sun 22-Sep-13 16:22:05

I agree completely with gazzalw, we only know of one boy who "passed" all three tests in DS' class and even he didn't pass well enough to get his first choice of school.

Although sitting so many exams was arduous for the boys it did at least give them the chance to have an off day and not count themselves out of the race for all schools. In any event, I don't think it's that common to sit for Tiffin and all 3 Sutton grammars. They are just too geographically diverse for most families to be able to travel to all of them in a reasonable time.

Good luck for Thursday

SweetPenelope Sun 22-Sep-13 16:45:21

In Wimbledon it's common to sit for the Sutton schools and Tiffin. We're between Sutton and Kingston and the travelling time is about the same for all of them.

gazzalw Sun 22-Sep-13 16:51:48

I have several friends whose DSs have done the 11+ test with a view to possibly going to Greenshaw...what happens if they get thro' to the next stage - it is possible that some parents might then think its worth a 'punt' at the grammars (even if they've not registered specifically for any of them) or then put then down on their CAFs - presumably it's not too late to do that?

Totally agree with you SweetPenelope, although DS didn't apply for Tiffin as we'd got five other (semi) selectives on his CAF and didn't want 6/6...

Ladymuck Sun 22-Sep-13 17:16:37

As it stands, you can't register for any of the grammars yet, which is why I think that the thought of only putting 600-700 through might be flawed. I suspect that in fact they will put through closer to 800 in order to keep the proportion the same. Currently the schools have no idea which schools the applicants are interested in. Any whilst there may be an assumption that boys will sit all 3, if they are also sitting exams elsewhere AND they are not immediately local to Sutton there is a risk that there will be fewer boys sitting each.

Minniemouse65 Mon 23-Sep-13 12:19:08

You say they know what they are doing but... if its IQ they are testing then lets have an IQ test, if its standard of education received so far then that puts the privately educated at an advantage with classes being half the size. If its the ability to "do the test" then that wont help when they get in. The old tutoring argument makes me quite cross - if they did a standard IQ test and everyone had the same level of education then there would be no need. Indeed if we all had access to secondary schools of a higher standard then there would not be this grammar frenzy every year! My older son is at one of the aformentioned grammar schools schools and yes he was tutored because despite his potential the local primary school didnt stretch him and he coasted. Is he keeping up - yes of course he is, it just took for a bit of extra focus to help him realise his potential.
This new multiple choice test is an extra hoop to jump through and puts massive pressure on these 10 year olds, and fine if there are no learning difficulties such as dyslexia, however it does mean its not a level playing field for some who may have the IQ and potential. Bring on Thursday the anticipation is killing me! Good luck to all x

gazzalw Mon 23-Sep-13 12:52:29

Minniemouse, your DS sounds a lot like ours! Not sure our DS has quite applied the extra focus yet though!

Well the whole thing is a farce really and unnecessarily stressful to all concerned. But, as I've always said, a lot of this is down to 'spin' from some parents - not all but there's definitely a significant contingent.....

We have quite a lot of boys from DD's school who've applied so it will be interesting to see what the fall-out is on Thursday.

tiggytape Mon 23-Sep-13 13:04:33

In one way it is great to get such an early result. A 5 day turn around to know whether or not your child is deemed to be of selective ability makes the whole process much less stressful than in former years where it could dragged on for months and months.
The complaint used to be that Sutton Grammar did the tests in November and gave provisional results in January which was both stressful and a bit pointless since CAF forms have to be submitted in October and the final results are in March anyway - a vague answer in January is neither useful nor reassuring.

On the other hand, like gazza, I think it throws up the possibility that one bad day could block the way for suitable children to try out for all three schools. There's a lot of pressure not to have a blip in stage 1 else it is all over. And clever children do have blips hence a lot of boys in the past passing for 1 or 2 grammars easily with high enough to get a place but completely messing up the third (nerves, silly mistakes etc).

Does this also mean more exams overall - will Sutton, Wilson and Wallington hold individual second round exams or one joint one?

Lily99 Mon 23-Sep-13 13:09:21

I feel that the old 11+ exam that we all sat in our primary schools many years ago would be a better way to do the 'first round', especially if the idea is to identify those children that may be suitable for grammars, minus so much stress.
Have no idea how my DS felt he did - like most he says the maths was easy - that will be a problem if all children feel this as may potentially have 90% of children getting more than 90% on this test and could mean only the English marks will dictate a pass in real terms - not so good if you are a brilliant mathematician but English is not your strong point. Mine now says he did answer all the English questions but did not finish checking and was definitely not as confident.
I agree with Minniemouse - roll on Thursday and put us all out of our misery!

Ladymuck Mon 23-Sep-13 13:18:38

All 3 schools set different exams, so after the email on Thursday you get invited to sit the other exams. Wilsons and Wallington are in early October but Sutton is still holding its exam in November after the CAF! Though you won't be told anything until March from them. Wilsons and Wallington will give you a pass/fail (but no score or ranking) 7-10 days before the CAF deadline. The next exams are different formats and have the test just sat included in the overall ranking but in different weightings.... And Sutton has changed its admissions so that distance is a far greater factor than ever before (rather than just boys on the same mark getting judged on distance, they are placed in 4 mark bands, so boys getting 97-100 get in on score alone, 93-96 may also do so, but those say scoring 89-92 will be ranked on distance, so a boy scoring 89 but next door to the school will get in above those scoring 90-92).

So if they get through, then it is as many exams as before, but you know that instead of going against 1600 boys you are going against 700 bright boys.

I think that it is being done on the basis of cost rather than on being fairer or "better". The schools bear the entire cost of testing all who apply.

gazzalw Mon 23-Sep-13 13:21:10

That's an interesting point, Tiggytape.... I had assumed (but I stand to be corrected) that at the second stage one might do a school-specific test but maybe not.....

I think it's amazing that they can do such a quick turnaround. I recall that Wilson's and Wallington were relatively speedy with giving back pass/fail info when DS did his.....

Can you imagine a DS having to sit Tiffins as the 'be all/end all' option if he did have a 'blippy' day on Saturday.....hmm.

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