WTF even IS a 'super selective' grammar school?(52 Posts)
or is it just an A level in advance bragging?
It's a grammar which has an entry requirement above passing the 11+. You might have to be, say, in the top 10% of passes to get in.
But surely they are all like that? Its a test where they take the top results?
No. Neighbouring borough haa grammar schools. Kids sit the tests. The pass mark is set. If you pass and are "deemed selective" you put the grammar schools you want on the form. What score you actually achieved is then irrelevant to whether you get in. So say 30% pass! whether you passed with 99/100 or 79/100 is irrelevant. Once deemed selective, where you live comes into play.
They have a provision though that the top 180 scorers can go to whichever grammar they choose.
In my borough there is a superselective. All other schools are true comprehensives. The superselective requirements are that you live within 12 miles (I.e. Huge chunk of London) of the school. There isn't a pass mark. The top 150 children (I think) in that test are in, regardless of where they live within the 12 mile radius. I think it ends up being about the top 5% in the tests. Whereas in the grammar borough, it might be the top 30%, and geography as well as simply passing are both taken into account.
I think grammar schools with no or very wide catchments become super selective by default as they take the highest scorers from as wide an area as people will travel, rather than all those who get a certain score within 5miles for example.
No, they're not all like that as it depends on other aspects like amount of population growth in the catchment area, how far parents/students are prepared to travel for school, transport links etc. This situation has developed over many years as the population has grown massively in the SE while grammar school provision has not (due to rules that prevent grammar schools expanding). At the same time, independent schools have got relatively much more expensive, pricing most parents out. It is much more common for families to have two cars. So now grammars that were selective but not too hard to get into, are 'super' selective. Also, the internet has made it easier to research selection criteria and compare areas.
So in summary, there are demand factors and supply factors driving up the required 11+ score.
Yep, where I live at least 30% go to grammar but some are still considered fancier than others.
I think I live in the same borough as you, Pooka, if, in fact, there is one superselective for boys and one for girls.
And in some areas, you may be "deemed selective" (i.e. Have passed the 11+) but still not get a grammar place because demand among those deemed selective outstrips the supply of grammar school places.
Where we are, it means the pass Mark for grammar is say 350 but for the superdelegates first criteria on admissions is 380. If you get that or above you get in above distance/ siblings etc.
Superselectives generally don't have to take children from catchment. Often they don't have a catchment.
They select not the top 20 odd percent of pupils, but something more akin to the top 10%.
Fortunately in my borough, because the super selectives take from such a large catchment, and only a very small number of very very bright kids from the borough, the comprehensives locally are generally pretty good as you don't get the top slicing that you get in "true" grammar areas.
Sure, parents can send their children to neighbouring LEA grammars if they get in as top 180 or on proximity once deemed selective, but again, the number is relatively small.
Our local grammar takes the top 2%. I would call that superselective!
I agree that "super selective" is an unfortunate phrase as it sounds superior. However, it actually just means that the selection process is more onerous than standard grammar schools.
As a PP explained, some areas (e.g. Kent) have lots of grammar schools so DCs just have to reach a certain pass mark and then are guaranteed a place at a grammar school. Some have a catchment area (5, 10 miles etc) or prioritise siblings.
In my area there are only a handful of grammar schools and they have no catchment areas at all, so as the HT helpfully said "if you live on the moon and you want to come to the school you are welcome to apply." One school normally has 2,000 applicants from all over the country (Nottingham, London, Oxford, Swindon) for 120 places. Famillies then either move if their DCs pass or try to get local parents to put up their DCs during the week! That is super selective.
we have two 'super selectives' (one for girls/one boys) locally. They have no (or very very large) catchement areas & take a tiny % of local children (about 2% iirc) so the other schools are comprehensives rather than sec moderns. Passing the 11+ is not enough to get you a place - you need to score very highly e.g they have 93 places & more than 150 'pass'. My mum is actually friends with the former headmistress of one of the schools & she has said that you could give a place to any of the top 250 girls at random (all those who pass or very narrowly fail) & they would do just as well at the school as the 93 who get in. The spread of scores from 1-200 is very small.
I grew up in a true grammar area - 25% of children passed & got grammar places - if you had a bright and/or tutored child you could pretty much expect to get a grammar place. With super selectives it is much more random than that!
what perplexes me though is given that such a tiny percentage of the very bright are creamed off why are all the other (comprehensive) schools in our LA so very bad?
There's a selective independent that takes another group of girls and there are the sharp elbowed who get their children into the much better comps in adjacent LAs. I don't think either really explains why the local schools are so limited (e.g. ks4 results are improving but lots of equivalents & very limited curriculum - no triple science, no choice of MFL, only a minority of children have the option to study a full curriculum at ks3 etc).
Gloucestershire is similar. You do the test if you want to, the grammar schools pick off x% until full. One are considered better than others and tend to get to get the pick of the highest marks - dependent of course in which schools parents choose and are prepared to travel.
This means in the next few years when many of our rural primaries were undersubscribed (lower birth rate and house prices driving families away) the Grammar schools will stay full. They just drop their entrance marks. While rural comprehensives find themselves short of pupils and therefor short of money.
A superselective is a grammar school with no catchment area at all, which just takes the kids with top x scores in the rankings, no matter where they live (there's one family at our school that relocated from Australia).
In the future there will probably be no true superselectives though - some of the erstwhile super selectives have introduced catchment areas (e.g. Tiffins) and others (including the one my DDs attend) are introducing measures whereby kids on FSM who get the required level (there is always a mark below which a kid won't be considered even if not enough kids get above that mark) are automatically placed at the top of the rankings so they get in even if they weren't in the top 124 scores. This is obviously A Good Thing.
It does make me chuckle when people refer to their child's school as a super selective when it isn't relevant. eg. I saw someone on mnet write about picking their child up from their super selective, when they could have written. "I picked him up from school." Different if it is relevant. eg. My son got into a super selective with home tutoring only.
Think I'm possibly same LA as amitwirly, grammars here are super-selective, taking top 3% or so from borough, and some from outside, some applicants are from 80 miles away I mean they're really good, but not sure I'd relocate here- you'd be stuffed if siblings didn't get in too!
[Clue- you used to reside here Pitt]
Nerf let me herd you!
We have two superselectives here- one boy, one girl. They take the top 120 each, I think there's past a thousand entering as you can enter across the borough and also slightly in the next one. There used to be the option of another boy and another girl super selective quite a while away with a different test, but that's since stopped allowing kids from our area to enter.
As an example, Queen Elizabeth Barnet, is a superseletive, with no catchment area. 2 of the places for this coming September go to children who lived in Leeds at the time of applying. I'm hoping that they are moving.
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