Glenthorne (Sutton) anyone?

(17 Posts)
teddygirlonce Fri 28-Oct-16 19:02:01

DD has passed the 'Arts' (drama) qualifying test for Glenthorne BUT not at all sure how this will help her gain a place? She loved it so we've put it first on our CAF but we don't really understand how the system works -she still also has to sit a 'banding test' in November?

How has passing the Arts exam helped her? At some schools it seems that the 'specialist' places are guaranteed if qualifying tests have been positive but cannot think that likely for Glenthorne, as none of their 'blurb' suggests as much.

Just to say that we do not live in their usual 'catchment' area so 99.9% sure she won't get a place that way.

Any ideas?

Thanks.

JoJoSM2 Fri 28-Oct-16 23:49:28

It is all explained on their website

www.glenthorne.sutton.sch.uk/index.phtml?d=989381

tiggytape Sat 29-Oct-16 00:11:31

The criteria are very long but it says upto 24 children will be given places on the basis of their aptitude in performing arts and they get priority above virtually everyone else for a place.

Upto 24 children who pass the performing arts aptitude test get priority above all of the children who sit the banding test and even above siblings so, assuming only 24 (or fewer) children have received the same letter as you, then you should be confident of a place. That's the part that isn't explicitly clear though - I am assuming they limit the number who pass the test to 24 in total as an absolute maximum just in case they all apply and put the school as their top choice (taking the aptitude test isn't the same as officially applying to the school)

At the bottom it says children who sit the aptitude test can also take the banding test but to me it reads that this is a back-up - so if they don't pass the aptitude test, they still have another bite of the cherry via banding. I would check with the school on how many pass the test and whether they also sit the banding test but it seems to me that you do have a good chance of an offer.

tiggytape Sat 29-Oct-16 00:22:44

I've done some digging from last year's policy documents and the school said for 2015:

"The highest mark a child can gain is 50; any child who scores 31 or less would be deemed unsuccessful. There will be a reserve list of those children who scored 32 or more marks. The final marks are determined by an independent assessor."

"Parents or carers will be notified of the result of the workshop in the week beginning 12th October 2015. If the child scores enough marks to be considered for a selective place, Glenthorne High School must be named as a preference on the Common Application Form for the application to be valid. However, success in the workshop does not automatically mean that the child will be offered a place at Glenthorne High School, because each year there are more children who score 32 or more marks than there are places available."

So it seems it is possible to pass the aptitude test but not get a place if 24 people scored slightly higher and also all accept their places at the school. Hence the statement about also sitting the banded test in November as this gives an extra chance if your DD doesn't have a high enough score to get in virtually automatically as one of the top 24

(I am only assuming they are using the same system again this year so it is definitely worth ringing the school to double check this is the case - all of the school's policy documents on this are very long and involved and I cannot find the 2016 equivalent).

teddygirlonce Sat 29-Oct-16 09:25:41

JoJoSM2 the whole point is that it's not totally clear though, as I (and tiggytape) have determined - hence the question.

The banding test in November skews things IMHO - it wasn't even overly clear on their website whether children applying for the 24 'Arts' places had to do the banding one.

I have been through the secondary schools application process before with DS (a few years ago) so I consider myself a bit of a 'veteran' of the 'process' (and understanding admissions criteria across selective and non-selective schools in several boroughs) but this one stumps me.

Thank you so much, tiggtape, for your help and having a search around for me.

I just had a hope that someone whose DC had been successful might understand the process fully.

I will ask the question of the school after half-term. If I'm enlightened I will report back!

Loconuts Sat 29-Oct-16 17:02:42

My DC has also 'passed' the performing arts. The letter states that of 240 pupils tested, 206 were deemed to be of selective apptitude and are eligible for one of those 24 places available.

206 passing seems high for 24 places but if depends on how many children have listed the school first on the CAF and what score they achieved. So, in answer to your question I would say it could help, but depends on the other 205 children's scores & CAF choices. The school must have data from previous years to know how many children to pass. If you're keen on the school it's worth sitting the banding test as an alternative means of entry. I assume you're in their 2nd catchment area?

I know, from speaking to people whose DC's applied last year, that many had very high 40s and scores of 50...

tiggytape Sat 29-Oct-16 17:16:57

206 passing seems high for 24 places but if depends on how many children have listed the school first on the CAF and what score they achieved.
It isn't so much children listing it first as children with a slightly higher score listing it higher than any other school they meet the criteria for. That's obviously very hard to judge.

Someone with one point higher in the test who lists the school 3rd (and who doesn't qualify for school number 1 or 2 on their list) would beat you to a place for example even if you've listed the school 1st. And obviously there's no way of knowing how many people are above you in score, how highly those families rate the school and what their chances are at any schools they might have said they like better.

Assuming most people will list the school somewhere on their forms given the effort they've gone to already, were you given any clue as to how high up the aptitude list you may be? Were you given actual scores for example or are they confirmed later?

Loconuts Sat 29-Oct-16 17:24:14

That makes sense, thanks.
Scores were given for each of the three disciplines your DC entered for - 3 in total. We were given DC's standardised score, the pass mark (32 for each) along with the max standardised score (50 for each).

No idea of ranking was given. The letter states that if pupils attended more than one workshop then the score used will be the highest.

I have to say, it's not the best explained entry method.

tiggytape Sat 29-Oct-16 17:31:02

I agree with you Loconuts. It doesn't give parents of the children aiming for a place based on aptitude any real idea of whether or not they are likely to meet the criteria and end up with a place.

Even if they said "the pass mark is 32 but last year, nobody with a score below 41 was offered a place on March 1st" it might at least give people a way to consider their options.

The significance of the banding test also isn't stressed in relation to a child who passes the aptitude test but not well enough for one of the 24 reserved spots and is then reliant on the same application criteria as everyone else.

Loconuts Sat 29-Oct-16 17:41:58

It's my understanding that the performing arts and banding tests are totally separate, but that's only my interpretation of the information given.

I also wonder about the significance of your DC's 'highest score'. For example, would that mean that a DC scoring 49 in 3 workshops could be 'beaten' by a DC just attending 1 workshop and scoring 50? I'm pretty sure that the 'highest score' information wasnt given at the point of entering the performing arts day

DrJSE Sat 29-Oct-16 20:57:56

In the last 5 years the lowest score to achieve aptitude places was 47/50 and these children only got places when others with higher scores did not accept their Glenthorne offer.

My child got full marks at the drama workshop and we are still not counting our chickens....

The letter is totally misleading. Also, if you want your child to go to Glenthorne then you almost certainly need to place it first on the CAF. School places will be offered to you on the basis of your highest ranking school able to offer you a place. So if you put a school that is closer to your home address and undersubscribed above Glenthorne then that will be the school place you are offered.

teddygirlonce Sat 29-Oct-16 21:47:34

Hi

Congratulations to your DD, DrJSE. Mine didn't do that well...which suggests that putting it first on her CAF is a mistake.

What is the point though of passing so many children on the 'Arts' test if the 'entry level' score is so high? To my mind it just unduly raises expectations for them and their parents. Surely it would be much more realistic to only pass a smaller % . And why allow DCs to potentially do all three rather than just one test?

That they pass so many would suggest that they are not expecting many of those who pass to end up choosing the school as their top choice?

To my mind the letter that was sent out with the Arts result was deliberately vague.

As tiggytape said, letting us know how realistic our DC's chances are, on the basis of Arts test(s) results would be much more helpful.

As it is, DD is now really keen on the school and I know think we've erroneously chosen it as her first choice one.

The school's website didn't even make it very clear whether Arts test children did also need to do the banding test - I opted for being cautious and assuming they did... Maybe we're now submitting DD to a test that is not going to make any difference to whether she gets a place or not (as we are not 'local').

BTW thanks for all your insights.

tiggytape Sat 29-Oct-16 23:14:08

You haven't lost anything by putting it first - unless you mean that it raises expectations that might not be met - but then that is the case with all school applications and even ones where a child passes a test of some kind.

The equal preference system means that you list 6 schools (in London) and you get given the one you said you liked best out of all the ones you qualify for.

If you list Glenthorne 1st and your DD's score is high enough (or if she qualifies via banding instead) she will get a place.

If you list Glenthorne 3rd and your DD's score is high enough (or if she qualifies via banding instead) and if she doesn't meet the criteria for schools number 1 or 2 on your list, she will get a Glenthorne place.

And equally, if she doesn't meet the criteria for Glenthorne (via either aptitude score or banding) but she does meet the criteria for the school you listed 2nd, she will get the school you listed 2nd (even if it is someone else's 1st choice if they don't meet the criteria as highly as you do eg because you live closer).

So really as long as your list of 6 schools includes all the ones you like in your true order of preference, the only thing you have lost out on is the certainty that it would be nice to have if you definitely knew you'd get your first choice. You certainly haven't scuppered your chances at any other school by listing Glenthorne first no matter how likely or unlikely you are to get an offer there.

teddygirlonce Sun 30-Oct-16 10:35:38

tiggytape you are entirely right. There is never certainty with the secondary school admission process.

We can but hope. It's more a case of managing DD's expectations. I'm not assuming anything is a given.

But I still don't see the rationale for passing roughly 80% of the children who took the Arts test unless they are expecting most to not have put it as their first/second/third choice (but as a 'back-up')?

Out of interest, DrJSE, how have you come by those figures for the (very high) mark required to gain entry over the past few years?

It is interesting that for many of the schools (that we've come across) who operate any form of 'selective/aptitude' testing, they don't generally give out the individual candidate marks for the DCs who have passed. This ensures that when the children start at their respective secondary schools they aren't drawn into a competitive 'pecking order' scenario.

Hmmm.

tiggytape Sun 30-Oct-16 16:42:02

teddy - different regions operate different systems and quite a lot give both scores and good guidance on what those scores mean in real terms.

For example in the 11+ region:

- some schools give rankings. If there 180 places up for grabs and you get told your child achieved the 15th highest score in the test this year, you know immediately that you can have a place at that school if you want it long before March.

- some give marks and a description of what that meant in previous years. For example they will say that your out of catchment child scored 247 and the lowest score offered a place last year out of catchment was 232 and before that it was 229 and before that it was 228.
So you have some idea where you stand (although there can be shock years where people on 235 expecting a place don't get one)

- some have a pass mark above which all applicants are equal and then judged on other criteria. For example everyone scoring above 321 is put in the pot for a place and the 180 final places are allocated from that pot using siblings and distance as the criteria. It isn't a case of the highest score wins and children living far away even with a very high score can miss out.

- some have a pass mark followed by a highest-score-wins policy. You get told your child has reached the pass mark - but so have over 700 other pupils pass for around 200 places so you literally have no idea how likely it is they will get a place.

The Admissions Code simply says that parents should be told the outcome of any testing in time for them to fill out their forms before the October 31st deadline. Knowing you have passed a test is technically considered being told the result. But knowing your child has passed a test that that dozens (or hundreds) of others have also passed isn't as useful as knowing what that means or where they have come in terms of judging your chances to fill out the form.
In London, with 6 options it doesn't matter as much but some regions only get 3 preferences and don't want to waste any.

Ledgebaby Thu 29-Dec-16 11:47:32

The waiting for March 1st is unbearable! Parent in front of us at the aptitude test last October had a child two years older who got into the school via drama aptitude. He scored 47 and said it was the highest drama score that year (which would conflict with another post in this thread who said 47 was consistently the lowest score over the last five years unless by fluke it is both). Interested to know if they split the places equally across music, dance and drama - i.e. 8 places each - and do they split girls and boys 50:50 which would mean just four places for each gender per discipline. It seems odd that the pass mark is so low. Surely it should only be only as low as it needs to be to ensure they filled the places after allowing for people not taking up their offered places. My son also got 47/50 but not taking anything for granted.

teddygirlonce Thu 29-Dec-16 13:29:30

Ledgebaby, hello.

DD is convinced she'll be going to Glenthorne despite my belief that she didn't do well enough in the 'Arts' test to stand a realistic chance (on the basis of what's been said upthread).

Who knows though? I am inclined to believe that '47' wouldn't be the lowest entry score consistently over the past five years, TBQH.

Also, don't see the rationale for essentially passing 4/5 (circa 200) of the 'arts' candidates if only 24 will get a place - it would suggest to me that for many of those who've passed, Glenthorne will be a back-up option rather than 1st/2nd choice school (and the former will therefore not be the school offer they get). DD did say that several of the children she spoke to on the day of the test suggested as much (with grammar schools top of their CAF list).

We're nearly half way into our wait though - and methinks time will fly by once the children are back at school next week.

Although we are very keen on Glenthorne (it is DD's first choice), we were happy with all six schools on DD's CAF, so will be content with a positive outcome from any one of them.

I am a firm believer that the children usually end up with the school that is right for them (unless they/parents have been totally unrealistic with the schools put on the CAF).

Good luck!

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