If your child is at a grammar school what did you do to get them in there? And when did you start? And do you have any tips?

(129 Posts)
WideWebWitch Sat 07-Jul-07 13:06:43

Ds is 9, will be 10 in October and is about to finish year 4 and go into year 5.

We are in catchment for a grammar school. I really want him to go there.

So, what do I have to do to get him in? Happy to sell my grandmother, soul etc to do it.

Am I too late already? Is tuition to get him through the 11+ a good idea? I think he's probably bright enough so I don't think it's a risk coaching to get him in and then him floundering but all and any advice much appreciated. Thanks.

Freckle Sat 07-Jul-07 16:18:54

We were told 120 (out of 140) is required in all 3 papers to be guaranteed a place. Two papers over 120 and one just under is pretty good, but two papers under 120 and your chances are rather slim.

UnquietDad Sat 07-Jul-07 16:26:45

Well, first of all you have to live in an area which has them. Which means I can't give any advice, because I live in a city with a chip-on-its-shoulder, pinko, inverted-snob council which scrapped its grammar schools in the 1980s.

frogs Sat 07-Jul-07 20:21:09

Whereabouts are you? Some grammar schools are hugely more oversubscribed than others -- the North London schools are typically taking the top 1% of the ability range (I was told this by a head, off the record). So if that's not your child, it's best not to go there. Others are taking more like the top 20-25% of the range, which is always worth a punt.

First step is to find out the format of the papers, ie. is there English and Maths as well, or is it just VR/NVR. Also, are the English and Maths papers multiple choice or written answers?

If the English is written answers (esp if essay) the standard is likely to go someway beyond the usual primary curriculum, so you need to prepare for this in some way. A modicum of specialist input may be required, and lots of practice. Ditto maths, but probably more preparation needed, even if multiple choice. IME selective school maths papers go considerably beyond what most state-educated children will have experienced by the autumn term of Y6. You should aim to have him confident with eg. operations involving fractions as well as simple expressions and equations, squaring/cubing, square roots and cube roots. The Bond papers are a good place to start -- if he can consistently manage one year group above his actual age, you're doing well; if not, some rather more intensive practice is called for. Wrt VR and NVR, you can't really teach these, but they certainly need familiarisation with the different types of questions and doing papers under time pressure. Again, Bond papers are good, but there are other publishers as well, so get hold of a range (Athey, Nelson etc). Bookshops in grammar school areas will usually stock this stuff.

If you're doing it yourself, 15-20 mins a day most days should be enough, if he's doing well. If there are obviously weaknesses, or you're not confident about teaching it yourself, then get some help in.

WideWebWitch Sun 08-Jul-07 12:48:42

Thanks frogs.

I think I can see his teacher this week and so will ask her what she thinks hs chances are.

harman Sun 08-Jul-07 13:34:19

Message withdrawn

WendyWeber Sun 08-Jul-07 15:29:56

Def ask teacher but it may be too early for them to say reliably. I would just go for the tuition anyway

Having said that I didn't with any of mine, but the alternative school here was perfectly OK

fillyjonk Sun 08-Jul-07 15:32:50

this is so mad

in 1989 I too the exam for the grammar in the next borough, passed, and then went there

that was the utter limit of my preparation. Prior to that I attended a music-orientated primary which basically didn't teach much except music and English.

A lot of kids WERE tutored through the exams but they then mostly continued to need tutoring for their whole time there

I don't blame ANYONE for doing this, I have crappy crappy local secondaries and I really do understand. I am just sad that it seems like its all gotten very competative.

WideWebWitch Sun 08-Jul-07 15:36:30

Oh I agree Fillyjonk, I went to a grammar too and it was easy to get in, we all took the 11+ with no prep and got in. These days that same school is VERY competitive, a friend's dd just got in there and it wasn't easy.

fillyjonk Sun 08-Jul-07 15:38:35

WHY is it like this?

What has changed?

It just seems mad

Sorry, not trying to hijack your thread. If I am honest, if the grammar school option was open to me round here, odds are I'd be starting this thread in 5 years time, committed socialist though I am. My local schools are APPALLING and I'd challenge anyone to send their kids to them (think over 50% exclusion rate)

katelyle Sun 08-Jul-07 15:39:32

we've just gone through this. The 11plus success website is a mine of information but also of fairly obsessed uberparents (IMHO) I think the degree of preparation depends a LOT on where you live. In some areas you don't just have to pass, you have to pass with top marks to get into the most sought after schools.In others if you pass you get a place. I think you need to find out what the system is in your area. The LEAs try to level the playing field by forbidding primary schools to do any more that basic familiarization, but of course, some schools ignore this, and some parents tutor like crazy, so the playing field is pretty hilly in places!
Even if you don't tutor, I suggest you buy some past papers and do some practice. The big problem for most children is simply doing it fast enough - they have to do 70 or 80 questions in 45 minutes, and they simply haven't done anything like this before. Happy to blether further if it's helpful.

we just did practice papers with our DS and started no more than 6 months before the exams and it was fine. That said, he's pretty bright and the papers were "right up his street".Our DD is also 10 in October, I think we'll be starting a bit earlier with her because I think she'll find the papers a bit tougher.
They definitely need to do practice papers for all the reasons others have mentioned already, no matter how bright. Whether that's with you or with a tutor depends on whether they will listen to you if you need to explain something. You also need to make sure you get the right practice papers. We used the NFER NELSON papers from WH Smiths last time, but that was 4 years ago so they mightn't be the most accurate these days. We bought another set which were nothing like the actual papers, so could have confused rather than helped if we hadn't realised. Your Yr6 teachers should have a good idea about best practice papers for 11+ in your area.

katelyle Sun 08-Jul-07 15:43:59

6h fillyjonk, don't start me! It's an insane unfair, divisive system and I hate it - but I wans't brave enough to stand out against it - for my musical dd it was the difference between going to a perfectly adequate school with no noticable music to going to one with 3 choirs,2 crchestras, a chamber group, a jazz band and a rock band!. Oh, and a perfectly adequate school where the loos are locked all the time and a school where nothing is ever locked except the labs and the cleaner's cupboard.

evenhope Sun 08-Jul-07 15:56:16

harman you do need to do at least a few practice papers with her because they don't do much practice (if any) at school. If everyone else has practiced then your DD will be at a disadvantage. The format (particularly of the non verbal reasoning) is so bizarre it could throw her if she hasn't had a chance to practice.

If a child needs a lot of tutoring to pass then they will struggle at the school, so shouldn't be there.

agree Evenhope. Even the brightest child could fail if they're not familiar with the papers/types of questions.

harman Sun 08-Jul-07 16:17:08

Message withdrawn

mumblechum Sun 08-Jul-07 17:58:55

ds got in last year. No tutoring, just bought him some papers, showed him how to do them and then let him practice getting faster.

Started about 9 months before the exam, and built up the frequency to about 3 a week just before the exams.

The school were really negative about it even though, at age 9 he was tested by the school as having a reading age of 15, he got level 5 sats in year 4 etc etc .

He loves grammar school and is in the middle of his class at everything.

Judy1234 Sun 08-Jul-07 18:10:05

Why is it harder now? I'm not sure. Are there more children? Are parents more concerned about their children's education?

Many areas don't have grammar schools. In the NE in the 1960s the local labour controlled councils got rid of them all. I think I remember the last year who did the 11+ there over 30 years ago. But in areas that still have grammar schools I'm not sure why it's harder now unless the other state schools have got worse perhaps?

themoon66 Sun 08-Jul-07 18:15:38

DS has just finished GCSEs at the local comp. He has applied to the grammar for A-levels because, after looking around, he felt he wanted to go there. He filled in the application himself. They told him he needs to get a minimum of 6 Bs at GCSE to get in. We are not doing any tutoring... I wouldn't want him to go there unless I know he can keep up without ongoing extra tutoring, which I cannot afford.

codJane Sun 08-Jul-07 18:16:51

apprently OO MCUh coaching cna thave the reverse effect
we wil start wiht ds1 at the easter

codJane Sun 08-Jul-07 18:17:22

our state primary runs an 11 plus club too
mayeb ask the head abotu that

filthymindedvixen Sun 08-Jul-07 18:18:20

bloody hell. things have changed. When I did 11 plus we did nowt except some practice questions in the term before. Everyone in my class took the exam but only 5 of us got in.

Marina Sun 08-Jul-07 18:23:47

I'm the same Filly and www. As far as I remember I just ambled into my grammar school place - selection was by SATs style testing, I think (done at primary school without us realising AFAIK), and an interview.
Even round here, where there are four large grammars in the locality and several more in NW Kent, plus a handful of really good nonselective state schools, I know the 11 plus is a source of angst for parents and supplementary income for canny moonlighting teachers.

GrowlingTiger Sun 08-Jul-07 18:34:16

Coaching/tutoring in exam style and technique must be of potential benefit to any child. Coaching/tutoring because the primary school hasn't covered certain topics (eg layout of essays, ormultiplying fractions or whatever) could benefit pupils depending on their primary school. Coaching/tutoring lots of basics is a mad move imo as it indicates that they may struggle.

11+ club sounds an excellent idea. But I kmow of areas where primary schools seem to be really anti 11+, which is a shame.

WideWebWitch Sun 08-Jul-07 21:48:30

Hey, socialists, I used to be one too, thought my son would go to where ever was nearest, we needed me to support local schools, blah blah, people who used private education should be shot, etc. I really didn;t think anything would compromise my strongly held priniciples.

Ahem. If he doesn't get in, we'll pay.

miljee Mon 09-Jul-07 17:15:01

Of course it's harder for a child to get into many GSs these days. The competition is much more fierce because many GSs have abandoned catchments altogether(eg 'reasonable travelling distance', girls grammar, Salisbury) and your child will be up against many whose parents have lived, breathed and PAID for this moment for YEARS. If you can't afford to pay or don't have the tutoring ability yourself, your child will have to be exceptionally bright and quick to get a grammar school place.

I went to GS in 73. We all took the 11+. In my class of 30 there was ONE privately prepped girl. Wonder what the percentage would be now??!

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