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.

Ladymuck Mon 23-Sep-13 13:26:50

It's a quick turnaround because it is all happening by computer. No human will check to see whether someone screwed up and used pen not pencil or circled rater than crossed-through the answer, or put in the exam code for maths instead of English. I imagine the marks will be known by the end of the day, standardised possibly even today, or at worst tomorrow, and then the 4 schools can select their "passmark".

gazzalw Mon 23-Sep-13 13:42:54

Just looked at the SGS website info on admissions and found this:

"Specifically in relation to Sutton Grammar School, the result of the Selective Eligibility Test will determine whether or not a boy may be entered for Sutton Grammar School’s second stage entrance test."

Implies that the second round tests are school-specific to doesn't necessarily cut down on the amount of exams taken by those who pass the first round and are eligible to sit all the second round tests....hmm

gazzalw Mon 23-Sep-13 13:43:18

to should read so

tiggytape Mon 23-Sep-13 14:08:44

They can't do the tests at primary schools really. Boys from miles around sit for Sutton grammars. It isn't just children from Sutton itself or even children just from South London. There will be some children taking the tests whose primary schools barely know where Sutton is I suspect!

The first stage test, being an all or nothing scenario, sounds quite scary as I don't think traditionally boys who way below standard have even bothered to enter for them (well not in great numbers). Most people know what's required and the level of those who pass so don't bother with all the stress and prep unless a child has a reasonable expectation of a pass.

The second stage spread out over 3 more exams sounds stressful. I thought perhaps there would be a joint stage 2 test for the grammars and schools could alter the weighting they gave each paper if they wished?

Minniemouse65 Mon 23-Sep-13 22:00:16

I am pretty sure they are different tests - for eg Wallington is 20 mins creative writing. Apparently my son knows where the magic machine that reads all the results is! Though presumably each test centre will mark the childrens who sat there on Saturday.

I am sure there is a cost issue - I would happily pay a nominal admin fee for my son to sit the test, if it would help it to be fairer.

Lady muck - is that distance and bandings method only for Sutton grammar ? or all of them?

tiggytape Mon 23-Sep-13 22:01:55

State schools aren't allowed to charge any money for testing as it could act as a barrier to people applying. It must cost the schools a fortune though.

Ladymuck Mon 23-Sep-13 22:25:23

That distance criteria is just for Sutton: the other schools just go on distance for boys on the same
final mark. Now that could still easily be 20-40 boys who are competing on distance, but for Sutton there could be 80+ boys competing on distance.

SweetPenelope Mon 23-Sep-13 22:38:05

If you read the schools' websites, they tell you what is in the second tests. They are all having their own second test, except Greenshaw. Greenshaw chooses on the basis of the selective eligibility test only (and includes girls of course).

gazzalw Tue 24-Sep-13 06:24:05

The distance issue is definitely part of SGS's policy - DS missed out on an initial offer because,even though he got the initial cut off score, there were obviously boys who lived closer to the school than us.

Dibbleofficer Tue 01-Oct-13 09:43:37

Interested to see if different formats and timings for the 3 Sutton GSs . WCGS seems to imply a 25 minute written composition ( still think this is very limited time wise , 1 page A4 ) will they be fanatical about spelling grammar and punctuation or mark more positively on creativity and style.

Maths likely to be trad and long form. Still have a beef if they test maths areas that are not covered by start of Y6 , these are boys not machines. Do not conclude everyone has time or cash for tutors. We will see....

gazzalw Tue 01-Oct-13 10:59:29

Pretty sure that they don't spring surprises with the maths they expect the boys to know - well they didn't two years ago.

Dibbleofficer Tue 08-Oct-13 09:32:56

Wilson's second test format tomorrow , seems likely to be a comp and a long form Maths paper. Fingers crossed

Ladymuck Tue 08-Oct-13 13:00:51

Ds isn't going to like the format of any English paper unfortunately. Is that a hunch based on the length of the paper, or something more concrete grin?

Ladymuck Tue 08-Oct-13 13:02:19

gazzlw, any surprises on the first round of testing at your school? Everyone who sat it at ds's school passed, so that doesn't really help me!

gazzalw Tue 08-Oct-13 13:13:34

Hi Ladymuck, three boys passed out of about 10 who took the test. I don't know any of the parents of the boys who passed, to know whether they were 'dead certs' or not. Although one has a sister at one of the Sutton girls' super-selectives, both were tutored, so I guess he wasn't a surprise pass.

What I would say as an observation of my DC's primary school is that a lot of parents get swept along in the 11+ frenzy, although their DCs might not be of the required level - does that make sense? It's a fairly middle-range school so the children regarded as 'clever' might not necessarily match other schools' clever children...

Certainly DS was always a 'clever' one from his primary school and whilst he did pass all three 11+ exams he took (which must demonstrate a natural ability of some sort!), he is by no means currently riding high in his year at his super-selectivehmm!

Ladymuck Tue 08-Oct-13 13:22:34

OK, that would be in line with the norm (they allowed 35% to pass). I think that the parents at ds' school were more realistic, so those who were unlikely to get through didn't sit it.

I know that it has "only" been 2.5 weeks since the first round, but it is hard to gear up for another 2nd round test.

Ladymuck Tue 08-Oct-13 13:29:49

And as for "riding high", that of course is the dilemma with the selectives: they're put against the super-bright and can end up thinking of themselves as being less bright, when at the comp they would be top set for most subjects. Very difficult to keep them with a balanced view of it all! And at such an important age for defining self and building self-esteem.

gazzalw Tue 08-Oct-13 20:25:59

Well I would admit that I had no idea, having been educated at an 'ordinary' grammar school many years ago, just how high the bar would be set from the off really.

I think DS is still trying to get a handle on what is expected of him. I think he did lose some confidence in Year 7 but seems more settled this year.....I'm not sure that he is ever going to be riding high though in most subjects - he has some super-brains in his class!

It is something to consider though in all seriousness.

Good luck to the DCs doing exams tomorrow....I thought it would cut down on the number of exams to be done, having this pass/fail first round...but in a way it's made the stakes higher and still there's as many exams for the children potentially.

DS's exams straddled early September to the end of November (he did the Wandsworth Test too for Graveney) and he'd rather lost the will to live by the time the last one came along.....

cabbagecookie Wed 09-Oct-13 20:34:29

DS did Wilson's exam today and felt it was much harder than Wallington. Is this the general feeling?

Minniemouse65 Wed 09-Oct-13 21:45:38

mine did too though didnt feel it was harder than wallington, he ran out of time at q 19 of maths though what about anyone else?

gazzalw Thu 10-Oct-13 07:38:39

Our experiences are now two years old but when DS did his, I think he did less well in the Wilson's exam than the Wally and SGS ones - I base that on him not having been offered a place at the first, but getting an initial offer from Wally Boys and then SGS from the waiting list very soon after Offers Day. When he did the exams. Wilson's was the only one which was purely Maths and English (no VR/NVR at all), whereas the others had some combination of the four components....

I sometimes feel though that children do better in the harder exams so don't lose hope!

It is indeed a pity that SGS hasn't brought forward 'round 2' of its testing to align itself with the other schools. I am not at all sure what their rationale is for doing so.

As some of you have so rightly pointed out, the DSs have been on a bit of a 'roll' albeit a rollercoaster one but it would be nice for them to just sit back and relax - and they can't quite, can they, if they still have the SGS one ahead of them ;-(

Good luck and fingers crossed everyone!

Lfs2126 Thu 10-Oct-13 09:45:51

I didn't realise just how high the standard required was until I read that 3 boys who've just started at Wilson's did their gcse maths before leaving primary school and got 2xA* and an A!

gazzalw Thu 10-Oct-13 10:13:41

They're not all like that, though!

But yes the standard is phenomenally high - as I might have said upthread, both DW and I went to grammar schools (and are educated to degree level and beyond) but we've been amazed at the level they are supposed to be working at from the word go...

DS is not exactly upping his game yet and I think he can feel a bit demoralised at times. His Year 7 form tutor did however tell him that he is still in the top 5% of children in England and is still likely to be on course for mainly As/A*s in his GCSEs...

Ladymuck Thu 10-Oct-13 11:04:07

I don't know whether you've come across Malcolm Gladwell (author of The Tipping Point and Outliers amongst others). He's just written a new book (David and Goliath) which has a chapter on whether it is better to be a Big Fish in a Small Pond or a Small Fish in a Big Pond. Interesting reading.

I find Sutton's logic interesting. I suspect that what it will give them though are those boys who actually want to go to that school, rather than the boys whose parents want them at a grammar at whatever cost. The change in the admissions policy to round scores to the nearest 4 marks will also give them a much more local contingent than some of the other schools. There were prep school uniforms at Wilsons yesterday that I didn't recognise and I have a fairly wide breadth of knowledge of the local preps (both IAPS and ISA). And I also recognised uniforms which indicated that there were plenty of candidates from outside the M25!

Without giving away too much of the paper as there were a significant number of ill candidates who will sit in a few days, ds finished the first paper with 25 minutes to spare, which isn't a terribly good signgrin, and didn't manage to complete the 2nd. He didn't feel that the maths was any more difficult than at Wallington, but he was more pushed for time. Whilst the organisation of the day was "efficient", I far preferred the feel of Sutton (where ds sat selection) and Wallington. The military uniforms weren't really designed to put the boys at ease, and the sight of the boys being marched off in lines gave me uncomfortable images.

caeciliusestinhorto Thu 10-Oct-13 11:30:30

Would second all Ladymuck said. Had to wonder about the ccf guys! Maybe they have had unscrupulous parents is the past trying to sabotage other people's kids' chances!

gazzalw Thu 10-Oct-13 11:31:23

Thanks for the tip-off on the Malcolm Gladwell book - he is on my radar but I'm ashamed to say I've never read any of his works blush!

Yes, convenient - illness on the day hmm.....

Oh dear - it's just beyond crazy the lengths people will go to....I cannot ever imagine going to all that trouble if one doesn't live 'on the doorstep' of these schools. It really is beyond madness...

Yes, I remember the military cadets doing their stuff two years ago..... it's all a bit over-efficient...

How many years has this grammar school hysteria been going on?????

legallady Thu 10-Oct-13 11:46:12

I agree Gazza that the boys aren't all like that! DS was probably in a group of about 10 or so boys and girls who were in the level 6 groups for SATs but was never right at the top of that group. There are some exceptionally bright kids at these grammars but the majority of them are just normal bright(!)

I'm not sure it helps anyone but I'm pretty certain that DS got into Wally boys on the strength of his English. His maths is average at best but he can write well when he sets his mind to it and he came out of the exam fairly satisfied with his composition. Just trying to give hope to those of you whose DSs may not be natural mathematicians! There is hope for them too.

gazzalw Thu 10-Oct-13 11:51:54

I think DS got into his super-selective on the strength of his maths and the NVR/VR components - he is not known for his literacy/English skills, although when push comes to shove, he can pull something remarkable (for him) out of the bag.....

DS has a boy in his class who came second in the UK in one of those national maths challenge contests! There are some amazingly bright children out there!

Ladymuck Thu 10-Oct-13 12:35:00

From what I have seen so far, I think that moving to a 2 step process has made the English writing element of far greater importance than even in previous years, and I suspect that it will be the key differentiator between the boys this year. I'm watching a smallish cohort of boys who sat both Kent (VR but no English) and Sutton (English and no VR) with interest!

Ds has obviously thought a bit more about secondary schools in the last few weeks. He wants a co-ed school with a tuckshop and no compulsory French. At least I now know that he will be happy with the local comprehensive schoolgrin.

Classicsgirl Thu 10-Oct-13 12:54:03

Just to suggest that you shouldn't be too influenced by the military uniforms yesterday at wilsons. Our experience was a parent of a son who is far from top of the pack at all subjects is that their brilliant organisation helps them identify early and offer support to those that need support in some subjects while keeping the syllabus moving at a fast pace in a way that keeps them interested and at

Classicsgirl Thu 10-Oct-13 12:57:46

Pressed done too early... Meant to say interested and stimulated. There is far better pastoral care than the excellent comp my other DC attend and they seem very good at helping each boy find his own strengths. The curriculum is also very well balanced so there seems more diversity in the sixth form - not all maths and sciences but a healthy number of humanities and the arts which wasn't the case at all GSs when we looked round. But that was a few years ago!

kravings Thu 10-Oct-13 17:36:52

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

EyesWideClosed Thu 10-Oct-13 17:43:32

By all accounts, still quite a few children due to sit. I don't think it's very fair to give away the content of an exam which has been kept under wraps for months. Please delete kravings message.

Ladymuck Thu 10-Oct-13 18:44:57

Have reported the message to get it deleted, but MNHQ are all either down the pub or cooking their kids tea.

Chillyraisin Thu 10-Oct-13 19:52:21

Hi,

It really is unfair. Many must have read it by now.Just thinking if we call the school and inform them.

miss600 Thu 10-Oct-13 20:41:06

Oh dear! blush That's a few DS's bumped off the end of the top 150! Course of their lives changed forever due to one careless social networking post.

Viva la validation-seekers!

EyesWideClosed Thu 10-Oct-13 20:56:15

School should be informed. Although I think that it's standard good practice to give a different exam paper-even more so now.

Dibbleofficer Fri 11-Oct-13 10:54:26

This is totally ridiculous . My lad has worked his socks off for these exams. Then one person totally blows content wide open to hundreds of parents who have feigned illness for their children to get an advantage(outrageous in itself) . Please could people have some moral fibre and consideration. The school will be notified by me.

Ladymuck Fri 11-Oct-13 11:15:01

I don't think that the boys who sat were sworn to secrecy. The school might suspect that boys in a later sitting know something of what they will be facing and have taken appropriate measures.

JustAnotherUserName Fri 11-Oct-13 11:33:27

Yes, remember that in Tiffins late test last year only 1 out of 127 made the grade!
Didn't see the message, but chill, there must be some standardisation going on to deal with "leakage".

Chillyraisin Fri 11-Oct-13 11:59:00

I am notifying the school too. You are right dibble officer,our children have put in a lot of effort and It has been stressful journey for both parents and the child. Can't let anything jeopardise it. Even a mark can cost the child his place.

SweetPenelope Fri 11-Oct-13 12:02:25

How do you know "hundreds feigned illness"? Some of the empty seats could be people not bothering to tell the school that they didn't want to sit the exam.

I do think that they need to change the exam though. It was a big clue.

gazzalw Fri 11-Oct-13 12:12:59

But for all you know some of the boys taking the exams in the first place might actually be doing them with no intention of taking up places. They may be educational spy 'plants' who then going back and tell other families (friends/relatives) with children 'ill' on the day of the test, what's in the exam....

I am quite sure that the schools must use something to manipulate the scores of later sitting applicants to factor for exam paper question leakage....

I actually think the children get 'primed' to sit the tests when they do and actually delaying the exam, although in theory giving valuable extra revision/fine-honing practice, may actually work against a lot of them - adrenalin can work positively as well as negatively....

Oh dear....

Chillyraisin Fri 11-Oct-13 12:36:10

I just spoke to the admissions office and gave them the full picture. They were very very surprised and didn't know anything about the forum. They made a note and assured me that they will be passing this info to the directors. Said they will change the English paper.
Don't we already have enough stress of the anticipation of the exam results!

miss600 Fri 11-Oct-13 12:38:16

Maybe you've given people ideas here!

Dibbleofficer Fri 11-Oct-13 12:48:06

What ideas of cheating

Ladymuck Fri 11-Oct-13 12:50:32

"They were very very surprised and didn't know anything about the forum."

shockshockshock

This makes me view the school in a completely different light! Could I possibly send my son to a school which didn't know anything about Mumsnet? Are they really preparing their pupils for the big wide world out there?

Do you think they've ever come across the elevenplusexams forum? Now that is an eye-opener!

Chillyraisin Fri 11-Oct-13 13:13:20

Made me think the same as you ladymuck. Now they are aware of possibility of leaks. Had to tell them what section and did mention that the msg has been deleted from the thread. They asked what was the English content discussed. I don't think they know about eleven plus forum
either.

Dibbleofficer Fri 11-Oct-13 13:33:09

The are very naive, seems to be no re engineering of the paper for the late takers planned or standisation to give a level playing field for those who sat on the appointed day. grammar schools must get a grip of this epidemic of "sickness" on the day of the exam. Some are undoubtably genuinely Unwell, but do not underestimate the depths others will stoop to , I have heard genuine horror stories.

gazzalw Fri 11-Oct-13 13:35:58

Well you wouldn't necessarily expect them to know about Mumsnet's wide-reaching tentacles....I'm sure they are aware of it as a force for good or possibly corruption as with the penis-beaker thread but they probably aren't aware that their exams are the subject of much scrutiny and nail-biting...

One of the Sutton Super-selective Registrars used to make a habit of keeping abreast of any threads about her particular school but she's moved on now....

bananadrama Fri 11-Oct-13 13:48:00

I know of a boy who got a place at a grammar school after taking the test on an alternative date due to genuine illness. My DS was taking the grammar tests that year too & I thought it was very unfair as the late sitting of the test was 10 days after the initial test. This leaves far too much time for boys to gain information regarding what was in the test. It was also a very much more relaxed occasion at the late sitting due to a much smaller number of boys taking the test. Nothing like the crowds we see on the usual test days which is pretty stressful.

Ladymuck Fri 11-Oct-13 13:50:53

My last post was meant to be tongue in cheek, but actually, yes, I would expect them to anticipate that the paper would be discussed in online forums. And clearly "admissionslady" did, hence my surprise. I assumed all educational establishments would be fairly aware of forums/social media etc, especially those whose pupils have to do public exams. Or do they isolate pupils who have clashes of GCSE papers, but still let them have broadband access to The Student Room?

gazzalw Fri 11-Oct-13 13:53:09

One could be truly cruelanarchic and suggest that those who are ill (whether genuinely or not) don't get a second bite at the cherry! Harsh but fair.....

DS wasn't at all well when he took his KS2 Maths Level 6 (he had the slapped cheek virus) but we sent him in anyway because the school had basically been raising children from their sick beds to go in and do all the tests, ill or not.... He didn't pass it (because he wasn't feeling well) but that's life...I'm sure some parents would have canvassed for a resit....

Ladymuck Thu 17-Oct-13 12:23:35

Wilsons results are out. Only 704 sat the 2nd stage, with 424 passing.

Xoanon Thu 17-Oct-13 13:23:38

Do you get an indication of where in the ranking you come? Otherwise that's not terribly helpful, is it? I thought the change in the rules was supposed to make things more helpful...

The GS my DD1 goes to (and DD2 will go to) sets out 3 categories - passed all 3 elements (category A) passed 2 (category B) the rest (category C). Places are filled from Cat A first then Cat B. So long as Cat A is smaller than total number of places, if you're there, then you will get a place (failing catastrophic messing up of completing the CAF). Which is rather more helpful than before the system changed.

Ladymuck Thu 17-Oct-13 13:35:24

No, they only give out scores if you don't pass.

That said there are 3 Sutton grammar schools with a total of 420 spaces, and Wallington doesn't pass more than 450 odd. Many of those sitting will have sat for Kent, St Olaves, Tiffins or QE depending on where they live, and of course Trinity and Whitgift have very generous scholarship and bursary funds.

shaq Thu 17-Oct-13 13:56:27

Well, DS has cleared that hurdle...

Will have a hard time to convince him that he still needs to focus for the Sutton test, and that passing the exam doesn't mean he is in!

If he was as worried as me, everything would be fine!

Dibbleofficer Thu 17-Oct-13 14:45:28

Wilson vs St olaves , any thoughts or experience . Many thanks

Ladymuck Thu 17-Oct-13 15:03:21

St Olaves, without a doubt.
wink

Dibbleofficer Thu 17-Oct-13 15:11:46

I am going to start sounding like my old friend Parent2013 but academically the 2 schools seem on a par. Differences in culture are very important to me , if there are any?

Ladymuck Thu 17-Oct-13 15:24:43

Not sure, as we didn't look at St Olave's.

The one thing that I would look at very carefully is the commute involved, both in terms of duration, cost and complexity (more bus changes means bigger chance of delay or bag going to totally the wrong area). Given that they are both superselectives (with the pros and cons that brings), don't make an 11 yearold's day harder than necessary, and remember by years 10 and 11 they will resent the commute especially with the amount of homework!

Dibbleofficer Thu 17-Oct-13 15:37:04

Fair comments all. Commute is one train ride luckily from Forest Hill. So it's in the mix.

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