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to wish that you couldn't prepare for a 11+ exam (dd took it today)

(48 Posts)
wintertimeisfun Mon 02-Sep-13 19:04:10

that's it really, plain and simple. some people view it as a prize/the more you prepare for it the more you deserve it whilst others (like me) think it should be based on natural ability and is open to all kids (supposedly for the kids from backgrounds that can't afford to send to private schools but are naturally clever). i can see it/understand from both ways but don't see a way round it. dd took the 11+ today for a grammar that apparently has the hardest exam in the country. doubt she will get in but she enjoyed taking the exam. whilst she was hanging out in the summer holiday/went away for a week in the UK, others were being drilled beyond anything i could or would want to do.

Horsemad Mon 02-Sep-13 22:50:28

My DH was mad keen for our 2 to go to the grammar, and I said we'd do the four papers and if they didn't pass I would NOT appeal. Luckily they passed and I'm glad they did as our local schools are not as good as the grammar, but I wouldn't have appealed as I'd feel they weren't best suited to the school.

Nerfmother Mon 02-Sep-13 23:02:32

Totally agree. Ds sits it soon and really wants to pass - this summer has been appalling and I've been holding it together, not been able to practise maths etc with him and I feel like shit for it. I know loads of his friends/ peers are being tutored twice a week.
Op- hope your dd has done well.

EugenesAxe Mon 02-Sep-13 23:42:57

Someone tell me why it wouldn't work to restrict access to past papers. Once you've done the exam going over it would be futile and as it's an intelligence test, presumably you would expect people with it to be able to decipher the format in reasonably quick time.

I hate the idea of heavily tutored 'average' children struggling once at this so called 'great' school (can it really be if they are actually a square peg in a round hole?), if children with more aptitude but either less money for tutoring or, like the OP's a greater sense of fair play/ the spirit of the exam, miss out.

And for the record - in my experience it's only this generation exposed to this circus. I was barely aware of what was happening when I sat 11+. I've read posts from others saying the same so I don't think I'm an unusual case.

EugenesAxe Mon 02-Sep-13 23:45:33

Sorry OP I should say potentially miss out! I hope your DD has done well.

Tittybangbang Tue 03-Sep-13 00:12:27

Round our way HUGE numbers sit the tets for the local grammars.

So the point isn't that a not very bright tutored child who will struggle with the pace of the learning will get a place ahead of a very bright untutored child, but that almost all the places go to very bright tutored children leaving the very bright untutored ones out in the cold.

Re: children with sn - I was going on my own experience. My son has ASD and IS disruptive.

EsmereldaBelle Tue 03-Sep-13 00:49:15

I completely agree. I went to grammar school after taking the 11+ along with one other girl from my primary school. She had tutoring most evenings to prepare before the test but when she did get in she really struggled to keep up with the quality and quantity of work expected, she couldn't be tutored throughout her entire secondary education!!

You should pass on your own merit, and if you don't get in that's fine and should be pleased you're child will be in an appropriate setting for their educational needs!! It's an awful lot of pressure on young kids though sad

Souredstones Tue 03-Sep-13 09:11:34

Because my MIL is doing the bit we would be doing. We don't have time to help with practice papers. So instead of us doing it, it's another family member and my dc will probably end up with less help than a tutored child

Souredstones Tue 03-Sep-13 09:15:32

Also so schools still do the 'head teacher recommendation letter' that they had in my day? I know that that was often used to get state school pupils in that had received no help with the exam but were felt to be truly exceptional pupils

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 10:21:07

DS1 took the exam for a supercompetitive school with no tutoring, having refused to look at more than one past paper, and from a normal state primary school. He did really badly in the maths exam as they hadnt done algebra at his school, so he had to work out what all that a+b stuff was about during the exam itself. "I decided it probably meant that they were instead of numbers" he said, in his interview. They gave him a place and he did well.

What made the difference, though, was that there was a full day of interviews and supervised interactions as part of the selection process. I think the 11+ is difficult where there isnt enough interview stuff to go alongside it, so they cant exercise discretion as much.

ReallyTired Tue 03-Sep-13 10:34:38

"What made the difference, though, was that there was a full day of interviews and supervised interactions as part of the selection process. I think the 11+ is difficult where there isnt enough interview stuff to go alongside it, so they cant exercise discretion as much."

State schools are not allowed to use interviews as a selection technique. In many ways it would be kinder to have an ed pych interview boarder line canditiates. (Ie if a private school child has just scrapped a pass, it might be better to refuse them a place.)

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 11:10:40

I agree with that. It is silly to think that interviews should be banned for state schools because exams are so much more rigorous and incapable of manipulation by coaching- we know the reverse is true. An interview gives a kid a chance to show what s/he can do. Not sure an ed psych needs to do the interview though- an experienced teacher would be my choice. And I would choose the full day of activities, not a single artifical fifteen minute slot.

All of which is expensive. But grammar schools are so rare anyway, I think the places ought to be as carefully handed out as Oxbridge places are.

WhoreOfTheWorlds Tue 03-Sep-13 11:23:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WhoreOfTheWorlds Tue 03-Sep-13 11:31:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Beastofburden Tue 03-Sep-13 11:52:09

I would say, re the kids/parents that complain about being tutored for the 11+- DS1's school worked them very much harder than our local comprehensive. Lessons went fast, content was high level and only delivered once, homework was more difficult and you were expected to finish it however long it took you, there was a lot less down time generally.

They will look back on their tutored days as lazy times...

Scholes34 Tue 03-Sep-13 11:59:52

My goodness, what a relief not to have to do 11+. Fortunately, our city has comprehensive schools, and DD has just finished Year 11 with As and A*s in GCSEs in this local characterful comp.

Retropear Tue 03-Sep-13 14:09:29

I've just started tutoring my twins myself (going into year 5)in order to keep our options open as they've mentioned wanting to go.

Can't afford a tutor.

Anyhow I've been surprised and am now wondering if the view re tutoring kids in who shouldn't be there is false.My dc go to quite a weak school(bottom quintile for everything,maths/writing particularly dire) so we're just beginning to cover work they haven't covered eg some maths topics,VR,checking spelling etc.Will then do a bit of exam technique ie timing which any child should and could do.

None of it is rocket science and after doing the initial assessments(I was a teacher) I was shocked to see their high score for VR having never done it previously,ditto maths,spelling etc.Just done square numbers etc and they picked it up effortlessly in a session.

Now admittedly my dtwins are bright but given how some of the stuff is just a higher level of basic stuff I don't buy that a child could dupe it's way in ie if they need hours of cramming I'm not sure they'd get through the exam.

<Hoping I won't fall flat on my face in a years time if they choose to sit the exam>grin

wintertimeisfun Tue 03-Sep-13 16:36:17

whore you are wrong about my post. i don't regret not pushing my dd to the degree of others. if i have any regrect actually it is that i had her tutored at all. i am old school and only believe in tutoring a child that is struggling at school and needs a little extra help. i never implied or said the children at the grammar were 'nasty' filled with 'miserable' children, you are deliberately twisting what i said. i said there were SOME children there who were unhappy/struggling, this is have had verbally first hand. i think the school is FAB' and would still love dd to go there although i don't think she is clever enough as it now appears to be a REALLY tough grammar where the standards are SUPER HIGH. i would worry that she was unhappy and falling behind. nothing odd about that. when we went to the open day we were shown around by three of the students who were all lovely. oddly enough one of them told me in confidence that she didn't like it there grin which was unusual as she was supposed to be selling us the place although i didn't need it being sold to me as i thought it looked great.

wintertimeisfun Tue 03-Sep-13 16:43:40

i joing a forum for mothers of children sitting the local grammar exam. i was a fly on the wall reading with opened mouth the posts of these mothers. i already knew through dd's tutor the lengths some tiger mothers went to ie taking their child out of school and having them tutored from early morning until bedtime including a mixture of 3/4 different tutors (she told me this was the case for a few of her students). one of which used to fall asleep during her session with her sad. with regard to the forum, many of the mothers posting on it were very open about how their children did nothing aside form study all through the holiday and that it was regarded as 'treat' to take time out just to go to sainsbury's hmm. i have a friend who sells books. i was helping him and sold one man an 11+ bond book. i chatted with the man who seemed surprised that i allowed dd to watch tv. he said his son only worked as that would (quote) get him a guarantee place. it is this type of pushing that i hate. i understand a child seeing a tutor to be made familiar with the basics of vr & nvr, this is the reason dd did it

wintertimeisfun Tue 03-Sep-13 16:47:54


Jellybeanz1 Tue 03-Sep-13 17:04:16

I'm looking forward to removing my 2 ds and dd from excellent mixed grammar school next year as I cant afford it. Im going to move near an excellent state school and make it my local. My daughters best friends are boys and it will be nice to be with her brother. I feel confident that an outstanding state school has inspirational teachers who sometimes have to work a lot harder to get those results. With the extra money I can work part time - hurray.

Souredstones Tue 03-Sep-13 18:11:28

You don't pay for grammar school education. Grammar schools ARE state schools...although its hard to believe with the number of privately educated kids that start in year 7

Retropear Tue 03-Sep-13 21:13:03

As long as it stays Outstanding Jelly or isn't an Outstanding school that sits on it's laurels enjoying the pushy parents who help them do their job.<bitter>

coco27 Tue 03-Sep-13 21:45:04

Absolutely, and the reason why grammar schools are disproportionately full of tutored children and children from private schools ....

How can you know that? There are plenty of state educated kids entering grammar schools.
I think
1) the parents of bright children are more likely to pull out all the stops to give their DC the best chance of GS acceptance, than those of non-academic kids.
2) Generally speaking intelligent parents have more intelligent children and intelligent parents are morelikely to have better jobs so there is some correlation between intelligence and money.

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