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selection at 11+

(66 Posts)
TheNext Sun 08-Oct-17 17:44:24

On Wednesday there will be about 1400 kids in my county who will be finding out that they have not passed the 11+. Another 300 or so will get a letter telling them that they have qualified, but with a low score, and these won’t end up going to grammar school. Another 900 will have “passed”, and the top-scoring 600 or so will have some certainty about which school they’ll be headed for, with 300 or so in the twilight zone, not knowing for sure until allocation day on 1st March.

For the 1400, I feel so sad. However sensible the parents are, about not making it a big thing, there are some who turn it into a high-stakes issue for their children, and this has something of a contagious effect in the playground. For the children, who for whatever reason didn’t have a champion morning a few weeks ago when they all did their test, they’ll carry that result with them from Wednesday all through their secondary education and perhaps beyond.

Hopefully most of them won’t care too much, but from the way I have heard local parents discuss it, with kids in earshot, I know that some of them will see it as a big deal, as indeed it is for those who will go to worse schools as a consequence.

AIBU to consider it wrong to impose this system on our children, relying on a single test which in many areas can’t be re-taken, and giving a large number of children in grammar areas the message at age 10 or 11 that they’re not good enough for academic education.

sirfredfredgeorge Sun 08-Oct-17 17:49:41

Whilst I'm sure there are some very times being had by these pushy parents, but it's really not a patch on the very shit time being had by a lot more, with a lot more neglectful parents.

There are good arguments for avoiding grammar tests, that some parents are crap isn't really one of them, those parents would've pushed the kids differently.

Pengggwn Sun 08-Oct-17 17:55:46

Do they have to take it?

TheOtherGirl Sun 08-Oct-17 18:10:28

It isn't a question of them 'not being good enough for an academic education'. They will still be able to access a level of secondary education that is beyond the wildest dreams of much of the planet.

But, they are not suitable for the rigours of a highly academic, fast paced learning environment where little time is given to stragglers. A grammar school environment very much suits my DDs but I'm unsure whether I would have thrived as they have.

multivac Sun 08-Oct-17 18:13:21

But, they are not suitable for the rigours of a highly academic, fast paced learning environment where little time is given to stragglers

Right. Because you can totally tell that from the results of an arbitrary test taken at an arbitrary age, for which preparation might include everything from a focus in school plus expensive tuition, to bugger all. Totally.

Pengggwn Sun 08-Oct-17 18:13:48

But, they are not suitable for the rigours of a highly academic, fast paced learning environment where little time is given to stragglers.

I'm not sure there is a place in state-funded education for any learning environment that treats even one student as a 'straggler'.

DingDongDenny Sun 08-Oct-17 18:22:25

I did the 11plus over 30 years ago in Northern Ireland. I still remember the day well. There was so much tension, so much pressure and after the test we all went outside into the playground and there was total silence for a good 5 minutes while we all processed it. It was spooky.

For me it came at a year when my dad was diagnosed with a progressive long term health condition and 3 of my grandparents died within a few months. It was a bad time, I just managed to scrape through and I know my life would have been very different if I hadn't

I think it's too much for kids that age and it leaves many feeling they aren't good enough, when they had bags of potential and either didn't do well on the day, or just developed a bit later

4yoniD Sun 08-Oct-17 18:30:08

I think yanbu. Guernsey is just scraping the 11+, among much controversy. I'm glad my dd won't have to sit it and be judged.

Bornfreebutinbiscuits Sun 08-Oct-17 18:34:02

Op I am confused about the low and high scores I thought they all had to only get 121?

What does it mean the highest scores etc?

I thought school A said - we are a a grammar, pass with 121 and if you fit location criteria etc you will get in?

SparklyUnicornPoo Sun 08-Oct-17 18:39:34

Bornfree it depends on the school, my closest grammars its all who passed in catchment but where my mum lives (15 miles away, same county) it's the highest score regardless of where you live.

TheNext Sun 08-Oct-17 18:41:15

Bornfree it’s different in different counties. In ours you either don’t qualify or you qualify and have a rank. If your rank is low, you might get in if higher-scoring children opt for other schools. If your rank is high, you can be pretty confident. If your rank is very low, you may as well not have qualified, although I think it’s a more palatable message to give a child, that they qualified, but there weren’t enough places.

The 121 system is about normalised scores, so they adjust the marks based on how the cohort did, to control how many children score 121 and above.

Bornfreebutinbiscuits Sun 08-Oct-17 18:45:02

Oh sad I was given some mis information then. We cant afford to tutor for years before and I was hoping it was just 121 they have to get then DD would have a good chance

steppemum Sun 08-Oct-17 18:45:12

Bornfree - it varies from area to area as to how they use the results.

eg, where my neice is, you get pass/fail plus an indication of the result (not sure exactly)
There are 2 grammars they are interested in. One selects on result, so if you apply to them they will take kids from the highest score down until the school is full.
The second school has different entry criteria, for them, anyone who passes is eligible, and then their other selection criteria kick in, and in their case that is siblings and distance, so a child who scored less (but passed) will get in over a higher scoring child who lives firther away.

In the area we are in, all the schools select only on score, they take them form the highest score down unitl the school is full. So you get a result which says:
You have achieved the level required (ie you have passed) and you have scored in the top 150 for this school. (ie within the PAN of the school)
That child is 99.9% certain to get a place.
OR the email may say - you have passed, but not in top 150, and you are ranked at no 210.
They then give soem information about how many were accepted last year, eg - last year we accepted children down to rank 295. In which case you know you have a really good chance, but you won't know for sure until March.

(or the latter says you haven't achieved the level required obviously)

Bornfreebutinbiscuits Sun 08-Oct-17 18:45:59

so this will be on a school admissions website in plain english>

Bornfreebutinbiscuits Sun 08-Oct-17 18:47:22

"Girls are eligible to be considered for admission to Beaconsfield High Grammar School in Year 7 if they meet the required
qualifying score of 121 in the admission tests or have been deemed qualified by a Selection Review Panel.
Two tests, each of approximately 45 minutes duration, are taken in the September of the year prior to proposed admission. The
tests are comprised of elements of verbal, numerical and non-verbal ability. Each young person’s raw scores in the two tests are
added together and the resulting score is converted into an age standardised score thus setting all young people on an equal
footing regardless of when their birthday falls in the year. "

Allthewaves Sun 08-Oct-17 19:03:16

Come to northern ireland - the grammar system still rules here

TheNext Sun 08-Oct-17 19:04:50

Oh the irony of this turning into an 11+ advice thread...

Bornfree it genuinely doesn’t matter which way the school chooses to present scores. A child will be qualified, and may get a place on other criteria (high score, distance, siblings) or not qualified. The system you have means they choose how to convert children’s raw scores into a final score, to ensure that children aren’t disadvantaged by their birth month and so that they control the number of qualifying children (they have the same number of available places every year, so can’t qualify them all even if there is a year group full of geniuses.

Back to the point of the thread: it’s pretty horrible that we determine children’s educational future at age 11 on the basis of two 45-minute tests. If the non-grammar options were al awesome too, that’d be fine. But evidence points to children going to non-grammar schools in grammar areas doing worse than children of similar ability in comprehensive areas. For some families the contrast between the grammar and non-grammar options is stark. It’s unfair that children end up in this system: even where the comps or high schools are good, they have still failed a test that profoundly affects their future and which doesn’t give them a second chance in most places

RainbowCookie Sun 08-Oct-17 19:12:40

I grew up in Bucks, I have a very clear memory of the day my older brother got the letter that he'd failed, he'd opened it on they way home from school and was an inconsolable mess sobbing in my Dads arms by the time I got home - he was 11 years old and written off as a failure.
In our town the secondary modern had a terrible reputation, if you went there you had no hope of a Saturday job, you were often banned from shops and everyone though you were "a bit thick"
Horrible system, luckily we lived close to the county boarder and we both managed to get into a comprehensive.

RainbowCookie Sun 08-Oct-17 19:14:45

Ironically I was good friends at college with identical twins, one passed the other failed which showed that the premise the 11+ was based on (that intelligence is genetic / nature not nurture) is fundamentally flawed.

Crumbs1 Sun 08-Oct-17 19:17:15

Selection at 11 is a sop to Tory middle classes. More children achieve more in fully comprehensive areas than in areas with grammars - so they don't actually benefit anyone apart from those elected into government. The are divisive, label children and lower expectations for the majority.

Bornfreebutinbiscuits Sun 08-Oct-17 19:30:24

Sorry op, I thought I had a handle on it all then saw that score might matter
So in this school you don't need high high scores?
It's all so confusing I would never have passed 11+.

Bornfreebutinbiscuits Sun 08-Oct-17 19:32:06

Re General discussion I don't know what the answer is but I would like more choice of schools not less.

Ta1kinPeece Sun 08-Oct-17 19:35:06

Re General discussion I don't know what the answer is but I would like more choice of schools not less.

Whereas I'd like all schools to be good and cater for all the kids that come through the door with no selection

hence why I'm glad I live in Hampshire

Bornfreebutinbiscuits Sun 08-Oct-17 19:38:58

I don't like huge monolithic sites and mammoth schools. I'd like all schools to be good but have strengths to cater for the different talents dc have for instance, rather than paying private for stage type school it would be great to have state school with emphasis on the arts, another with hands on stuff.. Art, sciences....

Ta1kinPeece Sun 08-Oct-17 19:47:00

Why?
Why should kids be segregated and their choices limited based on what they were at 11?

What about the late developer?
Or the child who decides at age 14 they love science?

In a Comps school they can change emphasis
in a segregated school they are screwed
and why should kids have their education narrowed ?

Arty kids do not need to learn about languages or how the world works
Mathematical kids do not need to learn about art and history?
Where do the musical kids go ?

I went to a small private school that only had the resources to do a narrow range of subjects and choices.
Even with the shitty budget cuts, the Comp that my DCs attended had better sports, arts, music, science and languages
and with 1500 kids they had teams for every sport
multiple music groups
multiple drama groups

segregated schools are NOT the answer
better provision at all schools IS

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