Advanced search think it really, really counter-productive to coach children for 11+?

(115 Posts)
duchesse Tue 15-Jan-08 01:10:11

< rant > (sorry)

I'm imagining they will come unstuck faster than a book shelf put up with NoMoreNails if they are not up to it?

Added to which the child may subsequently be dreadfully unhappy and scared to tell its parents.

Also am pissed off that the only grammar school in our area gets filled up by rich Surrey tossers who can afford a second home here ad move into catchment for their over-coached child's secondary education, thereby leaving the rest of us poor devoners to scrounge around for the pennies to send our child to the best not-free school?

That said, we do not yet know that she has not got in, but we do know that she is easily clever enough, as she walked into our local very selective very academic girls' school UNCOACHED and aced her test.

< end rant >


WendyWeber Tue 15-Jan-08 01:17:48

Weeeeeeell - up to a point, Lord Copper.

They do need to practise the papers, and there are some schools which refuse on principle to do this with them, so either the parents need to buy and sit over the practice papers with them or they need a tutor to do it.

Also there are kids who peak after 11 so a bit of a nudge helps at just the right time.

If the over-coached Surrey kids aren't up to it they will be found out, you know. Are they really moving to Devon, term-times only, just for the grammar school? shock

duchesse Tue 15-Jan-08 01:22:44


people even stand up in the pre-application tours and ask what the best way is to get into the school applying from Surrey/ Kent/ Birmingham.

It wouldn't bother me so much if it weren't for the fact that many people down here live on wages of about £12000 a year, and so really can't afford to send their child private even if they want to (unlike the Surrey types), and that so many of the schools take such a relaxed attitude to learning (GNVQ Leisure & Tourism is quite a popular option down here; to me it screams shop work and casual/ seasonal)

lovecat Tue 15-Jan-08 08:57:31

Hmmm... although I agree that the Surrey-led invasion of your area is appalling, I think coaching can cut both ways.

My niece's primary school was one of those that refused to give any kind of help for the 11+ and SIL asked me to ask a very close friend of mine (who is a primary school teacher) if I thought coaching would worth it.

My friend works in a very deprived area with lots of 'problem' kids and is very hot on issues of social exclusion/buying educational privilege etc etc, so I very tentatively asked her if she thought it was a good idea, half-expecting her to blow up at the mere thought.

To my surprise she urged me to get coaching for DN, said that without it she wouldn't stand a chance, as the papers were so out of 'normal' educational experience that DN would be handicapped from the outset if she didn't have experience in how to do them. She also commented that very bright children in her school, who should have aced the test, failed to make the grade because of this lack of experience and knowledge that they couldn't afford to pay for

Btw, after a year of coaching DN passed her 11+, but she came 250th out of 800 and there were only 160 places, so she's now very happy at the local school which, despite having a dreadful reputation, seems to be far more engaged with her and have far better facilities than the (rather old-fashioned) grammar!

yurt1 Tue 15-Jan-08 09:05:43

Move into Plymouth LEA - Rich Surrey tossers are too busy populating the South Hams and wouldn't be seen dead with a holiday home in Plymouth (although the Plymouth kids still seem to get coached for 11+)

yurt1 Tue 15-Jan-08 09:06:53

duchesse- totally agree about the problem with 2nd homes and local wages btw angry

Squirdle Tue 15-Jan-08 09:48:59

Speaking from experience I don't really see the point in coaching children for the 11+. If they are bright enough to pass it, then they will, if they aren't they won't despite having been coached.

DS1 took the 11+ when we lived on the border of Kent. He is bright, and I knew he would pass without any problems at all. Yes we got practise papers, but thats all he did, just to becme familiar with what they were going to be asking him to do.

Many children in his year took the 11+ and I safely say the ones who passed were those whose parents were totally relaxed about it and said if you pass you pass if you don't it doesn't matter. Do your best and that is all we ask. The ones who had after school tutors and the like and the parents who would make their children sit and do papers for anything up to 2 hours a night were the ones who didn't pass. There were in the end only a handful of children from DS1's school who did pass and they were the ones who we knew would iyswim.

We kind of did a strange thing (well some ofyou may find it strange) We knew we were moving to Hampshire just before DS started secondary school (well we were hoping tha the house sale was going through iyswim) but he still took the 11+ despite knowing he wouldn't actually be going to a Grammar school. He is totally relaxed about exams etc, so we thought firstl, why not just do it, and secondly it was a fall back plan just in case we didn't end up moving when we had planned. He did get a place at an excellent school, but we did move and he is at an equally excellent school (we are very lucky with the schools here) and very happy there.

From what I know, those children whose parents pushed them hard and didn't get into a selective school are perfectly happy at the schools they are at.

FioFio Tue 15-Jan-08 09:52:46

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Elphaba Tue 15-Jan-08 09:53:15

I agree with WW - I think 'practice' is fine but pushing a square peg into a round hole, so to speak, is not.

FioFio Tue 15-Jan-08 09:54:14

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yurt1 Tue 15-Jan-08 10:00:00


FioFio Tue 15-Jan-08 10:00:56

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Squirdle Tue 15-Jan-08 10:01:54

Thats just it Fio, the parents pile on the pressure and the kids just can't cope with it. I couldn't believe how much pressure these children were under! There were many children who were upset before the tests simply because they knew their parents wanted them to pass.

Your DS will do just fine if he is bright. I would just get some of the practice papers and go through them with him (I needed the practice papers tbh, have you seen some of the questions of them!!!) I think basically because there are some things in the papers your chils will not have come across befoe ie non verbal reasoning and the like.

TigerFeet Tue 15-Jan-08 10:02:03

Practice of papers is fine but other than that... a child who can't cope without intensive tutoring will be miserable and unable to keep up once at the school

I would be angry about the Surrey Invasion too... we have the 11+ here but for some reason they leave us well alone grin

I strongly believe that when the time comes, if dd is unlikely to pass the 11+ I will not make her take it - she will thrive at the topish end of the secondary modern better than struggling at the grammar.

duchesse Tue 15-Jan-08 11:12:19

I totally agree with everyone that they need experience of the papers and their format. What I object to is the kids having intensive coaching from year 3 onwards with a view to shoehorning them into grammar schools at 11. Seems unfair on the child and an unfair advantage vs poorer children without access to 4 years of extra coaching.

TigerFeet Tue 15-Jan-08 11:22:49


I feel sorry for the kids

They mustn't have much of a life

I bet every single waking second of their lives is timetabled


castille Tue 15-Jan-08 11:26:08

Agree entirely with OP.

When I took the 11+, my school and most other local primaries did one practice paper and nothing else. But the local pushy primary coached their pupils for a whole year leading up to it. So lots of them passed. There were half a dozen girls from that primary in my class at grammar school who struggled academically, were in the bottom sets for everything and felt like class dunces. Hardly the greatest way to spend your teenage yearshmm

FioFio Tue 15-Jan-08 11:26:14

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FluffyMummy123 Tue 15-Jan-08 11:31:13

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andiemustlosehalfastonemore Tue 15-Jan-08 11:39:43

our primary refuses to do practice papers with them and they are at a disadvantage if they haven't practiced I don't have a problem with it tbh you wouldn't do your driving test without practicing and doing the tests is a skill like any other

castille Tue 15-Jan-08 11:43:35

It's one thing to familiarise kids with the types of questions they will get in the exam, but another thing to teach them the answers (almost). The whole point is to identify the bright ones (who don't need coaching) and enable them to fulfil their potential, not push borderline kids to breaking point and condemn them to 7 years of academic misery.

Weegle Tue 15-Jan-08 11:45:07

weird. Kent has 11+, why would Kent parents want to send their kids to school in Devon? Right to be peed off about the ones from wherever who are scamming the system though. But it doesn't sound like it's actually going to affect your daughter so not sure why you are concerned? And also these will be your daughter's peers if she gets in, so surely she needs to not be shown prejudice against them?

andiemustlosehalfastonemore Tue 15-Jan-08 11:47:46

aah castille in a fair system that might work but where I live we have 2 grammar schools in the top 10 in the country none of the state primaries prepare the children for the tests all the private ones do as does half of the rest of sw london
if I want my child to have a cat's chance in hell he will have to have some sort of preparation for the tests otherwise I am just setting him up to fail
but I agree I would not want my child to be the bottom of a high achieving class I would rather he was middle or top of a normal class

OrmIrian Tue 15-Jan-08 11:49:56

Not an issue here. Thankfully ...I think..although the needy insecure part of me worries about the lack of it.

But with any sort of test I think it's reasonable to get the DCs used to the format of the papers etc but not to coach endlessly. It does rather defeat the object. Which is exactly why my DS#1 isn't going to the 'good' school with the best results. Because he'd get in as it's non-selective but would be miserable and feel like a total failure.

castille Tue 15-Jan-08 11:50:22

I meant "below borderline"

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