Bad situation with dd and secondary transfer (warning: VERY long)(79 Posts)
Am not even sure that anything can be done about this, so feel free to ignore my pointless ranting.
My dd is 10 and about to start her last year at primary. In our area (not England), there is only a grammar/secondary school system. The grammars in our locality operate a common transfer test based half on numeracy and half on literacy. Dds test is in October.
These may not be grammar schools exactly as youd understand them: the range of pupils attending grammar is much wider than in the English system. Instead of only the top small-ish percentage of academic ability, around 70% of pupils go to grammar here. The rest are left into a secondary system with little academic ethos and a bad reputation. Many people, including myself, object to this, but its all there is. There are no comprehensive or private alternatives.
All through primary weve been told that dds literacy is well above average, whilst her Maths is average or slightly below. We therefore felt that dd had a fair chance of being in the 70% grammar intake, as her literacy score in the test would compensate for a lower numeracy performance.
Starting in January this year, we did another thing that EVERYONE (literally) in dds school does we took on a tutor to help her practise for the test. Most of the rest of her class use the same tutor. Again, we dont agree, but felt steamrollered, in that dd couldnt afford not to have a tutor if everybody else had one . We also thought it would help her confidence with Maths, as the school said that lack of confidence was one factor affecting her performance.
The tutor has now told us that dd has virtually NO chance of making it to grammar. She says that dd lacks a fundamental understanding of how numbers work together, and has huge gaps in her knowledge, including things that she should have mastered in Y3/Y4. She said that coaching her for the transfer test isnt appropriate as dd cant follow the work. So she isnt coming back any more.
She called round with some Y3/Y4 workbooks for dd to go through during the rest of the summer whilst her classmates will be practising past papers of the transfer test. Although we didnt discuss this in front of dd, the departure of her tutor and arrival of these workbooks made it obvious. What little confidence she had is in tatters.
We cant say that the tutor has got it wrong, or that the school hasnt covered the curriculum properly, because this tutor is also teaching everyone else in dds class and they dont have this problem. Its just dd. The tutor has been successfully coaching children for the transfer test for years, so can predict pretty well.
I asked the tutor if she thought that dd had some SEN involving numeracy. She said she cant judge that, but assessments are only offered in failing schools, which dds primary is not.
So I said that whilst were shocked at getting such conflicting messages from the tutor and the school we arent precious about dd not going to grammar. If the point of the transfer test is finding the right school for a child, and a secondary school is the right place for dd, then thats where she should go. We would opt her out of the test.
But the tutor said it isnt that simple. She said that whilst its normal for a child to be better at one area over another in numeracy/literacy, she has never seen a difference as pronounced as with dd. She says that dd is academically bright, and extremely able in literacy, but its the Maths bringing it all down. In her opinion dd will be unhappy and frustrated in a secondary school, and wont achieve her potential, but she stands little chance of getting into a grammar. So thats that. And off went the tutor.
So dd apparently fits into NO school. All the time we were being told that she was average, huge gaps were apparently being missed, which we knew nothing about. If there is any SEN involved, there is no chance of her being assessed. And the transfer test is in 3 months time. We cant get into school to discuss this as it is closed until September.
Im not actually sure that anything can be done, but we are very worried, angry and frustrated, and we feel that dd has been badly let down. If anyone has advice on how to proceed it would be gratefully received. Im very angry but think that blaming people at this late stage wont help poor dd. Im more interested in thinking of anything we can do to make things better for her.
Thanks for reading.
Just read the whole of your story and am really pleased for your daughter and the whole family. A big well done to her
What a lovely story. Well done for updating.
just read this.fantastic news best of luck to your daughter, sounds like with sensible parents like hers she will fly high I went to uni in ni and it is definitely a system long in need of reform in many ways.
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