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Grammar schools - advice please!

(27 Posts)
Spaghettivongole Sun 19-Aug-12 20:10:53

Another thread has got ms thinking about this and whilst it's a long way off (DD is not yet in reception!) I'd appreciate some advice.

We're currently in London but planning to move out before DD is at secondary school. We have some good local primaries but the secondaries are... not so good. Want to avoid the private route if we can. We're thinking of moving to West Kent, where I grew up, so this obviously means the whole grammar thing...

My question is, when should we be thinking about moving? When does the preparation for 11+ start in earnest? I was thinking that we'd need to move by the end of year 5 but wouldthis be too late?

Of course I know it's all hypothetical at the moment and we have no idea currently whether DD would pass 11+ or what the right school for her would be!

Nuttyprofessor Sun 19-Aug-12 23:14:03

11 plus is now sat in September of year 6.Most start preparation at the beginning of year 5. Obviously depends on the DCs capability and scores needed.

I am in Essex all superselectives I don't know anything about Kent

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 20-Aug-12 13:39:52

Personally, I wouldn't move into the Kent system no matter how lovely the place is.

I'd say preparation starts in years 4 and 5, depending on how pushy the parents are and how selective their chosen school is.

If you are thinking of moving, I'd look at areas that have consistently good comprehensives so you know that however your dd turns out she will be well catered for.

vj32 Mon 20-Aug-12 19:44:46

My DH went to a Kent Grammar. He did no preparation other then a couple of test papers. My cousins who are currently at the same Grammar didn't really do much prep either. But then their parents are quite relaxed, and didn't want to push them into something that might not be appropriate. The amount of prep is up to the parents I think.

My DH had a very similar education to what I did at private school, but for free. But his brother didn't get in and went to a poor comp. So I would partly agree with above poster, unless you are sure your children will get into grammar, don't move into a grammar/comp area.

Toughasoldboots Mon 20-Aug-12 19:51:11

I am in west Kent and it really is very, very competitive.
I would say that your dc would need time to settle in to new school, plus preparation for the 11plus.

Are you aiming for a superselective or 'normal' grammar.

You have all this within the same tiny area in west Kent. You are up against some seriously competitive parents too.

Lots of people move from London to do this, the majority that I know, used prep schools and tutor.
There are only a couple of state schools that will support you in any way , one in Sevenoaks and one/two in Twells.

A lot of parents start tutoring from year four, most by year five.

I have one dc in superselective, one in a high school and one still in primary.
It is not for the faint hearted, I was clueless and very underprepared .

letseatgrandma Mon 20-Aug-12 20:59:14

I would say to the person whose husband and cousins went to grammar school-things are very different now!

I passed my 11+ in 1988 without any preparation at all-no tutor, no papers, no support at school. My DS is about to go into Y6 and sits his 11+ next month-things have changed massively. State schools generally don't offer much support; some will run after school clubs or familiarisation tests; ours offered nothing. Every single person I know whose child is sitting the 11+ has a tutor...except me! I am 'tutoring' him myself at home though. It just isn't a level playing field any more-especially with some local private schools doing VR daily from Y3. We are in Essex, not Kent-though to disagree with a different previous poster, they aren't all super selectives here; ours aren't.

As for the OP-we filled in our application at the beginning of July of Y5 so you'd have to be living in the area already, by then. There would be no particular need to move by a certain date though unless you needed to book a tutor etc You could find out what the Kent 11+ covered in advance and DIY.

Spaghettivongole Mon 20-Aug-12 21:00:24

Oh dear. I guess I had a feeling it would be like this but it all sounds very scary. I'm thinking we should really aim for DD to be at a new school for the start of year 4 at the latest. To be honest my motivation for moving to that area is not really around schools, it's more to do with ease of commuting and proximity to my family. But schools is a positive (maybe!) as I think otherwise DH would be keen on private.

Which are the superselective grammars? I went to Tonbridge Grammar but back in my day (20+ years ago) I don't think there was that distinction and I know it's much more competitive and angst-ridden now.

In fact the more I think about it, the more I think I should explore some different areas to live. I'm also remembering that my sister was moved in yr 10 a primary in the area - I think one of the ones that is v geared up for 11+ - and was miserable. Clearly I don't want that for DD.

teacherwith2kids Mon 20-Aug-12 22:04:46

Acquaintance in Kent
- Tutored throughout Year 2 to get a high enough KS1 SATs result to be considered 'on track' to get a place with a pre-tutor tutor who feeds in to a good tutor.
- Tutored in Year 3 with a 'pre-tutor tutor' to ensure up to the level required by the 'real' tutor, who has a 100% pass rate because she ONLY takes children who are guaranteed to pass.
- Tutored in Years 4 and 5 by the 'real' tutor
- Will take the test in the first term of Year 6

I do not know how typical this is, but the acquaintance in question is in a group of several parents from the same primary who are all doing the same.

Toughasoldboots Mon 20-Aug-12 22:12:03

In west Kent, the super selectives are Tonbridge Girls Grammar, The Judd and Skinners school.

Tunbridge Wells Girls Grammar has some selective places called governor places but you need top marks for these places. This year all were 420 bar two. The catchment for TWGGS is down to about 1.6 miles for pass mark places.

Weald is highly thought of (you probably know it) , that is catchment selection and pass only to get in.

Spaghettivongole Mon 20-Aug-12 23:32:26

Thanks Toughasoldboots. So for those that aren't super-selective, is it just a case of passing then living in the catchment area? All very confusing - is there some kind of guide published to help people navigate it all??

Teacher, that sort of preparation is precisely what terrifies me. But surely it's only necessary for the super/-selectives? Or am I being naive?

Toughasoldboots Mon 20-Aug-12 23:38:57

Yes, for the 'normal' grammars, you need to be in catchment and just pass.
Be really careful about catchment areas as they are not always a logical circle around the school.

Weald, for example is more egg shaped, quite short on one side of Tonbridge and extending further out to certain villages on the other side.

If you are moving on the basis of a particular school eg TWGGS, the catchment shrinks most years. I know of several parents who rented a house to get their dd's in.

The SS , you can live anywhere as long as score is high enough. Having said that, TOGS have different scores for catchment and non.

To clarify, check each schools criteria as they are all different. It is confusing at times and there is no set formula.

Toughasoldboots Mon 20-Aug-12 23:40:50

There is no guide, it's all part of the fungrin

There is a forum devoted to 11plus which is really useful. There are some extreme parents on there but mostly nice people and lots of info on scores needed and catchment areas.

Boondoggle Tue 28-Aug-12 12:54:14

I used to live in TWells and was in catchment for Claremont School, which is highly sought after. That school does loads of 11+ prep and the children of several friends have all gone from Claremont to TWIGGS and Skinners.

It's also a very nice part of TWells to live in, if expensive! But if you're moving out of London, probably quite affordable.

Esmayflyeloweasel Thu 11-Oct-12 19:15:49

My daughter goes to Claremont and has just taken the 11 plus. They do not do any preparation there beyond an after school familiarisation club which involves sitting in exam conditions and doing one of the Bond practise papers which they get to take home. Nothing is marked or commented on. They also sit a mock just before the real exam which we don't even get to see as they are binned as soon as they've been finished.

TalkinPeace2 Thu 11-Oct-12 21:10:43

If you have the choice where to move, why put yourself through the stress?
Move to an area with excellent comps whose top sets are as good as any grammar.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Thu 11-Oct-12 21:52:11

Have friends in Bucks and Kent, both bright kids, but the one in Kent did a year of tuition and is now going to the grammar school, the one in Bucks didn't and is going to a bad school. End of Y5 too late.

OwedToAutumn Thu 11-Oct-12 22:01:17

If you are moving for grammar schools, remember that if your DD does not get in, she will be offered a school which is effectively a secondary modern.

Maybe better to look at moving somewhere with good comprehensives, but close enough to some grammars to make travelling feasible (Bromley, for example).

oopsydaisymaisy Fri 12-Oct-12 16:11:56

I don't live in Kent, but live on the London/Essex border, so near a lot of grammar schools and superselectives. There's a lot of competition, the year my sons did it (they are this year's Yr7s) there were 3000 for that one school. For the really amazing school, there must have been double that or something.

Mine started in Yr4, but they didn't start verbal/non-verbal reasoning until Yr5. The year before that they focused on spelling, grammar etc; which helps with the verbal.

I don't know about Kent superselectives, but near me it's- (for girls)-
Woodford County High School, Colchester and Southend Grammar, as wel as Latimer and Elizaeth Barnet. For boys it's Keggs, London Boys, Ilford County.

Sabriel Fri 12-Oct-12 17:37:32

We lived in East Kent rather than West, where there are no super-selectives. The only preparation we did with ours was the practice papers you get from WH Smiths. They used to take the Kent test in January (I know it's earlier now) so we started practicing in the summer holidays between Y5 and Y6.

TBH if a child needs tutoring from Y2 to get a place then they clearly shouldn't be at a grammar school.

pumpkinsweetie Fri 12-Oct-12 17:39:50

Marking place, interested very much in this as my dd is in yr 5.

alcofrolic Fri 12-Oct-12 22:38:32

<......and people think the Grammar School system is good???? shock This thread demonstrates just how unfair it is.>

reastie Sat 13-Oct-12 18:58:12

spaghetti I went to Tonbridge Grammar too grin . The year after I arrived they changed the system to make it only the top grades of 11+ get in if it would have been a year earlier I probably wouldn't have got in . You have to look at what is right for your DC too - if they aren't super bright they may struggle in a Grammar and you will have the opposite problem where they don't achieve as well as they may have in a more comprehensive school as the work is too beyond them (or taught at a level that assumes they know/pick things up very quickly) <voice of experience>. Weald of Kent, as previously mentioned is a really great school but is increasingly in recent years started becoming more pressurised . Private secondary school wise if your DC isn't grammar suited there are some nice secondary schools including Wally Hall in Sevenoaks and Sackville in Hildenborough.

Honestyisbest Sat 13-Oct-12 21:53:11

I recommend Bucks. lovely villages and towns and good grammar schools if that's what your after.

whistlestopcafe Sat 13-Oct-12 22:06:10

You could move to Herts close to the Bucks border and take the 11+ for the Bucks grammar schools. If your dd passes you could opt for Chesham Grammar or one of the Aylesbury Grammars as they are always undersubscribed. If your dd fails you still have a very good choice of comprehensive schools in Herts. Because Herts is not a grammar school county you won't have all the competitiveness and stress.

Arindam0004 Sun 10-Jan-16 21:00:11

I am looking for a list of Grammar schools for 2017 admission in Middlesex without catchment areas. I have been living in Harrow and there is no Grammar Schools,
Queen Elizabeth and Langely Grammar schools are within our reach. Please let us know if there are any Grammar schools without any catchment areas and admission is purely based on performance

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