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How exactly do you know that your DC should go to grammar school?

(318 Posts)
plus3 Fri 05-Oct-12 11:06:38

Sorry for the ridiculous question, but I am going slightly bonkers.

DS is in yr 4 and has unspecified learning difficulties - mainly with attention and processing instructions. He is bright & remembers incredibly well. Literacy & science are his favourite subjects, and thinks he struggles with Maths but is actually above average. He craves structure and routine

My problem is that I am aware of some children in his class already doing extra work out of school (such as explore & kumon etc) and I now feel like I am letting him down hugely.

Should we be jumping on the treadmill of extra work etc to give him an even playing field? I don't really believe in excesses coaching to pass the 11+

So how do we tell if Grammer could be the place for him? When I have spoken to school, they always imply that academically he will be fine (whatever that means)

Sorry if this long & rambling, it all seems so very competitive around here (Bucks) thanks.

EdMcDunnough Fri 05-Oct-12 11:20:46

I don't know. Mine's in Y5 and I honestly don't know where he should go.

I just know he isn't going to the awful school across town or the other awful school round the corner.

If it comes to that I will HE him, they are just dreadful places.

So with that in mind I've ordered some practise papers for the 11 plus, just to familiarise him with the sort of thing that might come up - but he's not going to tutoring. I think a few kids are but it isn't widely talked about here.

Like yours, mine is very very bright and tends to think laterally, has a great memory etc but he is unfocussed with academic work, and struggles to concentrate and will often 'panic'.

So I don't know if a grammar will suit him. It's just, the alternatives here are so rubbish sad

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 11:27:31

Is your child top sets? Are they on target for level 5s? Then give it a go.

There isn't anything magic about grammar schools- they are just the top sets of a comprehensive school in a different building. Apart from the super selectives, which are like the top 10% of the top set of a comprehensive in a different building. Sometimes with delusions of grandeur- Latin and rugby and wearing suits to away matches.

saadia Fri 05-Oct-12 11:31:15

I was like you op and didn't think seriously about tutoring but around here practically everyone takes the grammar school tests and I do now feel that I let ds own by not starting ds' tutoring earlier. He went for lessons over the summer holidays but I don't think that was enough. The tests are not all that difficult but IMO for most children practice and preparation in technique are essential.

OTOH I am not sure that grammar school would necessarily be right for him but it's always good to have options and the tutoring would help in general as well. Btw he did go to explore learning as well but I don't know how beneficial that was so we dropped it after a few months.

Yellowtip Fri 05-Oct-12 11:34:11

I'm not sure why you see latin or rugby as deluded seeker? (agree that suits are probably a bit expensive to insist parents buy).

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 11:41:54

I don't think they are deluded- i was trying, iin what I though (wrongly!) was a vaguely humorous manner, to suggest that many grammar schools have a slightly old fashioned air!

Yellowtip Fri 05-Oct-12 11:47:43

Oh I thought you were banging an anti-grammar drum seeker. But actually I can't see any reason why grammars should feel the need to cultivate an old-fashioned air. Which ones do I wonder? I bet the best ones don't.

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 12:01:18

Happy to bang that drum if required, as you know!

They cultivate that air because prospective parents like it. And yes, even the best ones do it!

bradbourne Fri 05-Oct-12 12:19:06

I think seeker is trying to say that some grammar schools try to ape public schools. Hence the rugby and the Latin. Then again, many parents want grammar schools because they see a grammar school education as being like a private school eductaion - but without the fees.

To the OP: I know it seems early, but maybe you could go and look around some of the local schools to get a feeel for what you think might suit your child best. If you think he would be better suited to grammar school, perhaps then you could look into getting him a tutor. A decent tutor should let you know whether or not he has a realistic chance of getting in. I think children without extra help to prepare for the 11+ are at a disadvantage these days from what I have heard and seen.

LittenTree Fri 05-Oct-12 12:46:59

My GS bloody well did beat the old-fashioned drum and I believe still does, actually, yellowtip. No hockey for us, that was for the plebs, it was lacrosse, you know. Had to travel miles to play (private school) opponents. And the boater was dispensed with the year I left!

A lot of parents want the half way house with all the trimmings between private and comp and a lot of GSs appear happy to oblige!

LittenTree Fri 05-Oct-12 12:47:35

Sorry, didn't read brad's before posting mine! We do seem to agree, though!

plus3 Fri 05-Oct-12 13:10:48

Thank you for the replies!
I did try him on some of the Bond practice papers - he scores highly. Absolutely loved the NVR tests!

I do think that alot of parents around here do see Grammer schools as a half way house between private school & the local comp, hence the excessive tutoring.

My DH went to private school & although he didn't achieve fantastic grades (not really one for handing work in..) he is very clever. I passed the 11+ apparently, but my parents chose not to send me (whole other thread grin) so I went to the local comp & did very well.

Thanks seeker I think it does help to not see Grammer as the 'magical educational answer' I just genuinely don't know if it would be the right place for DS.

MordionAgenos Fri 05-Oct-12 13:32:12

@seeker Offering Latin is neither deluded nor 'grand'. I did Latin O level at my comp. DD would have loved to do Latin at her SS but sadly they don't offer it.

Rugby is, basically, shit - bit it doesn't embody delusions of grandeur either, just delusions about what is a good sport (and what is a reasonable amount to expect a family to lay out to facilitate their child doing rugby). In some parts of the country rugby is the game. Now, that's bonkers but again it's not bonkers because of delusions of grandeur. Just because of the whole it being shit thing.



seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 13:38:47

As I said, mordion- I was using smart arse shorthand- sorry.

Mind you, one school locally told my brother (married to a Spanish woman with bilingual children) that they "don't offer Spanish- it's not really a grammar school language"!

Yellowtip Fri 05-Oct-12 13:57:23

Mordion they did try to re-introduce it as a full GCSE option for the year group which sat GCSEs in 2009, but as far as I know DS1 was the only student in the whole school who listed it as their top option. Just not the take up to go ahead.

And there speaks a football fan.

MordionAgenos Fri 05-Oct-12 14:10:45

It's a shame.

I'm currently fizzing with rage about rugby, mind, because DD1 has been told she HAS to do it next term even though their PE options are theoretically 'options' ie you get to choose. Given that she is dyspraxic, that she has an important music exam next term and important auditions (for the summer national ensemble courses) it's just not going to happen. We have already written to the school to say no way, but we await their answer. Their insurance won't cover them anyway, probably - especially if she hurt someone else. I hold out hope that they will let her just jog round the field while the others play, she'll be fine with that, it's what happened in hockey and that was actually great as far as she was concerned. But it's a different PE teacher than she's had before and one of those ones who don't believe dyspraxia actually exists. sad She had a maths teacher like that last year too - very trying. Luckily her group have a different one this year and she is so much happier. Not happy enough to consider it for A level, mind. But still. Happier.

Yellowtip Fri 05-Oct-12 14:23:18

Have you mentioned the very real possibilty of your DD whacking a classmate? I'd have thought that that would certainly do the job.

plus3 Fri 05-Oct-12 14:42:40

Anyway.....(trying to refocus conversation back to MY dilemma grin)

givemeaclue Fri 05-Oct-12 14:50:46

What is the dilemma? Apply and he either will or will not get a place. Job done!

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 14:56:28

How does it work where you live, plus? Is it super selectives? 23%/77% and if you pass you get a place? Pass and get a place if you live close enough?

I have views and opinions aplenty, but the ones I offer depend on your circumstances!

scootle Fri 05-Oct-12 15:01:16

The way my dss got in was to do lots and lots and lots of practice papers (he hated it but his mum made him do it pretty much every night). He did have a tutor for a bit, but I don't think that did much for him. Can you get your ds to practise? Is he on target for 5s? if so, it is worth a try.

scootle Fri 05-Oct-12 15:01:51

He actually hates his school now too... so he is not the best example!

plus3 Fri 05-Oct-12 15:03:58

The dilemma is how do I know if it will be the right place for him?

Is Grammer school a relentlessly driven, structured, quiet learning environment? If so, DS would love it. If there is a big focus on just producing 'a project of your choice' etc, he would be hopeless.

Maybe I just don't know enough about the system to evaluate it. How much do I flog him at home to get him to pass an exam that at this moment in time he probably would fail, but given another 18mths of maturity could pass easily?

As I said, he has an unspecified SEN - I don't want this to limit him and let his primary school use it as a reason to think what he is achieving now is good enough. They all seem to think he is bright,clever whatever, but he is just about above average. Is pushing him harder to towards a Grammer helpful or even the right thing to do?

I have no idea.

PropositionJoe Fri 05-Oct-12 15:06:39

If you have a degree and you shop at Waitrose then you just know wink

seeker Fri 05-Oct-12 15:08:10

Have you been to look at the grammar school?

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