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Predicting Oxbridge in Year 7?!?

(64 Posts)
settledandsmug Fri 21-Jun-13 11:27:28

I attended a parent forum meeting at my DCs school recently and a question was raised with regards to Oxbridge entrance and student preparation.

The staff response was that some likely candidates can be identified from year 7 and they keep a close watch throughout their school education. I was intrigued by this and have a couple of questions for your consideration:-

1. Do you think this is possible and/or sensible?
2. If you do, what do you think they identify in year 7?

I asked these qs at the forum and was only offered vague answers. Just curious really, but could imagine an onslaught of Y7 parents all desperate to ensure their children fit the 'Oxbridge box'.

Fairdene Thu 04-Jul-13 12:17:46


Fairdene Thu 04-Jul-13 12:16:37

The teachers of one of my DDs said she should definitely think about Oxbridge when she was 6yrs old, so Y2. She said it to me, not to DD.

alreadytaken Wed 03-Jul-13 19:36:24

schools are not capable of predicting who will get into Oxbridge in year 12, the idea that they might be able to do so in year 7 should be a joke. Of course there will be a few students in year 7 where you can say they show promise and some where it seems very unlikely but students change a lot between 11 and 18. Too much emphasis is placed on Oxbridge by schools who want to boast about having pupils go there.

pourmeanotherglass Wed 03-Jul-13 11:02:58

Not sure I'd want my dds going for Oxbridge.

I went to Oxford (physics), struggled academically and came out with a third. I may have been better going someone with longer terms and less pressure.

If they did want to go for it, I'd make sure they were aware of what they were applying for, and they were 100% committed, not just to getting in, but also to being in a very pressured and competitive environment when they get there.

gintastic Sat 29-Jun-13 06:14:23

Happened to me. State schools with very bright pupils want the kudos of bring able to boast about Oxbridge entry. One teacher tried to persuade me to call UCAS and change my choices (I posted the letter accepting the Bristol offer prior to telling him that I'd turned the Cambridge offer down), spent an hour talking AT me about the opportunity I was giving up and then ignored me for pretty much the whole of Upper VI when I stuck to my guns. Interesting as he actually taught me for Maths...

This was nearly 20 years ago, I hope things have changed.

Yellowtip Sat 29-Jun-13 01:10:01

gintastic do you think schools would really bully a pupil into applying if that wasn't the way they wanted to go? Not good schools who knew their pupils, surely?

Notcontent Fri 28-Jun-13 21:16:23

I didn't go to school or uni in the UK, so very different system. But for various reasons at age 11 I wasn't a particularly amazing student. Very different story a couple of years later, when I was top in everything.
So I don't think you should make any assumptions about children's ability or potential.

gintastic Fri 28-Jun-13 15:08:42

When I was at school, they pushed me to go to Cambridge. I applied and got a place, and my school were appalled and horrified when I turned it down in favour of a place at Bristol. I hated the interview, hated the town, hated the atmosphere - and Bristol was actually better for the subject I chose anyway. I got the 3 "A"'s that the Cambridge offer required, so I could have gone. My Mum asked me about 15 years later if I had regretted my choice, and I can honestly say of all the things I've done, that has to be the one I regret least.

My eldest DD is showing signs of being very bright, but I don't want her hot housed, she needs to discover the joy of learning for herself - if she does want to go the Oxbridge route, I will support her all the way, but the school do not get to bully her into applying if its not what she wants.

StressedandFrazzled Fri 28-Jun-13 11:08:57

lljkk yes the history teacher told us at parents evening

The Buskers Dog, Yes of course I do know that getting A's at GCSE certainly doesn't mean a child will do Oxbridge; I was actually making the point that it still feels quite early to be giving any kind of academic prediction as to how a child will do in a few years time, whether it be A's in GCSE or Oxbridge. Too much pressure too young

wandymum Fri 28-Jun-13 10:44:35

My primary school teacher told my parents they thought I could 'get to Oxbridge' if I wanted when I was about 7. I did eventually go to Oxford.

It's actually very interesting as if she'd not said it, I'm not sure it would have happened. No-one in our family had ever been to university before so it wouldn't have been something my parents would have considered. Once she'd said it, we all sort of determined that's what I'd do and so I worked harder at school than I might otherwise have.

TheBuskersDog Thu 27-Jun-13 23:39:29

Stressed, been predicted to get As/A*s is quite different to having Oxbridge potential. Whilst most Oxbridge students will have all As, most students with all As won't go to Oxford.

lljkk Thu 27-Jun-13 19:29:08

How do you know that, Stressed, did he tell you?
I haven't a clue what exams DS has had this yr, or what marks he got in them.

StressedandFrazzled Thu 27-Jun-13 10:05:41

First open day (in October) at DS's school, (Yr 7) history teacher mentioned that DS had done cats? test and was predicted to get A's at GCSE. The school didn't tell him, and we haven't told him. Don't want him to feel that lurking pressure; certainly wouldn't want him to feel at this stage that he was expected to do Oxbridge. (He has just got straight A's in end of term exams though)

Goodwordguide Tue 25-Jun-13 18:15:05

DH and I both went to Oxbridge - I'm more worried that my DCs will feel pressure to apply because of this rather than from school. I just don't see how schools can identify anything more than potential, the entrance interview means the application process is so subjective.

I was bright in a very geeky way at school (obsessive reader etc) but not extraordinarily so - and my (north-eastern state comp) school told me not to bother applying as I'd never get in and people far brighter than me had failed.

Tuttora Mon 24-Jun-13 10:20:48

Those topics most certainly do feature on higher tier GCSE papers.
Perhaps your six year old did a foundation level GCSE paper, which is very much easier.

TheBuskersDog Sun 23-Jun-13 19:37:26

I think it's more of a problem that for many children it is like Oxbridge is another world, not helped by teachers who perpetuate the idea and so never let the children see it as an option. There must be plenty of children who had they attended another school would have been encouraged to give it a go.

TheBuskersDog Sun 23-Jun-13 19:28:45

Have you seen a GCSE maths paper recently? No surds on them, not sure about quadratics.

Well my son took AQA linear maths higher level and they definitely feature. Perhaps that's why they choose to only put the top sets in for that one, I think it is seen as better preparation for A level maths (I have not seen the modular papers so don't know how they compare).

HarumScarum Sun 23-Jun-13 19:18:04

Not sure what it was, mind, and nor am I sure I turned out to be what they were looking for once I was there!

HarumScarum Sun 23-Jun-13 19:17:35

I wasn't a straight A candidate by any means. I didn't even get straight As in my A Levels, let alone O Levels. But Oxford obviously saw something they found interesting in me.

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Sun 23-Jun-13 12:15:14

My French teacher told my parents I should be aiming for Oxbridge when I was in Yr 7. My Mum left school at 13 and my Dad did his degree later in life through work. We were not a typical Oxbridge family, and it was an ordinary state school. Teacher also happened to be my HOY, and taught me French all the way through (not sure if she engineered this on purpose). My parents didn't tell me about this until much later, and were not in the least bit pushy. I think the teacher could see that I had academic potential and, more importantly, was very, very self-motivated, which is extremely important to success at Oxbridge.

I did eventually go to Oxford - to study English! Teacher was gutted ;)

sashh Sun 23-Jun-13 12:09:36

Wineoclock, how on earth can a 6 year old do things like quadratic equations, surds or circle theorems without having been taught them?

Have you seen a GCSE maths paper recently? No surds on them, not sure about quadratics.

Anyway there have been cases of young children developing proofs that they have not been shown but just working from first principles.

wordfactory Sun 23-Jun-13 10:17:18

WBHV if I'm being charitable, I'd say some schools genuinly don't know (though that's a bit shameful in iteself)...but I have been to some schools and colleges where they are very resistant to the idea that some qualifications are less regarded than others.

Indeed, I've seen many a post on MN from teachers who are positively antagonistic to this point.

WouldBeHarrietVane Sun 23-Jun-13 09:52:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wordfactory Sun 23-Jun-13 08:59:40

Well, as part of the widening access prog, it is extremely frustrating to meet students in say year 11 or L6 and discover they ahve been advised to take idiotic GCSEs and A levels!!!

Or they've been put off the notion moons ago!!!

So the seeds do need to be sown earlier.

That said, I'm not a fan of cherry picking DC as Oxbridge material. That is for the pupils to decide. I also think there's many a slip betwixt cup and lip, and those showing early potential may go off boil. Similarly, other students often come into their own later.

What I'd like to see, is that all students being given the correct information early on. Onformation, that frankly will stand them in stead for lots of other good universities.

capercaillie Sat 22-Jun-13 22:40:07

Definitely wasn't predicted for me. A couple of teachers said it was a) unlikely and b) I wouldn't fit in.

I like proving people wrong.

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