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When can you tell if they are accademic or not ?

(14 Posts)
AngelaD Sun 04-Jun-06 09:48:27

I'm sure this sounds a crazy question but they're people who just seem to sail through life being in the right place for the right schools etc and then there's us and this time I want to be in the right place.
We are really keen if our girls are bright for them to attend grammer school, however this means moving into the catchment area in about 4 years time which requires some planning on our part.
So teachers or clever parents how early would you suggest we could see the signs if at all that they would be suitible for grammer schools ?

scienceteacher Sun 04-Jun-06 09:59:28

Are they doing well at school? Do you get good feedback from their teachers? What's your gut feel?

One thing you can do is buy Bond Assessment Papers in verbal and non-verbal reasoning. You can get them from quite a young age, certainly 7/8. Have them work through these age appropriate books, and see how easy they find the tasks. The other thing you can assess early on is their mathematical ability - will they get level 3 on the KS1 Sats, or how confidently can they work through a Sats revision book.

I teach in a grammar school, and the kids are all clever and most of them are motivated. But the lowest attaining children are only slightly above average - we have a cut-off of 109 on the NFER tests, I think. If more kids applied, this level would go up slightly, but it is definitely a case of supply & demand.

A lot depends on the region that your grammar schools are in. Where I am, they are not that hard to get into and I don't think you prejudice applications to a comprehensive if they don't get in. Other places, the good comps don't give adequate consideration to grammar school candidates.

AngelaD Sun 04-Jun-06 14:00:29

Where abouts are you scienceteacher ?
My DD#1 isn't brilliant at maths but excels at English and Art and Music/Drama, she is very motivated and an August Birthday which I believe is in her favour. I've been told by her Grandfather (he's a ex teacher) that she is very bright but then I wouldn't expect anything but that for him
DD#2 is a natural at most things but it's very early days for her.
The grammar school here are extremely popular as are the other area's I would consider moving to.

scienceteacher Sun 04-Jun-06 14:04:56

I work in Berkshire, Angela.

Grammar school entry is based on mathematics ability, and verbal & non-verbal reasoning. I'm sure you could test her yourself to see if she has potential.

Skribble Sun 04-Jun-06 14:09:47

Grammar School testing

LIZS Sun 04-Jun-06 14:15:05

Bond Assessment Papers are really good - we've had the 6/7 starter papers recommended by a teacher friend . ds did them in preparation for moving from a laid back International school , academically 1-2 years behind the UK system, to a UK school into year 3 last September. We're currently awaiting his recent assessment results but he seems to have coped ok.

dd is in Reception and has all the hallmarks of being relatively "brighter" than ds (who has some motor and processing issues) but it is hard to know for sure as she has been exposed to more learning opprotunities than he had been at that age. She is well in advance of her chronologiocal age, being also an August b'day .

AngelaD Sun 04-Jun-06 14:35:00

Thank you very much, you're all so helpful.
Maybe a move down south might be on the cards, we're in the north west and Grammar schools are on the parents minds from birth !

EmmyLou Sun 04-Jun-06 15:21:50

Blimey. Glad we live in a good area (N.Yorks) with good comprehensive schools. Would hate to feel we would have to move to be near a good school. I grew up in a one school town (comp) - no decisions, no test/entrance exams, everyone went to the same school apart from a handful who went private. We've had the 'hard' decision with dd1 at 10 years old as to which of the two excellent local comps would she like to go to. She chose the one with the new drama tower - we happened to agree with her so all was OK.

If I lived in an area with competition to get into schools tests etc might actually consider moving to an area with good comps. Sort of contradicts what I said earlier but hate all that pressure on children. Might see things differently if children have problems at school but would cross that bridge when we come to it.

FioFio Sun 04-Jun-06 15:22:55

Message deleted

Fillyjonk Sun 04-Jun-06 15:26:12

agree, Emmylou.

I went to a grammar school. Loads of pressure, most kids were crammed through the exams, no art or music or any of those fripperies and, no offence st, but the teachers were absolutely shockingly bad, because their relied on our "natural abilities" (read, tutors) to get us through the exams.

cat64 Sun 04-Jun-06 15:30:11

Message withdrawn

wessexgirl Sun 04-Jun-06 15:39:39

Einstein failed the 11+, which suggests early signs are not reliable anyway.

I attended a grammar school (down south, in an area which has now done away with them) and, like fillyjonk, found the standard of teaching very poor. The teachers didn't have to make much of an effort to make any subject appealing, as we would prob do well anyway, so they didn't.

Having trained as a teacher myself, I look back at the education I received with horror tbh. There is no way I would get away with getting pupils to copy stuff out of books or do endless, endless comprehension exercises. (I would hope modern grammar schools had moved on from this by now though!)

I would just say, don't set your heart on the grammar school option. Just see how your girls develop and do what suits them best at that age. Even if they fail to get into the grammar, there is nothing to stop them being high achievers a little bit later on .

Fillyjonk Sun 04-Jun-06 15:41:09

i left grammar school 10 years ago. we were still spending whole lessons copying crap out of textbooks!

Lilymaid Sun 04-Jun-06 16:04:50

I'd recommend that you have a look round the schools your children might be going to. If you go on an open evening (without your children) you can get a feel of the places. Save a trip with children until they are Year 5 (or 6). I would be looking for a dynamic environment with lots of activities going on and enthusiastic pupils.
Some children are born "academic" others get there eventually. My DH failed his 11+ but still won a scholarship to Oxford. He would have struggled in a grammar school and might have left school at 16.

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