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Has anyone decided not to apply for grammar school?

(29 Posts)
countrylady Thu 12-Feb-04 10:41:48

Our dd is nearly 10 years old and doing very well at local state primary school. Nearest girls grammar is over 2 miles away, but the comprehensive (with above-average GCSE results)is a 3 minute walk away. We're finding it very hard to choose. She's good at art, sport, design etc as well as academic subjects. But she also has outside interests, eg youth club, swimming clubs, would there be time with all the homework at a grammar for these? Anyone else had this dilemma?

Sonnet Thu 12-Feb-04 10:51:50

Do they get more homework?
Have you been to look at both schools? - if so what vibes do you pick up?
Good luck - must be a hard decision - havn't got there yet!!

Marina Thu 12-Feb-04 10:55:52

countrylady, just a thought, but won't she have plenty of homework at the comprehensive too? Surely if she is academically able she will get to study as many GCSEs there as at the grammar school? I think the transfer to secondary education can be crunch time for some outside activities no matter which school you choose.
I can totally understand why you feel drawn to the grammar school, especially if it is single sex and the comprehensive is co-ed. But I'd look carefully at both and as she is clearly an all-rounder, decide which is going to best meet her "non-academic" needs. You are very lucky to have a genuine choice, even though it is presenting you with a dilemma...
Having a school three minutes' walk away is a huge advantage, believe me! Not to be dismissed lightly. And also, does she have a view herself yet?

charlize Thu 12-Feb-04 16:15:45

Why don't you put her in for the test and then make a final descision when you get the results.
This will give you plenty of time before commiting. Seeing how she does in the test might help you decide.
Is she very likely to pass?

countrylady Thu 12-Feb-04 19:14:28

Charlize, Yes, we've been told by her primary teacher that she has a reasonable chance of passing. Only thing is, the school don't prepare them for the 11+. So if you want to try for a place, then it means starting coaching, which is £20 an hour, at least once if not twice a week. Our dd is quite sensitive and gets upset if she can't do a maths question, for example. We wonder if it will all be a lot of pressure on her.

Enid Thu 12-Feb-04 19:43:17

My god, I would LOVE to send dd's to a girls grammar. I went to one and it was fab. Sorry, probably not helpful but I would definitely go for the grammar. There aren't any near me

Bron Thu 12-Feb-04 20:10:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tigermoth Thu 12-Feb-04 21:14:00

my nearly 10 year old son is having an assessment test for the 11+ this weekend. If we decide to put him in for it, he will take it in October, just after he has started Year 6.

Apparently the results of the assessment test will give us some idea of his chances of passing the proper test. But simply passing is not the end of it. In the borough, approximately 4,500 children enter the 11+. About 2- 2,500 pass, but as there are only 880 grammar school places, passing does not assure you of a place in a grammar school. Instead, your child may be put in the top stream of a comprehensive school. The top 180 approx children who pass the 11+ are assured of a grammar place. The rest of the children may or may not get a place - the better you do the more chance you have. My son's teacher said that her two sons passed the 11+ but ended up in a comprehensive school in our borough. They are in the top form, and their work and progress exactly mirrors that of their friends who are at grammar school.

I have no idea if the test my son will take at the weekend is really a fair assessment of his ability. I suspect he will be marked very strictly and we will be told he needs lots of private tuition if he is to pass the 11+. Why? because the assessment is being done by a private tutoring company We are under no obligation to use them for tutoring, and are also looking elsewhere for tutors ( my husband is asking around his teacher friends as I write). I really wonder how objective this test is likely to be. Can anyone enlighten me on this?

Sorry to butt in, countrylady, but hopefullly if anyone answers, it will be of interest to you too.

charlize Fri 13-Feb-04 07:00:01

Tigermoth I suspect even if you took along a young einstein for this assesment they wouldfind *somethinig* that he needs to work on.

firestorm Fri 13-Feb-04 13:03:16

i wish we had grammar schools here (east sussex) our options are, either move or send our children to a c**p comprehensive. needless to say we plan to move before the time comes to choose.

Galaxy Fri 13-Feb-04 13:06:36

message withdrawn

candy Fri 13-Feb-04 20:38:04

So all comprehensives are intrinsically "crap" are they? Well that assures the educational chances of almost the entire nation are nil then doesn't it?!!! Actually I teach in one of THOSE comprehensives and believe me, our value added scores show that we are doing a great job. I am seriously upset!

aloha Fri 13-Feb-04 20:56:40

I'd be tempted by the three minute walk too, but you can't make a decision until you and your dd have been to visit both schools. What a lucky person you are to have this choice. I wish I had an above average comp within 3mins walk. We'd NEVER move!

bossykate Fri 13-Feb-04 21:04:06

candy, that is not what countrylady is saying.

aloha, i agree, if only!

countrylady Fri 13-Feb-04 21:20:54

We have visited both schools.They both looked good, as do most schools, I find, on Open Evenings. In fact, our ds is in Year 8 of the comprehensive. He sat the 11+ for the boys' grammar but didn't pass. We are lucky in that this comprehensive has above-average results, 64% achieve 5+ A-C grades at GCSE and 9 students achieved 8A*/A grades. When one considers that the local grammar schools have creamed off the top-ability band, this is good. The teachers we meet at the parents' evening are very friendly and seem keen.

bossykate Fri 13-Feb-04 21:30:20

sorry, i meant firestorm is not saying all comps are c**p.

tallulah Sat 14-Feb-04 09:52:28

I'm getting a bit confused at the terminology here! I'm in Kent & we have grammar & high schools. We also have locally 1 comprehensive. From what others are saying, are you calling any school that isn't a grammar a comprehensive? (because they aren't!)

One word of warning. 3 of mine are at grammar & 1 is at high school. We were told not to put him in for the 11 + because he is dyspraxic (with hindsight we think he'd have been OK). When Options time came, he wasn't allowed to take as many GCSEs as they do at the grammar, despite being in the top sets. Also 2 subjects had to be a new style vocational course & the limited choice was business studies, travel & tourism, or health & social care. I didn't like the sound of any of these & asked if he could do "proper' subjects instead (like Geography & RE!). They got quite upset with this & said it was a Govt initiative etc etc.

Just been to his Y11 chat with tutor pre GCSE & discussed his plans to becaome an engineer. Teacher says, do you mind me asking why you chose these subjects because they don't go with engineering... AAAAARRRGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!! 2 wasted choices on health & social care, anticipated grade D, when for maths & science he is predicted A.

Check what each school's "options" policy is & how many GCSEs they get to do, before you decide.

hercules Sat 14-Feb-04 10:07:24

Tallulah - I teach re in a comprehensive and last year 2 children with dsypraxia took the exam along with what ever other subjects they wanted and one got A*, the other A. One got given extra time but didnt use it. excuse handed typing. Annoying for you that your child wasnt allowed equal opportunities!

tallulah Sat 14-Feb-04 17:20:43

Think I've confused things- it wasn't that he was dyspraxic that he wasn't allowed to take the proper exams, it's the school's curriculum. ALL the Y11s have to take these funny subjects & none get the choice to do normal ones! The grammar school only does academic subjects so he could have done- for arguments sake- 3 separate sciences. We didn't check this sort of thing at 11.

Angeliz Sat 14-Feb-04 18:33:38

can someone explain the difference in all 3 schools to me?

(feel very silly asking but am confused!)

firestorm Sat 14-Feb-04 21:04:01

i did not mean to imply that all comps are c**p. its just our local one is. it has bad results & a drugs & bullying problem. im just not prepared to risk sending my daughters there, i would rather home ed. the school we would hope to get our daughters into is a comp but gets really good results 79% 5 a*-c grades compared with 30% at the local school. i only want the best for my children like any other concerned parent.

nutcracker Sat 14-Feb-04 21:09:43

I hate the thought that i may have to send my kids to a crap school (not saying they are all crap). My eldest is only 6, but i will definatly be putting her in for 11+ as i would love for her to go to a grammer school.
That has been my main problem in choosing areas to be moved to as i will not send them to a crap school.

tigermoth Sun 15-Feb-04 07:59:43

I suppose the downside is will failing the 11+ instill a lasting sense of failure? My old childminder did warn me against putting my son in for the test - she has seen how failing it can really upset older children.

Also there is another problem. I'm not sure of the exact ruling in our borough (it is changing at the moment) but in many areas, if you enter your child for the 11+, they automatically don't get first pick of the comprehensives. So if they fail to get into a grammar, they are right at the back of the queue for comps and have to take what places are left.

I had a chat with the assessor who tested my son. At the moment, he probably has the potential to pass but needs to improve his performance - so no surprises there We'll have to wait a week or two for a full report on how he did and exactly what areas he will need to improve on. It was a useful exercise. It really bought home to my son that passing the 11+ is not an automatic certainty. The assessor explained to my son that he will have to focus on his work much more and if he feels himself slipping, think about the school he wants to end up in (one of the local grammars) and realise that the work he does now will get him there. He must go to his room as soon as he gets in from school, sit down, do his homework without fuss, get it out of the way asap so that he can then, and only then, relax and enjoy the rest of his evening. Easy to say - hard to do!

This advice is in direct conflict with the advice given by the person I spoke to at the borough's edcation authority. She said it was no good having any private preparation - children definitely do not need any prior knowledge to pass the test.

robinw Sun 15-Feb-04 09:17:31

message withdrawn

tigermoth Sun 15-Feb-04 11:01:45

thanks for that info, robin. I am actually going to get example exam papers from Smiths today - it's taken a long while to find out exactly what sort of format the 11+ tests here have. The locol council were not very forthcoming with this information.

What a good idea to contact the grammar schools and ask them the average pass mark needed to get in. I know what pass mark is needed to pass the test, but passing does not guarantee a place.

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