11plus stress(29 Posts)
Feeling awful right now. DS is sat in the kitchen almost in tears trying to do a stupid 11+ practice paper. Feel like a total evil witch. He doesn't want to do 11+ and doesn't even want to go to the Grammer school. We would love him to go there it is a fantastic school results and ofsted wise but only if ds is going to be happy. We have selected a perfectly good second choice of a good mixed sex non selective school which ds really likes. Ds just wants to go there. He says the grammer was posh and unfriendly where as the other school was welcoming and friendly. At the open days for each school I observed him really anxious and uncomfortable at the grammer and happy and interested at the other school. Logic tells me we should sod the grammer school even if it is the best school in the county and go with the school which appeared to suit him best.
The problem is FIL. He sees the grammer as the only option and is putting alot of pressure on us. He thinks ds will adjust and fit in. He has paid for 11+ classes and has promised ds a new bike if he does it. I really wish we could just forget about it but it feels too late now and ds has worked hard despite not wanting to, alot of incentives etc. We hoped ds would come around and see what a good school the grammer is but sadly not.
Just ranting really I guess. I want him to be happy and hope as long as he is happy he will do well. He is a bright boy already working level 5 in some areas but certainly no genius. He may well not get in anyway as it's hugely over subscribed. Thanks for listening
Really feel for you. We are a year behind you, DD1 will be (hopefully) taking it next November. I have similar worries. At the moment my DD is really excited at the prospect of the 11plus but am trying to keep a completely open mind so I don't fall into the pattern of Grammer at any cost. If it helps, I know of seceral friends who are going through this with their children at the moment. Has he always resisted or is it primarily as the date approaches?
It has absolutely bugger all to do with your FIL and promising him a bike if he passes is just nasty. He is YOUR son, not FILs. Was he like this with your DH?
Please re-read what you've written - you are making you son sit an exam he does not want to do to get into a school he does not want to go to.
You want him to be happy, please listen to him then. You run the risk of a very unhappy son -
what on earth is your FIL going to be like if he doesn't pass and where else in your son's life will he feel he can interfere?
We're currently waiting for dd's 11+ results. She really wants to go to the girls grammar, if she didn't I would have respected her decision.
Don't make him do the exam!
The grammar school doesn't get better results because it has better teachers or is a better school - it gets better results because it is selective about who it takes - it only takes kids with uber-pushy parents.
You are the same parents whichever school he goes to. If you are happy with the other school that's it - it's your decision.
If you look closely at the OFSTED reports and league tables (not just the headline %pass GCSE figure) you may well find that the comprehensive is in fact the better school.
Promising a kid a bike is just mean. All it does is put the pressure on him for something he can't control.
Thank you for your replies. He has not always been dead against. I would say it is only since september when we started looking around schools and it has all started to feel a bit close and real. I would say until then all of us were pretty happy with trying to get him into the grammer. He has never enjoyed doing the practice questions but he doesn't enjoy any homework, would rather be out playing football!
I know it is none of FIL business but it is not as simple as that. We are very close to dh parents, they live close by and do alot for us. They looked after the boys when they were little so i could work part time and are very actively involved. They over step the mark sometimes, as I feel fil is doing here but we generally think we are so lucky to have them be so involved.
Grammer is hugely over subscribed that I have been thinking it is more than likely he won't get in anyway. Other school is also over subscribed so he may end up at neither which is a whole other stress.
Listen to your heart and your DS.
Chuck the bloody practice papers out of the window, and hope he gets into the friendly school.
It was kind of your FIL to pay for tutoring, he's done all he can for your DS, but it's not for you to feel guilty about. Let your DS sit the exam to keep FIL, but don't get stressed about it. If he passes, he passes, if he doesn't, he doesn't.
And buy him a new bike what ever school he goes to. Will soften the blow for him feeling he's let you all down if he doens't get into the grammar.
grammAr. Have seen this also on the eleven plus forum
I'd step away from the grammar thing altogether. It isn't for everyone- in fact, it's not for many!
You use the word 'good' about it. Good for whom? Schools are horses for courses. I did my professional training with a woman who got more or less exactly the same O and A levels as me- but whereas I was considered very average at my grammar, she was top stream and flying at her SM, then tech college (A levels). I believe she had far higher self esteem than I did as a result!
As others have said, HE doesn't want it, HE isn't interested. Were he to pass, the GS in question wouldn't suddenly become warm and welcoming, would it? If he were to fail the 11+, he might have the stigma of failure and the belief that the alternative school is second class rather than going with the idea the alternative sounds like it'll suit him perfectly and there's no pushy entrance exam.
IMO GSs are now pretty much full of the offspring of obsessive, pushy, driven parents with highly 'trained' DCs with the odd smattering of genuinely very clever local state schooled primary DCs. I know my old GS is!
I also second what others say re FIL. He cannot be allowed to 'buy' your DSs future. It's lovely that they are close to DS but that does not permit them the right to dictate his future. Be firm!
In my heart I don't want him to be under this pressure. I feel awful about it. Dh thinks he should have a go but has made it very clear to ds that it doesn't matter whether he passes or fails. It's only a few weeks away now......
Thing is ds only likes this one school so I am terrified he is going to end up unhappy one of the other schools.
I completely flunked at Grammar School. It was never for me, but more for my parents, who felt it was really important. I made a huge effort to pass because the alternative was a private school, and they were already paying fees for 2 of my siblings.
My friends at the non-selective got far more 'o' levels than I did. And I never got above a C grade at that.
This was from what is termed a 'super-selective' nowadays, and people are desperate to get in.
What I am trying to say is, just because you get in, it does not automatically give you a string of gcse's at the end of it and you need to be able to work at a 'pace' to keep up.
If your child it not naturally up for it, don't put them through it. They will do better away from the Grammar believe me.
Sorry cross posted with other replies. You are all talking total sense. Dh and I need to have a serious chat about this tonight and I won't be making him do anymore stupid practice papers this week.
'but he doesn't enjoy any homework'
This will not get any easier at grammar. My ds is very bright academically and wanted to have a go at 11+ but has SN and was stressed out about an aptitude test to see if he could join the 11+ study group at school! There is no way we would pressure him to do the 11+ - it would just not be right for him. A boy in his class is doing it and spends hours a week with tutor/studying and doesn't have much of a life. Dread to think how his mum will be if he fails .
You must do what will make your ds happy - years at grammar being pushed too hard will do him no good at all.
I would deffo agree with other posters.
Sounds as tho even tho Grammar is "best school in county" ( at that anyway) it swon't be the best school for yr DS - which is the point, surely.
My DS1 is at secondary (no grammars here thank goodness) and is finding the homework a real headache. I would imagine there would be more pressure still at a Grammar School and if yr DS (like mine! tho mine would rather be lying in the bath/in bed!) doesn't like homework then it sounds like a real nightmare.
There is no such thing as one school that is "best" for all children, because not all children are the same.
Your DS didn't like the grammar school when he looked around it. He doesn't want to go there. He is struggling to do the practice papers. It's not going to do anyone any good if he gets crammed to get in and is miserable once he's there.
I feel your pain! My ds is going for the local GS, has the exam in 4 weeks time, so we are doing some practice papers this half term too.
BUT, my ds wants to go to the school, and I genuinely believe it will be the right learning environment for him. That is what my instinct tells me, so I want to give him the best possible chance of getting in, which is why we've been doing the practice.
I'm not a pushy parent, and I'm definately not over tutoring. I don't feel I'd have to tutor at all if it weren't for the fact that obsessive, pushy parents are out there and have been over tutoring for years. I have given ds an incentive to do the extra work, lots of packs of football cards mainly, but those are his rewards for doing the extra work on top of homework, not for passing. I think it's quite unfair of your FIL to give him the reward for passing. Children get fantastic results but don't get a place just because there are so many children applying.
Follow your heart.
You need to listen to your heart
Ds did the 11 plus last year: dh was the one pushing him on. Ds couldn't give 2 hoots- enjoyed the tutoring as he liked the VR/NVR- but after the open evenings, came back adament he wanted to go to the local boys school.
He did the tests anyway (only a month later) and deliberately put answers in the wrong boxes.
Is now in the top set at the boys school, having a whale of a time.
If he doesn't want to go, don't make him.
I wish we hadn't gone through all the expense/stress of tutoring.
Hello, in my heart then I do agree with the other posters, but wanted to make a couple of separate points. As he has come this far and done all the tutoring etc, surely it is worth him sitting the test. Tell him the end result doesn't matter at all, there's no pressure etc etc (it's just to keep FIL happy etc). Even if he passes, you could always turn the place down and go on the waiting list for school 2 (I assume you are reasonably close and would probably get in after the initial round of allocations), but it seems a bit silly to burn your bridges now. If he fails you can just celebrate with him !!
I do think that Grammar schools suit some children and not others, but think that is your decision to make really. Your ds is bound to want to go the school where his friends are going, and will resist any idea of change as it is the great unknown. You know him better than he knows himself so it should definitely be your final decision.
Well, yes, OP knows her DS and her feelings are "At the open days for each school I observed him really anxious and uncomfortable at the grammar and happy and interested at the other school. Logic tells me we should sod the grammar school even if it is the best school in the county and go with the school which appeared to suit him best."
And the "other" school is oversubscribed so they are unlikely to get in there if her DS gets a place at his official "first" choice (the grammar) and turns it down. In fact OP is concerned that her DS might not get in there as it is.
Have you told your DS that you will be proud of him however well he does in the exam? If you ease off a little bit with the pressure then he may be a little more relaxed about it and you can tell him that if he does get a place it is because he is clever enough and will do well there?
Might be better to try to explain that the exam is not a predictor of future academic or personal success, just an assessment of whether a child might enjoy having a particular type of education. If ds "fails," this merely means he would be better suited to a different style of teaching, not that he somehow isn't good enough for the school in question. Simply telling a child you don't mind if he fails is otherwise going to be translated in his mind as: you won't say you mind if he fails, but actually you will or you wouldn't have made him take the exam in the first place.
The style of teaching in a grammar school most definitely does not suit all bright children, nor does the 11 plus pick out all the children capable of achieving excellence academically - just those showing signs of academic potential at age 10 or 11 (with their practical abilities and personal interests and ambitions totally ignored...).
Another thought: do you know any children who go to the grammar school? Would you be able to let your DS meet them so that he can get another opinion on what it is like to go there?
I agree that ultimately with grammars the child has to want to go there but then it sounds as if he has been under so much pressure maybe he is getting "cold feet" and as he has done so much preparation for it it would be a shame to not sit the test - even if he does not get a place.
Where we are it is not only a matter of how bright the child is but how well prepared they are plus a good portion of luck on the day. No point to put on too much pressure on as the chances of getting in are so small (with the competition of so many other children) so we have been assuring our DS that whatever happens we will be proud of him and the other schools we have put down will be a good alternative with their own advantages.
rabbitstew can I just say what a good post As someone who has 1 DC at a grammar school and 1 DC not, I completely agree with what you have said.
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