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Dd is putting herself under so much pressure to pass the eleven plus I could cry.

(33 Posts)
VivaLeBeaver Fri 08-Jul-11 11:57:46

I really don't think she's under any pressure from me or dh about the eleven plus. Though I suspect my mum may be telling her what a fantastic school the grammar is, etc. Plus dd,s best friend wants to go and dd wants to stay with her. I've told her she doesn't need to sit it if she doesn't want to.

Im just not convinced that even if she passes the exam that it's going to be the best school for her. Dd is quite bright but not fantastically so. She's scored where she needs to be in the year five mock sats, and a year ahead in her writing paper. But she struggles with maths, struggles a lot. But then did surprisingly well in her sats. Her teacher doesn't think that dd will pass the exam.

I like the local comp and so does dd. But obviously there is a big difference in gcse pass rate. 99% compared to 58%. We went to look round the grammar this week and the head was going on about how it's in the top hundred state schools in the country. We came away and dd said that she liked the comp better but shed still rather go to the grammar as she knows she will get a better education.......... I've told her it's up to her and that she would still get a good education at the comp but she may have to push herself more at the comp.

I've got her some practice papers and she seems quite good at the non verbal ones. It's just her whole attitude that's worrying me if she finds it a bit tricky. She's in tears and saying she gives up, etc. I try and help explain it and she shouts at me and won't listen. If she does calm down and then understands what she needs to do then she whizzs throughh them and does well. She struggles more with the verbal questions and the tears and near panic attacks were awful.

So now I've done what I always said I'd never do and hired a tutor. She doesn't need a tutor as such, but she will listen to him when she won't listen to me. She doesn't get upset when he's here!

So now I'm worrying that I'm tutoring her through the eleven plus when I've always said that if she needed tutoring then the school wasn't right for her. I'm also worrying that I haven't started the tutoring early enough! She's only going to have a handful of sessions with him. I just know she's going to be so upset if she doesn't pass, regardless of how much I reassure her it doesn't matter.

ramade Fri 08-Jul-11 15:37:15

Take her somewhere outdoors ( a nice walk through the woods for example) and talk to her. Level with her. Tell her that on one hand you want to encourage ambition and reaching high, on the other hand you're worried that she will take it too seriously and that it will affect her confidence. Tell her that her happiness is most important of all. Ask her what she has been thinking about it all.

There are people in high flying jobs who are utterly miserable don't forget.

rebl Fri 08-Jul-11 15:45:49

There are people in high flying jobs who are utterly miserable don't forget.

There are also people in high flying jobs who don't have any GSCE's.

coccyx Fri 08-Jul-11 15:46:48

Not sure she will get a better education FOR HER at a grammar. We live in a grammar area and , in my experience, grammar is great for those who are academically ahead but for those less so it can be a stressful place.

bibbitybobbityhat Fri 08-Jul-11 15:49:34

Presumably the comp doesn't have any pupils in the top performing 10% or 20% that get in to the grammar, so that is one very obvious reason why their results are lower. Does she understand this? 58% pass rate is good, your dd will do well there.

[relieved not to live in a grammar area emoticon]

Stockley Fri 08-Jul-11 15:52:06

It might also be worth bearing in mind that selective schools can be quite pressurised places. Obviously I don't know anything about your grammar, but a girl who puts a lot of pressure on herself might be better off in a more relaxed type of school... (thinking out loud really, as I also have a stress-prone Y5 DD). But don't beat yourself up about the tutor. You're not doing anything wrong.

ramade Fri 08-Jul-11 15:53:51

No that's not what I meant. (this is where written comments don't come accross how they are intended). There are people in high flying jobs from lots of different backgrounds. Encouraging success is a great thing, I just meant that having a balance in your life is imporatant too.

A lot of people get hung up on getting the BEST education and the end goal of having a great job.

Hullygully Fri 08-Jul-11 15:58:00

Mine are at a selective grammar and weren't tutored, BUT they did lots of practice papers and virtually every other kid there had tutoring. Tutoring is useful because it teaches techniques, and there are techniques, offers strategies and also, with maths, reinforces classroom teaching with more practice. I think people are very odd about tutors tbh.

If she gets in and then struggles a bit with maths, you can always get her biots of extra tutoring where necessary. You would be surprised (or I was) how "unhighflying" some of the kids are.

If it's really unlikely she'll pass, you cna do nothing but shrug, tell her it's up to her if she wwants to have a go, and that if she doesn't, it just means it isn't the right school for her.

Elibean Fri 08-Jul-11 16:02:46

Also, remind your dd that she is not a statistic - if she wants to do well at the comp, she will smile

ShellingPeas Fri 08-Jul-11 16:03:53

Does the grammar take anyone who passes (ie selects on distance) or does it only take the highest scorers (super-seletive)? To some extent whether your DD will be comfortable there, it depends on how academically selective the grammar is and whether there will be others of a similar level to your DD at the school.

FWIW I have a relative who goes to a girls grammar which takes on distance, not score, so take all girls who pass and live close enough - she's bright-ish but not outstandingly clever at 11 and was good enough to pass (just) but struggles with maths. She's doing very well and is happy and is probably doing better there than she would at the comp.

My DS goes to super-selective and there are boys who are less able at maths - but I get the feeling that they are very conscious of this fact and it can't be nice to always be at the bottom end of the results.

Do also bear in mind that DD and her friend are good friends now, but often by the end of year 7 they've made other friends and aren't so close, or have fallen out altogether so don't let that sway your choices too much. My DS started yr 7 not knowing a soul but now has a good established group of mates.

And finally (sorry, going on a bit) I had my DS tutored because I can't teach my own children even though I am a teacher. We don't work well together. Also a tutor will know the appropriate shortcuts and tricks to make it easier so don't feel bad about tutoring.

Dozer Fri 08-Jul-11 17:12:59

I think the view that "if they have to be tutored to get in, it's the wrong place for them" is utter bollocks.

AngryFeet Fri 08-Jul-11 17:23:14

I had a tutor to help pass private school exams and it helped me loads and I got a place at all 3 I sat. If she really wants to try it then the tutor thing will be good for her and all she can do is try her best. Either way she will be fine. I think I would have done just as well at a comp as I was clever and a hard worker. Those are the most important things.

PeelingmyselfofftheCeiling Fri 08-Jul-11 17:35:44

If she did better than expected in her SATs and is a year up in her writing, she sounds very able indeed. Don't take it personally if she gets less wound up with the tutor than you, it's hardly surprising. I remember horrible evenings trying to go through Maths papers with my mum because neither of us have a maths-brain, so it just got really frustrating!

A good selective school will see potential too, so if she performs well in written tests but not so well in verbal that should be taken into account, and in my experience is one thing selective schools are very good at bringing on .

Just giving her some tools to cope with the verbal tests - the ability to say 'Let me just think this through for a minute' before answering or similar - will help. Even just getting her to express her opinions on non-exam related subjects while driving to school/cooking dinner etc will all help.

It doesn't sound like a terrible situation either way - you have two schools your DD and you can both see positives in nearby, so I think whatever decision gets made after the exams will be the right one here.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 08-Jul-11 18:04:33

If the school is near a grammar it is NOT a "comp" its a secondary modern
and if its getting 58% its a darn good one.
Let he be a star at the top of that rather than struggling with the precious kids at the other

thank goodness no grammars near here
just REAL comps

twinklypearls Fri 08-Jul-11 18:06:16

I would just send her to the comp.

feckwit Fri 08-Jul-11 18:09:06

I have one at a "regular" high school and one just about to start at a selective grammar (not tutored at all).

I have to say my gut feeling is that the non selective school is probably better - of course grammars and independent schools do well, the don't have any difficult and challenging children!

The REALLY good schools bring out the best in their pupils, it is not about GCSE pass rates. Most non selective schools offer more choice too - private and grammars are much more rigid in their approach.

Butterbur Fri 08-Jul-11 18:12:16

If you live in an area where all the children take the 11+, the children egg each other on into a frenzy of nerves about the process. Some parents don't help by promising new bicycles/PS3s etc if their child passes.

I think you need to reassure her that all she needs to do is her best, and that is good enough. It's not going to ruin her whole life if she doesn't pass. Some children who go to secondary moderns get better results than some children who go to grammars. And of course there are non academic talents that are important too - hard work, self motivation, dynamism etc, which will all count in the long run.

kayah Fri 08-Jul-11 18:18:57

Any tutoring she gets is going to help her anyway, regardless of school sh is going to end up at.
has she got a chance to do a mock exam?
that would give you realistic idea aboutwhere she is at - at least in Sutton BOrough SATS and 11+ have very little in common

11+ is for those who enjoy studyong and don't mind pressure of exam

my 2 kids are in grammar schools, younger going to start in Sept, older finishing year. 8

6e doesn't find it too hard, but by all means is not always scoring /ver 90%

VivaLeBeaver Sat 09-Jul-11 14:09:46

Thanks for the replies, been very helpful reading them.

The grammar selects on distance rather than being super selective. However it's where I went to school and I do remember getting loads of homework compared to friends who went to the comp. Not sure dd will like that much.

Oh and the comp is definitely a comp, not a secondary modern. We,re in the middle of two towns. One town is where the grammar and secondary modern is. Town in the other direction is not a grammar Rea and the schools are all comps. It will be a comp in this town that dd goes to if she doesn't go to the grammar.

I'm not a hundred percent sure how good the tutor is. He advertises in the village magazine as tutoring for gcse And eleven plus but I get the impression he's not very familiar with some of the questions. He's borrowed one of dd,s practice books so that he can do a lesson plan to explain that question type to dd better. Though it's good that he's taking the time to do that.

Will talk to dd a bit more and make sure she understands that don't want her feeling pressured,etc.

Hullygully Sat 09-Jul-11 19:10:50

go on the chukra website (it's been renamed 11+ forum) for loads of free practice papers, downloadable and online, and also videos explaining each of the question types. You would be better with a tutor who regulalry tutors prospective pupils...

swash Sat 09-Jul-11 21:39:43

I think you are doing the right thing. She wants to do it, and you are facilitating that. All the kids get tutors, do practice papers or go to private schools that teach them how to do the exam - so all you are doing is giving her the same chance a lot of other children have. I would be proud of the efforts she is making, and be ready to support her if she doesn't get in. Maybe she will.

Dss got into a very good grammar school. He scraped in, and only did so because he did lots and lots of papers (at his mum's insistence). He has found the pressure too much and has struggled a lot so we felt he was in the wrong place and worried a lot. But two years on, he is happy and has good friends.

He moans a lot about the work and does as little as he can get away with. We think he would be like that at any school - and that he would have found the transition from primary difficult. He is certainly achieving a lot more in the current school than he would in the comp. He is getting a fantastic education so we are glad he is there now, difficulties and all.

I wish my dd had the same opportunities tbh.

sarahfreck Mon 11-Jul-11 10:59:24

As a tutor, I'd say, don't automatically assume that a tutor will "hothouse". A good one will match their pace and style to your dd and can be a support to help them through a process rather than "pushing" them in an unhelpful way.

As one parent wrote about me blush after 11+ tutoring, " The support has been invaluable and we have watched dd blossom into a confident and once again happy child who is so looking forward now to moving on to her next challenge."

VivaLeBeaver Sun 17-Jul-11 16:49:16

Well she did a whole paper this morning which I've marked. She only attempted half the questions as had no clue about the others. She got 28% and has been in tears over it on and off since then.

I took her out for lunch to cheer her up. She's adament she wants to carry on. So I've tried to be positive saying that 28% when she only did 50% of the paper would have been 60% if she'd done the whole thing. grin

So we've had a bit of a look this afternoon at the ones she didnt attempt and how to do them.

Still feel a bit sad about such a low score though. Its really not looking good is it?

Butterbur Sun 17-Jul-11 17:07:48

It doesn't mean anything, apart from unfamiliarity. DS1 used to get similar scores in his first papers. He went on to get very high marks.

So it's too soon to tell how she's going to do.

Toughasoldboots Sun 17-Jul-11 17:10:47

Viva, I really feel for you, have been through this twice. My dd sounds quite similar to yours and she was adamant that she was going to take it and was desperate to go to one of the local girls grammar.

I was pretty sure that she wouldn't pass and she didn't. Ds passed with high marks and going to super selective.

Dd is happy at the local secondary modern ( although I am not keen on it) and she did get quite badly affected by not passing the 11 plus.
I don't know what the answer is, I would prefer to live in a comp area but you have to work with what you have.

Being brutally honest, it isn't looking good at 28%, do you think that you can persuade her away from grammar?

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