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Should schools/ teachers advise on suitability for 11+

(103 Posts)
PastSellByDate Thu 27-Jun-13 10:46:09

Hi I'm bringing a conversation (so I'm not interrupting another thread) over here:

I raised the point on another feed that for many parents, we are highly uncertain of whether their child is or is not 11+ material and worry that taking the 11+ is setting them up for disappointment/ teasing. We do turn to the school for advice and find it frustrating that teachers will not comment.

A teacher 'WellThen' - has written in response:

When I said they're not allowed to get involved in the tests, I meant it. Teachers should not be discussing it with parents and certainly suggesting it.

You also dont seem to consider the fact that maybe the teacher doesnt WANT to mention it to the parents of bright children because

a) It isnt anything to do with them - I dont know any school where teachers get involved in secondary school choices. Hugely inappropriate
b) They dont like grammar schools
c) They may not live in the area and therefore may not actually know much about the schools
d) I dont know how to stress this enough: They are not allowed.

Now I'm not trying to start a parent vs. teacher battle here (and respect that as staff if the HT is saying NEVER talk about this you are in a difficult situation) but what do people think? I'm also saying that this is seeking an opinion not a hard and fast verdict - the teacher could say 'it's borderline' or 'based on their performance I don't think they have the core skills' etc... and a parent can chose to listen or not as they like - but this is about seeking a second opinion from a professional in daily contact with that child, on their child's academic potential.

Should teachers/ schools encourage their best and brightest to sit the 11+ (especially in cities like ours where state grammars are free, as is sitting the exam)?

[I stress - not speaking about preparing for exam/ just about suggesting to a family that this is an option they should be considering for their child].

pickledsiblings Sun 30-Jun-13 13:07:44

It sounds great teacher. It was posts like yours that encouraged me to look at our local Comp for DD. I took a job there and it was only after working there for 6 weeks full time that I realised it was not a school that I wanted to send my children to for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that that the 'weaker' students were completely demoralised by the 'stronger' students and their dismay at only getting grade As and not A*s. How does a school make it clear (to everyone) that one student's best may be a grade D at GCSE?

teacherwith2kids Sun 30-Jun-13 13:18:17

Pickled, I think that is an interesting point - because it genuinely does seem to be difficult to celebrate every child's achievement AND make it clear to the top groups that only the best is good enough.

That is possibly why we get polarised posts on MN - those who claim that comps don't push the brightest 'because they praise people who get Cs and Ds' and those who claim that comps push the bright children 'but leave their child in the middle, or with SEN, to struggle along'.

I genuinely don't know how to solve that. I can speak for personal experience to say that I have no worries about sending DS (and probably DD) to our local comp rather than to GS because they are bright kids and the school push such children hard. I genuinely don't know what this particular school is like for children who really struggle, and suspect that it may not be as good as another school might be IYSWIM, despite being a comp in a grammar area and therefore conventionally might be expected to be partiicularly suited to such children.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 01-Jul-13 10:39:06

We saw all the schools we were considering for DD during school time as well as doing their open days. One of the private schools the Head shows parents round himself. The others (GS, comp and another private) either had 6th formers or yr 11s do the tours, which is better in some ways. Didn't seem to be a problem for them to arrange at all. To be fair, the GS visit was after DD had already sat and passed the entrance exam, so I don't know for sure what would have happened if we had asked for a daytime tour before then, but the comp - which is twice the size and very popular - seemed to manage it just fine. In reality, I doubt they will be dealing with anything like hundreds of requests to visit in daytime - most people seem to find the open evenings sufficient.

I think we'd have written off any school which wouldn't do a daytime visit - they give a much better feel for what the school is really like.

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