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11+ Advice

(9 Posts)
MrGadget Tue 28-Jan-14 19:31:08


I hope everyone is well. I would like some advice. I have a 8 old year boy currently in year 4 and hope he will be able to sit the 11+ Exams for a place in one of Berkshire Grammar Schools.

He currently studies in a Private School (Ashton House) since year 3 and has been covering the 11+ curriculum but I’m really not sure this will be enough to pass the 11+ exam’s.

He has Verbal and Non Verbal reasoning lessons and also given Bonds 11+ English and Maths, Mental Arithmetic books for homework.

I’m currently spending a lot of time with my boy helping with homework and also doing extra workbooks i.e. How to do 11+, 9+ question papers, Bonds No Nonsense Books.

He has tests just before every half term and he gets very good marks in English and Maths. He weakness is Story Writing as he lacks imagination and vocabulary :-(

I’m really not sure if I should also be considering a Year 5 11+ Preparation Course which can be 1 Year, 9 months, or 5 months course and start in Sept 2014, Jan 2015 or May 2015? This would be in addition to his private school work. I don’t want to overload him either with all the pressure or put him off studying.

I just want him to do really and what’s best for him. Also being a single parent and working full time, not sure I’ll also be able to handle all this.

Thanks in advance.

Dromedary Tue 28-Jan-14 23:15:31

Is this for real?
You are doing way way more than most people. Most people wouldn't have done anything at this stage, and they would be at a state primary that does no preparation for 11+, and would never have seen a VR or NVR paper!!
If he doesn't get in after several years of what he is getting now, then it's for the best, because it would mean that he is simply not academically bright enough. In fact with what you are doing now I would suggest that he is already being over-prepared. You want it to be the right school for him.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 29-Jan-14 08:42:49

The Berkshire grammers are hugely competitive so I do understand your concerns.
Regarding story writing I always feel and understand that imagination and vocab are fuelled by reading more rather than anything else, but also maturity comes into this too and it will develop as he gets older and reads more.
I do though agree with Dromedary that he is already working far above many children who will take the exam and if it is still looking out of his reach maybe it is no the right choice for him.

MillyMollyMama Wed 29-Jan-14 10:25:14

Move to Buckinghamshire. Less competitive entry to grammar schools! Sounds like a pretty miserable childhood to me. I would back off.

PastSellByDate Wed 29-Jan-14 11:00:26

If this is for real - my advice would be to visit the eleven plus forum section for Berkshire:

It will have information on what is included in the grammar school exam(s) you want your DC to sit for and some guidance on what you should be doing/ when.

Personally as Dromedary said you are doing 'way more' than most.

I get that this may be coming from a fear of rather poor alternatives (your options for local comprehensives may be dire) - but I think as a parent you need to think through various options - if DC passes 11+/ if DC doesn't and have plans in place.

Yes, yes - by all means encourage them to go for the 11+ (and many private schools will do as well) - but don't put your DC in a position where if they don't succeed you're disappointed in them or worse give them the impression that they'll never achieve anything having failed the 11+.

Check the proportion of pupils that pass in your area - and keep that statistic in your head. Here it's about 1 in 7 pass. So DD1 was one of the 6 in 7 who didn't - she's probably just missed out - we're all disappointed of course, but we've dusted ourselves off, said 'Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained' and moved on.

wellgetthere Wed 29-Jan-14 18:30:37

I agree with what has been said re reading for imaginative stories. I was told DS had 'no imagination', he is however a voracious reader and now his teachers always comment on his well structured stories and imaginative creative writing.

To improve DS's ability to create mood/characters/emotions/settings I bought descriptosaurus: supporting creative writing. DS was surprisingly taken with it!

Story cubes are also good (available amazon) and if your DS is not keen on writing just playing games, like story cubes and 'acting out' the stories are good.

I also think it sounds like your prep school are preparing your DS well.

MrGadget Thu 30-Jan-14 18:59:28

Thanks for the advice all. you have been helpfull. Maybe i'm pushing him too hard but as Lonecatwithkitten said, the Berkshire grammers are hugely competitive therefore want to be well prepared.

herdream1 Thu 30-Jan-14 21:33:42

Hello. I am in a similar situation, my DD in year 4 at a private school where 11plus preparation is (supposedly) provided. I, like you, do work with my DD at home, as I am not certain if it is a good idea to leave all preparation to the school, or even to a 1-2-1 tutor. I may consider a weekly group tutoring sessions in year 5 (some children, according to their mums, did enjoy these sessions and were sorry when the course ended!). I would like to think when it gets too much for DD, I can tell. The key would be motivating her (the hardest bit), giving her supports/guidance, and having a second option in place, as 11plus is unfair, can-not-be-guaranteed & not at all the end of the story. Good luck!

maree1 Thu 30-Jan-14 21:35:25

For story writing these might be worth a look and essays. And keep up with the maths practice. Practice is essential with maths.

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