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Son saying he won't do 11+

(27 Posts)
suecy Fri 05-Jul-13 13:25:38

DS currently in Y4. Is very bright across the board, particularly in maths where he is currently a 5A pushing towards a 6.

We have a pretty selective 11+ process (probably top 5-10% get in) but I am confident that with practise and the right attitude from him he would get in. It's a mixed grammar with 4 form entry.

DS however is saying he doesn't want to do it and just wants to go to the local 9 form entry high school, mainly on the basis of 1 of his friends going there. He's even said if we entered him he would intentionally muck up the exam!

DS is socially a bit 'different' - asks questions most kids won't have thought of, converses better with adults and can generally come across as quite geeky, although he loves playing sports which has helped him make friends in our village school.

I am 100% sure that the grammar is the right school for him, as are his teachers. I think at the high school he's be seen as a bit of a geek freak, and I am sure this 1 friend will drop him like a ton of bricks to join the cool kids, which my son will never be! The grammar I feel will stretch him more academically but also provide a group of children for him to be friends with who are likely to 'get' him.

My question is - how do I get him to see this school as being his best option? Obviously he has to want to go there himself as I can't take his 11+ for him!!!!!

His sister is taking it this September and my current initial plan is to get her a laptop if she passes (although she may be more borderline to pass)!

What can I do??!!

piggywigwig Fri 05-Jul-13 13:50:43

Is he particularly oppositional to suggestions that you or other adults make? Some children are, despite them knowing that what they're being asked to do is something that they want, will benefit from or downright ought to do. I know you say he doesn't want to do it because he wants to be with his friend and that's a common factor in a child's reasoning. One boy in DD2's class me that he was probably going to back out of the 11+ test 4 weeks before the date because three of his friends had made a pact that they all do it, or no-one did. This was sad because he was an incredibly bright boy who would have benefited from being really stretched. He didn't do it but that was of course, his choice.

Is his sister reluctant?

In my experience, if he doesn't want it for himself, ie it's not his goal/dream/ambition, then you're going to have a battle royale on your hands. If you forge ahead, then are you planning any preparation? How will he react to a tutor and the homework they set? Are you up for the energy, patience, time and commitment it will take from you, in order to keep him motivated, if he doesn't want to do it? Bribery very often doesn't work long-term, with a child who is opposed to prepping for and sitting the 11+. You may find yourself in the frustrating position of having to offer bigger and better "carrots", as he discovers out how it can really work out to his advantage. A laptop may not work for him.

What I can suggest in the first instance, is take him to the open evenings to see if he falls in love with the GS. Perhaps you could take his friend along too - a bit of a gamble but it may work. You never know, the friend may decide to go for the 11+, too wink

If he's adamant and remains so, then you will have an uphill struggle ahead of you and that could potentially be very destructive for your relationship - both short and long-term.

PastSellByDate Fri 05-Jul-13 14:09:56

agree with piggywiggy:

Your DC has to want to do it too.

My DD1 wants to take 11+ (certainly influenced by close friends who want to) - but is practicing once a week with family friend (who attends different school in our homespun DIY support group). This DC is very uncertain about 11+ & exams but my clever friend has chosen the line of this will help your education regardless & will be good for SATs. For her DC - there's a real issue with maths progress, so this is about catching up lost ground (in her opinion) where maths is concerned.

DC seems content with that. Has been signed up for taking 11+ exam (as it's free anyway) & she'll let her DC decide at the end of the summer (exam in September).

She's decided she can't force this - but is leaving all options open - because as she agreed with DC - if you change your mind in August and I haven't signed you up now there's nothing I can do.


FormaLurka Fri 05-Jul-13 14:25:36

My DB and his wife are highly paid professionals with no kids (yet) so life, for them, is 3 holidays a year, big house and the latest gadgets. We told DS that if he wants this kind of lifestyle then he needs to study hard. After that, getting him to study for the 11+ was easy peesy smile

Do you have any such role models. It's just at this age they need to be motivated by something more tangible than just getting good grades. Does he want to be a vet for example? Figure out what he wants to be and drive home the message that he needs good grades in order to get that job.

piggywigwig Fri 05-Jul-13 14:35:34

"Do you have any such role models. It's just at this age they need to be motivated by something more tangible than just getting good home the message that he needs good grades in order to get that job."

Not all children need tangible motivation - mine didn't - she wanted to go to GS, end of. The danger with emphasizing that they have to get good grades to get the career that they want and then tie that up with the 11+, is that you imply that GS is the only route to good grades and if the child fails, then they think they're not going to get the grades elsewhere and then not get their dream career which isn't necessarily true.

I agree that some need motivation but you have to exercise caution, to avoid setting yourself up, and more importantly, setting your child up for some problems to overcome.

xylem8 Fri 05-Jul-13 15:03:46

Take him to visit and point out all the things that will appeal to him.Bribe him in the 11+ exam

Tiggles Fri 05-Jul-13 15:04:29

DS1 wanted to go to the local comp (in special measures) like all his friends were, until I took him to see the school I had in mind for an open evening. The difference between the local comp open evening and the open evening at the school I liked were enough to convince him that he would actually like the other school more.

xylem8 Fri 05-Jul-13 15:04:35

He may be saying this about the 11+ because he is frightened of failing (however unlikely you think this might be)

biological Fri 05-Jul-13 15:20:56

I would probably separate the actual 11+ exam from final decisions about which school he goes to.
Ask, encourage/bribe him to do the exam just because it's good practice for future exams and interesting to see how he gets on with it, but make it clear that you won't force him to go to that school if he's still set against it after results are out. That would give him the chance to change his mind and keep his options open. Agree about visiting the school too.

FormaLurka Fri 05-Jul-13 15:30:49

Piggy - I agree that not all DCs need tangible motivation but it sounds like the OP's does smile

Elibean Fri 05-Jul-13 15:46:38

OP, I think, in your shoes, I would try and make a deal with my ds (who may very well change his mind before Y6 - a lot changes from Y4 to Y6).

My dd1, also Y4, has made similar noises over the past year...she's not nearly as good at maths as your ds, but is definitely capable of reaching level 5-6 before the 11+ and I want her to have the option, at that stage, of trying for some indie schools as well as visiting the local secondary.

I think, if I tried saying 'you will be, or should be, going to X school' at this stage I'd be shooting myself in the foot. What I do instead is let her know she will have input into the final decision, and that all we are doing meantime is giving her wider options...and on that basis, she is happy to do some tutoring in Y5.

Your ds might be (understandably) anxious about being separated from his friend/ backing off a little bit now might just give him the space to get more confident and think differently in a few months' time.

By the sound of it, he'll sail through into grammar school anyway - so you do have some leeway time-wise.

Elibean Fri 05-Jul-13 15:47:42

Oh yes, and do visit the school - for dd, the reality of seeing and feeling a place is infinitely more reassuring/attractive than the idea!

NoComet Fri 05-Jul-13 15:58:10

DD2 wouldn't, turns out one of get class mates didn't want to either.

I wanted to visit the school in Y4 they were unhelpful to the point of rudeness.

Their loss, DD2 is the sort to get good grades anywhere and I save £1000's in bus fares.

lljkk Fri 05-Jul-13 16:06:04

Shows everything wrong with the 11+.

Ingles2 Fri 05-Jul-13 16:18:03

So have you been to look around all of the school options with your son? Which did he like the look of?
Also if the grammar is a super selective,( ie only taking the top 5-10%,) then your local comp must also have children in the same ability bracket as your son.. and a top stream where he will be working to his ability.
What makes you think he'll not be able to find friends?
I have 2 sons... both G&T,
ds2 is also dyspraxic, geeky, very alternative.
Ds1 is at a traditional grammar, and doing brilliantly.
Ds2 was adamant that he wanted to go to the local comp and refused to sit the 11+. He's now at the end of yr 7 at the comp and is doing incredibly... academically better than brother at this age, with a group of friends for the first time, who have similar interests and is generally really happy. Personally I think people perform/achieve best when they are happy and comfortable. You should try to get past the elitism and find the best fit for your son.

Elibean Fri 05-Jul-13 16:28:05

Actually, come to think of it, the kid with the highest IQ in last year's Y6 (also geeky) is at the local comp and streaking ahead, and very very happy. His mum frequently tells me how pleased she is he went there.

We're not in a grammar school area, but nonetheless - does show it's best not to jump to conclusions about who does well where!

FlipertyJibbert Fri 05-Jul-13 16:52:59

Is there a reason he couldn't do well at the local comp?

I wouldn't worry about friends at the comp, especially if he enjoys sports too. There will be all sorts of kids at both schools.

If you make you DS go then I would be worried that your DS will forever blame you for anything that may go wrong. If he is opiniated at this age he may be an even more opiniated teen. Personally, I would try to convince him but I would probably leave the final decision to him.

SoupDragon Fri 05-Jul-13 16:55:49

As others have said, take him to see the schools. Find out why he is so resistant and why he is so keen on the other school - point out that he will probably be in a different class to his friend anyway.

Pyrrah Fri 05-Jul-13 16:57:06

Is the local comp dire, or just not as good as the GS?

Could you withdraw the option of the comp? Such as find an indy and say that if he doesn't sit the 11+ then he will be going to x school? I realise that this could backfire if he decides he like the look of the indy better!

Any chance of the friend sitting the 11+?

I would bribe as hard as possible for sure.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 05-Jul-13 16:59:56

They will easily get him at the local comp. there are a mix of all sorts of people. If you force him into doing something he doesn't want to do he could never forgive you. If it is so important to you, talk to him and explain why you think he should go. it is true that very few dc end up with friends they knew in primary. After a year or so its hard for them to remember which of their High school mates went to the same primary as them.
All you can do is reason with him, if this fails then imo you have to let him choose for himself. If he is bright he will do well, especially with the support you'll give him at home.

piggywigwig Fri 05-Jul-13 17:19:58

"Piggy - I agree that not all DCs need tangible motivation but it sounds like the OP's does smile"

I agree that he might need motivation but setting the GS and 11+ up a the gateway to happiness, material possessions and career dreams can be a little dangerous. As an ex GS pupil and having a DD who got into a superselective, it isn't the be-all-and-end-all, as my eldest DD proved - she didn't go to GS, is geeky, ultra-brainy and is still a success smile

I can only agree with SoupDragon

"As others have said, take him to see the schools. Find out why he is so resistant and why he is so keen on the other school - point out that he will probably be in a different class to his friend anyway."

Talkinpeace Fri 05-Jul-13 17:25:50

DO not forget that any school with a selective school on its doorstep is by definition NOT "comprehensive" as it is missing those who managed to get through the exam hell

the fact that the top of the non selective might do rather better than the bottom of the selective is the truth that dare not speak its name.

In a comp,
the top set should be aiming at straight A/A* at GCSE
second set should be A/B
third set B-D
fourth set passing at all
lowest set are just pleased to be "functionally literate"

DeWe Fri 05-Jul-13 23:45:07

Dh said exactly that, and his parents let him go to the comprehensive with his friends.
He will tell you that he made the right decision, he had excellent teaching and got to where he wanted to be academically.

However, if you actually talk to him about his first 5 years there, he was often bored (his parents went often into complain) didn't really have any good friends, and "had problems" with several members of his form.
In the 6th form he made some friends who were also academic.
He is very very academic, and stood out head and shoulders above the rest of his year in several subjects, so did get individual lessons in some of these subjects (because his parents pushed and because he was so far above the others.) and in a lot of ways individual treatment (eg. they put on a subject for GCSE that he wanted to do that they didn't offer usually).
I think it's notable that when his younger brother said the same, they ignored and put him in for the 11+ and he went to the grammar.

I suspect strongly that if he'd done the 11+ he would have done the test properly and would now be saying that he wouldn't have got where he is today if he hadn't done that-and would have had a happier time at school.

xylem8 Sat 06-Jul-13 07:28:22

the chqnces are that the other school isn't really a comp if they are missing the top 10% of the ability spectrum

NoComet Sat 06-Jul-13 15:29:18

DD's school is not a comp, and not a secondary modern either. No secondary modern has several DCs with Oxbridge offers.

Geography and pushy MC parents, mean our grammars don't have the brightest, but those who's parents need to believe their DCs are the brightest. For all, but the most local DCs it's cheap private education. Tutors and complex costly travel.

The boy with 4A* wanted to be treated as an adult and went to the local six-form collage.

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