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Not passing 11+

(26 Posts)
NotEnoughTime Mon 30-May-11 13:38:16


Im asking this on behalf of my friend.

Her son didn't pass-I dont like to use the word "failed" in case I get flamed grin his 11+ exam last year to his suprise, his mums suprise and the schools suprise apparently. (He needed 121 marks to pass, he scored 119). He is now doing "ok" at his local secondary comp where a lot of his friends are. I get the impression that the boy is happy but his mum, my friend, isnt.

She is now talking about him doing the 12+ to see if could pass this and then secure a place at the local grammar school.

She has asked me my opinion on this matter and Im undecided. On one hand I think if her son is happy enough then he should stay where he is but on the other hand if his mum thinks he would be "better off" at the other school then surely she is right to try and get him a place there.

I have told her I will ask you all and see what you think. Many thanks.


menagerie Mon 30-May-11 15:25:55

Well...I admit to having a bias towards academic schools. If he missed by only two marks, and everyone who knows him was surprised, including those who taught him, then I'd go for it. Is there such a thing as 12 plus? Never heard of it. Is it like Common Entrance? That's allegedly much harder to pass.

Has she also looked into why he didn't pass? Was he underprepared? Did he have an off day" exam nerves? Had he ever sat a test before? Boys from state primaries have no chances at school to sit mocks, so the whole exam phenomenon is alien to them.

If it were my son, and the chance was there, I'd go for it, without a doubt, unless I didn't like the feel of the grammar, but thought the comp catered perfectly for his needs.

pawsnclaws Mon 30-May-11 16:10:09

What area are you in? I know that in Bucks you can take the 12+ but even if you pass there's no guarantee of getting a place at a grammar - there has to be a vacant place available. So I guess it would be a question of how confident she is that he will get a place assuming that he passes.

It may be that with a year's extra maturity he will get through, I guess it depends a great deal on personality. Have you tried the 11+ forum for more local advice?

Leverkusen Mon 30-May-11 16:13:15

I think he should stay where he is if he is happy.

He didn't even manage the pass mark, so if he does pass it is likely to be just by the skin of his teeth. He will spend his time at a grammar school playing catch up, and it could make him miserable.

LIZS Mon 30-May-11 16:14:54

If he's already in Year 7 isn't it too late for 12+ hmm. Agree there is only any point if they have spaces and no waiting list, passing itself may not be enough to get a palce.

NotEnoughTime Mon 30-May-11 17:46:31

Thanks everyone.

Yes we are in Bucks.

My friend thinks that a grammar school would suit her son better. I will direct her to the 11+ forum.

WhatsWrongWithYou Mon 30-May-11 17:51:36

DS1 joined his grammar in Y9, but he'd never taken the 11+. I might me wrong, but my impression was that if you'd tried once and failed they won't let you keep trying.
Definitely worth looking at the forum, though.

I must say, loads of children who did pass the test won't have got places - they take the top 120 for the school in my area, but there will be dozens more than that who passed. Just pointing out how far behind his peers your friend's son will be.

WhatsWrongWithYou Mon 30-May-11 17:53:13

I didn't put that very well, sorry. I meant that the boy might have been only 2 marks below the pass mark, but he will have been a lot more than two marks behind the others who got in on first round.

NotEnoughTime Mon 30-May-11 18:58:26

Thats ok, I know what you mean WhatsWrongWithYou smile

bubblecoral Mon 30-May-11 19:14:55

I would suggest she lets her son decide if he wants to go for the 12+, unless she has a very strong reason for wanting to move him that you haven't said on here. I would have thought that if he doesn't want to do it and is happy where he is that 'she thinks he would be better off' would not be a good enough reason to put him through another test, with possibly a smaller chance of getting a place than he had first time round.

I would also disagree with the comment above that Common ENterance Exams are harder to pass. They are not, apart from a few top independents. They are for people that can afford private education, not the most intelligent, and the test is purely to ensure that students are of a reasonable standard so they don't dreag their GCSE and A level results down.

If her son does want to do it, there is lots of good advice on the 11+ forum.

Hattiehoo Mon 30-May-11 21:11:25

I think with a score of 119, your friend's son has an excellent chance of getting through the Bucks 12+ . If he does pass there would be no need to be concerned about him keeping up with his peers many of whom might have only managed 121 in the first round. (Bucks operates purely on distance if the child has reached 121 and above, unlike Kent where 121 would perhaps often not result in a place at a local grammar ).

I know of one child who got 118 in the 11+ and then 136 in the 12+ so I'm sure for some children that extra year to mature makes a big difference.

I think if your friend thought her son was grammar school material before the 11+ and his teachers did as well, then provided there are places available in his Year group, she should encourage her son to sit the 12+. He may be happy where he is but that does not necessarily mean it will continue to serve his academic needs as well as a grammar might, but then I'm a fan of grammar schools!

jgbmum Mon 30-May-11 21:20:37

I would advise your friend to have an open discussion with his Head of Year. I would imagine that her son is in the top stream at his secondary school, and you say he is happy there, as a parent I would want to be reassured about what GCSE results the top stream achieve, it may well be comparable with the Grammar school.

mattellie Wed 01-Jun-11 15:29:47

As LIZS says, though, the 12+ has already been and gone, the children sit it in the spring term in Bucks. Your friend could put DS in for the 13+, but probably worth considering which grammar school they are targeting first: for example Dr Challoner’s sets its own entrance exams post-11+, while others may be full so you go through all the stress of taking the exam then can’t get in anywhere even if you pass.

It‘s also horse for courses, we have 1 DC at Bucks grammar school and 1 at local secondary modern, both equally happy.

NotEnoughTime Wed 01-Jun-11 21:09:10

Hi mattellie

The name of the school my friend would like her son to go to is called Dr Challoners (so maybe she means that she wants him to take that exam as well as/instead of the 12+ in order to get him into that school, its all very confusing to me as my children are still at primary school so Im not au fait yet re secondary.)

Would you pm me the initials of the secondary modern that your child is at as it would be interesting to see if it it the same one her son is at now.



sugartongue Wed 01-Jun-11 23:52:46

She thinks it would suit her son better, but she is misguided, because he didn't get in on the basis of the 11+ so the rest of the school are either brighter or better at taking exams and given how academic and exam driven grammar schools are, she is setting her son up to constantly be bottom of the pile and feel second best. I know a child who flunked the 11+ on purpose because he could not stand the pressure from his mother and he could only avoid it by not getting into the grammar. She should leave the poor child alone if he is happy. And a decent comprehensive is not the end of your life prospects, it can suit a child who blossoms later much better.

mattellie Thu 02-Jun-11 10:25:13

Hi NET, I’m sorry I don’t know how to send a PM blush, but happy to do it if someone who’s been here a bit longer than I have can explain…

If it’s Dr Challoner’s your friend is looking at, there’s no point her son taking the 12+ or 13+ as the school sets its own entrance exams. She should contact the school directly and ask them how to apply. He’ll need all level 5s in his Y6 SATS and evidence of steady progress since then.

Has she – and more importantly, her DS – visited Dr Challoner’s? As a large (1,100+), single-sex school it doesn’t appeal to everyone. It’s very much a boys’ school, IYSWIM, with all the advantages and disadvantages that has.

NotEnoughTime Thu 02-Jun-11 11:05:28

Hi mattellie I dont know how to PM either so Im blush too!

I will tell my friend what you said re Dr Challoners, thank you-I dont think she realises that. She has been to visit it and she (and her son) thought its was amazing.

Funny enough Im due to have a look around there this Sept for my own son. I do have a couple of friends with boys there and they all rave about it too. However Im not sure whether my son would be more suited at a mixed sex school but thats a whole new thread!

Thanks for your input.


LIZS Thu 02-Jun-11 11:39:54

Bear in mind he would be up against those from local Prep schools(ie The Beacon) who perhaps didn't pass 11+ so have stayed on for a second try and been tutored accordingly.

WhatsWrongWithYou Thu 02-Jun-11 12:18:06

PM tutorial: see the blue band above each post, along from the poster's username? Click on 'message poster' and the rest is self-explanatory.

Fwiw, I'm of the opinion that it's not doing the boy any favours moving him from where he's happy (have experience of moving DCs' schools for various reasons and it's never easy for them - seems mean in this case).

NotEnoughTime Thu 02-Jun-11 12:24:12

Yes you are right LIZS.

Oh deep joy-I have got all this to look forward to with my own son soon! He is at our local C of E state school but I Know he will be up against boys from the Beacon, Gayhurst etc to try and get one of those coveted places at grammar school, thats assuming that he will pass the 11+.

Already I have had comments like "What, your son hasn't got a tutor?" He is in year 4 and some of his friends have been tutored for the last two years. We moved to this area 6 months ago (for various reasons) and had I known there was going to be all this hysteria fuss I might have thought again.

Yes of course I want my son to go to a good school but not at the expense of his childhood. However it is hard to stand firm when you are the loan voice.


Butterbur Thu 02-Jun-11 12:25:52

Chesham Grammar apparently put on an extra class in Y8 onwards for children who have been successful at the 12+.

12+ places at Dr Challoners are like hens' teeth - except for the occasional class which has major discipline problems.

Butterbur Thu 02-Jun-11 12:32:31

Notenoughtime, you can tutor your son yourself - get copies of past papers online, or in the local bookshops. That's all we did - from about Xmas/Easter in Y5, one paper, once a week.

Going to one of the private schools isn't necessarily an advantage. The Beacon in particular seems more geared up to Common Entrance than 11+, and doesn't especially want its brightest pupils disappearing at 11 rather than paying for 2 more years of private education. Apparently it doesn't tutor for the 11+ - according to a friend whose son went there.

NotEnoughTime Thu 02-Jun-11 12:43:48

Thanks Butterbur.

Incidentally Chesham Grammar was the mixed school I was thinking of for my son. I and (more importantly my son) are going to look at our two catchment grammer schools and two comps this Sept so hopefully we will get a good feel for the schools then.

FWIW I picked both my sons primary schools on the "feel" of them (not the OFSTED reports and other people opinions) and I have been really happy with them so hopefully that will work this time around as well.

Nice Idea to tutor him myself but I really dont think I would be able to. Someone showed me a practise 11+ paper the other day and I can honestly say it looked like a foreign language grin

Butterbur Thu 02-Jun-11 12:49:40

I got DH to tutor ours, because I am such a crap teacher, with no patience.

If you go to a tutor, a lot of them want to start after the October half term in Y5, so its a long time, and a lot of money.

mattellie Thu 02-Jun-11 15:34:27

NET, we would also be in the camp that raves about Dr Challoner’s, I just thought it worth mentioning that it suits a certain type of boy more than others. Don’t let me put you off! I agree entirely with your sentiment of picking schools on their ‘feel’ – they don‘t try to hide the fact that they are set up to teach boys so IMHO your DS will either love Dr Challoner’s when you look round, or he won’t.

As for tutoring, I agree with Butterbur. An hour a week from about the turn of the year is ample. If neither you nor DH want/feel able to do this yourselves you could employ a tutor. The main reason for doing some preparation is that DCs have to not only be familiar with the type of question, but also the speed at which they need to work.

Incidentally, there are places available at Challoner’s post-11+, they just don’t advertise the fact!

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