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Have your children got into Grammar school without tutoring?

(130 Posts)
Seasider Thu 08-Sep-11 10:14:24

Live in Dorset and would like son to go to Poole Grammar, but wider question is, as above, has anyone had a child get into Grammar without paying for a private tutor?

Yellowstone Thu 08-Sep-11 10:34:17

Yes, several. As have lots of other parents at our school (a so-called 'super-selective).

Seasider Thu 08-Sep-11 10:36:48

Thank you. That is good to know.

TheWomanOnTheBus Thu 08-Sep-11 10:59:18

Clever children will always get in without. Middling might get in without. Poorer children can get in if they are tutored. Of course - as the schools are at pains to point out - they might then struggle when they get there (and of course may have deprived someone else of a place who might have thrived there - a middling child, not tutored, who developed late).

So - everyone - lets all stop the tutoring! Everyone benefits.

slavetofilofax Thu 08-Sep-11 11:27:33

My son got in without private tutoring, but we did do a couple of practice papers for each of the tests at home. He was 10th on the waiting list on allocation day, so if other people had not refused their place, he would not have got in. I feel that if we had have done more work at home, it may have made all the difference and got him the extra 2 marks that would have guaranteed him a place and saved us stress while on the waiting list.

I strongly disagree that clever children will always get in without tutoring, it very very much depends on the school, their admissions criteria, and the level of competition for each place. It may be true in grammar school areas, but it is definately not true for grammar schools that are surrounded by comprehensives.

My ds's grammar school states on it's website that they expect to have more applicants that are suitable for a place, than they have places to offer. Grammar schools that are not in grammar school areas often have the top students from 70 primary or prep schools, they are all clever children but the grammar school simply doesn't have enough space for all of them, so they take the children that score the highest on the day of the test.

TheWomanOnTheBus Thu 08-Sep-11 11:44:11

Ok, the cleverest children will always get in without tutoring (by definition!).

The others are all stressing themselves and their parents out by this relentless competition..... yes, tutoring may have got the extra 2 marks but then what if those below in the rankings had just that much extra tutoring so they got an additional 3 marks ....

All too stressful really.

slavetofilofax Thu 08-Sep-11 12:01:59

I think in the type of school I'm talking about, an extra three marks through tutoring would still mean that that child was capable of keeping up with the standard at a grammar school. The point is that while the cleverest may get a place, there are still very clever children that won't. I find that quite sad.

Some parents (like me! smile) have reasons other than the academic standard for wanting their children to go to a grammar school rather than a comp, and while I agree that all the competition is too much stress, if you know that the temporary stress is going to make a huge difference to your child's education and theri happiness over the next seven years, then it doesn't seem that big a price to pay.

Jinx1906 Thu 08-Sep-11 12:46:36

We had no choice but to tutor our DC. The state primary schools in our area are completely out performed by the private schools. A large share of the kids taking up GS places in Bexley comes from Indies. I once saw a breakdown from the council and the results were shock. If the standard of teaching in our Primary schools would be of the same level as the Indies we would not have to result to tutoring.

Kiggy Thu 08-Sep-11 13:46:07

Yes they can. It also does not need to be a stressful situation either. I have 2 children at grammar schools and it was definitely the best thing for them. One morning of exams was less stressful for my son than another 7 years of being bullied for being a nerd!

CustardCake Thu 08-Sep-11 13:48:51

slave - that is the case in lots of grammars.
I don't know Poole or how many applicants it gets but where you get 12 or 13 applicants fighting for each place then it is too simplistic to say clever children will get in with no tutoring and anyone who needs tutoring will struggle once at Grammar School.

The difference between getting a place and being 50th on the waiting list can be literally just 4 marks - 7 marks (lots of children get the same mark as each other) when 1500 children take the test.
Take into account exam nerves and being lucky / unlucky with the questions or making a silly mistake on the day and you can see that there is no discernable difference in intellect between the child who gets in and the one who sits at number 30 on the list and never gets a place who only had 3 marks less.

In some areas of the country every child who passes the test can have a place and in those areas, tutoring perhaps is seen as less essential but, elsewhere not every child passing the 11+ will get a place at Grammar School and the schools just take the top 100 scores out of all those who pass. In such areas you can see why tutoring to get those extra 2 or 3 marks is so popular.

Seasider Thu 08-Sep-11 14:15:50

I am working with DS at home as tutoring is not viable for us. I hope that he will get into his choice of Grammar as that is where most of his closest friends are aiming for and I think that the local comp is not going to be the place for him to enjoy himself or thrive...

And I would have let him go to a comprehensive if we had a better one near us, so it's not a snobby thing!

Jinx1906 Thu 08-Sep-11 14:28:24

We didn't have a tutor, we used the tutoring school of mum and dad. But even if we didn't want our DC to go to GS we would have done the same, because sadly the primary school was not very good.

slavetofilofax Thu 08-Sep-11 14:30:47

Completely agree CustardCake.

Seasider, I totally see where you are coming from and why this is important to you. Our local comp is actually a very good one, so although I wouldn't have been devestated if ds had to go there, I know that it wouldn't serve him as well as the grammar.

I know people on here say the 11+forum is quite scary, and I know I found it intimidating when I first looked, but it is very good for getting information about the particular scool you are aiming for. 11+ tests vary greatly throughout the country, so it's good to find out as much as you can about the tests your ds will be taking so you can prepare him as best you can.

DollyTwat Thu 08-Sep-11 14:32:40

I've just arranged a tutor for ds1, he is very bright, gets A's always and when he took an assessment for the tutor he got 78%

I think he would pass without the tutoring, however the verbal reasoning skills aren't covered at school, so he won't learn these in a structured way. He really wants to go to grammar school so I think it's worth tutoring him in these skills. The competition for our grammar is very tough so if he knows how to go about answering the questions he's not at a disadvantage

I think it's a shame that primary schools aren't supporting those children who want to take the exam

Hullygully Thu 08-Sep-11 14:37:41

Yes. But do practice papers at home so they know the types of questions and techniques - it really really matters. And there's loads of free tests on the 11+ plus forum.

Hullygully Thu 08-Sep-11 14:37:57

<waves to Dolly>

DollyTwat Thu 08-Sep-11 14:39:10

snogs Hully

TheWomanOnTheBus Thu 08-Sep-11 14:49:07

custardcake makes a great case for abolishing the grammars. It all seems so random and therefore unfair for all the reason she says ....

slavetofilofax Thu 08-Sep-11 14:53:41

Wouldn't it be better if they provided more Grammars, so that every child who would be better suited to that type of education would be able to access it?

CustardCake Thu 08-Sep-11 15:00:19

TheWomanOnTheBus - it is random and unfair because, as slave says, there are roughly 500 children in a large area who pass the 11+ and would benefit from being at a Grammar School but there is only space for about 100 of them to go.
Since there aren't enough Grammar Schools to accomodate all the children who pass, the random nature of getting a place has become being dependent on 1 or 2 marks either way in a long exam and hence the endless rise in tutoring to win these crucial extra couple of marks!

I don't know that this proves we should abolish Grammars though. It just proves that the system of allocation is unfair because there are far more exceptionally bright children than there are school places to meet their needs.

Hullygully Thu 08-Sep-11 15:01:14

Sadly they are great for the children that do go to them, and shit for all the rest.

TheWomanOnTheBus Thu 08-Sep-11 15:01:28

But no matter how many you have you then have the problem of deciding (testing) who is "suited" and who is not and so the randomness at the boundary will still exist, and there will always be limited space and so unless there is a particularly "dense" year then competition (and spiral of tutoring) will come in again.

Better to have schools (some parts of the Uk are fully comp after all) which find the right path for all children with flexiblity to move around, so its not just a question of do you hit the mark on one test at age 11.

But lets not hijack the thread. (my fault, I admit).

CustardCake Thu 08-Sep-11 15:13:08

Hullygully - actually the advantage of the huge competition to get in to Grammar School is that hundreds of exceptionally bright children every year fail to get a place (even if they pass the 11+ they don't get in) so they go to local comps instead. And as a result local schools in Grammar School areas often do very well out of this in terms of results and reputation. The pupils do well too because its nolonger the case that the top 25% have been creamed off at aged 11 and the 'rest' sent to a secondary modern. A lot of the very brightest children are at comps and therefore the levels of expectations are very high both from staff and parents.

Hullygully Thu 08-Sep-11 15:21:11

Not round my way they don't - the parents send em private if they don't get in. The comps get the rest.

TheWomanOnTheBus Thu 08-Sep-11 15:30:50

The local "secondary moderns" you mean (not comprehensive if there are local grammar schools at the school is not then all ability) ..... hmmm... so if the comps/SMs (whatever they are called) are so good, why the competition to get into the grammars.

Seems all a lot of stress and money over nothing then.

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