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New test for Tiffin Girls

(134 Posts)
legallady Mon 20-Feb-12 22:26:49

This will really put the cat amongst the pigeons!

I have a lot of sympathy for those girls planning for 2013 admission and who have only just found out that they will now have to prepare for numeracy and literacy (at Level 5 and above) as well as VR and NVR just in case they are lucky enough to be one of the 400 girls to get through the first stage testing confused

CarrotsAreNotTheOnlyVegetables Tue 28-Feb-12 09:43:45

thetasigmamum - you ask where the DCs who are bubbling "just under" the Tiffin Girls level go. Well, in the local area they go to the local excellent girls comp and do just as well in the top streams, along with the super bright DDs who were securely in the Tiffin range but chose to opt out of the frightening arms race of tutoring.

thetasigmamum Tue 28-Feb-12 11:43:09

carrots well, lucky old you, living in an area with excellent single sex comps (such as the school I went to when I was a kid). You do realise that not all kids live in areas where there are excellent comps though? And further, you do realise that many kids who go to superselective Grammar Schools (at least as good as Tiffins if not better) get there without entering into what I agree sounds like a frightening arms race of tutoring.

If every area had excellent comps with a viable top stream where the very brightest kids were not held back or bullied for being 'swots' then that would be perfect, really, wouldn't it. But not every area is lucky like that.

Yellowtip Tue 28-Feb-12 12:00:33

I can't quite see why the super bright DDs didn't just opt of of tutoring then, whilst opting into the exam confused.

Is it a London phenomenon, this arms race, or does MN distort the reality?

thetasigmamum Tue 28-Feb-12 12:05:09

@Yellowtip The arms race isn't something I encountered when DD1 did the test for the superselective GS in our area. Fewer people apply though. I guess the London arms race (and it does sound bonkers) is a function of the huge numbers applying. I also don't quite understand why the super bright DDs didn't do the exam without tutoring.

mumzy Tue 28-Feb-12 12:11:28

Having just gone through this process I would say if you wanted your dc in a super selective gs or a top indie in the london area then they need to be a grade 5 across the board ( English, maths, writing) by end of year 5 and working towards level 6 in all areas by the time they take 11+ in january of year 6. At gs which takes top 25% of pupils or less academic indie then level 4a across the board by end of year 5 and working towards level 5 in year 6. Dc from state schools do require tutoring for ss gs as they wouldn't have covered some of the work asked in the 11+ and enterance exams.

mumzy Tue 28-Feb-12 12:16:47

IME level 6 Maths, English comprehension, grammar, punctuation, spellings, essay writing took a lot more time to teach and practise than VR and NVR so IMO the former is a better reflection of a child's ability .

Yellowtip Tue 28-Feb-12 12:26:48

No grammar school can disadvantage state school students by setting questions which can only be answered if parents have the funds to buy tutoring. The point about setting questions based on the whole of the Y6 curriculum is that schools don't all teach the subjects in the same order, so it's intended to counter that.

It's interesting that you say that London superselectives in effect require level 6 whilst several achieve the same results or worse than superselectives in other parts of the country where level 5 is enough. How does that work?

YummyHoney Tue 28-Feb-12 13:47:50

Yellowtip, state schools don't teach VR and NVR so they are disadvantaged . But we don't live in an equal world and there will always be disadvantaged children, whether it's money, health or crap parents. I know several single mothers on benefits who paid for tuition for their children and succeeded in getting them into top grammar schools. IMO any bright child can have a shot at gs if their parent/s want it for them.

Yellowtip Tue 28-Feb-12 13:59:37

You don't need to be 'taught' VR and NVR.

It's slightly beside the point to make the observation that life isn't equal. The point is that grammar schools cannot possibly set tests which are knowingly going to disadvantage state school children.

There are plenty of single mothers on benefits whose background is strikingly middle class and whose separated status entitles them to Child Tax Credit, which is a benefit. I expect that those paying for tutoring tend mostly to fall into that category rather than being those who've battled with disadvantage and poverty for most of their lives.

thetasigmamum Tue 28-Feb-12 14:33:39

@Yellowtip I'm guessing that in London maybe the people who get offered places are at or approaching level 6 because there are so few places and so many applying and the top marks get the places. An awful lot more kids 'pass' the exams after all, than get offered places.

CustardCake Tue 28-Feb-12 14:43:33

That is exactly the case thetasigmamum. For each of the London Grammars there are 10 - 12 children applying per place and, since there are no catchment areas, the applicants are made up of the very brightest children from a 20 - 30 mile radius.
Basically you get 1500+ children who are each near the top of their own Primary Schools for ability all fighting it out for 150 places with the places going to those of them who get the highest score on the day.
The mark you need to achieve therefore to not only pass the test but to actually get a place is very high and this is driven not by the school asking for ridiculously high standards but by the need to beat competition from 1400 others who are also all very bright.

thetasigmamum Tue 28-Feb-12 14:53:17

@CustardCake our superselective has a radius of 50 miles. But, the population density is lower, hence fewer applicants than Tiffins evidently enjoys.

CustardCake Tue 28-Feb-12 15:09:22

thetasigmamum - Tiffins actually gets applicants from all over the country because parents plan to relocate to Kingston if their child gets a place - the actual radius therefore is unlimited but mostly applicants are from within all the London Boroughs plus Surrey (so thousands of potential people in other words)

Yellowtip Tue 28-Feb-12 15:34:58

Sure, I get that thetasigmamum. The question was why if the intake at Tiffin's is better than ours, why don't they get better results?

I'm just being annoying really, it's all this talk of 'cream' smile

Yellowtip Tue 28-Feb-12 15:36:13

Actually it's not really a question, because I know the answer smile

thetasigmamum Tue 28-Feb-12 15:49:14

@custardcake Tiffins isn't alone in getting the 'willing to relocate' crew. We get them too. Many from London. grin

kensingtonia Tue 28-Feb-12 17:14:12

Yellowtip what school are you referring to as better than Tiffin Girls re results and what measure are you using (value added, number of A*, A/B combined etc? As a parent I would say the girls on admission mainly fall into two categories - very intelligent with fairly minimal preparation and those who are quite intelligent but who have worked bloody hard. The vast majority of parents are extremely supportive. I think all girls in the school are more than capable of getting a A* in every GCSE subject. A small minority refuse to work, some have personal issues such as divorcing parents, illness, boyfriend problems or whatever. All these can affect results. Although support is there, unlike private schools of my acquaintance Tiffin does not spoon feed and it is ultimately up to the girls themselves if they have the motiviation to succeed.

mumzy Tue 28-Feb-12 17:22:40

We Did all additional teaching and tutoring between dh and myself so the only cost was bond books , got a lot of free teaching/ practice materials from internet, so you don't need to pay for a tutor. TBH if I couldn't tutor him myself I would have got a short term additional job to pay for some else to do it. It depends how much how much you want your child to attend the best school in the end.

thetasigmamum Tue 28-Feb-12 17:25:08

@kensingtonia I'm guessing one of Colchester Royal Grammar, Altrincham Grammar school for girls, Invicta grammar school, King Edward VI grammar school Chelmsford, King Edward VI Camp Hill (boys), or Colyton if you're talking A levels. Alternatively, Lawrence Sherrif, Newstead Wood, Colchester High, Colyton, Skipton Girls high, Fort Pitt, Westcliffe high, Edward VI camp hill (girls), Altrincham or St Olaves if you are talking GCSEs.
If you're talking both, then it would be just Altrincham and Colyton I suppose.

Anyway - there are quite a few of them in that list (from the BBC website).

thetasigmamum Tue 28-Feb-12 17:27:07

@kensingtonia Actually - NO. The Altrincham in the GCSE list is the Boys version. (I was getting tired fingers copy typing all the names and that was my downfall. Sloppy work on my part wink ) So there is only one school above Tiffin on both lists. According to the BBC. But the stats can be manipulated in many ways as we know.

Yellowtip Tue 28-Feb-12 17:40:57

I was taking a random broad brush holistic bohemian sort of approach and thinking of a CVA/ GCSE/ A Level/ leavers' destinations sort of medley kensingtonia.

I would imagine the same issues affect most pupils in comparable schools and that the parent body gives generally the same sort of support.

kensingtonia Tue 28-Feb-12 17:46:42

I think in the Telegraph TGS was the top state school at GCSE last year. It was about 10th at A' level from memory. I agree that the results can be interpreted according to which measure you use.
I remember reading years ago about a test devised by Durham University for secondary school entrants which was apparently not possible to tutor for. Personally I would much rather see a test of potential rather than how well students have already been prepared. If you can't afford to tutor or even buy practice papers you are stuffed. To be honest though, I think the school rather likes having motivated hard working girls and their supportive (pushy!) parents.

Yellowtip Tue 28-Feb-12 18:09:37

Agree. Unfortunately those papers are prohibitively expensive to use.

CustardCake Tue 28-Feb-12 18:09:54

That's always been the rationale as to why schools with very strict faith criteria perform so well. Any parent who will jump through hoops for years in advance to secure a good school place is by definition interested in their child's education and that counts for a lot in terms of how well children do.

thetasigmamum Tue 28-Feb-12 18:10:58

@kingstonia the Telegraph and the Graun (and the Times too, probably, but I don't buy the Murdoch press) publish tables on results day which are unverified and sometimes play fast and loose with the data. The BBC table I was quoting from was the one from the DfES published in January 2012, using the verified DfES data.

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