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Grammar schools mid/north essex - can anyone restore my faith please?

(28 Posts)
minxthemanx Sat 02-Mar-13 08:01:51

At the moment I haven;t heard of ONE child from a state primary in our area to have been given a place at Colchester or Chelmsford grammars. But PLENTY of kids from independent schools. I teach year 6, and we have 10 children this year sailing through Level 6 (2 years ahead), and I would have put money on 4 of them going to grammar school. Not one of them got a place yesterday. All the kids I know who got a grammar place yesterday are from private school. Please, someone, restore my faith and reassure me that grammar schools are not predominantly for those who can afford private education (and therefore VR, tests, 11+ prep from a young age.) I'd love to hear of any state kids that got a place.

minxthemanx Mon 04-Mar-13 10:13:29

Sensible points, daphne, thank you. I know these kids will do well, although a couple are going to secondary schools with v low academic performance, but am still a little sad for them as they would have thrived in the grammar environment. Hey ho.

daphnedill Sun 03-Mar-13 17:07:46

North Essex parent here. My DD (now 20) refused to do the 11+. Five of the pupils from her primary school gained places at the Chelmsford grammars. Ironically, they all ended up going to similar universities as my dd.

My ds passed the 11+ and was offered a place at CRGS, but in the end we turned it down, because he would have ended up on a school bus for three hours a day with friends all over the place. He's now at a comp and is predicted to get 11 A/A*s at GCSE, three of which he's doing early. I honestly don't think that not going to a grammar school has done him any harm.

ByTheSea Sat 02-Mar-13 20:43:41

Thanks piggywigwig! smile

ByTheSea Sat 02-Mar-13 20:40:52

Thanks piggywigwig! smile

piggywigwig Sat 02-Mar-13 20:21:50

You're very welcome smile As for predictions, I'm not a teacher, I'm afraid, blush merely a DIY parent. I agree that many children who would, as I mentioned above, "fly" in a meteoric fashion at GS, miss their chance by virtue of their performance on the day. It's sad. My DD1 was one of those, she was a very late developer with SEN and would have done incredibly well. However with a score of over 281 but less than 335 on the day, it was never going to be. She did well at the secondary school she eventually ended up at (the first was a nightmare and is to this day, atrocious). So all is not lost for these children, especially if, as RedHelenB suggests, they end up at the same secondary wink

I'm so sorry to hear about your DD, I was really hoping you'd do it sad I'm pleased to hear you have got a good secondary, though because hard-workers and achievers still continue to be hard-workers and achievers despite the 11+ wink

Piggywigwig aka "The Emoticon Junkie & Compulsive Winker"

ByTheSea Sat 02-Mar-13 19:40:36

BTW, DD2 is certainly very able and would thrive at a grammar too. Thankfully, we got a place for a good comp. Our catchment comp is dire (and I speak from experience.

ByTheSea Sat 02-Mar-13 19:36:35

DD 2, currently in Y6 at same primary, choked on 11+ (would have been fine for Southend but not north Essex grammars), did not get a place but one girl from her school did.

ByTheSea Sat 02-Mar-13 19:31:59

My DD, currently in year 9 at one of the schools you mention,went to state primary.

RedHelenB Sat 02-Mar-13 19:30:07

If you have 10 kids sailing at level 6 then I see no reason why they won't get a/a* at GCSE at the school they have got into. Hopefully they can bounce off each other & the other state kids that haven't got in & may well show the grammar school up!!

minxthemanx Sat 02-Mar-13 17:03:53

Piggy thank you for your comments. When I posted early this morning, I had yet to hear of ANY children from the state primaries in my area who had grammar places, yet had heard of several from indies. Our school normally has 2 or 3 offers of grammar each year, and we can fairly accurately predict who is in with a good chance, as I'm sure you can. As someone with 22 years in the job, I'm realistic about kids' ability, and I was very, very surprised that none of ours this year got offers - like I said, this particular group are academically very high achieving and indeed very able all round (philosophy, sport, everything.) They would flourish at grammar, and cope with the pressure without a problem.

Since reading comments on the 11+ forum, I have been reassured that lots of children from state primaries have won places. It was really helpful to know that, and assured me that the indie/state balance is fair. I still don't know of any pupils in my immediate area who've got in to Chelmsford or Colchester, but there are plenty from surrounding areas - I'm so pleased for them, but gutted for those in my school who didn't.

And thank you for clarifying about the changes for 2014 - I knew the schools had discussed it, but not which of the grammars were changing their entrance test.

Personally I'm very, very glad that i grew up in a county which didn't have any of this stress cos we didn't have grammars......far more sensible!!

piggywigwig Sat 02-Mar-13 14:37:57

..or I've got a nervous twitch

piggywigwig Sat 02-Mar-13 14:37:05

Maybe I'm a winker?

NewFerry Sat 02-Mar-13 14:25:46


wink x7


Just curious, but really, why?

piggywigwig Sat 02-Mar-13 14:13:05

Many I take a couple of your points in turn?

" I guess that's why the Chelmsford?colchester grammars are thinking of changing the entrance test so you can't be coached for it - about time, but too late for our children, sadly. "

The CSSE, who set the exams for all the member selective schools except Chelmsford County High School for Girls, have thankfully made a clear statement that there are NO plans to introduce the CEM-type test in any of the other member schools. It can be found here wink

But in brief, it states that "The Consortium would like to reassure you that there are no plans to change the tests which are well
established and understood. "

I wouldn't want to set people wrongly panicking or celebrating (depending on their standpoint) that KEGS in Chelmsford, or CRGS and CoCHS in Colchester are going to change their testing systems. wink

"Thanks Clouds, I think that's what is bothering me - these exceptionally able Yr 6 kids who would thrive at the grammars, but have been beaten to the places from those from the independent sector."

Without clear evidence, may I offer the thought that it's a little difficult to state, or even tentatively suggest that independent school pupils have "beaten" state school children to place at CoCHS and CRGS? Without access to the figures, none of us knows whether this is truly the case. wink

It could be a huge number of factors has contributed - not least of which is that there may have been a higher than normal cohort of above average state school children taking the exam this year.

More people may have been prepared to take a "punt" this year because the exam was brought forward in order to allow parents to make a more informed decision about school preferences on the CAF form. In previous years, when the 11+ came after the 31st October deadline, it was a real gamble putting a GS in the top 3 - people suggested that you could throw away your chances on something that was highly unlikely to come to fruition.

The changes in catchment areas in Southend and Chelmsford could have had an effect on the numbers taking the exam and consequently the pressure on places allocated. Who knows what's happened in that respect but there's been so many theories?

More state-educated children may have been better prepared and tutored for the exam this year. Sadly, the 11+ isn't merely about intelligence and KS2 SATS levels aren't necessarily good indicators of potential success at 11+ tests. It's three exams that test exam technique and stamina as much as anything else. Whilst I accept that Level 6 signifies a bright child (I've got a Level 6'er in YR6 myself) that in itself, isn't always going to be enough to get your bum on a seat in Norman Way, come September each year. The children have to be working beyond KS2 by the time they take the test in September of YR 6 - the tests are simply that demanding, as you no doubt know. Many children, whilst capable of "flying" quite meteorically at GS, aren't able to cope with the demands of the tree consecutive exams on the day. Super-bright children from state and independent schools can fall prey to nerves and brain fatigue on the day - nerves don't selectively effect one or the other group wink

It's a highly complex issue - an an emotive one. We all invest so much in children, whether parents or teachers and we want them to get the rewards for their work. The 11+ has, and always will be a gamble.

I don't want to see a system where only those with money get the resources to enable them to better secure the advantages of a GS education. However, that's what we have and to be honest, you could find that financially and socially "better-off" state school children may be equally as able to beat your pupils to a GS place, as privately educated ones wink It's sadly more complex than state v private.

I truly feel your pain but the reality is that even those sitting the more "tutor-proof" exams need a bit of help with exam technique and timing.

I think you may be pleasantly surprised that a significant number of state-educated children do get their bums on seats at Lexden Road and Norman Way wink I know the 11+ Forum, where a very similarly worded thread has been stated today, shows this to be the case wink

minxthemanx Sat 02-Mar-13 13:38:23

brentwood i'm really pleased to hear that, as I think the 11+ system at the moment has become farcical. I'm sad that it won't help the lovely, exceptionally able kids I know this year who have missed out on a grammar place because their parents can't afford years of private education and/or years of coaching. sad

brentwoodgal Sat 02-Mar-13 10:02:09

brentwoodgal Sat 02-Mar-13 10:00:18

Chelmsford County High are changing their exam for 2014 entry - no longer CSSE, and apparently difficult to tutor for. Will be interesting to see if this makes a difference to the state/indie ratios.

FrauMoose Sat 02-Mar-13 09:47:10

I'm in a different area but one with grammar schools. I think the Foundation running the grammar schools does try very hard to make the test one that is not easy to coach for - they don't publish past papers etc. Nonetheless there is a big coaching industry. The majority of successful applicants come from state primary schools - there aren't a huge quantity of independent primary ones in my city - but the children are probably more likely to come from the more highly-rated primary schools, have parents who are involved in their children's education etc. I've always felt the jury was out on the coaching system in my area. Lots of parents shell out, but I didn't and my child was offered a place. However most of her class mates had additional tuition when they were in KS2.

CloudsAndTrees Sat 02-Mar-13 09:28:15

Is there a test that can't be coached for? It would be great if there was, but I'm not sure I believe it.

hwjm1945 Sat 02-Mar-13 09:10:30

Just so unfair that in grammar areas the intake of the comps is so skewed

minxthemanx Sat 02-Mar-13 09:10:13

Thanks Clouds, I think that's what is bothering me - these exceptionally able Yr 6 kids who would thrive at the grammars, but have been beaten to the places from those from the independent sector. I'm only really talking about Colchester/Chelmsford area as several of our kids had scores easily high enough for Southend grammars, but too far away. Colchester/Chelmsford require about 30 marks more than Southend schools. Like I said, I think the system is ridiculous and is not just about bright children. I guess that's why the Chelmsford?colchester grammars are thinking of changing the entrance test so you can't be coached for it - about time, but too late for our children, sadly.

minxthemanx Sat 02-Mar-13 09:04:11

Thanks ladies. I'm glad to hear there are a few. We normally have 2 or 3 from our 60 Yr 6 pupils that get a place, and am staggered that this year we have none - from the brightest cohort we've had for years. Yet I know of many from independent schools who have been offered places. Well done to those who have achieved a place.

CloudsAndTrees Sat 02-Mar-13 08:58:55

My ds goes to a SS grammar from state primary, along with one other child from his year. This year two children got GS places, but there are many more that would have been of a high enough standard and would have benefitted from a GS place.

hwjm1945 Sat 02-Mar-13 08:54:00

In our area maybe one out of 120 kids on a year group at our good middle class state primary get into selective.many are tutored heavily.

RobotLover68 Sat 02-Mar-13 08:51:10

Yes, I know of 1 from our school who got KEGS and 2 from another school who got County. I haven't even been asking around as mine are not in the relevant year atm. So it was really out of the blue I heard about those three.

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