Alleyns 11+ / What is the "level" of children who get a place?(11 Posts)
We are considering Alleyns as a secondary school for one of our DC who is finishing Year 5.
He's quite able, top set in Maths but middle set in English as it is not his first language and we speak a different language at home. However he is not the most hard working child on the planet and currently attends a state school which is why I am excluding some highly accademic schools from the list. It would indeed require pushing him too much and he would be deeply unhappy about that... Apart from that he's very sporty, likes arts (drawing especially), is very social and has a few friends there so we feel it could be the right school for him.
The issue is that I know Alleyns is very sought after so can be even more selective than some of the slightly more accademic schools! So I am starting to wonder whether he's got real chances to get a place and whether it's worth going through the process as it will require some tutoring (due to the state school and language issue).
For those with (relatively recent) experience with the school 11+ exams, I would be very grateful if you could let me know what level roughly were your DC working at when they did the exam (5, 6, +?) and whether they got offered a place or not...
Many thanks in advance for sharing your experience with me
It has relatively few spaces as it is co-ed. In my experience, the boys have been top set across the board and usually have something 'extra' to offer ie; a couple of musical instrument grades or LAMDA passes, or sporty.
Thank you snowsjoke, unfortunately that's what I fear... If he's not top set in Comprehension and Writing, is it worth even trying? What's frustrating is that it's really due to the language issue and lack of vocabulary. He's started to read a lot in English in the middle of this school year so I'm hoping it will help, alongside doing some comprehension and writing work at home however I wonder to which extent he can catch up with the top set in such a short period of time? (exams in 6 months).
Firstly ensure that the school know that he has EAL. I'd recommend a book called First Aid in English and work through it with him to ensure he is getting and understanding everything. I'd recommend taking a look at the eleven plus forum I think they have a lot of resources on there he would find useful. I don't think I'd be allowed to link to it from here but if you put in eleven plus forum as a Google search...
Alleyns is for the academic ones and arty ones too; I will give it a try and also have a plan B; there is no guarantees but you lose nothing. You will need to start tutoring now; if he gets a place great if he doesn't it will still be a learning experience for him and the tutoring will help improve his English. You will never know unless you try.
DD is at Alleyn's.
Alleyn's will be easier for boys than for girls simply because there are many more boys' choices with excellent facilites in this part of London with quite large intakes, e.g. Dulwich, Whitgift, Trinity to name just a few. A lot of boys will also be sitting Latymer and Sutton grammars. For girls, it's just JAGS.
Also, more boys will be sitting 11+ exams coming from states schools rather than private as a lot of private schools go to 13+ for boys.
I also believe that historically it was easier to predict the outcome for boys than for girls - for the latter it's often considered a lottery unless you are at the very top.
If he is at a state school, you speak another language at home, etc - you will need tutoring anyway for ANY academic school, not just Alleyn's. When I say tutoring I mean additional work at home - not necessarily with an external tutor. That could be doing practice papers, closing the curriculum gaps in time for exams, consolidating the basics, etc. You'd be the best judge of that given you know what his school is like. Re English, the only way forward is hard graft and you need to do that anyway for secondary - vocabulary development, literary techniques, ability to write a structured piece in a short period of time, etc. That's not pushing, that setting the foundation for academic work to come. DD had to write TONS of essay in both English and History at Alleyn's in Yr 7 so writing well is a good skill to have anyway.
Finally, I'd like to disperse the myth that these selective schools are full of academic geniuses that you'd have hard time to keep up with if you do tutoring and pass the exam just based on that. In Alleyn's specifically there are lots of kids form junior school (who get automatic entry) and siblings for whom criteria are lower so the actual spread of abilities is quite broad, at least in Yr 7 when there is no setting.
They just did end of year exams and the spread of grades is very wide from low 60s to 90+, and the latter sample is not that large, at least in DD's class. May be 3-5 kids (out 26) who consistently score that - the rest are stronger in one subject and weaker in another or around 60-70% across the board.
So I'd say go for it! 6 month is plenty to get ready with targeted work, but you and your DS do need to put the effort in.
Thank you so much for your replies, this is very helpful.
AmazingDisgrace: I will try and mention the additional language, that's a good point - I looked at the registration for some time ago and I think I remember we could mention it at this stage. Thanks for recommending the book "first aid in English", sounds great, reviews on amazon are amazing, I've just ordered it!
Luna: That's what my DH keeps telling me, even if he doesn't get in it's a good experience anyway and the boost from tutoring and practice at home will help him for wherever he goes afterwards.
Irisha: This is very interesting analysis and rather reassuring. I'll also keep that in mind when our DD does 11+ in a couple of years (although for her I am more inclined to chose single sex).
DD is also at Alleyn's and I'd agree with irisha that they're not all geniuses there! The entrance exam is just one part of the process - about half the candidates 'pass' and get called for interview and at that point they're all starting from the same point (apart from the scholarship interviews). If a child can shine at interview and offer something extra they'll be more likely to get a place than someone who's just academic with nothing else.
At dd's primary there was no surprise at which children got offered scholarships but there were a few surprises as to who didn't get through the interview
Alleyns is not that academic compared with some of the central London schools.A good way to ascertain this is to check its Oxbridge entrance rate which I think was around 10% last year.There is no reason a bright child from a state school should not get in- indeed I have known a couple of boys who have gone there recently. If your DS can do the 11 plus maths papers fairly easily (say 80% marks) then your task is actually quite easy as you can concentrate on the English.
Alleyns is rather a toss up for both sexes; the candidates need to pass the exam, (which usually means be in the top 200) but after that it comes down to which pupils they want to teach, and it's not necessarily the most academic ones.
Nearly every pupil in their own prep moves into the senior school, and I'm sure recommendations of suitability between the Foundation schools are taken seriously, though there isn't that much switching at 11+. There is also a pretty favourable sibling policy. This tends to mean there are far fewer places for newcomers than it appears.
Most years there are some surprises about who they do and don't offer to.
OP: do go for it. But apply to other schools too.
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