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11+ prep - worth trying?

(31 Posts)
Bestbabbymum Tue 26-Sep-17 22:24:23

Hello all

My DC is in year 5 now and we are thinking whether 11+ is worth trying. He is good at math, VR, NVR but struggles with English. Our nearest secondary is not where we want him to be. So it's either to try grammar schools or independent ones. The nearest grammar is Tiffin but competition is high. Other grammar schools far away (Buckinghamshire) but they said that they have no catchment areas, i.e. anyone can apply. My question is would it be easier to get into one of Buckinghamshire grammars or Tiffin? Should we actually do any prep if chances are litlle? Most of DC classmates are just going to aplly to local states. Any advice is much appreciated!

Growingpeopleme Wed 27-Sep-17 06:29:06

If you are close enough for Tiffin could you also sit for the Sutton Grammers? I think they can be marginally easier to get in to.

FoofFoof Wed 27-Sep-17 07:21:55

Bucks grammars award on distance once you have met the qualifying score of 121 (so scoring 177 is no better than 121). However bright your child is if you live too far away you won't get a place. Look at the elevenplus forum - historical allocation distances for all Bucks grammars are shown on there.

Teddygirlonce Wed 27-Sep-17 07:29:03

I think they can be marginally easier to get in to - not sure that's really true. It's just there seems to be a total frenzy about Tiffin, particularly as it's the most accessible from West London (whereas the Sutton ones aren't, except with a very convoluted/long journey).

I think you may find that Wilson's (one of the Sutton grammars) consistently outperforms Tiffin (Boys) in league tables, although for the girls grammars Tiffin does usually edge it over Sutton competitors.

The Kingston/Sutton grammars are super-selectives in a way that the Bucks ones aren't (I don't think). Check any league tables and you will find that the SW London borough ones year on year generally outperform the Bucks grammars by some margin.

You need to look at the entry requirements for all, TBQH.

It is possible to get into a super-selective with additional input from Year 5, BUT probably becoming less and less easy to do so. The demand for places is ramping up every year. Most children seem to start being tutored from Year 3/4 (and many continue to be so right through secondary school too, even once they're in grammar schools).

And grammar schools don't necessarily serve all their pupils to reach their potential in a way that you'd necessarily consider they would. If you've got a reasonably bright child you may find a very good comprehensive will serve them better. IMHO (having been to one myself and having a DS who is at one), grammar schools generally require DC to be self-motivated learners - they are not spoon-fed. If you've got a child who's not, you may find that they don't actually achieve as well as they should do/would do in a more 'pushy' comprehensive educational environment.

Good luck!

JoJoSM2 Wed 27-Sep-17 10:30:22

I think it's always worth trying - even if he's doesn't get in, he'll be that big smarter for it. The competition is fierce- about 6,000 kids sat the Sutton test and I believe Tiffin gets in excess of 2,000 applicants. I'm not familiar with the Bucks grammars. It takes a very bright child and tons of prep to stand a chance. You might be more lucky in the independent sector so it'd be good to keep your options open.

Wimbles101 Wed 27-Sep-17 10:41:46

Yep have to agree the competition is crazy and getting crazier.y ds1 is now at a lovely independent school having been put on a waiting list for a surrey grammar. He is so happy and now won't even think of moving if a place comes up.

Wilsons and SGS are nowadays considered the 'better' Surrey grammars and are just as tough as Tiffin - often the same boys will sit for all three schools.

SGS has a lovely head but the places are extremely competitive. Boys that would have got in a few years ago are not getting in now.

Wimbles101 Wed 27-Sep-17 10:44:15

Sorry to answer your question: unless your boy is extremely bright and at the top of the top sets he will struggle with only one year's prep. The boys are often tutored from about yr 3 if not earlier.

At this point someone usually pipes up that their child only prepared in the summer - pls remember that the standards are getting ever higher and generally this is the exception and not the rule!

BubblesBuddy Wed 27-Sep-17 13:20:18

It is easier to get into a Bucks grammar. It does not take a very bright child with tons of prep to get a place and certainly not from Y3.

However, they will cut off applicants by distance if they are over subscribed. So living a huge commute away will not get you a place because so many more will live fairly locally, especially in the South of the county. Bucks has 13 grammar schools so does not set the bar as high as the super-selectives such as Tiffin. Their results are first class though and you would not be disappointed in any of them. They just have a few less stellar pupils than Tiffin!

Nanglo789 Thu 28-Sep-17 15:14:33

We did Tiffin and Sutton GS last year. Sutton ones are much easier to get into. Tiffin is extremely hard - specially maths. Some of the questions i have seen are more like year 8-9, they still follow the basics but the child will need to think logically - they are looking for someone who can use their brains to solve these problems.

English 1st round is full of vocabulary and SPAG - is your DC a keen reader, if so he will be at an advantage. For secodn stage you will need to start preparing now as there won't be enough time between the two tests.

You have almost one year to prepare - if your DC and you are dedicated plus he is top set in class, it is doable.

Ollycat Thu 28-Sep-17 15:22:19

Bucks Grammars all have catchment areas. You have to qualify (121+) and then spaces are given to catchment first and then OOC by distance.

Where do you live? Look at past allocations- I would think if you are close to Tiffin that it would be very unlikely that you live close enough to any Bucks school to get a place!

Ollycat Thu 28-Sep-17 15:26:16

Sorry meant to add my children are in a Bucks grammar school - for the last few years they have not offered places beyond 3 miles in catchment - so not all of catchment.

Bestbabbymum Thu 28-Sep-17 16:57:38

Dear all, thanks for your responses. I would probably give this idea if 11+ tutoring if chances to get into grammars are little. DC is above average in most subjects but not English. Going private (Hampton) is the other option we consider but they only test math and English not VR:VNR plus they look at music/sport achievements. DS does a lot of sport (clubs every day but each club once a week) but they all non competitive. Should we actually sign him up for squads some that he can compete.

Thanks again for any advice

poisonedbypen Thu 28-Sep-17 17:10:10

The superselectives have stellar GCSE results because they select so highly at 11 plus. Buckinghamshire grammars take approx 30% (35 maybe?) Of children so have a much wider range. You won't get in from where you are though so it is a waste of effort, money (for the schools) & stress.

Taffeta Thu 28-Sep-17 17:13:31

I'd only sign him up for squads and competitive sport if he's interested in it.

JoJoSM2 Thu 28-Sep-17 18:34:39

If he isn't great at English but sporty, then the right independent school might be a better fit and also more likely for him to get in. I would still prep him for 11+ to make sure he performs to the best of his ability in exams. Competitive clubs are a good idea if he's willing and good at a particular sport (not just for school application but a boost to his self-esteem too).

FoxyinherRoxy Thu 28-Sep-17 18:38:46

How will he cope if he gets in? Will he bob along in the bottom sets? Or could he be in the top sets at high school?

Where will he get the best education experience for him? Grammars are all very different and aren’t necessarily the best fit for all, no matter how bright.

Bestbabbymum Wed 04-Oct-17 18:35:07

Hello all

Thanks for your responses. A new dilemma now having attended open days at both local state schools and grammar schools. All seem to be very nice. The state ones don't seem to be very different from the grammar ones. Just wondering if it's worth doing any 11+ prep now while DS friends parents are simply going to apply to local states. How easy would that be not to have so much free time. On the other hand I would prefer DS to do more studies now and try either grammars or independents. Anyone been in a similar position?

JoJoSM2 Wed 04-Oct-17 19:03:45

Boils down to your parenting. Some parents want their children to be academic, get ahead, get into selective schools. That entails a lot of preparation and studying. If you're not that fussed about attainment, then don't spend time studying.

christinarossetti Wed 04-Oct-17 19:24:06

Even more than that, I'd say that it boils down the the motivation of the child to want to get into either a particular school or any grammar school. This may because they're very motivated academically, are naturally competitive, love something about a particular school or want to please their parents or a combination of those things.

Bestbabbymum Wed 04-Oct-17 20:51:47

DS loves science and some of the grammar and local schools we attended have excellent science labs so he wants to get into one of these. I am very academic myseokf and was totally self motivated as a child. DS is less so but this is down to many factors - school friends not doing 11+, toys and games etc. He doesn't get to watch much telly or play games during weekdays only a couple of hours in weekends. He does his school homework very eagerly but they get very little of it (one page of math and one of English). I would prefer him to study more so we do some extra (bond books) but not much. I think he has the potential which would be sad not to develop. Loves reading books too, always reads about an hour before going to bed while I take my little one to bed.

I just think it would be so much easier if all schools had a single 11+ approach so that the children could sit one set of tests rather than several! DS is willing to do the prep but i am concerned that he will have to sit for exams at 4 schools hence hesitating if we should do it now. Or perhaps applying to local states now, then trying 13+ at a later stage when he is a bit more mature. He is an August born child so one of the youngest in his class. Any thoughts from summer born boys parents?

FoxyinherRoxy Wed 04-Oct-17 22:04:37

The problem with applying later is that there may not be places.

Either you decide where he goes, or leave it to him (and that will be where his friends go).

You seem keen on the grammar route, so I would do the prep in a bid to create ‘choices’. He doesn’t have To choose a grammar if he passes.

JoJoSM2 Wed 04-Oct-17 22:29:53

What's the problem with sitting exams at 4 different schools?

Bestbabbymum Thu 05-Oct-17 08:54:07

The problem is that each school has its own exams so need to do different prep for each((

poisonedbypen Thu 05-Oct-17 09:01:46

Grammar schools are state schools confused

poisonedbypen Thu 05-Oct-17 09:03:29

And the schools may be full at 13.Some don't have entry then anyway.Unless you are talking about independent schools? You have confused me with your talk of "state" & "grammar".

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