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At 11plus do academic top 50 independents only want all rounders

(20 Posts)
Taminini Mon 10-Dec-18 14:12:05

Where a school has three papers, say for English, Maths and VR/NVR are they looking for children who are great at all, or will they sometimes pick out a child with a special talent in maths or English but who might be more average in the other subject? Anyone got any experience of their child getting in when they only excel at one or the other and not both?

OP’s posts: |
winterishereithink Mon 10-Dec-18 14:30:27

My DC was definitely stronger at maths and VR- English, particularly comprehension, was always distinctly average! Got several offers from good SW London schools.

winterishereithink Mon 10-Dec-18 14:32:28

And at the school they ended up at, lots of children are stronger in one area - both academic and extra curricular. A few all round stars but generally I'd say the schools need a bit of a mix of all sorts.

jeanne16 Mon 10-Dec-18 14:32:45

I’m sure they will say they take ones who are only good at, say, Stem subjects, but that is not my experience. My DS didn’t get into any of the top London indies and ended up at one in the so- called B league. He got good GCSEs but not all A*s but then went on to get 4 A*s at A level because he could ditch French and English. He is now at Cambridge doing Maths.

The lesson I learnt from this is that the top schools probably add far less value than you think.

Teacakesandcoffee01 Mon 10-Dec-18 16:11:31

If you are thinking about SW London, they will offer a waiting list place to a dc who is sporty (sports scholarship Level) and has the needed level in English but below mark needed in Maths. It's unlikely you will get a straight offer if 1 of the papers is high but the other way below the needed mark with having an extra curricular strength etc. There are a lot of all rounders sitting these exams. Outside London it may be different.

Needmoresleep Mon 10-Dec-18 16:36:26

OP where did you pick up that notion from?

Of course good schools will take strong mathematicians, or potential novelists. The only proviso being that they can keep up in their weaker subjects.

The real world is not composed only of good all rounders.

Loopytiles Mon 10-Dec-18 16:38:02

Presumably it will depend on the number and scores of the other candidates.

Canadawet Mon 10-Dec-18 17:01:15

I think by all rounders one usually means academic (both math and English), musical and sporty. I think that a very poor score in english or math would be detrimental to the admission process, however good the other paper is. Jeanne16's point about top schools' added value very valid indeed.

winterishereithink Mon 10-Dec-18 17:29:19

A very poor score might be detrimental but an 'average' score might well be ok. Certainly at DC's school ( a very sought after SW London one) there are some who are good at maths, not so good at other subjects and vice versa. Some haven't got a musical bone in their body and others not remotely interested in sport. Having gone through the 11 plus twice I really don't think you need to be great at everything!

Taminini Tue 11-Dec-18 09:31:31

Thanks that’s interesting. I have a DS who is very good at English but probably high side of average in maths. It feels like the 11+ exams are more heavily weighted to maths and VR so wondering if they're more likely to pick a child who’s good at maths and weaker at English rather than the other way around

OP’s posts: |
Beamur Tue 11-Dec-18 09:35:57

My DD took the 11+ last year. Exam had been altered from previous years to remove a weighting towards maths. She excelled at English and VR but with a bit of tutoring went from below average to pretty good at maths. She scored in top 100 of all the kids who took the exam that year.

RosieBenenden Tue 11-Dec-18 09:53:30

Have DDs at Chelt Ladies and whilst both performed to very high levels in Maths they were weaker in other areas. I think the Coll took and does take a broader view of all round ability yet did say that if a girl is exceptional in only one area they will still want her as they can work on the rest whilst still fast-tracking her in her main area. Boarding too is such a bonus as the days are much longer and the girls can be given extra academic support in order to excel.

TJsAunt Tue 11-Dec-18 10:00:51

I think dd's school even allows for this in their admissions policy? Along the lines of needing good scores across the board but exception will be made for candidates who are exceptionally strong in one area. Still need to be ok at the other stuff but less so.

bsc Tue 11-Dec-18 10:06:13

Top 5 independent, chooses according to cohort. They want children that complement one another. Some will shine in maths/sciences, others in arts.
They do love incredibly strong all-rounders though...

sandybayley Tue 11-Dec-18 11:35:29

There has to be a base level below which school won't make an offer. If a candidate is really strong in Maths they still have to pass English - and vice versa!

DS2 (admittedly for 7+) was really strong in English but less so in maths. We talked to the Prep school Headmaster about it and his view was that the weaker Maths result could be turned around by good teaching but a weak English result was harder to turn round.

6 years on DS2 is still much better at English than maths but good teaching will probably still get him a strong GCSE result.

ChocolateWombat Tue 11-Dec-18 19:26:20

I agree that there will be a base level below which a school won't go .....but it will differ for different schools.

I know of one who asks their maths department what score at 11+ is likely to be the lowest needed to get an A at GCSE - they find that they have loads who are well above it but really are loathe to take anyone with maths below that level. In that school, the English seems a little more flexible, but still, if someone has very poor literacy, ability in a wide range of subjects will be affected and lots of schools won't take them.

Of course, lots of independents set exams, but essentially aren't actually selective. They know that applications are lowish or theyvarevhigh but they aren't top choice for most and will have to massively over-offer in order to fill. Those schools look selective and perhaps deliver very decent results with less than stellar intakes, but they have to be willing to take quite a lot who might have one area of strength or at least reasonable prerformance, whilst others might be pretty weak.

MrsPatmore Tue 11-Dec-18 19:44:09

I think if your ds is good at English then he'll be a strong candidate. We found that strong English seemed to be the decider for the boys at several of the top schools. Lots of boys are great at maths but their English skills don't match up.

montenuit Thu 13-Dec-18 12:54:34

i agree with MrsPatmore. English is harder to coach / teach than maths and boys are typically weaker than the girls at 11.

Re all rounders, at dd's school a few of the brilliant mathematicians are bottom set English. Clearly there's a minimum standard but you don't have to be great at everything.

Changemyname18 Thu 13-Dec-18 22:01:00

Agree with chocolate wombat about there being a base level, but for those that take a significant number from state primary, I think they look at areas of perceived weakness with a pinch of salt. My DS did a pre test, (in Yr5 with the school as a practice)was higher in NVR and maths, weaker in English. VR can be taught more easily than NVR I think. Between this and the actual 11+, he had a dyslexia diagnosis which the school took into account. He thinks he got his place by absolutely storming the NVR which he could just do instinctively, so they couldn't ignore a really high score in that despite his english being weaker.I think he was helped by several prep school kids opting for grammar places out of area, us showing commitment to the school by putting him in for the pre test and his primary school previously supplying very strong students to the school. (more a factor of the area we live in rather than the primary school per se). All very cynical I know, but thankfully it's the best fit school for him close to home, and he's thriving there. I was worried like the OP that hed be competing with the maths genius/literature buff/county sports player, especially coming at this from the state system, but i have been pleasantly proved wrong. He doesn't consider his classmates to be way brighter than him, he has always held his own in virtually all subjects, and only notices a difference with those that are more naturally gifted in Maths (was never going to be top 2 sets)and French was hard, because of his dyslexia. Thankfully German and Latin are more logical to him, so French got the boot!

Needmoresleep Fri 14-Dec-18 12:33:40

It is worth considering what schools are looking for. DD was very one-sided (maths and sport) so we targetted co-eds. The co-ed she ended up attending is particularly over subscribed for boys (very few 11+ academic boy day places in West London). We wanted somewhere strong in maths, and my guess was they wanted girls who could go a small way to balancing the number of boys in the top maths/science sets.

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