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Tell me about getting in to a selective STATE grammar school please.

(109 Posts)
LupusinaLlamasuit Tue 07-Jul-09 14:55:58

Yes, yes, yes. I know. It is wrong and shabby and my socialist principles will have to go in the bin and I will have to hand back my Trotsky hat and badge blah blah blah.

It is probably even MORE wrong than a private selective school.

But we are weighing up all the options, and the most likely is still the decent 'normal' state school just up the road.

But I just want to have a look at it (the out of county selective grammar) and see. So before I do, I need to know what I need to know IYSWIM. There will be examinations and 'inside information' and stuff won't there?

He is very bright but guess he will need practice papers, yes? Is it worth doing the exam just to see or is that too stressful allround and do we risk losing a place at the local school therein?

Thanks grin

madwomanintheattic Tue 07-Jul-09 14:58:27

<lurks in anticipation of 'handy hints for grammar virgins'. licks pencil.>

LupusinaLlamasuit Tue 07-Jul-09 15:07:55

For example, how important it the statement from current primary school? What other factors are usually taken into account? Do they interview? Do they want to see rounded accomplishments etc? Should we fill in the bit on the application form that says 'please add anything else you wish to add to your application'? And what kind of things go on there?

heronsfly Tue 07-Jul-09 15:11:41

I think a lot of the answers you are looking for depend on where in the country you are thinking about,different leas and schools have very different entry criteria,I know all about the system in east kent,if thats any help.

LupusinaLlamasuit Tue 07-Jul-09 15:13:00

And it is going to be even more competitive this year right? Because all the fee-paying schools will be emptying as parents go bust?

What does 'top quartile' of academic population really mean? I know what it means in the context of our little primary. But how do I work out whether that compares to national stuff? That is, is it possible to map on National Curriculum levels to the top quartile of ability across all schools?

Am I making sense?

heronsfly Tue 07-Jul-09 15:14:50

Sorry,that sounded very pompous,obviouly I dont know it all,but a fair bit anyway grin

LupusinaLlamasuit Tue 07-Jul-09 15:17:24

A long way from Kent grin

But thanks anyway. School in question is part of the Haberdashers' Company, but not fee-paying. Looks vv academic. I think we have to apply via local authority AND application/entrance exam via school.

It's all a mystery to me <comp girl>

abraid Tue 07-Jul-09 15:20:27

THere's a forum called or something like that which has regional forums that might be able to help you.

margotfonteyn Tue 07-Jul-09 15:49:11

If it is very oversubscribed, do not imagine your v bright child will sail in....that is the best advice I can give.

If you know the format of the tests, you will need to practice them with your child. There will probably be people who are having their children tutored. It is up to you whether to go down that route. (I didn't and my 3 still got places if that helps). I aimed for them to be getting at least 95% on the practice papers. (Sorry if this is scary but I presume this is the info you want).Mine were all pretty bright at primary school but were never flagged up as being exceptionally bright (gifted and talented didn't exist then!). Teachers certainly never came up to be extolling their marvellousness or anything, (apart from once with v nice teacher with DC3!.).

The eleven plus website has a wealth of info but is a bit over the top.

Once at the grammar school they have been fine. Haven't found it too hard or competitive. Found it less stressful than for some of their contemporaries striving to stay in top set of our local very good comp.

From a completely personal perspective I found it better for my boys to be in a school where all of them are of the same ability more or less (ie no bullying for being bright etc., and there is NO bullying at all there).

Hope this helps.

margotfonteyn Tue 07-Jul-09 15:51:26

PS The admissions criteria will vary from county to county. Although I think it is now illegal for the LA to not give you the local comp if you don't pass the test to the grammar school, as it used to be.

UnquietDad Tue 07-Jul-09 15:53:57

I'd recommend learning to spell practise.

LupusinaLlamasuit Tue 07-Jul-09 15:54:13

yes margot, thanks, that is exactly the kind of stuff I need to know. I think the ratio is one place for four applicants.

Yes, have realised that the tests (and knowing what they look like etc, how to read questions properly etc) are all important.

I guess if he's not willing to do the practice tests, it is not worth entering him into the exam?

So many things to think about. Quite a long daily commute also, and away from his friends. Ho hum. I dunno.

andiem Tue 07-Jul-09 15:55:01

my advice would be move your child to a private prep now or get them tutored
We have two selective state schools in our borough they are consistently in the top 10 in the country
most of the pupils who attend do not live in the borough and have come from private schools
personally I wouldn't touch them with a bargepole they are extremely competitive when you go and the girl's school has 6x the number of referrals for eating disorders and self harming than the other girl's schools in the borough
this year 2500 boys sat the exam for 120 places and the entrance mark was 98%

LupusinaLlamasuit Tue 07-Jul-09 15:56:56

Oooh, PhD level pedantry UQD! vv good.

Will remember Grammar Schools prefer archaic English as opposed to common usage...


margotfonteyn Tue 07-Jul-09 15:57:15

I know, I saw that as soon as I posted!

margotfonteyn Tue 07-Jul-09 15:58:21

At least I didn't type grammer......

LupusinaLlamasuit Tue 07-Jul-09 15:59:22

ACtually I think UQD meant me using 'practice' not you but we could instead have a debate about whether practice is in fact correct usage?

Bettymum Tue 07-Jul-09 16:02:07

I went to a selective state girls grammar <cough> 25 years ago. I did a LOT of practice papers at home before taking the exams; you could buy the books of past papers in WHSmith, I think. It was and still is a fantastic school and was well worth all those hours of multiple reasoning...

margotfonteyn Tue 07-Jul-09 16:04:57

This is very pedantic but I think you meant, we need to buy 'the practice papers' which I think is correct, and I said you need to practice, when it should be practise???

At least that's what I thought as soon as I read my message (before UQD's comment so sticks tongue out at UQD)

UnquietDad Tue 07-Jul-09 16:14:07

No, "practice papers" is right, I think, because it's a noun. But "to practise" is the verb.

LupusinaLlamasuit Tue 07-Jul-09 16:14:51

He's buggered off now to leave us to fight it out amongst ourselves. grin

Anyhow. Back to it. So, do you know if the primary school report matters an awful lot? Not that I am worried about it (on the contrary) but wondering if they do the right thing for such schools (don't know how many they do)...

LupusinaLlamasuit Tue 07-Jul-09 16:16:02

And 95% in a timed test presumably?


LupusinaLlamasuit Tue 07-Jul-09 16:16:57

See. I was grammatically accurate and didn't even know it: that's the benefit of a state comprehensive education in the late 1970s right there...

mumblechum Tue 07-Jul-09 16:17:09

Our ds got into grammar without any coaching, but he did practice papers at home for several months before hand.

In Bucks, you need to score 121 out of 141 to get in.

Even if your dc passes, there's no guarantee of them getting a place if they're out of catchment.

The school ds got into is something like 28th in the country, everyone gets all A* blah blah blah.

I personally feel it was definitely worthwhile, he goes to a fantastic school. The main part goes back to 1620, it's all cloisters and rose gardens and the headmasters labrador wandering round but has state of the art facilities that would have cost a bomb if it were private.

I'd say go for it but be prepared for your dc having to do v v hard work to get a high enough mark i the 11 plus.

Go to the 11plus forum website, the people are often a bit obsessive but I found it q. helpful.

LupusinaLlamasuit Tue 07-Jul-09 16:18:20

Does anyone else send their kid to a grammar 20-30 miles away?

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