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If your kids go to a good grammar school, please come talk to me about admissions

(39 Posts)
AtheneNoctua Wed 12-Aug-09 17:11:09

I'm planning way ahead here (as I do). But, assuming grammar schools are still around in the next decade, I want to know how one might prepare dher children for the best chance of getting in.

Is there a national admissions test?
Does each grammar school have it's own test?
Are there things not taught in state schools that they might need to know?

I'm just an ignorant foreigner here so not sure how it all works.

I do not wish to discuss the morality of the existance of grammar schools. I want to know how best to get my kids into the best one possible as my ability to fork out for private school (which was my plan) is in question.

Metella Wed 12-Aug-09 17:26:57

You need this website

11+ site

It is different all over the country and some areas don't have grammars at all.

MrsWobble Wed 12-Aug-09 17:31:24

1. No national admissions test.
2. Each school has its own admissions policy - schools within an LEA often share a test.
3. I wouldn't expect knowledge outside the national curriculum for a state grammar school - but you probably already know that a lot of schools called grammar schools are fee paying independents so check which ones you are looking at.

How best to get your children in? Check the admissions criteria and do what you can to be as high up the list as possible. Tutoring can be helpful as it familiarises them with the 11+ but it's not necessary to pay someone else to do it - you can buy the books and supervise it yourself - it's really only a matter of getting practiced at answering the types of question.

And final bit of advice, don't dismiss non-grammar schools. Your children are not guaranteed places and you need them to feel confident and happy about wherever they end up - this is much harder if they end up at a school you have been rude about. There are some (and quite a lot in fact) very good non-grammar state schools. league tables are not everything - I imagine you want your children to do well and are not overly concerned about the "average" result unless it has a negative impact on your own.

AtheneNoctua Wed 12-Aug-09 22:03:23

Thanks both of you. Does this mean that if you selected three different schools in three different LEAs you would be looking at three different tests?

giantkatestacks Wed 12-Aug-09 22:04:50

Yes - though often they have historically held them on the same day so that you can only go to 1 - round my way they used to do that and have only just changed it...

Lizzylou Wed 12-Aug-09 22:06:47

We have an excellent grammar nearby (better results than private schools in the area) and I have been thinking about this even though mine are only 5 and 3.

I am sure you can request past papers and also that there will be local tutors who will be in the know about how to get children through the admissions process.

They are all differnt though, best of luck.

AtheneNoctua Thu 13-Aug-09 09:53:29

And what about catchments. I thought they didn't apply to Grammar schools but I have now read some things online that say otherwise. Do they all have catchments?

giantkatestacks Thu 13-Aug-09 10:27:49

Ours dont (cue much local wailing and gnashing of teeth) - under the Greenwich ruling they cant get away with having any sort of catchment anymore.

It really depends where you are - it all varies school to school...

Lizzylou Thu 13-Aug-09 10:29:18

Ours has a catchment which is set in zones, we'd be in the outer edge zone (perhaps we should move?).
As said before though, I think they are all different.

MrsWobble Thu 13-Aug-09 12:02:21

whilst i don't think living in catchment gives any automatic places many/most grammar schools do have distance to school in their admissions criteria so if you live too far away you won't get a place.

i think there are two main variants - (i) where you need to live within a certain distance and then places are awarded on the basis of exam results and (ii) where you need to pass the exam and places are awarded on the basis of distance.

we have both these arrangements at the grammar schools near us so you need to find out which. there are minor variants as well - eg one LEA operates version (ii) except for a handful of places awarded to those who come top irrespective of where they live and another LEA operates a version of (i) with separate zones and different exam hurdles in each zone.

there really is no substitute for careful reading of the admissions criteria for the school(s) you are interested in. And be aware that they may (and often do) change so keep checking.

deaddei Thu 13-Aug-09 12:45:28

lizzylou- our grammars do not release past papers- you just have to do a lot of Bond ones.
op- you will need a tutor from yr 5- they should assess your dc as to whether they are suitable candidates. No point flogging a dead horse, scraping in and then not coping in yr 7.
The grammar in our town has 120 places- probably 1500-2000 applicants. Many successful boys do not live in the borough- although school suggests that parents consider travelling distance, many travel a hell of a way.

cat64 Thu 13-Aug-09 13:06:41

Message withdrawn

LadyMuck Thu 13-Aug-09 13:19:36

Locally the 3 grammar schools all set different tests. It is I am afraid a matter of reading up on the position locally.

I tend to find that parents use the phrase "tutor" rather differently.

You might use a tutor because your dc is weak in a particular subject, say maths or English. A good tutor will help your child with the basics certainly at KS2.

You might use a tutor because you are afraid that your school is not going to complete the curriculum in time for the exams (though most grammar schools will be factoring this in).

You might use a tutor to help in familiarising your dc with the specific exam papers. Eg the way in which a 10 year old would approach a 20 minute essay exam is different from the way they would approach a 50 minute one.

Most parents that I know will give their dcs some help or pointers in the latter category, in the form of giving them bond papers, helping them with tips on timing, reading the questions etc. Many but not all parents locally tend to use a tutor for this and then the tutor can also help with any other difficulties that the dcs encounter eg is they are weak on fractions or something.

AtheneNoctua Thu 13-Aug-09 14:09:00

I am near the Tiffin schools in Kingston. So they are on my radar for sure. However, I have to be realistic and think that my kids might not get in. So, I am considering plan B. I have been pondering the option of moving somewhere like Kent for othr Grammar school options. But, I am now realising that you can not just apply to a variety of school and then organise to live within commuting distance.

DD is entering year 2 and DS is entering Reception this year. So, I have quite a bit of time. DD is on the Tiffin Tutor list.

My plan B had been private school. But, I am now reconsidering whether or not I will really be able to afford private school in 4 years. So, I'm trying to find out more about Grammar schools.

And, of course, I realise Tiffin (or some other grammar school) might not end up to be what is the best school for them. But, at this stage it's a bit of a guessing game. DD is definitely more inclined towards math and reason type skills than she is a reader. DS is probaly oppositely inclined.

deaddei Thu 13-Aug-09 14:38:22

You do have to be a particular type for Tiffin girls especially- you either love it or hate it! Very academic, very high achieving- and has its fair share of girls who have emotional problems as a result.(like all schools)

AtheneNoctua Thu 13-Aug-09 14:42:04

Well, at age 6, I don't know if she is VERY academic. She is bright. And she is mega competitive. And I think those things might transfer to very academic.

What sort of girl do you need to be to succeed at Tiffin.

And what sort of boy would succeed at the other Tiffin?

Metella Thu 13-Aug-09 14:45:07

Tiffin schools are super selective and very difficult to get into.

In parts of Kent (not all) it is definitely easier to get into a grammar school. Bucks may be another option.

giantkatestacks Thu 13-Aug-09 15:12:11

Tiffin has no catchment area at all (hence lots of dcs getting the train from Clapham)...and lots of the boys come from schools like Rokeby...

deaddei Thu 13-Aug-09 15:20:16

Many come further away than Clapham!

AtheneNoctua Thu 13-Aug-09 15:41:50

What is Rokeby?

deaddei Thu 13-Aug-09 15:45:38

Independent boys school on the leafy Coombe estate- not sure why Giantkatestacks mentioned it specifically! I know it has a bit of an eyecandy head.....
Many boys go from state schools too- lots of Korean/Indian/Sri Lankan boys seem to get places.Burlington school sent quite a few this year I heard.(a state school in New Malden)

giantkatestacks Thu 13-Aug-09 15:59:27

I just meant that lots of prep school boys get in and that Rokeby don't seem to mind - unlike lots of other prep schools.

Anecdotally from staff a lot of the boys are over tutored to get in and then struggle once they're there.

andiem Thu 13-Aug-09 16:04:31

last year for tiffin over 2000 boys sat the exam for 120 places
I have a friend whose ds was at prep school did the exam got 98 and came 210th on the list
we are not bothering to even attempt it
and daeddi is right about tiffin girls there are 6x the referrals for self harm and eating disorders from there compared to the other girl's schools in the borough

deaddei Thu 13-Aug-09 16:09:31

Exactly gianthaystacks....I think if your child struggles once there, it's the worst thing for them. My son is going into yr 6, and yes, will be sitting 2 grammar school tests....but I am now reconsidering options (I have posted this on another thread)
What I think IS important, is that any child sitting 11 plus knows that if they don't get a place -IT IS NOT THEIR FAULT, THE SKY WILL NOT FALL IN AND IT IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD.
Their parents may (and some do) feel like it has, but my son knows if he did not get in- so what.He knows the odds.
I have seen a few children very very distressed because they didn't get in and been made to feel that they have let their parents down. One child actually said to me "now I've got to go where all the crap boys end up".
Why don't prep schools like their boys going to Tiffin? I would have thought they'd be most impressed!

deaddei Thu 13-Aug-09 16:10:51

Andiem- are you RBK?

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