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11 plus????Help please from anyone who has succesfully been though this process.

(34 Posts)
keevamum Tue 27-Oct-09 13:30:39

Where we live there are some very good grammar schools. However, the competition for places are phenomenal with a lot of children going from the private sector aswell. My DD has always been one of the brightest children at both of her schools which I hasten to add also has lots of ex private school children there. But how can I tell is she bright enough?? She is in Year 5 at the moment so she won't be due to sit it until next year but we bought some copies of previous 11 plus papers which I got her to do under exam like conditions and she did well I think, scoring 82% overall. Now bear in mind this was her first experience and she is only in year 5. Should I consider going down the route of tutoring for her to try to get her to improve on these marks and work her socks off? Or do you think her scores prove she is not quite capable? Should she be getting higher marks even at this stage? If you have a son or daugther at grammar school, what were their scores?

keevamum Tue 27-Oct-09 14:41:35


BirthdayCard Tue 27-Oct-09 15:13:43

I would say they are very good scores for a child just at the beginning of year 5.

But the marks you need do depend on the area you live in and the way the local grammar schools allocate places

Here in Essex the 11+ doesn't really have a pass mark. Children are ranked on their overall score and the top 120 marks get the 120 places (well in Chelmsford anyway.)

ALso the overall competition for grammar school places is phenomenally high in the present economic climate and 3/4 of the girls who get into our local grammar school are from the private sector.

lavenderkate Tue 27-Oct-09 15:23:56

Sounds a very good score. She is bright.
Been down this route ourselves with our DDs and they are both at selective schools and happy.My advice wuld be...

Get the practise papers and a tutor to keep you on the right path but not to teach if you understand what I mean.
There's nothing worse than a little mite whose passed 11+ but struggles for the next 6 years at that school. I was that mite.

If she's meant to go, she'll pass. Good luck.

keevamum Tue 27-Oct-09 15:23:58

Thanks for that and we are actually in the same area. Our first choice would be Chelmsford. Do you really think they are good scores? My husband went to KEGS and he got 99%.

BirthdayCard Tue 27-Oct-09 16:42:32

If you go on the 11+ forum for Essex herethere are threads where people state the scores their Dcs achieved in order to get into Grammar schools.

There are some quite surprising results actually- much lower than you'd imagine but they do vary from year to year- some papers are way harder than others.

The 2008 English paper for example (Graham Greene The destructors))was easier reading material than the year before (Thomas HArdy-Tess of the D'ubervilles!!!)

Are you aware of how the papers are weighted? 25% for each of the Maths and English papers and 50% of the overall score for VR.

keevamum Tue 27-Oct-09 18:16:18

Thanks for responses and the website. I feel a lot more optimistic now, although it is very interesting how nerves really affect the score and so to expect a drop of 10-15% in the actual exam. How do you apply for the waiting list or does that happen automatically?

BirthdayCard Tue 27-Oct-09 18:44:52

You put down your preferences on the LEA form which you will be given when your DD goes into year 6.

If you want to have any chance of getting into chelmsford you must put them as your first choice- they will not consider you if you don't no matter how good a score your child gets.

Put other preferences next, up to a maximum of 4. If you do not get your first choice then it moves down to the next on your list.

If that school is also a grammar you may be given a place there. Westcliff does take some out of catchment pupils and it is easier to get in there and SOuthend than CHelmsford.

Apparently if you don't get into your first choice and accept a place elsewhere you are put on a waiting list for the first choice and if a place becomes available (as they sometimes do as some children who are offered a place decide to go elsewhere)you will be offered it.

A few years ago one of DDs friends was ranked 148 (120 places) and she moved up the list and was offered a place with in a week of offers being made.

HTH my DD is taking her 11+ on 21st November so my head is full of it the moment!

keevamum Tue 27-Oct-09 19:25:37

Thanks birthday card and good luck for your DD's 11+ in November. Is it really as stressful as it appears?

BirthdayCard Tue 27-Oct-09 21:11:24

I refuse to put any pressure on her. She has been tutored and it was her idea. She has been doing about 1 paper a week for the last few months (mainly verbal resoning) and today she has done a proper mock with the correct timings. I will go over a few bits of the maths she had forgotten and we read alot. Her performance is very up and down. Last week she got 90% in her verbal reasoning, today she got 70%. So much depends on how they do on the day.

Many of the parents I know seem to be pushing their DCs to do 11+ stuff every day and tutor twice a week!

I chose not to do that- if kids need tutoring to that degree they are not going to be able to compete when they get to the grammar school.

We are lucky that there are lots of other choices open to us (Mayflower is just over the road and she also really liked Brentwood Independent) should she not get into Chelmsford. I think for parents in other areas where the secondary schools are dire, the pressure must be much worse.

MrsBartlet Wed 28-Oct-09 13:14:45

I think you have every reason to be optimistic, keevamum. My dd is at Chelmsford (and my dh also went to KEGS, incidentally!!). 82% seems a good score for this stage. I think you just know if your child is bright enough to do well at the school. If your dd is always in the top few in her year then she sounds like she would be fine. I would keep practising with her between now and the exam so that it is second nature to her. You are right that there tends to be a considerable drop in their scores in the actual exam. I think dd dropped as much as 15%.

keevamum Wed 28-Oct-09 19:04:18

Thanks. I also feel like you birthday card. If they actually need endless tutoring than is it the right school in the long run? I think we will do like you and do maybe one practise paper every couple of weeks and then increase this to weekly over the summer holidays....other than that, we'll just keep up with her school work. Yes agree that we'll maybe focus more on verbal reasoning as well as that doesn't come as naturally as the others. Thanks for all your advice and suggestions. Are you pleased with Chelmsford for your daughter, mrsBartlet?

MrsBartlet Wed 28-Oct-09 19:12:51

Yes I am very pleased with the school as dd is extremely happy there. It is definitely the right environment for her. They have very high expectations of their girls in everything that they do and dd finds it stimulating and also a lot of fun. She loves being with like-minded girls (although when you get a whole load of them together they can be very "full-on" as one of the other mothers accurately described them to me!) Having said all that, there do seem to be a lot of staff changes at the moment and the head who is newish, seems to want to make her mark.

QOD Wed 28-Oct-09 19:14:23

what are her sats like? Thats more relavent to how she would cope in grammar.
Also, in Kent at least, they have to get 50% to pass and 75% for top score which is 140
good luck, its a long road!

keevamum Wed 28-Oct-09 21:14:50

Her sats results are always well above the national average so I am sure we could go for it. I definitely think she is bright enough just wasn't sure I wanted to put her under too much pressure, particularly when the spaces are quite scarce...but am feeling more optimistic now....Although I realise there will be a long and stressful road ahead at least I now know she is capable of it and that it is worth a try.

QOD Wed 28-Oct-09 21:59:47

they will not take kids under high level 4's - and only if thats in one subject - having said that, this year in dd's class, 2 girls have passed who are 3c in literacy! they did brilliantly on the maths & nvr and then just squeaked in on vr (tutored) - my dd missed the automatic pass by 1 point on her maths, didn't get in on ht appeal as her english paper on the day wasnt up to scratch and yet is 5c for lit.... it's a mad system but we have to live with it!

MrsBartlet Thu 29-Oct-09 09:07:41

The system in Essex is very different to the Kent system which QOD is talking about. Sats results don't come into it at all (although obviously they will give you a clue as to how your dd is doing). The school don't use their sats results for anything and very few get in on appeal (ie mostly no-one gets in on appeal!) There are a lot more grammar schools in Kent - IIRC they take about the top 20-25% based on 11+ results whereas the Essex schools take the top 5% at most.

keevamum Thu 29-Oct-09 18:46:04

Hopefully she will be on level 5's by the end of year 6. However, as Mrs Bartlet said it does work slightly differently in Essex. QOD what are the grammar schools in Kent like?

QOD Fri 30-Oct-09 09:17:15

Dover has a fab reputation but to far from us, Highworth in Ashford has bril reputation but takes no one on appeal (over subsrcribed so i am told)

Gracie123 Fri 30-Oct-09 09:25:25

Thing is, that the 11+ is not really about being clever, revision doesn't help as all the questions are based on how the child thinks, not what they know.

All you can do is let your DC practise the papers, so that they don't panic and make sure they have rehearsed ways of figuring out patterns.

If it makes you feel better, I passed the 11+ very well, but still went to a comprehensive school (all my friends were going there and I couldn't cope with the idea of going to a grammar without them). The school were brilliant and ensured that I had learning support to stretch me in areas where I needed it. If your DC does end up in a comprehensive, it won't be the end of the world. I really enjoyed it and got some great exam results at the end.

keevamum Fri 30-Oct-09 11:33:24

Yes I am sure she will do fairly well wherever she goes. However, she does seem to be a child who needs a bit of peer pressure to stay on top form. If she goes to a comp I am sure she will do okay as long as she has good friends, whereas at a grammar you would expect them all to be fairly bright and high achieving. I could be wrong, of course!

Gracie123 Sat 31-Oct-09 11:57:47

Depends massively on the comp or the grammar. My DH and I grew up in the same area, I went to comp, he went to grammar.
My school took me out of classes for extra tuition (one to one) and gave me extra homework etc...
DH's school realised he wasn't as bright as some of their other kids and he was pretty much ignored (despite being very intelligent, he wasn't in the top 20% of his class). As a result he hung around with all the kids who were in a similar position and it's only by the grace of God that he didn't end up on drugs, because all the rest of them did. In fact he was doing so poorly that his parents had to move him to a private school to pull up his failing grades before GCSEs. He subsequently got all A's and took 5 A'levels (back in the day when that was still rare).
I think it's well worth investigating all the schools in your area and finding the right one for your DCs, regardless of whether it is a comp or a grammar. Don't make any assumptions.
Some kids thrive in a competitive environment, others don't. I certainly won't be sending my DS to a grammar school unless I am confident he will outperform every child in his class. I would rather he was seen as gifted in an average school, than average in a gifted school IYSWIM.

nostrila Sat 07-Nov-09 08:59:04

My daughters go to a grammar school and there are still behavioural issues, clever kids being called geeks and the range of ability is quite astounding! However, they do work at a cracking pace and high standards are expected... and it's not enough to be good academically. There is an emphasis on 'activities', all the sporty kids are like olympic level athletes, the musicians sound like the royal philharmonic, the artists put on displays that would make a fortune at the tate etc..

Your DD sounds very bright, I always advise familiarisation rather than intensive 'coaching' and Y5 is just the right time to start doing that.

My son is sitting his 11+ as I type shock, over the past year we've gently explored the joys of verbal reasoning, non-verbal and maths puzzles. I have also encouraged him to read widely - a good vocabulary always helps.

All you can do really is let them have a crack at it. It's scary though!!

Merle Wed 11-Nov-09 07:19:28

My son sat the familiarisation yesterday and does the real thing next week, over two days. I've taken the view that I would prefer him to be average at grammar school, rather than above-average at the comp. This is because the grammar school is smaller and gets outstanding for pastoral care etc. It seems to be a more nurturing environment. I think that at the (large) comp he is much more likely to not fit in as well and to be bullied. I realise that the grammar school is not utopia and that, as he's not mega-sporty, he'll still be a bit out on a limb, but on balance I think it's a better choice.

That's if he passes, of course....hmm

Doobydoo Wed 11-Nov-09 22:26:07

Hello op.
Our ds1 is 10[August born too]wink
He recently sat 11+ and scored very highly.
He had 4 of each test paper for practice 4 months before test[teacher recommended] and did NOTHING over the summer hols.Test was early/mid sept.
The teacher also said that quite a few children are tutored from year 5.She also said that there are children who do not really suit the Grammar who go and some that would suit it don't.I think it is all rather bonkers...the hysteria etc but then we have other options.
Good luck with your choicessmile
Merle good luck to your ds!

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