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So its impossible to get into Colyton Grammar ?

(190 Posts)
HoratioHappened Fri 06-Nov-09 16:20:01

My middle child came home from school and told me some of her friends are going to take the 11 plus for Colyton next year. She said she wants to do it as well. We decided she could have a go if she wanted.

However, I was having a coffee with a friend with kids at a local private school who told me it was hopless as they only take kids from private schools these days and she would never get in. Is this really true ? Do they not have to make sure they take at least a few from state schools ?

PinkElephantsOnParade Tue 30-Nov-10 09:53:15

At our local grammar there were 1400 applicants for 120 places, as there is no set catchment area.

That is scary. And a lot of the successful applicants are from private preps.

Those from state primary tend to have years of tutoring at £35 an hour.

Very few take the test without paying for outside preparation, though I do know of some who have done this successfully.

So in this case the entrance test DOES test how much money your parents have spare.

I think it is very wrong for this to be the case for a publicly funded school, but it IS the case.

Tikiinasantahat Tue 30-Nov-10 11:17:22

Yellowstone. Colyton are happy to tell people what percentage of pupils came from private schools. I was told at an open day. If you consider that only 7% of children are privately educated, anything above that level is too high. It is way above that level. I am not blaming the school they run everything perfectly fairly. It is the system that is not fair. The school also claim that many children have told them that they were not tutored. However, I know lot of parents who have told their children to lie about this, so that is irrelevant.

sloppyjoppy Tue 30-Nov-10 17:39:14

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

PinkElephantsOnParade Tue 30-Nov-10 23:59:50

Round here the other grammars all have catchment areas (which we are outside), hence the massive numbers going for our local grammar which is the only one with no catchment area.

The test is therefore insanely stressful and a complete lottery.

Actually, it annoys me that in this LEA there is a serious shortage of secondary places, yet the LEA is funding a grammar which benefits so few local kids.

Kids commute in to this school from 20 miles away or more. It is insane.

Notevenamouse Wed 01-Dec-10 11:17:26

The catchment area thing is insane. I have a friend who can see her local grammar from her house but her son didn't get in. He was G and T and vey bright BTW no tutor they couldn't afford it. However, families get in from london all the time and then buy a place as a term time base for the child. It is ridiculous. Meanwhile her child has to take a long bus journey to a sink comp. Then the london crowd wonder why the locals are pissy with them in the greengrocers. Its bloody outrageous thats why. They also have the nerve to go on about how "cheap little second properties down this way are" when local newly weds can't afford a mortgage. angry

GiddyPickle Thu 02-Dec-10 14:53:44

We also have no catchment areas and the situation where children in our local area lose out on Grammar School places (and are allocated schools 5 miles+) to children who beat them by as little as 1 or 2 percentage points travel but who live upto 30 miles away.

And that's not because local children are stupid. Its because for every 10 children who take the test only 1 will get a place, its because there is very little to choose from between those who get a place and those who don't (nobody even bothers sitting the test unless they are predicted all level 5's so all the kids who take the test are the brightest in their schools) and its because independent schools get doubly expensive at secondary school level so prep school parents treat the prep schools as money well spent for an increased chance of a free Grammar School place.

Notevenamouse Thu 02-Dec-10 15:58:02

I think they should at least have a county catchment area its ridiculous.

Notevenamouse Thu 02-Dec-10 16:02:32

"not because local children are stupid" agreed i hear the pass mark is a score of 97% in many schools, so if you get 96% you don't get in. Utterly insane.

GiddyPickle Thu 02-Dec-10 16:22:33

Notevenamouse - that is my objection too. The situation exists where a child living within 0.5 miles of a Grammar School gets 95% in the test and does not get a place or even feature on the waiting list at a high enough position to stand a chance.

Whereas a child who lives 25 miles away (and who would need to catch two trains and a bus to get to the school) gets 97% and wins a place.

Both of those children are Grammar School material. Both of them would benefit equally but instead both of them are condemned to 1.5 hour school journeys every day and one of them will end up in a sink school in a neighbouring borough whereas the other one's travel will at least result in a decent school place. And all of this on the judegment of one day of exams where on any other day their respective percentage scores could easily have been reversed since they are of almost identical ability.

Often people say "if your child isn't of selective ability........" but the fact is that over 1000 children of selctive ability apply to these schools (nobody on less than level 5's even sits the test) yet only 100 or so live locally and living locally gives no advantage.

Notevenamouse Thu 02-Dec-10 19:52:05

Indeed, all the schools I know of tell children not to even sit the test unless they are G and T or level five or above. Grammar schools are not what they used to be.

SomersetScrumpy Tue 04-Jan-11 12:07:57


Just thought you might like a first hand view of my son's experience of applying for Colyton Grammar School in East Devon. This is an honest no nonsense view of our opinion, as there is a lot of rubbish, rumour and heresay on this site.

My DS sat the entrance exam for Colyton in November 2009. He gained a place and started Year 7 in September 2010. Prior to attending Colyton Grammar, he went to an Independent fee paying school, but was in a state primary before that, where he was put in a gifted group with several other pupils in his class, all doing extension work. At independent school, he was placed in top sets for everything, and stayed in top sets, as well as being selected for the scholar's class.

My circumstances changed and I had no support, and so, although we could not really afford it, we moved him to the fee paying school for the pre and after school care, as we were running our own business and state Primary couldn't provide this.

As his mum, I tutored him at home,for nearly two years prior to the exam, using the mixed Bond paper packs from WHSmith in English, Maths and Verbal Reasoning. Our DS consistently got around 90% for these tests. We did NOT have a private tutor. He was not tutored by his independent school, as they would not have had a vested interest in doing so; being in the top two / three pupils in his year group, they wanted him to stay and go onto their senior school. We were actively discouraged from applying to Colyton Grammar, and were told that no one so far from the school had managed to pass the 11 plus to gain a place! That made my DS want to go to Colyton even more, just to be the first to get in!

My DS is bright, and got a silver, one mark off a gold in the Maths Challenge in Year 6, came top, getting 100% in both final Year 6 Maths exams. He was bored at his independent school, as he didn't feel that the work was challenging him enough, and with a few exceptions, his peers were generally not at the same standard academically, and so he was frustrated as he had no peer group to "bounce off" academically. Our experience of independent schooling is that, (like the state sector), there are a good percentage of disruptive pupils who do not want to learn, who are only there due to their parents ability to pay, not because their parents are passionate about education.

Our advice is that education begins at home. I am sure that if there were to be research into this, the single most important factor would be good sound parental support at home. I believe that our DS is very happy and in his position at Colyton, not just because of innate ability, but because of his up bringing; knowing the parameters and being loved, nurtured and cared for, teaching your child effective time management, getting into good routines, how to be organised, being organised yourselves as parents, and making sure that your children are brought up in a calm and happy environment. Knowing when to say "No" to your child and guiding them is also important. Sleep is important and routine bedtimes have always been a feature on school nights. Our DS comes home from school, has his supper, and goes upstairs to have a shower and get changed immediately after. He then goes into his bedroom, and does his homework in a relaxed and quiet environment with no distractions. He has had a study desk and lamp in his bedroom which he has had for 2 years and this has proved essential. Once homework is done he gets into PJ's and has leisure time before bed. Hot chocolate and snack, and in bed by 8 ish for reading, then lights out at 8.30pm. Our routine seems to work! Our DS needs 10 hours to be happy and effective in academics, sport, music etc, otherwise does not enjoy life and get 100% out of it.

My DS absolutely loves Colyton. He enjoys the lessons, the homework and has made some absolutely fantastic freinds. He feels that it is not a hot house environment, and most of his freinds and contemporaries are predominantly from state schools, and not from private. He much prefers Colyton Grammar to the private independent he attended before, for many reasons. At Colyton, a lot more progress is made as there are brighter children, and therefore with less distractions as pupils generally want to learn. He says the work is more challenging and therefore more interesting, but not hard, and he learns much more in one lesson at Colyton than he did in several lessons at his previous independent. The teachers are really good and make lessons exciting and learning fun, you are never bored!! They expect a lot of you in terms of attitude and commitment, so that expectation means that it is inevitable that good results will follow. The teachers are not afraid to advance you, and teach you more than the curriculum suggests, if you have finished the work that is provided in class.

The sport is really good, and so is the music. There are endless lunchtime clubs, academic, sporting etc.

Many of the parents are proffessionals and academics, (and many are not!), but all are very freindly, approachable, down to earth normal people who have chosen to send their children to a state selective school.

Don't listen to all the rumours, which come mainly from people who have, unfortunately, either not managed to get their children into Colyton, or those who, for various reasons, decided not to apply.

If you are considering Colyton for your child, give it a go, don't be in awe, as it is a wonderful and down to earth school. You may be pleasantly surprised, just have the confidence to "go for it!" I get the impression that it's often the parents, more than the children that are worried about applying.

Gook Luck!

KindleTheSky Tue 04-Jan-11 14:08:57

So basically you are saying it is true and that you do really need to go to a private Prep school to get into Colyton. In addition you need to home tutor for two years even if your child is gifted.

thetasigmamum Tue 04-Jan-11 14:25:11

My DD is in year 8 at Colyton now, we didn't tutor or home tutor (no time, too many music lessons and too many other children!), and she went to a state primary school. I wouldn't say SomersetScrumpy's experience was typical (especially not the bedtime thing. Since we live some distance from Colyton and the school bus is often erratic, DD often doesn't get home from school till well after 5 and two nights a week she has music lessons which mean she doesn't get home till nearly 7).

Where I would agree with Somersetscrumpy is that the school is excellent, and certainly all the kids I know there (my daughter's friends) are not finding it difficult or a hothouse.

kayah Tue 04-Jan-11 14:25:29

I just looked up modes, medians and average

and according to bbc website is on curriculum for ks2 median_mean/play.shtml

bar charts, handling data should be covered in primary school
some do it in science though not in maths...

sitting exams is a lot about technique

I don't know if you have English as a part of exam - if yo udo I recommend a good start is to get 2 books by David Malindine

the first two on the page

practicing story writing is about your child being able to write of top of their head a sstory or express their oppinion
those 2 fairly cheap books will allow you to get familiar with variety of possible topics and types of writing

I can go on and on about 11+ preparation - 2 kids gone through it recently, but in London/Surrey area

KindleTheSky Tue 04-Jan-11 14:45:08

They are on the curriculum but many schools don't teach them until year six. Grammar exams are often taken in September of year six before this is taught.

SomersetScrumpy Tue 04-Jan-11 16:35:56

No I'm not saying that KindleTheSky; Apologies if I sound patronising, not meant to be! - If you read again, I have said that the majority of my son's freinds are from ex state school primaries, with only a few from private/independents.

As I explained, If my circumstances hadn't changed, if my Mother hadn't passed away, our DS would not have gone to independent school, but stayed in the state system. Teachers told us that our DS is the kind of child who would have passed the 11 plus whichever school he had come from. As a parent I wanted to increase the chance of him getting in by making sure he covered everything, and was familiar with anything he should come up against. We have four sons, two of whom are currently at university and our third in A2 will go to uni in September, and so our resources are severely stretched, and we knew we could not afford to carry on paying school fees.

Regardless of what you think, there will be parents out there for whom my opinions help and inform rather than patronise.

In reply to thetasigmamum, I agree that the bed time thing is sadly not typical as children do not seem to have adequate sleep anymore. Talking to many parents there seems to be a pattern that we have noticed, in that those who have routine bedtimes and adequate sleep on school nights at least tend to perform far better academically and on the sports field and get far better results than those that don't, that's all. Just our personal observations!

Over the years, bringing up 4 sons, running our business from home whilst renovating our property hasn't come easy with no help from family / grand parents, but we have still managed to help in the education of our children at home. We live a considerable distance from Colyton, but still manage to fit it all in, out of school music lessons, drama and sports clubs x 4 children! - looking back, I don't know how we've done it! But it has worked for us and our family, so just want to share it - if it benefits others it is worth it.

thetasigmamum Tue 04-Jan-11 17:42:49

SomersetScrumpy well, you clearly haven't talked to every Colyton parent since you haven't talked to me or any of the parents of my DDs friends none of whom go to bed at 8:30 (I'm not saying I don't think that would be a good idea, tbh, given the time she has to get up for the bus in the morning, but what with the music practice (she learns 5 instruments including voice) and the homework (for some reason her class never gets a balanced spread of HW, some nights they have none some nights they have 3 subjects)and the music lessons, it is never going to happen.

While it certainly wouldn't be impossible for my child to perform better academically - she doesn't get 100% in everything by a long chalk - she's doing 'fantastically' (in Colyton terms) so clearly whatever draconian measures are necessary for one child to do well isn't necessary for another one.

I honestly think posting messages implying the to do well at Colyton kids need to be in bed by 8:30 every night is just really unhelpful.

KindleTheSky Tue 04-Jan-11 18:16:39

5 instruments including voice ! The girl is super human, my goodness.

SomersetScrumpy Tue 04-Jan-11 18:24:30

thetasigmamum, no I haven't but I'm not referring to Colyton parents exclusively, but parents from many different schools whom i know and have met. I'm not implying either that to do well a child has to be in bed every night at 8.30pm! My experiences and observations are mine alone, and are obviously not meant for readers who make sweeping assumptions. The reason why I have posted on this site is to give others my perspective and I'm quite entitled to do that.

EdgarAleNPie Tue 04-Jan-11 18:43:30

i thought this was about The Archers.

as you were.

thetasigmamum Tue 04-Jan-11 18:44:01

Kindle - nah, she just likes music! grin She wants to go to a conservatoire and make it her career although obviously she is only 12 so who knows what will happen in the future. I think she is being a bit ambitious in her dreams tbh but she is super keen so as long as it doesn't impact on her school work and as long as I can afford the lessons I'm happy to let it go on. I'm a musician (although not professional) so I understand the tug it can have on you....

SomersetScrumpy - I didn't mean to imply that you weren't entitled to give your perspective, I'm sorry if you thought I was doing that, however you did make some sweeping statements about:

'....those who have routine bedtimes and adequate sleep on school nights at least tend to perform far better academically and on the sports field and get far better results than those that don't'

And while I don't necessarily disagree with the 'adequate sleep' thing I do disagree with the implication that a draconian bedtime regime is necessary to 'get far better results'. My daughter tends to 'get far better results' than most and she does not have what I could even begin to describe as a routine bedtime. I'm not saying this is good or even laudable, I wish she did go to sleep earlier but there you go. My concern is only to put my perspective and contrast it with yours, since I think it would be unfortunate if parents were put off applying for schools like Colyton if they thought the only way for a child to do well there and be happy was to be the sort of child that goes to bed at 8:30 each night, that is all.

KindleTheSky Tue 04-Jan-11 19:01:28

Well good luck to her, I hope she makes it. With that kind of dedication I would be surprised ir she didn't !

Yellowstone Thu 06-Jan-11 23:48:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

rubyshoesblue Mon 17-Jan-11 21:01:41

I am having quite a giggle reading all these myths about Colyton, I have 2 children there, normal, bright children, who came from a very small local primary school, had no cramming ( I firmly believe children should be able to be comfortable within their own abilities and therefore should not then struggle at a school after being tutored to get in, in fact Colyton actively discourage parents and ask them not to tutor)
It is not a hothouse for children, it is the most relaxed school i have ever been to, the support within the school is second to none, in all respects, and the broad spectrum of children attending, give a lovely mix of friends! If your child is lucky enough to get a place, you can relax, and let them enjoy it!!

Yellowstone Wed 19-Jan-11 12:29:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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