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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 3:17 pm 
Thanks Patricia

I couldn't of come on even if I wanted to as I was far too emotional. Couldnt stop crying. To be honest it had been a bit of a week with other stuff going on such as work etc so this was just the best news we could of had on friday.

Unfortunately one of his very good friends missed out by 2 marks so I will reccommend his mum to have a look at some of the advice on here to help with her appeal. I don't think there is a better webb site anywhere.

Thanks again

A very HAPPY Mel


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 4:22 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 2:38 pm
Posts: 8
Location: Bucks
I've now found out that in my daughter's Bucks state primary only about 8-10 passed out of 90 students. Of these 4 were the real high-flyers. If they hadn't passed it would have made a mockery of the whole system. Even so, children that were achieving level 5s all round at the end of Year 5 were still only getting 121-128. Below them, the next group of children in terms of ability were probably a group of about 20. Out of these only 4 or 5 passed and they all seem to have been coached for 12-24 months! The rest who were certainly capable of going to grammar got between 112 and 119 (such as my daughter on 116) .

I pass no judgement on this and offer no solution. I certainly respect those tutors who get the children through and of course now wonder if we did the right thing not to coach our daughter extensively for the 11+. It does seem there is a wide range of children who won't pass unless a) they go to a private school where there is more emphasis on VR or b) their parents pay for tutoring.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:12 pm 
It's sad really, because if one parent has their child coached, then it gives them an unfair advantage against any other child taking the test. it also puts other parents under pressure knowing that if they do not have their child coached they stand less chance of getting in. But, as i've said before these children do not necessarily cope very well when they get into these very demanding schools, unless of course the parents are willing to keep up the tutoring.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 7:17 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 4:07 pm
Posts: 2723
Dear Bucks parent and Essex mum

In defence of tutors.

The school will only provide 5 familiarisation sessions and three practice papers. I cannot see how any child can pass the test, within the time limits, based on this small amount of practice.

It is therefore necessary to coach your child, this can be achieved by the parent or by buying it in.

Some parents are confident enough to do it alone, some are not. Parents of my tutored children tell me that their child will not perform for them but will do anything I say!

As a tutor I am very blunt/honest and will tell a parent if I think a child will not pass/will struggle. I will and do 'give up' children. It is morally wrong of me to take money from a parent, if I think a child has no hope of passing or succeeding in a grammar. It is also not fair on the child. Thankfully I rarely have to 'resort 'to this, most parents wont ask for tutoring unless they think their child has the academic ability, in my experience any way.

I do keep in touch with 'my' children, as yet none have had to resort to further tutoring.

At the end of the day its down to choice.

Money can also be a problem. If you can do it yourself then do it. there is enough information out there, particularly on this website/forum Just make sure you know what is required for your particular area.

Patricia


Last edited by patricia on Fri Mar 31, 2006 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 7:52 pm 
In Essex you do not have to reach a certain point to pass. The children literally sit the test. Then, if for example, the school has 100 places to offer, if ofers the 100 children with the highest score a place. We have about 6,000 - 6,000 children sit the 11+ in Essex for very few places. A vast amount of these children travel in from London each day, on the train, some travelling for up to 2 hours each way, just so they can go to one of the Essex Grammer schools. So as you can imagine many children get a very good result, but due to numbers, never get offered a place at their local Grammer.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:47 pm
Posts: 1348
Location: Berks,Bucks
This year, in my son's state primary about 10 children out of 60 passed. All the children who passed had been coached, some more heavily than others. The bright children who were not prepared enough did not pass; this is a very unfair situation but I think that unfortunately nowadays children need to be tutored just to stand a chance; and I don’t believe that it will improve unless the Lea changes its admission policy.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:16 pm 
Dear Patricia

The difficulty I have with the current system isn't really to do with the coaching. As you say, if the parents want to pay for the expertise, it's entirely up to them. We have paid for extra Maths tuition in the past, for example. And we do now regret not giving our younger daughter a longer run up to the 11+, which may have made a difference. I also don't think it's realistic to "ban" coaching, as has sometimes been suggested.

My unease has more to do with the overall picture. The grammar school system was set up to educate the top 25%-30% in separate schools. Our Bucks primary is among the best in the county and many children come out with level 5s, and even a few level 6s. Yet only about 10% pass the 11+ year in, year out. Why is this? Is it Bucks CC fault for insisting (and putting in the parents' info) that extra practice beyond the 3 familiarisation test will not help? Is it the fact that independent schools are sending a disproportionate number of pupils? Should the VR test be scrapped? I don't know the answer but I don't think the current picture isn't true to the philosophy of grammar schools, whether or not you personally believe in this philosophy.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:12 am 
I'm not sure that coaching makes any difference! I didn't send my son to a tutor, but bought lots of test papers and also the Bond assessment papers about 18 months ago and steadily worked through them at an average of 3 a week. He was sometimes reluctant but persevered and passed the 11 plus last week. My own feeling is that spending three hours or so a week with your child one to one has got to be better than 45 minutes or so with a tutor. The questions themselves are not difficult or complicated, it's more a matter of familiarisation with the format and, crucially, keeping an eye on the time, teaching strategies such as skipping the tougher ones till the end, etc. Out of my son's class, only he and two others passed, and almost everyone else went to a tutor. So, if you've got the time, I'd definitely recommend doing the donkey work yourself.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:27 am 
Definately, It also gets you to know your childs ability alot better too!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 1:05 pm 
Relieved wrote:
I'm not sure that coaching makes any difference! I didn't send my son to a tutor, but bought lots of test papers and also the Bond assessment papers about 18 months ago and steadily worked through them at an average of 3 a week. He was sometimes reluctant but persevered and passed the 11 plus last week.


Hi Relieved,

Although you didn't go to a professional tutor, I would consider what you did as coaching. In the end, I think coaching is whether you spend your time or a tutor's time on preparing your child for the test.

Whether it had an effect on your child only you and they would know, but from my experience, the coaching our son received at home (from my wife) was critical to him passing well. And I would say that coaching definitely made a difference.

Congrats on your son passing :)


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