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 Post subject: Bucks and Slough
PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2005 9:12 am 
This thread carries on the discussion started on the 'Maths' thread.

To Mel,

We also live in Bucks and my son took both Slough and Bucks exams. He found the Bucks exam easier but it seems that most other children did. I don’t think that we can guess any result. from this.

He went to a tutor group up until the beginning of September, when I discovered with horror how many gaps there was in his knowledge, particularly in Maths. We coached him ourselves after this and he caught up enough to have a fair chance but that's all.
We started with a lot of VR until the Bucks exam then switched to Maths and NVR. We left the NVR until a bit too late and it was a bit touch and go under time limits.
As far as I understand, the final score in Slough is the average of the three standardized scores. So if a child does very well in a subject it can make up for not so good in another one.

This is my first experience of this terrible process and I don't have another child who could benefit from it.
I think that it a good idea to start early specially if the child takes two exams as there is a lot to cover. I found that my son responded very well to doing small amounts regularly.

We have applied to Slough grammar, Burnham grammar, and Chalfont’s college. Fortunately, Chalfont’s seems to be a very good school now. It does get a very good Ofted report, better than some grammar schools; if my son is given a choice, I am planning to have a second look at the schools before making a final decision.
In the Slough area, we all liked Slough Grammar because it was full of life and energy. However, I have also heard some criticisms. Are you from the same Bucks area or are you looking at different schools?


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 Post subject: Slough & Bucks
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:26 pm 
Hi Catherine

My son has taken both tests and we have selected John Hampden in Wycombe(its our catchment) and Herschel in Slough. He would prefer to go to JH as would his dad and I. We also selected Desborough as the non Grammar which is not in our catchment but my son has friends who have also selected and it is a very good school.
I must admit we did concentrate far more on the Bucks test.
When he first went into year five I remember a father in the playground asking me whether I would be getting tuition for my son and I remember thinking "goodness its only September and he has only just gone back to school" However I now realise the earlier you start the better and maybe if we had started then we could of practised more for both tests.
We did get a tutor in February but looking back I did not look into it enough, went with the first person we saw (someone I knew indirecetly) and because of their personal reasons it was very inconsistent and I felt obliged because of knowing him. I don't really feel it gave my son any help on the Bucks test as the tutor mainly concentrated on Math and English although I would say it did help in in his general school work so that wasn't a bad thing. By May he wasnt going every week like was planned so we stopped it. In the Summer I coached him myself with the NFER test papers and by the time October came he was getting up to 82 out of 85 but in the papers he done at school he scored 65/80. Clearly there is a difference in the papers. When he done the first Bucks test he came out and said he felt he done really well, when he done the second he said it was a harder test but he still felt he done well. I gather that a lot of children said the same which does worry me as maybe the average score will be alot higher. When he done the slough test he was not as confident. He missed 4 out on the VR and he said the other two papers were hard so he wasn't as happy. Having read loots of peoples views on here I really dont know what to expect I was quietly confident on the Bucks test because a teacher at school said they need 65 to pass and my sons tutor at school (our school done extra tuition) said he was not worried about my son. I guess I still am confident although quiet a few people on here have said you need at least 86-90%?
So what am I to think?
As for Slough I really do not know I guess I wasn't expecting him to do it but again he has said just what a lot of kids said it was hard so who knows. We get the results December 2nd and I am preying he will of done enough as he wants it so bad and I cannot imagine how it will be for us both if he doesn't. Having said that he did everything I asked of him in terms of practise and I know he did his very best so whatever the outcome I am really proud of him and I will make sure he knows that.
I must say as I know I have already have this site has been great for getting things off my chest I know it helps me just to talk about it all. Its funny as I seem to be able to talk on here alot more the I can even with my husband.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:47 pm 
Dear Mel,
Fingers crossed for you and you're son.
I was lucky enought to get my daughter's result on Saturday, and she passed! You have certainly put in the effort.

Footymad.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:47 pm 
Hi Mel,

I hope that your son will be successful in at least one of the exams.
Less than 2 weeks now before the Bucks results; I have stopped trying to guess whether my son has done well or not because it's too stressful and very difficult to predict. The pass marks are all relative to how the other children have performed and that's something that we don't know.

I now have the added worry of our choice of grammar school;
but I am sorry I am going to disagree with you about your post to Tone on another thread. I appreciate the advice about Slough grammar even if it's negative. As I mentioned in my previous post, although we choose Slough grammar, I had already heard negative comments about it and I had second thoughts. Also, it may not be too late to revise our choice if we decide to do so. I have been told of a parent who successfully changed the preference list by going to Slough County Council in January.

Do you have a precise date for the Slough exam results?

I am also feeling much better since I have joined this forum and I wish all the best to anyone who is anxiously waiting for results.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2005 4:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 4:07 pm
Posts: 2660
Dear Mel

John Hampden - an excellent choice many of my pupils with top marks choose there over The Royal Grammar - all are thriving

Good Luck for 2nd December

Patricia


Last edited by patricia on Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 9:47 am 
Dear Mel,

After having browsed through this forum, my husband has advised me that my post to you was sounding a bit sharp. I am really sorry is it is the case as it was not my intention. I did appreciate your comments and thank you for them. I was at the time fairly stressed by the post on grammar schools.
You mentioned that you have selected Hershel for Slough. It is deemed to be the best in the area. We did not choose it only because of travel considerations.

I wish you the best of luck on December 2nd. You certainly deserve good news after all the hard work you and your son have been putting in.

Regards


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 11:44 am 
Dear Footy Mad

Thanks for your good wishes and Congrats to your daughter and to YOU!!
Did you down some champangne and are you still floating. I bet you are grinning constantly and why woudln't you be. Good luck to your daughter in her secondary education.

Mel

Dear Patricia

Thank you JH does appears to be an excellent school and my son loved it when we went to see it. One thing I would ask you has it made a huge difference to your son going to an all boys school.

Mel

Dear Catherine

Husbands have a great way of seeing things from another perspective. Please don't worry I know just how stressful this is and know that I have been off with people sometimes because of it all. Thats why I said what I said to TOne. It is a big worry picking seconday school particuarly when you dont know whether the children will pass or not. I found looking at Offstead reports (if they were recent) were very helpful. I do think you should aslo go with your 'Gut feeling' if you are in real doubt about Slough Grammar change it now so you get your new choice quickly. Another thing I was going to say. You said you have also chose Burnham Grammar, so is your child getting a Train? if so bare in mine tehre si a bus taht goes near Hershel from Burham. You may already know but if you didnt well it coudl still be a consideration. If my son goes to Hershel he will get the bus as I can only get him as far as Burham where my daughter goes to school. Lots of other children from tehre also get on the bus so they wont be on thier own. That may be of no use but just in case.
Finally I hear Chalfont is very good. I have a cousin who lives in Chalfont and her daughetr started this year and loves it.

Good luck to you

Mel


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 2:48 pm 
Dear Patricia

I gather you have experience of the Bucks system so I hope you don't mind my asking you another question. Do you know what the average score is usually around? I know it probably changes but my friend and I have talked this through and we feel that surely it doesnt change too much otherwise they would have to keep changing the pass mark. Also dont know what your eperience is of the pass marks but what do you or anyone else think of this theory??

By all accounts a child who gets no questions correct would get a standardised score of 69 so are we right in thinking that the remaining points(72) will be devided up by 80 questions thus making each correct answer worth .90 + 69
so if a child got the whole 80 correct it would calculate as
80 x .90=72 + 69 = 141
If the child is older they will not get anymore as 141 or is there score brought down and if younger with less correct would it be put up?

Believe it or not I have thougt this through and used it along side the way in which this webb site demonstrates a way to calculate the standardised scores and it does seem to be similar.

Any commnents welcome.
Comments welcome.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 2:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 4:07 pm
Posts: 2660
Dear Mel

Re John Hampden Grammar being an all boys school - no problem re the girls....just look at them interacting with the girls before/after school!!

To those who dont know John Hampden and Wycombe High school[ both grammars] are separated by a large roundabout.

Patricia


Last edited by patricia on Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 3:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 4:07 pm
Posts: 2660
Dear Mel

We must have been writing to each other at the same time!

Standardisation - how long is a piece of string!!!!!!

Confess a tad ignorant on the matter Bucks county will only tell you to refer to NFER - I have seven pages of explanation which I took off the NFER website a few years ago.

It comes down to the fact that no one can work it because it depends on the cohort taking the test each year - so every year it will change. It will also be different to another local authority because they take into account 'local standardisation' and these are not I quote 'comparable to national standardised scores'!!!

They also talk about 'border zones' 'numerical border zones' and statistical border zones' The explanation is 7 pages long!!!!!!!!

So as it changes each year and depends on so many factors - the only people who can work it out are Nfer and even they will say it changes each year!!

Sorry I cant be helpful - the going rate for Bucks among teachers I know is at least 86% - I work to 90%

Patricia


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