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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:02 pm 
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Can anyone help? I have a very young (summer bday), quite sporty (junior school sports teams) boy who is quite clever (level 5s at end of yr 5, nudging level 6 in maths). He's a sensitive wee soul and I need advice re which school might fit should he be lucky enough to get offered places. His older sibling (girl) got offered a place at Camp Hill but DH and I were frightened off by head & the general tenor of school (knows it's the best, for the best - and our perception of our DD was that she was a good all rounder but no superstar), and opted for place in private sector instead where, by contrast, head spoke of extra curricular enrichment with such passion that we were won over. Now wondering if our DD could in fact have coped with being amongst the heady elite at CH and so don't want to shut off avenues to DS this time around. That's balanced by not wanting him to feel like a fish out of water - he's no boffin and prefers to be playing with a ball than reading a book.

Do any wiser / more experienced parents have any words of wisdom?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:02 am 
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Location: Birmingham
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Last edited by BB248 on Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:06 am 
There is a mistaken impression that Camp Hill has all the brainiest children. This is to do with the final score-in being higher than the final score in for the other schools. In actual fact, this may have more to do with the numbers at each school.
For instance, last year the final score-in for CH was 351 (on allocation day), the final for FW was 333 and the one for Aston was 326 or so.
But CH has only 93 places whereas FW has 150, and I have been told through the grapevine (so not a totally reliable source) than the first 100 into FW beat the CH last score, and it's simply a case of they take another 50 children on top of this. That said, I believe Camp Hill over-offer by quite a margin (an extra 30), knowing some of the independently children who have the option of KES will take it instead.
So, were you to compare the two schools at GCSE, you probably should lop off the bottom achievers at Five Ways before you had a valid comparison.
I've also noticed that if parents want Camp Hill Boys, they will 'push the boat out further' as far as tuition is concerned because they know a higher score is required. I hear about children studying for an hour or two a night to achieve Camp Hill whereas my students do 20 minutes maximum. So they may be achieving this score to a degree on the back of hard work rather than natural intelligence, but, then any child/parent willing to put this kind of effort in will sustain it all the way through school so the child will live up to the place they have gained.

But yes, the different schools appeal to different types of children. Where I live we are fairly equidistant to all of them so distance isn't a factor. Generally the more studious, 'take themselves and their studies very seriously' boys opt for Camp Hill. In some cases, however, the choice is made by the parent who wants what they perceive as the best academically, regardless of the nature of their child; this is more common in the private sector where there is a Camp Hill or nowhere mentality.

Five Ways is regarded as the more 'normal' option, favoured by boys and parents who want a superior education but don't necessarily see education as the only factor in their child's upbringing. It probably has a wider social mix, too, by virtue of its location, attracting the 'one-off' cleverest children from Dudley, Halesowen etc. who will have won a place on the back of their raw natural intelligence and often on no or minimal tuition.

I would always advise parents to visit all the schools once in Year 5 and draw up a short list, then visit again at the beginning of Year 6. Try to talk to as many boys as possible (not just the show-off or the really timid boy you happen to get stuck with as a guide) and get a feel for the school. By all means ask others for their opinion but try to ask people who have children and values similar to their own. Judge on what is important to you.

I certainly wouldn't be scared off Camp Hill Boys because of reputation. If it feels right to you, then put it down first. If your son doesn't make the score (and he's had sufficient preparation), then the exam has decided for you that it isn't right for him. But I wouldn't be seduced, either, by the idea it is the 'best' of the schools.

Finally, from an academic perspective, GCSE's are about application rather than high ability or good teaching so your child is fairly likely to come out with the same GCSE's, regardless of which of the KE grammars you choose.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:35 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:51 am
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Location: Birmingham
Fm

A huge thank you to you. That is really helpful. I wish we had done school visits in year 5, but you live & learn, so other other DCs will hopefully benefit. Good tip about not restricting yourself to the opinions only of your allotted guide, but making sure to speak to as many pupils as poss.

Interesting too that your pupils do max of 20 mins per night - I keep reading posts which talk of kids doing timed tests, but a lot of the papers I've found can be 30+ mins, and I've seen some that are 50mins. The thought of getting my DC to sit down after school & regularly (in fact even rarely) do a 50min test & THEN have us go over it - well, it's laughable! 15 to 20 mins is about the limit for him.

Thanks again FM


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:14 pm 
Sorry, but I think I gave you the wrong impression of time my pupils are spending on 11 plus work.

The 20 minutes is my homework. They also have an hour's tuition a week and afterwards an hour's testing session to build up their concentration and stamina (and sneak in a little extra work). So while they don't do a test a night or an hour a night, they do do more than 20 minutes in the week.

Truthfully, 50 minute tests aren't the format for KE, but perhaps you'd like to consider doing a session this long on a Saturday or Sunday for a few weeks. Try to replicate the test as in give him a 10 minute comprehension, followed by 30 minutes maths, followed by a 5 minute non-verbal exercise, followed by a 10 minute vocabulary test.

As to how much tutoring (by parent or professional) they need, that really depends on three factors: how bright the child is, how much they have read in their young lives and how good their primary school is.

Yes, an hour a night does seem excessive but if your son or daughter is attending a primary school where circumstances dictate that the bright ones are not operating anywhere near their potential, then special measures may be called for.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:28 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:36 pm
Posts: 123
2togo wrote:
Can anyone help? I have a very young (summer bday), quite sporty (junior school sports teams) boy who is quite clever (level 5s at end of yr 5, nudging level 6 in maths). He's a sensitive wee soul and I need advice re which school might fit should he be lucky enough to get offered places. His older sibling (girl) got offered a place at Camp Hill but DH and I were frightened off by head & the general tenor of school (knows it's the best, for the best - and our perception of our DD was that she was a good all rounder but no superstar), and opted for place in private sector instead where, by contrast, head spoke of extra curricular enrichment with such passion that we were won over. Now wondering if our DD could in fact have coped with being amongst the heady elite at CH and so don't want to shut off avenues to DS this time around. That's balanced by not wanting him to feel like a fish out of water - he's no boffin and prefers to be playing with a ball than reading a book.

Do any wiser / more experienced parents have any words of wisdom?


I can't speak for camp hill but at FW they do a lot more than just study! They work hard, but there are so many clubs available that they have a lot of fun too. And from what I hear about the activities on the green bus even 'boffins' can be holy terrors!!

I have a summer born son who's sitting the exam this year, he's a fairly lively little chap and I think FW would be perfect for him. Of course whether he gets a place there is in the hands of the gods :D


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:30 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:51 am
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Location: Birmingham
FM

thanks again, although I now feel a little sick!

BB248

.


Last edited by BB248 on Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 7:06 pm 
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Hi,

My son attends KES (he was v lucky to be offered an AP, otherwise we couldn't have considered it). Like your ds , my son is also very sporty, and although v bright, is much happier with a ball than a textbook, so we felt this school would be better for him due to the inspiring facilitities and the equal emphasis placed on developing non academic, as well as academic, talents.
So far, we are thrilled with our choice.There is a very welcoming and vibrant feel to the school - both staff and pupils are extremely friendly and confident.I cant recommend it highly enough. Go along to the open day in October - I'm sure you won't be disappointed!


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