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 Post subject: At what do you give Up?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:05 pm 
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We had the news that my DS didn't make it, and like some much of the good and valubale advice on this forum, we started bigging up his new school. This has had a huge impact on him, very positive. He is at the top of hsi group, happy at home, and doing even better at school.

The same isn't true for some other kids in his class who also didn't get in. One lad is not interested in his school work, dropping marks right, left and centre, and down. His parents are appealing against every rejection, they didn't put the catchment school down on the list and have been given a failing school by the LEA. They are blaming everyone and everything and feel the system has failed them and their son.

I've stood back and said to myself, should they be doing this, when is "enough is enough".

So, how far should you go before realising that its time to face the reality and perhaps move on...


For some, it may not only be that their DS/DD hasn't got a KEGS place, but are in danger of doing really bad in the SATS which counts towards grouping in Year 7.

New parents venturing into the 11+ process should prepare for both and plan, or things could really get out off hand.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:14 pm 
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Which is your catchment school?

Mike


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:22 pm 
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I'd advise parents to make sure that they are happy with every option that they put on their form this coming september and to ensure that at least one of those options is virtually a cast iron guaranteed place!

Also, your point regarding SATs - my DH is a senior teacher in a secondary school and Y6 SATs are irrelevant when it comes to Y7 transition. He's seen many an alleged level 5 kid who might be able to answer a SATs question but can't really string a coherent, independently thought out sentence together.

Most core teachers carry out their own assessments during the first half term in order to set kids.

My DS is in a bit of a tizz about the old SATs at the moment and because I'm a bad mummy I've told him to chill out and not worry about them. They're only really of benefit to primary schools for their league table rankings. In fact, please don't get me started on the total waste of time that is Y6 SATs - we could be here all night!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 11:45 pm 
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serialtester wrote:
I'd advise parents to make sure that they are happy with every option that they put on their form this coming september and to ensure that at least one of those options is virtually a cast iron guaranteed place!


That happy state of affairs is not always achievable, it isn't for us and I imagine that's true of some parts of most LEAs (there are even parts of Solihull where it's not achievable - even though most Solihull schools are better than most Birmingham schools).

Mike


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:27 am 
I think Serialtester has given some very good advice.

While a parent can increase the likelihood of a child gaining a KE place, you can never guarantee one. It is much better to plan for the eventuality of not achieving one.

From my experience, however, it is very hard to get some parents to accept their child may not make it. In fact, there is often an inverse relationship between a child's chances and a parent's confidence, with my best pupils often having parents on the more pessimistic side.

I would also advise not to set too much store in what teachers say about your child. They will often tell a parent their child is good at English because a child is terribly good at essay writing but the same child may not be able to spell adequately or have the ridiculous level of vocabulary required for the KE exam. Or they may be the best in a not particularly good class so being the best may not have much significance.

Even the independent prep. schools seem to get it wrong on a fairly frequent basis. They have a tendency to look at the child's scores in their yearly non-verbal and verbal, and base their assumptions on who got in where on these scores. What the independents don't know, however, is how many of these children were following a work programme with a tutor or parent quite separate to the work they were doing at school (at a guess 75%). Thus they are making predictions on what may be a false premise i.e. it it the work done at the prep. school which has enabled all these past successes.

I have heard a lot of complaints that tutors mislead parents but I do wonder if some of these are down to parents willfully mishearing tutors. About 10% of the children I assess are going to attain a KE even if they go to the worst tutoring school in the world. About 10% are never going to achieve KE, no matter how much work they put in, and I shall tell their parents this but at least half of them will decide I am wrong. The success of the 80% in the middle will then be decided partly on how good their tutor is but mostly on how much effort is put into targeting the correct areas of the KE exam which is why a parent can do the job just as well provided they are consistent and clued-up.

And the amount of effort is the missing factor that a tutor/school cannot predict in making an assessement. Recently I had a mother come back to tell me that her child had been successful. I had no space to tutor the child but had assessed her, predicting that the girl had a small chance if she put a great deal of effort into it. Mother phoned partly to share the good news and partly to tell me I had been wrong. But actually I wasn't wrong. My advice had been followed. Mother admitted the girl had put a great deal of effort into it, and, while the girl had achieved a KE, it was her second choice. Had I been more upbeat perhaps the effort would not have been made and she would have missed out.

So I would be wary of reading too much or too little into a tutor's message, too. An initial assessment may suggest your child is a good candidate but I have found in the past that, with some parents, giving them an upbeat message is almost guaranteed to result in a child slacking almost from day one.

As to unacceptable secondary schools, the reality is that you can only afford to find them unacceptable if you are able to pass your way (GS), buy your way (independent) or talk your way (on appeal) out of them. Otherwise you just have to bite the bullet and put the most positive spin on them you can for your child's sake.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:23 pm 
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I don't dispute the advice, only the initial assumption that everyone has a school in which guaranteed a place and with which they are happy. And just to complicate things, Miss 1880 has already had some contact with our best last choice and has own mind firmly made up, long before we've been anywhere near it and had a chance to put a positive spin on it.

Anyway, on the subject of realistic ideas; I'm concerned this year about Mrs 1880 enthusiastically encouraging the parents of all Miss 1880's friends to put their kids in for the KEs. As far as I can tell (being an expert now, obviously, having stood on the touchline once), there's a huge gap between being bright enough for the top set of a good state primary and being bright enough to get through the KE exam, and I don't think it does any parent any favours to suggest they put their kids in for an exam that they probably won't pass.

Mike


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:52 pm 
I think it is very nice of your wife to encourage parents who may not have considered KE but you are quite right: being on the top English table of an average primary school does not necessarily make a child KE material.

But there is also a huge difference between the ability level of a child at the top of any KE and one towards the bottom so comparison between children in a class and within a family can be unreliable.

I have had parents bring me younger siblings with the words 'I know they are not grammar school ability but could you test them just to rule them out' and these children are perfectly good candidates who, with some work, gain places at KE schools. They just don't happen to be as brilliant as an older sibling so parents' view is distorted. By the same token I have parents insisting I do a much less able younger sibling, 'with the words, well, big sister or brother managed it' when they have failed to acknowledge that older child probably made it by the skin of their teeth.

As I said, I think your wife is well intentioned but possibly she should ask herself that if these parents need her encouragement to give it a go, will they have the necessary commitment to follow what is quite a hard road in order to make success a possibility? Trying for a King Edward grammar school, while not quite as hard as some people make out, is certainly not for the faint-hearted.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:02 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2008 9:48 pm
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fm your posts are purely exquisite to read.

Thank you for the past and future contributions


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:59 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:59 am
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Location: Cloud 9
Hear, hear.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:09 am 
Would do embarrassed face but clueless how these things work.


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