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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:05 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:25 am
Posts: 19
Hi Folks

My son attends a normal comprehensive secondary school has just finished year 7. The school is now turning into an academy, and with all these changes taking place, a lot of the staff are leaving.

I am thinking of sending my son to the local Grammar School in Wolverhampton and thinking of completing the admissions form for either year 9 or 10. However, I think my son may be faced with a problem - his academic ability. During some of his primary school life, he was absent for a large period of time due to health problems. He was also put on SEN because of his poor English grammar. Gladly, his health has now improved drastically, and doesn't tend to have many absent days now.

My question is - in order to prepare him for admission into year 9 or 10 of the grammar school, should I employ the services of a entrance exam tutor? If so, how do I choose the right one, and find out if he/she is 'good' at their job? How many hours a week should I ask the tutor to teach my son?

Finally, are entrance exams just another name for eleven plus exams, or are they entirely different?

Thanks in advance for your responses.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:36 pm 
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Has he caught up? Is he in the top sets at school? Has his school suggested he would be suited to a grammar school? What makes you think that his school turning into an academy would be a bad thing for your son? Is he happy at his school? What levels is he getting for his end of year assessments?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:13 pm 
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Hi Everyone
Thanks for your reply nostress.
I'm not sure if he has caught up. He is not in the top sets for every subject - some subjects he is in middle and some he is in the bottom set. He seems to be happy in school but since the school announced that it is turning into an academy, a lot of teachers have left and the school gets in 'cover supervisors' who are not qualified teachers, in order to fill in the gap left by the staff. He is getting average levels for a year 7 student.
It is my wish that he does better and I thought getting him into Grammar School where there would be better teaching methods and teachers would be a good idea. I am willing to pay for extra tuition this year in order to help him pass the entrance exams. so that he can gain admission when he approaches year 9.
Any advice greatly appreciated.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:22 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:10 am
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WGS tests the following at Year 9:
English
Verbal reasoning
Physics
Chemistry
Biology
Foreign language.

Year 8 is similar format to the Year 7 exam.

I would consider why it is you feel the current school becoming an academy is bad for your son, and is it worth paying fees of c.£12,000 per year to counter these supposed issues?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:12 pm 
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Thanks Happy dad for you reply.

I'm aware of the fees, but a lot of my acquaintances did say that there is a good chance that he could get a scholarship.

Do you think he may have a chance?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:36 pm 
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I does depend on the degree of competition in an area and if there are places available in the year you want your son to access. The school would probably expect your son to be above average/ well above average in literacy and maths and show promise in other areas of the currriculum to be able to cope with the pace of work. You can only work that out by asking the school you are interested in what level they would expect a child to be working at. I have just been through a yr 7 grammar school appeal and was told the expected level for the end of year 6 would be at least level 5's and other evidence such as high CAT scores were taken into account.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:41 pm 
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Scholarships are few and far between, as far as I know. They do offer some reduced fees in the Year 7 intake but not sure if this extends to year 9.

I think if attending is dependent on reduced fees, then maybe other options may be better. Have you considered Adams Grammar in Newport? They run buses from Wolverhampton and there are no fees.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:58 pm 
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Thanks Happy dad. I will give them a call.

Are you aware of any more fee-free grammar schools?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:58 pm 
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there is also : http://www.qmgs.walsall.sch.uk/ Queen Mary's in Walsall - they don't mention year 8/9/10 entry

but Adam's Grammar does: http://www.adamsgs.org.uk/index.phtml?d=548685


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:33 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 12:06 pm
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Location: Birmingham
We're at the point where most secondary schools in Birmingham and Solihull are academies, or are fast becoming academies. I'd imagine it is a similar situation in Wolverhampton. I'm surprised so many staff are leaving - where will they go?

If the school is a 'forced' academy because of a poor Ofsted/poor results, and has new leadership, it may well be that some staff don't really want to work hard to pull the school/teaching and learning, up. In that case, I guess we can say goodbye to them gladly....

If the school has decided to become an academy because it has a good/outstanding Ofsted and wishes to be independent of the LA/manage its own budget etc, then I can't see why that would be a problem either.

Certainly, a school becoming an academy doesn't seem a reason to leave it, unless there are other concerns, such as issues with leadership, teaching quality, behaviour, etc, that you feel are not improving.

Every child is different, and children have different needs - if your child is in the lower/middle sets in a comprehensive school, you do have to consider whether a Grammar school, which caters for children of significantly higher-than-average academic ability, is the most appropriate place for them.

Tuition aimed at supporting your son in the subjects he finds difficult could be useful (although he is only in Year 7 so I would be reluctant to do this long term) but I am not sure if hiring tuition to prep for in-year entry at a Grammar school, would be the best use of your money/his time.


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