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 Post subject: Approach to 11+
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:14 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:03 pm
Posts: 54
I thought it would be useful to have a thread on different approaches to getting through the 11+.

I'll start!

Half of year 4 and all of year 5 with an online provider.
This involved a "Quiz" each weekday from 5 minutes up to 30 minutes a time.
Help from me to explain things as necessary.
3 "mock" exams in the 6 months before the actual exam.
No help at all from the primary school.

The mock exams were particularly helpful as they gave us a fairly accurate assessment of whether we were on target.

Result - a score to get into any of the Birmingham Grammars.


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 Post subject: Re: Approach to 11+
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:46 pm 
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Location: Essex
DS1 - a bit of on-line VR stuff in the 3 months before the exam, plus regular reminders that one has a better chance of a good score in any of the papers if one actually answers all the questions. Local GS, now moved to another local GS for 6th form.

DD - occasional practice papers in which she did very well. Managed to bomb in VR in actual 11+ but obtained in-year GS place at the end of summer term in year 7 (Science paper in place of VR in entrance test, haha), having been taught well and worked hard at her allocated comprehensive. Now in year 8, definitely not bottom of the class in any subject as far as we can tell.

DS2 (2014 entry) - occasional practice papers over the months before the exam (although maths probably helped a bit by his being invited to attend year 7 classes at a - different - local GS throughout year 5). 11+ standardised score 75 points over required minimum for one of our catchment GSs, that would also have got him a place at the more distant Chelmsford (as OOC) or Colchester (super-selective) grammars in any of the past 4 years.

All three encouraged to work hard at their normal schoolwork, to read widely (DS1 always more interested in non-fiction) and take advantage of any extra-curricular activities offered.

No outside activities curtailed in the period prior to any of the exams.

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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx


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 Post subject: Re: Approach to 11+
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:42 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:17 pm
Posts: 61
I read an article recently written by a senior lecturer in education at an university. I quote directly from the article.

My son wants to go to grammar school, and despite my complete moral and ethical objection to this outdated and divisive system of selective education, I want him to go too. I feel I have a duty to ensure that he has the best possible opportunities during his secondary education. It is not that I feel grammar schools offer the best teaching and learning, I know that is not to be true. But to me, because of socially engineered profile of the intake, grammar schools are able to provide a greater level of aspiration and opportunity.
In order to try and ensure my son has this opportunity for the past year, again against my strong beliefs, I send him to an 11+ club once a week and upon our return from our annual 'relaxing break' he attended a four day summer club, teamed with a couple of 1:1 sessions to ensure that his maths was up to standard. I am not unusual in investing a lot of time and money in preparing my son for the test.
What's more , I know all of what I am doing is wrong and it makes me feel deeply uncomfortable. He should just sit the test without any support. Surely then the test is fair and the 'most intelligent' get their pass and those that are not as cognitively able do not and fail. However, the playing field is not fair, with so many parents and some primary schools putting a lot of time and effort into 11+ preparations, I felt I had no real option other than to join in the rat race and tutor my child. I fully recognise that in doing so, all I did was reinforce a system of unfairness - but what would you do?
I feel angry that my son has been placed in this situation. Not only does so much rest on the result of one test, but the system inherently encourages division and Social Darwinism. A common argument for grammar schools is that they are 'engines of social mobility' but my family's response shows how false this is - in common with so many we have attempted to use all our social and financial capital to do our best for our son, thus potentially denying his place to a child from a family without such means.
I hope for my son's sake that the effects of the 11+ are not detrimental to a motivated and charismatic boy who loves to learn but who also asked me on a regular basis: 'Mum, what happens if I don't pass the test?'


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 Post subject: Re: Approach to 11+
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:19 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:03 pm
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I know it is tempting to get into a debate about whether kids should be tutored for the 11+ but can we try to leave this thread as a useful reference for parents who wonder what they need to think about to get into grammar? It has been said elsewhere that some able kids miss out on grammar cos their parents don't know what is involved. My intention is that this thread might help them.


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 Post subject: Re: Approach to 11+
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:53 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:27 am
Posts: 241
It is a shame that this thread has ended abruptly......


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 Post subject: Re: Approach to 11+
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:27 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
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Location: Essex
Smudger wrote:
I know it is tempting to get into a debate about whether kids should be tutored for the 11+ but can we try to leave this thread as a useful reference for parents who wonder what they need to think about to get into grammar? It has been said elsewhere that some able kids miss out on grammar cos their parents don't know what is involved. My intention is that this thread might help them.


Not sure whether it was my post or sky111's which you deemed not to be in the spirit of offering a bit of insight into what might be involved if one was thinking about applying for a selective school place? You did say you "thought it would be useful to have a thread on different approaches to getting through the 11+".

The first step for us was to assess how good a fit our DC were likely to be for a place in a school selecting by academic ability and then we kept faith in their ability. If we had thought that they would require anything in the way of heavy-duty coaching to get them there, then we probably wouldn't have gone any further, nor did it occur to us that they should have paid tutoring / coaching regardless. All three were made aware that they had to succeed on their own merit.

That was our approach :)

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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx


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 Post subject: Re: Approach to 11+
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:22 am 
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Just trying to keep the thread to the point. I was concerned Sky's post might prompt a debate about something different. I didn't mean to kill the thread! So does anybody else want to help people who wonder what is necessary to succeed at 11+?


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 Post subject: Re: Approach to 11+
PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:21 pm
Posts: 297
Hi:

I just thought for parents out there the advice on the sticky at the top of the Birmingham/ Walsall/ Wovlerhampton/ Wrekin section was my starting point.

We joined an on-line site for extra practice (really for diversity) from Christmas Y5. Little fish preferred 10 minute bond books to assessment papers - and I fear I rather caved in with that. Perhaps, with hindsight, getting her to work for longer periods is probably better preparation for the exam's length on the day.

I used to play a game and with practice papers (the ones you can purchase from Bond, Letts, etc...). I would total up her percentages on each test (VR, NVR, Maths, English) and then average it. So if she got 70%, 72%, 75%, & 70%, for example, her average would be 72% and if I multiplied that by 280 (I read somewhere that the notional top score would be about 140 for English/ VR and 140 for Maths/ NVR - although I now know someone scored 290 this past year means higher is clearly possible) - anyway 72% would be a score of 202.

I played this game all the way through the summer and little fish would waiver between 210 - 225. She scored 213 on the day.

So when they say on on-line 11+ websites (if you subscribe to on-line tutorials) that your average score needs to be around 85% - there is indeed some validity in what they're saying - in that if your child is consistently above this threshold the likelihood is they will do well on the day and score sufficiently highly to go to a grammar school.

Finally, my one piece of advice is that there is no guarantee any child will definitely pass. Children are children, they can get unwell, stressed out, upset, confused, etc... on the day - so as you embark on this process, try to make it about improving their overall standard as a student regardless of outcome. Sure aim high, aim to make it into whichever grammar school they prefer, but know that regardless of the outcome on the 11+ exam, the process will ensure they're well prepared for KS2 SATs and senior school, which is well worth it.


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 Post subject: Re: Approach to 11+
PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:32 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:27 am
Posts: 241
Old trout,

What a fantastic post. When someone posts with such clarity (which is often because they have similar clarity in their thinking and approach too) it is immensely helpful.

Thank you


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