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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:20 am 
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At what age did you know they might have the potential to take and pass the test and thrive and do well at GS?

As a family we have a few important decisions to make and we could move to another local authority area with a very good comprehensive that isn't affected by the performance issues of separating the brightest children off to grammar school, or we could stay in Birmingham (close to Camp Hill and bus route of FW) and hope our children will pass the test.

I went to GS at sixth form myself so I know the benefits and also know that a comprehensive education for a bright child can be just as effective. However I want my own children to have the edge and self confidence that I know from experience a GS education can potentially give them.

I also have 4 children and am not sure I have the nerves of steel to go through the exam 4 times. My children are bright but young (so no SATS predictions). I know they have potential because the ones at school have excellent reading ability (with zero pressure and hot housing at home) and stand out as one of the brightest in their years at school I am told by the teachers.

I am just after opinions really of the kind of children mine may grow into and what I can do to help. My husband is very convinced we need to move to this other area as his perception is that the Grammar Schools are dominated by prep school children who have been groomed to pass the eleven plus since birth!! I am totally relaxed about my children's primary education - they are at a decent state primary which usually sends a handful to GS a year. I feel a lot more anxious about secondary education and I know that the years at primary whizz by. Hope this makes sense and hope to hear some positive stories.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:13 pm 
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Alisar wrote:
My children are bright but young (so no SATS predictions). I know they have potential because the ones at school have excellent reading ability (with zero pressure and hot housing at home) and stand out as one of the brightest in their years at school I am told by the teachers.

You've answered the first part about potential ability already.

Alisar wrote:
I am totally relaxed about my children's primary education - they are at a decent state primary which usually sends a handful to GS a year. I feel a lot more anxious about secondary education and I know that the years at primary whizz by. Hope this makes sense and hope to hear some positive stories.

Our primary school is similar (perhaps even better), but the results are skewed and obscured by the massive prevalence of tutoring and sufficient affluence to allow half the cohort to choose independent schools. 80-90% of the children have tutors; many have several tutors a week - each dedicated to a particular topic.

I'm not (fully) bought in to the super selective concept and we have never had a tutor. But I'm horrified that we cannot point to a single comprehensive school within a couple of miles and say no matter what happens, she'll definitely have a place there based on proximity. That's the only reason we're giving the 11+ any real thought.

If I were in your shoes, with four children to educate, time on your side and a stable option to live somewhere with a genuine comprehensive, that's what I'd choose. It's your choice though...

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Last edited by Stroller on Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:52 pm 
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I have two boys at grammar school, one now in year 8 at KEFW and one about to start at Adams'. Both came from a voluntary aided catholic primary and were either top, or very close to the top of their class from reception all the way through to Year 6.

Certainly st KEFW the majority have come from state sector and early impressions from Adams' are that children from the private schools are very much in the minority.

We decided very early on that they would be entered (and tutored) for the 11+ but ds1 only started preparing in the Easter prior to the exams - ds2 had a whole year of tutoring.

Entrance to grammar school isn't a guarantee of success later on, but I firmly believe it gives them a one or two rung push up the ladder of life.

If your children are in the top sets at primary, I would certainly consider it.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:23 pm 
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I would very much support Stroller's perspective. If we'd had the option of a good comp we wouldn't have looked at GS and 5 years experience with CHB has not changed my mind (reinforced it, in fact). But since our comp choices ranged from merely mediocre to truly awful we had to cross our fingers and dive in. (On the other hand, if you're anticipating your children pursuing medical/dental careers or aspiring to Oxbridge I would say absolutely go for GS because that's exactly the kind of thing they're geared up for and are very good at.)

Looking at it from a different perspective, the chances of getting any child, let alone all 4, into the Birmingham GSs are slim and getting slimmer every year thanks to the birth rate statistics (some families manage multiple successes, many don't). The increase in places this year has taken the pressure off temporarily, but the admissions changes favouring pupil premium will counter that to a degree as yet unknown. So I would strongly suggest that you secure the option of a good comp first, since you can, and think about GS later. You don't have to live in Birmingham to send your child to a B'ham GS (there's at least one boy at CH commuting from Derby).

Prep school children are in a large minority at the KE schools by the way (perhaps somewhere around 25% at CHB give or take, probably lower elsewhere).

Mike


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:13 pm 
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Location: Birmingham
Just to clarify, when I looked at the stats from Okanagan on CHB intake (list of schools children entered from) at least 1/3 were from the Independent sector.
However I think the figure is not as high for CHG.

Regarding the dilemma, it is a very personal one. It is not easy to tell when children are very young, where they will 'fit in' and be happy. Nor is it easy to tell their future path.

I went through this myself, putting my house on for sale when ds1 was in Year 5 with plans to definitely move to Solihull. Ds1's Year 5 teacher certainly said he had no chance at any grammar and I was also worried about primary school places for the younger ones.

We finally sold it a few months ago (took about 5 years to sell - he is going into Year 11 now) by which time happily, ds1 and 2 were in CHB and dd has a place for next week. Funny how it worked out - we waited for the best and have now moved local to CH.
My littlest one still has no Primary school (would be starting Year 1 now) but I'm chilled about that at present 8)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:12 am 
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Thanks for the replies. My gut instinct is also to move to the good comp area (leaving behind a fantastic social network for both me and the kids). We could only just afford it with a lot of financial sacrifice. The problem is securing primary school places! as you can imagine the primary schools are over subscribed and the school we have been told has places in the area of Warwickshire we want has only 47 percent 4B pass rate compared to my current school which is around 70 to 80 percent historically! I am interested in hearing more from the poster who has been without a primary school place! Very interested to know your experience.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:19 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:02 pm
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move to the comp area.
help your children with their work if you need to, if the junior is lacking. lots of kids at our school are tutored, that goes a big way to getting the results we do.
there will always be clever children in every school so check if they stream in juniors.
your kids can still travel to a grammar if that's what you want.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:38 am 
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Location: Not in a hole in the ground but in a land where once they dwelt-the Beormingas
Personally, I wouldn't be comfortable leaving behind a fantastic social network especially, if securing a decent primary school is an issue.

Best wishes for the future.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2014 10:51 am 
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You've said that you're potentially moving to a comp area of Warwickshire - if you post over on the Warks forum we'll probably be able to provide you with some local knowledge of the primary options :)

JD


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