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 Post subject: The Final Stretch ...
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:21 am 
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Location: Birmingham
How is everyone getting on? I am trying to remain calm and tell DS how well he is doing, but I am so preoccupied with the whole business right now. DH said I was mumbling something about 67% in my sleep last night!!! :lol:

I am glad that we are nearly there though. I have piles of of my own work that I just can't get through and a chapter deadline looming :( . I feel guilty if we don't work but we have both had enough, so are having a few days off - well he is, I have got to get them all sorted for schools and go to work!

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:44 am 
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Speaking of the last stretch, we got the information pack today so no going back now!

I see there is more information in there than in the past. Was there a differentiation between a qualifying score and cut-off score in the previous year?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:38 am 
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we received our info pack just too - eek. It's very real now.
We've been bizarrely chilled out about it, certainly this wasn't the case with son. I think it's down to the children's different temperaments. Being anything other than chilled out with daughter just is counterproductive! Inside though I'm churning whilst trying to portray chilled out lol!
2 years ago when son took this test the info pack seemed quite sparce compared to this pack! This one made me feel bamboozled.
Good luck to all our children trying the 11+, both for on the day and for this final stretch
xx


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:34 pm 
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I have been lurking for a while - would like to thank everyone for the many hints and tips I have picked up.

I too am feeling like the proverbial swan - trying to portray calm and serenity but paddling like mad underneath! DS said for the first time over the weekend that he is getting a bit nervous, he's been pretty chilled until now. So I am making a super effort to appear calm and collected but it's hard!

Hoping our info pack will be there when we get home this evening...

Good luck everyone.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:36 pm 
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Very Very nervous.. Lot of questions and thought in my mind:roll: Anxiety about whats going to happen on the day of test. i am trying to stay calm and not to show this out :o


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:39 pm 
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Hi UmSusu - we noticed a change between 2013 and 2015 11+ exams in the amount of information sent out prior to the exam. I also felt that the handling of arrival/ exit was better organised in 2015 - so hopefully that holds true for everybody this year.

Somewhere in that pack you all should have information on how to fill in the answer sheet - and frankly if you disregard everything else - that's the important bit. And worth going over carefully with your child. Make sure they're clear on how to fill in their answer sheet/ handle mistaken entries - so that they do not unnecessarily miss out on gaining points.

My advice (for any exam centre) is arrive early: parking will be easier, reduces the time you & your child are waiting in a queue and avoids seeing large numbers of people.

Same applies for collecting your child. Arriving early helps - means you're standing near the front as they exit the building/ go to assigned collection areas.

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In terms of the difference between qualifying score and cut-off score ....

[apologies if you already understand this clearly - but this change in entrance rules has lead to some confusion and some parents/ posters here have felt that achieving the qualifying score meant that they had gained a place at one of the grammar schools - which wasn't the case - see below....]

qualifying score is the minimum score you must achieve to be eligible for entry (by waiting list presumably). In essence this score means your child how shown they are grammar school material - it doesn't however guarantee a place - places are offered by rank of score - so in theory you could qualify (say score 210, but because you're entering as an ordinary applicant (no pupil premium situation) and the last score offered was 235, you are only elligible for the wait list).

cut-off score - is the score for the last entrant of Pupil Premium applicants and also for the last entrant of ordinary applicants on national offers day. [don't panic about the score posted on results page of grammar schools in birmingham website https://www.birminghamgrammarschools.org/content/results-and-offers - remember that all the schools will operate a wait list and the cut-off scores will drop for both ordinary and pupil premium applicants [see wait list discussion for 2015 11+/ 2016 entry here: http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/forum/11plus/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=46101 - um has very kindly kept a record of when offers are made so you get some sense of what movement occurred (and how far scores dropped) after national offers day.

It is important to understand that achieving the qualifying score does not guarantee you entry into the grammar school of your choice - it merely means that your child is capable of attending a grammar school. An offer of a place is entirely dependent on the rank order of children's scores from the highest on downward (e.g. for 2016 entry at Camp Hill - the last offered score on offers day was 235, so pupil #120 scored 235 and all offers ranked 1 - 119 represents children with scores at or higher than 235.

Remember that a number of children can have the same exact score. There has been a lot of talk about how scores are distributed - but in short - the higher the score the fewer pupils will have achieved it. In essence it is likely that as you approach the cut-off score 20 to 30 children will have achieved that score.

The initial offer of places at a KE grammar school (state sector) is to PAN (pupil allocation number - i.e. the number of places officially available at the school for Year 7 as registered with Birmingham City Council/ OFSTED) - so for example in the case of Camp Hill Girls there are 150 places in total: 30 pupil premium places + 120 ordinary entrant places [info on other schools can be found in the table here: https://www.birminghamgrammarschools.org/content/eligibility

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Last year, there was a lot of talk about Pupil Premium. I don't think it is worth revisiting the discussions but just to say that the pupil premium scheme relates entirely to additional places to those originally available in Birmingham grammar schools prior to 2013. I think it is important for ordinary applicants to understand that the actual number of places available in Birmingham grammar schools for ordinary applicants remains unchanged from that previously available prior to 2013 - all of the schools (with the possible exception of Handsworth Grammar School for Boys) have expanded the number of places they offer to accommodate these additional entrants. [Because I have daughters I'm unclear whether Handsworth Boys has expanded the number of places available there or not; however, they do not operate the scheme there because they have a high proporiton of pupil premium students anyway.] Also historically there have always been a small number of pupil premium students at these grammar schools - the expansion of places was to reflect that research has firmly established that FSM pupils are less likely to gain entry to a grammar school for a range of factors (financial, social, etc...).

Regardless of which school of the grammar schools in Birmingham is your first choice, the Pupil Premium scheme does not negatively affect chances of entry there.

------------------

FINALLY

as you await your results letter on 14 OCTOBER

(Health warning - our letter didn't arrive on the results letter day, but the day afterward, even though sent 1st class within Birmingham)

over the years friends and I have found a good rule of thumb is to presume that cut-off scores historically can rise 5 pts higher than the previous year. If your child is at that threshold or higher (so scoring 5pts+ higher than previous year's cut-off), it is very likely they will gain a place at their preferrred grammar school.

However, stranger things have happened, and this past year (so 2015 exam for 2016 entry) Camp Hill Boys cut-off score actually dropped (2015 entry cut-off 243/ 2016 cut-ff 239) and Five Ways (which had previously had a higher cut-off score than Camp Hill Girls) had a slightly lower cut-off score (2016 entry cut-off Five ways 233 - one point higher than previous year's exam cut-off of 232) but Camp Hill Cut-off was 235 (4 points higher than 2015 entry 231 cut off).


edited the change some font colours from blue as this is reserved for Moderator use - Moderator


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:35 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:59 pm
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Location: Birmingham
We received are info today too. Second time round for us....more worried!!!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:24 pm 
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I was under the impression that qualifying scores are only applicable to PP candidates. Having a qualifying score for normal candidates will be meaningless as you will always have X number of candidates achieving a score higher than qualifying threshold. With PP it makes sense as the grammar schools are not obliged to take any PP candidates below the qualifying score even if that means they don't fill their entire PP quota for the year.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:18 pm 
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MSD

I absolutely take your point completely but technically the qualifying score applies to all entrants. (Has to under the Equalities act). In theory you could have a year where test scores radically drop or possibly there is a major shift in preference away from a school.

I hasten to add this has never happened - but I suspect the qualifying score is there to avoid an intake which would struggle to cope with the demands (especially pace and workload) of grammar school. The score is also set yearly and is highly informed - they'll know how much shifting down from cut-off occurs and I'm certain there will be a formula.

In short I think the qualifying score is there to avoid filling all possible places at a grammar school if insufficient pupils meet the required/ deemed standard (pupil premium or ordinary entrant).

Because parents/ schools are clued up - I think this theoretical scenario has been avoided due to the large pool of candidates (5000+) for KE grammars Birmingham state sector/ Bishop Vessey & Sutton Coldfield Girls. The shear numbers has meant entrance by exam tends to be competitive.

However the :twisted: devil in me can't help but wonder how some of these low 200 score kids would actually do at one of these grammar schools. I think sometimes achievement is about being encouraged or maybe even pushed to strive ...

But just my late night musings.....


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:47 pm 
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MSD wrote:
I was under the impression that qualifying scores are only applicable to PP candidates. Having a qualifying score for normal candidates will be meaningless as you will always have X number of candidates achieving a score higher than qualifying threshold. With PP it makes sense as the grammar schools are not obliged to take any PP candidates below the qualifying score even if that means they don't fill their entire PP quota for the year.


This has also been my understanding.

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