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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 7:14 am 
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The homework that DD is doing only a few weeks in to Grammar school life is an eye opener. it is the framework I suppose that is interesting, as it includes:

- Parental home learning agreement
- Home work planner, with the merit system
- two or three bits of homework a day
- DD needing to get organised using the planner to manage the (deliberate) mini deluge of homework tasks.
- the introduction of the wheel of brilliance (my name), which is a self assessment tool for learning habits, where DD score themselves on a learning styles matrix and suggests ways they could do things better next time.
- They have had a special assembly telling them they are brilliant and the sorts things they need to do to keep themselves brilliant.

It may not sound like a great epiphany moment, but in some ways it is. I am sure there a number of other factors that go into highly performing school, but the homework set up is the one most visible to me. I have seen 1-2 hours a night mentioned several times by old hands, but that just gives an impression of a fair amount of work.

The learning framework that she is being exposed is the significant realisation. But for a standardised score last September and I probably would have been non the wiser, or am I wrong and this is more common than I think it is???

PP


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:19 am 
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That's really interesting to hear, PP.

I went to the Handsworth Grammar (Boys) open evening last night and I was interested to hear about their "opening minds" course which was all about teaching the boys good learning and self-organisation skills. It seemed very sensible but as this was my first opening evening visit I wasn't sure if this is the type of approach that all schools take now?


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:49 am 
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bewilderedofbearwood wrote:
That's really interesting to hear, PP.

I went to the Handsworth Grammar (Boys) open evening last night and I was interested to hear about their "opening minds" course which was all about teaching the boys good learning and self-organisation skills. It seemed very sensible but as this was my first opening evening visit I wasn't sure if this is the type of approach that all schools take now?


At HGS they have a double lesson of opening minds in year 7 which does teach the boys good learning habits and how to be well organised when it comes to doing their homework. I think this is really important in year 7 as it helps DC develop good habits which will not only help them through school and university but later on in life as well. My DS1 was there last night helping out in the open evening hope he behaved himself :wink: :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 10:24 am 
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that's very interesting Petitpois.
Which school is your DD at? We are waiting results for my DD this year, 3 weeks to go.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:08 am 
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Hi Nard, we were really impressed all the pupils we met and chatted to - they are certainly a great advert for the school.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:54 am 
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Hang in there mum115, only a few weeks to go till you know (the whole journey is stressful).

I am over the moon at how good KEVIHS is. There are always better schools, but this one ticks most of the boxes.

The learning framework is a revelation, if like me you never really bothered with homework and there wasn't much support available. There is no laxity on homework and DD just has to get on with it (with support at home), but mainly it is down to her. The other thing is that they have been very kind and encouraging, but also very clear in their expectations, about how you go about doing things and get things done. I don't know what the "wheel of brilliance" is actually called by the school, but I think it sounds like open minds at HGS e.g. questioning, reflecting, listening, that sort of thing)

I can see changes in DD after just a few weeks of it, in terms of speech patterns, self organisation, self confidence.

It is worth noting that one unexpected advantage has been that we can more easily see how some of the comprehensives step up also. Many are not that unlike grammars on homework, so it feels much less like an all or nothing scenario now for DD2 (and it probably never was), so keep that sense of perspective either way with the forthcoming results.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:43 pm 
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Thanks Petitpois, very encouraging.
It sounds like your DD has settled well and enjoying secondary :)


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 6:33 am 
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Hi all

Just wanted to say that we are similarly pleased with homework from Camp Hill Girls, although I fear small fry has not had Handswoth girls style 'wheel of brilliance' which sounds intriguing.

Although there is much more homework than primary, it is manageable (so far) ~ generally about 1 hour of an evening with art projects taking longer, but small fry loves art so this may be more a reflection of her interest than actually necessary. Reading is also assigned - e.g please read for an hour - but book choice is completely up to you. Small fry is doing some piece of homework each day, assignments are never due the next day. From our perspective this is great because we do have breathing space for outside of school activities (e.g. Swimming of course! What trout doesn't?) which small fry would like to continue.

I think the real adjustment is assignments of varying complexity - so maybe straightforward maths problem (completed that day), a writing task which requires a bit of thought and planning (maybe tackled in one long sitting or in chunks) and, perhaps, a project or research task due in several weeks which requires organisation, done over several homework sessions and really can't be done at the last minute. Group projects are also cropping up and with members of the group from all over and not necessarily able to FaceTime/ Skype, small fry has had to meet up in the library at school to discuss things as a group. She was moaning a bit about having to wait to discuss the project when the group meets up, but I reminded her that's how us oldies did things like that back in the day :lol:

Like PP we have also noticed positive changes - enthusiastic to try, even if work is challenging; improved vocabulary; aiming to do her best; taking pride in her work....

I suspect that is similar regardless of which Grammar school in Birmingham you are at/ wish to go to.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:16 pm 
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It's so interesting to learn how other 2015 sitters are getting on.

I have so far been relieved that dd is settling well in CHG. Since she got in on a lower score than many it has always been my worry if she will cope.

Three weeks in and I am pleasantly surprised with her organisation skill, her attitude to learning and ability to adapt. She made new friendships and is really enjoying school at this point. It seems like the class is nice - I have not yet heard of reports of nastiness, bickering or unkindness. The positive atmosphere is really encouraging. I constantly hear friendly banter and laughs when she is on whattsup.

She has been coping with homework ok. She tries to look ahead when and what is due and plan when she is doing it. She''s been sticking to it. So overall I am pleased so far.

If I could moan about one thing it would be the amount of money spent on dinners - croissants sants first thing in the morning when she comes in are so delicious and so is hot chocolate and waffles at break time are hard to resist too - the amount of drinks on offer is overwhelming - she is free to buy what she wants so I am working on a plan of how to curb the spending without being too harsh. Sensitive matter you see...

_________________
"To show me is far better than to lecture everyday.
To lead me is far greater than to just point out the way.
So if you tell me everything then I shall understand,
But rapid streams of words cannot compete with deed of hand[...]"


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:18 pm 
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tiredmama wrote:
If I could moan about one thing it would be the amount of money spent on dinners - croissants sants first thing in the morning when she comes in are so delicious and so is hot chocolate and waffles at break time are hard to resist too - the amount of drinks on offer is overwhelming - she is free to buy what she wants so I am working on a plan of how to curb the spending without being too harsh. Sensitive matter you see...


Hi TiredMama:

Really pleased to hear your DD is settling well in the CHG. Thought I'd let you know how I'm handling this 'delicate issue' of snacks at school - and yes, I agree it is tricky.

As my moniker suggests - I'm an old thing, and fondly remember life when there were no snacks between main meals and I never had seen a plastic water bottle. Does anyone else remember foul aluminium canteens which made water taste funny? As many will recall - I can be partial to a cup of coffee and a sticky bun - but 1) I can't afford to do that daily and 2) I'd be the size of a barn if I did! and 3) it always tastes better when a special treat.

We have hit a half-way house which has worked well with little fish (our eldest) at her state secondary comprehensive & have now rolled out for small fry- we budget £3 a school day for food (regardless of early closure/ teacher training/ school trips) - this results in a little slush fund for snacks/ treats - which they can manage as they see fit. So for Sept with 4 days lost at CHG to the trip and one teacher training day - small fry has a £12 slush fund for snacks (which we expect will at least last to October half-term and hope may stretch beyond that).

CHG is slightly tricky because with the finger print payment system there is the tendency for small fry to feel she isn't really paying for it. However, so far this has worked well and kept us on budget. Papa Trout has reviews her parent pay account with her and I think small fry gets that she can run up a snacks bill but it only means cuts for her elsewhere (swimming?, going to the movies?, clothes - school or otherwise?, etc...)

Learning to stick to a budget/ stretch your money - is no bad thing - and good training for life really. It can be a hard slog at first - but ultimately it's a good skill to have.

Small fry has become adept at grabbing a piece of fruit before school - solves the problem and 'is free' - in that it doesn't impact on her school day food budget. Although, having said that, Papa Trout was bent out of shape this morning that all the bananas were gone :lol:


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