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 Post subject: New here - daunted mum
PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:49 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:02 pm
Posts: 6
Hello, new to this forum but having read through I am pretty worried and daunted. (long post sorrry). Here is our situation:

We currently live in Spain and my boys go to a Spanish primary school (and have been educated solely in Spanish for nearly 3 years). We are moving to Aylesbury at the end of June 2012 and my eldest two (twins) will then be at the end of year 5 (they will only get a few weeks of year 5 in UK of course).

Having recently discovered about grammar schools in Bucks etc (I don't know the area at all), I want the boys to at least have a chance of getting in. I have therefore ordered and had delivered to Spain the practice tests recommended on this website. However, the boys, although bright and well-read in English, will have had no coaching for 11 plus and of course have very limited experience of writing or spelling in English. My plan is to do what we can, but they do not get home until 5pm here, and have Spanish homework and extra-curricular activities, so time to practise this year will be limited. My main questions:

Is there any procedure for any leniency at all where the kids have not been educated in English for several years (or is that maybe just something that I could raise at appeal if necessary?)

Having read about the scores needed to get in (very daunting indeed) and the prep and tutoring that so many seem to be doing, are we just in cuckoo land to think there is any chance for mine to just turn up and pass (ie do you think we should just drop the idea and not bother even practising tests because no chance for them)?

Are there are good tutors who can help with some online tutoring sessions?

Anyone local - we have not chosen area in Aylesbury yet to live in - any advice on good areas (can be village nearby or town itself) in particular with catchment for good comprehensive if one or both do not get in to grammar school?

NB to make things worse, we can not even do anything over summer, as we will be back in Spain for the whole of August at summer school and packing up.

Sorry such a long post, but any advice appreciated, thank you.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:59 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11952
Hi,

Welcome to the forum.

I would get your twins to start practisising the vocab by using the free website freerice
http://freerice.com/#/english-vocabulary/1428


That will help with vocab - if you do little and often then, yes. you can do it - we'll all help you - look for Patricia's list of the order to tackle the papers.

Aylesbury and indeed Buckinghamshire has no comprehensives - it's Grammars or Uppers (secondary Moderns) - the Grammars take the top third. In Aylesbury there are three Grammars - two single gender (AHS - girls and AGS - boys) and a mixed choice (Sir Henry Floyd known as 'The Floyd'). All three have websites that give lots of information about the differences between them. If you PM me I'd be happy to share my perspective on them.

Re non-GS options - buy a house in Waddesdon or in its catchment or near Tring or Thame. Again I'm happy to discuss by e-mail. There is a postcode checker on the Bucks website www.buckscc.gov.uk so you can be sure than the house IS in the correct catchment. The new houses to the west of Aylesbury (Berryfield and New Berry Vale) are not in Waddesdon catchment.

Yes - being edcated in Spain would help with an appeal but you need to have strong academic evidence of their attainment and how that compares to the English system!


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:26 pm
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Quote:
Is there any procedure for any leniency at all where the kids have not been educated in English for several years
I'm afraid not. If they don't qualify, it would mean going to an appeal where your particular circumstances can be taken into account.

However, as Guest55 says, the key to a successful appeal will be evidence of academic ability.

This might be of interest:
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/appeal ... cation#b19

_________________
Etienne


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 04, 2007 3:40 pm
Posts: 359
Location: Chiltern District, Bucks
Eloise,

If you don't need to be in Aylesbury itself, try Haddenham. If the kids there don't pass they can get into Lord Williams (a comprehensive over the border in Thame, Oxfordshire); if they do pass they can go to the Aylesbury Grammar, Aylesbury High or Sir Henry Floyds.

Overall, quite a nice choice.

Then there's Wendover with John Colet School if they don't pass (and the grammars if they do).

You'll find that property in these "outliers" is generally more expensive but as always with British property, if something is cheaper, it's cheaper for a reason. The question to ask yourself is: what is the reason and can you live with it? A lot of 'reasons' for some locations are not reasons at all for some people e.g. it's just in an urban area. We do like our nice chocolate box villages :D


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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Keep an eye on the proposed route of HS2 - right through Wendover outskirts ....


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:47 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:49 pm
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EloiseB

At an appeal the panel could take into account the fact that your child has not been educated in English for several years. I think it would depend on who is on the panel. My experience is that teachers really like and appreciate the fact that a child can speak two languages and I would imagine quite a few members of panels have worked in education.

There is an argument that less proficiency in English results in a lower mark in verbal reasoning since a good part of the test types are English based. I used this argument at my childs appeal and we were successful on a unanimous decision. Two of the panel comments (obtained from the clerk) referred to bi-lingualism explicitly and its potential affect on the result. Having said that your child will need a good academic standard as well.

So I would recommend you give it a go and proceed to appeal if not quite successful in the test per se.

Good luck.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:57 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:23 am
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Location: Buckinghamshire
I can't help on the test itself, but to offer some additional information...

Don't know how flexible you are on where you live. Children commute to all the Aylesbury grammars from places as distant as Bicester and Milton Keynes, outside Buckinghamshire, and possibly similar distances to the south of Aylesbury. You might consider this to be madness, but it does happen. It's obviously better to be near to your preferred grammar school if possible, but some well-regarded upper schools are found a bit further out, for example those in Leighton Buzzard, which is well within distance for the Aylesbury grammars. You might widen your options by looking a bit further afield.

Also, are you aware of another nearby grammar, the Royal Latin in Buckingham?


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:53 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:12 pm
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Ok, no panic, you have lots of time, as they will not be doing their test until Sep/Oct 2012. The advantage you have is that in Bucks you only have to do Verbal reasoning.
You also get two chances, so you can have a bad test and still pass, if the other one is good.
VR is one of those things that can be tutored, and if you have the time, you could easily do it yourself. There is a wealth of resources (You can get a lot of help from this website, for example) and "How to do" books.
I have tutored both of my boys at home, and while it was a bit daunting to start with, once you start doing it is actually quite interesting. :wink: .
Each person does it in a different way, but we worked on all the different question types first, and once they were familiar with these, we started doing test. If you start doing test without really knowing the techniques behind each type, unless you are a genius, you will find it hard. (I did :? )
Once you know what you are doing, is a case of getting the child ready for exam itself, as you have a very short time to answer each question, and time management is almost as important as knowledge.
I am sure lots of people in this site will help you if you get stuck :) .
Having recently moved away from Buckinghamshire, I would add the Cottesloe school in Wing (not Grammar) is regarded generally as a good school.
Good luck


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:54 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:02 pm
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Wow, thank you so much for those really helpful replies everyone :) . I'm going to dig deeper and follow up all the bits mentioned. In answer to a few of the points - yes, the twins both have very good grades at their Spanish primary school (they do end of year grading here) - both in Spanish and in Valenciano (they are educated 50% in each language) but their English spelling and writing is weak. Also, yes, we are flexible on location as long as can reach Aylesbury.

Area - I will come over and do several house trips, starting around Easter. I have fallen in love already on the internet with some thatched cottages and smaller villages, but may have to be practical about having 3 kids and a dog and needing an office at home! May have to rent at first, that depends on the sale of our current UK house near Chester, which is on the market now as tenants have left.

Looking at the schools so far on the internet - Aylesbury Grammar sounds like a dream come true for the twins as it specialises in science (which they have been massively into from a young age) and Spanish. Need to now narrow down the non-grammar secondary school to get in catchment if don't pass.

I gave the twins a "cold test" in verbal reasoning this weekend to see starting point - one did quite well, the other did not (no surprise - one is more academic than other) so as parents we may also have to consider the possibility that one could get in and one not - parenting of twins has difficult situations sometimes...

We can't really afford a tutor even if one could do it online, so I will prepare a plan from this forum and start it in the new year helping the boys myself, although they will not be able to devote more than a session a week to it I think - will have to hope that is enough. Thanks for your help everyone so far!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:57 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:02 pm
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Guest55 wrote:
Keep an eye on the proposed route of HS2 - right through Wendover outskirts ....


PS what is the HS2? Thanks


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