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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:32 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:59 pm
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New poster to the forum here. First, can I say thank you to all the brilliant posters on this Bucks board, I've lurked for a long time and have learnt so much :D

Reference the Bucks Schools Pass Rates thread, as the mum of a Year 5 DC in a state primary in AV I'm finding the stats released today plus the state vs independent stats utterly depressing.

This is compounded by the fact that in our school, our pass rate has gone from an average of 30.something% under the old system to 20% last year and now single figures this year :( Our HT doesn't seem interested in discussing the issue or making representations to BCC about the state vs independent disparity or the OOC issue. We just get hand-wringing and sad faces :roll:

Can anyone tell me - what specific 11+ prep do the independents offer typically? I understand that there are many reasons why 70% pass, not just the extra prep, but I'm trying to make a case to our HT that they need to do something and not just sit back and watch our kids get squeezed out. Do any primaries get round the no 11+ preparation rule by offering quasi-coaching or extra maths/vocab work at lunchtimes or after school? I've heard anecdotally of two schools that do this but haven't seen it mentioned on this board.

Do you think there's any appetite within the GS/BCC to tackle the OOC issue? Is this issue part of what the Local, Equal, Excellent lot are lobbying for?

Appreciating that many of you already have DC who have taken the 11+, if you had a Yr5 DC, would you just accept the system and focus your energies on helping your DC prepare or would you be lobbying to try and pressure change? I just feel a bit defeated before we've really started :(

My DC is borderline I think - predicted 2 level 5s and a 4a by the end of this year but with an inexperienced class teacher who doesn't inspire any confidence and their own "bull at a gate" attitude, I think they're at high risk of being in the "squeezed middle" pushed out by the OOC inflation of the pass threshold.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:38 pm 
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I'm from North London, with both dd's now in N. London grammar schools. If you are competing with OOC, which Bucks is only partially doing, it might help to look at strategies parents use to prepare their children for the 11+. In our area about 5% of children who apply gain places, and about 15% of children in the area apply on average (it's opt-in) because we have 4 schools for North London and c.2000 apply for each school with between 93-186 places depending on the school. . To have any chance of a place the child needs to know KS2 Maths and English up to the end of Y6. It sounds a lot, but we just worked through the revision books. They usually sit a mock (or two) to reduce nerves on the day of the real exam in the summer term of Y5, and work though the relevant test papers available, checking strategy and speed. Ideally they should be scoring 90%+ by the month or two before for GL, and a bit less (75-80%) in the hard CEM papers, and with time to check the answers. The actual CEM papers are usually harder than the ones available commercially, and their pass score is thought to be between 60-65% non-standardised in our area.

It sounds like your DC is doing fine based on predicted levels, so simply making sure that s/he can complete the papers with time to check, and score over 75% in the CEM papers should be fine as I understand 30% of children gain places, and actual school is based on distance as long as you DC achieves a pass.

If the teacher is inexperienced then you need to watch progress carefully. Both my dd's had a less than inspiring teacher in Y4, and with DD2 several parents managed to persuade the head to organise extra work for the more academically able in Maths, with an experienced teacher, much like those who are struggling get extra work during break.

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:43 pm 
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Partner private schools have to follow the Bucks rules ie no specific tutoring and have to confirm this in writing. Remember the private school Transfer Test sitters will be a subset of those at the school so you'd expect a higher qualification rate.

I don't think it is as simple as you state in your post. Once the 2014 performance tables are out we can see of the proportion of able pupils matches the qualifiers and compare this to the old test.

There are some good schools in AV but some don't seem to get the qualification numbers they should. I think there are a number of reasons, here are a couple to start with:

a) proximity to nearby comps in Northants/MK/Oxfordshire so Transfer Test not so important
b) proximity to a good local Upper


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:22 pm 
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Thanks for the replies.

Guest 55 - I didn't know that about the independents being bound by the same rules. As I understand it from the children that I know (all 3 of them :) ) that attend two private schools locally they are being prepped except they call it "Problem-solving" and "Critical thinking" or something like that.

As you say it will be interesting when the full 2014 stats are out. It's also true that I don't know how many at my DC's school entered so the % quoted is based on % of whole yr6 cohort.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:03 pm 
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It was worked out somewhere in this forum that the "pass" rate required for the test in 2013 (for 2014 entry) was somewhere around 60% - obviously it was quite tenuous and there is of course the standardisation.

I'm not sure about having time to check the answers though. The CEM tests are extremely pressured for time and seem to be designed so that some sections cannot be answered in the time given. Children need to be prepared for this and be reassured that they won't be able to answer all the sections. When the 1 minute warning is given on the CD in each section, they have to guess remaining questions at high speed. It is a very strange strategy to have to teach a child and I can't get my head round how a test can be designed with so much of it being unable to be completed (there is a thread on this under the CEM forum).


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:18 pm 
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The pass rate is, but children usually drop marks in the actual test, and the actual test will be harder (or seemingly easy but a bit tricky) than the ones available to buy. If a child is scoring 60% in practice papers then they will probably score less in the test. Remember though that I was giving the example of the experience OOC candidates are facing and preparing for. It's not so tough in Bucks due to the larger number of schools and the much smaller population.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 5:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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http://www.bucksherald.co.uk/news/more- ... -1-6405161

The information has hit the local press.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 5:36 pm 
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My DC is one of the OOC children that you mention, (in a Prep School since half way through Y4 for social reasons only)

In her Prep school they start 'thinking skills' (aka, VR, NVR & QR) in Y4, they have 1 hour a week consisting of mostly various Bond Books, in Y5 it's increased to 2 hours a week, again mostly Bond Books and a bit of IPL, it often worked out that 1 hour was spent doing papers then the next hour's lesson was for marking the paper, the teachers were very much against the children getting tutored out of school!

Out of the 8 that took the test 5 qualified, out of the 3 that failed to qualify two were externally tutored, out of the six that qualified 4 had external tutoring, 2 didn't.

I believed in my DDs natural ability so I made the decision not to tutor her, apart from the occasional FFTP & Bond paper and a couple of elevenplusexams mock tests during the summer, (which she found quite hard!) so she could experience tight time restraints etc. I think these mocks really helped!

I did panic a bit during the summer and there were times that I wished I had tutored her, I felt her school wasn't really on top of it.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 5:37 pm 
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Rhaine - if they are a partner school they are breaking the rules ...


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 5:42 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2014 1:03 pm
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Guest55 wrote:
Rhaine - if they are a partner school they are breaking the rules ...


Not a partner school, school is located in Berks


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