Go to navigation
It is currently Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:18 pm

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 20 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 3:02 pm 
Dear Forum

I have been reading the extremely helpful and authoritative discussions in many topics over the past month. As a result I've become completely filled with fear as I'm approaching the stage where my eldest daughter will be starting primary school shortly.

As I get to learn the education system in England (originally I'm from the emerald isle) and grapple with 'why on earth most LEA's did anyway with Grammar schools!!' I'm mindful that Grammar School placement is by no means an easy thing to achieve, even if I lived in a BCC catchment area (which I don’t, I live in Berkshire), and even if my daughter passed her 11+ (which means she needs to be properly prepared in Primary School) which I don’t believe will happen if I continue to live in Berkshire.

So really the questions I'd like to ask, and I can almost hear parents all over England laughing in my naivety, is:

Is it normal to consider moving to a BCC Grammar School catchment area even thought this will mean a longer commute, smaller house, more expansive property?

Is it generally accepted, that the best way (or a very good way) to prepare a child for 11+ success would be to transfer to a private school at aged 7 to 11 in Buckinghamshire whereby the tutoring would be very focused on BCC 11+ examination?

Finally, even though my daughter is only 4, is it normal for me to worry already about secondary education?

If anyone could please offer some comments I would be very grateful as I am already very worried by most of the discussions in these forums and I really don’t know if its normal to worry so early!

Please help me confirm my madness or sanity, I can take it either way!

Bryan.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 4:05 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 1:06 pm
Posts: 437
Hi Bryan,

Firstly I'm not in either Berks or Bucks, so this is more in the way of general thoughts. I didn't worry about secondary when my daughter started primary, mainly because we had a bad enough job finding a place at primary and then moved our daughter part way through Reception so secondary school whilst at the back of our mind wasn't our immediate concern. :)

I daresay quite a lot of parent do worry though so you shouldn't feel too bad about this. What I would say is your child settling into primary should be your main concern at the moment. This is a huge step particularly for the eldest who have to go it alone. Younger siblings get a slightly easier job of going to school, after all they've probably done the school run for a few years first and are familiar with the environment.

Unless the secondary schools in your area are all on the Ofsted list of failing schools or your daughter is already showing signs of being a budding Genius (no I'm not laughing), such that she needs a particular environment then it surely makes sense to see how she settles and makes progress in her primary before you take the plunge and uproot the whole family.

Presuming that you are happy with your chosen primary school you should then check out the secondary schools in your area first. Also find out where children from your primary school invariably go to secondary, if you have a mixture of good and bad schools in your area, then find out what percentage go to each, this will give you an idea of the standard of your primary.

Finally, when your daughter starts primary, don't be fobbed off by the stock phrase "she's doing very well", make sure you know where your daughter is in relationship to her peers.

If you ever feel worried about your daughter's progress come back to this forum. Everyone here had already done Primary so I'm sure advice will be more than forthcoming.

Finally, with Messrs Blair and co. currently messing BIG TIME with the Education system I would wait and see how this is going to have an impact before you do anything drastic like moving.

Hope this helps

HP


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 5:00 pm 
Bryan, With regard to your comment 'that you dont believe you child will get the primary education in Berkshire', i feel that is a very unfair assumption to make that schools in Berkshire are bad. There are good and bad school everywhere. Berkshire has 4 grammar schools which would not possibly be filled all by children 'out of County', so there must be a lot of good 'Berkshire' Primary schools doing a very good job. My son has been educated in the Berkshire system from nursery and will be starting Grammar School this September along with quite a few of his friends. Maybe its your local school you are not happy with? I also believe that with help from home, at your childs young age they will be fine as this is meant to be the 'fun' time at school. I would not think about Secondary education until the start of year 3 and if you are still not confident with the school then look at other options.

Sue


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:55 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:47 pm
Posts: 1348
Location: Berks,Bucks
Hi Brian,

It is wise to find out early what the possibilies for your children education are, but you have a lot of time. If you decide too early, you rely on the state of the school system to be static for the next seven years.

As HP mentioned, we don't know what the effects of the new education bill are going to be, and what a change in the political scene is going to bring. Who knows whether a new labour PM would be as keen to keep grammar schools as the present one!.
In addition, schools themselves change. Seven years ago, my local upper school wasn't nearly as good as it it now.


Many private schools do prepare for the 11+ but it is not the only the option . Many children from the Bucks state schools pass the 11+ thanks to tutoring. Look at the data here:
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/foi/bu ... UCKS_1.htm
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/foi/bu ... UCKS_2.htm

The state primary schools in Bucks are not allowed to coach for the 11+ in any way, and many do not like reporting pupil assessment to the parents. My son goes to a state school in Bucks, and we didn't get passed anything more precise than "You son is doing very well" until the end of last year. We tried though!

In my view, there is no rush. See how things go with infant school, but keep doing what you have started: keep an eye on your options and keep up with this forum.

Hope this helps

Catherine


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 2:56 pm 
Many thanks Catherine, HP& Sue for your replies.

Berkshire has indeed many very good Primary Schools and the one I have opted for falls into this category. However, I recently had a tour and meeting with the headmistress which went really went until I brought up the subject of 11+ / Common Entrance test preparation, which then resulted in the mood souring very quickly.

The Headmistress was 'over keen' in explaining that Grammar school places in Berkshire are extremely competitive, and notoriously difficult to gain entry too. Not only would candidates be up against 'cattachement area' children but also national children with places being allocated on a 'highest marks first' basis (aka Kendrick Girls School - Reading). Furthermore, she went on to explain that neither her school nor indeed any Berkshire State Primary school taught children to the 11+ / Common Entrance standard ! Also, the Primary school is a feeder for a Comprehensive which I will do anything to avoid.

Therefore this goes some way to explain what might seem as my over-eager desire to explore the possibility of a move into a BCC catchment area, my thinking being, more Grammars = more choice = higher chance.

By no means did I mean to imply that I don’t think some Berkshire Primary schools are very good, but simply, to stand a better chance of entrance to a ‘Buckinghamshire’ Grammar would surely mean a ‘Buckinghamshire’ Primary School would be best placed to aim toward a Grammar School placement.

So basically, given the discussions I’ve had with the Head Mistress here lies the source of my anxiety, and the issue as I perceive it to be:

/ Berkshire State Primary with tutoring may result in approx 16% change of Grammar entry (Kendrick 1:6 ratio)
/ Buckinghamshire State Primary with tutoring may result in good change of of 11+ success but without living in a catchment area then the chances are slim at best.
/ Buckinghamshire State Primary with tutoring and moving to a BCC catchment area, then at least the chances are high if my daughter is given every chance and support I can provide.

Hence, my anxiety levels are simmering along nicely at the moment and all comments are very welcome.

Bryan..


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:14 pm 
I just wanted to say, that I didn't worry about secondary when my kids were 4, but I always wanted them to do well at school and I always supported them and tried to help them as much as I could.

I have never been of the "sit them in front of the television" mindset, and always tried to do things with them. I have always talked to them about things and I mean everything. If there was an election we have always talked about it as a family and the children have put the X in the box on the ballot paper. I don't believe in "Not in front of the children" unless it is something truly unsuitable.

I feel that this has helped them to succeed at school because they have always been quite mature. I tried to treat them as companions rather than children and they have become my best friends.

So don't worry about VR and NVR yet, just do your best as a parent and listen to them read, etc. However, if you find that your child isn't as bright as you had hoped, don't be too disappointed either, because they all have something to offer even if they aren't fab at maths. Academic achievement is something that only some can succeed in and when your child starts school you may find that he/she struggles at certain subjects. You need to show that you don't mind.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:32 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:47 pm
Posts: 1348
Location: Berks,Bucks
Bryan,

There are 4 grammar schools in Slough that are not as competitive as Kendrick (1:4 pass rate). Places are allocated according to the 11+ pass scores, not according to location like in Bucks.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:50 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 1:06 pm
Posts: 437
Hi Bryan,

Welcome to the Education System :lol: :lol:

Headteacher mood swings when you mention the 11+. Wait until you start questioning your daughter's progress. Schools take this very very personally. After all, thay are under-resourced, usually dedicated and often doing their best under very difficult circumstances. If your primary school has good results, this can often make them even more defensive.

It is important to be honest about your daughter's ability, if your daughter isn't grammar material then she will feel your disappointment in her if she doesn't pass the 11+ . I personally wouldn't wish my daughter to spend the rest of her life feeling that she let me down. It is after all her future not yours.

If you really have set your heart on your daughter receiving a Grammar education (assuming it still exists in 6/7 years time) you have to be realistic about her prospects. I therefore have one question to ask you, do you think that your daughter is exceptionally bright and if so what indicatiors do you have? If you could answer this honestly then I could give some specific advice on this.

Finally, if you read most of the posts on this site you will find lack of tutoring by primaries a huge issue, so I wouldn't worry unduly about this and it is no reflection on the school.

HP


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:09 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:47 pm
Posts: 1348
Location: Berks,Bucks
Bryan, I wanted to add that if you decided to move into a selective area, make sure that you are also in the catchment of a good or very good upper school. Even the brightest child may not get through the 11+ for any reason, and you need a back up.

HP, I am not sure that children need to be exceptionally bright to benefit from grammar schools. Some grammars are highly selective, but not all of them. In many areas, children need to be bright, not necessarily exceptional.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 5:47 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 1:06 pm
Posts: 437
Hi Catherine,

Agree with you totally. I wasn't trying to imply that the exceptionally bright are the only children who benefit from grammar, but if Bryan's answer is "yes" he would need to be aware that sometimes it can be the case that very bright children are often the ones who are expected to coast through and yet fail the 11+ for a number of different reasons eg primaries don't give them the stimulus they need or haven't covered the work necessary to pass 11+ etc.

HP

Bryan, Hope you're not getting anxious about this, we are after all trying to alleviate your worries, not add to them.

HP


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 20 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
CALL 020 8204 5060
   
Privacy Policy | Refund Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright © 2004 – 2016