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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 8:53 am 
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There are some interesting comments etc in the recent Headteachers Admissions Working Group minutes:
https://schoolsweb.buckscc.gov.uk/schools/leadership_and_management/admissions/headteachers_admissions_working_group.asp
Jun08 wrote:
It was noted that coaching undermined the accuracy of orders of suitability.

Nov08 wrote:
11+ Testing & Coaching –
A discussion took place about 11+ coaching, parents expectations and the comments made on the 11+ Testing Forum website. DM confirmed that she had written to 4 Independent schools that referred to verbal reasoning courses on their websites. She would also be investigating a LA school that may have been coaching 11+ pupils also. A request was made for a formal statement to be issued by CH/Admissions that LA schools are provided with a familiarisation & practice pack for each child and must not facilitate additional coaching. DM confirmed that, in light of GLA’s advice that additional coaching may make a difference to performance, the LA has amended the wording in the guide.

Feb09 wrote:
Order of suitability –
Feedback continued to be positive about the amended order of suitability and it was greed that removing the need for Headteacher’s ranking was a popular decision.

Selection Appeals –
Concern was raised about the apparent inconsistencies in panel’s decision making. A discussion took place with examples of the inconsistencies. DM explained the process of the panel’s decision-making process and advised that the comments would be fed-back to the Legal & Admin Team.

It was agreed that Headteacher’s could send copies of their recommendation forms direct to the Admissions Team and that these would be compared to the parents’ submission in the appeal case. Headteacher’s Handbook will be updated to reflect this.

DM confirmed that next year Headteacher’s would receive copies of the statistics used in the appeal cases. She also made it clear that selection appeals are for the parents and that evidence they provide does not have to be made available to schools.

Headteacher’s felt that the selection appeal summary sheet should be an independent document and not part of the parent’s case and that this would relieve some of the pressure Head’s experience to provide only positive recommendations. DM said that the legal view is that this is still a statutory process

11+ Testing & Coaching –
A further discussion took place about 11+ coaching. Concerns were raised that coaching was creating a more uneven playing field, disadvantaging children from poorer backgrounds and it was agreed that it was becoming more difficult for Headteacher’s to discourage coaching when the evidence indicates that there are significant benefits. DM stated that irrespective of the testing method used, coaching will always be an issue and this was agreed.

Nick Waldron raised the issue that Bucks libraries were still selling 11+ coaching materials and that the ‘authority’ was displaying double standards.

DM has agreed to discuss with GLA the issue of updating the Familiarisation & Practice papers.

JS said that she shared the concerns of the Headteacher’s and that and an Educational Psychologist has been commissioned to look at the format of the11+ verbal reasoning tests and consider possible alternative methods of testing. Overview & scrutiny will also be looking at the entire 11+ process, including the tests.

A request was made for statistics indicating the level of achievement of children (who had achieved level 5 SATS at KS2) at KS3. DM thought this to be possible and will discuss with Joanna Preston.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 12:17 pm 
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Quote:
and it was agreed that it was becoming more difficult for Headteacher’s to discourage coaching when the evidence indicates that there are significant benefits.


Extraordinary !

The minimal familiarisation policy is now unravelling faster than one of my old school jumpers.

The time is fast approaching for a thorough review of how Bucks approaches its own system of selection. It isn't about merely updating the familiarisation packs (which kind of implies a few nips and tucks here and there); it is about completely changing the approach to a familiarisation policy that is so blindingly obviously wrong to anyone who has been through the process.

Whether VR is actually the best selection tool is another issue (but a valid one for later discussion).

The overwhelming priority should be to ditch the hopelessly inadequate familiarisation policy and put something far more comprehensive in its place. If that still fails to improve the chances of access to grammar places for 'the poor' then one might start a wider a debate about whether VR is correct or indeed whether selection is correct.

But until better coaching is instituted in Bucks schools, no-one can ever know.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 9:59 pm 
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Alternatively, keep the content of the tests "secret", so they were unfamiliar to everyone? (Would that be allowed?).


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:34 pm 
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Bucks Free Press picks up on the story.....

http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/4300098.Heads_say__no_coaching__order_hitting_11_/


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:52 am 
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I think The BFP comments from the Council Admissions Officer seem to rule out any extra practice in their schools (unfortunate IMO also, Dad40):
Quote:
Schools have other things to be doing let alone spending every hour doing these. Any coaching materials would not be approved by the council and should therefore not be used, she said. She said she believed schools were not providing extra coaching.
On the question of whether schools are now providing extra coaching, weren't there some postings here that suggested that some are (I couldn't find them - maybe these were the cases referred to in the Nov08 minutes?!).

Also going back a bit - I see that the new advice on coaching was given by the commercial entity GLA (Nov08). Are they effectively the same thing as Nfer?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:59 am 
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The tests are now published by GL Assessment and have that name on the front, but are the same as the NFER tests.

_________________
Marylou


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:20 am 
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pippi and Marylou,

The following thread is worth reading alongside this current one, especially those fabulous posts from pippi and Dad40...... :lol:

http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/forum/11plus/viewtopic.php?t=7464&highlight=


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:44 am 
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Re that quote: "Schools have other things to be doing let alone spending every hour doing these."

No, not every hour (is Bucks getting a little defensive now perchance?)

How many hours are there in a school week: 20-ish?
How many school weeks in a year: 37-ish?
So that's about 740 hours
And what do we reckon, about 25 hours coaching through Year 5 and another 5 at the start of year 6?

So that maxes out at.....ooh about 3% of a Y5 pupil's school life. One could perhaps start by using the hours currently consumed by the showing of erroneous political propaganda films e.g. Al Gore. :evil:

I really fail to understand why Bucks is sticking so firmly to this line. They shoot themselves in the foot every time. If the anti-grammar brigade in Bucks weren't so focused on abusing statistics to support their case (as they have done in the past), they could be making hay with this one.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:33 pm 
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Yes, it is a bit of an open goal - which just makes it even more surprising (and impressive) that Bucks put the minutes up on their web site in the first place (though they seem to have pulled them off now). Anyway, at least it looks like they're going to go outside the Nfer/GLA axis for advice, which must be a good thing.

Looking back at that previous thread, I wonder whether Cllr Marion "Canute" Clayton still believes that:
Quote:
The practice we offer in schools is the optimum amount – that’s what the professional advice we’ve had says. Any coaching beyond that is not likely to change the outcome significantly.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:52 pm 
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She's just trotting out an old and formerly reliable line.

But in its ability to deflect criticism, it's starting to sound a bit like MPs' line about second home expenses....."I was working within the rules...squawk....I was working within the rules.....pretty polly, pretty polly.....I was working within the rules...squawk". 8)

These lines have a shelf-life and the Clayton one has now reached its 'sell-by'....


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