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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:29 pm 
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Having found this excellent website in a quest to find relevant information regarding the 11+ and having read the supportive and informative forums here, the time has come to put the proverbial pen to paper and ask for other member’s support, advice and opinions...................

I have been trying to find some information regarding the school admissions for 2012 for Plymouth City Council maintained schools. I understand that it’s too early for detailed information yet, but can anybody enlighten me as to when the details will become available and what sort of timetable to expect? i.e. when to apply, when the exams will take place, when will the results be known etc.

We would like to arrange an initial appointment for a Tutor to assess our child’s suitability for the tests and as such, would anyone recommend a tutor or suggest questions to ask prospective tutors? Finances aside (in theory anyway!!), what are people’s opinions on self-tutoring by "Mum & Dad", 1-to-1 tutoring or small group tutoring? Do such small group “clubs” exist in the Plymouth area or is it something that is arranged by a group of parents?

I have read the OFSTED reports for Devonport High School for Girls (DHSfG) and Plymouth High School (PHS) and it was clear that at the time of the inspection (around 3 or 4 years ago), PHS had issues to overcome. However, I understand that the general “feeling” of PHS is now considered better. Can anyone please enlighten me to their reasons for that? What has changed since the OFSTED report? What swayed them to go for PHS over DHSfG?

Many thanks in advance for any advice or guidance anyone can give.

Stressed Eric


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:29 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:57 am
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Hi

My daughter took the 11+ this year in Plymouth.

She had an assesment in Jan 2010 with IQ of 115 which is apparently where the grammar school would like them to be on entry so the tutor was happy to take her on. I assume most tutors will only take on children they feel have a chance as obviously if they didnt their pass rate may go down, but then I expect you also have tutors who just want the money and will take them on anyways :/ it is a rather grey area. We chose our tutor as she had tutored my step son who passed. She said she had percent passes of 98 for boys and 95 for girls.

My daughter went once a week for an hour in a class of about 8. I did 2-3 tests a week at home with her. the tutor cost £12.
Please note I do not know if she has passed yet until tomorrow.


My advice -get yours in for tutoring immediately as others will have started now. Ideally they need to be at level 4 in year 5 in maths and english or working toward it and working at least toward 5's in year 6.
However my daughter is working on secondary school maths in yr 6 yet another who took it is not...so I dont think just because they are not they shouldnt take it. Your school can definately give you an idea of wether your child stands a chance, even the level my daughter is at I dont think she will pass as you see others children on here who seem way ahead and they dont pass sometimes :/.....
I know of someone within her group who got a higher IQ score than my daughter but my daughter did better in the mock....so unless your child is right at the top of the spectrum expect to never really know their chances for next year.

As for tutoring well I think you should speak to your school and if they think its worth a go get your child assessed by tutor asap. (some teachers can be a little opinionated re 11+ so if you find this talk to another and dont be put off)you may not need a tutor, I know of a girl who was not tutored at all and got very high marks in mock.
I however think it is important to keep one step ahead of the game if you can afford to(touchy subject in plymouth). my daughter could get every answer right in the tests but couldnt do it within the time..she had NO time management skills she is too laid back, this is where she benefitted from tutoring, the tutored honed her skills, she didnt really need help with the questions it was time management, something I felt I couldnt teach (im a stress head!)
Also note there are maths areas which they DO NOT cover in school, you or a tutor will have to cover them.

I liked both GS to be honest, I felt DHSG was a little more regimented and not as 'family' atmosphere as PHSG. DHSG also had probs a while back and was in newspaper but that is all sorted now. I wanted to put PHSG as first choics but my daughter wanted devonport...I dont think we are fussy with either...just a GS education will suit us. ~If they are suited to that education they will do well at either school, just go along during school hours for a visit and get a feel for the place.

hope that helps :)


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:56 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:57 am
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oh and as I recall I think they give you a booklet in school for 'the next step' at end of year 5 or beginning of year 6.

You apply to lea either by the form in booklet or online and it has to be in by 31st Oct when they are in year 6. If you put selective school they write back and you have to send off two signed photos, they will then write back to you with details of the exam which will be near end of Jan over two saturdays.

Ours this year was english reasoning and composition one sat and the maths the following sat.

Results/allocation is due 1st march.

You can visit the secondary schools at anytime, if it is not an open evening you should phone and arrange an appointment.

also our tutor did not tutor during holiday so you have to fill this time.

If I can think of anything else I will post :)


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:37 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:57 am
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She has passed Im am sooooo proud I could burst.

Hope the info I gave previous was helpful, good luck and be prepared for sleepless nights...I currently have 3 nights of no sleep to catch up on!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:21 pm 
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Hi Stressed Eric
Just want to start by sayng I have no issues with parents paying for extra tutoring. However just want to put your mind at ease (though I appreciate the diffuculty of that, whichever method you choose ) about home tutoring.
We only decided to put DD in for 11+ in October ( this means she was too late for the mock ,which I think is in September ) We found the practice papers very useful (Bond etc) and did 1 or 2 a week, alternating subjects. OH helped her with maths and I helped her with VR and English. (though as I understand it the English paper isn't marked unless there is an appeal)
I admit to being nervous when I read about the amount of parents that pay for extra tutoring. However DD is in top sets for Maths ,English and Reading in her class so (as hard as it was ) took the attitude that if she can she will and if she can't then I would not want her to struggle to keep up once she was there.
DD was offered 1st preference grammar (DHSG) this morning :D
Best of luck for the year ahead whichever method you choose x


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:05 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:07 pm
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Hi Stressed Eric
Now the results are out I can give you my view too! Didn't want to tempt fate but my dd has just been accepted for PHSG. We chose that as it felt more friendly & nurturing. Devonport is very academic but a lot depends on the sort of child you have some thrive on being pushed others don't. We used a tutor as it is useful to have their experience with timings/tactics and also stopped the parent/child arguements. Other than the odd question & lots of encouragement we were told to stay out of it!
Good luck with whatever you choose. I'm sure you will make a choice which is right for your child.
Minnie


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:47 pm 
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Congratulations to each of you and of course, your respective children for their success! It’s so encouraging to hear the success stories highlighting what can be achieved given the right support, encouragement and motivation.

I have just grabbed a couple of minutes during my lunch to post this but will come back later today to make a proper response and to thank you for your replies thus far.

Again, congratulations and enjoy the happy day! :-)


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:12 am 
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Hi again

Many thanks to each of you for taking the time to reply to my initial questions and congratulations on your childrens’ success!!

I understand what bluechip means about tutors being selective about who they take on to preserve their success rate and there also being others who are just happy to take the money. This is where I’m having a bit of a personal crisis. Obviously I have my daughter’s best interests at heart and from that perspective, know that I would give her my whole-hearted dedication if she was home-tutored but then again, I don’t know it all even though I’m a man and like to think that I do :wink:

I like the idea of a small class of pupils (tutees?) as I would imagine they, perhaps, build a camaraderie between them and a sense of (at the risk of bursting into song) “all in this together”. I would be interested to know details of your daughters’ tutors bluechip and Minnie as there are only a couple listed on this site covering the Plymouth area and I can at least have some faith in them as opposed to just calling a number at random. I have read the forum’s policy on recommending tutors and with caveats understood, would appreciate it if you would advise me of their details by private message.

I’m not sure how to react to my daughter’s school with regard to her chances - a point raised by bluechip. I know that they work with her on a daily basis and should have a good idea of her ability but equally, I know she is somewhat thwarted in her efforts due to some troublemakers (can I say that nowadays?) being tabled and supported by the more studious types. Whilst from a PC point of view I whole-heartedly agree with this approach but from a parent’s viewpoint, I want her to be stretched to her individual full potential and not brought down to a lower, common understanding. I like learningcurve’s attitude of “if she can she will and if she can't then I would not want her to struggle to keep up once she was there”. I most definitely agree with that. Even if things don’t go according to plan, I feel that I would have provided my daughter a solid foundation on which to continue building.

I appreciate all your comments about the differences between the schools. I got the sense that Devonport was very academic and Plymouth was more holistically nurturing but as we’ve yet to attend either of them and have a chat with the people involved, we can’t really form our opinion. Either way, the pupils will be receiving a grammar education at either of them and I think it’s imperative that the child has a say in which they think they would feel more comfortable. After all, it’s them that has to go there every day - not the parent.

I know what Minnie means regarding the parent / child arguments as we’ve started on those already. We apologise for them and move on, though I have a parental sneaky suspicion that I won’t be thanked until she’s in her mid-twenties or something! :shock:

Following on from bluechip’s comments, I contacted the admissions department today to get a more detailed timetable for the 2012 admissions only to be told that I couldn’t have chosen a worse time of year. Fair comment which I take on the chin - I think I was getting wrapped up in everybody’s emotions for this year’s admissions and wanted everything organised and planned now. I’ll move sheepishly to the side now and concentrate on sorting the tutoring for my child for the next few months. If you would kindly forward me your childs' tutor's details, it would be greatly appreciated and thank you all so much for your responses - they really are very much appreciated.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:00 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2010 2:21 pm
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Hi - My Daughter has just got into Devonport. When we viewed Plymouth High, I loved it and so did Amelia - therefore she took the mock at Plymouth High. I September we went to Devonport's open evening and she was bowled over by the school and decided that she loved both schools but really wanted to try for Devonport - therefore we had to decide where she should take the exams and decided to ask if she could take them at Plymouth. I felt happier this way as she would have felt more comfortable in the surroundings where she took the mock. I approached Plymouth city council and they were wonderful allowing her to take the exam at Plymouth High, but still keeping Devonport as her 1st choice.
In my opinion both schools are really lovely and my Daughter is very motivated and is absolutely delighted to get into Devonport, but would have happily gone to Plymouth High. We live in Millbrook Cornwall and she knows it will be a long day with travelling and homework - but cannot wait to get there!
Good luck with your choice - I believe that both schools are excellent and if a child is in a stimulating happy environment where they want to be that they will succeed


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:15 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 1:06 pm
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Thanks for the reply and congratulations!

I never realised that the mock should be sat at the 1st choice. We hope to attend both schools on a "normal" day but are interested in when their open days are. It's just a question of a phone call I know but........... OK, no buts, I'll call them now.

I'm sure it will be a long day for her given the distance and travelling but I completely agree with you with regards to succeeding if they are in a stimulating and happy environment.

May I ask, did you self - tutor or get a professional involved? Any thoughts / experiences would be appreciated.

Many thanks to all replies.


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