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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:25 pm 
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I don't if anyone agrees with me but the extent of the competition in the 11+ for Essex Grammer Schools is crazy, I have heard of people relocating and children travelling upto two hours each way! Does this happen every year?

After the experience i've had with my DS i'm not sure if i want to put my DD through it in Nov 2012.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:43 am 
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I absoloutely agree that the competition is high, possibly not helped by the current economic climate.

I did not realise just how competitive it was, and the fact that some people start tutoring their DC from year 3; which I think is crazy. If your child is bright enough to go to grammar school they should not need this type of preperation and it is very unfortunate for those bright children who miss out due to children being over coached in the particularly in the VR exam (which can be taught and is double weighted). Some children this year who got into the grammars got just 15/50 for english, largely due I expect to the format change I expect and the fact they were tutored to the old format.

Many private tutors charge in excess of £20 per hour putting it out of the reach of normal working class families. Some tutoring (unfortately) is absolutely necerssary in order to get the required marks - I refuse to use the word fail.

My DS missed out by what would probably equate to about 3 marks - he had just 2 months of tutoring (by myself at home), went to one mock and his school ran an 11+ club for about 6 weeks. If we had lived in borough for southend he would of got into his first choice SHSB - which we felt was the perfect school for him - not just because it was a grammar with great result but for a number of other reasons too.

Competition is high, the playing field is uneven and many very bright children every year will miss out.

I have fully accepted that he will go to his local comp. Around 20% less of the children there get 5 A* - C inc English/Maths than the grammars but these are children who have not taken an 11+ .Some may struggle academically. So the results from this school are still fantanstic.

There is no way I would put my DD through this in 2012. She is not an academic child anyway (though brilliant in her own right) but even if she was an academic child I would think twice having been severely let down by the system this time, but at least with her being the second child I would know that I would have to start preparation now, and thus join the competition. :evil:


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 12:41 pm 
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Competition is very high for grammar school places and it would be lovely if there were enough places available each year, but sadly not. I think there is so much interest because a local comp is not always up to the standard that we want for our children. This was certainly the case for both my children. In an ideal world all of our local comps would have good consistent results but this does very much depend on where you live. This is just my opinion.

There are good transport links for both the Colchester and Chelmsford grammars (can't comment about any others) from most of the local towns/villages and I think that parents feel that it is viable for their children. Mine have a bus journey each way of about 50 minutes to an hour depending on traffic which I feel is okay.

I think that for most of the standard primary schools they do not teach verbal reasoning and my DS's old school did not support the 11+ at all. It was very much a case of us finding a tutor to be able to cover some of the things that were required if we had a chance of a place at grammar school. We started some tutoring when our DS was in Year 5 but, for me personally, I would not have started any earlier.

It is fortunate for the parents who can afford tutoring but not so for those that can't. Also, quite a few children will have come from indie primary schools where 11+ tuition is more widely available. We were very fortunate that my DS was offered a place at grammar school (he is halfway through Year 7). He came from a very small state primary school and there was a lot of competition that year for places (511 boys sat the exam at Colchester alone).

Very best of luck to you and your children.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:43 pm 
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
I have children in both Chelmsford grammars and within their classes they have children who come from Southend, Hockley, Basildon but none from London or further afield. I know that there is one child in each of their years who does come from London, but one certainly has connections through parent's work locally.

I suspect that stories of two hours each way every day are exaggerated but I could easily be wrong. :D


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:36 pm 
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Location: Chelmsford
moved wrote:
I have children in both Chelmsford grammars and within their classes they have children who come from Southend, Hockley, Basildon but none from London or further afield.


I think then they are the exception rather than the rule. A very large proportion of the lower years at KEGS (a significant minority) comes from outside the LA of Essex. The furthest away lives in Edgware Road I believe. A large number have journey times of greater than one hour. Both schools are monitoring this and now (I understand) go out of their way to make it clear that the expectation is that the children take part in sports teams, music groups and other clubs and if the parents are not happy about this they should consider alternative schools.

One anecdote from previous years - a mother announced that she was unwilling to attend Parents' Evening because it was too far to come... Not too far to send her eleven year old son every day, of course.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 5:59 pm 
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kegsteacher,

it's really sad to think some parents are expecting their children to travel so far. Have the children been part of the decision-making process I wonder? Surely they can't feel properly immersed in school life if they can't be part of orchestra/choir/rugby team and such! It would be good to the think the schools stress the importance of extra-curricular clubs to out-of Essex potential parents; perhaps the parents could also be strongly encouraged to make the trip themselves every day for a week, to see how tiring & time consuming (not to mention expensive) it is.

Another thought - I'll bet that there are some days when a very early start is required, eg for a school trip - how do children from so far away manage?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:21 pm 
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scattymum wrote:
kegsteacher,

it's really sad to think some parents are expecting their children to travel so far. Have the children been part of the decision-making process I wonder? Surely they can't feel properly immersed in school life if they can't be part of orchestra/choir/rugby team and such! It would be good to the think the schools stress the importance of extra-curricular clubs to out-of Essex potential parents; perhaps the parents could also be strongly encouraged to make the trip themselves every day for a week, to see how tiring & time consuming (not to mention expensive) it is.

Another thought - I'll bet that there are some days when a very early start is required, eg for a school trip - how do children from so far away manage?


I have to admit scattymum that even 4 years ago I would have agreed with you.However I have 2 at CCHS and certainly the younger one has many peers in her class making the journey from London boroughs such as Tower Hamlets. In fact the year she got in(just) ,was the highest ever amount applying to CCHS and I think it was the "London factor." She has at least 3 friends from Newham and Tower Hamlets.
The schools in that area, with one or two church based schools as exceptions, struggle with all the issues of inner city comps.I think I might well bus my child out of an environment where I feared for their physical safety.Yes there are a lot of ways in which the system is unfair but if the opportunity was there....I would probably take it :oops: I have taught in inner london schools but in all honesty, not sure if I could be at peace with my children being there if there was another choice.
My older daughter has a friend at CCHS who comes from deepest Suffolk - it was her choice and she really has coped with a 6 am get up.She spends a lot of time at our house when there are social events but I don't mind - she is lovely and her parents felt it was the best choice for her.Most of the Essex grammars do most of their clubs at lunchtimes for this reason.
It is all very imperfect for sure, but I am not sure, if faced with a truly unsafe and failing comp,(of which there are now none here in Chelmsford), that I wouldn't do the same.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:44 pm 
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Chelmsford mum,
everything you say is quite right of course and I do understand why some parents are desperate to educate their kids out of the area, but I still feel sorry for the kids, especially in the early years, struggling with a huge journey every day. Plus, I know I would be would be tearing my hair out if I had to get my boys out of the house by 6am! (But perhaps that's just because I'm a scattymum? :wink:
Of course, it would also be nice to think families could relocate to Chelmsford (or nearby) if they chose to, but it's pretty expensive; certainly I would never be able to buy a house in the road I grew up in... but that's probably beyond the scope of this forum!!


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:20 pm 
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scattymum wrote:
Chelmsford mum,
everything you say is quite right of course and I do understand why some parents are desperate to educate their kids out of the area, but I still feel sorry for the kids, especially in the early years, struggling with a huge journey every day. Plus, I know I would be would be tearing my hair out if I had to get my boys out of the house by 6am! (But perhaps that's just because I'm a scattymum? :wink:
Of course, it would also be nice to think families could relocate to Chelmsford (or nearby) if they chose to, but it's pretty expensive; certainly I would never be able to buy a house in the road I grew up in... but that's probably beyond the scope of this forum!!


Well I guess Chelmsford is cheaper than London but I suppose some have younger siblings and are still waiting to see how it all pans out for them.I have heard of more than one family renting in Chelmsford in the week and going back to inner London at the weekend. :shock:
We would not have the resources to do this and, like you, we struggle to get the kids out for 7.45. I suppose although I can see it is very, very less than ideal but the last 4 years have shown me it can work, having met families that do it..I am not sure if we would be up for it as a family, but I can understand why people do it.
I don't know where you live, but really and truly none of the schools here in Chelmsford are a risk to "life and limb" so it's not really a huge issue for us.we are pretty blessed here with relatively good schools. :)


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:54 pm 
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I have to say i travelled into school when i was my DS's age, but it was only Half an hour- i remember when i was commuting in and out of London i'd see children in WHSB/KEGS blazers and state school uniform travelling with me, it was shocking to see the extent parents would go for their childs education- we are lucky that we have some the best selective and state schools in the country. I think once the children finish year 6 they are ready to move on to the next stage in their lives and part of this growing up process for a majority of them is getting up earlier to catch a train or a coach to school- i have to say i'm anxious about my DS he starts CRGS in Sept 2011 and will have to catch the 07.32 bus every morning, right now he gets up at 07.30 to go to primary school- so will be a shock to his system!He's already drawn up a daily routine for Sept 2011, bless.

But i still favour the policy of Westcliff/Southend Grammers of prioritising the locals first then out of catchment area- it seems fairer.

I went to the KEGS open day and i heard the head say about the parent who couldn't come to parents evening cause of the distance - i agree with the head , if you expect your child to travel the distance then you should make the effort to make the same journey at least once a year for parents evenings!


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