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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:29 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:57 am
Posts: 233
Hi!
Ive soooo glad ive discovered this forum-brilliant job :D
My eldest ds is in yr 5 at the moment(he is 10,a Nov bday)and in the last few weeks its slowly dawned on us that he is actually quite bright(of course ALL our kids are...lol!)but it has hit us that our clever/lively ds is capable of going to GS(I think!)and it seems he really is quite up for it-or should i say his competitive streak is rearing its head as regards the 11+!
I had NO idea what all the 11+ "stuff"entailed and have been researching furiously.....
Gosh-what a surprise..scared and excited now!
Ok so my husband and I went and looked around Pates and STR last week-I ADORED STRS-seemed to just "fit"with us-slightly more relaxed/rugby/pressured but not to the point of losing the fact that they are only kids! etc..
We already have a great tutor for my step ds as he was struggling slightly with his GCSEs(he is 15)and ds has been "tagging along"for the last 6 mths-for fun really-odd child!He is getting on great and is in the year above for his lessons-SATs of 5a so far....verging on 6 for maths(not that i realised what these numbers meant till now-or actually how irrelevant as regards to the VR tests they are :shock: !)
The tutor is a great friend and has taught 11+ in the past so is happy to take up this with ds1.
Ive got the GL multiple choice papers(with a giraffe on)and the bright sparks papers along with the Susan Dougherty(?)books explaining how to do it all!!!!!!(for me!lol!)I realise the tutor will do all this but i like to "know!!!"control freak that i am! :wink: Ive also downloaded some of the free info off here-great.
There is also a computer programm i found called BOFA...anyone know about this?looks good-ds1 tried a VR test(50 min)just "because"as he hadnt EVER seen one before and got 78%...he wasnt happy as he is used to getting alot higher but i thought in the first instance this was cool :D -ive explained that its very different to what he has done before and now he is happy to continue to try to improve-hard i think when you are a perfectionist to realise that less than 95% is NOT a failure :? !!!!!

I need to get him to read more i think(reading age fine...few yrs older etc)but he IS a lazy reader-boys!
We ALL loved STRS and would adore him to have a place this time next year-but at the same time the local comp is good.
God-this is a whole new world and one that scares me and thrills me at the same time-who knew thare was sooooooooooooooooo much to it?places/weird VR tests etc???!!!!
I think that it is x2 50 min VR only tests in Glos covering 21 different Q types-is this right?seems odd not to have a math/eng paper,but hey..
We are of the mindset to just give him the tools to do the best job he can in Oct(they told me the tests have been brought forward this yr too?)and go from there......how even bright kids do their best without seeing a VR test before i dont know :roll:
Anyway does it sound like we are on the right track so far?I really dont want it to be pressured and ds1 DOES put alot of pressure on himself so chilled is the way to go methinks,but he is enjoying it.....
Thanks guys.......

Im a mum 5 beautiful boys(including a step son and one baby boy due in May)aswell as an angel baby girl x :)


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:38 pm 
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Posts: 2556
hi, muminTewks. I've got a son at Tommy's and, yes, it's pretty good! I only sound muted because he's off today, exhausted! They really keep a grip on the children's progress and my son has made lots of lovely friends. It was a shock, at first, the long days and the homework, but now that he's getting used to it (y eight) I know that we made the right choice, particularly when I hear from friends whose children went elsewhere that they are disappointed with how their children have been allowed to coast / dip.

Anyway, it should like you're doing just the right thing and I admire your enthusiasm and energy with all those children! And the chilled attitude.

The best bet is to trawl through the posts relating to Gloucestershire, picking up on the bits and pieces of wisdom (particularly Tolstoy, a fount of common sense, no disrespect of course to anyone else, but Tolstoy is very good at steering conversations back on track when people (usually someone like me) have edged them off into nonsense, and in providing practical advice).

You'll hear all sorts of conflicting opinion. People will be dismissive of your desire to try for GS when "you've got a perfectly good comp" on your doorstep, so I'd say not to adopt a complete veil of secrecy but just to plug away with it as your own mission. You can run into some funny reactions wrt all this and see a different side of people you thought you knew. People can think you're being snobby or dismissive of the only choice open to them, that "perfectly good comp" when of course all you're trying to do is keep the options open for your child. People will pooh-pooh the notion that you need to tutor, or imply that if you "need" tutoring you are not GS material. This is not necessarily true, as many posts on this forum will attest - if you do not prepare your child you risk denying them the chance to do well so take this attitude with a pinch of salt. My children quite enjoyed the VR so I didn't feel "mean" making them do it.

Keep up the reading - there are lots of threads started by people in the various counties and up in English and on General 11+ subjects, so dig around and take some notes. I've always said that I rate Chris Ryan who many people might dismiss for being boysy gung ho, but the level of vocab is impressive and the stories exciting. The dread Harry Potter, too. (Sorry, my son adored HP, and read all 7 about a million times so I shouldn't be rude!) My DS1 doesn't read much for fun (though I keep plugging away and now that he is off ill have made him read some Saki and Maupassant short stories as left to his own devices it'll be nothing or nothing but Darren Shan / goosebumps etc). My DS2 is like me and will read anything and everything and at all hours. But each has made GS so I wouldn't worry if he is more like my DS1 than 2. I didn't know about this forum for DS1.

Read what Patricia has to say (she's sort of Queen of VR!) and practise different types so that your child learns to be adaptable.

the tutor dailies available on this site are good, and, when used nearer the time, helped my DS2 by being so much harder (level 4) than the real thing that the real thing were a breeze in comparison.

Other things that get mentioned are AE (= Athey Educational) we didn't use those but other people say theyre good. And Learning Lab (Madeleine Guinot, red easy-ish, green hard - or the other way round???)

He's doing well, by the sounds of it, your boy, so there shouldn't be any probs. Do realise that (as it says in the sticky above) the tests are earlier this year and that the looking around sessions might be earlier, too, in teh summer term even. So keep an eye out for that. Do go to as many as you can just to give your choice some context. In y5 of my first son we did 2 grammars and 3 comps to get as full a picture as possible, and narrowed this to the grammars and one comp come Y6.

Good luck! Sorry this is so long!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:45 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:03 pm
Posts: 1827
Location: Gloucestershire
Hello and welcome.

Bright children can, and do, pass the exam with no tutoring, just the small set of practice papers recommended by the schools.

However, I'd be inclined to ask if the tutor your son already tags along to if they could run through question types with him between now and early October, just to familiarise him & settle him in to what can be a strange new type of exam that youngsters are unlikely to have encountered before.

Other than that, it sounds as if you're doing everything absolutely right - especially looking at which school is likely to suit your son the best; some parents go down the other route of 'which is the highest achieving school I can get my child into' which isn't always the same thing as best for the child. They can always change schools later or at 6th form!

As for 'angel baby girl', I've discussed the concept of angels many times on various SANDS forums. Biblically speaking, angels are really scary masculine things, and are not what people turn into when they die; what most people probably mean are 'cherub like'. But I'm just being rather pedantic :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:21 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:57 am
Posts: 233
WOW!thanks guys for the quick replies and excellent info......Milla-sounds like you have a good veiw of STR and yes im really glad we looked around there(and Pates)before we "had"to-and when it wasnt open day!I think its sooooooooooooooooo v.true to find the right school for your child and way your family works iyswim?
Tutor is going to go through the 11+ with him(i just like to know my end whats goin on! :wink: )
Im REALLY going to try with the old reading though-good book suggestions and Capers(i think?)yep i do know what you mean about "angels"... :cry: its just the easiest way to write something in order make it clear!"cherub"baby girl doesnt quite do it!...sorry youve had the sad experience of SANDS too.
Anyway ill take all your advice and hopefully be popping back soon :D


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:05 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 9:21 pm
Posts: 139
You are definately doing all the right things, you sound far more prepared for the process than I was, we did not do any work until the end of the summer holidays which seems like insanity in retrospect.

Your child sounds like a great candidate for GS, I would echo those who say reading to improve vocabulary is key as is their motivation and competative edge.

Keep checking this website there is a wealth of support, experience and knowledge here all of which is generously shared (I only discovered it at the end of the process and wish I had known of it before.)

I would definately advise ticking all the GSs for which you are eligible as they all give the information in different formats and the more of it you have the easier it is to see the wider picture.


Most of all try and enjoy the ride, the kids seem to take the stress far better than us.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2010 7:22 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:57 am
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I would definitely advise ticking all the GSs for which you are eligible as they all give the information in different formats and the more of it you have the easier it is to see the wider picture.

Thanks for all the info guys :D
This is the bit im unsure of(although i have aaaaaaages yet :wink: )say,on my form i put.....Pates,STRS,Crypt,Local comp.....
Now i really would like ds to get a place at STRS,but someone suggested i put pates first-why?i *think*it was to do with how they give out their results-you can tell if your child has done well or something!!!
I understand you get only one offer,so therefore if ihe were lucky enough to get pates,could he turn it down to get a place at strs?or isnnt that how it works?also seems unfair if another child desperately wanted pates and id put it as first but didnt really want it iyswim?
Hmmmm,just wondered!i like to "know"ha!
Again-thanks,brill site-lots of great info.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:25 pm
Posts: 2556
no, no, no, no, no!

that's the old system where you either had to plump for pate's/Tommy's and risk jeopardising your comp, or for the comp and get pate's on the second scraping so to speak.

What happens now is that you take the test and within a week (it's been 2 weeks, but apparently next time it will be a week) you get your results. They have been giving more info each time over the last 3 years.

As slackmum says, if you tick for all the grammars when submitting your form prior to taking the test (that's Pate's, STRS, Marling in Stroud and Crypt) then when the results come in you get a full picture. In a way, this is less necessary, if undertaken purely as a score-culling exercise, now that they give the Tommy's score at results time. In the last 2 years, you got your Pate's score (only if not in top 160), and had to work out if it was enough for Tommy's cf playground chatter; now you do get it - all the scores are different for all the schools since they rely on standardising the particular "cohort" being considered each time. No, I don't understand it either!

Anyway, once the results come in you know if you are eligible to apply for Pate's - can only be considered if top 160 which means min score of 240, apparently - should you so wish. Or for the other grammars if you've passed for them - currently 210 for Tommy's, 216 for Marling, goodness knows for Crypt, strange marking indeed. You have a couple of weeks to submit the form, maybe more under new system, following receipt of results. The results are weird because the tests involve 2 papers of roughly 80/85 questions each yet the results are in the 200s - or 100s for Crypt.

If pass the Tommy's test and if Tommy's is the school you want THEN PUT IT FIRST ON YOUR CAF (application form). Do not jigger about putting schools in in some political order because it will end in disaster. The LEA give you the first school from your CAF for which you are eligible, moving down the list if necessary.

If you get Pate's and decide that you want that, then put it first, otherwise do not. Simple as that. You are under no obligation to take it - that's what the buffer zone of the places from 120-160 is for. For children who have scored very highly who can be moved up the list if anyone within top 120 decides to go somewhere else.

If you want Tommy's, as I say: PUT IT FIRST. Then put the comp after Tommy's for, if (assuming your son passes the test) for some reason he doesn't get Tommy's, because more boys have put it first who did better in the test, then the comp will automatically become your first choice. In the old days, many comps had first preference status which meant that if you put a grammar first, then didn't pass the test (you weren't pre-armed with the score in those days) and had only put your comp second, frequently you would not get that comp but one which was less pleasing to you.

I gather they're trying to make the classes bigger at Tommy's next year so there may be a few more places available. It's always struck me as a shame that Denmark Rd, Pate's etc have intakes of 120 and poor old Tommy's only 108.

Phew. Hope you get this. If unsure, the LEA is helpful.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:49 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:57 am
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I got it Milla :wink: Brill!!!!..simple plain English is all i need!thankyou :)
I think i need to take an exam in how to understand the 11+!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:29 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:03 pm
Posts: 1827
Location: Gloucestershire
Yep, Milla is spot on in what she says.

To sum up: on grammar application form, tick all schools.

Once you have the result from the grammar tests, put the one you most want your child to go to as first choice on the Secondary schools app. form (if they passed for that school).

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:17 pm 
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Just picking up on your comment re making the classes at Tommys bigger next year, Milla. Where did you hear that - anywhere official? And presumably it Sept 2011 intake you're talking about?

Thanks
Cairo


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