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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:50 am 
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Location: Gloucestershire
Cup of tea wrote:

Indeed, so here it is!

I'll kick off by saying that the article refers to Kent where they sit three different papers and where there is a higher proportion of grammars per child; hence the comprehensives tend to have less high ability children and the grammars have a lower average pass mark than those here in Gloucestershire.

One obvious drawback of being tested partly on assessment would be if the assessment is carried out by the primary heads: if they were anti-11+ they may not want to help out, alternatively they may want to push their own schools success rate.

If the children were assessed by a panel of grammar staff, then it would be a subjective decision, which could lead to more appeals :( - but that did used to work back in the '70's in Surrey; at that time, 1/2 the places were offered to the top scoring 11+ exam results, then the next places were allocated after the primary work and 'permanent records' (equivalent of CAT & SAT results & class teacher notes from infants up) were assessed by a panel of grammar heads/deputy heads and the children were interviewed to pick the other 50%. Chances are that the ones who got into the top 50% on the exam (far less tutoring in those days) would have been in top 100% without any tutoring anyway.

If 11+ exams were made tutor-proof, just think of the vast amount of money saved by parents, but the loss of income by tutors who specialised in the 11+.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:14 am 
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There is also another bit -

"The review has already ruled out the concept of quotas, where grammars would be required to take set numbers of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds".


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:44 am 
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Capers, What does it tell us that it is the Telegraph which is highlighting this?

dr.watson, So what happens to the kids with potential but without middle class parents who have the time, education and money to support their school work, the kids who fit in less well within the predominantly middle class outlook of the primary Heads?

These proposed changes are political and insidious. They will end up getting even more middle class kids into the 'best' schools. ... Which is the whole idea, isn't it?

Because pure exam entrance has offered a lifeline to some able kids from disadvantaged backgrounds and some from modest backgrounds who work hard and prepare well. This has led to much carping from other families, vocal and politically influential families, carping which has forced the politicians to propose these changes.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:57 am 
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Location: Warwickshire
The big difference with Kent, which is what the article is talking about, is that their scores are reported relative to the whole population, not just a cohort who choose to take the test. Therefore they end up with a lot of children on the same marks. One simple change would be for them to standardise against those who take the test - as just about everywhere else in the country does - which will give them more spread of results at the top end.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:58 am 
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:03 pm
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Location: Gloucestershire
dr.watson wrote:
There is also another bit -
"The review has already ruled out the concept of quotas, where grammars would be required to take set numbers of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds".

Agree with that. It should be the academically brightest pupils irrespective of background, quality of previous school, ability to pay for preparation for the test, gender, how nicely they speak...

My primary was between a deprived council estate and victorian terraces (outside loos, no bathroom, and at least one house still only had gas, not electricity). Around 1/4 of the children passed the 11+ by either interview/board or outright. The headmistress and staff worked hard to encourage and stretch all pupils to the best of their abilities.

Sorry, should have added a string orchestra playing tragic music over the top of that.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:05 pm 
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Copied across from my other post elsewhere.

We sent have sent ours to indie (through massive sacrifice to us as a family) as they really weren't developing to their full potential, safe (regularly being kicked and punched) or happy in their state school.

Ours have done about 10 VR questions a week from year 4 - not exactly cramming.

To read some articles you would think that all indies force it down pupils' throats, which simply isn't true in all of them. In fact (in my maybe cynical opinion) where the indie has a follow-on internal senior school (as most of them in Gloucestershire do) taking the test is actively discouraged by the schools due to them not wanting the pupils leave and, to complete their education with them. Would Dean Close, Wycliffe, Kings etc want pupils to leave their school when they can "keep them on".

We didn't tutor our dd (and won't our son either) but like many others bought the books and did it ourselves. My argument is that if, as a parent, you want it badly enough (as parents on this forum do), you will buy the books, put the time and effort into tuition then, once they know the principals and the key to the types of questions, if your child is bright, they stand a good chance of passing. This is in my opinion only minimal input which parents of both state and private schools can carry out - regardless of their financial situation. To make the sweeping statement of because you go to private you are taking the place of a state child is unfair I think.

The fault of the state system (relevant only to some state schools of course) is not encouraging and assisting the state kids to believe in themselves and try for grammar and, that they don't all expect each pupil to work to their best ability - it's not necessarily the indies being too pushy. Also, not all parents can afford to keep their kids at indie for their senior years (we couldn't, which is why we choose for dd to try for GS), so they are in the same position as the state kids once they leave in any event.

Just my opinion - I know many others will disagree.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:13 pm 
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I agree with Stressed Moi - I do not think that it depends on whether your child goes to state school or an indie - it's all down to parental support. You need to support your child at home in order for your child to reach their full potential in life, school etc... This is the same with grammar school entrance exams - you work together with your child to help them do their best. My dc goes to state school and we mainly home tutored - I felt this would enable me to understand how she was progressing and where she needed help.

Some parents are happy for their children to coast along and go to their local most convenient school and that is their choice. (I know because one of my relatives adopts this approach). Each to their own.

As for changes to the test. Anything that introduces subjectivity from more than one source is likely to produce anomalies and also an increased risk of appeals. For example, the gifted and talent programme - in a high achieving school an "average child" may not be on the register - if the same child was in a school where ability levels were lower (ie they were near the top of the class) then they may be on the register. No system is perfect. I cannot see it changing much beyond taking a test because of the subjectivity involved in other options and also the cost to schools of any big change to the entrance exams. Schools are always mindful of budgets and this is unlikely to be a priority?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:03 pm 
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Stressed?Moi? wrote:
Ours have done about 10 VR questions a week from year 4 - not exactly cramming.



Though, to be fair, at approx 39 weeks of school a year, just Y4 and Y5 would mean 780 VR questions practised at school, which is 780 more than at my DS's state school. I wonder how many questions are covered by a tutor? My DS wasn't tutored, so I don't know. We practised at home, certainly less than 780 questions.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:30 pm 
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Ellen-Jane wrote:
Stressed?Moi? wrote:
Ours have done about 10 VR questions a week from year 4 - not exactly cramming.



Though, to be fair, at approx 39 weeks of school a year, just Y4 and Y5 would mean 780 VR questions practised at school, which is 780 more than at my DS's state school. I wonder how many questions are covered by a tutor? My DS wasn't tutored, so I don't know. We practised at home, certainly less than 780 questions.


My point really is that it shouldn't be a case of the indies doing it/should be doing it/shouldn't be doing it, but why aren't all state schools as well? Not really the "fault of the indies" I would say.
780 does sound a lot, but it is of course spread over 2 years and all parents can do as you and I both did and home tutor at 10 questions a week for the 2 years - not much effort I would say.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:47 pm 
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Location: East Kent
Kent state primaries are not allowed to prepare children for the Kent Test


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