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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:20 pm 
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Hi everyone - This is for my interest rather than having any personal bearing (we cannot afford private schooling). I'm interested in anyone's opinion of the private primary schools in GLoucestershire and whether they actually outperform the state schools for grammar school entry. I had a quick conversation with someone locally who knows our local private and he reckoned there wasn't much to choose between many of the state schools and the private ones (which makes you wonder what the point of going private is exactly - extra-curricular stuff?).


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:29 pm 
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Fundamentally, it depends on the state of your local state primaries! If they are good or outstanding then there is probably little to choose between them and private with regards to overall success with the 11+ for entry to a GS. Most people probably select private for a range of reasons including: extra curricular activities on offer, wrap around care (breakfast and after school club), often better sports choice and facilities, smaller class sizes (although evidence suggests that this does not necessarily equate to better education), more supportive pastoral care - or conversely, a more traditional disciplined approach, or that it has a good record (unsurprisingly) or getting children into whichever private secondary it is a feeder school for!

The key thing to remember is that just because it is paid for, it is not necessarily better - there are some poorer performing private schools out there and there are some exceptionally good state schools. Sadly, the 11+ is one of those areas where, whatever stream of education your child is in, it is likely that you will feel the need to undertake some form of tutoring to support their knowledge (whether this be paying someone else or diy ing it). Most private school candidates will be having their education paid for AND a private tutor on top.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:19 pm 
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I do not know the Gloucestershire area, but (this is very area dependant) private prep schools tend to prepare children for private secondary entrance exams. Most of them are different in style and content than the GS 11+. I also do not know whether you are looking just at numbers of entrants or % of successful applicants. Fewer children go to private schools so in terms of numbers I would expect them to represent a small % of successful applicants to GS. If there are 100 applicants, 5 of them go to private school and all 5 get in then there is a 100% success rate even though there are only 5% of the cohort who went to private school. In our area quite a lot of private school children sit the GS 11+ as practice for the indie entrance exams, so even if they get a place they don't take it. I also think it depends on location. I thought your question was quite interesting and did some very quick online research. The Sutton Trust has done some work on this and identified that in Kent for example, GS entrants where twice as likely to have been privately educated.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 6:32 pm 
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The whole tutoring thing is sad, but having read about it it seems inevitable. I can't say I completely understand why a test cannot be made tutorproof - how about changing the test every year so much so that tutors can't really keep up for example? I also don't get why it's OK to have questions that are not taught in the State School (or rather, that level isn't taught - level 6 right?). That seems like a structural disadvantage for state school pupils to me.

On private schools, it feels like such a whopping great sum to fork out on what is essentially a bet - that the benefits will accrue to your child in particular. I went to state primary, private primary, then grammar secondary. The private school had a very wide range of ability, certainly including a few children who would have struggled anywhere. When I went to the grammar by far the smartest kids, some of them astonishing achievers now, were from state primaries. Just feels looking back, that private might have been a bit of a waste of money for some parents, though my own parents think it set me up with confidence.

Who knows?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 9:12 am 
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Quote:
I can't say I completely understand why a test cannot be made tutorproof - how about changing the test every year so much so that tutors can't really keep up for example?


Children would then be taught every thing under the sun. :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:50 am 
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For us we were forced into an independent school for various reasons, so I've seen both sides of the coin. We have found that it has provided our ds with a more caring environment than his old school and he feels part of a family (I'm not sure if that is the case in other schools). The smaller class sizes are brilliant as they do get the individual attention from the teacher whereas in his old school he used to sit with his hand up for most of the lesson and the teacher ran out of time. Not the teacher's fault. He does have quite a few sports opportunities that he wouldn't have had before. I'm not sure he was in a better position for the 11+ as most of the emphasis seemed to be on entrance to other indie schools which have different requirements and as such, we did an awful lot of work ourselves over the summer. The most important thing was that it was the expectation that pupils would TRY for grammar school, whereas at his old school, my friends have said that it was practically a dirty word. This I believe is where there is massive inequality. There was just 1 kid from his old school who sat the exam, which I thought was sad. The mum did the same amount of work as we did and we lent each other books. From our school, four boys sat it and one didn't qualify for grammar. I'm not sure how the girls did. I believe that most children need some sort of support for this exam, either from their parents or as some at school did, a private tutor, usually as they were working such long hours and couldn't manage it. Interestingly, the one who didn't qualify was tutored to within an inch of his life, whereas the rest of us worked by ourselves We couldn't afford tutoring so it was never an option. So I guess what I'm saying is that the much talked about "they're at indie so they've got an advantage" argument isn't always the case. I understand though that some other indies do place more emphasis on it, so may be different; I can't comment. Having been through the "old" exam with my dd two years ago, I do believe the new exam to be fairer. Just my experience and opinion of course - the same as everyone else.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:09 pm 
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tiffinboys wrote:
Quote:
I can't say I completely understand why a test cannot be made tutorproof - how about changing the test every year so much so that tutors can't really keep up for example?


Children would then be taught every thing under the sun. :wink:
And we can't have that, can we? :D

I have said before, given that I would prefer to see the back of selective education as a first choice, if we have to have it, it would be great to throw some really off the wall things at these kids. Maybe map reading, assembling a broken bicycle, following a complex recipe or using birdsong recordings and habitat information to identify some birds, which really couldn't be tutored for. Everyone would be at the same disadvantage and it would allow children with a bit of something about them to shine. They could be told they were going for a bit of a fun day out and that it wasn't a test at all.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:14 pm 
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Ooooo, I love that idea Amber!

Perhaps we can patent it - it sounds cheaper than CEM.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:18 pm 
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Guest55 wrote:
Ooooo, I love that idea Amber!

Perhaps we can patent it - it sounds cheaper than CEM.
You could be onto something there G55. 'Gamber 55 testing'? I just love the idea of some of the tiger parents running themselves round in circles trying to cover all the material ('darling, come and look at these flower pictures again, now which one is the aconite?') - but at least we might end up with a generation of children with some useful skills.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 4:10 pm 
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Gurdjieff wrote:
I also don't get why it's OK to have questions that are not taught in the State School (or rather, that level isn't taught - level 6 right?). That seems like a structural disadvantage for state school pupils to me.


It's not just the level! Until last year, selection for Gloucestershire's GS was solely on VR, which is not covered in state primaries at all, whereas I believe all the local indy primaries do it. They know that a significant part of their market is parents who hope that an indy primary education will get their child into a GS and be cheaper than paying for indy secondary.

Amber wrote:
I have said before, given that I would prefer to see the back of selective education as a first choice, if we have to have it, it would be great to throw some really off the wall things at these kids. Maybe map reading, assembling a broken bicycle, following a complex recipe or using birdsong recordings and habitat information to identify some birds, which really couldn't be tutored for. Everyone would be at the same disadvantage and it would allow children with a bit of something about them to shine. They could be told they were going for a bit of a fun day out and that it wasn't a test at all.


What fun! Indies could do this if they wanted to. State schools, however, are covered by regulations that say they have to be able to prove that their testing system is completely objective, and sadly, I'm not sure that you could assess the recipe or bicycle without being at least a bit subjective about it. (Actually I suspect that indies would find it required too much teacher time (both preparing and supervising/assessing) and wouldn't do it either.) :(


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