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 Post subject: Plan B
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 11:46 am 
Hi everyone

I think it's true that most of us on this forum are aiming for grammar schools when our DCs sit their exams and apply for schools in September/October this year. But I'm interested to hear what everyone's Plan B is? We know that we need to have one firmly in place but we are dithering over what ours will be. There isn't a non-selective school that we would want to consider in our area. So if our DS does not gain an academic or music place somewhere we will be in a sticky position. We went to see an independent school this weekend which was wonderful, but very expensive. Not sure whether to register there anyway as another option, or whether they would consider a child who hadn't done well enough in the 11+ to get a grammar place.

Would love to hear about other people's Plan Bs if anyone feels like sharing.... RR


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 Post subject: Re: Plan B
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 11:57 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:52 pm
Posts: 162
If independent schools are an option but cost is an issue, you could apply to the less selective independent schools in your area, hoping for a scholarship to knock 1/3 or so off the fees. Competition for the scholarships at the more inclusive schools isn't so fierce.


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 Post subject: Re: Plan B
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 11:58 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 8112
There will be lots of people looking at GS and indies so you won't be alone in this.
Plenty of people who take the indie exams will be using it as a back up.

Indies vary hugely in their intake and many will take children who for one reason or anothe have not got a GS place so don't worry about that.


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 Post subject: Re: Plan B
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 11:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:44 am
Posts: 1390
Location: Reading
not your area, but my plan B is an indie. We will hope for some form of scholarship to soften the blow. The state alternative if she doesn't make the GS is just not to be considered.


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 Post subject: Re: Plan B
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 12:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:25 pm
Posts: 80
I saw an independent school, but regretted it afterwards because it would not be a financially viable option for us. The school was amazing, but a tease. I will go to see a faith school as well, but will probably regret this because I do not really believe in their socially divisive ethos.

Regarding less-selective independent schools, although class sizes will be smaller and the culture of the school will be more controlled, is there any guarantee that the teachers will be able to get the best from highly academic children. The top-streamed children may leave after GCSEs if the school is not up to the job of teaching A-levels to the standard of grammars or academic indies. Their results will indicate what the school is capable of achieving.

One home-tutoring mother suggested that I reconsider the reasoning behind our wish to help our our children get into a grammar school: the well-motivated, well-qualified teachers, the culture of achievement and aspiration, the guarantee of good GCSE and A-level results, the improved chances of securing a place at a good university, etc. etc. In terms of results, even if a child attends a non-academic, unstreamed comprehensive without a successful record of results, is it beyond a dedicated parent and clever child to achieve good results through extra tuition (privately or at home)? There is nothing to stop parents entering children for exams privately, alongside the standard school curriculum. The child may feel their time in school is wasted academically, but the extra work necessary may not seem such an abhorrence if they have already been cramming for their 11+ at the age of 10.

A child with A* GSCE results can always apply to a high-achieving sixth form college or grammar school to study A-levels.

Another mother with a child at a grammar school said she never had a plan B, and decided that she would encourage her DC would do whatever was necessary to get in. They worked hard and it paid off, but I imagine that there is always an element of luck on the day.

Having said all that, I would flinch if my DC ended up in this position and found themselves in an environment where academic excellence was not a priority for the teachers or their peer group.

Toucan


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 Post subject: Re: Plan B
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 1:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:44 am
Posts: 1390
Location: Reading
It be nice to think that an able child would be able to reach their potential with parental support to fill in the gaps. I just don't believe that this is always the case.

My DD wants to be a vet, she has done since yr 3. This may change but we have to look at how a school would support her current aspiration. Our state catchment school is a 'sport specialist school' (I think on the basis that it is rubbish at anything academic so sport is the best they can focus on) :( which got a score of 4 across the board at the last inspection and it only offers double science. I would struggle to teach her the third science to any degree, let alone to A grade standard. There is no way she would get the kind of grades there that she would need for vet school.


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 Post subject: Re: Plan B
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 4:40 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:53 pm
Posts: 59
Hi Rationality.

Our plan B is local boys non selective. We do need to carefully consider if we need an independent in case we don't get that either (and ds loves St A boys) but as yet have not decided on entry. We don't have to register until November for that so will have Parmiters score so will hopefully be more informed.

Out local school is definately rapidly improving though and tbh I would feel ok about ds going there. I'm not sure personally that the cost of St A and the sacrifices we would have to make are in proportion to how much better thenschool is. I would prefer to spend money on music lessons or other such like. However, if we were not offered our local boys non selective, then I might well be reconsidering!

Have you registered yet? I've just done it and feeling very relieved. Very straightforward online.


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 Post subject: Re: Plan B
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 6:34 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:51 pm
Posts: 49
Our plan from the start was to aim at Parmiter's and have St Albans Boys as a backup. We thought he'd get at least one of them and had no Plan C which I suppose would have been a state non-selective which we wouldn't have been thrilled about but was by no means a terrible final option. I agree with what hairydog said - St Albans Boys is great, but I couldn't see why it was £12,000 a year better.


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 Post subject: Re: Plan B
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 11:51 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:23 am
Posts: 201
Have gone through these hoops for entry in 2012 and am so glad I had a Plan B with independent schools - let your child sit the exams and see if a scholarship is offered - it's worth the gamble. I know of quite a few children who were, unexpectedly, offered scholarships from what would be considered high 2nd ranking independents in North London - as good as any selective or grammar.


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 Post subject: Re: Plan B
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 2:31 pm 
Thanks all.

Hairydog - yes, I've registered too. Very easy and it was nice to have immediate access to the familiarisation papers and to know that July 6th is the day we're allocated our test centre. The process seems well organised.
Only thing is, I'm suddenly realising how little time is left. We are still doing 'gentle prep' - working through question types, doing the odd Bond paper. Not more than one hour a week, ever, so far. I had planned to carry on in this vein until the end of the summer term, and then ramp things up subtly in the summer holidays when the evenings are longer and DS may not be so tired. He's scoring well so far but I'm not sure how we'll ensure he gets all the VR completed in the time allowed in the actual exam. Proper length practice papers over the summer, I had assumed. Am I way behind the game??


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