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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:25 pm 
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Location: Herts
This is an extract from a local state primary school's newsletter. Is this really the norm in our schools now?

New Support for our Y5 Pupils for the Secondary Transfer Tests

Our school leadership has decided that in the interests of equity for our children, we will make similar provision to that we set up last year for children in Y5. We will be providing two guided reading lessons in the summer term to teach our Y5 pupils techniques for verbal reasoning and we will also administer their end of year maths SAT tests in the school hall, in order to give them experience of the kind of test conditions they will encounter in September.

We have made these decisions in the light of the fact that several neighbouring primary schools are providing clubs and / or are teaching their pupils techniques for verbal reasoning during the school day. In the past, local primary schools have been discouraged by the seven secondary schools in the local consortium from doing this (a protocol was drawn up approximately 20 years ago to this effect); however, over the last few years the secondary transfer system has become increasingly inequitable and primary school leaders now feel they have no option but to help to counterbalance these inequities.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:29 pm 
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tense wrote:
This is an extract from a local state primary school's newsletter. Is this really the norm in our schools now?

New Support for our Y5 Pupils for the Secondary Transfer Tests

Our school leadership has decided that in the interests of equity for our children, we will make similar provision to that we set up last year for children in Y5. We will be providing two guided reading lessons in the summer term to teach our Y5 pupils techniques for verbal reasoning and we will also administer their end of year maths SAT tests in the school hall, in order to give them experience of the kind of test conditions they will encounter in September.

We have made these decisions in the light of the fact that several neighbouring primary schools are providing clubs and / or are teaching their pupils techniques for verbal reasoning during the school day. In the past, local primary schools have been discouraged by the seven secondary schools in the local consortium from doing this (a protocol was drawn up approximately 20 years ago to this effect); however, over the last few years the secondary transfer system has become increasingly inequitable and primary school leaders now feel they have no option but to help to counterbalance these inequities.


I think I am correct in saying that there are a number of primaries in Watford who are now offering 11 plus prep. (although if a child gains an academic place off the back of it I'll be surprised). Monksmead in Borehamwood, although not in Watford, has been offering 11 plus prep. for a couple of years now from what I understand.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 7:24 am 
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Location: Herts
How very ironic! SW Herts moves over to CEM, the untutorable test that is supposed to be fair for all students because it is supposed to test natural ability and Watford Primary Schools start offering classes because it has all become unfair!

I do hope they are not going to teach them the same techniques as last year as many of them will not be in CEM VR!

Heads from several Herts primary schools have told me they are not allowed to run classes that favour one school over another so the number of students from Potters Bar primary schools who get non distance or sibling places at their local school, DAO, continues to be absolutely woeful. Every day great gaggles of local students walk down Baker Street, minutes away from DAO, and up Darkes Lane to Mount Grace.

Will the untutorable designed for natural ability CEM VR make a difference this year?

Or will all those CEM mocks that many Barnet and Islington students are busy doing mean that nothing changes.

At least some of the prep school students who were doing so well in the Moray House VR because their schools were giving them the papers will no longer be opening a VR paper in the DAO or SW Herts exam that they had already done and worked through all the wrong answers.

It would be great if all Herts primary schools in the catchment area of selective state schools would follow this example. DG


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 9:22 am 
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Daogroupie wrote:
It would be great if all Herts primary schools in the catchment area of selective state schools would follow this example. DG


The assistance would likely have been offered sooner if the SW Hert Consortium had not asked the local primary schools to sign an agreement to say they wouldn't. Given that the catchment areas extend a fair way past Watford, yet primary schools in the areas surrounding Watford have not been asked to sign the agreement, the question has to be asked as to why the SW Herts Consortium sees any value in retaining the agreement. Rather than providing an even playing field, the presence of the agreement disadvantages those living closest to the schools.

The message posted was release by a school that only started offering prep. last year off the back of evidence that a number of other schools had already started offering assistance. It had also come to light that a lot of primary schools in the areas surrounding Watford had been offering assistance for some time and were not asked to sign the agreement.

The assistance being offered at the school that released the message posted, is geared towards peparing the children for sitting under exam conditions, not specifically to tutor them on the exam content. I don't think they are offereing any more than familiarisation.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 10:01 am 
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tense wrote:
... to teach our Y5 pupils techniques for verbal reasoning ...

sounds a bit more than
noonynunu wrote:
... peparing the children for sitting under exam conditions, not specifically to tutor them on the exam content

to me.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 10:12 am 
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Goodheart wrote:
tense wrote:
... to teach our Y5 pupils techniques for verbal reasoning ...

sounds a bit more than
noonynunu wrote:
... peparing the children for sitting under exam conditions, not specifically to tutor them on the exam content

to me.


Put it this way, if they do teach the y5 pupils techniques in verbal reasoning then it will be of not use to the children as the exam is now CEM.

Just to add:

We will be providing two guided reading lessons in the summer term to teach our Y5 pupils techniques for verbal reasoning and we will also administer their end of year maths SAT tests in the school hall.

Personally I would class this as familiarisation. I supose everyone will have their own idea of what familiarisation is as I've had people tell me their DCs did an hour a week over 6 weeks and they have considered that as familiarisation rather than tutoring.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 10:57 am 
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Location: Herts
CEM is still VR, it is just the English part of VR, not the maths part so if they spend time on coding and alphabetical sequencing as they probably did last year then they are not helping them. DG


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 11:45 am 
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On the one hand, this is great, as if tutoring is going to happen, it's much fairer that an individual child's access to it is not determined by the depth of his or her parents' pockets. Tutoring in all state schools has been standard practice in N Ireland for years, where the grammar system is widespread, and it works very well there, as far as I'm aware.

On the other hand, it is absolutely tragic that our poor, already over-tested children not only have to face SATs tests and months of tutoring for those, but are now all expected to undertake yet more teaching to the test - this is primary school, for heaven's sake! I really, really hope that the CEM succeeds in resolving the problem by being genuinely untutorable-for, so that a little of the pressure is taken off children (and their parents).

Children at primary school should be reading and writing for fun, not swotting up lists of 'difficult' words.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:01 pm 
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Mad mad sytsem. But if those who can pay do so already for tutuon which ever type of test then only fair to teach in state primaries prep for their local state schools who they should have first right to as local pupils.


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