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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 11:54 pm 
And what is the catchment area?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 12:34 am 
Perhaps I ought to explain my reason for asking, and point out that I am quite drunk.
I grew up in Kent, where the 11+ is still going, and (occasionaly) attended my local (14 miles by: bus-train-train-bus) Grammar school.
I am the first to admit that I wasted much of my education through non attendance & general pissing about. However, as the standards were that much higher at my (grammar) school than the (very good) secondary modern that most of my friends attended I ended up with some proper qualifications (GCEs). Had I gone to school with my mates then I'd have ended up with a few CSEs (and as we all know any exams that have the letters C,S & E in them aren't worth the paper they're written on (including GCSEs)).
The bottom line is that I want my (6 month old) son to have the best education available and if I have to move so that he doesn't have to sit in class at 16 with kids that can't spell their own name then I'll move (but I need to know where I have to move to).


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 12:35 am 
Perhaps I ought to explain my reason for asking, and point out that I am quite drunk.
I grew up in Kent, where the 11+ is still going, and (occasionaly) attended my local (14 miles by: bus-train-train-bus) Grammar school.
I am the first to admit that I wasted much of my education through non attendance & general pissing about. However, as the standards were that much higher at my (grammar) school than the (very good) secondary modern that most of my friends attended I ended up with some proper qualifications (GCEs). Had I gone to school with my mates then I'd have ended up with a few CSEs (and as we all know any exams that have the letters C,S & E in them aren't worth the paper they're written on (including GCSEs)).
The bottom line is that I want my (6 month old) son to have the best education available and if I have to move so that he doesn't have to sit in class at 16 with kids that can't spell their own name then I'll move (but I need to know where I have to move to).


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 8:16 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2005 10:30 am
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If you were really serious and assume the system won't change, Watford is a good place to be for secondary schools. Considering the very good boy/girl grammars there, they're not so hard to get into, I think.

V.v. early, but you might want to look at the Good Schools Guide (esp online) that has lots of info on admissions criteria.


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 9:24 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 1:06 pm
Posts: 437
Hello James,

The Watford Grammars are both heavily oversubscribed. Whilst there are 180 places available at each of the schools, siblings and distance account for more places than selection. Distance usually means within 1/2 mile.

Re selection, there are only circa 81 places for each school (35%) offered on academic ability and (10%) offered on musical ability. Remaining placed are allocated to sibilings/community.

Parmiters, (which is part of the same consortium that administers admissions tests) is even more heavily oversubscribed, over 1200 applications. and they also take from a wider catchment area.

As there is no pass mark unlike in counties which offer a Grammar system (eg Bucks), pupils are awarded places in ascending order of their scores. The reality is that statistically all three schools are taking the top 5-7% or so of pupils who sit the tests. Yes there are some great school in SW Herts but locally these schools are considered virtually impossible to get into unless you are really bright or have a sibling who is bright and previously gained admittance under one of the selection criteria. Alternatively you need to live within spitting distance of the school gates.

Curious to know why you think that they are "not so hard to get into".

HP


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 10:20 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2005 10:30 am
Posts: 182
Hi HP,

Mainly from people I know who got kids in.
I agree of course that they're not easy, but (unlike Barnet grammars), catchment areas prevent everyone from miles around applying and close proximity helps. Not a factor for all, but a consideration for someone moving to the area. Need to be careful with choosing postcodes, if I remember right. I also took the sibling rules into account assuming the questioner was not stopping at one! Getting one kid in helps the subsequent ones.

Anyway, the q was specific to Herts and I still think that the two grammars in particular score so highly that even though they're not the 'easiest' they're worth going for if committed. Stats on acceptance rate can be very misleading given multiple applications made. All but the worst schools are 'oversubscribed'. As we know, most kids are relatively ill-prepared for the 11+ and these, even if bright, have little chance.


But I agree with you, nothing is easy and also wouldn't want the kid to be pushed too hard.

J


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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 12:14 pm 
Hi James,

Are you serious? '...most kids are relatively ill-prepared for the 11+...'.

I have the impression from my son's school, which is in Barnet, that those parents who are considering Grammar school for their children are preparing early, in some cases 3 years in advance!

I suppose some parents may decide to put their children forward, with little preparation, but I would have thought they are in the minority. I definitely sense a 'fever', and my son is only in year 3!


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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 1:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2005 10:30 am
Posts: 182
....very much depends which authority/which school. Barnet is, in my opinion, the worst authority to be in regarding 11+ fever! However, for example, large numbers apply to Mill Hill County with little preparation as it's seen as a normalish, but good semi-selective comp. However those applying for QE/HBS are almost all very well-drilled and generally only the high achievers bother applying!
In other authorities where kids sit a single co-ordinated exam for a number of schools the fear factor again disappears and v many kids are encouraged just to have a go.

My comment therefore excluded the Barnet grammars! Have gone through it twice now and you are right to be afraid....!


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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 1:41 pm 
Thanks James,

As you sensed from my post I was afraid, but having read your reply I am now petrified! My poor little boy!

I had been considering QE, but have heard some very scary stories about the regime from an ex-pupil who is now doing his A levels at a 6th form college. Do you have any insider knowledge about the school?

Have also heard that the test this year changed, to allow for a greater emphasis on English. Is that true?

G


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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 1:50 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2005 10:30 am
Posts: 182
Hi Gloria,

Yes, my son goes there. Lots of info on QE on this site, so have a delve and then, if you want, may be best to send me a personal message (can do via this site) to swap thoughts.

Basically its a tough school but son very pleased to be there. Doesn't suit all!

J


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