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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 6:12 pm 
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Hi all, this is my first post, hope it's in the right place etc! My son is at the end of year 4 and I'm starting to think about 11+ prep. Now I've found a tutor with a very good reputation and the vast majority pass with her...but my worry is how do I know I'm doing the right thing for him? I don't want to put him through a years worth of prep when he's really not 11 plus standard and stress him out and scar him for life! And if he does pass due to the good tutoring I don't want him to hate grammar cause it's too hard! And for some reason I'm really nervous about asking school 'is he 11 plus material?' He's a summer baby so still only 8! He attends a good school where approx 60-70% pass each year (mainly through tutoring I believe). At end of year 3 he was 4c reading 3a math and writing. They did year 4 SATS last week and he told me tonight he got mastery in maths and English but only just? Apparently pass was 17/40 and mastery 28/40 and he got 28 in both. He reads well although hates comprehension. He's reading 'the secret garden' at the mo. His maths and tables I believe are sound. His writing though..! Although neat, sometimes it's shocking, doesn't make sense, wrong tense, missed punctuation etc. He has a gift of learning spellings and has only got one wrong in his tests
since September and that's with minimal effort. Last parents evening I was told reading age hadn't changed and was still 11.0 and spelling age had gone up to 11.6 years. Nothing else I can add. Please help! How did you know whether to go down the 11plus route? Thanks.


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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 8:35 pm 
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I would talk to the tutor if I were you. He /she should be able to assess him and let you know whether he is 11+ material.

Good Luck in your journey - you can only do what you think is best and trust your instincts.


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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 8:45 pm 
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Thank you purpledog - she has assessed him and says he's a definite pass BUT from talking to her I get the impression she's extremely good at what she does and given enough time with her could get a pass out of most children? or does that sound madness?! Just the impression I get. So hard making the right decision. I would love to say, stuff the 11 plus and let him have a carefree rest of primary and hope he gets into a decent secondary but there is no guarantee of that and I'd always be thinking 'what if?' So tough! Wish we lived in a non selective area!


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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 10:48 pm 
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Ilovecats wrote:
At end of year 3 he was 4c reading 3a math and writing. They did year 4 SATS last week and he told me tonight he got mastery in maths and English but only just? Apparently pass was 17/40 and mastery 28/40 and he got 28 in both. He reads well although hates comprehension. He's reading 'the secret garden' at the mo. His maths and tables I believe are sound. His writing though..! Although neat, sometimes it's shocking, doesn't make sense, wrong tense, missed punctuation etc. He has a gift of learning spellings and has only got one wrong in his tests
since September and that's with minimal effort. Last parents evening I was told reading age hadn't changed and was still 11.0 and spelling age had gone up to 11.6 years. Nothing else I can add. Please help! How did you know whether to go down the 11plus route? Thanks.

Your DS's 4c/3a results at the end of year 3 are pretty impressive if you ask me. And his reading age of 11.6 when he is only 8? You have a very bright boy and I think your tutor is spot on with her assessment of his ability. If he is naturally curious and loves learning new things, not necessarily just at school, he definitely is a 'GS material'.

Don't worry about your DS's messy writing too much at the moment, my DS was exactly like that in year 4 - complete disregard for punctuation, losing a train of thought half-way through long-winded sentences etc. etc. The reason was very simple - too many ideas going through his head too quickly to be able to organise them in a sensible manner. With time, he matured into a very good and creative writer. Your son just needs to slow down a little bit and learn to think things through before he writes them down; at the moment it sounds like his writing is a bit of a 'brain dump' on paper. :) You can help by talking through his stories with him, asking him what it was that he wanted to say and why. For example, you could ask, 'What did you have in mind when you wrote this? Does it make sense to you now? Could you have said it differently?' I'm sure he will get there. It is much easier to teach a child neat paragraphing, grammar and punctuation than how to be creative.

Best of luck!

PS. Just to say that not every poster on this forum is purple! :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 11:06 pm 
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Very good advice. I just wanted to ad that writing, important as it is, is not assessed on the 11+. The writing exercise is only used for the headteachers appeals if the child doesn't pass and their headteacher feels the child should have passed.

Your child's levels are very good.

@PurpleCreatures, I do get you two mixed up!


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 5:27 am 
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Location: Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent
Ilovecats it sounds like your son will do really well. I would recommend a mock test as even the brightest can freeze when in a test condition and suddenly juggling note paper, answer paper and questions. I was you a few years ago with a bright child wondering if by home tutoring we were letting our daughter down but it all turned out well so I fully sympathise - the 11+ industry sucks you in. It doesn't sound like you need to worry.


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 6:14 am 
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You should let your son try, that's for sure. He will benefit from tuition regardless if he passes or fails. The skills and knowledge he will gain will stay with him for life whichever school he goes to. And if he passes, then he deserves a place!
"Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration". I don't think a grammar school could harm him! If anything, it will make him used to hard work and he will be surrounded with clever ambitious children which should motivate him to achieve and give him a good start.


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 6:59 am 
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Thank you everyone..you've all made me feel better..Think we'll give it a go the with the tutor but I'll try and keep home life as relaxed and fun as possible. I don't want year 5 taken over with too much stress and pressure. Was so much easier in my day of the 13plus when the teacher just said yes or no, no test in sight!! Would you suggest I did anything with him this summer hols? Or keep it relaxed with no work? I was thinking maybe just carry on with reading and get him to keep a diary to keep his writing going? That's not too much..thanks again.


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 7:21 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:21 pm
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Ilovecats wrote:
Thank you purpledog - she has assessed him and says he's a definite pass BUT from talking to her I get the impression she's extremely good at what she does and given enough time with her could get a pass out of most children? or does that sound madness?! Just the impression I get. So hard making the right decision. I would love to say, stuff the 11 plus and let him have a carefree rest of primary and hope he gets into a decent secondary but there is no guarantee of that and I'd always be thinking 'what if?' So tough! Wish we lived in a non selective area!


Yes it is a big decision but it doesn't need to take over your life. You just need to draw some boundaries and make sure you maintain a balance with allowing your son to work hard and play hard. In my experience, working hard in year 5 has meant year 6 is rather more relaxed. The other thing is your son has to want to do it too. If you are fighting against him all the way then it probably isn't the right decision.


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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2016 7:48 am 
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Location: Herts
It is fantastic that he is reading "The Secret Garden" This is a wonderful book that I use all the time for comprehension papers. But there is the puzzle. Why does he not enjoy explaining what he has read in a text? It is like being a detective working out what is really happening. Mary Lennox, the protagonist, goes through major changes and this is a great book to discuss the artistry of the author in her portrayal of Mary and Colin and Archibald Craven. I never tire of it and think it has one of the best endings of any children's novel.

Once he has finished the book get the dvd with Maggie Smith as Mrs Medlock, she really brings the character alive and it is only £3 in Sainsburies.

Don't worry about the eleven plus taking over his life. Learning is there to be enjoyed and those who are academic lap it up. Does he enjoy it? DG


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