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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 10:32 pm 
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I can see the advantages of knowing what schools are available before you start looking - and you will no longer have the awful scenario of falling in love with a school but not being able to go to it.

But, and it is a big but, I think the new timing will work against those that the 11+ was primarily intended for - bright children from disadvantaged backgrounds. We already know that the odds are stacked against these children because their parents may not be able or willing to provide the level of support and preparation that more socially and financially better off families can. Now they won't even have the minimal preparation most schools do - and they will be competing against children who have spent the summer preparing. What chance have they got now?

A seriously bad move, in my opinion.


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 7:09 am 
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You have voiced a serious concern raised by many objectors to the earlier testing.

However, KCC assured the DCSF that there is no need for children to be coached for the tests, indeed they positively discourage it as it can distort the results. You try telling that to determined parents! :wink:

Whilst the DCSF maintains a stance of all children being given equal opportunity to access good quality education (which admittedly they can in any status of good schools) the most disadvantaged, bright child will be penalised since the 11+ results are standardised. Opportunities for social mobility amongst the most deprived will be stagnated.

I loathe the way that political motives impinge on our childrens' life-chances.


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 11:40 am 
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There is another disadvantage to the borderline candidates.

More parents will enter their children for the 11+

The Grammar schools will have a bigger field of candidates to choose from, and increasing numbers of selectives will 'cream off' the most able, rejecting the less able and the borderlines.

It's sometimes only in hindsight that these prospects become apparent.


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 2:26 pm 
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Location: berkshire
On the other hand you could say that as a child can take the test and then apply for a school there may be more bright, disadvantaged children (where parents are not that concerned about schools) that will get the chance to apply to a grammar as there is nothing to lose in sitting the test. :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 2:54 pm 
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chad wrote:
On the other hand you could say that as a child can take the test and then apply for a school there may be more bright, disadvantaged children (where parents are not that concerned about schools) that will get the chance to apply to a grammar as there is nothing to lose in sitting the test. :wink:


I think you have to bear in mind, the much bigger cohort for academically selective schools to select from.

With falling rolls, grammars have to reduce their intake to levels comparable with all other schools ie 25% of total secondary transferees. More applicants and less places equates with greater competition among the passers.


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 6:38 pm 
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Location: Kent
Do you think more people will really take the exam? I know at least one person who had already decided not to take it if date turned out to be September, as child would not be ready then.

I'm also unsure that September has benefits for bright disadvantaged children, as parents still won't put them in for the test. For some it is poverty of aspiration which prevents their children sitting the test, not having to choose a school beforehand -'grammar school is not for us', which I have heard a few times. If this can be cracked (and of course making the test 'uncoachable') then all children would have a fair chance at a GS place.

But as this is what we're stuck with, at least we now know when it is. I hope all our children enjoy their holiday as I expect they will have yet another round of post-practice SATS post-SATS testing to look forward to as soon as they get back in order to meet the new registration deadlines.
Can't wait!


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 6:57 pm 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Whilst I appreciate that the late decision to move the test forward is a wretched inconvenience this year, I think there is a rather big storm in a teacup being made out of this change otherwise.

c'est la vie wrote:
More parents will enter their children for the 11+


Are you really suggesting that hundreds or even thousands of parents are currently not entering their able, bright child for the 11+ in Kent just because they don't get the test result before the CAF form has to be submitted?

In Bucks, where the system is opt-out, rather than opt-in, around 85% of children sit the 11+. Around 1,000 children are "opted out", from a resident cohort of around 6,000. Some of those will be families leaving the area and some will be destined for private schools.

The test is taken at a similar time - the first 10 days of October, but even with the early timing we do not get to find out the results before submitting the CAF.

Surely, if not knowing the result of the 11+ in advance of the CAF was such a big deal, Bucks parents would be opting out in droves?

Kent is merely moving to similar timing to Bucks, but with the advantage that parents will actually know their child's results (in all but Appeal cases) before they submit the CAF. You are better off than we are!

c'est la vie wrote:
Whilst the DCSF maintains a stance of all children being given equal opportunity to access good quality education (which admittedly they can in any status of good schools) the most disadvantaged, bright child will be penalised since the 11+ results are standardised


I do find some of your statements pretty hard to fathom, c'est la vie. What has age standardisation got to do with being socially disadvantaged?


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 7:17 pm 
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Well that's it then! Second time round is fast approaching, only this time I have a borderline, dyslexic son, who I am trying to tutor myself, as the beloved tutor we had for our eldest, decided to retire. It seems the odds are stacked against him but I am far more relaxed this time, as I'm not sure if he is right for a selective school anyway. It's difficult at this stage as boys can suddenly progress during year 6. We will just have to see what happens. It's going to be a busy few months and we are all in the same boat! Good luck to everyone!


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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 3:37 pm 
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[quote="c'est la vie"]There is another disadvantage to the borderline candidates.

The Grammar schools will have a bigger field of candidates to choose from, and increasing numbers of selectives will 'cream off' the most able, rejecting the less able and the borderlines.

We have to remember that it is only the highly selectives that 'cream off' and then only those pupils that name them on their CAF. Not all of the most able choose to go to these schools. A high proportion also choose the normal selectives, for various reasons of preference, distance, etc. These selectives recruit by postcode, giving the borderlines an equal chance against the most able. However, this will only work for those that live within a 'safe' distance of these schools, so not good news for anyone 'out of county'. There is bound to be a rise in pass rate for the highlly selectives, as candidates who get unexpected top scores may change their minds from a normal selective to a highly selective. This will be, in some cases, regardless of whether they think they will thrive or not, especially if most of their peer group are choosing these schools. I think the old system made you think more carefully about which school really suited the child, rather than simply choosing by a score.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 4:42 pm 
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This is an interesting point about changing minds if scores are high. Yesterday doing a tour of a super selective school, the tour teacher mentioned that he DIDN'T think there would be such a high application to the school this year. This, he said, is because their would be too many question marks about suitable scores and a lot of people would opt for a safer option. Therefore lower scores could potentially get a place.


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