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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:34 pm 
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Do we really need the stress associated with this horrendous process? Who does it serve??
Certainly not us as parents and certainly not our children who are 'force fed' a diet of irrelevant information for any length of time prior to an obsolete exam brought in as part of the 1944 education act!!

How can anyone truly select students for an educational system based on the results of a test that has zero relevance to their work and achievement at Primary school, and, more importantly, zero relevance to the work and skills they will do and require at Secondary and beyond. The skills our kids will need in the future are profoundly different to those required in the post war years!

Surely this is a big con? It seems that the only people who really benefit are the handful of tutors who are making very good money.
As adults and parents, (yes, i include myself as we too bought into the madness!) we are merely perpetuating the myth that this test is relevant in the modern age.

Let me put it another way, would we be happy going for a job interview where we were asked no questions about our areas of expertise, and no questions based on the job we were potentially being employed for? I think not!

I am not against selection as a process, but surely there is so much data available on student performance these days even in KS2, that the necessity for a random test that requires specialist tuition creates an inherently unfair system from the outset. Those who can do; those who can't get tutored!

How many students who are intensively tutored for 'the test', go on to pass, and then struggle at the GS because they do not have the academic grounding in literacy or numeracy required to cope with KS3 work.
Let students be selected based on their English & Maths ability, and not on a test that bears no relevance to their future or previous education. If tutors are employed to help, at least the key skills of our kids will be enhanced!

Ban the test! Invest in our kids' academic future, not the 11+ myth.

Rant over!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:24 pm 
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I thought most places tested English and Maths.... :shock: . (I know Bucks doesn't),

Medway, where my DC's have taken their tests, not only they have to do English and Maths, but they are counted twice, while the VR paper is only counted once, which means if your english and maths are not good you will not pass.

What do you suggests? surely not for the primary schools to decide which children are GS and which ones are not ( what a huge can of worms that could be!)

It is not a horrendous process, unless you make it so. If your children are motivated, and want to do it, it's actually a very rewarding experience.

You do not have to have a private tutor, as it can easily be done at home (I have done it twice), so money does not come into it.

Also, IMHO, it has taught my DC's study skills, and it has been an invaluable tool in learning exam techniques( timing, prioritizing content, etc) , something that they will use again and again in their academic lives, so all in all a worthwhile experience.


Last edited by tedolita on Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:37 pm 
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Manoverboard. I completely agree with you.

Interesting that what you describe as a better way of selection is what the school "with the best A level results on the Wirral for the second year running" uses.

Mind you they don't waste their time doing SATs either, which probably gives the children there some time to have some real education.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:28 pm 
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tedolita wrote:
I thought most places tested English and Maths.... :shock: . (I know Bucks doesn't),

Medway, where my DC's have taken their tests, not only they have to do English and Maths, but they are counted twice, while the VR paper is only counted once, which means if your english and maths are not good you will not pass.

What do you suggests? surely not for the primary schools to decide which children are GS and which ones are not ( what a huge can of worms that could be!)

It is not a horrendous process, unless you make it so. If your children are motivated, and want to do it, it's actually a very rewarding experience.

You do not have to have a private tutor, as it can easily be done at home (I have done it twice), so money does not come into it.

Also, IMHO, it has taught my DC's study skills, and it has been an invaluable tool in learning exam techniques( timing, prioritizing content, etc) , something that they will use again and again in their academic lives, so all in all a worthwhile experience.


Dear Tedolita,

Preparing for any examination at an early age will deliver the study skills that you correctly identify as being important for the future. And, if in Medway you are fortunate enough to have tests that are rooted in Eng/Maths based assessment then that is the good fortune of the children of Kent.
We up here on the Wirral are not quite so fortunate as we have two VR tests. Therefore students who are exceptionally talented at numeracy are disadvantaged from the start.

As for it being a rewarding experience, try telling that to a student who has achieved well beyond level 5A in literacy and numeracy at primary, is on the G&T register for both aspects, but is potentially not offered a place at a Grammar School if they have a bad day in an exam. An exam that is a complete 'stand alone' and bears no relevance to the modern curriculum.

Lively debate, I love it!

Best wishes.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:34 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:12 pm
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I really empathize with you and your plight, but remember the saying that is often used in this forum " cream will always rise to the top". If your DC is a top student, and having supportive parents, he or she will do well in any environment.
I agree with you that to give grammar school places based on VR scores only should not be allowed in this day and age, as you could train someone to do VR, but they could lack basic maths and English skills. Hopefully, more and more places are going for more comprehensive testing.
Whatever you and your DC do, I wish you the best of luck.
P.S. Incidentally, my husband went to the Wirral GS for Boys, as his family was living in Bromborough at the time.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:49 pm 
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I totally agree that testing on VR & Nvr skills is totally a waste - much better to test potential pupils on maths & english


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:36 pm 
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Well I'm not so sure. St. Anselms for example tests for English and Maths and as Guest 43/irbymum have previously stated their A Level results lag behind VR tested Wirral Girls.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:19 pm 
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NotionPotion wrote:
Well I'm not so sure. St. Anselms for example tests for English and Maths and as Guest 43/irbymum have previously stated their A Level results lag behind VR tested Wirral Girls.


Are you really suggesting that the the performance of students at 'A' Level is determined by their performance in a VR test aged 10/11 as opposed to the standard of education they receive at the school over the next 7 years?
I think the staff at any of the schools' concerned would have an issue with that.

Perhaps you may be better off comparing a similar all girls schools rather than comparing it to an all boys school.

If you want a thought provoking question, then have a look at how well Wirral students do at GCSE compared to national averages, and then look at the relatively poor 'A'Level performance against similar criteria.
In a rapidly globalising world we should not be comparing with our immediate neighbours and perpetuating trivial rivalries. We should be looking at how our students are doing compared to those of similar ages from around the country/world. Many of whom are taught the importance of literacy/numeracy compared to VR/NVR.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:33 pm 
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I was not aware that Wirral's results at A Level were significant worse than those at GCSE so I would be interested in some figures to support this notion.

The other thing to bear in mind is that whilst 11+ determines which school you will go to for GCSE there is another shuffle around for 6th form entry. This clearly does not depend on VR and 11+ tests. One reason why Calday posts relatively poor A Level results is that it appears to act as the defacto 6th form college for West Wirral (i.e. large intake from the non-Grammar schools)

One advantage of 11+ tests is that they are comparable across schools. I have a sneaking suspicion that St. Anselm's longstanding history of relatively poor results is because it is easier to tweek the English/Maths tests to fill "bums on seats", whilst the 11+ grammar schools resort to bussing people in from other counties and countries (i.e. Wales!) to address overcapacity.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:53 pm 
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guest43 wrote:
I was not aware that Wirral's results at A Level were significant worse than those at GCSE so I would be interested in some figures to support this notion.

The other thing to bear in mind is that whilst 11+ determines which school you will go to for GCSE there is another shuffle around for 6th form entry. This clearly does not depend on VR and 11+ tests. One reason why Calday posts relatively poor A Level results is that it appears to act as the defacto 6th form college for West Wirral (i.e. large intake from the non-Grammar schools)

One advantage of 11+ tests is that they are comparable across schools. I have a sneaking suspicion that St. Anselm's longstanding history of relatively poor results is because it is easier to tweek the English/Maths tests to fill "bums on seats", whilst the 11+ grammar schools resort to bussing people in from other counties and countries (i.e. Wales!) to address overcapacity.


Dear Guest 43.
Have a look at the following table.
Compare where Wirral stands nationally for 5*A-C at GCSE (35th), then see how the relative performance drops away compared to other areas at 'A'level.(153rd) ranked by authority.
You can sort each column by clicking on the column header.
Unfortunately, if you look behind the headline 'A'Level figures where all our GS's champion their 'A' level performance, believe me it is nothing to shout about. Complacency is rife!
Ask any of them about their Value Added scores and see the colour drain from their faces!!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/12/secondary-school-tables-gcse-alevel-data


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