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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:21 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:07 pm
Posts: 46
Location: Sutton
I hope you don't mind someone on the inside joining your discussions. I've been following a number of threads with great interest, and it seems a bit rude not to declare myself and say hi.

If you'd rather I kept out of it, just say, and I'll vanish!

Anyway, just thought I'd let you know that SGS is inviting your comments about possible changes to the timing/format of its entrance exam. Have a look at the Admissions page of the website (put Sutton Grammar into Google - we're the first hit). Point it out to your friends who aren't part of this forum.

At the moment we're asking for email responses, but we may change it to a message board like this one.

Thanks for reading


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:35 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 3:03 pm
Posts: 68
Hello admissions lady, my friends and I all found you extremely helpful when we looked around Sutton Grammar, and I was very pleased to see that you have been following the threads as I have often thought it would be useful for the schools to understand the whole process more from the parents' point of view. I'm sending you my thoughts in the hope they may be of some interest. Many of our boys have to take a large number of exams starting in September and finishing about now. It was extremely helpful to find out information from other schools who send out their exam results and indicate whether a place may be awarded or not. It really does help people to manage their own expectations and those of their sons' and in the case of those who don't pass and receive a breakdown of their marks, it helps to know any areas which need a bit more work.

I think many people would welcome a pre test if it was for information only. My only concern about pre tests which rule out children is that boys, particularly summer born children, can mature considerably during year six, and there can be quite a difference between a child in September and February. One of my children, a July birthday, did not pass the Wallington boys test, but went onto pass every other exam he took, so I do feel wary of boys in future being judged all on one performance. I have always liked the timing of the Sutton Grammar exam. Exams in early January really do spoil everyone's Christmas and New Year, but it is very very hard not to receive any indication of performance at all until offer day. Whilst parents can only be given possible indications of offers of places, I think for those who haven't passed, it is much kinder to know and to be able to make other plans.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:22 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:07 pm
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Location: Sutton
Thanks for your comments - very helpful. Good to see the debate starting. Interestingly, a parent from Yorkshire made a similar point about the pre-test, in the neighbouring thread.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:59 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:07 pm
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Location: Kingston
Hello Admissions Lady, like the poster above I would also like to extend my gratitude to you, SGS went out of their way to make the exam day as stress free as possible for my son who has TS and ADHD.

So back on topic, I like the idea of a pre test, however there should be some leeway for parental decision as to going on to sit the actual exam. I am thinking if the result is a close fail, or there are extenuating circumstances. It has been stated before that year 6 can be a year of big leaps forward in maturity and learning, I speak as the mother of an August born son who is a whole 50 weeks younger than the oldest boy in his class at primary school.

The waiting is torture for both parents and children from the date of the exam until offer day. I believe that either the exam is held earlier and tailored to reflect this, with results and liklihood of a place offered before the CAF form has to be returned ( a la Wallington) or that we are at least told out child's score. We would be able to take a rough guess at the chances of entry then.

I don't like the idea of January testing, keeping children motivated and preparing for it over Christmas is a bit harsh!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:05 pm 
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Location: south west london
Totally agree whichwitch as parents should be given the information regarding their child's score and then they are able to make an informed choice about whether to proceed with the next exam or whether indeed to include the school on the CAF form. Anything which takes away that parental decision is a very bad idea. Some children can simply have a bad day which could happen in the pre-test. All should still be given the opportunity of sitting the real thing, with parents having the ultimate decision on whether to put their child through it.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 8:31 pm
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The SGS test was miserable; pouring with rain no where to go and the lack of any result before allocation day is really unhelpful.

I can directly compare this with the WCGS test which was a much more pleasant experience with the PTA catering in the playfield and a result available within weeks.

My recommendations...

1) Test early; at the same time as WCGS
2) Make the result available ASAP to allow people to mentally commit or choose alternatives.
3) Make some money for PTA funds by selling food/drink to keep the prospective parents occupied.

Regards
SVE

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:25 pm 
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Would absolutely agree with SVE.

I think SGS should go back to testing on the same day as Wallington then our ds only have to sit one test for the two schools. With Wilsons now testing in September, the whole thing will be over by the end of September for those boys only focusing on the grammars in Sutton borough.

Parents being given the results should help all parties. The parents know which schools their ds will have a realistic chance of getting into before filling in the CAF form, the local council and schools presumably would have less admin around matching preferences etc.

Sounds like a 'win-win' all round to me.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:44 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:07 pm
Posts: 46
Location: Sutton
Hi SVE - sorry you didn't enjoy our testing day (but I hope your son did). Thanks for joining the debate on this one.

Our PTA would never be able to cater for parents on site even if we did the 11+ in high summer, as we don't have the space, being a town centre school on a small site.

But being in the center of town has its advantages - waiting parents can go into town and drink coffee - even if Starbucks gets the money and not the PTA.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:47 pm 
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admissionslady wrote:
Hi SVE - sorry you didn't enjoy our testing day (but I hope your son did).


From DS's point of view there were no issues; enjoy is probably a bit strong :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:47 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:26 am
Posts: 284
Hi

My DS didn't sit for SGS on the basis that it would be too difficult for him to realistically travel there and back every day. However, he did sit for WCGS and Wilson's. Personally, I thought the timing of WCGS's exam was great - the boys were able to prepare themselves over the summer and it was before the term got into full swing and they are bogged down with lots of homework. It really helped to know the results before filling in the CAF form and I'm sure there are a few parents who "settle" for Wallington based on these results. Although Wilson's was straight after the Xmas holidays, I actually think this is a bit of a disadvantage - don't know about other DCs but mine was exhausted from all the family gatherings and catching up with old friends, even though we'd deliberately kept it low key this year.

I thought both exams sat by DS and the mock test he sat at Sutton, were all pretty well organised - DS's only complaint was that it was rather cold at Wilson's.

I agree with the other posts that taking away parental choice in the way of a pre-test will upset and alienate many parents. If this is being considered because of the cost of testing, prehaps a small fee would be better.

Finally, I just wanted to say that I think posting SGS proposals on a website such as this is a great idea and very proactive - well done! I hope we are able to provide with some interesting opinions.

Plum


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