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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:38 am 
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We've just had parents' evening for ds2 (y5) - his teacher said he's currently on 5b for maths (should be higher but he doesn't read the questions properly grr), but only 4b (possibly stretching to 4a) for literacy

Is this high enough for 11+ entry into somewhere like Whitgift/Alleyn's etc? ds1 is currently at an academically selective indie but did 10+ entry and was obviously a dead cert (ludicrously high IQ). ds2 is a very different child - I don't think I'd want to put him in for exams unless I was pretty sure he had a very good chance as I think it would affect him badly if he felt he wasn't as 'good' as his brother.

Our other option is a very highly regarded local comprehensive which streams across the years so dc are always in classes with pupils of a similar ability - and the top stream is very high-achieving


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:24 am 
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Hello,
I know some children at one of the schools you mention and certainly one of these boys was more average at writing than maths.It can be done but depends how much you want to put into it.
Most of the boys I know who were entered for very selective grammars or indep schools had a period of 1:1 tuition especially focused on their writing.It depends whether or not you wish to go down the tuition route.


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 Post subject: 11+ chances and prep
PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:32 pm 
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Most who get into selective indies and state grammars are not exceptional. They are goodish allrounders, with girls generally being more literate (and literary) and boys being more numerate and more likely to enjoy mathematical problem-solving.

So much depends on your instinct for what may work for your child. May I suggest something? Sounds like your DS2, as a good prospective candidate, is about 'standard' for his year for this time of year. Don't focus too much on his Levels; they are only a very rough guide. Past papers of comparable schools are a better indicator nearer the time. Make sure you get a wide variety, as past patterns of questions may not continue.

An appropriate, experienced tutor will quickly find the detailed areas he needs to work on and will know how to train him. Then it's just practice, nearly all with you. Sooner you start, the better. Boys need a bit more prodding than girls.

Expect him to grow enormously as a candidate in the last few weeks. He will be fine and will enjoy it as fun and as a 'big boys' thing' - you may suffer, though!

Try to keep his current hobbies/interests going throughout. Most importantly, he needs to feel cherished: happy learners are succesful learners.

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:21 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2009 8:07 am
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Location: London
I am certain that you do not need to be as academic to get into the indies you mention, than the super-selective South/SW London grammars.

However entry is less predictable. Indies will tend to look more at potential contribution, either academic or music, sports, art, drama etc. They also interview which grammars wont and seek references, so can pick up interesting children and perhaps weed out ones who might be more trouble than they are worth.

Alleyns and Whitgift in particular tend to be less predictable than, say, Dulwich College. The latter has a far larger intake and so as long as your son is comfortably within the academic range, and it sounds like he would be, he should be OK. Alleyns is mixed (so half the places go to girls), has a prep and gives a certain amount of priority to siblings, and so there simply are not as many places available for boys. It has a reputation for looking for children who will fit well into their school, and having a second string like art, drama or sport probably helps. Whitgift appears to have risen in popularity over the past few years and again the issue is more one of outshining the competition than achievement levels as such.

Unless you really feel that it would cause real problems for your son, the best approach is to have a go and see how he does. Not getting a place in either of these schools does not mean a child is not good enough. Simply that a lot of good kids tried and they could not all be given places. You have the back up of a good state place. Lots of kids will be sitting for up to five, and perhaps even more, indies. The competition is such that few can be completely confident that any one school will offer a place.

Preparation should be around the specific papers, not around SATs.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:42 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:22 am
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Hi showme!

teacher80 and londonmum have summed it up most of the issues.

All I would add is:

Each child is unique: this may not be ideal for parents, but would you put each child in a different school if that was best for each child? We only have one, so I can only conjecture.

Interviews, interview puzzle solving or talking through a challenging question, 'teachability' sessions (how they respond to teacher's suggestions) - all these make a significant difference to getting an offer from an indie. In N London, our DD found that these varied enormously from school to school and some were tough, much tougher than most of the indie and grammar exams. I believe that the interviewers nowadays are skilled primary/secondary transition specialists or KS3 teachers and, in general, very able at spotting both potential and appropriateness for a particular indie.

You will know: you know your child and you will definitely know if something is not right for him. So do back your instinct. (In any case, they will almost certainly let you know, one way or another, at each stage. Our DD did not seem a strong candidate until just before the exams, eventually got offers from all her schools and then chose a grammar ahead of an indie, much to our chagrin!)

How is it all evolving in your mind?

NLD


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:28 am 
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I think it's important to remember too that there is not one school which is right for your child.
Particularly around London there are a lot of good schools which makes us feel as if we have difficult choices to make if we are fortunate enough to be in the position of trying to choose one over another, whereas in reality if each of these schools was the only one on offer we would all be working hard at securing a place there for our child.
We have a notion that one school may suit one of our children better than another, particularly if we already have one child there, but in fact the same school can feel like 2 or 3 completely different schools when seen through different children's eyes.
I also think it is very hard to gauge second and subsequent children if your first is particularly bright-in your mind they may be average when in fact they are strong academically-you are just comparing with something outside the norm.
As others have said my experience is that boys struggle with the writing part of these entrance exams, but will improve dramatically with coaching.


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