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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:05 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:48 pm
Posts: 79
Good morning everyone

my son is having tutoring for the 11+ which he will sit next year. WE live in Cranbrook, Kent and so we are looking at Judd and Skinners. He's just had a few tests and the results indicate that he will not be superselective grammar school material. He will pass but not get high enough scores at the moment. Obviously this may change - we do have 9 months until he actually sits the exam. But his tutor says that she doesnt think he has the personality for a grammar school - he is shy and not particularly confident - his tutor says he appears anxious! She suggests that he goes to prep school for years 7 &8 and then we try for Cranbrook Grammar - another year of tutoring then in year 8 for him!

I must confess that her comments were rather a shock - i naturally assumed that he would be fine with the 11+. We are continuing with the 11+ route but in all honesty i don't know what to do. If we have to pay for prep school for two years we will be stretched financially but i really want the best for my little lad. On the other hand i don't want him to go to a superselective grammar school (if he gets the scores) and be like a fish out of water. I have re-iterated to the tutor that i am looking for the best schooling option for him and not me!

Has anyone any recommendations regarding prep schools - went to look at Marlborough House but the woman that showed me around made a comment about how grateful the state school kids are when they come here that i automatically disregarded it - she should be grateful for my child not the other way around!! Tutor also said that i should be able to negogiate a reduced fee because of the fact that my son should pass the 11+ (but not top scores).

Has anyone else been in a similar situtation?

thanks for all your help
regards


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:14 am 
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I don't know what Marlborough House is like but I would not make a hasty decision based on what one woman said. Do you not think she meant grateful in the sense of more facilities and smaller class sizes rather? I'm sure they are pleased that state school pupils attend the school but her choice of words were unfortunate. Unless there is another prep near by then you should have another look and ask for a tour with another member of staff or the children.

You don't have to make any decisions right now so I would just wait and see how he does in the test first. Grammar schools are made up of many personalities and I'm sure he will be fine if he passes - as long as he has not been overly coached and his results are artificially elevated. If he is anxious and shy then surely he is better at a grammar school than a comp?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:24 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:01 am
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What a very strange thing for your tutor to say - does he/she have shares in the local indie school? I wouldn't worry about your child being shy/anxious - there are plenty of children like that in Grammar schools. Grammar schools are not full of outgoing confident kids - and even if they were - it's not a requirement. Good luck to your DS - I hope he passes and does really well at chosen school 8)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:56 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:48 pm
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thank you so much for your replies - I have three other independant schools to look at - the school i looked at has larger class sizes than my son's state school ones and facilities are not that much better to be honest!

re Grammar schools - I know that we are a long way off him taking the 11+ but i don't want him to be putting all this effort into the tutoring when perhaps grammar school is not right for him. His test results were anything from 60-94% in the tests- based on this year's Kent 11+ results he needed 75% to get top scores. I obviously want what is best for my lad and don't want to be encouraging him to do something when it is not right for him. Goodness why is parenting easy?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:01 am
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I think you are absolutely right in your thinking - good luck 8)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:09 pm 
Hi klmh,

I do know people with children at Marlborough House who seem happy with it. The other obvious preps to look at would be St Ronan's and Dulwich Prep. Word on the street suggests that Dulwich Prep is rather snooty (more so than MH) with SR being a more homely feeling place. I don't know how true any of that is as my kids all attend or attended state primaries.

As to grammar schools, I would go with your own instincts not his tutor's view. You really need to visit the schools yourself (with your son) if you have not yet done so and see how you and he feel about them.

The boys' grammars are generally better pastorally than the equivalent girls' grammars (according to ALL the parents I know with children at both) with a lot more "hand-holding" on offer. It seems that they don't expect 11 year old boys to be as mature as girls of the same age.

That said, Judd and Skinners will obviously have a different feel from Cranbrook. They are boys' day schools, whilst Cranbrook is a co-ed day and boarding school. Also, the different starting ages will have an effect on the schools. Cranbrook does have the advantages (from your point of view) of having more extensive facilities than other Kent grammars (presumably due to the boarding revenue) and of taking most of its pupils from your area. If you go for Judd or Skinners then be prepared to drive your son to and from friends' homes -in the case of Judd they could live anywhere from Greater London to the South coast- and be aware that this will affect his social life/independence.

You do have the option of trying for an 11+ grammar (Judd, Skinners or Oakwood Park realistically) and moving your son at 13 to Cranbrook, although obviously this is an additional upheaval. You also have the option of 2 years at Angley in the grammar stream and then a move to Cranbrook.

I think that whilst you have some tricky decisions to make, you do have some excellent schools to choose from. Good luck whatever you decide; I'm sure that your son could be very happy and do well at any of these schools.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:15 pm 
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I agree that you should look at a second opinion, and also speak to your sons current teacher to see how s/he feels. You could also try working through a few Bond age 9-10 years 11+ books with him to see how he does in those as they are age-appropriate and he will learn a great deal in the next year. He will also 'learn' how to approach the questions. I think that to say a child is unsuitable due to shyness is outrageous! I agree that you should enter him, but maybe switch tutor to one who is more encouraging.

When dd started NVR she was scoring around 80% in straightforward questions. She was scoring 94-100% before her Latymer paper (a 'superselective school) 10 months later in tests with much tougher questions, and her VR scores went from 75% to 90+% in the same period. Is it possible that he hasn't covered the English and Maths in the tests given at school yet? I only know the North London schools, but he would need knowledge to the end of Y6 and possibly beyond in maths, and unless your school supports 11+ work then it needs to be taught.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:36 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 7:01 pm
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My DS is in Yr 7 at Skinners' and he is one of these quiet, shy and slightly anxious children which your tutor seems to think are unsuitable for a super. He's also a summer born child so one of the youngest (and smallest!) in the intake. He has settled in very well and isn't overwhelmed either by the pace of work or the nature of the other children. The boys are not all Type A personalities and those of more reserved nature will find their place in the scheme of things.

TBH, having read your other post in the Kent section, I think I'd be looking for another tutor as your current one seems to have quite a few misconceptions about the test and the schools concerned.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:03 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:48 pm
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"TBH, having read your other post in the Kent section, I think I'd be looking for another tutor as your current one seems to have quite a few misconceptions about the test and the schools concerned"

I really don't know where i would find another tutor if i am being honest. We are new in the area and she came highly recommended - apparently she has an almost 100% pass rate.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:09 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
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klmh1968 wrote:
We are new in the area and she came highly recommended - apparently she has an almost 100% pass rate.



one might be tempted to say 100% pass rate for what? It all depends what she means by passing ... just super selectives or including all not particularly selective indies?
if she is discouraging people from some schools then that will improve her pass rate no end :roll:

Find another tutor....


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