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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:47 pm 
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Posts: 542
After not being able to see what all the stress was about, I am now very stressed! I think it's much less stressful if you have a very able child who is likely to get offers from everywhere.

This is where we are at: no interviews at Habs girls or St Albans High School. We have interviews at St Helen's (the school we really want) and Heathfield (not sure but good to keep options open). State schools we have put Watford Grammar (unlikely as we are an HA postcode), then JFS, Parmiters, Mill Hill County, Bushey Meads. I imagine we will get a place at JFS but I really don't think now it will suit dd. Wish I'd put Parmiters as second choice now.

I'm now doing what I tell other people NOT to do - set my heart on one particular school - St Helen's. I must admit I will be disappointed if she doesn't get a place there.

How's everyone else doing?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:03 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:23 am
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Fed up, stressed, worn out, nervous, cynical, etc, etc - thanks for asking!!!

Have just the one child so this will be the only time I have to go through this - and I think it is absolutely obscene that we have to jump through so many hoops, play so many games and come up against so many two-faced people just to give our children what they deserve - a decent education. I'm not at all 'political' but could easily get on a soapbox about this whole experience - there has to be a better way and I'm beginning to think that what I've heard about the grammar/secondary modern system of the 1950s has a lot more appeal than today's multi-layered system that seems to fail just about everyone except the 'lucky' few who get into a top-performing state secondary/grammar or can afford the independent route.

This experience has also opened my eyes to the lack of support my DSs state junior school is giving - they are happy to have good SATS results which are based on the fact that so many children are tutored for entrance exams that they find SATS easy in comparison, yet give no support or acknowledgement to the high achievers. It's a great school if your child needs special support to bring them up to a basic level but does nothing at all for gifted and talented kids - the basis of comprehensive education - bring them all to the lowest common denominator instead of trying to raise them to the highest common factor!

If I had to do it all again......I would have scrimped and saved and sent him to a proper Prep School.

Roll on Feb 23/March 1!!!!!


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
The most able are supposed to get as much as support as the least able. SENCO is supposed to cover them as well but in reality they are left to their own devices. I was told by the Year Six teacher when dd1 went into Year Six that as she was already 5A's on Maths, English and Science she was not targeted by the school to spend any time with her but would be focused on getting as many 4's and 5's for the school as possible. We welcomed entrance exams as a chance to challenge her in the way she was not being challenged at school. DG


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:11 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:33 pm
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Location: Herts
Daogroupie wrote:
I was told by the Year Six teacher when dd1 went into Year Six that as she was already 5A's on Maths, English and Science she was not targeted by the school to spend any time with her but would be focused on getting as many 4's and 5's for the school as possible. We welcomed entrance exams as a chance to challenge her in the way she was not being challenged at school. DG
We are finding it very similar to what you describe. Most of the rest of the class are having booster lessons and mock tests for SATs. Even if I cannot complain the school dropped the top ability set, it seems like they are sometimes not getting much attention from the teacher... And you would not believe how much effort we need to put to make sure the reference requests from Secondaries get filled in! Is anyone else having this type of issue?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:19 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:09 pm
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Location: Herts
lara228 wrote:
It's a great school if your child needs special support to bring them up to a basic level but does nothing at all for gifted and talented kids - the basis of comprehensive education - bring them all to the lowest common denominator instead of trying to raise them to the highest common factor!
I couldn't have put it better myself. I made a friendly suggestion to the school that they might want to consider doing something for the 11+ candidates next year (e.g. practice Verbal reasoning). The idea was met with a complete rejection (no time in the curriculum, nor money to pay for staff to teach it). Then one month later, I see they're running classes after school for children who are in danger of not making level 4 (and hence impacting the school's SATs results). It's sad to see the resources used to try and get everyone to the same level...

On the original subject, we're feeling OK (DS got a couple of interviews) and glad the exams/interviews are over - just wish time would hurry up now so we can find out the results!


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:46 pm 
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maddad wrote:
lara228 wrote:
It's a great school if your child needs special support to bring them up to a basic level but does nothing at all for gifted and talented kids - the basis of comprehensive education - bring them all to the lowest common denominator instead of trying to raise them to the highest common factor!
I couldn't have put it better myself. I made a friendly suggestion to the school that they might want to consider doing something for the 11+ candidates next year (e.g. practice Verbal reasoning). The idea was met with a complete rejection (no time in the curriculum, nor money to pay for staff to teach it). Then one month later, I see they're running classes after school for children who are in danger of not making level 4 (and hence impacting the school's SATs results). It's sad to see the resources used to try and get everyone to the same level...

On the original subject, we're feeling OK (DS got a couple of interviews) and glad the exams/interviews are over - just wish time would hurry up now so we can find out the results!


I had a similar issue with dd's primary school. Plenty of time apparently to prepare for SATS but no time to help these children prepare for 11+ exams (which incidentally nearly all the Year 6's happen to be sitting as most children go to one of the consortium schools so even those applying for Bushey Meads, Queens etc will still sit the test). Anyway I pushed the point and now the head is considering an after school club with a teacher and that parents pay for. Hopefully something will be in place by the time dd2 does 11+.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:02 pm 
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Government funding for 1 to 1 tuition can ONLY be used for those at risk of not getting level 4.

There is lots of research to show that if you can get a level 4 you are much more likely to get a GCSE A* to C - so we are talking life chances for these children. It's not all about League tables.

I'm not saying the most able should be ignored - my DC was not as they setted for Maths.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:24 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:05 pm
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2GirlsDad wrote:
Daogroupie wrote:
I was told by the Year Six teacher when dd1 went into Year Six that as she was already 5A's on Maths, English and Science she was not targeted by the school to spend any time with her but would be focused on getting as many 4's and 5's for the school as possible. We welcomed entrance exams as a chance to challenge her in the way she was not being challenged at school. DG
We are finding it very similar to what you describe. Most of the rest of the class are having booster lessons and mock tests for SATs. Even if I cannot complain the school dropped the top ability set, it seems like they are sometimes not getting much attention from the teacher... And you would not believe how much effort we need to put to make sure the reference requests from Secondaries get filled in! Is anyone else having this type of issue?


Over the course of last week, we have been chasing DS's primary school for the missing reports. Apparantely, most of the report requests were sent in November and some were replied to but some I suppose went astray. There is still one outstanding and the ind school said the duplicated request was sent last Thursday but has yet to receive a reply!


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:34 pm 
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I don't think anyone here is asking for 1:1 tuition in school - some level of awareness and support would be well appreciated. Even if parents had to pay for an 11+ after school club to teach say verbal reasoning, I'm sure that 11+ parents and those considering the 11+ would react positively. I live in Chelmsford where the two grammar schools are now considering implementing a catchment area. Too many state primary schools here have shown limited interest in the 11+ which is a real shame, but if the catchment area comes into effect, things may improve.

Every child matters was supposed to be a major theme, but sadly this just isn't the practice. I find it shocking that the standards are so low that children can leave primary school without even knowing their times tables.

Back on topic - good luck to all of you waiting to hear about interviews/results..


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:08 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:33 pm
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Location: Herts
vivienphung wrote:
Over the course of last week, we have been chasing DS's primary school for the missing reports. Apparantely, most of the report requests were sent in November and some were replied to but some I suppose went astray. There is still one outstanding and the ind school said the duplicated request was sent last Thursday but has yet to receive a reply!
We had one like that - November and now had call from the independent school. The replies would be written on the back of an envelope, so "too long spent to reply" is not the cause. I am not sure our school has any policy on reference requests, which does not help.


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