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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:40 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:00 pm
Posts: 558
Location: Wales
Hi all

I've been browsing this forum for a few days as a guest and although the 11+ is not offered here in Wales (nor are there any Grammar schools), I decided to register anyway because there is a great atmosphere here.
:lol:

We have a DD aged 17 currently doing A levels at a very good 6th form college across the border in England. Although DD achieved well at GCSE at the local comprehensive,it was probably in spite of it not because of it! :roll: For example, we found out during parent's evening in year 9 that she was in set 4 out of 6 for maths!! :shock: when she had achieved a level 5 in SATS in year 6! After much pressure from us she was moved into set 2 and, after having to work hard to catch up (no tutors though) on the areas of the curriculum not taught in set 4, she was soon offered a place in set 1. The worst thing about this was the complete lack of communication from the school about what streaming had taken place, hence finding out so late in the day! She ended up with a grade B in maths.

We also have a DS in year 6 and understandably have concerns about him attending the same local comprehensive. Because there are more sheep than humans here, we don't have the same systems for allocation of places as exist in England and choosing another comprehensive would pose no problem to the LEA, although would involve 15-20 miles travel.

BUT there is another consideration. DS is hugely talented at rugby. He played for his school U11 side when in year 4. He was selected to represent the district a year early (year 5) and after the first two matches was made captain and is captain again this year. He has also been marked out by regional coaches and referees as being outstanding and will trial for East Wales this year. In addition he has been his club team's player of the year two years running.

We have been advised by many people not to waste this talent and tend to agree since rugby is his overriding passion and his ambition is to be an international player :shock: So few actually make it all the way it is really important for him to have an excellent education too - especially since he plans on playing lots of rugby and could easily slack off the academic work if he is not well supported and motivated by his school (as well as ourselves).

So we are looking at sports scholarships at two independent schools in the area. I've been reading all the posts about tutors and NVR and how early some of you start practising / preparing. Now I'm having a fit because his entrance exams are on 17th Jan and 'early Feb' and he has never even seen a NVR paper before! :shock: OMG Arrrrrggggg

Having said all this, DS wants to go to the local comprehensive (with all his friends) which is ok for rugby, only average academically and soooo poor at communication etc.

So, now I'm worried about whether he will actually pass the exams and also don't want to force him to go to a school he doesn't want to go to.

Help - experiences / advice / gin & tonic / burgundy all welcome! :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:27 am
Posts: 2086
Location: Barnet, Herts
Hi and welcome!
Are the 2 independent schools good for rugby?
If so I'd definitely go for this option. If they go for a sports scholarship do they still have to pass the entrance exam?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:51 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2006 8:54 pm
Posts: 1770
Location: caversham
Hi Freya,

Looking on the positive side you can boost NVR scores with a short period of familiarization.

Start now, tonight, download the CD or e-papers from this site. Only downside you need to be one step ahead of your son (like all good teachers) and at first NVR is hard for older tired brains. :)

Also positive the school may want your boy for his rugby skills and leadership, so he may not need such high exam results. Playing under 11 rugby in year 4 is a big leap forward physically and mentally.

Good luck.

steve


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:43 pm 
Hi Freya - what schools are you looking at and would you consider boarding. Millfield School -which isn't very academically selective - would give him a great education plus train him in the sport he is most talented in almost 7 days a week. Other independent schools, although big on Rugby, may only play it one term a year. Pangbourne College is also great for sport. PM me if you wish. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2005 12:49 pm
Posts: 1647
Location: berkshire
Hi Freya,

It is really hard to try and decide what is best for your child....when your child just wants to go to the local school with their mates.
It sounds that it would be a waste of talent for your son to go to a school that would not develop him as it should.
If along the way he gets an excellent education as well then thats a wonderful bonus.
I would give him the opportunity......if it doesnt work out then your son won't have lost anything...... if it does then your son will be eternally grateful that you were able to make that decision for him.
As steve said.... there is time to familiarise him with the papers.

Good luck


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:59 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 4:20 pm
Posts: 768
I really wouldn't worry too much about the indie entrance exams. Outside of the London area, and excepting the top tier public schools, the academic requirements for entry to most indies really aren't onerous - especially if your son has a special talent at rugby. The only school near the Welsh borders that I can think of where your son might have difficulty getting into is Shrewsbury, and I wouldn't rule out even that (though I think they're an age 13 entry only).
Having said that I do agree it would be a good idea to go over the papers with him even at this late stage, just to be sure he doesn't flunk the test simply because he doesn't know what to expect. Why not ring the schools and see if they can send you some past papers?

_________________
Loopy


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 10:03 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:00 pm
Posts: 558
Location: Wales
Thanks ever so much for all your replies! :D

Zorro

Thanks for the welcome! Both schools have produced Welsh Internationals but one (the furthest at 35 mins by car) has a much better rugby reputation than hte other. This may be exaggerated though as the school alegedly recruits rugby talent via generous scholarships in the upper school. Lower down the school there is nothing between them results wise. Both only play rugby for one term but do play rugby sevens in the Spring term.

If DS goes for a sports scholarship then, yes, he still has to pass the entrance exam & interview.


Stevew61

I took your advice and gave some NVR to DS last night. To start with I explained generally what it was all about and just let him attempt 6 questions (one of each type I think). i told him it didn't matter if he got them right or wrong but that we would use that as a starting point and then work through them together. He got half of them correct at the first attempt and with some prompting could see the correct answer for the others. The idea seemed to click after that and he said "oh now I know how to work these out". Fortunately I have always been quite good at these 'puzzzles'- my brain just must be wired in that way, unlike hubby who simply can't do them at all (despite being privately educated, being an Oxbridge candidate and having two degrees. I was hoping DS's brain was wired like mine not his father's and the early signs are good. I didn't push it last night but will put in more sessions over the coming week to build up number of questions and a time limit.

We are hoping that both schools will, as you say, want him for his rugby and leadership skills and be lenient on the exams. He excells at many sports: cricket, football, basketball so can also show diversity. He played U11s cricket in year 4 for school and town too. I agree, playing U11 rugby in year 4 is a big leap forward. It's not that he is tall or 'big' for his age, although he more than coped physically. He is lean (not skinny) and muscular and a bit above average height for his age. In year 4 he played as hooker and now everyone who sees him remarks that he is a natural openside flanker (which has been his position since year 5). For the district he plays full sized pitch, 15 man rugby. He is marked out for his (legal) physical agression, strength, leadership and natural game sense.

He is actually pretty bright. Just after Xmas in year 1 they gave him a year 2 SATS maths paper to do and he got 1 mark off a level 3. Unfortunately the small primary school he attended was forced to close by the LEA. It was so sad but there were only 16-20 pupils in the whole school! At the large primary he was moved to we did ask that he continue to be stretched in maths but I don't think this has happened, combined with him coasting a bit. We don't do year 6 SATS in Wales, just teacher assessments based on the same kind of papers. He is predicted level 5s in everything. I'm just worrying that he hasn't had much practice for the NVR or time limits for maths and english papers.


Tipsy

Thanks for the suggestions. Mmmmm I know that Milfield is a great place to be for rugby and it's tempting but I couldn't send DS to board. I know many people do and make no judgement on that. It is probably the best decision for them and their children but it's not for us.


Chad

Yes, we are struggling with the idea of having to make a decision for DS which he will only thank us for later (or not). We have visited both schools. One is literally at the end of the road and the other is a 35 min car journey (there is a school bus which would take longer due to pick ups along the way). He prefers the more distant one of the two. I think it has something to do with upper school boys having all their rugby activities built into their timetable. For example, it might go: maths, history, agility session, english, fitness suie, lunch, etc and all players have a personal development plan including diet sheets etc.

I like your comment about if it doesn't work out. It helped to bring things in perspective a bit. If he absolutely hates it then we could always move him to the local comprehensive school but it would be more difficult the other way round. Funnily, when I pointed out that there were boys from his year and from the two years above attending (or going to attend) the independent school at the end of the road so if he was worried about having no friends then that might be the better choice, he said: "If I can't be with my best friends then I might as well have no one I know and go to the school I think is the better of the two", which I thought was pretty mature. He is confident socially and very popular so I suppose it's not the having no friends that bothers him it's not being with his best buddies, some of whome he's known since the age of 2. I have pointed out to him that he will still see his friends at the rugby club and play with them on Sundays as well as sleepovers etc.


Anyway, thanks again for all your interest. I will let you know how it goes.

Now I'm worrying that if he goes to the prefered (furthest) school he may have to give up his club rugby in a couple of years. This is what an experienced head teacher has told me. If he knew that then there would be no chance of persuading him away from the local comprehensive!

:cry:


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 Post subject: rugby
PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 10:06 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:18 pm
Posts: 490
Location: kent
You have received plenty of good advice above. I know almost nothing about rugby, but I was just wondering if it is a good thing to base choices on in one so young. He is clearly well advanced for his years in this sport, but will this still be the case during and post-adolescence when presumably so much can depend on the physique you end up with. It could be a bit like being a fantastic chorister until one's voice breaks, and then finding you have a voice which is nothing special. It must be devastating if too much has been made of it up to that point.

Good luck.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 10:27 am 
Hi Freya,

If DS wanted to go to the comp but is showing signs that he would be happy at the furthest away school then that may well be the choice, but think carefully on the distance as it will be inconvenient and will add petrol costs on top of any school fees. Recruiting top Rugby players in the sixth form may inflate results but will be great competition for your son to improve his game.

Personally I think you have to do what you can to give him this opportunity becasue you will always wonder "what if". Regarding sport, an able youngster usually becomes and able adult, aslong as they do not burn out or succumb to too many injuries.

Perplexed,

Sending a child to be a chorister has to do with far more than a singing career. The musical education, discipline, performing in public is outstanding and sets them up for life in their future careers, whatever that may be, even after their voice has broken. But a broken voice does not mean a poor voice and many go on to become opera singers. Sending a child to a choir school does not mean that one has to "put all their eggs in one basket" as they receive an excellent academic education which wins them scholarships to the top public schools.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:10 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:59 pm
Posts: 1268
Freya,

I think if your DS is that talented at rugby, you have to give him the best opportunity possible to pursue it as far as he can/wants to.

Of course, there’s always the possibility he will lose interest as he gets older, but it doesn’t sound very likely from what you’ve told us so far, and I agree with Tipsy that neither you nor your DS want to look back and say ‘what if’ in years to come.

Perplexed – if you’re going to aim to be a professional sportsman these days, you do have to concentrate on it not quite to the exclusion of everything else, but pretty close to it. For example, DD played in county tennis finals last summer and 2 of her opponents were no longer in full-time schooling – aged 9.

I make no comment as to whether this is a good development or not, but it is the way it is.


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