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 Post subject: What should I tell DS?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:52 pm 
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There's not much data available, but anecdotal evidence is that 3% of local kids go to grammar, and 30% go private (yeah!). So there's not much of a grammar school 'culture' at his primary school. The kids don't discuss it. And there are no local role models that we can use. I've started tutoring him, but he's not interested in the questions, the schools, or in proving himself. He thinks he's going to the local comprehensive, even though he hasn't really thought about it.

He's smart (warning: parent's opinion). If he really wants it, he might have a good chance of passing.

So I need to incentivise him.

But there's a good chance that he'll end up at the comp., and I don't want that to be a bad thing.

So what should I tell him?

My best hope is to tell him that the grammars are special, and only for the best kids, and that we think he can do it and we're pinning our hopes on him. And when he doesn't pass, hope that he doesn't feel like a failure or a disappointment for too many years.

Plan B is to offer him money - lots of money. iPads, trips to Disneyland, etc. Failing will be a disappointment, but not one that will require therapy to get over.

Plan C is to not discuss the consequences. No pressure, no problem if you don't pass. No need to worry about the exam. I don't think this will work. He's not bright enough that he can pass without wanting to pass or work hard at it.

The other problem is - if he works hard, he'll go to a different school to all his friends. To a school where he won't know anyone. That's a good reason to flunk the exam.

What do you tell your kids? Do they want to pass? Do they understand the difference? Do they have aspirations of their own? Do they want to pass just because you want them to? If you have kids who have failed, how were they affected?

Just wondering.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:08 pm 
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Why don't you say that by taking the eleven plus ( and passing) gives you more options of schools, if you don't take it, you only have the option of school a. But by doing the 11+', you also have the option of school b.

We rewarded our ds for effort. Ie. brought him a phone after taking the exam, but before the results came out.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:43 pm 
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I was very honest with my DCs from the start. I spoke to them about their grades at Primary School and told them that I thought they were bright enough to pass their 11Plus. It was always their decision that they wanted to do it and mine (of course, secretively, it was!). I explained that it would take lots of extra work and that only the lucky children managed to get a place but all the hard work that they had done for the exam, would not be wasted but would ensure their place in the top sets at Secondary School.

I did not promise them gifts for passing or failing. We went for meals on the exam date but it was always low key about taking the exam. I said that they would be tested one day and for one day only. There could be lots of children who could have been much more brighter than them who sat the exam on the same day and that they might not get a place because of this. It would have no reflection on their intelligence.

My eldest DS decided that he wanted to go to a better school than the local comprehensive. My youngest has seen what a privileged education his older brother is having and decided to got for it too. They both passed. They both went to the same Tutor which helped enormously - I could not have home tutored them. They needed to feel special with somebody else apart from me. They always came out of the Tutors house, at the end of tuition, with big smiles on their faces. Their tutor was simply marvellous and a good investment for their futures whatever the outcome was going to be.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:15 am 
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Just re-read first post. I missed the bit about being the only boy from that school going to GS. In GS, it's quite common for there to be only boys and schools are used to this. Most schools run induction days before hand to introduce them to the school and other pupils. Also, even if cohorts of friends go up to a school together, they rarely stay together being put in different classes, or by making new friends. Dpn't use it as a reason not to go

Ps. I speak from experience. My son knew no one in his GS and, one year down. Has settled in fine.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:20 pm 
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At the beginning my DS had no idea what a grammar school was or why it was so different, so in year 4 I took him to see the different schools. I realised that it could not just be my wish but he had to want it to and going to visit really made the difference. The comp he would have gotten into is very good but compared with the facilities and opportunities offered by the grammars it doesn't really compare. So in the end I didn't really have to say much and just reminded him when he moaned occasionally about the workload what he liked when he visited. It seems to have worked as he got a place and is going in Sept. :D


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:28 pm 
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Well I was honest. I told my youngest that the system is unfair, in fact I think I told him it stinks! I was up front about my own beliefs (I am against selective education) and the paradoxes that lie in my position; but also told him that if he wanted to go to this particular school,which we all like, he had to try and jump through a hoop. He was good enough to get through it, but so were many others, and there were no guarantees on the day...some who were less clever than him would probably pass and others who were cleverer would not and yet more wouldn't get chance even to try. I tried to make him see it as a bit of a lottery in which he had a good chance but we wouldn't think any less of him if he didn't do well.

It was a good lesson in seeing things in shades of grey (no not that kind!) and also in rewarding effort rather then achievement, as we too did the meal on the day thing. Looking back it was hideous and I am very glad we don't have to go through it all ever again.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:59 am 
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I like that approach Amber.

We had a similar situation trying to encourage step-children to consider moving from ordinary grammar to superselective for the 6th form, and from non-selective to selective for the 6th form. They wanted to stay with friends; they stayed. They did well. However, I always felt the "friends" argument was a bit of a thin one as depending on what classes and groups you are in you might barely bump into your old friends during the course of the week. Although the end result (school results etc) were, fortunately, fine I felt that it was a poor decision-making process and that this was the first opportunity to think about pros and cons properly even if the final decision was not to move.

I think that what I am saying is that if you are going to go with "child power" in this situation make sure that their arguments are reasoned and developed, and don't go with a half-baked one because then you are teaching them that a poor decision making process was a good one.

I agree with everyone who says reward effort not results.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:43 am 
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B


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:07 am 
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You have clearly all got very worldy wise children! Mine had not got the experience to know what he wanted when he was 10. Alright - he THOUGHT he knew what he wanted - but this was based on wanting to stay with what he knew ie. with all his friends in his indie school. This was not an option.

As a parent who (I hope) knew a bit more about life, I felt that although he should have input, it was inappropriate for him to decide what to do for the next 7 years of his education when he had no way of really understanding what was on offer.

He does have views on things and does make his own decisions in life, but definitely not about his education!


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:17 am 
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Make him want to go the school. That was what I did. Took them to the school from very early on and showed them what could be theirs and generated a desire to go there. The friends issue is in my opinion one where parents need to overule ten year olds who cannot see the bigger picture. They have the friends that are available to them, if they go to a selective school they will find themselves with friends who suit them better. Teach your children early in life not to keep taking the safe optiion. Our secondary school takes students from over 100 different primary schools so everyone comes in ready to make new friends. Make him proud of being able and try and create a drive to be there. All my younger dd's close friends went to the local comp and she went alone to the semi selective. She had absolutely no intention of missing out and going with them. There are so many opportunities at the ss that are simply not present at our local comp. But many many parents are happy to send their children there so there are lots of very able students who will do well but perhaps could have done better with more options. This year 20 students got into Oxbridge from the ss but none at all from the local comp. DG


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