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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 11:52 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2015 9:56 pm
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My son has been doing really well in preparing for the exam this September but has very recently lost all interest and motivation. He seems to purposely do badly in his mock exams and has admitted to things like not reading the comprehension text at all but just trying to figure out the answers somehow.

One of his best friends' sibling just got into a local sports school (non-grammar) and I suspect that he has secretly made up his mind that he wants to go to the same school, and the way he thinks he can achieve this is to do badly in the 11+.

I'd be grateful for any tips and advice from others in a similar position. How do you keep your child motivated on what is a very long and sometimes stressful journey? I've already took him to the Grammar school open evening to make him see and experience what it would be like if he got in and I've also promised him certain things if he passes (I know this isn't ideal, but I'm desperate especially as I know he could do it. He's consistently at the top of his class in his primary school).

Thanks


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:48 pm
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Must you discount the sports school? If your DS knew that both GS and the sports school were options, particularly if you could agree to him going to SS, even if he got into grammar, then that would remove incentive to fail.

I gave DD a break around this time last year (can't remember if it was 1 or two weeks) and that did her the world of good - she was the one who picked up her books again. Maybe your DS could do with some time away from 11+ prep.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:47 pm 
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If it were my child, I would say something along the lines of "it is your choice where you go to school, but I hope you trust me as your parent to guide you in that choice. School A will offer you these benefits, School B will offer these other benefits. No one can tell which school will ultimately be the best choice, and you would be doing yourself a disservice to not keep your options open, for as long as possible. Who knows what you or I will think in 12 month's time, best to do your best and give yourself every possible opportunity. Sit the grammar test, do your best, apply for all the schools and then you might have the opportunity to choose between those schools. Don't try and the choice is made by circumstance, not your own choosing."

A bit long winded! But very similar to what I have said to my kids in the past...

And are you discounting the sports school for any particular reason? Will it be the back up school if your son doesn't get into the grammar?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:59 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
What is your son's interest in sports?

The problem is that unless he is very good at a sport he may find that others are a lot better than him at that sport.

Motivated sports students spend hours and hours perfecting that sport. The fact that you don't even mention any sport that he is interested in seems to indicate that maybe he thinks a sports school will be a lot easier and far less work than a grammar school.

If he thinks that the sports school will be easy and all he needs to do is make sure he fails the grammar then he may well think he is home and dry.

What are the critieria for getting into the sports school?

He must have done very badly in the comprehension if he was trying to answer the question without reading the text. DG


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 1:18 pm 
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Forget about the schools for a minute. Possibly your son is starting to get a very real sense of the task ahead? Perhaps, like many, many boys (and I am the mother of two), he doesn't want to be seen to "fail" the task ahead? Perhaps he is so worried about letting you down - and himself - that he is not trying as hard as he might, doing badly in the mocks so that he has built up some protection for if he does badly in the real thing - see, I told you I wasn't bright enough? Perhaps he really is struggling and the other school may be a better fit?

Take a break - have a chat to him about keeping options open and ask him to make a list of the pros and cons of each school. The reality is, even if he kept motivated and trying, you cannot guarantee a Grammar School, so never fully discount an option that is viable.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:43 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
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Location: Essex
BlueSmarties wrote:
If it were my child, I would say something along the lines of "it is your choice where you go to school, but I hope you trust me as your parent to guide you in that choice. School A will offer you these benefits, School B will offer these other benefits. No one can tell which school will ultimately be the best choice, and you would be doing yourself a disservice to not keep your options open, for as long as possible. Who knows what you or I will think in 12 month's time, best to do your best and give yourself every possible opportunity. Sit the grammar test, do your best, apply for all the schools and then you might have the opportunity to choose between those schools. Don't try and the choice is made by circumstance, not your own choosing."

A bit long winded! But very similar to what I have said to my kids in the past...

And are you discounting the sports school for any particular reason? Will it be the back up school if your son doesn't get into the grammar?


Having qualified for the grammar school but before you complete your CAF is when you have the choice of which order to rank the schools. If he does well enough in the 11+ to be assured of a place at the grammar school, but would seriously be happier at another, please don't just put the grammar school in first place on your CAF without explaining to him that the first school for which he qualifies is the one that he will get. Don't let him think that he has an easy further decision point after allocations day, when there is not necessarily any chance of him being able to get a place at a lower-ranked school.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:23 pm 
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There is loads of good advice in the posts above and I would do pretty much what the others have said - give your DS a break, have a chat with him, make sure he understands that the GS route is an option and nothing is guaranteed or decided even if he passes the exams. Don't put pressure on him, as it may just back fire, but try to explain that if the sports school is really where he would be happiest, then he could go there, but presumably it's not that easy to get into anyway, so it's worth having a good stab at the grammars as a fall-back option. By the time you fill in the CAF, he may have changed his mind more than once and want nothing more than a GS.

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