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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:47 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:09 am
Posts: 1
Congratulations to those who have successfully completed the process and are now busily choosing which of the excellent schools their sons and daughters will attend, planning travel routes, thinking of uniforms and dreaming of the guaranteed A*'s and University places. I mean no sour grapes in what follows.

For every proud parent there will be lots (especially in Birmingham) who like me are disappointed.

My kid is in the top two or three at his primary - in a leafy middle class suburb, he is praised at every parents evening for his ability and hard work. He is a reasonable musician and good at maths and literacy. He is being prepared for level 6 sats as I write. He has supportive parents, received 12 months tutoring where we were assured he would pass well and have a choice of schools. Knowing him I believe he would really do well in the Grammar School Environment.

He has not done well (208 score, placed 242 of 536) though above average and judging from the scores did well in numeracy and VR but completely bombed out in non verbal). Some of his peers have passed well.

We have been through horrible emotions this week.

We feel we have failed our child in some way
We feel the tutor has failed us
We feel our assessment of our child has been misguided
Should we have done the mocks?
We worry his future may be limited
If only we had done more practice of NV/changed tutor/worked harder
All those people who see our pride in our kid are now thinking we have had our come-uppance

But we are getting over it. If you plan to put your kid and yourselves through this you need to be prepared.

Most kids will not succeed
State primaries may not be helpful
Tutors may be poor quality
Every parent thinks their kid is brilliant and some parents we encountered in this process at tests and open days are insufferable. "Can she do 'a' levels a year early (of a 10 year old)".
Some parents have very sharp elbows and are focused to a point beyond rudeness (the lady who interrupted my conversation with a teacher by just barging in front of me and speaking over the top of me was typical)

The process is difficult. You view several wonderful schools, build up hopes, then have to wait, then when the results come they are difficult to interpret and you still don't know what will happen if you are borderline.

I haven't checked but it all seems a done deal - you don't know where it all went wrong, it's all out of your hands, the die is cast.

Anyway for others (this has hit me hard) in my situation it would be good to post and share experiences and thoughts and maybe prepare the newbies. A what I have learned list might emerge!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 12:24 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:30 pm
Posts: 583
As has been written many many times before, it's not a failure not to get into selective school. Child may flourish elsewhere, destiny etc..
Continue the support and vigilance in the next school. Yes grammars push but also rely on an external support structure to keep things moving forward.
Lift child's and your spirits, it's the start of a new adventure.
I have only been on this site for a few years but I have noticed more chats about non tests rather than tutor type advice on material to prepare.
When I went through the DIY process there was much more guidance on maths, vr etc..maybe we should encourage the return to this type of posts.
It's amazing how quickly time flies by, seems like yesterday I was preparing mirror codes for child to remember.
Good luck for the future.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 12:45 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:47 pm
Posts: 2151
Location: Warwickshire
sadman, I feel very sorry for you but it really isn't the end of the world. Nobody's died.

Your child will, as sbarnes says, flourish elsewhere, I know plenty of dc who have had major upsets not getting into gs, and gone to a local school with a bad but improving reputation, and they are happy and doing well. Some are in disruptive classes but have made friends with other dc like themselves; your dc won't be the only disappointed child, and you aren't the only disappointed parent. That probably doesn't make you feel any better, though.

Carry on working hard. I'm at the GCSE stage now and suddenly the 11+ feels so insignificant.

Don't blame yourself and your ds is clearly doing well anyway.

You may be right to prepare newbies that not everybody gets a place at gs for many reasons, and it is not the end of the world.

Cyber hugs.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 1:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:52 pm
Posts: 737
Sadman, your post brought back so many memories. My DD missed out on a Grammar School place and I went through every one of the emotions you describe, with the added bonus of my mother telling everyone (including DD) that her "failure" was the result of her father leaving the family home in the run up to the exam (helpful, mum, thanks ;-) )
DD is in Year 9 now and it hasn't all been easy. Catchment Comp didn't work out and we ended up having to do a mid year application to an out of town school.
But DD is so happy now :-) She is doing very well academically, already on track for a crop of A*s, and has a lovely circle of friends. Most importantly she has absolutely no regrets about the whole 11+ experience.
She has a little speech, which she gives all 11+ potentials (including her Year 5 brother) - pretty sure I've posted it before but here goes.
"If you get the chance to go for the 11+ go for it! All the work stretches your brain and puts you right ahead at your next school. Plus, when everyone else is stressing about Sats, you won't be bothered at all because it is nothing like as stressful as 11+"
So, Sadman, try not to beat yourself up too much (easier said than done) and newbies ....
In our house at least - no regrets :-) Good luck with your 11+ journey.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 1:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:31 am
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I understand why you feel as you do - I think I would feel the same. I also think it takes courage to be so honest in saying you feel disappointed.

We had some very frank advice at the start of the process which meant that although we wanted our DS to sit the exam, we actually resigned ourselves to it not happening. Things eventually changed along the way for us but the important point I am trying to make is that at that stage, it took a lot of reconciling in my head.

The reality of the 11+ exam is that it takes the narrowest of views - it boils down to that set of questions, on that day, at that time.

If there is any comfort to be had, it must be in that your DS will not change over night. All the wonderful skills he already has will follow him to whichever school you choose, and will stand him in good stead and may mean he is placed on the gifted and talented register. Before then, the SATs will loom large - and as others scramble to do their best, you can breathe easier knowing you've already done the lions share of preparation.

School isn't the be all and end all. It can enhance, but will never replace a supportive and encouraging home environment.

I wish you all the best.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 1:41 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:30 am
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Sadman, speaking as someone who has a borderline dc who may or may not get in, I feel your disappointment, to a point, when you see all the ones that are easily above the rankings needed. Its also only a week in so i am sure that the picture will look much less bleak in a week or so. I feel concern at your post though that it is full of bitterness which I hope you are successfully keeping from your DC. I agree with what everyone else has said, but when alls said and done your DC came in above 50% of the children who did the test, and way way above all those who weren't able to attempt it! You ahve a clever and bright child. Who cares what everyone says or thinks. in the end, if your DC is happy and doesn't feel any sense of disappointment from you, they will recover and fly in a different school. It can be down to just bad luck on the day, its a very unfair exam in that regard, but with a keen learning environment at home, qualifying in the 11+ is NOT the be all and end all. Your DC mustn't feel that either, going to GS was just ONE of the ways they could reach their destination academically, but its not the only one. Presumably you have a back up school you are happy enough with? Surely your energies now are all going into 'bigging up' that school, rather than being down about this (GOOD) result. I think its hard to blame anyone, not yourselves certainly, definitely not the child (I know you are not), but neither the tutor either. Its likely your DC just happened to fall foul of a few silly mistakes/nerves/others that had particularly good day/whatever, and thats the nature of the beast. Mine did fab in 2 of 3 but the third had been a strong point too but fell by the wayside on the day.
What will be will be. Don't feel bitter about the system, just make DC know its not ALL and that they have a fab and bright academic future ahead of them wherever they go, if they are prepared to work hard. I'll bet that they are taking their lead from you, so time for some acting I guess.
All the very best, nothing is lost and your DC is just as wonderful and successful as you always thought, hold your head high.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 1:52 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:38 pm
Posts: 2083
Location: Maidstone
11+ or rather a grammar school is a means to an end and not an end in itself. :D

Don't try and find blame, you will soon realise 11+ isn't as important as it feels now. Been there so I understand how it feels. It feels quite alien posting on an 11+ board for me now. Grammar schools could be an option open for 6th form too if there is need. Yes it sounds strange talking about 6th form to an 11 year old but time flies.

Between now and the start of year 7 is the most difficult time, come 1 March everyone will be excited about schools and then buying uniforms and then starting but you will move on quickly afterwards in year 7. The fear right now is fear of the unknown and that is the worst part of it all. Once your child start you may find the alternative school not as bad or you will find it bad and then move on like push-pull-mum

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Impossible is Nothing.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 4:42 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:09 pm
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Under different circumstances, this thread might have been started by any of us.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 5:03 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:14 am
Posts: 1186
Fatnorville wrote:
Under different circumstances, this thread might have been started by any of us.

True but to be fair it takes REAL guts to come on this forum and to be so honest - it should be highly commended.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 6:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:58 pm
Posts: 21
I was in your shoes 12 months ago and can really identify with how you're feeling. My dd started with a tutor in the April which was too late in hindsight, as the exam neared I realised it was a long shot... She was in the top 40% but nowhere near enough for sggs, although well within the score for east warks ( we're out of all catchment areas). It was a shock to her as she was top table albeit in a not very academic but pleasant village primary.
The comp she goes to is lovely, very rural good gcses so I was pretty relaxed....
She started in sept, she's doing well and loves it. It's easier getting the bus from our village, her day is 745 to 1530 and not 730 to 1730 as it would have been at Stratford. She's working really hard and I believe her gcse grades will be good.
Neither of us regret doing the 11+ but we have moved on. She hopes to go to Stratford for a levels and the entry requirements are achievable.
Now, with her year 5 sister I'm doing DIY with valuable support of this site. Dd2 is more motivated and has some very able classmates to spur her on. Dd1 is encouraging her with her efforts, it helps that dd1 does homework whilst we prepare whereas dd2 played when dd1 was doing her prep.
Life goes on and although we're not there yet I can understand it all fades into insignificance as time goes on. The key determinant will be your ds' approach to secondary school together with your support.
I wish you all the best


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