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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:44 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 4:22 pm
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Location: Tonbridge & Tunbridge Wells
I wondered what people's thoughts are about taking their DC on grammar school visits at the start of year 5?

Some say this acts as a strong motivator to work hard at their 11-plus work during the year as they aim for their preferred school..

Others say it's the parents choice on which school they should attend, that it can set them up for dissappointment if they don't get the grades, or it can put them off wanting to go to grammar all together..

Thoughts from all corners would be welcomed :D


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:56 am 
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I took mine on the basis that the following year they would be in the middle of the 11 plus and it might stress them to visit schools they may or may not be eligible for. Some schools even have their open evenings the night before the 11 plus! Both have since said that it wasn't much use as it didn't mean anything to them 2 years before they might go there, but I guess it would be useful for some children. Personally I much prefer a visit on a normal school day to the awful scrum of the open evenings. I think you see much more of what the school is really like. Some schools organise day time tours or you can just make a private appointment (IMHO the best option).


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:01 pm 
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We were very very lucky that my daughter was on a school trip when our gs had their open evening, so yes I agree with you scarymary, mush better to visit school on a proper working day. However I do have to say my daughter was a bit shell shocked when she came out!, but I felt that when she went for the exam 3 months later, the school and its surroundings were still quite visual in her head. Had I taken her when she was in year 5, I feel that she might have forgotton all about it, so not much point really.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:12 pm 
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Villagedad is in Kent and the 11+ is now before the school open evenings.

In this situation I would take them in Y5 as it gives them something to focus on. Hopefully they will like the GS and would then know what they are working for.

I think some of the GSs now do open mornings in the summer term especially for Y5s. You would normally have to book up for these though.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:15 pm 
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Sorry SSM, thats seems a bit bizare though, open evening AFTER the exam ?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:20 pm 
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Yes exactly :shock:

The 11+ in Kent used to be in January and was brought forward to mid September a couple of years ago. But the GSs in West Kent still have the open evenings the first week in October.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:34 pm 
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I would look in Y5 and take DC to any you consider are very good possibles based on what you know about them already. Any you are not sure about, go on your own, if you love them then take DC in Y6 or make an appointment to visit during the day.

Revisit the ones you liked best in Y6 anyway, taking DC to all the visits this time. This worked well for us. It seemed very hectic in Y6 and would have been a nightmare if we hadn't already ruled out some schools. Your opinion of schools might also change. One school that we had loved the first time we saw it left us cold the second time.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:50 pm 
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Although my comment was negative, I have to say I agree - we did revisit in year 6 and were able to eliminate some from that round. For mine though, it really didn't mean anything in year 5, they couldn't think themselves into a senior school when they had just turned 9. Maybe if they had particlualry liked a school (my son liked one because of the food they served in the food tech department - not very objective at 9!) it might have sprurred them on to great things in the 11plus, but I think they are a bit young to be motivated a whole year in advance of the test. In Bucks the tests are at the end of September/beginning of October and the open evenings are from mid Sept- mid Oct, so some (most) are before the 11plus, some are after. Some are even on the same nights as each other which makes the daytime tours invaluable! As I said my feeling is that it is far better to see a school in action rather than just the sales pitch (food or no food!) and scrum at the open evening.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:56 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:54 am
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Villagedad wrote:
I wondered what people's thoughts are about taking their DC on grammar school visits at the start of year 5?

Some say this acts as a strong motivator to work hard at their 11-plus work during the year as they aim for their preferred school..

Others say it's the parents choice on which school they should attend, that it can set them up for dissappointment if they don't get the grades, or it can put them off wanting to go to grammar all together..

Thoughts from all corners would be welcomed :D


You should certainly visit all Selective/non-selective schools that you are planning for when your DC is in year 5 so that you are ahead of 12months in planning.

In terms of taking child to school, take him if you/child wish to do so. But tell your DC that you will take the decision as to which school ur dc should go to , convince him that you have more knowledge/wisdom as to which school the child should go to , also tell him that you respect his views and tell him that you will remember/consider his interests/preferences etc so he is not upset in leaving decision to you.

Make a document of what schools you have visited and what is ur observations of each school like
what does school offer in terms of academic/social/extra-curricular/music/sport
results at GCSE/A levels
Feedback from parents
kind of community that attends the school
Comments from Headteacher speech
change of headteacher if any
What does school does not offer
what is missing in school
Does it offer IB
etc etc


Hope this helps


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:16 pm 
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I wish we had looked around in year 5...only because I found there were lots of school visits to pack in.....esp when you don't know if your child is going to a grammar or comp...so you have to traipse around them all !!!

A couple we discounted straight away, so it would have been nice not to have to do those visits during the stressful time ........


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