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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:18 pm 
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Now that year 6 has started and the school Open Days are upon us, I am wondering whether I have realistic expectations of my DS. He's at a pretty good State primary school where at least 30% of leavers gain entry to selective state schools/grammars/good independents. He's in the top 5% of his class in Maths and English and is tutored privately. We also do a variety of 'papers' - GL, Athey, Bond 11+ and higher, past entrance exams etc etc. My concern is that whilst he does very well on the VR and NVR commercial practice papers ( around 95% each) and well on the English and Maths commericial papers (high 80-low 90% mark), he is consistently getting around the 83% mark for Maths and English past entrance papers. Is this a realistic level to gain entry to the uber-competitive schools in our part of the world (Barnet/Herts) - if not, what level should he be aiming for? And if he can't reach it, am I being unfair to put him through all the exams?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:57 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:53 pm
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He sounds like a very bright child, but you really can't judge anything on practise papers or say what level would be equivalent to a pass. If it was me, those sort of percentages would tell me that he is coping well with these sorts of questions and its worth a try doing the exams.
Of course, its really down to how you & your child both feel about taking the exams.
HTH
Starmum x


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:10 am 
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You could try asking about the specific schools in the right forum to get specific answers.

The makrs sound good to me, but as you say these school are terribly competitive and no-one is guaranteed to get a place at them; even someone who got 100% in every practice (is there such an odd child?) could not come in the top whatever on the day for numerous reasons.

I'd just give it a bash and pass on the message to your children that 's it's not a big deal not to get into these schools - plenty of top notch academics who didn't I'm sure, rather than pass on the message that it's better not to try if you think there's a risk of not passing - to me that's a much higher risk strategy to play with a child than putting them in for a few things they might not "pass".


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:42 am 
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I think a child with those scores has a realistic prospect of passing the tests and you are therefore doing the right thing by helping him at home and entering him for the Grammar school tests. Where a child consistently scored way below 70%, struggled hugely in one area or hated doing the work, you might start to question if it were realistic and fair to continue aiming for a super selective but that doesn't apply here.

I think the important thing though is to manage expectation. The children will see for themselves on exam day just how many other people apply to these schools and most are aware that relatively few children can get a place compared to the vast numbers who enter for the exams. It is worth stressing that it is perfectly possible to be an exceptionally bright child and to score very well on the day or pass the test overall but not quite well enough to get a place when so many other children who enter are also exceptionally bright and have worked equally hard for these tests. Its a fine line between keeping them confident now and preparing them a little bit for the fact that being very clever and getting good scores still might not be enough. You don’t want them feeling defeatist but you don’t want them overly upset if they narrowly miss out on a place either.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:02 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:23 am
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Thanks for your replies. I think most of this is my panicking and worrying about pushing my DS beyond what he is capable of doing (stuff to do with my own childhood where I was not pushed at all!!!). We have been doing the usual rounds of the secondary school open days and we have met up with other boys from his school who haven't a hope of getting into a selective school and I wonder why their parents put them through even a school visit - it's so unfair to the child. Anyway, just trying to stress to DS that all I want is for him to do his very best and that he has the potential to do very well indeed.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:58 am 
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Oh yes I have to agree that visiting a school you haven't much chance of getting into is pointless, may be even cruel if you think the child will love it.

Whereas in reality even v. bright children don't have that much chance at many superselectives where loads compete and only the top few on the day of the exam get in ....... so everyone is taking the chance of "failing". So yes, managing expectations is the thing. We are lucky in our area because the same exam can get you into an "ordinary" grammar school and a superselective.

In Kent a lot of the school open days are before the 11+ results (have to be to give people time to fill in the CAF a few days after the results). This seems mean too. I'll be taking my children round in Year 5 if I bother taking them at all.


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