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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 12:16 am 
A late night rant from a fretting parent :roll:

I cannot stand this waiting. My son has completed 3 selection tests for state schools and is about to do 4 more for independent schools (our last resort/remortgage the house option). An we will still have to wait until MARCH!! (I know everyone is in the same boat but it feels good to let off steam a little).

Just to spice things up a little we will have offers from independent schools to respond to in early Feb almost a month before we know the outcome of state school applications. Aaaaaaaarghh!

Who exactly though this new sytem was better/fairer/ an improvement in any way at all? In the borough I live in there will almost certainly still be 10 % of children with NO school place allocated (as per 2005!)

There that feels better now :D

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 12:44 am 
Been there done that and will be there again next year for my daughter. When I went through it last year it was equally a nightmare living in a non-grammar area and then applying to all and sundry nearby (independent and state). Next time I will be prepared for the roller coaster ride though the outcome was as good as we could have expected.

Good luck to you and your child.

P.S. I bet you will have withdrawal symptons when there are no more exams to prepare for.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 1:13 pm 
We are in exactly the same position. My child has sat 11+ and is now going to sit the independent tests but as far as I can ascertain, we need to accept the place in independent schools before we know if a grammar school place is being offered. We also have to give a £250 deposit = what a waste if he gets a place at a grammar. I can't believe it. It seems just like a big money making scheme to extract as much as possible from us poor anxious parents. The independent schools are parasites really, they know we will pay anything to get our children into a good school. It is about time this sharp practice was better known by all. I wonder how much money they make from it - disgusting.

My son found his 11+ tests okay and said he felt that he had done well. Problem is he keeps telling me about questions he got wrong and I worry like **** about it. I lie at night thinking about it sometimes. He is our second child and the first got into grammar, so the pressure is really on him. Poor kid. Having said that though, he doesn't seem in the least bothered by it at all and even looks forward to the tests. Another thing that really riles me is that the schools know the results and know who they are going to offer places to already, but because the LEA is so bl**dy inefficient, we won't find out for another 2 monhts. Talk about cruelty.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 8:54 pm 
We were in this situation last year so I really do sympathise - it's an awful time. I'm not sure where you live but I'm surprised you have to accept an independent place before knowing the position in relation to the state schools. We're in North London and the independents here were quite transparent in that offers were made all at the same time with a 10-day window for acceptance. This allowed us 48 hours after receiving the state school offer (only one on the pan-London system and this included the grammars eg Latymer, QEB etc) to make a final decision. I'm not sure what we would have done otherwise - probably just paid up the deposit as you describe.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 11:43 am 
Hi from the OP (I must get a username as this is so confusing!)

We are in SE London and live just over the border of Bromley - probably in the worst possible position for state schools of anyone else I know :cry:

We have applied to 3 state schools and Dulwich College, Alleyns, Trinity and St Dunstans. I think we will be notified at the end of Jan/Early Feb of independent school offers with a window of about 2 weeks to respond. I have no doubt that we will have to stump up a deposit on one of these schools before we receive the outcome of our CAF form on 1st March, thus providing a few more pennies for the coffers!

I think this has possibly been the worst year of my life - pity our poor children who are the ones jumping through hoops!

Good luck to everyone wherever you are applying :D

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 1:03 pm 
My child sits four tests next week. It's been an exhausting, anxiety stricken, frustrating ( i could go on) year of preparation. I'm so truly fed up with all what I've had to contend with, especially our dire educational system. I doubt I'll have the mental capacity to worry too much about results.

If you feel you have done all you could to support your child and they hopefully feel the same (although some wouldn't admit it), then be contented with that.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 12:40 am 
Anonymous wrote:
I'm so truly fed up with all what I've had to contend with, especially our dire educational system. I doubt I'll have the mental capacity to worry too much about results.

True..... very true. I think I am struggling with a few things really. Two of the state schools we have applied to are within the top 20 state schools in the country. If we lived anywhere else I feel my son would be an 11+ dead cert but the bar is higher here. I am certain that there can be quite pronounced regional differences as to what constitutes a pass.

Also I am stricken with how unpredictable he can be. He can comfortably achieve 98% on a good day but if his mind set isn't right then his marks drop significantly. If he has a bad day then he could easily be very borderline. I am also the kind of person who feels you can always do more so I cannot be certain that our preparation was complete. I didn't pressure him, just working little and often but now I'm wondering if I should have 'turned the thumb screws' a bit! *deep sigh*

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 12:37 pm 
The difference between success and failure can be 1%, or one question; that is how fine a margin we as parents are playing with so it is not surprising we as parents go through **** before national allocation day in March, and also we cram in as much as possible right up to the last second.

However we should also bear in mind that if we over coach our child to achieve the same academic standards as other kids who make the grade with less coaching than ours have then we are risking our child being left behind once they are in the school.

A live example. In North London we applied for a boys school called Queen Elizabeth School for Boys in Barnet. We prepared for 6 solid weeks before the examinations; however at the gates I was galled to find that other parents had prepared for 3 years, employed teams of tutors and bought every single preparation material under the sun, plus in the last six weeks they had prepared every bit as hard as I did with my son.

Two months later some of those guys did not make the grade but the vast majority of those did (due to over coaching).

Nine months later with all the boys having started their new school its interesting to see how they are doing. A quick barometer is what sets the boys have been placed in.

As a general rule you will find that the more someone has been coached the lower the set they get distilled into as time goes on (it stands to reason: if the boys who took 3 years to get to the same finishing line as the boys who took say 6 weeks, in the next race, start of term September, the latter group will leave the former behind quite quickly). Confidence, joy and elation can soon turn into a 7 year nightmare. All grammar schools are league table centric and consequently grammar schools are a seven year sprint.

This also true for independent schools where they get the same or better A level results as state or grammars, however as soon as they are on a level playing field on their degree courses at University they find that the non-independents tend to get a higher classifications of degrees.

The point I am making is no need to keep kicking yourself that you could have done more. If your child gets in with limited coaching then he/she will do very well, going forward. If your child gets in with excessive coaching you may have just succeeded in making their life a misery (short term gain & long term pain), as their confidence will erode as they get left behind by their more able peers.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 2:15 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2005 10:30 am
Posts: 182
Re the original post, my son was offered scholarships, one of which we were supposed to accept/decline before the state results. I phoned the school in question and they immediately gave us an extension till March.

 Post subject: This is unbearable...
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 5:02 pm 
Well done to your son.

Isn't it amazing how flexible Independent Schools can be when they really want a pupil to join?

A word or warning though, just make sure you check the Terms & Conditions of the Scholarship offers to make sure they don't mandate that your child must stay on through to the 6th form or else repay the scholarship fees!

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