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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:51 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:54 am
Posts: 542
I have been through the 11+ process twice now - once with dd2 in 2013 for 2014 entry and once with dd1 in 2011 for 2012 entry.

I'm now starting to wonder about after all the excitement parents had about the 'new' system (earlier exams, scores released before CAF entry) if it's really that great after all.

Its failings:

-Schools vary widely in how much information is released. I am only familiar with some schools and know that DAO are stars in this respect with clear and precise information so you know for sure if your child will get a place. But....HBS? Your child is in the top 250 with only 93 (100?) places on offer. WGSG/WGSB - you get a mark which last year might have secured a place. But this year the cut-off was much higher and lots of children were left without places.

-The exams are too early. September is bad enough but some schools are holding their exams in June of Year 5. This means almost a whole year of stress.

-It's hard for children sitting indies to get the momentum up again to sit indie exams in January.

-People say you are wasting a choice on your CAF if you don't know how your child fared in the exam. But is this really a big problem? Even in areas with 4 ranked schools and you put down 2 selective schools for 1 and 2, as long as put down schools you are happy with for 3 and 4, does it matter that much?

When dd1 sat the exams in 2011, she sat for WGSG in November, we put it first on the CAF (I wasn't too hopeful anyway) and we were none the wiser until 1st March. She was allocated her 2nd ranked school as expected but she ended up at an indie. I don't feel I'd 'wasted' a choice, we just had a go and I was happy with my second ranked school.

Information is generally a good thing but it should be helpful and meaningful. And the cost is the stress. Much of that Autumn term was spent waiting for letters/emails with dd's results. Either your child does well enough in the exam to go a particular school or they don't. Half knowing that information beforehand isn't particularly beneficial IMO.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:23 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:00 pm
Posts: 5418
Location: RBK
Middlesexmum wrote:
I have been through the 11+ process twice now - once with dd2 in 2013 for 2014 entry and once with dd1 in 2011 for 2012 entry.

I'm now starting to wonder about after all the excitement parents had about the 'new' system (earlier exams, scores released before CAF entry) if it's really that great after all.

Its failings:

-Schools vary widely in how much information is released. I am only familiar with some schools and know that DAO are stars in this respect with clear and precise information......
........

Information is generally a good thing but it should be helpful and meaningful. And the cost is the stress. Much of that Autumn term was spent waiting for letters/emails with dd's results. Either your child does well enough in the exam to go a particular school or they don't. Half knowing that information beforehand isn't particularly beneficial IMO.


+1

And some schools have stage 2 tests after the CAF deadline.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:30 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:54 am
Posts: 542
Oh yes, forgot about that one. If you're going to do something, do it properly.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:35 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:52 pm
Posts: 845
I think, it may have improved for some and not for others.

For schools doing stage 2 after CAF deadline, like HBS, apart from the first 250 ( or 500 this year ?) all the others will know they don't have a chance. But I don't know how it was earlier. Did the old system give any indication to the shortlisted/non shortlisted ones ?
For our local school, Kendrick, the results will be out before the CAF deadline but until allocation we wont have any certainty. They did mention at the open evening that they will also let the parents know how likely it is for the DCs to get in.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
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Location: Reading
The other downside for the schools (and children to some extent) is that now some parents are putting their children in for far more exams than they would have done before. This increases the numbers taking the exam at each school.

In some cases you really aren't any better off by knowing the result.

Personally for us it was a good thing as we were pretty sure DD had got a place with the score she got, which meant we pretty much knew from October where she was going, rather than have the wait. 3 weeks was better than several months.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 6:17 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
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Location: Essex
Two of ours took their exams under the old system - DS1 2007 for 2008 entry and DD 2011 for 2012.

Come the relevant March 1st, the LA email telling us that DS1 had been allocated a place at his first-preference school was what mattered to us; the subsequent email from the CSSE telling us that he had actually done quite well in the exam was nice but no longer a big deal. Unfortunately for DD the LA email told us that she had been allocated a place a school we hadn't even looked at :shock: and the CSSE email merely told us by how much she had missed the cut-off.

DS2 took the CSSE test last September; his score actually made a place at either of the local GSs a dead cert :D and he also achieved a score in the test for a popular partially-selective school a few miles away which would easily have gained a place there in the past, but just to be on the safe side, I still went through the procedure of naming five schools on the CAF in his / our true order of preference.

Would we have done things differently for DS2 under the old system? Probably not. The school we named in third place after the two GSs was his sister's 'Non-ranked Allocation'; ironically, just before DS2 took the 11+ we lost his sibling connection, as DD had just got an in-year place at the GS she had wanted to go to in the first place, but we knew that for several years the school had been far enough under PAN to be fairly sure of an 'any other applicant' place if needs be.

However, things might have gone differently for DD if we had known her result before filling in her CAF. Her score was such that we didn't appeal and had we known it in advance of school applications we probably wouldn't have dared put her first choice on the CAF at all. Nor her fourth choice - the other girls' GS in the borough. Choice 2 was the aforementioned partially-selective; under the old rules, their scores were never divulged but we know from the info that we got with DS2's application that the last score in in her year was not a stunning one so she must have done quite badly there as well :( . Choice 3 was a partially-selective in the CSSE, as far away from us as choice 2 but in the opposite direction. Choice 5 was our 'catchment' comp - we didn't really want a place and hey-ho we had already been told that it was too over-subscribed for her to get a place from where we live anyway.

So DD would probably have ended up at the same non-ranked school, but I probably wouldn't have been in correspondence with the first-choice GS and the LA, keeping her on the CI list, having them invite her to retest and her getting one of the three in-year places which came up. She was far from unhappy at the first school, but I hope she likes being at the GS more.

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