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 Post subject: 11+ and its aftermath
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 5:26 pm 
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The following e-mail has been reproduced with the kind permission of the author whose child was attempting the eleven plus exams in 2005/06:
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Our son sat the 11+ last November. We had the choice of 2 selective schools as we are Catholics and meet all the criteria for the Catholic College (which has an excellent reputation) as well as being in the catchment area for the local grammar school. On the advice of the Head at our son's primary school we opted for the grammar first, the Catholic college second and the local Catholic High school last. The Head advised us that, we had chosen well since our son was a strong candidate for both selective schools and it was more likely that there would be places spare at the Catholic college than the grammar. In fact he passed the Catholic college entrance exam with flying colours but was 4 points short on the 11+. We appealed to both and were turned down for both. The Catholics were petulant that we had put them second and appeared to perceive this as a slight to their reputation. In fact we based the choice purely on proximity (the grammar being 40 minutes shorter bus journey). The grammar school appeal merely said that he did not meet the requirements of the entry level (4 points short!!) even though his Head teacher appealed on his behalf and submitted evidence of predicted SATs level 5 in all subjects, and despite there being 20 places available for 21 appellants.
To add insult to injury, the grammar school "canvassed"/"solicited" candidates from the independent sector who had put it as second place and besieged them to reconsider.
To add further injury, the LEA designated our son a place at a failing comprehensive school miles away which it is trying to fill with "leafy suburb" pupils in order to dilute the concentration of special needs pupils there.
We have now applied to the local independent school which we are hopeful for a place at but at a cost of £7,500 per annum. That was a costly mistake wasn't it?
I only found out about the magic 118 VR score (the minimum needed for a place at Grammar) at a meeting the day before the appeal. By then I had merrily advertised the fact that my son's NFER scores were consistently 116/117 throughout his schooling. Had I known the magic number, I could have kept the information hidden and left it to the appeals committee to find it out. Will willingly sell the full story to the media to help pay the fees.

HE

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 Post subject: response to above story
PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 6:38 pm 
We're non catholic but understand and totally agree with the attitude of the catholic school but the issue of the grammar canvassing/soliciting candidates from the independent sector is absolutely disgusting.

I think the writer of this piece should anonymously contact his local paper/s and let the "average man" know about this practice.

As I've said in sections elsewhere on this site, we have children in both grammar and comp schools but I tell you what....... where are the anti grammar mob. give me a pen... I'll sign now!!.

Get rid of them and lets have a bit more equality in our system.


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 Post subject: correction!!!
PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 6:39 pm 
When I say "get rid of them" I mean the grammar schools not the anti grammar mob.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 9:02 am 
I have seen Essex Girl's postings before (I think you might also appear as "sleepless" as they are the same comments). You obviously had children who successfully got into Southend Grammar as in your opinion this is the only school in Essex that is worth considering as it the only one that let's the children be themselves (in your opinion) and then a child who was not successful in gaining a place and goes to a comp. This seems to have changed your opinion on the grammars so much that you now want to get rid of them, even though you used the 11+ system to get your children into grammar schools and I suspect if your last child has been successful you would not want to get rid of them?!!

In terms of the Catholic schools, we experienced trouble with our first child in that we put the grammars first and then the Catholic comp. We were told by the headmaster at the Catholic school that he could find out what school we had put first on our form and if he discovered we had put his school second he would blacklist our child. This was untrue (he couldn't find out). When it came to our second child, I didn't bother putting the catholic school at all as I was not going to be "blackmailed" into putting them first.


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 Post subject: NFER Score
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 11:17 am 
Hi,

The LEA you are referring to ( I know it well ) stated that the nfer score should be 118 or above, well our son has an nfer score of 137, and we still had to go through 2 appeals to get him in, I think the whole system needs overhauling and set policies and guidelines need to be followed by these appeal boards. Also the schools need to be more transparent with admissions policies as laid down by the government documents . If you want any legal advice the solicitor who helped get our son in was excellent,
Send me a private message if you need the details.
Fiona


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:00 pm 
All the comments made on this thread are very interesting. I refuse to judge any parents actions as long as they are honest (I know of several parents who have used deceit and bending of the truth to gain places at sought after schools).

I think it is perfectly acceptable to disagree with the system imposed whilst participating in it - as parents we have no choice but to do what we feel is best for our children. As far as I can see this is just a very complicated game we are all forced to play.

I have the greatest sympathy for the case stated in the OP but surely a score of 118 is fairly borderline. My son was scoring 121's aged 9 and 139/140 at age 10 (he is aug born) and he was not offered a place at the London grammar we applied to with no point in appealing. You either pass or fail the test. I have been told he ranks in the top 1% nationally but he simply did not come up with the goods on the day.

This just serves to expose the fact that parents who do their homework on behalf of their children gain the places but sometimes even the most able children miss out.

My son will be attending a lovely independent school at a cost of £10K a year - £7.5K seems like a bargain. We should consider the injustice of similar children who have no private sector safety net. The system stinks and is a travesty - I would say the same had my son been offered the grammar and will not put my other 2 sons through this (it will probably have changed by then anyway :roll: ).


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 10:05 am 
Yes, I did start to look at the grammar school system in a different way, when our last child did not get a place. I think you are right. If they had got the place then I may well have been all for them but I have now seen it from both sides and, having had the experience I have had with the system and appeals, etc, etc (doubtless you have seen my postings about this elsewhere in the forum) I feel that I am better informed about the pluses and minuses of the system.

Sorry if I offended you or anyone else by suggesting that Southend is the only school in Essex worth applying to. It is simply that I have experience of it and have friends with experience of other schools. It would be wrong of me to suggest that any other schools, grammar or otherwise, were not worth applying to. Of course they are. It is all about what experience each individual pupil has at each school. Doubtless there are those who love Chelmsford, for example, equally there are those that have hated it and I have no doubt that this is the case with all schools, including Southend.

Sometimes I am a little outspoken and, again, apologies if I offend anyone.

As far as our last child was concerned, I have no problem with the fact that they did not get a grammar school place (if you have the points you get in, if not, you don't, that's fair!). I also have no problem with the fact that our child was turned down on appeal. What I take issue with is the number of appeals that I know succeeded in previous years, for no good reason (not just be summising, I know the facts from the parents mouths).

Good luck to your child, Guest. I am sure they will be happy at their new school. Feel proud and know that you are doing the best for your chiild.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:35 pm 
Essex Girl wrote:
Yes, I did start to look at the grammar school system in a different way, when our last child did not get a place. I think you are right. If they had got the place then I may well have been all for them but I have now seen it from both sides and, having had the experience I have had with the system and appeals, etc, etc (doubtless you have seen my postings about this elsewhere in the forum) I feel that I am better informed about the pluses and minuses of the system.

Sorry if I offended you or anyone else by suggesting that Southend is the only school in Essex worth applying to. It is simply that I have experience of it and have friends with experience of other schools. It would be wrong of me to suggest that any other schools, grammar or otherwise, were not worth applying to. Of course they are. It is all about what experience each individual pupil has at each school. Doubtless there are those who love Chelmsford, for example, equally there are those that have hated it and I have no doubt that this is the case with all schools, including Southend.

Sometimes I am a little outspoken and, again, apologies if I offend anyone.

As far as our last child was concerned, I have no problem with the fact that they did not get a grammar school place (if you have the points you get in, if not, you don't, that's fair!). I also have no problem with the fact that our child was turned down on appeal. What I take issue with is the number of appeals that I know succeeded in previous years, for no good reason (not just be summising, I know the facts from the parents mouths).

Good luck to your child, Guest. I am sure they will be happy at their new school. Feel proud and know that you are doing the best for your chiild.



Thanks for your kind words - sorry if I sounded a bit "off". I have been through the 11+ twice now and am so glad that I won't have to do it again. I still actually think that the system is cruel - no matter how bright your child is they can have a bad day e.g. nerves, and not get in and I am certain there are many children who fall into this category. Then again, I suppose it is a selection process and that process is that one day and we have a choice whether to put our child through it or not. In my daughters case, she and her cousin were the only 2 girls to get into grammars (different ones though) but I know there are other girls who sat it who are just as bright but didn't perform on the day. Anyway....I will stop my ranting now!!


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 2:22 pm 
I have found all of these comments very interesting as I am currently studying for an MA in the Sociology of education and am particularly interested in the (before and after) effects of the 11 plus exam on children and their families. I failed my own 11 plus exam and despite being sucessful academically now I still sometimes have doubt in my own abilities (and see myself as some sort of acadmic fraud!) I often wonder whether this is due to being defined as a 'failure' at such a young age. Personally, I have very mixed feelings about grammar schools. For a number of reasons, (based on what I have studied and personal experience), I am critical of academic selection (particularly that at an early age and based on a very narrow definition of educational abilility). Nevertheless, I did go to my local grammar school to study for my A-Levels and perhaps wouldn't be where I am now if I hadn't. It is entirely understandable that given the opportunity people will send their children to grammar or private schools even if they disagree with their existence in principle. I very much agree with the comment that you can be critical of a system which you are a part of. I am both an employee and student within the education system but my study involves being critical of many of its aspects.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 5:26 pm 
jenstudent

Maybe you should look at students feelings further down the line. I am the product of a grammar education and was in the top sets. Unfortunately everyone else was brighter than I was and I began to see 80% in exams as a failure - especially as most others achieved 90%. I became demotivated and stopped trying and although I left school with 10 O levels and 3 A levels I lacked confidence and didn't particularly feel successful. All my friends headed off to Oxford/Cambridge/Bristol and York. I went on to do a degree (at Manchester University) and I am now doing a masters having discovered at the ripe age of 40 that I'm not as stupid as I thought. Maybe I would have been better emotionally in a comp, maybe I would have been better off in lower sets but I will never know the answer to that. The lesson that I have learnt is that grammar is not always best and I am now agonising over my childrens education and hope I make the correct decision in the long run. For all those parents whose children did not pass the eleven plus I would like to stress that it is not always the perfect choice.


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