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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2005 8:47 am 
Does anyone know why there is so very little information on the 11+ exam results? My son is going to do the Essex 11+ Exam in November and I am trying to find out some basic facts. ie. How many children take it and how many get places. I am being naive or is it not that simple??? We have been told that the entry criteria for Westcliff and Southend are less that Chelmsford and Colchester. Is this fact or fantasy and what does this mean in basic numbers? All advise gratefully received. C


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 8:24 am 
Hi,

I have been through the experience in Essex on several occasions so I have become fairly expert in the field.

Firstly, Colchester Grammar and KEGS (Chelmsford). Both of these schools currently operate a "first choice" policy. This means that you need to put one of them down as a first choice to be considered at all.

Currently, this does not mean that you lose the chance of a place at Westcliff or Southend or, indeed, your local comprehensive unless your local comprehensive also operates a first choice policy (most don't but Beauchamps in Wickford, I believe, do).

Your son will need to gain a considerable score to obtain entry to either Colchester or KEGS. I believe that 85% in each discipline is a reasonable bet for entry but obviously it differs from year to year.

Now that the system for application has changed for some reason the Consortium for Selective Schools has changed the method of giving results. This year, it was impossible to work out where a child came in the order of merit and equally difficult to figure out if they should have been offered a selective place or not.

The most difficult test (in my opinion) is the English. The test is really not set at the standard of an average 10/11 year old but would challenge the average 14 year old. Again, this is just my opinion.

To obtain a place at KEGS or Colchester your son will need to achieve a score around the 500th position on the order of merit. Uusually, there are more than 4000 well prepared candidates so it is a **** of a quest. The 500th position I give you as an average. It can range considerably between 400 and 600 I believe.

Southend and Westcliff operate a different policy. A pass mark is set each year below which no child will be admitted. They then look at pupils "in borough" who have scored above the passmark and who have put the schools as a first choice. They then fill the school (to 115 pupils or so) with those children. At the 115 mark each school is said to be "full in catchment). They then look at the order of merit for the whole of Essex. The remaining places are offered out in order of the highest ranked child on the order of merit who has put the school (either) down as a preference. NOTE: Not necessarily a first choice preference. In other words, you can put your son down for KEGS, followed by one or both of the Southend grammars and he will not lose out if he has enough points for a Southend grammar but not enough for KEGS. Usually, your son will require more points for Westcliff than for Southend but there is never any guarantee of this.

The situation is such that, hypothetically speaking, a child in Southend may obtain a grammar school place with 100 marks, where a child outside Southend may need 120.

Anyway, if you require any further information at all, please post again/


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 Post subject: Why is this so difficult
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 8:41 pm 
Thank you for a prompt and informative reply. So its a bit of a lottery then if you are out of catchment then? I have asked a friend who got her son into Southend where he came and she said she could not really work it out! However I think you are right about the higher pass mark for Westcliff. My son is getting anything from 60 -90% I hope this gets more consistent at the 85% mark as time goes on. I was lead to believe that less children took the 11+ last year due to the change in the system and having to put in a preference list. I had no idea it was as many as 4000 which means that a significant number of them must not get placed? Do you happen to know whether the results are standardised in Essex according to the childs age? Thanks, C


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 8:20 am 
Hi Connie,

No, the results are not standardised according to age. The NFER (National Foundation for Educational Research) writes the verbal reasoning test (The selective school heads write the English and maths papers) but they are not marked by the NFER. The NFER research has shown that when measuring IQ precise age should always be taken into consideration so across the country, children who sit the 11+ and have the tests marked by the NFER have an age standardised result. The Consortium for Selective Schools apparently does not agree with the expert research body and therefore refuses to take age into consideration. (They used to, I believe). Thus, there can be virtually a years age difference between cancidates and no note is taken of this whatsoever.

As far as preferences are concerned, you may like to consider the fact that although for pupils outside catchment the order of preference is not relevant, this may be a factor if your son is not offered a selective place and you wish to appeal. I suspect that, for example, Southend school would not be overly supportive of a boy who had put KEGS and Westcliff as the first two choices when they have an enormous number of appeals to consider. Obviously, the problem with KEGS is that they are a "first preference only" school.

Best wishes


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