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 Post subject: Pressure or No Pressure
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 4:19 pm 
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I have recently come across some parents who have commented "I don't want to pressurise my child for 11+". It makes me wonder that you are taking away the chance which could have landed her/him into a GS (and possibly a good Uni). I seriously think that the child must be given at least the opportunity to try, encourage and appreciate the effort (not the pass/fail result). I know that not every child is sharp to crack 11+ but the skills that they pick up in preparing for 11+ are not going to be waste. May be I'm wrong but just thought to ask the fellow parents whose children have just completed the 11+ - Was it worth putting your children into the 11+ pressure? My answer is always "Yes".


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 4:33 pm 
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I think it depends on the child, in general, I agree that children shouldn't avoid doing anything just in case they 'fail' but i have also seen the long-term effect not passing had on a friend of DS's (on-going mental health issues).

Most takers will only be 10 years old when they get the results. They will probably have been working towards this goal for over a year and the pressure (either real or imagined) on them is huge. As a parent, you need to seriously consider how your child might cope if they don't pass.

Also, I think that your (and my) personal view will be biased by the fact your DC passed! I'd be interested to hear from those whose DC's didn't and whether they have any regrets.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 7:13 pm 
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I agree with both of you. Yes, some children would be scared by the experience, but I wonder how many. Of course there are levels of preparation according to the school being aimed at. A lot of these children have not been challenged at school and would welcome the challenge and then the achievement of getting into the desired school.

Let's not forget that there can be a lot of pressure on the parents and sometimes the whole family. These pressures can prove to be too much for some parents and they give up. I guess everyone has their own priorities. What I find surprising is when they say that they don't want to put pressure on their child. I have seen many people starting and then give up quoting pressure or how far away the school is even though they have sent their children to equally far away schools or harder to travel to!

Another thing which can be difficult to take is the implied criticism when such parents suggest that your grammar school child must have been pushed beyond belief. This of course may be some children's reality, but if they were not in your house to witness the preparation, then they have no right to assume the worst.

We all love our children and want the best for them. We give our best to them too through providing a good education be it DIY or paid. The least we need is to be judged unjustly.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 8:10 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:21 am
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I have one DD already in GS and DD2 will join her next September. I'm confident they never felt under pressure preparing for the 11+ or sitting the tests. We did Kent as a warm up for Bexley. Both passed Bexley comfortably. Will have to wait and see what happened in DD2 Kent test. We decided not to go the way of superselectives mainly because I prefer my 10 yo DC to play instead of prep for more tests. DD1 is predicted 11A-A*. She walks to the local GS and has loads of time for hobbies and sport, she has a good balance and is a happy child. I doubt her GCSEs will be worth less because she did not go to a super selective. I chose not to put my DDs in for more tests than needed and did not work towards top 180 results etc.. I didn't think it was necessary.

The only thing I found stressful was finding out last Christmas that the test had changed and where to start to find the materials. :?

I can understand that some parents decide not prep at all or opt out. I think that a child with supportive parents is likely to do well at secondary school GS or non GS.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:58 pm 
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The impetus to sit a super selective test came from DD because she had a school mate who got into one. I explained that it would require additional work particularly in the run-up to the exams. Dd wanted to give it a go. It usually wasn't mega pressure because we don't live like that. We continued all her extra curricular activities, didn't hire a tutor, but gradually covered (enough of?) the rest of the math curriculum.

Whether it worked in terms of results, we don't know yet. But we now have a child who can go into an exam situation without being sick or losing control of her bladder. Who can work all the way through a test paper without having a breakdown. Who can cope with spending a couple of hours in a school literally full of strangers. Who knows that she did it before and can do it again. She has learned all sorts of useful stuff about bringing the right things with you on the day, putting your name / number in the right place, keeping an eye on the time, remembering not to omit sections, using any remaining time productively. She knows we will support her with the hard stuff and we'll be there for her no matter what. Even if there are moments of pressure and frustration along the way.

She's glad she had a go. So are we. But she is absolutely certain that we will take care of her and think no less of her no matter what the outcome. And she would still be equally happy to go to the local comp if they can only be persuaded to give a place to our heathen child who doesn't have an older sibling and may not live quite close enough!!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2014 11:32 am 
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This has been a heated topic in the past but never under a title on its own, and if my memory serves me right has always involved Parent123. This is also closely related to ‘ how much time’ should a child spend a day preparing for the exam. It was concluded in that argument that it should be tailored to the child’s need and was roughly around an hour a day (in my case I did more than that a day).

Having got my twins through last year I have sort of now ‘understood’ the pressure argument. In general the people in these forums are in the minority and have gone the extra mile to search for forums and extra bits of information, and their results have been on the positive side. After my journey last year I offered/gave away all my materials to my colleagues and friends of my DDs (6 in number), and only one I believed used them and came back with questions, they had a good result for their DC. The others, some started but could not maintain the commitment others just did not bother looking into it.

This is where I see the issue of pressure lies. I mentioned above that 1 hour a day is a good baseline, now let look at what is involved during that 1 hour, leading to and after:
• Research on the 11+
• Research on the syllabus
• Research the schools and their admission criteria
• Research on 11+ changes, as most areas are undergoing changes
• Research on style/format on questions
• Research on best material
• Set out what work the DC should do for the hour
• Mark maths work (I am assuming everyone can do year 6 maths.)
• Mark comprehension; which means you also have to read the passages and be able to discuss
• Do correction
• Find areas of weakness
• If there is NV and VR involved you need to do some work on these

Not all are done every day but it is a continuous cycle

This list is not for the child but the bare minimum (IMO) needed from the adult. It is not just the case of giving the child a Bond book and let them go ahead and complete it.
From my limited experience this is where the pressure comes in. Parent also need to commit that time every day, and not everyone can cope with it and probably have a job to hold, a house to run and other siblings to attend to.

Let say you start in January, heck let’s say April; that is at least 150days of setting aside 1 hr a day not for the child but for yourself to help the DC.

So maybe added to the original question we should also ask “is it worth putting myself under this amount of pressure for my child”


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2014 1:45 pm 
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Very true Fred. There is all that work involved. Both my husband and I shared the load.
Did you get all your children through?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2014 2:03 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:30 am
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fred wrote:
This has been a heated topic in the past but never under a title on its own, and if my memory serves me right has always involved Parent123. This is also closely related to ‘ how much time’ should a child spend a day preparing for the exam. It was concluded in that argument that it should be tailored to the child’s need and was roughly around an hour a day (in my case I did more than that a day).

Having got my twins through last year I have sort of now ‘understood’ the pressure argument. In general the people in these forums are in the minority and have gone the extra mile to search for forums and extra bits of information, and their results have been on the positive side. After my journey last year I offered/gave away all my materials to my colleagues and friends of my DDs (6 in number), and only one I believed used them and came back with questions, they had a good result for their DC. The others, some started but could not maintain the commitment others just did not bother looking into it.

This is where I see the issue of pressure lies. I mentioned above that 1 hour a day is a good baseline, now let look at what is involved during that 1 hour, leading to and after:
• Research on the 11+
• Research on the syllabus
• Research the schools and their admission criteria
• Research on 11+ changes, as most areas are undergoing changes
• Research on style/format on questions
• Research on best material
• Set out what work the DC should do for the hour
• Mark maths work (I am assuming everyone can do year 6 maths.)
• Mark comprehension; which means you also have to read the passages and be able to discuss
• Do correction
• Find areas of weakness
• If there is NV and VR involved you need to do some work on these

Not all are done every day but it is a continuous cycle

This list is not for the child but the bare minimum (IMO) needed from the adult. It is not just the case of giving the child a Bond book and let them go ahead and complete it.
From my limited experience this is where the pressure comes in. Parent also need to commit that time every day, and not everyone can cope with it and probably have a job to hold, a house to run and other siblings to attend to.

Let say you start in January, heck let’s say April; that is at least 150days of setting aside 1 hr a day not for the child but for yourself to help the DC.

So maybe added to the original question we should also ask “is it worth putting myself under this amount of pressure for my child”


Oh my word!! How much time!? Let me be clear, I am not talking about supers electives here, although one of our grammars had a full 15 points higher qualification than the other.
I also got twins through to qualification, with nothing anywhere near an hour or that kind of pressure. Each to his own of course and it does depend on the child and how happy they are to put that kind of time in. We had a tutor. He came and gave them half an hour per week for sept to August. They then had 20 mins homework on 5 days a week. I can't say they didn't feel at all pressured, one was very laid back, the other less so, but we would happily have withdrawn him and told him so many times, but he insisted on carrying on. I did not want my boys to feel pressurised, grammar school is not everything, it's really really not, and I simply couldn't have made them do that much extra work.
I'm not saying our way was right for everyone, it was right for our twins, both qualified and both are managing their new schools well.
They are 10. No matter how important you may feel their secondary school is, if there is any hint of them being stressed by the pressure my feeling is it's best to back off.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2014 2:17 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:21 am
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I started researching around Christmas last year and starting practising with DD around Easter. I think we did about 2 hours a week and an hour a day during the summer holidays and nothing during the first week. We stopped completely mid August because we both had enough. Passed comfortably. Seems to me that since the system was changed to CEM a lot more DC with no or little prep have passed and a fair few who have been heavily tutored did not. (At our primary abt 25% passed this year and last compared to abt 10% in a good year under NFER. )

One of DD's friends who did not prepare at all and had 4C in maths and 3a in English at the end of year 5 passed and others with good 5s and tutors who were expected to pass did not. I don't think it is possible to tutor proof a test but I think the CEM test is a lot fairer than the old system. It will be interesting to see how the Bexley results compare to Kent. (For those who have done both)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2014 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:30 am
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Depends what you are tutoring. If tutoring means practising odd questions like the 'nets' etc that they don't see in school, or the letter sequences, then even the CEM can be tutored, but that goes along with a general strengthening of maths and english that any good tutor should be concentrating on anyway! But yes, hopefully the children who are qualifying are the ones who are most suited to the GS system, though inevitably with limited places, there will always be those who could cope perfectly well but just miss out because of the numbers game. Thats why I never refer to pass or fail - in this area it is a mark above which the requisite number of children qualify according to the PAN. Important difference in this area vs 'pass or fail' which is more a measure of a benchmark below which your child wouldn't be able to manage GS without a struggle.


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