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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:25 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2021 3:54 pm
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Hi
I just wanted to understand the importance of maths ability for the slough exams.

My son is in year 2 and is doing reasonably well at school.
His school stream their children for maths lessons. He is in the top set which has 25 students, from the 56 students in his year group, but he sits on the table which gets the easier work.
I have been working with him during the weekends on his maths and progress is slow as it takes him a while to understanding concepts, and he'll forget them a few days later, so we will need to go over everything. I use objects and materials to help him understand.

We don't live near any outstanding or good state schools so i had been thinking about grammar schools but I am doubting whether its worth pursuing this option given his standard of maths. I don't want to place him under undue stress by forcing him to study for an exam he won't pass. I'd rather try move to to closer to a good non-selective school.

Does anyone have any thoughts on whether it would be sensible to try for 11+ in slough. He is keen to learn and though he might complain at the start he will sit happily for 15 - 30 mins and he is still young so things might change.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:21 pm 
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Hi bluenote,

I’m not from Slough so don’t know anything about their test; however your son is only in year 2 so I would not be concerned about his ability to retain concepts. At that age I was just happy for my children to learn through play rather than sitting down to learn. It’s amazing how much maths comes into daily life, be it counting the house numbers on the way to school, or measuring quantities when cooking. One of my twins struggled with maths in infant school and the whole concept of what numbers represent didn’t really get grasped until junior school. Maths is one of their strongest subjects now.

In Birmingham the 11plus is strongly weighted towards comprehension and literacy which suited my child that sat the test.

You are right to think about where you live now- although saying that the ratings for schools and the exam results could change markedly between now and when your son will be starting yr 7. Are there areas that you like that have good non selective options as well as grammar schools if, by the time he is in year 5, you consider him to have the academic capability? Does he have siblings? Would a vacancy come up at a primary school that you would be happy with?

In my experience grammar schools aren’t the be all and end all and I would not want my child to attend a school where they would struggle academically. If I was in your position I would concentrate on whether or not it would be worth the upheaval of moving to an area that had good/ outstanding schools, and at this point I wouldn’t even be concerned about the 11plus.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 3:12 pm 
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I agree that year 2 is far to early to be worrying about this. Children don't learn in a staright line, they learn in steps, he could suddenly put a spurt on in maths. Or he might not, but time will tell. Just encourage a love of reading and play some word & number games for now and let him enjoy his childhood.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 7:39 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 2:05 pm
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Location: Reading
Way too early to think about it.

My DD was in the bottom maths set at the beginning of year 2. Left primary with level 6 maths. Higher performers at that stage were overtaken by others later on.


You have no idea how they going to develop.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 9:12 pm 
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Hi

Totally agree - year 2 is very early to be thinking about secondary school. In year 2 my DD was probably at the bottom end of the class being the youngest in her year and an August baby born prematurely. She flourished in years 3 & 4 & was in at the top table for maths in years 5 & 6....maths is one of her favourite subjects, she's in the top set at grammar school & she's planning on it for A level.

Just support their learning the foundations really well & make it fun.

Come back to thinking about 11+ in year 4 as if you want a tutor to support some get booked up & start at the beginning of year 5 ready to take the test at the beginning of year 6.

Family circumstances can change a lot in that time too.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2021 4:14 pm 
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Hey. You haven’t told us one very important thing: do you live anywhere near Slough at present? The others are right that year 2 is way too early to be sure, BUT if you live in West London (for example) please be aware that the Slough exams are hard enough just to pass, but unless you live in Slough itself, it’s not enough to pass, many of the places for Slough grammar schools are given based on how high the score it.
This has a two-edged sword effect on the places. Many intelligent local children who should (if the system were fair) get into the local grammars can’t pass because out of area hyper-tutored children (the fastest ones who are often tutored up to be rapid-fire-answer-machines) get the best scores and push up the difficulty. The flip side is that many out of area candidates who have good scores but live miles away struggle with long school commutes and find it hard to engage with after school activities because they live so far away.

The strange side effect of this (compared to Bucks which gives places based on distance, not score) is that Slough school non-grammars have a good proportion of capable children in them, so are more like true comprehensives than the bucks “Upper” schools.

Getting back to your question: if your child is year two, relax, read with them and to them lots, and get some times tables and number games going. Talk about interesting words. that’s all you need right now. And whether you’re local to Slough or not, research non-selective school options so that if you decide not to go for the grammar (and if you do!) you do have a likely backup option you’re happy with.

My youngest is now year 4, and we live close and are in a feeder school for our preferred non selective secondary already. It’s just too much of a gamble to rely on grammar entry alone, and I think it puts too much pressure on the children to have that as your only gambit.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2021 3:19 pm 
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Thanks to everyone who replied. Yes, I am just going to focus on reading and a little of maths, as he is still in year 2 and I often worry about turning him off studying or making it seem like something he doesn't want to do.
My main concern, and its related to what Aethel mentioned above, is that many of the schools in slough admit students on the basis of scores rather than distance. This results in many children from outside of slough, sitting the exam, and increasing the marks needed to gain admission into the grammar schools. We aren't too far from Slough but just reading boards and facebook groups, there are parents who have been tutoring their child since year 1 and will place the child in tuition schools from year 3 etc. In the back of my mind, I keep thinking that he needs to start now if he is to stand a chance and questioning whether putting him under pressure would be sensible.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2021 3:47 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 5:04 pm
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Honestly, maybe try and avoid those forums.
I didn't even discover this forum before my child got a place at a selective school - had I discovered it before I would definitely have thought that she had zero chance of admission since she did much much less than most people were talking about doing.
And actually it doesn't stop. Since she got her offer from university, I've been on another forum and discovered that parents have invested months and months of their own time in trying to get their "child" into particular universities - again, if I'd discovered it before, I might have thought it was all necessary when it clearly wasn't.
I think it's about year 4 when it's possible to visit a school and see whether you think your child will be suited to it - and year 5 when most of them need to start doing specific preparation.
Good luck.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:29 am 
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If your child “needs” tutoring from year 1-3 to get into a grammar school, they are best off NOT being at a grammar school. Every year there are children whose parents are “super proud that they have passed to get to grammar”.... and they then struggle all the way through the school to keep up with grammar school pace. Some poor souls get “additional tutoring” all the way through the GS as well...

I have one DD in a grammar, she works very quickly, and another DD who is in a non selective school (she works at a slightly slower pace due to being dyslexic) In retrospect my DD2 would have found the grammar workload too stressful and she is very happy at her present school and doing well as a result. We’re about to start the whole shebang again (DIY) with my DS who is in year 4.... but I certainly have not seen local children having tutoring from y1 here in Slough, I do think there is a certain hysteria about the process amongst some parental groups: just ignore them!! It’s what’s right for your child that’s important. We have always presented the GS system as “just increasing your choices but there’s a test to take if you want to try for that particular school”


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 4:24 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2020 10:44 pm
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Aethel wrote:
If your child “needs” tutoring from year 1-3 to get into a grammar school, they are best off NOT being at a grammar school. Every year there are children whose parents are “super proud that they have passed to get to grammar”.... and they then struggle all the way through the school to keep up with grammar school pace. Some poor souls get “additional tutoring” all the way through the GS as well...

I have one DD in a grammar, she works very quickly, and another DD who is in a non selective school (she works at a slightly slower pace due to being dyslexic) In retrospect my DD2 would have found the grammar workload too stressful and she is very happy at her present school and doing well as a result. We’re about to start the whole shebang again (DIY) with my DS who is in year 4.... but I certainly have not seen local children having tutoring from y1 here in Slough, I do think there is a certain hysteria about the process amongst some parental groups: just ignore them!! It’s what’s right for your child that’s important. We have always presented the GS system as “just increasing your choices but there’s a test to take if you want to try for that particular school”


I disagree with the point about the tutoring.
With anything in life we as humans need tutoring or training.

E.g Driving, playing sports at a high level, cooking or even doing DIY.

Kids also need tutoring to get the very best out of them. If a kid isn't able to pass the 11plus. Even if you gave them 1000 hours of tutoring they just won't get it.

However if a child has even a small chance to pass then tutoring will help and may get over the minimum pass mark.

Not many kids will just walk out of bed without any tutoring and pass the 11plus tests. It just won't happen.


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