1) Find the right level - we did stuff well beyond Y5 curriculum, but probably a waste of time.
2) Speed and ability to think under time pressure is critical and is entirely tutor-able. Do not forget this.
3) Do not listen to Bozo teachers in state schools. In fact don't even both telling them what your doing.
4) Re 3, bear in mind most state schools will not help. If you have an able child they won't stretch and challenge.
5) Do not listen to other Bozo teachers claiming that hot housing kids will not do any good. They should fess up and ask why it is that that many independent schools have 50%+ success rates at entrance to GS whilst many state schools barely register 1 or 2. Why??? Fundamentally un-democratic and unjust. The lip service job of lowering scores for pupil premium kids, do not do for me. I prefer a level playing field, but tell what is expected and give us a decent chance against those with more economic and cultural capital to hand.
6) Do listen very very carefully to your child, they have to want to do it!
7) Assess your child carefully. MY 1st DC had a great Y2 teacher and thus was fully able to do timetables 1-12 by end of year 2.
Same school, Different teacher with our current Y4 daughter - oh don't worry Dear Parent - they only need to be able to do 2,5,10 etc by end of Y3. Listen to than rubbish and your setting your child up to fail. My current year 4 DD still cannot do all timetables yet (has to think about 7 and 9). ****** disgrace - we have a plan in place to address, but this is the basis of so much else that if you find yourself in this position take responsibility yourself and get it sorted.
9) Year four teacher scared living day lights out of our child with threats about reading. Spoke to Head who said she would do some professional development. Spoke to another parent at Handsworth on Saturday and she said her daughter had same teacher in Y5 and they had spent all of last year with complaints and problems. Nothing like leaving incompetent teachers in place to wreck kids chances eh!!
10) Better still - Teaching assistant at same school, overhears my DD and friend discussing 11+ and tells them all to not bother as they have no chance, because kids from this school never pass -
- just gob smacking
11) Don't underestimate the impact of other kids. She said to me that the other kids would call her lame for winning a medal at maths. In contrast, her cousins who attended Prestigious GS in North West, could not get their heads around that. That would have been applauded and aspired to at their Private 7-11 school.
Overall if your in a state school, Keep quiet. Focus on what you need to and play the system (and hope)
Top five things to do
1) Regular (weekly timed tests)
2) Read Read Read some more. Intensively From start of year 4.
3) Build up speed
4) Go through exam technique
5) Don't listen to so much of the nonsense out there.
Felt so sad on Saturday that approx 9 out of 10 of the parents - would be looking at plan B in a few weeks time.
Is it overly political to just want a good state school, where I know my kids have a better than 50% chance of getting five good GCSE's and I don't have to pay a fortune for a property near by or take the lottery of the 11+
As with so many other parents - if I could have got her through I would have loved it, just frustrated that despite some pretty hard effort, there have been so many other tangible and intangible barriers, that just would not have hindered her if I had the resources to send to private school.