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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:05 pm
Posts: 224
Hi everyone,

So today is the day most of the parents in Birmingham will get their results! Just like some of you, I received DC's results today, but I know a few years ago I researched and debated how to get my DC's to the standard they could pass the 11+ including options like sending DC to local tutors. I wanted to share my experiences, as hopefully they may help some out there whose DC's are due to sit the exams in the forthcoming years.

Before sharing my experiences, I firstly wanted to thank people on this forum - the regulars, the one off posters and the moderators. There is some invaluable information on this forum and always amazing people to help you.

I have two DC, one sat the exams four years ago and the second sat this year. Before I share my experiences, I also wanted to acknowledge that different children respond to different things - They are motivated by different things, want different things and learn differently. What works amazingly well for one child may be another's nightmare. So try different options, speak to different people and find something that works for you and your child.

DC1 - Two years at a local tutor, who had a brilliant reputation but I now believe rests on his laurels. In the last few months before the tests he took on more and more students. Feedback from him was always vague, with the standard "she's doing okay, but needs to work harder"! During the summer DC seemed to improve her Bond / CGP tests results from the 50-60% marks to c.90% - She sat these tests at home when I was away with work. Being sceptical, I made her sit a set in front of me and it turned out she was lying and cheating to stop me nagging. Her results in both Walsall and Birmingham tests were impressive (much higher than I expected) and she is now very happy in one of the local grammars.

DC2 -With the "one down, one to go" attitude, we sat as a family and discussed DC2's study options. As a family of four, we concluded that we now knew the process, the standard of exams, had all the material and 1 could also help 2. So we decided to home study 2! The benefits were obvious (no tutor costs) and I even incentivised mum, DC1 and DC2 financially (via some of the savings). We developed a study plan, with regular CGP/Bond book material, and scheduled when he would start the mock tests. Within weeks DC1 was behind plan. At every stage he challenged and fought, he wasted time and what was 10 mins study work became a 1-2 hour battle of nothingness. No matter how clever you are and how prepared you are - your child may not listen to you!

One year in of a two year programme and we were beginning to panic. My daughter constantly reminded me how far behind he was, and we rapidly came to the conclusion that we may have made a big mistake. This phase of "he's too far behind and not going to pass" seemed to go on in our house for months - Please don't under estimate how busy you are and ask yourself - do you really have the time? One day my wife was talking to a work colleague who recommended an online 11+ service. They let DC's do 10-15min tests 5 days a week, and provide feedback. DC2 loved online so we thought we had nothing to lose. As expected DC loved it, and the system was impressive - different subjects daily, some speed tests and where DC's get questions wrong, they were repeated - All too perfect. Initially DC's online test results improved, we took the foot of the ball (again) and DC stagnated. We noted three issues: (1) DC was rushing tests, so he could sneakily play online games; (2) DC was cherry picking certain tests and skipping some of the harder ones; and more importantly (3) DC felt as he was doing tests online, he didn't need to do any workings and therefore was getting some of questions wrong. Luckily we spotted this and deprioritised online and went back to paper mocks. Whilst paper mocks were always in the plan, we underestimated some of the downsides of the online tests. Today we found out DC2 passed but scored less than DC1. He will still get into his preferred school, but like most of you I was worried. To summarise:

1. Find something that works for you and your child.
2. Don't take your eye of the ball like I did. Luckily on both occasions I spotted it, but boy did we panic both times.
3. Don't under estimate how busy you are.
4. Don't under estimate how clever your kids are, especially at trying to fool you!
5. I'm a firm believer in variety. Use various teaching methods, various publishers, various styles. Don't stick to one type of book, mix it up. Because DC2 wasn't at a tutor we sent him to some mock tests - I believe these helped compensate.
6. Pace yourselves - We never started tutor (for DC1) until the start of year 4, but always kept an eye on school reports and school results. Teach your DC times tables early and use the word lists on this forum. DC1 struggled with some maths questions, because she made silly simple maths mistakes, but when she was at school she received weekly spellings and also received weekly spellings from tutor for two years - DC2 didn't have either.

Finally don't trust anyone else with your children's future - whether your kids go to tutor, study at home, use online - you really have to check progress and if necessary adjust your plan.

Good luck to all future students, and finally thank you to all on this forum.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:51 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 5:08 pm
Posts: 1454
Congrats Jazz and very well done to your son!

So in hindsight would you have sent your DC2 to a tutor as well?


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:39 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 2:28 pm
Posts: 255
MSD wrote:
Congrats Jazz and very well done to your son!

So in hindsight would you have sent your DC2 to a tutor as well?


Well Done Jazz. Did you get the outcome you wanted and was it worth the stress? I home tutored and hope we are over the line for KEFW, otherwise my DS said he will feel that he wasn't good enough to go to where DS2 goes. Once all results are received we can then make an informed decision.

Kids tutored outside will always have a certain advantage if their tutor is clued up about past exams, timings, words used etc. However, I really think it doesn't matter if a child got in with a 250+ score or off the waiting list. They got in to the school they wanted and that is an achievement. They will have the same education and opportunities as everyone else once they get there.

Also some DPs seem to think that if their DC scored 250+ they must put them in to the schools that require a higher score. I am sure that Handsworth Boys (for e.g.) which requires a lot lower than CH will still have children there that achieved a 250+ score.

Choose the school that feels right for you and your DC. All children are individuals as you rightly pointed out.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:14 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:19 pm
Posts: 105
Jazz I agree. We came to the process late, so only had a couple of months to prepare, but it was a constant battle to get her to do any extra work. She could do most of it easily, but she lacked the motivation to work at home. With my time over a tutor would have helped, but we mainly sat the grammar for practice for KES.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:50 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 1:47 pm
Posts: 3501
bluejay wrote:
Also some DPs seem to think that if their DC scored 250+ they must put them in to the schools that require a higher score. I am sure that Handsworth Boys (for e.g.) which requires a lot lower than CH will still have children there that achieved a 250+ score.


Your insight is supported on one of the stickies.The numbers may be different but essentially makes the same point.I agree with all your post.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=7148&start=10

_________________
In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

Abraham Lincoln


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 5:51 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2014 2:28 pm
Posts: 255
quasimodo wrote:
bluejay wrote:
Also some DPs seem to think that if their DC scored 250+ they must put them in to the schools that require a higher score. I am sure that Handsworth Boys (for e.g.) which requires a lot lower than CH will still have children there that achieved a 250+ score.


Your insight is supported on one of the stickies.The numbers may be different but essentially makes the same point.I agree with all your post.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=7148&start=10


Thank you Quasi. Fallacious... indeed.

I can't stress enough... do what is right for you and your children. You will know immediately what feels right. Queen Marys will hopefully be a consideration for us (all depending on scores as there was a monumental increase last year! :shock: ) I know Five ways will be the easiest if we consider the travelling but ultimately it will be DS3 who has to study there for 5-7 years.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:42 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:44 pm
Posts: 64
A little maths and English daily
Reading books, lots of them

These two things alone will go a long way to helping your child do well.


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