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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 11:47 am 
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Hi everyone, we have a son who is currently 5 years old and trying to decide the right primary school for him. We visited the Beacon and was very impressed, but it is a very big school.

I wanted to ask whether anyone knew which primary school feed the most students into DCGS? It can be state or primary. I understand it can vary due to the selection process but there might be a school that has a high 11+ pass rate and a lot of their students progress to DCGS.

Thank you in advance.

If anyone has a child or had a child go to the Beacon, I would be interested in your views of the school too. Thank you.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2021 5:48 pm 
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You can look on the Bucks website for the pass rates by school, but to be honest, a small change in numbers make a big change in the percentage, and it could change enormously in the next 6 years - the 11 plus could change, or you might find that a grammar school would not be the right place for your son.
My advice would be to choose a primary school that you like & is easy to get to & take it from there.
You could also check the allocation distances & admissions criteria, although those could also change considerably.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2021 8:23 am 
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Thank you @scary mum. Can you please let me know where I can find the pass rates please? I tried to look but failed to find anything. I would love to have a breakdown of each school and pass rates.

I do see your point about primary schools. The primary schools we are considering are all easy distance as we live in Amersham and the Beacon provides a bus service. I do want our son to go to an academic primary school. My nieces and nephews attended DCHS and DCGS and feel grammar school is the right choice for our sons. The distance should not make any difference as we are a stone throw away from the school (our boys were born in Amersham), the main issue would be actually passing the tests. Our son is academic and we want to put him in the right primary so they continue to push him.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:52 am 
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SGadd wrote:
Our son is academic and we want to put him in the right primary so they continue to push him.


Just be careful in what you are looking for in a primary school. Schools do not have comparable intakes in reception so very hard to compare the results at the end.

The key thing is that state schools won't be doing any prep for the 11 plus - so are good 11 plus results due to the children who start at the school? parental input? tutoring?

I knew my kids were bright at 5, but my main concern re school was not that the school was academic but that they should learn how to learn and be exposed to a wide variety of subjects and interests.


PS the statistics are all here : https://www.thebucksgrammarschools.org/test-data


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2021 10:50 am 
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Thank you for this. This is great. I had a look, but the Beacon, Thorpe House etc are not listed. Is that because they are private schools?

I did ask the Beacon about it and they said their transfer test pass rate is 77%, but I imagine this includes private schools entrance exams and not just 11+.

It is so hard to know what to do for the best.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2021 11:00 am 
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I typed a post while you were typing and it vanished!
The independent & out of county schools are not listed separately. Note that state schools in Bucks are "opt out", so all pupils sit the tests unless they are officially withdrawn. Independent schools and out of county pupils "opt in" so will have much higher pass rates as they are much less likely to enter children who they do not think will pass, so 77% may well be the Bucks 11 plus pass rate (I'm sure they will tell you if you ask).
Also note that the schools who go through to 13 have a vested interest in holding onto their pupils through to 13, so will be unlikely to help out with the 11 plus too much (again, ask them). They don't want to have their classrooms empty in year 7 & 8, and will be focussing on getting pupils in to public schools.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2021 11:02 am 
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the LEA lists won't include private schools

You have probably seen the Beacon's list of destinations - likely when they say transfer test they mean the 11 plus. Interesting to know how many pupils 77% refers to - maybe it was 7 out of 9??

Private schools tend only to encourage pupils take the exam if they think there is a good chance of passing, they don't like too many disappointed parents or bad stats.

If there are youngsters who the school think are unlikely to pass then they may have spent some time guiding the parents in the direction of other schools. This is only fair on the kids and TBH, should academic children need that much pushing?

One option is that some people go for is to try the local primary, if after a few years eg at the end of year 2, you feel that your son wants something different, try new activities etc then maybe look at the prep schools which really get going at year 3.

ETA - Xposted with Scary Mum - this is quite right £££ and bums on seats are what sometimes drives things :

scary mum wrote:
Also note that the schools who go through to 13 have a vested interest in holding onto their pupils through to 13, so will be unlikely to help out with the 11 plus too much (again, ask them). They don't want to have their classrooms empty in year 7 & 8, and will be focussing on getting pupils in to public schools.


ETA again:

Just looked at Thorpe House, they have an upper school and would be encouraging people to stay with them.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2021 11:03 am 
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Quote:
It is so hard to know what to do for the best.


My advice would be to forget about the 11 plus for a few years - worrying about it now will make life stressful for years to come. Send him to a school you feel is a good fit, encourage a love of learning & reading. A local school, whether state or private will mean local friends. Most of his advantages will come from his home environment, not his school.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2021 1:05 pm 
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This is the breakdown I was given for last year transfer test:

1. The Beacon: 77%
2. Thorpe House: 50%
3. Chesham Prep: 43%

The Beacon seems a lot higher and they do a lot of work for 11+. I think as Thorpe House goes all the way to Year 11, there is no incentive to prepare students for the exams.

On The Beacon's website:

'Our recent Transfer Test pass mark was 77%. The Beacon continues to be one of the largest feeder schools into Dr Challoner's Grammar School.'

I do think the Beacon do a lot of prep work as their main selling point is about getting students into grammar schools and scholarships to private schools. I do understand they opt in though.

I am not overly worried about the 11+ at this stage, but want him to be in the right school that prepares him for the tests. Elangeni School is the best state school in the area, with a high pass rate, but we are not in catchment. Our local primary school is Great Missenden. I don't want to change schools mid way through either. But there is a possibility that we could try to get into the Beacon in Year 3 when our son finishes at the infant school.

Alternatively, a colleague recommended putting our sons into state primary and then into private secondary schools as the fees are similar anyway. Five years in private primary or five years in private secondary - the costs are similar. I am not sure if private secondary schools provide more/wider opportunities than grammar schools. Ideally we would love both boys to go to DCGS.

On another note, do any of you know if Kumon tutoring helps?

Thank you.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2021 2:11 pm 
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SGadd wrote:
Alternatively, a colleague recommended putting our sons into state primary and then into private secondary schools as the fees are similar anyway. Five years in private primary or five years in private secondary - the costs are similar. I am not sure if private secondary schools provide more/wider opportunities than grammar schools. Ideally we would love both boys to go to DCGS.

.


Beacon may simply not let kids take the test if they haven't a good chance of getting through

I think that 7 years in a secondary (assuming you stay for 6th form) would cost a huge amount more than7 in a primary - the secondary extras can be high. There are two schools of thought if you can only pay for one - primary to get the foundation to learning or senior when the public exams are? I went for primary and think it worked well, but it was a school that finished in year 6 so no incentive for the school to keep the pupils in house.

If I were you I would start at the local primary - good to have local friends and then can reassess if not working out


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