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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:45 pm 
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I feel very glad to have found this forum and have learnt a lot about the 11+ already. It is not something that was on our radar at all until two weeks ago! We have just found out that we will be moving from Edinburgh to Cheltenham this summer so my son is applying for a Year 7 school place. I am hoping for some advice here.

I have filled out the waiting list Common Application Form, although not sent it in yet. We do not yet have an address in Gloucestershire but the council have said they will allocate based on our home in Edinburgh! Will this put us at a huge disadvantage for grammar school places? Languages are really important for him (bilingual French and studying Mandarin, Latin, Swedish and German) so we were thinking of listing Pates/ STR/ Crypt/ Cotswold/ Balcarras. I am aware that we will probably be allocated none of them. But does that sound like a sensible line-up for the CAF?

I have contacted Pate's, Sir Thomas Rich's and The Crypt about appeals, based on the fact that he was not there to take the test, and Pate's and STR have said that he can take a very late test in May and then go to the appeals panel to try to convince the school to go over the PAN. The Crypt have not got back to me and I understand their admissions this year have not been finalised so I don't know whether we have a better chance here. Does anyone have any experience of applying in this situation? I wonder whether taking the test much later will mean that age standardisation will be more extreme?

And then comes the questions of preparation for the test - I got the CGP practice papers and got my son to sit a set cold just to get a sense of his starting level. He got 90% in VR, 60% in NVR but only 30% in Maths which he found way too long to get close to finishing. Does anyone have a sense of whether these scores are way off? I don't want to put him through the whole process if he doesn't stand a chance.

Apologies for asking so many questions. I would be grateful for any advice you could give me. We have so little time!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:41 am 
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I am guessing you know that you have little hope of gaining a place at any oversubscribed non-selective school, such as those you suggest, without an address within catchment. I am not based in Cheltenham or Bourton on the Water but, for Balcarras in particular, it seems as if the catchment area is very small indeed. The schools you are planning on listing are miles apart, I am unsure whether you are seeking to gain a place at one before you decide where to move to? If that is the case, your best bet may indeed be the grammars if you don't yet have a Gloucestershire address.

I am not sure anyone knows the actual pass mark for the CEM test for each school this year but I would guess that for most schools, your son's VR and NVR are good starting points and that you would be best off spending the little time you have left speeding up his maths. The competition for places at Pate's this year seem particularly tight and, as children need to achieve a pass in each section of the test there, he probably has an awful lot of work to do on his maths in that time. Crypt may indeed be your best bet if you have strong academic evidence. Sorry, I felt a need for someone to reply, but I am unsure if this contains anything you don't already know.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:45 am 
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I think the issue with maths could be curriculum based? Have a look at some KS2 maths tests and check whether there are gaps.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:38 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:44 pm
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Welcome to the forum!
I would echo what on the fence has said about Balcarras and Cotswold. I know that Balcarras is very oversubscribed and you are very unlikely to gain a place there unless you live extremely close to the school. I suspect that not yet having an address in Cheltenham will not be an issue if you are looking for a grammar school place. It certainly sounds like Crypt may be your best option given that they still have lots of unfilled places.

I would also focus on his maths and try and get him to practice some timings if this was an issue. Are you able to get him to do some mock tests before he sits the test? I guess it depends when you are moving. Message me if you want to know of a tutor that runs mock tests in Cheltenham (he runs them every month) We found these really helpful.

Good luck :)


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:27 pm 
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Thank you so much for these replies - that is all really helpful. I agree that it is very unlikely that we will get a place for a school based on an Edinburgh address but GCC are pressurising us to send in the CAF before the end of April rather than wait for us to have an address in Cheltenham and getting in touch then. I think it is because we cannot appeal for a grammar school place if we haven't sent in the CAF and the deadline to register appeals is the 20 somethingth of April.


I have been through the Maths test he did with him and he seems to have got in a massive panic about how much there was to do in not much time and he seems more confident in how to handle it now. I will check the English KS2 curriculum, though, to see if there is anything different from the Scottish curriculum.

The offer of a mock test with a tutor is a really helpful one, thank you, kaybee. The issue will be the logistics of getting down to Cheltenham to do it..!

It is so stressful trying to coordinate all of this from so far away and having missed the boat on all the allocations already. My biggest worry is that we send in the CAF and are allocated a school based on an Edinburgh address in the North East tip of Gloucestershire, miles away from where we will be actually living in Cheltenham and then he does not get a grammar school place and we are stuck with a school we cannot get to. Will they change the school allocation once we have moved into the area? I know they think that a 90 minute commute is acceptable to get to school, but I don't really want to consider anything beyond 30 minutes.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:44 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
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Location: Reading
Once you move, your position on the waiting lists for the various schools will change as you’ll be higher up the admission criteria for most of them. For instance, if you move very close to a school, it’s likley you’ll then be in catchment for that School and therefore will move well up the waiting list for that School and be above everyone else not in catchment, and ahead of those in catchment who live further away.

However until you move, you are counted as OOC and the distance will probably put you well down the WL.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 1:13 pm 
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Ah, thanks, Tinkers, that makes sense, and is a bit of a relief. I'll send through my CAF and then accept whatever place we're offered, no matter how far away, and then when we update our address then hopefully things will move a bit. Always better to have a place and hope for a better one than not have one at all, right?

Thank you so much for all the advice - it is so generous-spirited of everyone. I have just looked at the English KS2 curriculum and there are some differences: I'm pretty sure my son cannot manipulate Roman numerals to M (nor can I!) but I think much of the CEM test for Maths is about performing under timed conditions which will be the main thing to work on.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 1:22 pm 
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In answer to your immediate question about the CAF, if you are dead set on moving to Cheltenham rather than the surrounding area, I would suggest removing Cotswold from your CAF and putting a school closer to Cheltenham in as your second non-selective choice. Cheltenham isn't the most well-designed town to commute in/out of/through by car and so you may wish to pick a school closer to 'home'. I am unsure how long it would take to get to Crypt in the morning from Cheltenham - probably depends on where in Cheltenham you plan to live. I am also unsure how long it would take to reach the grammars from Bourton if you were thinking of living there but don't want to rule out the grammar schools.
Good luck! It must be very difficult doing this with, essentially, a map and a pin.

Cross posted with your reply to Tinkers


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 1:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:59 pm
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The traffic in Bourton is hideous normally and thricefold in the summer/sunny days, with a narrow Main Street/bridge/traffic light scenario. Whilst it is pretty to look at, I wouldn't choose to live there, not least because you don't get a lot of bang for your buck. Depending on how long you are prepared to commute for work, you could just apply to the outstanding Chipping Campden school which is just that, outstanding!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:10 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:00 pm
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Thank you for the replies re. school choices on the CAF. We are not thinking of living in Bourton but we really liked the Cotswold school because of the range of languages on offer which is really important for our son. It would mean a bus in and out of Cheltenham, which is where we are planning on living.

I think I will get the CAF in, be prepared to be allocated somewhere miles away, lodge an appeal for a couple of grammar schools and see how he fares in the test, and then update our address when we are in the area.

Thanks for the advice - it has been so helpful.


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