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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 11:29 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 11:13 am
Posts: 1
Location: Wolverhampton
I have just discovered this site and am sure I will be a frequent visitor in the coming years. I am a mother of three (daughter nearly 9, son aged 6 and a 1 year old) and am considering the local grammar for my daughter. I attended the school myself, as did my own mother, so naturally would like my own child to have the same opportunity. However, it seems that times have changed. I was accepted to grammar school following an eleven plus exam. I recieved no support from my primary (in a disadvantaged area) and was tutored by my mother, who I remember sitting me down a few times a week with some books from WHSmith. This was 1988. There was no private tutoring and I simply turned up for the test and that was that.
These days, it seems that many girls applying for the school come from prep schools and/or have recieved private tutoring for some time. My daughter is currently year 4 and is doing well, meeting all expectations and enjoying school. She is in the top set in all subject areas, though she struggles with maths. Her school is LEA and is very good and I know from chatting to other mothers that the teachers are supportive of grammar education for those children they feel would be well suited.
Having gone through the system myself, I feel that the education on offer at the local grammar would suit my daughter, as she performs better when closely supervised and pushed. The local comps are performing very poorly and seem to leave pupils "to find thier own way", which I do not feel would suit my daughter at all.
I have no wish to "groom" my child or to push her in any way. However, I also want to ensure that she gets the best possible chances and that, should we all feel that she would do well in grammar, that she is well prepared and confident. I do feel somewhat anxious that other children are being tutored quite early on and are therefore often at an advantage when it comes to the exams, despite not necessarily being suitable grammar material.
Any advice or support would be gratefully recieved. Thanks
An anxious Jayne

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 12:03 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8763
Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi Jayne

Welcome to the forum!

I'm afraid your diagnosis is correct, in that more and more children are receiving ever-higher levels of coaching. Please don't despair though.

Firstly, there is quite a lot of evidence that coaching can only do so much, so people who pay for years of tutoring are probably wasting their money. 9 months to a year is really all that is needed in almost every area.

Secondly there is a consensus on this forum at least that coaching will not help a child pass the exam if they are never going to be suitable for a Grammar. What it does achieve is familiarity with the test materials and awareness of the timing needed to perform well in the tests. For tests such as Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning, which are not everyday school subjects, a sensible amount of tutoring can benefit a child.

Your daughter is in the top set for each subject, which is an early indication that she could well be GS material. If she is struggling with maths the greatest contribution you can make to helping her is to ensure that she has total command of times tables.

If you support your daughter in preparing for the tests you will be doing the same as your mother did for you, but at the higher level that is the norm these days. There really isn't any need to pay for private tutoring provided you both feel that you can work well together.

Unfortunately the Wolverhampton section on the forum is very quiet. However, if you can find out what the tests for your preferred school comprise and post back here we will all try to help you. If you can name the subjects and who sets the tests (for example NFER) that will give us a starting place.


PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 2:08 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:47 pm
Posts: 1348
Location: Berks,Bucks
Hi Jayne,

I agree with Sally-Anne and will try not to repeat what she says.
It is a fact that in most if not all areas, pupils receive a greater and greater amount of coaching, and consequently all children need a reasonable amount of preparation.
For this, you can either get a tutor or DIY.
The advantage of a good tutor is that they have the experience and the knowledge of the exact exam format.
The disadvantage is obviously the cost, but also the risk you take when you chose a tutor.
(see here for some bad tutor experiences

There is lot of information on this forum now, and a lot of support on how to tackle the preparation for specific exam formats, but as the Wolverhampton forum is not the most active so you may have to find out some the information from other sources like the schools and any parents that are willing to give information. The more information the better.

It is important that you not only find out about the exam subjects but also their format (The exam board, NFER or else, and multichoice or standard format).
Once you know what you need to prepare for, we can help you with how to do it.

In the mean time, ask any question that you wish as many people are very happy to help. You may want to also post in the Wolverhampton section

Best wishes


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 4:18 pm 
Thankyou. I believe, having had a look on this site, that the WGHS uses the NfER and uses multichoice questions. They test maths, English, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning, which is exactly what they tested when I sat the exams. I know it seems early, but the LEA schools in our borough aren't very good, particularly our local comps, despite the efforts of the schools. The thought of sending any of my children to them fills me with dread. I loved my time at WGHS and it hasn't changed since my time there. I really do feel that the style of teaching and the discipline is exactly what my daughter needs and I think she would thrive in the environment.
You've confirmed my thoughts that years of drilling is of little benefit, particularly if a child isn't really suited to GS education, however bright they may be. I'm still very much testing the water but want to be as prepared as possible for my daughters sake. I'm playing down the whole "high school" issue as I really don't want to worry her or put any pressure on her so am trying to think of ways to boost her learning, without her realising what I'm doing. Times tables are currently a big thing, both at school and in our house and children are expected to know all of their number facts by the time they reach year 6 and be able to answer questions in an instant.
Thankyou for the help and I'm sure you will be seeing more of me in the future!
Kind Regards, Jayne

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:18 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:30 pm
Posts: 960
When you're doing tables, if at all possible keep going to 15. It makes such a difference to have these extra number facts at your fingertips both in the test, when time is of the essence, and in other maths work.

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