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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 11:31 am 

I am in the middle of writing a research piece on the effects of the 11+ on pupils focusing mainly in the Kent area. What I am really interested in is whether all this home tutoring and practise books etc to push a child through really helps. By teaching them to pass a test are they being taught to cope with the grammar school education they will have to endure for the next 7 years. In my own experiences there were many children who should not have been at a grammar school, they were pushed and could not cope with the level of many of the classes, as a result they struggled, developed a sense of failure in themselves because it wasnt the right system for them. But at 10 you have to do what your parents want, the childs life has been mapped out at 10 by external pressures, be it the pushy parent, the school that wants its results at 11+ to be higher, how often does the child get to chose what they want to do?

By pushing a child towards grammar education are they in fact being pushed away from certain career paths which they might actually want to pursue in later life. Does a grammar school widen their horizens or simply push them into a future of A-levels, university, a 2 a penny degree and a sense of what to do now when they leave uni at age 22? Is this what is expected? Would a child been given more choice if he/she had been to a comprehensive, could that child then make up their own mind more freely about the career they want?

I would love to hear some of your views with regards to my rant. Should all pupils be made to sit the exam on a date not specified, in secret so parents are unable to model the mind and 'fix' the result? Perhaps this would allow a few more children into the grammar schools from a less affluent background as pass rates will be dependant on true ability, not being moulded to answer a certain type of question.

Thanks for your time.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 12:36 pm 
I went to a grammar school and in my experience it was not the best education for the girls at the lower end of the scale. One girl I can think of in particular only gained 5 GCSE's and ended up working behind the counter of a cake shop. She wasn't thick, but had all her confidence and ambition taken from her because she couldn't compete and constantly felt a failure. I believe she would have excelled at a comp as she would have been up there at the top. Just my opinion, and by the way my child sat the 11+ last November. I am not anti grammar. Just offering an experience.

 Post subject: pressure
PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 4:37 am 
I think all parents worry about putting pressure on the kids but we will only know with hindsight whether it was truly a good idea to strive for a grammar education.Some kids are obviously right for it and others more difficult to "read" at 9-10. They may not have the maturity to decide what they really want from education then and if the boat is missed at 10 or 11 it may be too late to change. Also if grammar wasn't right transferring to the next best school that you would have preferred is likely to be impossible.It's a catch 22 and no mistake!

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 11:17 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2005 6:04 am
Posts: 6

I am no expert on research pieces but I must wonder at yours. Surely you should be trying to find out the truth? You can't do that if your mind is not only already made up, but you have expressed that decision to those you are trying to get opinions from.

True research into opinions is only possible if you hide your own.

You are also guilty of muddy thinking. You are confusing "pushy" with "affluent". I am sure there is a correlation, but they are different things.

I will make the point that I am pushy, NOT affluent. I taught my daughter myself. If many pushy parents are affluent, well, that is how they got to be affluent! Being affluent in itself is not particularly an advantage here. There must be a few affluent parents who are incapable of learning (and thus teaching) a test meant for 10-11 year olds, but how common is 2 totally thick parents, making lots of money with a bright kid? This is not quite the battle of rich kids vs poor kids you would like to make it.

I pushed hard for my daughter to do well in the Wandsworth tests (Verbal & Non-verbal). My hope is that she passes to get into a school with a good records of success with both gifted and non-gifted children. Admittedly I suspect just about ALL of those kids have pushy parents - those who didn't get in via the test had well pushed older siblings or lived in a catchment area the size of a postage stamp. I define buying/renting property specifically to get a child into a school as "pushy".

Should a child go to a particular school because their parents are pushy? When it comes to passing a test the answer could well be yes. Consider: to pass these tests a child needs a combination of intelligence, determination, and preparation. The relative quantity of those ingredients is flexible, but those are EXACTLY the same qualities the child will need to get the most out of a demanding education. The intelligence is the child's alone, but the determination and preparation can, to some extent, come from the parents. I say "some extent". You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

What if your plan was carried out? Well, first it wouldn't work. There is no way that parents won't find a way. My daughter's school DID carry out some such plan by not informing parents till the beginning of the autumn term when they were forced to give out Wandsworth literature that mentioned it. The result? I gave my daughter a highly stressful crash course on reasoning tests the moment I found out. She went "sick" rather a lot during that term, up to the test. When she was there she was probably to tired to do much learning, and as for her homework - well I did a lot of it. If only the school had informed me before the summer holiday's! All then would have been different. I wasn't alone in preparing my child during that term. In an effort to stop us the teacher responded by telling all the children involved that they had little hope of passing. Needless to say THAT resulted in rage from the parents and children being told not to listen to or trust their teacher! Mercifully the headmaster retired that term. The new headmistress has promised that things will be different for next year.

The point? Us parents will do whatever we think is in the best interests of our children. We are not interested in "justice" for other people's children, or the happiness or social theories of teachers. There is a scrum for the best schools, and those who push hardest get in. You could possibly persuade some parents to form an orderly line but they will be the fools. There will always be enough parents who find a way to shove their kids forward to leave no hope for the polite ones. Your plan will just swap kids with pushy parents for kids with parents who are both pushy AND devious.

In the second place it would not be necessarily a good thing if your plan worked. What if you did get the bright kids with unsupportive parents into these schools? Any teacher will tell you that without parental support their task is hopeless. Are you advocating removing these kids from their families?

This is just another argument of whether parents or authorities should be in charge of shaping children. Parents are a long way from perfect, and it is a lottery, with some children getting better than others, but can you propose a better solution? As best as I understand it the idea of the state raising children has been well tried, and the results are discouraging. Current thinking is that except in exceptional circumstances kids do best with their biological parents.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 12:05 pm 
Hi Blame.

Could I firstly apologise for obviously offending you in some way by my posting. Secondly I have not made up my mind at all on the situation. I am a product of the 11 plus system, from a broken home etc etc, but was given a great deal of support from family in the build up to the tests. I have recently worked within the grammar sysem, and thoroughly loved the school, its ethos, the staff and pupils, and I could see that it worked and the majority of pupils were exceedongly happy.

When I wrote my piece I tried to pose points which may insight certain people, if it comes accross as my own viewpoint, I can assure you that my views on the current system and how parents and pupils cope is perhaps not what you have assumed.

Can I just thank you for the time that you spent responding to me, I was simply curious as to what peoples views were on the subject to give me as wide a picture as possible as to the effects of the 11plus on as many people as possible.

Many thanks again.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 3:51 pm 

When I read your posting, it came across that you were trying to insight opinions as you intended.

I think it raised some interesting arguments, well done.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:03 am 
Hello Cumberlandkate

It is a while since your original post. Are you still pursuing your research? I went to a grammar and my daughter has recently started the same school. My daughter did not pass the 11+ but was allowed in on appeal.
Her experiences so far may be of use to you. I could be described as 'pushy' by some who do not know me.

I dislike 11+ selection, but we are stuck with it here in Kent and most of us are just trying to make the best of it for our children.

Let me know if you would like me to write again.


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 10:24 am 
my son recently attempted the 11+ exams .

the process for me was full of anxiety.

he is a very bright kid , but is not very willing to do extra work.
i sometimes worry if selective school is the right environment for him.

my reasons for selecting grammar schools are 2 fold
1 The academic and extra curricular curiculum match his interests.

2 he loves being challenged , i hope that the atmosphere will motivate him more.

however his constant moan about being made to do too much work is concerning and i do not want him in an environmnet where heis not confortable.

is my decision logical or should i let him atend the local comprehensive?

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 1:51 pm 
I would encourage your son to go to the Grammar. If he passed the exam then he will surely keep up.

None of the children enjoy the extra work but hopefully, as they get older (they are still very young at the mo), they will begin to understand that "you get out what you put in".

I'm sure the stimulating and competitive atmosphere will be good for him. My daughter hates the extra effort too but I've told her you have to work hard wherever you go. It could prove even harder work at a Comprehensive if your child is trying to achieve surrounded by SOME children who are a complete distraction. (I stress SOME because there are lots of clever, hard-working kids at Comps).

I also wouldn't worry that he might struggle at the Grammar after having had to do lots of extra work for the 11+ because, having looked at these forums a lot lately, it is obvious that MOST kids have to do extra work to compete for the Grammar places.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 2:05 pm 
there are also some very disruptive children who are not interested in working at the gramamr schools!!

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