Being completely over the moon and absolutely baffled that ds got a great score (120) that will get him into Ilford County High, I feel the overwhelming need to share some of my experiences with future parents preparing for the 11+ in Redbridge, and hopefully take away some of the many prejudices that almost prevented us from even trying!!
Here's what would be, in my opinion, useful info for other parents to have, and if you would like to share your experiences it would be greatly appreciated.
- how long has your child been preparing for the test
- what type of primary school was your child at
- did you pay for a tutor or did you tutor yourself (or not at all!)
- was the primary supportive or not
- what sort of score did your child get
- was your child self-motivated or not
In our case, ds is at a state primary rated 'good' by Ofsted and they seemed to have covered quite a lot of the maths content that was needed for the test. He is not top of the class, but usually in the higher groups for English and maths. He is very young, constantly makes silly mistakes in his work but does have a love for learning. When I asked his teachers at parents evening in year 5 if they thought it would be worth trying for a grammar school, they said 'well, he's above average...' and didn't encourage us at all. Which nearly put me off!!
As for tutoring, we were told by several other parents that 'most kids' who take the test have had private tutors from year 2, and you wouldn't stand a chance if you hadn't. We started preparing ds ourselves after Easter in year 5, about an hour a week or less (but for about 4 weeks in summer an hour a day, as we felt he was still quickly improving). The day before the test, he had a look at the familiarisation papers on the Redbridge website, do make sure the format wouldn't confuse him.
We used Bond books for maths up to age 11-12, but ds was struggling with about half of the questions at that level. We also used CGP material and First Past the Post books from this website, all very useful and quite different in style. We didn't do much English preparation, main focus was on maths.
Motivation: we had some difficult times with ds to say the least, but he had gone to the open day at the school and really liked it so we kept reminding him of that. He particularly disliked doing NVR, thought it was silly (I agree...) but going through one book of assessment tests has really paid off I think, in terms of question types and strategies to use.
Hope this helps!