To eleven plus or not to 11+?
What do you think about the 11+?
My oldest son is quite a clever old sausage and always does very well at school.
We had to move schools recently (1/4 of way through year 5) for 2 reasons, 1 because we weren’t happy with the head teacher at the old school (long story, more of a politician than a caring head teacher), and 2 because we wanted to move nearer to a better comprehensive school. The one we were near was getting around 46% in the league tables which we didn’t feel offered the boys a good enough chance.
The subject of the eleven plus had come up at the old school and the head had said #quote “he hasn’t got a hope in hell”. So, much as I disliked the man I did accept that he probably had a better idea about that sort of thing than me and we forgot all about the 11+.
Fast forward to new school – after 2 weeks the class teacher asked to speak to me and asked me how he was getting on with his eleven plus tuition. I explained that he wasn’t sitting the eleven plus (and why). She was horrified. She said that she was very sure he would have a really good chance of getting into the grammar school and literally said that she begged me to reconsider.
Extra dilemma here is that the grammar school near us is Colchester Royal Grammar school – one of the best grammar school’s in the country. That should be a good thing, BUT, it means that the curriculum is massive and very intense.
From a pressure point of view, it is only acceptable to get As.
Oldest stepson lives in Kent, near him there are 3 grammar schools all of varying degrees of excellence. If we lived in Kent I would be very happy for oldest son to do the 11+ as he would almost certainly pass (nearly 500 boys get in there as opposed to 96 here) and the 2nd/3rd grammars aren’t as intense.
We discussed this with oldest son who said he DOES NOT want to go the the grammar school. He did do 11+ tuition for a while but was incredibly unhappy so after a lot of conversations we agreed to stop the tuition and let him go to the comprehensive.
505 boys sat the exam last year, only 96 got in.
This is a quote from the local gazette (by James Calnan):
TOP selective schools in Colchester are attracting parents who cannot afford to go private.
A “Migration Monitor” used by home move website moveme.com finds the town, which has two of the country’s top five grammar schools, is the third most attractive destination for people looking for a new home.
Chelmsford, with two more grammar schools in the top ten, heads the list and experts believe one reason is that parents who cannot afford to send their children to a fee-paying school are instead paying for private tuition in a bid to get them into a grammar school.
Colchester Royal Grammar School (CRGS) saw the numbers of youngsters hoping to gain entry in September this year increase by nearly ten per cent.
Last November, 505 children hoping to join CRGS sat the 11-plus exam, compared to 464 the previous year, while Colchester County High School has seen a smaller rise, from 485 to 499.
Roseanne Bullen, sales and marketing manager for Linden Homes Eastern, predicted this trend could become more marked in the next few years.
“As a growing number of families shun private schools and their expensive fees in favour of some of the UK’s top grammar schools, Colchester is set to benefit from a surge of families moving into the area,” she added. Read more in the Gazette
I discussed this recently with a lovely lady on twitter – who suggested that I was insane for not putting him in for the 11+ as passing it would mean that he would be educated at one of the best state schools in the country.
Since this conversation, and because I am the queen of indecision, I have discussed this again with oldest son. I also shared with him the aforementioned lovely lady from twitter’s opinion. “No” he said “I don’t want to go”. His reasons are pressure, losing friends, too many languages to learn (he prefers maths and science stuff).
Next day, at bedtime, oldest son says “Ok, I’ll go, but can I do the tuition at home?”
So, with just 3 months to go we are now planning an emergency 11+ tuition programme…. fingers crossed!