Selective schools have been a prominent feature of our system for a long period of time. Many would be correct in considering them to be particularly competitive, as the demand for places is huge. Depending on the area, children need to achieve on average between 75% and 80% to be in with a chance of gaining a place. 7 out of 8 parents would fail the Eleven Plus Exam. I suspect that with the added time pressure in the exam, the pass rate amongst parents would be even lower.
It is no secret that Teresa May, our current Prime Minister is lauding the grammar schools. She herself is a product of that very system. Therefore, it is worth considering the possible changes that could eventually take place in UK Education. These changes will probably happen over a relatively large period of time or be shelved by the next government. Interestingly enough, there have been discussions between some key ministers and the Grammar School Head’s Association (GSHA), which have shed some light on the future of selective education.
From the discussions, it appears that there is particular enthusiasm for, as The Times have dubbed it, “Super-selective grammars“. In a nutshell, the “brightest 10%” of the general population will be selected for places at these grammar schools and selective testing will be integrated into our school system. Of course, these are merely preliminary discussions, however, they illustrate how we have increasingly turned to the East for educational inspiration (standardised selective testing is the norm in the Orient).
Finding the right 11 plus tutor can be tricky, especially with new tutors and centres popping up on a daily basis. Be sure to find a tutor that suits your needs and whose teaching style works well with your child and keeps them motivated and engaged.
The best and most reliable source is word of mouth. Make sure that your tutor not only helps your child to pass the exam for your chosen school but also helps prepare them for when they are there. If they get in and struggle to keep up with the fast pace it could be damaging to their self-esteem. Talking to other parents in and around the local area is a good place to start to find the right tutor for your child.
Remember to make sure all staff are DBS checked. It’s also worth noting whether they are members of The Tutors’ Association (TTA)
I’ve been preparing some students for the KS2 English exams and I can take solace from the fact that I have used some KS3 material so they won’t be as intimidated by the difficulty… However, I’m fairly convinced that destroying a child’s confidence early on by making papers so difficult, won’t result in a greater confidence in the subject, nor improve standards in the long term.
It is true that it is important to stretch children, but having read with children with low levels of literacy before, in my experience it certainly does not encourage children to keep reading everyday when illiteracy is crudely highlighted by an exam.
When I took these KS2 exams, I barely knew what they were about and took them with a light heart. Now, I think it’s become necessary for kids to have pressure, when it shouldn’t really be a concern. Yet sometimes there is excess pressure put on children. It really isn’t good for them in the long run. Some children just aren’t ready for that weight of expectation.
Jonathan Strange – An RTG Tutor
A CBBC Newsround survey of 1200 children suggests that less that 1 in 4 children aged between 10 and 12 do not have a social media account.
The age limit for using social media is 13 years and over. Of the children who have social media accounts, almost a quarter of them are said to have experienced online bullying.
With more than three-quarters of children in the UK using social media, the question that needs to be asked is, how aware are parents of the pitfalls of social media?
According to the same poll, ‘among 16 to 18 year olds, two in five had used social media to spread gossip and a quarter had used it to say something “unkind” or “rude” to someone else online with more than half of these having seen online bullying’.
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Can you answer this 11 plus question in under 30 seconds?
A newspaper reported last year that marine experts at the Sea Life Centre in Brighton were teaching an octopus to open jam jars to get at food as a way of stopping it becoming bored. Assuming that it can open four jars simultaneously and that each jar takes 30 seconds to open, how many jars can the octopus open per hour?
With the new academic year well under way, and parents evening looming ever closer, now would be a good time for parents to take stock of what additional help may be required for their child.
It may be something as simple as taking children shopping and letting them count out the change (though this may not be a good idea on a busy Saturday morning!), or predicting how many red cars you pass on the way there.