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11Plus – should you enter your child?

11+ exam

If your child is in year four, chances are you’re considering if you’ll be putting them in for their 11Plus. Here are a few things to consider before making the choice to enter or not.

Pressure

Grammar schools are an appealing option, they often have amazing GCSE results, smaller classes and excellent teachers.  But they also come with a higher level of pressure.

Before making the decision to consider a grammar school for your child, consider how they’ll cope with the pressure, not only with the studying, but also the test itself.

The pressure doesn’t stop at the test itself, there’s also the worry of will they pass, and even if they do, will they get offered a place? All of these are things to consider, especially if your child doesn’t cope well with pressure.

Travel time

Is the grammar school your nearest secondary school?  Or will your child have to travel further to get there?  This can be a huge issue to consider as it could add several hours onto your child’s day.  Coupled with the extra homework this can mean your child will struggle to find time for extra-curricular clubs, friends and even family.

Cost

Chances are that if your child is going to take their 11Plus, you’ll be considering hiring a tutor to go over the advanced English, verbal reasoning and maths.  Most state schools don’t cover these within the National Curriculum.  That means you’ll need to consider the cost of hiring a private tutor for over a year.

On top of this, will your child be eligible for free travel? If not you could face an expensive travel bill each month, sometimes in excess of £100 a month.

Uniform

As with private schools, grammar school’s uniform costs can be higher than state schools. It’s well worth taking a look on the website to see what uniform is required, where it can be purchased from and how much it will cost. Some schools also run second hand uniform sales, so it’s well worth asking the school when they are and if you can attend.

Real time feeling

Above anything, as with choosing any secondary school, it needs to be the right fit for your child.  The best way to determine that is to visit the school and get a real feeling for the environment.  Most schools run open evenings up to a year in advance and you can also speak to them and arrange to view the school on a standard school day.  This can often give you a real feel for what the school’s like, what the pupils are like and how the school feels when they’re not ‘on show’ as such.