We all know that the 11+ entrance exams are a big challenge for many pupils, whatever their background. With many entrants having access to personal tutors or attend a private preparatory school where they have a focus on these exams, it is far from a level playing field going into these tests. The Foundation’s expanded “tuition programme” being offered in conjunction with Trinity School is just an attempt to go some way towards levelling that playing field. We must remember that 11 of the 15 pupils on the programme have had one term of extra tuition only and thus, whilst highly intelligent, they are still playing catch up on those kids that have been tutored privately for many years.
Why are we telling you this? It is to provide a little bit of background to the results for the mock ‘familiarisaion’ tests organised by Wallington County Grammar School’s PTA. For all 11 Trinity Programme entrants to these tests, this was their first experience of true exam conditions and feedback is that it was a steep learning curve for many. Several pupils reported not being able to finish the Maths paper because of timing issues: we will work with them on this aspect of exams prior to the real thing in September.
We won’t bore you with reams of data on how each pupil fared but needless to say there was a range of results, with some right up there in the top 20% of the 1,200+ entrants and several further down the list. Our experience tells us that none of the pupils should be discouraged: last year one pupil was placed in the 70th percentile in the mock test in June but went on to win a place in the September exam (with a place awarded in March suggesting a top 20-25% finish). Words of encouragement have been provided to the parents saying that some hard work will be required over the summer but there is no reason why they all cannot emulate Alfie Dixon’s performance in 2016.
We have asked their primary schools to provide extra homework and the Foundation has provided all pupils with exam practice books. We hope they still have time to enjoy their summer holidays as well.