Which Grammar school? or private school education?
- Private Schools: There is a huge range of Independent/private schools spread out over Great Britain, Ireland, The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Private or independent schools are fee-paying schools.
- Grammar Schools: Grammar schools in England and subsequently in British territories overseas have a long and colourful history as part of a highly rated education system.
Non-Verbal Reasoning 11+ Skills
- Analysing Shapes and Letters,
- Breaking Codes
- Completing Series of Shapes
- Find the Odd One
- Similar shapes and figures
- Words Out
- Word Connections
- Word-Number Codes
- Words with Multiple Meanings
Non-Verbal 11+ Questions Explanation
- Non-verbal skills are often the format, 11 plus students are least familiar with.
- 11 plus non-vions areerbal reasoning test formats are very similar to what you would see in a IQ test. This is because 11 plus non-verbal reasoning tests are designed to measure aptitude / intelligence.
- There are many figures which are grouped together in certain patterns.
Grammar school guide
What is a Grammar School?
Grammar schools are selective state-funded secondary schools that have a strong focus on academic achievement. These schools select their pupils into Year 7 by means of an academic examination called the 11+ or “11 plus”. A small number of grammar schools also have an intake into Year 8 or Year 9 and test pupils with an equivalent 12+ or 13+ Exam. Grammar schools do not charge fees, and competition for places is generally very high.
There are over 3000 state-funded secondary schools in the UK, and out of these currently, 164 are state-funded grammar schools, with approximately 167,000 pupils. Grammar schools can be co-educational or single-sex; although most single-sex grammar schools now accept both boys and girls in the sixth form.
164 grammar schools are located in 36 English local authorities. There are a further 69 grammar schools in Northern Ireland, but none in Wales or Scotland. It is not always necessary for you to live in an area with state grammar schools for your child to gain a place at one. A few grammar schools recruit from outside their catchment while others offer boarding facilities. Most grammar schools, however, give preference to those living within their catchment areas.
Not all selective grammar schools have ‘grammar’ in their name, e.g. Dr Challoner’s High School. Also, many schools with ‘grammar’ in their name are actually fee-paying independent schools, e.g. Bradford Grammar School. Independent Schools select their pupils using their own bespoke Year 7 School Entrance Exam (sometimes referred to as the 11+), which occurs in January of Year 6 and has some similarities to the 11+ grammar school exam.
The earliest schools connected to monasteries were called scolae grammaticales. These schools initially were established to teach Latin grammar, the language of academia, thus the origins of the name.
However, in more recent days, Grammar schools are seen as selective academically-oriented secondary schools in England. They also now teach a wide variety of subjects.
Grammar school, private school, state schools and what else?
- Grammar School: Secondary education in a county with selection at 11 (the “11+ exam”) Takes the most academically successful children only.
- Secondary Modern: Ditto. For children who were not selected for Grammar Schools
- Comprehensive: Secondary education in areas without selection, or in areas where there is still selection but the school was built after the 1976 education act, which attempted to end selection.
- Academy: secondary education in any area. Originally a plan to have businesses “sponsor” or co-operate in the running of schools, the word is now used for any secondary school that wants to use it. Often used when Secondary Moderns have become Comprehensives, despite selection still being partially practiced. Also often used when Comprehensives have “failed” and been re-opened as a new regime. A humpty-dumpty word.
- High schools. a smallish number of secondary state-funded schools choose to call themselves High Schools. In a similar way to the Acadamies, these are often re-branded schools with a difficult reputation in the past.
- Community College: Secondary and tertiary (further) education in one establishment, often for remote areas with low rolls. Usually comprehensive in principle. A state school with other functions. Some had special units for children excluded from other state schools, and taught in a very different way. I’m not sure if that still happens, it does not at our local one.
- Independant: fee paying school of some sort. May or may not practice selection. Not state funded, but state inspected. There are independent schools for both primary and secondary education. A handful call themselves High schools, and another Academy schools. Tricky things, names.
- Preparatory School: a fee paying school intended to prepare children for the Major public schools that admit at 13, rather than 11. A sort of training ground for privilege. Not, at one time, selective most are now.
- Public School: Secondary age, fee paying school, usually established before the 1945 education act. Some a very long time ago. Usually selective, but with exceptions. Not state funded, but state inspected. Divided (by themselves) into Minor public and Major public.
Additional School notes
The Major public schools, 7 in number, were excepted from the 1868 public education act. Mainly so they could still charge fees and be selective.
The vast majority of Boarding places are in Public schools, although there were state boarding schools for the children of servicemen and diplomats at one time. I think these are pretty much a thing of the past.
.Faith-based variants of the above have been excluded. These are either toally or partially funded by the CofE, Catholic, Jewish, Sikh, or Muslim religions).
Also excluded are choir schools.
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Should they spend the money and send their child to a Private School? Or is going down the Grammar School route a better option?
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Which school guides – Which school next?
Of course, much depends on where you live. If you live in London or other big cities such as Birmingham or Brighton, finding a Grammar School in your area may be very difficult, if not impossible. Both Wales and Scotland also got rid of all their Grammar Schools some time ago.
However, if you live in Kent, Buckinghamshire or Lincolnshire chances are there’s a good Grammar School nearby. And in Northern Ireland too. Today there are around 163 Grammar Schools in England and a further 67 in Northern Ireland.
For fans of Grammar Schools, there’s some good news too. The Government is proposing a £200 million investment over four years to expand 16 existing Grammar Schools. It promises this will open up much greater access to pupils in more deprived areas.
You can see the full list of the schools that are expanding here.
Putting Grammar Schools first
Obviously, there is one main reason why parents are likely to put a Grammar School first, ahead of a Private School. They’re free! But it’s not the only reason. There are other good reasons why parents might choose a Grammar School rather than a Private School.
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Excellent grammar school results:
It used to be the case that you needed to send your child private if you wanted them to get the best results. But that’s no longer the case. Some of the best schools in Britain are now in the state sector, according to The Sunday Times Parent Power League 2021.
Boys’ grammar Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet recently topped its state school list followed by girls’ grammar The Henrietta Barnett School in Hampstead Garden Suburb with Wilson’s School Wallington in Sutton in the third spot.
Undoubtedly, the gap between results in the independent sector and those in the state sector are narrowing at both GCSE and A-Level. In 2016 before the new grade system was introduced, just 79 schools managed to get 50% of their pupils achieving an A* at GCSE. 63 of these were independent schools and 16 state schools. This year 38 state schools achieved the equivalent benchmark.
It’s a similar picture at A-Level too with State Schools slowly catching up Private Schools. According to the Independent Schools Council (ISC), the proportion of Private Schools achieving A or A* at A-Level fell from 52 per cent in 2010 to 47.9 per cent in 2017.
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11+ entry system:
While all Grammar Schools have an 11+ entry system this isn’t true of all Private Schools. Some, including Eton College and Harrow School, do not accept pupils until the age of 13. This is because the vast majority of pupils still come from private Prep School, rather than through the state system. Understandably many parents prefer the idea of their child going to secondary school at 11, rather than 13.
Greater social diversity:
Finally, many parents prefer Grammar Schools because generally, they offer a greater level of social diversity compared to Private Schools. Although some children from deprived backgrounds do go to Private Schools on a scholarship or bursary, most are from wealthy backgrounds.
Grammar Schools, on the other hand, do offer a greater level of social diversity – albeit not as much as non-selective state schools. With the planned expansion of some existing Grammar Schools, it is hoped to increase social diversity even more.
Poor choice of secondary schools:
For parents living in some areas where there aren’t Grammar Schools and where state schools are poor – or perceived to be poor – parents often choose to send their child to a Private School. They believe they will get a much better education in the independent sector than in the state sector.
Excellent sports facilities:
Undoubtedly sports facilities at Private Schools are usually much better than schools in the state sector. Grounds are usually much much more extensive and better maintained than those of state schools and swimming pools and proper running tracks are commonplace. There are also specialist sports coaches for those who want to pursue a particular sport.
Better musical facilities:
As with sport, musical facilities are usually much better at a Private School than at a Grammar School. Many offer a huge range of instruments students can play. They also offer opportunities to play in orchestras and sing in choirs.
Earlier we said that the gap between Grammar Schools and Private Schools was narrowing in terms of attainment. This is true. However, there is still quite a big gap. For example, the proportion of Private Schools getting A*s at A-Level is still more than twice the national average.
More subject choice
Although it varies from school to school, generally there is much more subject choice in Private Schools than in Grammar Schools. For example, many Private Schools offer a much broader range of languages (Latin, Greek, Russian and Mandarin are commonplace) as well as excellent facilities for ‘non-traditional’ subjects such as Photography.
Conclusion: Private v Grammar
At the end of the day, it’s largely a personal choice for parents. Every child is different and it’s important they feel comfortable in the school. There are advantages and disadvantages to both systems. Ironically, many Grammar Schools try to model themselves on old fashioned Private Schools with a focus on uniform, discipline and structure whereas some Private Schools have become more relaxed and inclusive of late. Certainly, when it comes to results at GCSE and A-Level the gap between Grammar and Private Schools has narrowed. However, it’s fair to say that Private Schools generally offer much better facilities, if not always necessarily better teaching.
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Finally, London Pre-Schools Guide.
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