It’s not as hard as it seems
The problem is that so many parents overthink the 11+. They believe the hype. They worry.
And while many parents want to get their children into the grammar school come hell or high water, others wobble. They start thinking about it at the beginning of Year 5, maybe after a grammar school open evening, or maybe after signing for next door’s bulk order of Bond’s books, and they don’t feel the pressure is right for their child. We hear all about the tiger mothers and the braggers (“here’s the 12-week scan – apparently she’s gifted & talented”), but the quiet ones are, well, quiet. They worry more about – and therefore often severely underestimate – their children’s academic ability.
So they think about the grammar school, but put it to the back of their minds, see the application form that needs a photo ID or a head teacher’s signature and put it aside thinking they’ll discuss it after the kids have gone to bed … and suddenly it’s too late. It was the end of term, sports day, holidays to plan, holiday clubs to find, school play, cake sale, class concert, school trip … for multiple children and on top of the day job!
But it’s not too late. Different counties have slightly different rules, but in each county we spoke to the story was similar: if your application is late then you don’t get considered until the waiting list round. But that round is not at all insignificant – more pupils than you might think turn down grammar school places and if you have a bright child then he or she still has a really good chance of getting a place.
The waiting list is in ranking order, including the Johnny-come-latelies and so if your child has done quite well in the test then he or she has a very good chance of an offer. For example, we know that a child ranked in about 90th place last year was offered a waiting list place on national offer day and that places at the same school continued to be offered after the start of the September term.
A child ranked lower in the list is unlikely to win a place as a latecomer, but the kind of parents who forget to put in the application probably only want their offspring to go to the grammar school if it really is the right school for them.
Go for it… sports day is over and the snorkels are not yet packed… pop that application in the post now.