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Which secondary school to target? DD wants to study Maths at Uni

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    (Original post by Mr M)
    Primary schools are expected to identify between 10% and 15% of each cohort as 'gifted'.
    At the size of my primary school that would have been about 2 kids per class. But I probably think most primary schools have less kids then they actually do cos mine was kinda small (although not like 9 kids to a year small).

    But that really does kinda show that labelling a kid 'gifted' isn't really that relevant. Yeah, they're better at a certain subject (or in general) then most of their class - but that's a really huge amount of kids - and their not all going to Oxford or Cambridge.
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    (Original post by Coolcat16)
    Very impressive. Congratulations!

    Its not the reputation - its the quality of teaching and academic environment that I am thinking about. There are some really motivated children who do well no matter what. They are driven from inside. My daughter is like that NOW. But, when she gets into her teens, its her friends etc that will influence her greatly. In selective schools, the environment is very academic - so Im thinking it could be a better choice even if it means selling our home and moving.

    I'm happy to be corrected.
    Thanks 😀

    I know the sixth form college I turned an offer down from was very academic, especially in comparison to my current school, where there are a lot of behavioural issues - but honestly, from someone who is in that process currently, the whole process from application through to summer exams can be rather stressful and therefore having a good network of friends around you is really helpful. And whilst I know that moving now would allow your daughter to make good friendships before that time came, there is also the possibility that she may struggle to settle in. I would also make the point that, according to my school ofsted report from January this year, the quality of teaching at my school requires improvement. And I was one of the top GCSE students in my area, including getting better grades than most students in the year 11 group from our nearest private school, so clearly grades etc are also affected by the motivation and general ability of the student. I can certainly see your point, but it's also worth bearing in mind that, as one of my teachers said to me before my interview, if Cambridge think you're good enough for them to educate, it doesn't matter what school,you come from, they will offer you a place. So a selective school or not certainly wouldn't be the end of the world.


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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    It's not necessary, and I think the added pressure/stress of uprooting and moving just to "benefit" your daughter could end up being counter-productive.

    My son went to a reasonably good local comp after missing out (narrowly) on grammar school places at Y7 and again for Y12/13. We refused to go down the additional 11+/entrance tutoring that seems to be the norm.

    He's now at Cambridge, after self-studying STEP, etc (although for Engineering not Maths). He also changed his mind at least 3 times about his course during the year before applying.

    I would be very wary about pushing (or encouraging her to push herself) down a specialised path at this early stage. Of course give her any encouragement she needs, and help her to take advantage of any opportunities, but please don't invest too emotionally in Cambridge as the be-all and end-all. There be dragons down that path...
    Agreed.


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    To everyone saying that year 5 is too young to know what you want to do with your life, I would also point out that I've known what I wanted to do since I was in like year 1. I mean, yes, when I started secondary school I decided I wanted to be a maths teacher rather than I primary school one (I didn't realise you could just teach one subject before I got to secondary school) but within a year, I wanted to do science, and I haven't looked back.


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    (Original post by Mr M)
    Primary schools are expected to identify between 10% and 15% of each cohort as 'gifted'.
    This sounds like a pretty terrifying practice to me. Do the kids get a choice about being labelled as 'gifted', or do they just have to put up with it?
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    (Original post by rayofsunshine98)
    To everyone saying that year 5 is too young to know what you want to do with your life, I would also point out that I've known what I wanted to do since I was in like year 1. I mean, yes, when I started secondary school I decided I wanted to be a maths teacher rather than I primary school one (I didn't realise you could just teach one subject before I got to secondary school) but within a year, I wanted to do science, and I haven't looked back.


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    Yes, of course there are a few people who decide when they're in primary school what they want to do and end up doing that job. But that's a very small number of people and most of the time the kids know what that job kinda involves (often because a parent or another relative does that job). A 10 year old almost certainly has no idea what a mathematician does or even what uni maths involves - I know because at that age I loved maths and wanted to do it for a job. Only an EXCEPTIONAL 10 year old would be doing anything at all similar to even A Level maths. And I'm sure OP's daughter isn't one of those kids because if she was OP would have suggested at some point whether their daughter should consider taking her GCSEs early.
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    (Original post by davros)
    This sounds like a pretty terrifying practice to me. Do the kids get a choice about being labelled as 'gifted', or do they just have to put up with it?
    No choice and it often means they are singled out for worthless interventions based on pseudo-scientific pedagogies such as learning styles.
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    (Original post by Mr M)
    No choice and it often means they are singled out for worthless interventions based on pseudo-scientific pedagogies such as learning styles.
    So in a "bog standard" comprehensive you might as well stick a poster on their back saying "I'm a big swot - please give me a good kicking behind the bike sheds"?

    I think I'd have been tempted to fail a few exams on purpose to get out of this nonsense if they'd had it when I was at school!
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    (Original post by finance_goy)
    End of the day, it comes down to her. Being able to add fractions well does not mean being able to derive the Gauss Markov Theorem effectively. Education gets exponentially harder.
    Preach.

    If you told me in Y7 that I would currently be doing A level maths and aiming to get into medicine, let alone in Y5, I would've just laughed at you. I've changed my career plans so many times, it's unbelievable. At one point, I wanted to study music along with french in USA, taking music, french and biology (odd combo, I know).

    I don't think it's bad to aim high at such a young age, because later, you would've reached the top and lots of doors would be open for you. But then again, I guess that's the russian talking in me lol
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    (Original post by davros)
    So in a "bog standard" comprehensive you might as well stick a poster on their back saying "I'm a big swot - please give me a good kicking behind the bike sheds"?

    I think I'd have been tempted to fail a few exams on purpose to get out of this nonsense if they'd had it when I was at school!
    I hardly ever see anyone being given a hard time about being a 'swot' these days. Times have changed for the better in this respect.
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    (Original post by SmallTownGirl)
    Yes, of course there are a few people who decide when they're in primary school what they want to do and end up doing that job. But that's a very small number of people and most of the time the kids know what that job kinda involves (often because a parent or another relative does that job). A 10 year old almost certainly has no idea what a mathematician does or even what uni maths involves - I know because at that age I loved maths and wanted to do it for a job. Only an EXCEPTIONAL 10 year old would be doing anything at all similar to even A Level maths. And I'm sure OP's daughter isn't one of those kids because if she was OP would have suggested at some point whether their daughter should consider taking her GCSEs early.
    Yes, I know it's relatively small in terms of numbers, but just wanted to make the point that it isn't unheard of


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    (Original post by Coolcat16)
    Did you know at 10 what you wanted to do with that pilot license ?

    ofcourse its hard to predict her ability at this age. Do you think I should say "stop being so stupid, you can never get into cambridge" ? .I wont. Even if she tells me she wants to be a supermodel, I wont ever tell her she cant do it. I will do everything I can to support her and help her get there. At this point, given the info we have, I know maths will be her strength even if she chooses biology at Uni. So, I am trying to get her into a school that supports her in her NATURALLY talented subject, even if she decides to do something else later on.
    Comprehensive schools are well equipped to get people into Cambridge - I had students get in every year.

    Does she do the Primary Maths Challenge run by the Maths association? She's missed the UKMT Junior Maths challenge for this year - some Year 5s do it.

    http://www.m-a.org.uk/primary-maths-challenge
    https://www.ukmt.org.uk/individual-c...ior-challenge/

    SHe could also be having at go at these:
    http://nrich.maths.org/8495 and submitting her solutions.
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    (Original post by rayofsunshine98)
    Yes, I know it's relatively small in terms of numbers, but just wanted to make the point that it isn't unheard of


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    nobody is saying its unheard of. the point is that at her age she doesnt understand what 'doing maths' means, so setting it as a lifelong goal is pretty stupid. one vague anecdote by a teenager who hasnt even finished uni yet doesnt change that.
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    (Original post by Coolcat16)
    Hi all,
    My daughter is currently in Year5 at a local state primary school. She is good at maths and enjoys it. Her long term goal is to study maths at Cambridge.

    11 plus exams are fast approaching. We must now decide which schools we want to aim for. I have a nagging feeling somewhere that we didn't do a thorough research to help DD choose a school that suits her. We live in Croydon, but we are happy to move anywhere (commutable to London) for the right school. So far, we've been considering Tonbridge Grammar School, Newstead Wood School and Henrietta Barnett school.

    Henrietta Barnett is our #1 choice. Why? Because its the only state school that stands in the top10 alongside top privates. Because they have a impressive Oxbridge record.

    Please can I ask the wise people of this forum to help my daughter choose the right school ?

    1. DD plans to start preparing for UKMT Junior challenge soon. Does Henrietta Barnett school offer support /guidance if she wants to work towards BMO?

    2. Which secondary schools would you recommends we consider for her?

    3. We haven't looked at private secondaries at all. We can afford to send her to one of those top secondaries but that means major compromises on lifestyle for us. In your opinion, do you think sending her private is worth it ? Do private schools really make a difference in terms of polish etc or are top state secondaries as good?

    Any other relevant advise is gratefully received.
    My main observation would be that Cambridge isn't looking for 'polish'. It's looking for ability and passion for the subject. This can be nurtured and brought on as well at a good state comprehensive with adequate support at home than it can at Charterhouse or Shrewsbury. That isn't to say that public schooling doesn't have great merits (I would say that), but equally it's not the be-all and end-all.

    I think my other observation is that a lot can change between 9/10 years old and 17, so it mightn't be prudent to make longterm plans just yet.
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    (Original post by xianlong)
    nobody is saying its unheard of. the point is that at her age she doesnt understand what 'doing maths' means, so setting it as a lifelong goal is pretty stupid. one vague anecdote by a teenager who hasnt even finished uni yet doesnt change that.
    I didn't understand what being a teacher was really when I was 5, did I? It didn't stop me from wanting to be a teacher. I just think it's not worth knocking people's dreams, yes, she may change her mind, but what's wrong with aiming high?


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    She has no comprehension of what maths is like. No surprise maths is her fav subject at school but that's the only thing you do at primary school that isn't pointless boring and ****. If she's smart enough she'll be smart enough and get in. If not then she wont. It doesn't matter what specific school she gets into as long as it's a good school. The greatest extent to which I would select at school is maybe to make sure you go for a secondary school that also has a sixth form which offers further maths a-level so she has the chance to comfortably go onto study that. Although yeah she might go through secondary school and realize one of the many subjects she hasn't even had the change to study yet is her fav.
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    Actually choosing a school with a fast track maths program might be a good idea. My state school did one and it's what is allowing me to study all further maths next year. I am extremely grateful that I had a great teacher in year 8 (who I had all the way up to year 11 infact) who saw my potential and nurtured me. The only extra stuff we did in terms of lessons was lunchtime sessions twice a week in year 9- did gcse ins year and as level in year 11. Doing fast track has given me a lot of confidence in terms of academics and yeah I'm thinking of going for cambridge now. However if she already thinks that she's a special super snowflake above all her peers then maybe the same thing wont happen.
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    When I was 10 I was brilliant at maths, wanted to go to top universities, loved it, went on maths trips with the gifted and talented programme, and now I hated the a level so much I dropped it. It's extremely unlikely she will want to do this in 8 years time, and going to a top school can be a disadvantage. It is definitely better to get 8A* from a low ranking state school than a top successful school.

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    Man when I was that age I barely had any concept of doing anything at university
 
 
 
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