Entering prep school from state at age 11(17 Posts)
DS (year 6 in a state primary) was not offered a place at the (highly selective) independent school he sat the entrance exam for. The state option is awful. For reasons I won't go into, unfortunately I didn't get to register him to sit the exams for any other independent schools, all of which quite reasonably say there's no prospect of Sept 2013 entry now.
I am considering whether or not it would be worth finding a prep school for him for the next 2 years and having him try for 13+ entrance to other schools. Has anyone done this? My concerns are that it will be quite disruptive for him to change schools twice in three years and also that he'll be two years behind on common entrance preparation because most prep schools seem to start this in year 5.
On the other hand, the idea of him going to the awful state school is... awful. He definitely won't be up to 13+ after two years there.
I have no idea how common or uncommon it might be for a child to enter a prep school from state at age 11. Does anyone have any knowledge of this?
I know quite a few boys who have done this over the years. It seems to have worked quite well. Some Prep schools really don't seem to take any boys at 11, but quite a few of the more selective ones do. I know one family where all 4 boys are going to state until 11, then Prep for 2 years, then a 13-18 school.
Its very possible to do this, my ds school takes boys and girls in Yr 6, CE preparation is yrs 7 & 8.
But, you do need to find out the registration requirements for the schools you are looking at for 13+. Many of these schools are pre testing at 11+ (so he would have had to sit the pre test in January this year) or they are closing their registration lists 2 years early (or sometimes more) so it is worth checking with the schools before deciding to do 2 years in a prep school that then may not link up to your chosen schools for 13+. Are there any non selective independents who may have space in September? Have a look at each schools results as though they are listed as non selective, they still manage to produce the results at the other end!
We have some join us at yr 7 from state primaries, I work in a prep school, that is about to go up to 16. We still have a few places for yr 7 pupils in sept 13, I bet that most prep schools will also as they will have had a few children leave at 11, especially any co-ed schools, as girls seniors tend to go from 11 not 13.
Most schools start 13+ common entrance in yr 7, we find that previous primary school kids take a few weeks to adjust to slightly longer days, but then are fine.
We also looked into this as an option when DS failed to get into 4/5 schools he sat entrance exams for. I called a few of our local preps and found that a number of them didn't want him without French or Latin, unless we were prepared to tutor him over the summer to reach the required level. Some schools were receptive though so I think it might be a good idea to ring around and see what they say.
As Labro says too you'll need to make sure whatever school you're looking at for 13+ doesn't require a test done at 11. And some schools won't allow kids to try again at 13 if they already failed at 11
We are not in the UK right now but friends in SW London have told me that come the summer months schools often start contacting parents about occasional places becoming available......so don't lose heart just yet. Good luck.
Thanks all. Labro I have come up against the pre-test thing already. I have found one secondary school that lets them sit an exam at 12 but for 13+ entry. Some others seem to have a pre-test at 12 - presumably followed by another exam at 13.
You should find out which indies pretest when ...most i am applying to for DS do pretest in year 6 but one does not til beginning Year 7 but I am sure there are others like that also
As to French and Latin, DS year 5 - has done French for a good while now but I feel it is still pretty basic even at this stage and he started latin only in year 5 ...something that could be caught up if you worked over the summer with a latin tutor and remember they will set them by ability anyway for those in prep and he will have a couple of years to catch up - not all indies insist on latin entrance exam
As trinity said, I am sure some preps will have places in year 7 as they lose a few at year 6
Fortunately I did Latin A level myself so I could help DS a bit with Latin. It hadn't occurred to me that a prep might actually turn a child away for not having done Latin though!
DS has only done French to a very basic level at school so far as well
We wouldn't worry about no Latin, ours only start learning it in yr 6, they would just initially be put in the lower set.
Where are you based mendi?
DS's prep does take some boys into yr7. Partly because some boys leave at 11 to go to a nearby coed senior school although the majority stay on until 13 it does free up some spaces.
I teach Year 6, and a couple of boys each year take this option - often summer born boys whose lack of maturity meant that they did not do themselves justice at 11+.
There are always prep places available in Year 7, particularly in co-ed preps where the majority of girls move at 11+. Preps are very good at getting new arrivals up to speed in French and Latin, and if you go down this route then they will give you pointers towards websites etc to look at over the summer before your boy starts.
BUT the most important thing is to think about where you are planning to aim for at 13+. Some schools (St Pauls for example) will already have finished their pre-test selection in Year 6, whereas others (Dulwich for example) do their pre test during Year 7.
Well, just be careful and do your research re registry dates and pre test dates.
At ds's school, the pre test is in the October half term in year 7. I only know of one child that joined the school in year 7 from primary and they failed the pre test. Not my year group though so I don't know what the plan is now for that dc.
Can you identify any 'feeder' schools to the one you're after? I would talk to those first.
Thanks all. I have found a couple of good secondary schools who will do pre-test in Jan 2014 then CE in 2015. My concern is whether or not DS would do well enough in the CE, particularly given he has not learned French properly in state school up to this point.
Complicating things further is the fact that he has an offer from a selective secondary for 11+ entry where we live currently, but we had planned to move away this summer to reduce commuting time and increase 'family' time (only put him in for the exam for the local indie "just in case").
If we could move and be sure he'd do we'll enough in the prep to get into a good secondary, it would be a no-brainer. But I'm worried about maybe moving and finding that after 2 years in prep he hasn't reached CE standard.
I wish I had a crystal ball.
My DS1 started prep school in Y7 so just did the two years. He was fine with the CE - sat the higher papers, even in French which he hadn't done before. The only subject he didn't do was Latin, as the prep school started that in Y5.
He moved from overseas so much of the English curriculum was new to him.
There were another couple of boys who joined at the same time as him, from local primary schools.
DS started at a prep from year 7 with a few other lads. One came from another private school while the others were at state primaries. DS sat CE and gained places at a selective (2nd choice) & non selective (1st choice who only use CE to set the pupils) senior schools. He loved year 7 but at times felt year 8 was restrictive in comparison to his state school mates. Looking back (he's year 12 now), he feels doing two years at a prep was a good idea.
There are level 1 papers in French now for those who are weaker or who haven't studied it as long, so don't get your knickers in a twist about it!
Small point o detail: Dulwich don't pre-test, nor do they use CE. They have up to 70 places at 13+ (a lot of them will be taken by DCPS leavers), and I heard over 200 applicants this year.
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