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Thinking of changing DS's prep school to avoid the pressure of the next three years exams....how do I minimise the impact on the boys?(13 Posts)
DS used to crumble with tests. He moved to a prep school in year 7 & at first found the constant testing almost impossible to handle. Now he's 17 & admits that he finds exams easy to handle & doesn't get stressed at all.
Maybe it won't be such a bad thing if your sons do experience the joy (ahem) of exam conditions?
Not quite like you in that DS is in a state primary but using same lines as suggested by LadyM. DS understands everyone moves at 11 and we're just thinking move now to enjoy all the extra sports. We've not said it's an exam merely that the school will want to see the children do some maths and literacy to see if the reports from their schools are true.
Have your boys seen the school yet? If it is 7-18 I would expect that it will have some aspects which are missing from their current prep (at the very least there should be more facilities), and you can use this as a positive. If it is where they are likely to go at 11/13 then it seems obvious.
dunno, but my old friend is in the private system. She has her two girls in a school that goes from 7-18 also. Her kids are in year 6 and year 3 so she is benefitting hugely from not having to do selection exams and I honestly think her girls are too.
Wouldn't it be great to get them into a 7-18 school now and then just focus on what school is supposed to be about, ie educating them with skills for life?
And might the new school perhaps attract the quietly confident parents that you'd rather be surrounded by?
I'm starting to think it's worth a shot. Do it now before their anxiety increases?
Incredibly it keeps all the children....that's why I think the Good Schools Guide says parents find it less pressured but the children get where they need to by 18. It has great results.
I work full time so don't have to spend a lot of time with other parents so it's less about that really and more about the fact that all that chat changes the children and that will impact DS1. Also, have to say that some of our good friends (non hysterical ones) have also said that it's a nightmare etc. So seems to get to most folks.
If I take DS1 and 2 to have the exam do you think I should tell them the truth i.e. we are just looking at next schools and ideally you need to pass this exam....or we are looking at new schools or your senior years and this exam is practice?????
What do you reckon?
I woukd second what Suffolkgirl said. I know prep schools where the parents are told 'most of the DC move on to the senior school' but it is said in such a way as to give the very definite impression that those who don't go to the senior school have chosen to go elsewhere. The reality that KS2 parents find out is that there is a selective entry test and not all get through it. Make certain this is not the case in the school you are considering before you move your DS's
I sympathise because, as you say, you chose the school for its good nursery....your DS1 was so young... no one can really turn around and say you signed up for this......
"Also the school we would be trying to get into...is one of the schools everyone competes for at 11 and 13."
Are you sure that by putting them into the prep school they won't still have to sit the entrance exam at 11? Lots of my local Indie schools go from 2.5 -16/18 but a place in the prep school does not guarantee a senior school place. They still have to pass the exam at 11 the same as the external candidates.
Also DS1 has already been upset about the outcome of a class test and when I asked him why he was so upset he said it was because all the kids keep saying you have to get good results to get in to the next school. They dont get that from the school....they get that from their parents!
Honestly it makes my blood boil.
It is the main topic of conversation amongst parents and in past years some boys have not made it in to any good schools because it's so competitive.
Headmaster says it's the county...there aren't enough places and the parents have very very high expectations.
Also the school we would be trying to get into...is one of the schools everyone competes for at 11 and 13.
If the boys are happy, could you buy ear plugs and quietly refuse to join in with the hysteria? Tall order I know as we all like to fit in and have friends, but surely a lot of that hysteria is driven by the parents ... I'd let the boys be involved in the decision (though no long explanations or worrying). If your chosen school has a good intake quota at 11, maybe your DSs could finish prep school and then move. That might take the pressure off in all ways. Though of course by then you might have changed your mind ...!
Before you do, are you sure that the school is as serious as you say about entrance tests at 11+, or is it just from over anxious mummies who go against what the school recommends who you are getting your information from?
I know that if you spoke to some of the parents of our Yr 6 they would say that their kids have been tutored to within an inch of their lives, do loads of exam practice, but the reality is that in school int he Auutmn term they do an hour a week of NVR/VR practice (half a term of each, which in reality works out about 4 sessions of each), and we send home papers over the Xmas holidays (only to children that are sitting entrance tests), which we clearly say are optional, but are there if the parents do want them to have extra practice. Other than that our lessons remain normal. For CE, yes the kids have exams each term, which from the summer of Yr 7 are past CE papers, but the real CE revision only comes in the summer term of Yr 8. By then it's a good opportunity to learn those important study skills before they embark on GCSE studies.
Your child is young, he won't get more at ease at doing tests if he doesn't do them!
We chose our boys school at 3 for nursery. Now DS1 is 9 and DS2 is 6. Current school is very academic and seems the next three years hysteria sets in about the 11+ but more as that relates to the entrance exams for senior schools. Many parents seem to tutor their kids most Sundays etc etc. So....we didnt sign up for that either for us or for our DS's. DS1 hates tests under pressure. He does ok at school but already seems to crumble under pressure of being drilled in maths.
So, found a great school that is highly regarded which takes children from 7 right through to 18. All the same great facilities, sport, music etc (which both boys love). Exams would be end March this year for DS2 to go at 7 (admissions say he'd need to pass an exam but if he did he'd be in). DS1 has missed the entrance exam for Sept but she said their is a second exam to be waitlisted. So if he passed there are no guarantees and we'd have to go through the test again next year. Of course neither may pass as DS1 hates exam conditions and DS2 is the youngest in his year BUT I still feel that we are saving them and us from three years of pain from 10-13.
What would you do....give it a go and deal with the scenario of one getting in and the other not if it arises?
Also, how would we explain all of this to them when they love their current school, are thankfully oblivious to what they might face in the next few years? I don't want to scare them about their current school. Also if they don't get in (or one does and the other doesn't) what would we say and do? Think we would have to let them see some entrance exam type papers so they weren't blindsided so that would mean us having to do a little practice in the next few weeks so doing exactly what we wanted to avoid - putting pressure on them so young.
Hate this.....wish I could turn the clock back and make a better decision back then......
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