Independent school entrance exams(15 Posts)
We currently live in the US but may be moving back to surbiton in 2013. I have been looking at independent schools int the area and as I understand it we have two choices for our DS who would enter yr 7 in September.
1) find a prep that will take him despite him having no French or Latin and then look at schools for 13+ entry or
2) choose a few secondary schools and see if we can prepare him for their entrance tests in a matter of weeks.
Does any one have any other ideas, advice, inside knowledge? I am getting quite stressed and we don't even know if we Re definitely o
I would try to avoid having to move him twice but you will need to move fast as most entrance tests take will place in January although many would consider later applicants, especially those with exceptional circumstances, if they still have places after acceptance/rejections in March. Most comprise papers on English , Maths, VR and/or NVR. At this entry point he would be one of a whole new batch of entrants so socially more easy to integrate.
For a prep school lack of Latin is likely to be less of an issue than French , does he know any Spanish or other language he could sit at CE instead ? ime Years 7 & 8 are all about preparation for Common Entrance Tests/13+ and could be quite pressurised. Relatively few join at this point, even within UK, so social groups and sports teams tend to be established.
Level 1 Fench has been reintroduced this year for CE, designed for those who are less able in the subject or haven't had a huge time to learn it. In the school I work in Latin is only started in yr 6, so this wouldn't be a problem, the child would be put in set 2 and would soon get the hang of it. I'd just advise some revision on the historical/myths aspect of it, but any school would be able t help with this.
Oh and have you considered the ACS American schools? Are any of them close enough?
Thanks LIZS I would prefer not to move him twice especially as expats we have already moved him around quite a bit. So we are trying to get a sense in the next week or so of whether the move might happen. Even if it just looks 'likely' but not confirmed I think we will have to try some entrance exams in January - which makes for a not fun Xmas! In the next week or so I might be back on here asking where to get past papers from! Acd I don't even know if they'd allow us to sit them under exam conditions here in the US or if we'd have to be in the UK in person.... conversations for another day.
Thanks too Trinity - ACS would possibly be a back up option but if we do come back to the UK we'd prefer to get him into the local system and not be with other expat kids at ACS where there's a high turnover of kids. We feel it would be more stable.
OP, a lot of the independent schools round London have closing dates of end Nov, I think. So I would call or email tomorrow explaining your situation and see if they can be a little flexible.
I think they will let him sit the exams in the US but might expect him to be here for interview?
If not, do not despair. Places do come up in March and some schools have second sittings quietly then, perhaps not the most competitive but good schools that may be able to be a little more flexible.
If you have an address by March, you can also apply to state schools using that address, once the first round results are out (I think). You will be placed on waiting lists in the same position you would have been had you applied on time, according to the published admission criteria. So this could be worth a try too.
There's an American school in Cobham which probably has buses from Surbiton. I think the entry dates for Hampton, Kingston Grammar have all closed now. Try St James Independent Boys' School which is in Ashford and has a very strong pastoral ethos, they might be more flexible. It is only a 5 minute walk from the station so easy for them to reach independently. Reeds is another possible and less academically demanding than Hampton. Shrewsbury House? Epsom College?
Moving back from states is a big upheaval, I think you're right to give 11+ a go.
Even if you have missed some registration deadlines I would still contact the schools and explain the situation, if they're totally unsympathetic its told you more about the school than any open day ever could.
Outside your immediate area both St Georges Weybridge and Reeds run buses through, Ibstock Place is becoming more popular. Don't rule out schools on the train line as it can be a quick journey so Emmanuels, and Halliford are easily accessible. Radnor House also run buses, its a relatively new school in Twickenham, but its proving very popular. City London Freemans run a bus through Hinchley Wood.
11+ around Kingston is very competitive, and if you do have to prep for 2 years, you will then have the option of Epsom College, St Johns (both run buses through Hinchley Wood) and CLFS have a further intake, as do Reeds,St Georges and Halliford.
I absolutely agree that its best to get him settled, but if it doesn't work out its not the end of the world.
I think you may find that St John's has closed its list to boys for that intake already and will be pretesting imminently . Likewise Epsom tends to close registrations 2-3 years ahead and has recently introduced a pre test, but at least then you may have to rely less on CE results . They may make the odd exception though.
Many lists will have closed, and schools are pretty hard line about stragglers (else their admissions process would quickly descend into chaos).
But I have known a great deal of flexibility being offered by some if the reason for late approach is a short-notice major move such as from overseas. It's always worth enquiring in such circumstances.
Thanks to all for your helpful replies. I've called a couple of secondary schools and in order to take the January entrance test we would really need to know by the middle of next week n order to get things organized (because of the Xmas break). Somehow I don't think it's likely that we will have a definite answer by then. So I envisage him having to do a couple of years of prep school and then looking for secondary at 13+. Not ideal, but as you say, not the end of the world either!
We moved from the US when DS1 was about to start Y7. We missed the boat on state school places and 11+ independent schools.
DS1 went into a 13+ prep school, settled quickly and was incredibly happy. He did higher level CE papers (although not Latin), and went on to A* at GCSE. Year 7 and 8 in prep school is quite magical.
We are very happy at the course of events, although we were unwittingly stuck in the independent sector for DS1 and then all of his siblings. This wasn't something we planned, but nor is it something we regret. I try not to think about the money.
Another question (or two)..... Given that we will probably miss the boat on 11+ entry we will most likely go for a prep school for years 7&8 and then aim for 13+. As I understand it we need to have applied to our chosen schools by June 2013 for 2015 entry. So when do the children actually take the CE exam? I ask because it's dawning on me that if we don't move next year then a move the following year would be even more difficult.......
The CE exams are the summer before they start senior school (i.e. the end of year 8), but some schools do pre-tests in year 7 - so worth finding out from your intended schools what tests your DS will need to sit and when they take place.
Good luck with your move - whenever it happens
A number around us pre-test in Year 6 (ie St Johns mentioned earlier) so it will vary but many just rely on entrance tests in January of Year 8 with registrations closing in the Autumn term - so you've still got time to look into those. These schools' tests tend to be English, Maths and Verbal and/or non Verbal Reasoning plus interview then offers arrive at Feb half term. Only a few will depend on the CE test results (May/June Year 8) alone.
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