Entering DC for 11+ at fancy private schools which you can't afford.

(53 Posts)
WetGrass Thu 19-Sep-13 14:44:01

My argument 'pro' would be that it is good experience to compete against other bright kids - and potentially it could be a Plan B if the state schools' 11+ was a washout and we won the lottery; and she got a scholarship; and we didn't worry about her brother being envious . From DDs point of view - it would also dilute the anticipation of the single 11+ exam which decides the state schools. For private schools - she'd be well placed to go for music/sport/art scholarships - which again seems a more fun Y6 than being all about SATS and NVR.

On the 'contra' - I would guess they would find you out at interview if you weren't totally into it? Dd might fall in love with a place where she won't go...? Exam over-load? Inferiority cOmplex? We'll sign her up regardless and finish our days in the poor-house?

Ladymuck Thu 19-Sep-13 14:57:14

Main downside round here would be that the state school exams are months before the private school exams.

The tests themselves can be very different, as are the numbers sitting, so I'm not entirely sure that the process works as a genuine mock. State schools often have multiple choice (cheaper and faster to mark), whereas private schools want to see how you write and how you think (so marks for showing working in maths etc).

I also wonder how you would incentivise someone to sit exams for a school that they wouldn't go to? Not a problem if they're not doing any extra work.

So much depends on the area and the schools. We live near superselectives which are very tough to get into, and whilst the independent schools are selective, they are relatively much easier to get into.

QueenOfToast Thu 19-Sep-13 15:01:08

TBH, I can't see any reason why you would want your DD to sit exams for schools that you are very unlikely to send her to:-

1. It costs £££ to even take the exam for these schools with registration fees varying from £25 to £150.

2. You need to prepare differently for independent school exams than you do for most 11+ exams. At indy you do papers in verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, maths, english (comprehension and creative writing). Also (in this area) the 11+ exams are September of Year 6 and the indy exams aren't until January of Year 6 so it's a different schedule of work/preparation.

3. Scholarships are usually only worth 5% to 10% of the fees (and sometimes are 'just for the prestige' and have no financial award attached at all).

4. She will be competing against people who really want places at these schools so if she is not motivated or properly prepared, her chances of success will be reduced.

On the other side:-
There are loads of bursaries available at independent schools so maybe it is a more affordable option than you think (but you need to do your research).

Good luck.

WetGrass Thu 19-Sep-13 16:05:53

We are already at a prep school - so they routinely prepare for every flavour of 11+. This thread is triggered by them asking us if we'd like Dd to be prepped for 'Art Scholarship'.

We had to move her last year because (among other reasons) - she went 'on strike' due to the work at her old school being 'too easy'. This means that

A) I've already tested out 'I really can't afford it' against 'my little girl really needs it' (baby girl won - but for 7 more years? & Siblings? confused OuchOuchOuch. )

B) Last school was a great little school - but Dd academically pulled away from her peer group - and then got very unhappy and isolated about that. I don't want that again. This means that there is no real plan B if she flunks 11+. And when you've excluded everything possible - then you need to consider the impossible for Plan B.

WetGrass Thu 19-Sep-13 16:26:24

I think there is also an element of 'checking out the competition'.

Dd will be competing with the same kids for uni entry - and I'd like to make sure that she knows a) how good they are b) she doesn't need to feel inferior to them, even if her school has no ponies & no pool.

This obviously unmasks my private belief that Dd would wipe the floor with any peers in any exam!

WetGrass Thu 19-Sep-13 17:58:32

Btw - when I said that it would dilute the pressure of the state 11+ to enter for private 11+ - I meant in the sense of saving face - rather than in the sense of 'mock exams'.

I am confident in DDs natural ability - but anyone can stumble over one exam. If she took - say - half a dozen - then she'd get some offers for sure from glossy looking places.

So the story wouldn't be "I flunked the 11+" - I would be "I got offers from loads of schools - but we didn't want to spend the money to go private".

exexpat Thu 19-Sep-13 18:02:03

Can you afford to just throw away the application fee money? And it does seem a bit hard on your DD to see lots of schools with possibly better facilities that she doesn't really stand a chance of going to.

Coconutty Thu 19-Sep-13 18:03:43

She might get offers but would 5/10% off be enough? I would be concerned that she will get her head turned by fab schools and not be able to go to any of them.

The 11+ in Bucks has changed now so it is apparently tutor proof, not sure if it will be but I know the one taken last week was vastly different from previous years.

Coconutty Thu 19-Sep-13 18:04:45

And do you really think she would be happier that she could have gone but you didn't/couldn't pay for her to go rather than you decided it wasn't the best option?

teacherwith2kids Thu 19-Sep-13 18:16:21

WetGrass,

Many years ago, I sat private scool 11+ exams, knowing full well that unless I got a 100% scholarship (available in those ays) I wasn't going.

My older borther had sat similar exams a couple of years before me and had ended 1 place outside the scholarship band. Exhibition wasn't enough, so he went to the local (just ex secondary modern) comp.

I got said scholarship, so went to posh private.

Younger broether wasn't put in for similar schools' 11+ - because even with 100% scholarhsip, there was no money left after buying my uniform and a few other things not covered by scholarship to pay for his. He did go at sixth form.

LUCKILY (and it was luck, to a very great extent) we all got similar A-levels (older brother very much in an 'I'll show them' mode), and similar Oxbridge degrees. Thus the adult life fallout has been relatively minor.

The much greater probability would be that we would have followed different paths post-school, which could have been ascribed to our different schooling- and in that case I think the fallout would have poisoned our relationship for ever. It was a HUGE risk that my parents took, and while they got away with it, I would not recommend such a divisive course to anyone else.

teacherwith2kids Thu 19-Sep-13 18:31:16

I can spell 'brother', honest!

And 'scholarship'

WetGrass Thu 19-Sep-13 20:33:05

teacher - I really hear you.

Luckily the state grammars round here operate a
Sibling policy. Plan A has always been: smart Dd gets a great place; her siblings all follow her to the same school; happy family.

Plan B is not so well worked out!

Asterisk Thu 19-Sep-13 21:53:33

I don't think you should risk your DD falling in love with a school for which you can't afford the fees. There are lots of stories on this forum about the agony of parents whose children pass the exam but don't get the hoped-for scholarship or bursary and then have to break it to their child that they won't be going to that 'dream' school after all.

WetGrass Thu 19-Sep-13 21:58:16

I've already had 'the chat' with her: your friends may be going to fancy secondary schools - but you won't - because you don't need spoon feeding your education - and you're not scared of poor people.

.....

Which may be a critically limiting viewpoint for Dd to share at a private school interview grin grin grin.

SanityClause Thu 19-Sep-13 22:06:56

Why do you assume that a grammar will be the best school for all your DC?

DD1 is very happy at her grammar school, but DD2 would be so unhappy there. She lacks the quiet confidence in her abilities that DD1 has in spades.

I agree with Asterisk, though. Check whether you can afford to send them to the school first. And seriously ask yourself if you want to do the bursary dance.

lougle Thu 19-Sep-13 22:09:32

"because you don't need spoon feeding your education - and you're not scared of poor people."

You didn't really say that to her, did you?

"You're not scared of poor people" - Why on earth would you put that sort of thought in a young girl's mind??

bsc Thu 19-Sep-13 22:10:22

The independent schools in your area obviously aren't all that good if they're spoon feeding their pupils hmm

They certainly don't round here... but then we're in an area with super-selectives, and they certainly do not operate sibling policies!

You seem a little conflicted between your DD is going to fail her 11+ and she's going to be far better than anyone else entering confused Which is it?

It seems a waste of her time to enter exams for schools you won't be allowing her to attend. My parents did this, I got the scholarship (100%) and they still wouldn't let me go confused

Why raise a child's expectations in that way?

WetGrass Thu 19-Sep-13 22:35:07

1) I don't assume it will be best for all the DC - but I insure myself against the stress of having to prep each DC - with the fear of the divisiveness of one sibling falling the wrong side of an exam.

2) Sorry - it slipped out like that! We were talking about why people choose to send/not send their kids to private schools. I said that most parenting decisions are driven by fear and love. That I would crawl over broken glass to get her a school she's happy with - but that I don't worry about her needing a lot of pushing to study, or of her needing to be protected from bad influences. That schools that cost money, don't cost money because their kids are smarter or their sums are harder - but that in many cases they help parents worry less about their kids.

3) The spoonfeeding comment is based on my own peer group - I did Oxbridge from a comp. A lot of the private school kids (Westinster School, Emmanuel School, GDST being three close friends) seemed like they'd been heavily 'managed' through A-levels - to the point of seeming to not really knowing why they'd come to university.

What a strange thing to say! " your friends may be going to fancy secondary schools - but you won't - because you don't need spoon feeding your education - and you're not scared of poor people."

You mean, not scared of other people who cant/wont afford a private secondary?

Spoon feeding?
You moved her to a private primary because she moved out of her peer groups league, yet you worry she wont pass the exams, that the private school preps her for? And you say private secondaries spoon feed?
What does the private primary do?

I am not really quite sure that I understand what your issue is. Maybe I have misunderstood, do you really want to put your daughter through lots of exams just to ensure she has many offers? And for you to be able to tell people that she had so many offers but you chose state?

We applied for both state and selective independents for our son. (Not super selective) He got offers from 2 out of 3 (we did not want to put him through that many exams). The two offers he got were from the two schools he liked the most. Emmanuel was one of them - ds loved the arts department. (If you look at the reports for Emmanuel, a very high percentage of their students leave and go into arts and performing arts - I loved their family oriented ethos - but a little too far for ds). We are not in a grammar area, like you seem to be.

What do you want to do? What is your gut feeling?

WetGrass Sun 22-Sep-13 18:52:58

In our area, you sit one exam - and the score is passed on on to a panel of selective local state schools.

The number of selective schools means that the non-selective schools are really not that great - and the fact that it is one exam means that there is the possibility of having a bad day and flunking the exam.

There is no contradiction in me considering Dd to be academically strong - and with me thinking through a Plan B in case she has a dreadful exam. Plan B must make sure that her confidence is not dented, and that we have the widest possible choices.

Hulababy Sun 22-Sep-13 18:59:22

Are you sure about the sibling policy, even for a selective 11+ type secondary school?

WetGrass Sun 22-Sep-13 19:02:19

I moved her private this year to fix several specific problems (without outing myself - but we had various changes of circumstances - which meant that there really was no suitable state option ). I generally do believe that private schools add the most value to borderline-C easily led kind of kids. I stick to my opinions that a lot of private school fees are paid by parents who want their children taught in small classes among children from similar backgrounds to their own. Dd needs neither of those things ( but she does need a school that can make her quirkiness and geekiness into positive features).

WetGrass Sun 22-Sep-13 20:19:12

Hula the sibling policy is very generous.

QS the indie prep school has been giving her six hours of sports a week, forty minutes homework every night (with high expectation on grammar etc.) - but most of all they've been hand-holding her through a tendency towards social anxiety/ emotional delicateness that makes her life difficult sometimes.

happygardening Sun 22-Sep-13 20:53:55

OP we put our DS in for a school which we had no intention of sending him, DH did it for personal reasons, (logistics was our problem not finances) we rocked up at the interview not caring if we got it or not so DS had done no preparation, we were told by the teacher who interviewed us that we weren't likely to get a place as our prep hadn't sent a child there for 70 years and especially as that year there were 900 applicants carefully selected (by their oh so knowledgable prep school heads) for 75 places. I left wondering why we'd all wasted our time and as my DS thought the interviewer was slightly hostile to him and we were convinced he wouldn't get even a waiting list place which would have closed off that option and enabled us all to concentrate on the obvious choice. Frankly only DH cared. Four days later he was offered a place and logistics aside we did love the school. We wasted a year agonising and chewing over over which school to chose, should we buy that helicopter to ferry him from home to school etc? We applied to only two schools and had two offers and as my DS said it would have been better if we hadn't got one of them.
My advise don't waste your time or the schools time if you aren't going to take up the place.

"I moved her private this year to fix several specific problems " Can totally empathize with this, as this is why we chose private for secondary.

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