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Common Entrance - possible without coaching?

(12 Posts)
CEDP Tue 04-Jan-11 17:12:00

I'd appreciate any insights you all have into CE and the preparation necessary. We live in Germany and my (bilingual) son, currently aged 8, is at an international school. We want to send him to the UK at 13, but have realised that most schools require CE or set their own exams that are CE based.... We hadn't planned to send him away before 13 so I am wondering if it makes any sense at all to sit the exam without the proper preparation that all the UK kids will have had? Or should we give him say 2 years at a decent prep beforehand? I hadn't expected to have to worry about this quite yet....

amerryscot Tue 04-Jan-11 17:46:55

The CE is marked by the receiving senior school. Some schools don't even use the CE, but set their own similar papers. You basically need to speak to the senior school to find out what their attitude to non-prep school pupils is.

The curriculum for CE is at least the full KS3 curriculum, with some subjects going into GCSE territory. You need to have some knowledge of the various syllabi as there are set texts, set topics, etc.

I would imagine that most senior schools will waive or modify the CE requirements for overseas students. But you won't know until you ask them.

They are very realistic at the 10+/11+ pretest stage. They will only give a conditional offer if there is a 99% chance of the student passing the CE at 13+.

Schools are very used to being drilled by prospective parents so don't feel that you need to hold back.

CE aside, you might want to look at the advantages of doing 2 years at a prep school in terms of getting him used to boarding. A prep school will have a much more nurturing environment, with very few boys needing matron's or the housemaster's attention. If you choose a senior school that is mostly boarding, then you might find that the majority of the boys are old hand and your DS may have to settle on his own.

Again, speak to the school. This is vital.

PixieOnaLeaf Tue 04-Jan-11 17:51:34

Message withdrawn

Timebends Tue 04-Jan-11 18:48:20

Charterhouse is just one boys' school which has a special paper for overseas pupils. there are a number of other well known ones which have such arrangements. Check individually. The best schools want to have bright boys and girls who will contribute to school life and do not want to be restricted to those who have lived in an area or economic group which means they will have studied CE. The standard at good international schools is high. I know from experience, personal and that of friends, that attendance at prep school is not necessary. If he is currently attending a reputable school and is doing well in it, entry to what are termed "elite" schools is very possible and entry to good but slightly lower ranked schools, easy.

michaelaB Tue 04-Jan-11 19:56:30

Any decent senior school will make sensible arrangements for children from overseas or who are not at Prep schools. You should not worry about doing CE and concentrate on giving your child a great education where you are. Talk to the senior schools you are interested in and keep them informed of your plans. I run an independent school (School of the Year 2010/11) and I'm looking for potential, aspiration and curiosity. Don't get caught up in the hype and rat race for finding a place for your child.

CEDP Wed 05-Jan-11 10:07:13

Thanks, all, this more-or-less reflects what I have been thinking. I know that there are prep schools that exist solely to get children through CE and/or train them to appeal to particular schools, but I am also aware that the senior schools look for more than learning-by-rote robots. Apart from the general concern about preparing for the exam, my other concern is that almost all the schools in which we are interested require French. I am currently in discussion with a couple as to whether perfection in German is a good substitute...not hopeful. Eton even requires a basic knowledge of Latin, which is way beyond me! So thank you all and please let me have any other tips or thoughts you may have.

Timebends Wed 05-Jan-11 10:47:56

Eton will ask for level One Latin from you - not very hard and very achievable with a tutor or online tutor from a good UK agency if you cannot face studying it. I have no information about the acceptability of German but you are obviously in contact with schools yourself. Good luck.

Fiddledee Wed 05-Jan-11 13:49:23

Maybe phone the consultants at the Good Schools Guide and they can probably give you the names of suitable schools that are used to international students.

Timebends Wed 05-Jan-11 15:46:24

Good Schools Guide people will charge a fee for advice and you will still have to confirm information with individual schools whereas information direct from schools is free and accurate.

Fiddledee Wed 05-Jan-11 16:13:07

I think that if you can afford boarding school at 13+ the small fee they charge shouldn't be a problem and would be a very good way of forming a shortlist. Would save on lots of international phone calls.

LIZS Wed 05-Jan-11 16:20:07

It is a very specific syllabus and includes coursework/projects so requires at least 2 yeasr of preparation. ds had covered most of the syllabus by end of Year 7. Latin isn't compulsory but certain schools will expect at least Level 2 if it is to be considered as a GCSE subject. Having said that many school have their own entrance exam/pretest then use CE for setting purposes and to make sure the benchmark is achieved. If you sent him to a school following IB then CE becomes less relevant.

Timebends Wed 05-Jan-11 16:20:40

Yes, that's true Fiddledee. It is always nice to have extra opinions to take into account when choosing, espcially from overseas.

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