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St Albans High School and Haberdashers Reception Assessment- any advice?

(12 Posts)
TheNewShmoo Mon 24-Jun-13 14:20:50

I am thinking about applying for these two schools for DD next year, and if there is anything I can do in the meantime to help her chances. Has anyone's DDs been through these assessments- what can we expect?

I've had a bit of rummage through the archives and it seems that fine motor skills, physical coordination, and some level of self-sufficiency is expected (not putting the dinner on I expect...)? Wouldn't a good Montessori nursery the year before help her with all these things? Any advice greatly appreciated! smile

highschoolmum Tue 25-Jun-13 14:18:28

I have experience of children doing both these assessments, and of children going through SAHS and HABS reception currently. SAHS expects them to know all their letters and sounds and numbers and recognise them, plus cut a circle out with scissors, listen to a story and say what might happen next!

Habs, interestingly, does not expect them to know their letters etc, but they all do, and come from quite formal nurseries and preschools and the children all seem to speak at least 2 if not 3 languages in the current reception class! They are expected to be sociable and work in a group as well as show independence and confidence.

I was surprised how Habs really stick to the Early Years Foundation stage in reception ( rainbows) no homework, books etc in the first term and letters start in the 2nd term. The children are encouraged to explore and be confident in the outside world, lots of lovely outdoor play and the writing etc seems to suddenly emerge from all those experiences.

SAHS have opted out of EYFS and it is far more intensive, words from the start, books to read, homework and they pile it on very quickly, more so than the senior school!

I didn't think my daughter was a HABs child ( she did get in ) and still don't, she loved SAHS, so look at the school to suit your child's personality.

newgirl Tue 25-Jun-13 18:07:22

In recent years everyone we know who has applied has got in. Our theory is that fewer people can afford them. So might not be vital to prepare as much as you think.

TheNewShmoo Wed 26-Jun-13 01:17:15

Thanks highschoolmum - that's very interesting- I was under the impression that neither expected any letters/sounds recognition... DD only turns 2 next week so the thought of her cutting anything apart from her fingers/table cloth with scissors seems a long way off! So is the Habs playgroup assessment not as prescriptive?

Also v interesting on Hab's take on introducing reading/writing- I would have thought the complete opposite actually! Once reading/writing gets off the ground does Habs start to get as intensive as SAHS? Hmmm, DD only turns 2 next week (she will be one of the youngest in her year) and is yet to start nursery so can't say yet which of the two approaches would suit her. Naturally toddlers at this age love being outside all the time as DD is, but she's also enthusiastic about 'doing' her letters and sounds. Not sure that translates into being suited to such an intensive reception year though. Can I ask why your DD loves SAHS?

newgirl - really? I would have thought that competition would be as fierce as ever with quality North London state schools being so oversubscribed? We will really struggle to make the fees- but our local comps are not an option. I'm convinced now we're going to have shell out for an expensive Montessori nursery to give DD the best chance at the 4+ assessment.

highschoolmum Wed 26-Jun-13 11:40:57

newgirl 3 little girls I know didn't get in last year and the places are 3-4 girls for each place. And they were little girls who are bright, articulate and sociable, one got into Habs instead, but all were offered last minute no formal assessment at ~Beechwood Park and St Nicholas House ( Abbots Hill)

highschoolmum Wed 26-Jun-13 11:46:46

The newschmoo I have had my opinion of Habs changed through first hand experience, coming to the end of the first year, comparing two girls side by side, the SAHS child is way ahead academically, from a much lower starting level ( I know about baseline assessment on entry and assess childdren etc) and has much more homework, the Habs child has none, and still spends a large amount of time cutting and sticking to her hearts content! We'll see what happens in year 1.

TheNewShmoo Wed 26-Jun-13 20:24:15

highschoolmum how do you manage getting two DDs to two separate schools in the morning??! I'm expecting DC2 and have decided not to find out the sex, but am secretly thinking it would v convenient to have another girl to make the school run easier!

I'm really surprised at how non-academic the Habs reception class is... I wonder if the rewards of this approach will become apparent later on...? I take it your SAHS DD enjoys doing her homework, but must be a bit strange that her sister doesn't have any?! And how have you found exposure to music in SAHS given the strong tradition there? This is what makes SAHS definitely more appealing to us.

newgirl Wed 26-Jun-13 20:35:31

It might be the location of the high school infants - plenty of great state primaries nearby. But yes - also hardly know any

newgirl Wed 26-Jun-13 20:36:24

Oops sorry! Everyone we know got into the secondary schools too.

newgirl Wed 26-Jun-13 20:39:14

Ah had another thought - kids may get the places but not take them as get their preferred state place. Figs would still show lots of applications. They won't say how many didn't take them. It's a reflection of economics - it's cheaper to top up a state education w tutoring than pay full school fees

highschoolmum Thu 27-Jun-13 07:27:18

Quite a lot stay on the waiting list for a place to come up and some people have moved their daughters a year or two later if a place become available. There is always plenty on the waiting list for a place with little chance of getting in.

anitasmall Thu 27-Jun-13 19:19:48

And what foreign languages the HABS Reception children speak? I know a friend who's daughter is in HABS but she does not speak any.

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