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What should ds school and I do now?

(21 Posts)
Labro Sun 13-Oct-13 21:54:33

Ds has managed to 'bomb' pretests at two independent senior schools for Yr 9 entry in 2015. Hes currently in Yr 7. His school say hes a high achiever, predicted to get 80% plus at Common Entrance, yet for some reason he bombs out in pretest environment. What should his headmaster be doing and what should I check that they are doing? Its been suggested he could resit one of the pretests in January 2015, is this a good idea? (Feels very close to common entrance exams)
If I need to look at other schools we are currently in West Sussex and need a generous bursary to a day school.

showmethemoney1 Sun 13-Oct-13 22:31:08

Call me cynical, but do you have to declare you need a bursary before you pre-test?

happygardening Sun 13-Oct-13 23:27:17

I agree Jan 2015,seems very late unless you have a viable fall back state or independent.
There seems to be a big discrepancy between what that school are telling you: predicted 80%+ in CE those sort of marks (at level 3 CE) get you into Westminster SPS etc and the reality, although I have to say if he's that bright I would have thought it would be obvious but maybe I'm wrong. I would be seriously asking myself if why? Three answers spring to mind, frankly the school are not being truthful with you and he's not that capable or they are not teaching him well enough and or not preparing him well enough for pre tests/interviews. I'm not saying he should be heavily coached prepared just given guidance.
I'm clueless where you should look for a suitable day school it's not my area I'm afraid. Where does you prep school head suggest?
I know your on a bursary and don't like to make too much of a fuss but unless your on 100% they're still taking some of your hard earned money, make an appointment to see the head and ask him what he the hell he suggests you do now.

Labro Mon 14-Oct-13 01:15:19

Gut feeling is that they let him down in preparing him for the pretests. Even at state primary he was at least a year ahead of his peers, so something isn't adding up. Should say that am prepared to move within the south/south east for the right school. Awaiting appointment with head who is waiting for breakdown of results from latest pretest to identify where they need to support him better, guess this week will bring clearer answers. Will also do another post about views on various senior schools!

Blissx Mon 14-Oct-13 06:46:51

Here is an alternative theory, could your DS just get nervous/terrified in exam conditions and this causes him to not do well? I see this often. Of course, I could be wrong, but just wanted to offer an alternative in case it isn't necessarily to do with the school.

Norudeshitrequired Mon 14-Oct-13 06:47:32

Does your don actually want yo attend these schools? Have you asked if he would prefer to attend a day school?
Presuming he does want to attend then have you considered a tutor just for the purpose of exam preparation and exam techniques?

Norudeshitrequired Mon 14-Oct-13 06:48:33

Sorry about the spelling in my post above. Still not used to touch screen typing.

summerends Mon 14-Oct-13 06:48:52

He may have not done very well due to anxiety, especially if it was such a big deal. Also as showme said, did they know he needed a bursary before (might have been mentioned in headmaster's reference?). In which case he might have done ok enough to get through but not well enough for proceeding with a major bursary, especially if the school funds are tight.
If he is at that level of ability normally, what about trying for 13+ entry boarding place at a school like Reading grammar.

Labro Mon 14-Oct-13 07:45:01

Sorry, both the schools hes sat for already are day schools, not looking at boarding.
Yes the bursary application had to be in before the test, but they want to continue processing that application. Will have to wait and see I think!

summerends Mon 14-Oct-13 08:15:16

Might be worth considering at least Mon to Fri boarding / good state schools with boarding if day options with major bursaries are limited.

Clavinova Mon 14-Oct-13 08:34:08

As your son is at a prep school already he should be used to sitting many end of term/end of year exams. How well does he do in these exams compared to his classmates? May I ask if he has SEN issues that affect his performance/concentration in timed conditions?

Labro Mon 14-Oct-13 08:52:04

Hi clavinova,
Hes always in the top 3 of his year group in end of year exams, for example he scored between 80 - 90% across the board at the end of yr 6. Has only been at prep school since yr 5, No SEN. Can 'brain freeze' with things like mental maths, thinking its highly likely the NVR and maths caused problems and the English and VR on their own wouldn't have been enough to pull him through.

showmethemoney1 Mon 14-Oct-13 09:01:11

I agree with summerends. Some schools are very open and state that you need to be scholarship standard to qualify for a bursary, others are less open.
It seems a few years ago schools were throwing bursaries around to justify their charitable status, they no longer have to do that. If I was you I would look at day schools with huge bursary funds, e.g. Whitgift/Trinity. These schools have the funds to spend and hopefully you will be competing on a level playing field.
I am unconvinced your DS has bombed 2 pre-tests, unless he has a history of under-performing in exams. Although if this is the case how was he supposed to get 80+ at CE?

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 14-Oct-13 09:10:16

Does he actually want to go to the schools he has sat the pretesters for? I know a boy who deliberately failed the pretester for the school that his brother are at, because he didn't want to go to. When he took the pretester for a school he wanted to go to he got an exceptional mark.

Clavinova Mon 14-Oct-13 09:31:02

It does seem a little odd then - unless the competition is so high for the schools you are targeting. Has he had any specific VR/NVR coaching or practice? Most of the pre-tests now seem to include these elements - some in a quick-fire computer test and others in longer form. I think they are supposed to show natural intelligence but they can definitely be coached/practiced for but not all the prep schools have realised this yet. If you are looking at private schools anywhere near a grammar school then you are up against a lot of coaching in VR/NVR!

DeWe Mon 14-Oct-13 10:36:28

Does he want to go?

Just when pil suggested to dh that he might do the 11+ he said he didn't want to go and would fail it deliberately, because he wanted to go with his friends.

Can you ask for his papers and see what he's got wrong? You may be able to find out a lot from there.

homebythesea Mon 14-Oct-13 14:52:10

Also you have to bear in mind that a big part of pre tests is the interview. I'm afraid that some schools have a "type" and if your DS doesn't fit the bill in some way (or was irritating, or bumptious, or shy, or picked their nose or whatever) then regardless of the test scores he won't get an offer. This is all subjective and opaque and can lead to mystery on the part of prep schools as to why an individual didn't get into whichever school, but it definitely happens

LIZS Mon 14-Oct-13 17:19:31

Pretests are more akin to CATs and PIPs . I believe your ds was a later entrant into a prep school but even so his history in those should be a guide as to whether these type of tests suit him and how well practiced he is.

Dahliagirl128 Tue 15-Oct-13 11:05:27

Agree with homebythesea. The interview is a massive part of the pre-test (also any leadership type games they might have participated in and been observed doing)

Labro Tue 15-Oct-13 15:17:58

Thanks - he passed the interview bit no problem. Been advised by Reeds head to look at other schools too, lot of questions need answering as it was ds current headmasters idea and hes been registered with them since January of year 6, so if it was even likely that this was going to happen I should have been made aware.

summerends Tue 15-Oct-13 21:37:52

Labro, was the Reeds headmaster more specific about the weaker parts of the test? Might be worth you asking DS to try a similar format paper at home in his own time just to get an idea what might be going wrong.
If he had a bad day due to nerves etc then at least he knows he is capable. If he has gaps in understanding or the sort of reasoning needed then he has targets to practise

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