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When do you take your child to view private secondaries?

(12 Posts)
SlackRopeWalker Mon 10-Mar-14 10:32:25

If you are planning to let your child sit exams for selective secondary schools, when should you start taking them to view them?

I assume it's a good idea to see schools first of all without the child, so you can choose which ones they actually get to see... so would you visit yourself in year 5 and take the child at the start of year 6? Does that work with the timings of the exams - ie does it allow them to see the schools before they sit the exams?

LetsEscape Mon 10-Mar-14 10:50:36

Yes that's exactly what school recommended and worked well for us. Only show them schools that you would be happy for them to go to.

Seeline Mon 10-Mar-14 10:53:01

Private schools also tend to be a bit easier to view than state secondaries which tend to have only one open day/evening a year in either July or Sept/Oct time. Many seem to have a least one 'big' open event, with some other smaller ones and/or the opportunity to take a tour during a working day. Check school web sites for details.

GooseyLoosey Mon 10-Mar-14 10:53:08

That's what ds did.

With dd, I might take her to look in Yr 5 as I am less clear about what the right school would be for her and it might require more thought.

Elibean Mon 10-Mar-14 11:01:32

We started looking at schools in Y5 - with and without dd. With (open days) at a couple we knew we liked because dd needed to have an idea of what it was she was expected to work towards. She's at a state primary and does need to practice some papers if she's going to apply, and with a 'need to know' sort of child giving her some information was helpful.

We've also been to see our local state secondary, which is definitely on the 'up', and as dd hasn't seen it since a Y4 visit there (school organised) we will take her back to see it at the very start of Y6. It's actually becoming my first choice, as its local and friends are delighted with it.

Hulababy Mon 10-Mar-14 11:01:37

We took dd to open days in y5. Then arranged a 1:1 tour with HT after that, but again with dd.

We didn't have loads to look round so took dd to both as wanted her opinion as much as our own.

Bowlersarm Mon 10-Mar-14 11:10:21

Year 5. Then you have time to go back and have another look at a later date, should you want to.

SlackRopeWalker Mon 10-Mar-14 11:10:43

Thank you all, that's v helpful.

SlackRopeWalker Mon 10-Mar-14 11:11:33

Oh good point bowlersarm, hadn't thought about that...

Quinteszilla Mon 10-Mar-14 11:15:27

Yes, that worked well for us. We saw lots of secondaries during Y5, and narrowed it down to take ds to the shortlisted ones in Y6.

With the exception of ONE school, ds saw it in Y5 because he really wanted to come for the open day at that particular school. It ended up being our school of choice and where he is now.

Clavinova Mon 10-Mar-14 12:10:23

Year 5 is probably best, then you can re-visit several times. You'll get a very different experience at an official Open Day (ie, music ensembles and fun experiments in the science lab) than a 1:1 tour with the HT. Also, some private schools let their excitable First Years show you around and others choose sensible Sixth Formers. Allow for a clash of dates for Open Days especially in Sept/Oct and don't forget the vagaries of the British weather - dashing off to see the art block in the pouring rain at one school (you might not even bother if it's raining that much) isn't going to compare with sipping coffee in the sunshine on the deck of the sports pavillion at another, ie you might want to re-visit the former on a better day.

angelcake20 Tue 11-Mar-14 00:09:08

Depending on the school and your intentions for exam prep, I would go in Year 4 so that, as a family, you can decide whether you want to commit to the hard work required during Year 5. We did this with ds who was then very motivated to work hard, and will do it this year with dd because we are not certain whether she is suited to a selective school and need to decide whether to go for it again.

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