Moving to private from state at 7(11 Posts)
I really need some good advice, ds aged 5 is in a good state school, a minutes's walk from home and a warm community feeling. His 13 year old brother is in a superb private school. We do eventually want to move the younger ds to private but are unable to decide whether that should be at 7 or 11. Is it easier at 7 - both in terms of entrance exam difficulty and settling in for the child? Or since there is no obvious reason to move right now - it is best to wait until he is 11 ? Of course the saving on fees is an important consideration but not the most important one for us. What would be best for ds ? Any inputs would be deeply appreciated. Many thanks
Thank you flicktheswitch.....a question....we are new to the country so not sure how this works. Do we need to justify to our current state school if we did decide to move? Some kind of permission, so to speak? Since I suppose the new school will want a letter from the old school.
No need to justify to old school. Ours was very nice about the whole thing. DS's class teacher said she would do the same thing in our situation and on the last day the deputy HT insisted on hugging DS and I to wish us well. (I barely knew the woman!) Children move schools quite often for lots of reasons. We moved DS at the start of year5 and I don't think there was any letter from the old school. We took the latest school report along when we met the HT when we were making our deliberations.
Some people like the break at age 11 as they feel 7-18 in one school can be too long. We thought it would be harder to make friends at 11 if the majority of children had known each other from 7.
The school that you are applying for will ask for a report from the current school. If that's at 7, they will want expected Yr 2 SATs levels.
It's worth finding out what the 7+ entrance exams involve - some just ask for English + Maths, others will include some 'Potential-spotting' tests as well.
Hi, we've done this with DD1, in fact we did it when she was in Y4 (nearly 9) even though our original plan was to move at 11 and we'll be doing it for DS1 too. Not sure about the other two children yet!
The biggest driver for DD1 initially was that she was unhappy with her school day. She complained constantly that the work was boring and despite having friends this issue seemed never to go away for her. From our point of view this also reflected in the lack of progress and general sense of work ethic I felt was important.
For DS1 it was less straightforward as he didn't complain as much, but the issues were similar.
In the end I felt that without some considerable input from us at home, they would not have passed the 11+. Yes lots of other children in their school did but our situation was different. First of all with 4 children and a full time job I found it difficult to sit them down every night and start tutoring. I tried this but I had to laugh at myself, with not even being English trying to explain English grammar and struggle severely not only with the pedagogy side of it but also with the meaning - I felt I had to study stuff myself before teaching it and wasn't even sure I was doing it right - I felt it was like watching a comedy movie.
Paid tutoring also implied driving them somewhere at least once a week but then doing additional work most nights was expected and 1 hour a week would not have been enough for the amount of stuff I felt wasn't being covered.
Then there was the fact that they all play musical instruments, to quite a good level and had other hobbies, so catching up on increasing amounts of work at home was stressful and demoralising and it would have meant giving some of the other activities up.
For us the move worked really well, well it has for DD1. She is taught very well and thoroughly and homework is really just reinforcing what she has learned at school so never needs any input (just checking!).
I won't have the issue of preparing for the 11+ and most importantly DD1 is very happy and never complains of being bored. I have recently gone to see her work and I was amazed at the high quality and variety of the work produced. Her science was particularly pleasing, not something that was done much at her old school and frankly I wouldn't have thought or had the time to do at home. Apparently she excels at it and has found a new passion.
PS we never asked for permission from the old schools - we just told them. The old headteacher was very supportive and felt DD1 would hugely benefit. New headteacher very unsupportive and a "Us and them" mentality - even refused to write a reference for DS1 but the new school requested a report and that was considered suitable. They did have to sit and assessment day though and in fairness we didn't prepare for this as we were told it wasn't necessary given the levels they were working at.
Thank you all - very useful. I suppose I will have to broach it with the current state school in good time since I just checked that the private schools we will try at have their 7+ tests on weekdays which means we will need permission from current school to miss a day . And Gosh they are ever so particular.
I guess my main reason to move would be the fact that the class size is 30 and even though the class teacher really tries hard - he ends up needing to focus more on handling the more mischievous kids and keeping order rather than nurturing specific strengths in different kids.
You just tell the current school that your ds will be absent from school on a particular day because he's sitting an entrance exam - no need to ask for permission ....
We moved dd from state to private at 7 but she was miserable at her old school, bored, out on a limb intellectually (one of those demographic quirks meant her cohort was very low-ability on the whole) and all her friends had moved away by the end of year 2. She's been fantastically happy at her new school and will be v sad to leave at the end of this year.
However ds1 had been fine there and got a scholarship to secondary school with no extra tutoring - the senior school said they assessed children differently depending on whether they'd been to a prep school or not. So if you're happy with your ds's current school and he's happy and achieving there you'd save yourself a lot of money!
It sounds as if you are in a perfect position to assess how difficult the transition might be if you have a ds in school at 13 (presumably he had to pass a test?). How did his friends all get there (or is that not the right school for the other child)?
I am moving my daughter to selective private at 7 (we aren't in M25 corridor and there are some pretty good state schools nearby so I'm guessing nobody tutored to get their kids in). They pop an extra class into the year before entrance exams to the accompanying senior school (so that might be a cheaper option).
That said (albeit a couple of decades ago), I had (much) older brothers at boarding school and grammar school a good 50 minute round trip versus my 15 minute walk down to the local state (but eccentrically staffed at the time) comp.
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