Is this a risky strategy?(12 Posts)
Would very much welcome opinions.
Our county still has the 3 school system. Our local primary was not great and as it was our allocated school, it forced my hand to send DS to our closest independent prep. It is a good school but not amazing. He is however, very happy there in yr 3 and ticking along nicely although I'm pretty sure he is not really being stretched.
We do however have a fantastic state middle school (years 5-8) that on paper appears too good to ignore. I am seriously considering moving DS there at 9 where he would stay until 13.
My concern is that state senior is shocking and so I would definitely need to move back to independent from 13. His current prep has links with both of the senior schools that I would consider and obviously support with the application process (common entrance etc)
Is it a big risk to move him to the state middle school where he may not get the same support to gain a place at independent senior? One of the senior schools is quite academically selective and the other slightly less so but still popular.
What would you do?
Yes, as you say it yourself. It is a risky move.
You will save four years of fees, and if that's what needs to happen, then you have no choice.
However, if it's not a fee-driven decision, then I would find out how many of the kids from the state middle school end up getting into your preferred private secondary. And I'd find and talk to some parents who went that route to understand what it took.
State schools have no reason to prep kids for 13+ and you will have to do it all yourself. How effective you'll be at doing it yourself would depend on your/ and your child motivation.
Maybe it's as easy as doing a couple of workbooks, but likely not. In any case - if he is in a school that focuses on that, everyone's life is much easier!
You say move at 13 - does that mean he'd have to do common entrance? I've never heard of anyone doing that from a state school, it's not for he faint hearted and much tougher than the 11+.
Thanks for the opinions.
Yes it would mean taking the common entrance from state school and I must admit I hadn't appreciated that this would be no mean feat.
To be honest he is an able boy but not hugely motivated and I work full time so realistically I wouldn't be able to put the hours in to prepare him myself.
If we stayed at the prep then, would you say that applying to senior at 11 is favourable to waiting until 13?
You would be bonkers to do CE from a state school.
Wonder if you live reasonably near me? Though my first school is outstanding, the middle school dire and the secondary average but falling. Is your prep in a county beginning with D?
I think some of the 13+ schools near me take from the state sector, possibly setting their own exam for those who aren't being prepared for common entrance. It would be worth asking - at least you'll know if CE is essential.
What are the success rates from your current prep to the secondary of choice?
This all hinges on the State secondary being "shocking". You are currently in Y3, not going to secondary until Y9: that's six years away. Is there any chance that things might look up by then (can it be fixed by a new headteacher or are problems more deep-rooted than that).
I had the same thought as sproingle: does the prep get children into the independent? If the answer is 'yes' then maybe it is better than you think. Again, you have your Y3 head on, does it get more switched on as you go up the years?
I know nothing about preparation for CE but don't forget that there is always the third way - the halfway house of tutors. So you could think about State middle + tutoring for CE or even State secondary + tutoring for GCSE.
His current prep does get children into good schools but I think they also heavily manage expectations so will only encourage applying if they think you've got a good chance so I'm not sure if it's a reflection on them or the natural ability of the child (and possibly additional tutoring). Bet yes, you are right, I am only seeing this from a year 3 perspective!
I think from your responses though that perhaps moving him to state for those 4 years might just be a bit too risky and we could end up at the state senior which even with tutoring, won't get away from the drug issues they have
Would you suggest we apply at 11 rather than wait until 13 if the common entrance is challenging?
You would be bonkers to do CE from a state school.
If you don't envisage the local state secondaries as an option, then keep him in prep.
There is nothing to lose if you try for 11+, but my guess is that a school that finishes at 13+ won't be prepping them for the exam at 11. So, you'll be back to prepping yourself.
All (most?) prep schools at some point of time tell the parents which schools their kids have the best chance at. And, of course, that is based on kids ability, and the effort he and the school put into his performance.
Schools talk and preps write recommendations for their kids. They would lose their reputation if they recommended kids that won't do well there.
CE is often not required if your DC is a state school, they will sit an exam more alligned to the state system. If this is the case for the school you are looking at, the prep is not stretching him and the middle school is good, then he may find the state route easier.
You need to find out what exams at required at 13 for state pupils, what proportion of the intake is at age 13 compared to 11, and how many state pupils do they take most years.
If there is an 11+ option you should look at it. Plenty of state school kids get into private and grammar at 11+ with a bit of tutoring to get them exam ready (exam technique as much as anything else).
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