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Do we jump ship or push DC to sit 11+

(20 Posts)
123littlepigs Fri 25-Mar-16 22:23:47

Our DS is currently at a very competitive school in Surrey. While his scores say average/above average child, he doesn't test well and often panics in an exam environment.
He has been offered a place at a more causal academic school to start y6 and we don't know whether to accept and just jump ship leaving the pressure of the 11+ behind, or push him to have a go as he is capable of doing well.
He's afraid of failing, understandably, and this is the main reason I think he would rather pass up the opportunity to go to a Caterham Whitgift or Trinity, than try and possibly receive a rejection letter from one.

What to do in this situation?

How wrong would it be to accept a place at another school and enter an application for the above schools. From our son's perspective this would obviously take the pressure off and allow him to just give it a go without the worry....but would we lose our place at this school and not be able to continue to their seniors by doing this?

Advice please!!!

redgoat Fri 25-Mar-16 22:53:22

What would make your son happiest?

Stressing children out at this age is not great IMO.

AaaaaaarghhhWhereAreMyKeys Fri 25-Mar-16 23:08:29

If he's afraid of failure would a grammar school environment be the best place for him? It's not just the 11+, they test them continuously once they're in. Also, the school environment in general would probably be quite competitive.

AaaaaaarghhhWhereAreMyKeys Fri 25-Mar-16 23:11:58

Sorry just seen they are independents, not grammar

Leeds2 Fri 25-Mar-16 23:14:48

What school are you thinking of? I doubt accepting a Y6 place would preclude your DS from doing other schools' entrance exams, but the school would know as they would be asked for references. Not sure it would give the best message to your son either, i.e. that the school you had accepted a place at wasn't what his parents actually wanted.

I do know lots of parents who have accepted Year 6 places at Whitgift and Trinity, with the ultimate goal being grammar school. Not all actually move them, even if they get places, as their DSs have been so happy in their Year 6.

mummytummy3 Fri 25-Mar-16 23:16:44

If you could afford it, independent would be best if he could sneak in now at 10+. But I do think Caterham needs to sit 11+ again right?

123littlepigs Sat 26-Mar-16 00:09:26

leeds2 the school is Ardingly. We initially considered Royal Russel being closer to us as we loved the school. Thinking of taking their assessment too so DS wouldn't have to board. The idea is to remove the pressure of passing or failing as it wouldn't matter. He would then be able to enjoy the process knowing that he would be happy to stay on at new school. I just hate the idea that he doesn't seem to want to try and is willing to settle. I want him to see he is capable and build that confidence by placing him in a position where he needn't worry. I hope that makes sense.

I can totally see going for grammar schools being possible for your friends as no reference is required I think, but indie to indie there would be, so just trying to gauge if this is something anyone has done and would it be ok?

Ladymuck Sat 26-Mar-16 13:50:37

I would have thought that day v boarding is a bigger consideration that 10+ v 11+ tbh.

I think that the risk of moving to a more laidback environment for year 6 is that most of his peers will be very laid back about the 11+ as they'll more or less have a guaranteed space at the senior school. Relatively few will be working to sit for other schools, though some may be working for senior school scholarships. If he is currently at a competitive prep then they should be able to prepare him for the exams. From the other end, with GCSEs going to final exams, schools seem to be increasing the frequency of exams in preparation, so I suspect that whilst he may get a more relaxed year, he is in fact going to have to work on the issue of exams sooner or later.

123littlepigs Sat 26-Mar-16 19:20:37

Hi ladymuck I am not sure what you are advising. Are you therefore suggesting that I should push ahead and encourage my son to remain in the environment he is current in, or not take the year 6 place?

JudgeJudySheindlin Sat 26-Mar-16 22:47:36

You want a school that will get the best out of your child. Sounds like you've done all the leg work & now need to make that final decision.

What's the atmosphere like at the schools? Where will your son feel more comfortable? Will he need to board? What's the travel time if he's a day pupil? Back to that important question; which one will get the best out of your son?

My DS went to a less academic senior school, not because he couldn't handle a highly academic school, but because he felt more at home with his choice. My DS left his school with a large batch of A*s.

123littlepigs Mon 28-Mar-16 11:39:01

Hi JudgeJudySheinglin thanks for replying. I am looking for more responses such as yours where their DC took the less academic route and did really well. For the me question isn't really which school out of the two mentioned, but whether I should push my child, who is afraid to fail, to sit the 11+\CE exams. I half think if I allow him to take the easy route, this is almost like agreeing he can't and reinforcing his image of himself.

That said, if he does sit the exams and fails, as he isn't very good in an exam situation, this could be equally damaging.

Is there anyone else there that have been in a similar position?

All responses greatly welcome!

Ladymuck Mon 28-Mar-16 11:55:34

If you are thinking about sitting 11+, don't move now. Once you are in the junior department of a senior school, then yes, all pressure is off, and he is likely to want to stay with his new friends.

Most parents in your position sit for a range of schools, so sit Trinity, Whitgift and Royal Russell, say, with Trinity being aspirational, Whitgift feasible and RR as safety net. You can add more schools which are less aspirational to the list. Dunottar, Lingfield Notre Dame are commonly mentioned, depending on where you live.

There is nothing wrong with preparing boys for 11+. The new GCSEs put more emphasis on exams, so he will need to overcome the fear of failure.

And the ultimate safety net if it all goes terribly wrong is the 13+ route.

You say he is average/above average at a competitive school. Sometimes it can be hard to see where a yeargroup fits into the overall cohort of children taking 11+. What are his CAT scores like? You may find that he will actually have no problem in securing a place at one of these schools, but he so far has been surrounded by high achievers.

123littlepigs Mon 28-Mar-16 18:20:01

Hi ladymuck his CAT scores generally range between 110 and 120, reading and spellings around the 100. However, as he was/and still does struggle to complete exam test papers, a year ago we carried out a psych ed report which identified slow reading speed issues, scoring only 72 in this area, and processing/memory problems (albeit still within normal range). The report also identified him as scoring within the gifted range for maths, above 140 with a GIA of about 115 and recommended extra time in exams/all assessments with a reading content.

With these varied score ranges and speed issues, our dilemma may, I hope, be clearer to see. Do you think these are good enough for the school's you have listed?

Also, I note you have listed the following schools as
1. Trinity
2. Whitgift
3 Royal Russel

Out of interest, where would you place Caterham and Dunottar ?

Ladymuck Mon 28-Mar-16 19:16:59

I've ranked them in order of ease to get into which in part depends on the number of places available, as well as the relative popularity. Trinity is popular and only has 70 odd places at 11+. Whitgift is also popular but has around 140 spaces. Caterham has around 20-25 spaces for external boys at 11+, but possibly a higher offer rate as it will be a back-up for some boys looking at Trinity (similar ethos, but obviously co-ed). In terms of difficulty it is similar to Whitgift, possibly harder depending on exactly how many offers Whitgift are making. Dunottar currently would be easier for boys as they are building up their numbers. So Trinity, Caterham/Whitgift, RR, Dunottar. But popularity depends on parents expectations and all schools apart from RR have relatively new heads or are currently recruiting a new head.

123littlepigs Mon 28-Mar-16 19:19:15

Also does anyone have a view on Ardingly School?

LIZS Mon 28-Mar-16 19:30:36

Ime Ardingly and to some extent Worth are perceived as on a par with RR and Dunottar in terms of academic selection. I've known some move to A in y 4-6 to avoid the entrance tests and CE. Those who can, still achieve though. 110-120 would allow him into Caterham/W or even Epsom potentially especially if he is also sporty/arty/musical. Does his current school go to 13+? I wouldn't move for just a year, would an alternative prep be an option as they are usually keen to fill y7 and 8 and may find a y6 place.

123littlepigs Mon 28-Mar-16 20:24:56

Hi Lizs so even with DC processing speed issues, which has knocked his confidence where exams are concerned, understandably, you're saying RR, Ardingly, and Dunottar would be achievable, and for that reason jumping ship now may be premature.

So want to find the right school . He loved Epsom by the way, but was told this was possibly too academic for him and would not provide the support he would need/doesn't have a very active SEN department.

Ardingly and RR do, but have no idea about Trinity, Whitgift or Caterham. I will have a look at Worth. Where is it? Will have a quick search on the net.

LIZS Mon 28-Mar-16 20:27:21

I know a number of dyslexic/dyscalculic children happy at Worth. It is just outside Crawley.

Eustace2016 Mon 28-Mar-16 20:32:26

I would keep him where he is which is presumably a good prep school which puts children in for 13+ exams to independent schools. Our sons did this route and I works well. Also a lot of boys are much more mature by 12/13 than 10/11 so can be a better time to move schools.

Also many are as lazy as sin so put them in a class with little pressure and other lazy boys and they all drift down lower and lower.

123littlepigs Thu 31-Mar-16 01:50:23

Hi LIZS this does look like a very lovely school. I have booked to see the school so thank you very much for making this suggestion.
Eustace2016 we find our current school not very helpful. 13+ works for some, I agree, but not all will benefit from taking this route.

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