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Common entrance from 3-18 through school?

(31 Posts)
christmaswreaths Sat 17-Dec-16 15:15:30

My son is at a 3-18 independent school and got a number of reasons we have had a change of heart for senior school and would like to consider a 13plus school.

Question is whether we can prepare him for common entrance and keep him at the same school or should we move him to a prep? I wanted to.minimize disruption.

Has anyone ever done this or is it totally unrealistic?

LIZS Sat 17-Dec-16 16:39:07

He'd be better prepared in a school which has a cohort working towards CE together and feel less out of synch. Also there may be pretests up to 3 years earlier than the entry point. Alternatively look at schools with their own 13+ entry assessment in core subjects, vr and non vr.

BizzyFizzy Sat 17-Dec-16 16:41:35

If you want him to do CE, move him to prep.

christmaswreaths Sat 17-Dec-16 16:56:50

Yes there are pre tests coming up. However they are not based on curriculum, they are VR type ones.

I hear you RE: common entrance. It's a shame as I did not want to.move him twice. I am wondering whether it would be worth the disruption now....

LIZS Sat 17-Dec-16 17:34:39

Perhaps wait until after the pretests. Prep heads will normally advise on choice of school too.

homebythesea Sat 17-Dec-16 17:35:48

The 13+ school will have an alternative method of entry for candidates coming from schools that don't do the CE. How do you think kids from state schools or overseas manage? No need to move school!

EnormousTiger Sun 18-Dec-16 10:37:46

You need to look at what schools you are considering. My 3 sons were at a school from 4 - 13+ but just about none of their 13+ schools including some pretty good ones did the "common entrance" exam. Instead they had a school exam. however no matter what you call it it does help if there is preparation. Even at my sons' schools there were parents taking boys out at 11+ for 11+ exams and some of those did get in to those schools despite the exam preparation being for 13+.

bojorojo Mon 19-Dec-16 00:26:25

A lot of top boarding schools are CE but can make arrangements to test children who have not done CE. I would shortlist the schools you are interested in and give admissions a ring. If you are not aiming very, very high, you may find a reasonable response and that they have alternative assessments for state or other pupils wanting a place without CE prep.

If you want boarding then a boarding prep may be a good idea. If you have to do CE, then it's a prep for the best chance.

christmaswreaths Mon 19-Dec-16 07:47:05

Thank you. We are aiming high but ds1 is very bright, which is partly why I would like to move him. His siblings are happy and stretched at the same school, but he is not at all.

I will see what the schools say, we might have left it too late but at least I feel.like we tried for him. Thank you for your advice.

kimlek Mon 19-Dec-16 18:27:27

How old is your son please? Does he have any opinion?
Although a different set of circumstances my dd was at a 3-18 non selective all girls school that wasn't great for her. She moved to a selective prep into Yr4 & then a selective senior school into Yr7 and coped admirably at each move. We then relocated and she started yet another selective school into yr9! At every stage she was involved in the decision making process (even at age 7) which I think helped her. Although the schools were selective she's not super bright. If you DS is bright you maybe doing him a disservice by letting him stay at his current school. It is amazing how well children cope with change and a new school may help him thrive (not just cope). Tough decisions though so good luck!

EnormousTiger Mon 19-Dec-16 19:17:36

And my daughter who ended up at North Longon collegiate (quite an academic day school) from age 7 - 18 moved from her nursery school to a 3+ school and the year after a 4+ one and then when she didn't get into her sister's school (Haberdashers) at 5+ to a prep school (Kensington prep) for 2 years. NLCS was her 5th school at age 7. (She also had a go at Westminster school for sixth form but did not get in and was very happy at NLCS sixth form).

christmaswreaths Tue 20-Dec-16 14:18:58

My son is 10 and in year 6. We moved him from.a local state village school to an academic, fairly selective school aged 7. Unfortunately whilst his siblings were stretched and loved the new school, he quickly found himself top of the top set again and academically speaking found himself bored again.

Looking at what my dd is covering in year 7 my heart sinks as ds probably knows a lot of it. He teaches himself Latin, reads history books and science books so knows a lot of the year 7 curriculum already.

He has thrown himself in sport this year which provides him with a great challenge and has gone from the D team to the b team but he said he hates school as sits through most lessons bored. I am hoping a very academic school would be able to provide more challenge. Unfortunately from where we live is going to be boarding only.

Please don't shoot me as I have three other kids who range from bottom set to average and fairly bright and have all faired well at school, so.i am not bragging, boasting if anything I feel really guilty and upset my son is going through school feeling so unchallenged and have often wondered what to do....

kimlek Mon 26-Dec-16 04:47:16

Oh he definitely needs a challenge doesn't he! I'm curious why you wish to wait a couple of years where he's not challenged at the mo? Are there schools which could take him now / soon that are appropriate? If you are looking at boarding at 13+ and he's now 10, is it because he would struggle to board now or are there simplyno boarders below 13? Does seem a pity he's not enjoying school life and may continue not to for the next few years if he stays put. Poor dude!

happygardening Mon 26-Dec-16 08:45:33

OP have you registered him for any 13+ schools? It may be too late to register him for the most selective 13+ schools.
Secondly many boarding preps are not overly selective as it's a case of bums on seats regardless of academic ability but many will have scholarship top sets, but you need to research this carefully, I'd be looking very carefully at not only leavers destinations but also where they're getting scholarships into, boarding preps like Dragon and Summerfields have an established record of getting scholarships into super selectives like Eton and Win Coll therefore have staff able to teach at this level and enough academic pupils capable of studying at this level (many preps don't) you should also apply this principle to a day prep.

christmaswreaths Tue 27-Dec-16 15:04:18

Thank you, unfortunately I have come to this late and only managed to register him to Eton, which I realise is a long shot in terms of admissions' success.

If he did get a conditional offer from Eton I could move him to a selective prep specialising in 13 plus - I do worry he is a bit young for boarding right now as he is 10 and quite young emotionally.

I need a plan b and c for which other school will allow him to register as many are already closed. I am really annoyed with myself for not moving sooner but I have to work with what I have now.. Any advice appreciated.

EnormousTiger Tue 27-Dec-16 15:20:32

It depends where you live but in the SE schools like /westminster under school or Haberdashers prep would be very good for him if he is so bright,. If Mancheter area Manchester grammar I think has a prep school but I might be wrong about that. Cambridge the Perse at 7 and indeed the Perse school pre prep.

I am not a boarding fan. We have found very academic day schools are better for this family but that is an individual choice. As you will know many of the best schools in thecountry for university admission, future success never mind hobbies are day selective private schools and some (not all and not Eton) of the boarding schools are not that academic so choose well.

EnormousTiger Tue 27-Dec-16 15:21:32

By the way if it works geographically Habs boys takes lots of very bright boys from the state sector at 11+ and Merchant Taylor;'s has 11+ entry too.

sendsummer Wed 28-Dec-16 12:20:36

Christmaswreath as you know Eton pretest selects on academic ability and a spark (for want of a better word) that shows that the boy will fully engage with at least one facet of Eton extracurricular life. However IME readiness to board is another component of the decision making. A reference from an experienced head of a boarding prep helps inform that decision as such heads can make the judgement of whether a boy, even if a day pupil at the prep, would be able to thrive as a full boarder by thirteen.
I take it that suitably academic day schools are not an option where you live and boarding seems the way forward for a more challenging environment?
If so boarding at prep which sends a lot of boys to Eton or other possible schools will allow him to already start making friends for the 13+ stage. The other advantage of an earlier move (ie before the results of the pre-test) is that if he is very bright then he may be a scholarship candidate for other schools and therefore not limited by delays in registering. Prep school head such as of schools that Happygardening mentioned can advise for scholarship options and have a track record for successful preparation for a whole range of scholarship levels. One of my DCs moved schools in year 4 and then to a boarding prep for year 6. He made some very strong lasting friends in his 3 years boarding at the prep including some who also went to his senior school (making that transition even easier). On that basis I would suggest that an earlier school move for the right school is beneficial rather than disruptive.

Eton2017 Thu 29-Dec-16 08:43:44

My advice: you don't so much need selective overall in a prep; what you need is excellence in stretching very bright children. Eg, a school with a scholarship set and a track record of getting the very competitive ones. Depending where you are, that might widen or narrow the field. There's a list of preps that have recently sent boys to Eton on Eton's website somewhere; that might be useful in case there are places reachable that you haven't considered. If it would have to be boarding and your DS doesn't seem ready that's really hard, but he might surprise you, given that he's unhappy now... might be worth visiting a couple of possibilities right away, even if you didn't move him till later. However, you need to do something now: underchallenge does really matter, to your DS's development, to his happiness, and to be mercenary, to his chance of getting a scholarship in due course! Perhaps knowing that you were considering moving him might concentrate minds at the current school, even?

BizzyFizzy Thu 29-Dec-16 17:12:38

I teach in a prep school that is flexi-boarding and send 4 or 5 boys to Eton each year.

The boys generally love boarding as it is generally their choice to board rather than being forced to by their parents. We have lots of boys who board two nights a week (to prepare them for senior school without mummy feeling she is losing her precious moppet too soon). The vast majority of those boys want to board full-time.

About one-third of our boys regularly board and not one of them is unhappy.

christmaswreaths Fri 30-Dec-16 17:49:49

Hi All, I think you are right in that I need to look at boarding preps now. Can any of you help with suggestions of really academic preps preparing for scholarships at 13 plus please?

We have exhausted all day options as he is already at the most selective and academic day school in a 50 mile radius...

BizzyFizzy Fri 30-Dec-16 22:12:54

Can you give us geographical limits?

christmaswreaths Sat 31-Dec-16 07:18:31

We are 250 miles north of London... But I guess if boarding we could travel? I go to London for work quite frequently

happygardening Sat 31-Dec-16 08:04:06

My DS boarded at prep my advise max drive 1 1/2hours 1 way unless you have nothing to do in your life/own a helicopter/list driving as your only passion and interest, we learnt the hard way. Alternatively be so far away i.e. abroad, so there's no way you can get to the school to watch your child say 1 line in the school play.
Secondly if your going to need full boarding e,g. In all weekend not home Sat night be extra careful there are few true full boarding preps left most will have a mass exodus over the weekend. Preps are also notoriously economical with the truth when it comes to the actual number of full boarders, ISI reports count weekly boarding as full. As said above few boarding preps are "reallyselective" most take a broad selection (whatever their websites say) they aren't enough bright children to go round) it's leavers destinations/scholarships into super selective are what you need to be looking at as I said above many preos won't have staff of sufficient calibrate or enough able pupils to prepare children for Eton's KS or Win Colls Election.
Assuming you'll move him for yr 7 (I guess you'll have to give a terms notice to leave you current school so year 7 entry makes sense) you'll know whether or not he has a place at Eton this may effect your choice, especially if your thinking of him doing the KS. If he's not successful a good prep will advise you on where else to consider and should know registration deadlines etc.
I would seriously consider Summerfield it's definitely full boarding and has Whois track record, its small and caring although some say rather intense but it's not a great location for you, mind you being in Oxford it has good public transport links. Frankly most suitable preps are not going to be in a grear location for someone 250 miles north of London as most are in the doubt east.
Good luck.

sendsummer Sat 31-Dec-16 11:19:02

Unfortunately, as rather far away, to have a high enough number of very bright DCs plus highest-end scholarship level teaching (to classes rather than an isolated few) plus full boarding in sufficient numbers I can only suggest the two Oxford schools Dragon and Summerfields. They are different, the latter is smaller, more traditional approach than the former.
I think that if you make the decision that this is right, there are advantages to moving him for the summer term. It is shorter than the autumn term with long evenings for fun outside and generally less intense than starting year 7 and boarding all together. Also the longer the headteacher has to know your DS the better the advice for other senior schools as a scholarship entrant if Eton does not work out.

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