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Common entrance from abroad

(22 Posts)
lollylegs Sat 14-Jan-17 11:35:41

Dear Mummies

Please help! I am seeking your advice. DS is 9 and starting year 4. We relocated from UK to Australia a few years ago and he has spent the vast majority of his primary school years here in Sydney at a basic state primary school.

We are looking to head back to the UK in two years time. By which time he will be in Year 6. He is keen to get into Tonbridge School or Sevenoaks School having done tours of both. Only problem is, both require common entrance and I dont know how to get him ready for it.

What is the process for overseas students? Tonbridge said boys applying from overseas with less than two years at a prep school will sit the common entrance lite.

At what point would you start preparing your child for this exam?
Would you recommend getting a tutor in Sydney for this? Any recommendations or suggestions much appreciated!

Thank you!

LIZS Sat 14-Jan-17 11:46:30

You need to check the overseas entry assessments. Both pretest in y6 iirc and make conditional offers, but I think Sevenoaks also do entry papers in Autumn of year 8 and make firm offers in
December, before CE. Tonbridge have links to prep schools to place pupils they would like at 13+. Your best idea is to find a prep school which sends a number of pupils regularly to either or both at 13+ and ask how they would prepare him. It isn't unusual for pupils to join in y6 or 7 to take CE. Alternatively Seveoaks also have an 11+ intake. Where do you plan to live?

lollylegs Sat 14-Jan-17 12:10:00

We plan to return to Tonbridge where we lived previously. We had him enrolled at a prep school but we moved before he could start. In your opinion, would the prep school be willing to help if we may not be attending?

LIZS Sat 14-Jan-17 12:13:46

Difficult to say, you can ask but they will probably want you to register him and perhaps provide evidence of the academic level he currently is and assess whether these schools are feasible destinations. For the pretests they assess potential rather than ability. Surely you'd need a school place on return anyway.

lollylegs Sat 14-Jan-17 12:31:47

Would we, if DS completed Year 6 in Australia? Wouldn't he be too old to do prep school by then?
Sorry, complete novice to the UK school system. sad

LIZS Sat 14-Jan-17 12:34:10

You'd have to choose a prep school that goes up to 13 and which prepares for CE. Not all do, especially in Kent with state 11+ options. Otherwise what is your plan for years 7 and 8?

LIZS Sat 14-Jan-17 12:36:26

When is he 10, as you may find he would already be year 5 here if before August 31st.

Techknowlogy Sat 14-Jan-17 12:39:03

I'd find out first about the pre tests. Is there one for these schools? When do they happen? Usually long before CE. If you haven't done the pre test and been offered a place, you won't be eligible to sit CE for these schools.

lollylegs Sat 14-Jan-17 12:43:53

Thank you Techknowlogy. I will ask the question.

He will turn 10 in January 2018. He is young for his year here in Australia but he wouldn't have been if he had started school in the UK. I, myself am originally from Australia so I have no clue about the school system in the UK and don't want to disadvantage him with my ignorance.

DoWop2 Sat 14-Jan-17 12:47:29

If you want Sevenoaks go for Year 7 entry, it is infinitely easier than Year 9 entry. If you can you should finish Year 6 in Australia and apply for Year 7 entry. Call Arabella Stuart at the school, she is lovely and very helpful.

LIZS Sat 14-Jan-17 12:48:27

I think Tonbridge is one of the earlier pretests, Autumn y6. Yes he'd currently be year 4 here too.

lollylegs Sat 14-Jan-17 13:13:09

Thank you so much. Would you recommend a tutor here in Sydney? I think we maybe a bit behind here with what he would be doing in the UK. I haven't been able to find a CE specific tutor here but many other good maths/ English ones to choose from.
Thank you for your tip on Sevenoak School. Another lead to follow up!

Mary21 Sat 14-Jan-17 13:52:59

Really you are looking at either doing the Entrace exam in year 6 for a year 7 entry or pretest in year 6 then spend 2 years in a prep school for year 7 and 8 . Common entrance at the end on year 8.
It might be worth asking the schools if they have sample papers of entrace exams or pretests the decide if he would need tutoring to get up to that level. Ask his current school if he would be covering those topics by Autumn of year 6.

Mary21 Sat 14-Jan-17 14:00:51

Sevenoaks has its own entrance exam at age 11 not common entrance, sample papers on their website
It might be worth having a less academic back up school just in case

Techknowlogy Sat 14-Jan-17 14:58:32

OP, just in case, 13+ CE is not just maths and English like in the 11+ . It encompasses all subjects, english, maths, history, geography, Latin etc, candidates will sit papers in all subjects, so the idea of finding a 'CE tutor' for that I'm not sure is very realistic. It's like a mini GCSE, so you really need to be at a school where they are teaching the 13+ curriculum.

In any case, the 13+ will be sat at the candidates current school I.e prep school. So ultimately if this is the route you are embarking on I,e entry at year 9, you really should transfer to a prep school in the U.K no later than yr 7. If you're looking for a tutor to prep for pre test or 11+ From Australia that's another matter but doable I suppose.

EleanorRigby123 Sat 14-Jan-17 16:46:38

If you move your DS to a UK prep school for year 7, (when he is 11) they will have no difficulty preparing him for CE. Assuming he has passed the pre tests for the schools you mention he will also pass CE at the appropriate level. It is not a major hurdle. All these schools want is to be sure that your DS will be able to keep up with the peer group and get decent (I) GCSE results.

If he is not in a UK prep he will not have to do CE. Virtually all schools offer a non CE route for those applying from abroad, state sector and unusual circumstances. Some children for example sit tests based on the national curriculum. Others sit the scholarship papers - not because they are expected to get a scholarship but because these papers do not depend on having studied the CE curriculum

Sevenoaks and Tonbridge are two VERY different schools. Both academic, but very different in ethos. Intriguing choices. Why not put his name down for a couple of other less academic schools in the area as well to relieve the pressure? Are you looking for day places or boarding/weekly boarding? Lots of schools in that area and you do not have to make a final decision until he is 12.

Clavinova Sat 14-Jan-17 19:03:22

Most academic private schools also test verbal reasoning (Sevenoaks) and non verbal reasoning (Tonbridge) in the pre-test or 11+/13+. Ideally your ds would have spent 6 months prepping for these too - this company have work books and on-line resources for example;
The pre-test is often a fast-paced computer test and your ds should be prepared for this as it can unnerve some candidates.

lollylegs Sun 15-Jan-17 10:50:44

EleanorRigby123, he is keen on the sport at Tonbridge (his first choice) and also because his father went there. Sevenoaks because his uncle went there and again, he is mad on the sports component even though we have told him again and again, that's not what it's about! He is a clever child but lazy - that's the honest truth. I am hoping that once he gets over that he understands he needs to work for it.

So this is what the Tonbridge registrar said:
In order for the student to take CE, he would need to have done 2 years at The New Beacon before joining Tonbridge in September 2021. Boys from overseas, who haven’t been at a prep school for that length of time are then required to sit our competitive “November” entrance exams in English and maths. Your son would sit these in November 2020.

I guess my next question is, how do you prepare your child for these exams if you don't live in the UK?

LIZS Sun 15-Jan-17 10:59:54

You need to decide whether to return in y6 or not before you determine which route. Ask for sample papers, show them to your ds teachers and see if they feel it is achievable, with or without tuition. That won't be the only prep school but they may have an arrangement with them. It isn't only English and Maths you need to consider, the curriculum for history, geography, languages will also differ so it may help with his cultural adjustment to spend time in a UK school.

timeforsomethingnew Sun 15-Jan-17 22:53:10

We moved to the UK from overseas for my DD to start Y9 in independent school. We were rather late looking into it all as we didn't know we were moving until end of Y7. DD took the school entrance exams rather than CE . She was entered for 4 schools but in the end only took the exams for 1 and as that was her first choice school, she didn't end up taking the others. She took a maths, English and a non VR paper. (The other schools had similar set up for overseas applicants - all seemed to be maths and English and some had VR and Non VR)

Taken in Dec of Y8. Her cohort who joined school with her in the following Sept had all taken CE except overseas students and local students transferring from schools who did not offer CE. (Eg from grammars or state secondaries)

I would recommend you ask the schools for advice on what will be tested. The schools we applied for said it would test the appropriate age national curriculum content. DD was in an international school which nominally followed British curriculum. We supplemented with some appropriately aged bond papers for a few months so could spot any obvious gaps in her knowledge and to give her exam practice. In your case maybe a tutor who knows uk system or can get info about it might help.

Interesting to note that she did have a harder first year than her friends who had done CE. They work them very hard in the CE year and many seemed to coast and be covering some of ground again. DD meanwhile found it a big step up in new stuff to learn and academic intensity and rigour. It evened out more in the following year.

Clavinova Mon 16-Jan-17 08:28:11

Overseas entry;

November exams;

If your ds is asked to take a cognitive ability test (CAT test) or computerised pre-test for any school then some prior knowledge of verbal/non-verbal reasoning will help improve his score (as we discovered by accident) even if he only spends a few weeks on it - if your child is already bright it all seems 'simple once you know how'.

lollylegs Mon 16-Jan-17 11:06:46

Thank you all. I've made contact with Sevenoaks School and asked the prep school and Tonbridge what will be tested or if they could give me some idea of what the tests would look like, I could somehow prepare him for it from Sydney so that he isn't so far behind.

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