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Assements at 3 - what do you think?

(34 Posts)
shinyredbus Mon 19-Jun-17 16:39:27

Hi everyone,

I'm wondering why every one thinks of this. My daughter got turned down for a selective prep and I'm feeling a bit sad.

I mean is it to differentiate between the bright children and less bright? Is here some correlation? Is this quite common in the UK? She's been accepted into another prep which is wonderful - but I can't help but feel bad for her - it's almost like I failed her a little.

Sorry - I'm just feeling a bit down!

Zodlebud Mon 19-Jun-17 16:55:35

Selective schools are perhaps more about results than the child. Sure, a very bright and outgoing child thrives in these sort of environments but they are not right for every child. Whether you can work out which kids those are at that age (or even if you'd want to) is another matter.

I have thoroughly enjoyed watching my children grow at a non selective prep (we turned down a place at a selective). Our school just felt more us. They are both thriving in many areas, not just academically, and most importantly they are happy. They hate the holidays as they miss school too much.

If the prep at which she has the place regularly sends children down an educational path you want (7+, 11+, 13+, boarding, day, state or independent) and it feels "right" then it will be the right place for her.

LIZS Mon 19-Jun-17 18:26:28

Don't take it personally. They are looking for a particular fit and your dc may or may not have been able to demonstrate that on the day. One school's loss is another's gain.

tessiebear4 Mon 19-Jun-17 18:30:46

I don't think you can work out how bright a child is at 3 years old.

shinyredbus Mon 19-Jun-17 18:49:15

Thanks guys. Your words are of comfort to me - I am (unreasonably so) sad for her because we both love the school and we really wanted it for her. I suppose it didn't help a friend of ours insinuated that our daughter wasn't as bright as hers (hers got in). X

igivein Mon 19-Jun-17 19:25:52

My ds got turned down at 3.
Ended up at a state primary. It was absolutely fantastic! He's done really well, just passed entrance tests for an amazing independent secondary school (without any tutoring, just turned up on the day and did the tests). He just needed a bit of time and some excellent teaching to 'come into his own'. Your dd will probably be the same.

wickerlampshade Mon 19-Jun-17 21:31:57

Is this Highgate? they kick out a fair few at 7 because, of course, it's absolute rubbish to suggest that you can spot the bright kids at 3,4 or 5. I say this as one whose children have had mixed success and failure at these assessments and I am convinced that it is part preparation for the test, partly that they don't choose shy kids at this age and a huge helping of luck.

oh and your friend is a dick. but you knew that. flowers

mummytime Mon 19-Jun-17 21:40:46

Quite a few select at 3/4 schools do manage out pupils for whom "this school is not the best for the child". It is very hard to judge st 3/4, and sometimes what is being looked for is conformity rather than quirky brilliance.

shinyredbus Mon 19-Jun-17 21:55:59

Thanks ladies,

It seems the school's current parents (we know a few) are of a similar belief that assessing at 3 does indeed separate the bright from the dull - what they actually test for, no one knows, all i have heard is that there is a 3D puzzle and some form of picture explanation - all in all 10 small tasks and is a point based system. We didn't prepare her - her assesment was done when she was 2yr 9 months. She could hardly sit still at that age, let alone listen to 'preparation'! grin

Obviously i think my child is bright and quirky, but then again, so do many parents i suppose - now I'm sort of second guessing myself. She's my first child (i now have an infant son) so I'm a little lost in the whole private education system. Im originally not from here and I've never really heard of assessments for such young children.

Thanks all, you've helped me through a rough day.

DPotter Mon 19-Jun-17 22:04:33

we visited a selective prep school many years ago and DP asked what are you looking for, and was told in a really patronising way "you wouldn't understand" - he gritted his teeth listed a few of his qualifications and then said "try me" - gotta love him. Silly dep head still tried to fob us off. I decided there and then this would be the last school on the planet I would send DD to.
I firmly believe it is impossible to accurately estimate ability, intelligence at the grand age of 3.
Don't get down hearted OP find a better fit school for your DD

Pickerel Mon 19-Jun-17 22:14:23

I have two sons. One was clearly very bright at age two and a half, while the other was a late talker and couldn't say many words at that age. I assumed he would never be as bright as his older brother. But by age 7 or so, there would have been nothing to choose between them. I'm now really interested to see which one ends up being the brightest (academically speaking). It might well be the younger one!

Don't worry OP. Your DD sounds lovely.

wickerlampshade Mon 19-Jun-17 22:15:37

Of course those whose kids get in feel it's an intelligence test! I have a child who crashed out of these tests one year and sailed through them the next. She didn't suddenly get more intelligent! It's all smoke and mirrors.

shinyredbus Mon 19-Jun-17 22:31:46

Thanks - i know this is just a forum but you all have no idea how much more you have helped me - i was really down about this (had a cry even!) and its so unfair because my daughter is quite cool and i do love her to pieces, even if she cannot do a 3D puzzle! She still cannot sit still and today told me i was a bizarre lady. haha!

I cannot talk to anyone in real life as i have a habit of over-thinking things and my family don't really like hearing about things i worry about - i have spoken to my husband but he is of the belief that she will be fine wherever she is.

Out2pasture Mon 19-Jun-17 23:31:57

I think the schools also look to see if the parents are a good fit.
they might be looking for a balance between boys and girls or if same sex children born in different months of the year.
lots of different factors in determining the selection.

Iwantawhippet Tue 20-Jun-17 06:27:35

My dc failed a prep school assessment at 3. Started at a state school and was and is top of the class which has lots of bright parents and children. Also assessed as very good language skills by ed. psy.

So no, they can't tell much at 3 except who is well behaved and biddable!

senua Tue 20-Jun-17 08:23:05

She still cannot sit still

You've said that twice now. You know that this is the answer.

So no, they can't tell much at 3 except who is well behaved and biddable!

Yup. I know someone whose DC got turned down. It was nothing more than he was a bit scatty & wild and he wasn't fully toilet trained. They just put it off a year until he was more mature.

mummytime Tue 20-Jun-17 09:09:50

Your DD may well do much better in another school where she is able to learn through play, even a state school.
At 3 it is a special child who can sit still, is biddable and has great concentration. But those skills in no way correlate with future academic success.
The biddable ones might do okay all the way through a certain type of school - but are then the shock rejections by Oxbridge or under-perform at University, because all their A's and Astars don't correlate to deep thinking. So just realise maybe this school isn't the right one for your DD, now and make the best of the new opportunities open to you both.

everthibkyouvebeenconned Tue 20-Jun-17 09:21:11

My DC wouldnt have got in due to SEN but I have huge issues with selection especially at 3. The focus should be on creating a happy cun crearive expansive atmosphere for little children not whether they are bright enough according to a stupid test aimed at only attracting one type of child

You've had a lucky escape from a treadmill. There are loads of non selective high attaining incredibly happy Pre preps out there. You could choose one if those?

corythatwas Tue 20-Jun-17 09:35:50

The problem with this kind of experience is it makes you focus on whether your dd is able to meet the specifications of the school when what you should really ask yourself is whether the school is able to meet the requirements of your dd. And from what you have told us, that doesn't seem to be the case. So look around and hopefully you will find somewhere that is right for her.

tessiebear4 Tue 20-Jun-17 09:47:08

What do you want for her in life more generally? Does it matter how "intelligent" she is at 3?

JustRichmal Tue 20-Jun-17 10:12:10

We have a dd who was comparatively well behaved and compliant at preschool age. We decided on a state school. The top one in the area had an excellent reputation for high academic standards. When we looked round the school was full of well behaved children and was a very orderly school. It was easy to see why parents would want this for their children. We could not get out of there quick enough. Our dd did not want more learning how to follow rules, she wanted to have more free thinking.
I think fate has helped you pick a school which will be much better for your dd.

sysysysref Tue 20-Jun-17 19:14:39

My nephew got into a selective prep st 3, he's so far from a genius, I imagine that he was in a good mood and co-operated that day. He's generally not particularly co-operative. His far brighter sister wouldn't leave her mum at assessment for the same school and didn't get in. I think it's total pot luck at that age. Personally I like 11+ , it's a bit of a pain but I think it's really important to let them set he pace themselves in the early years

NataliaOsipova Tue 20-Jun-17 19:23:34

Mine are at a selective prep. They maintain there is no preference given to siblings. There clearly is! Try not to feel too disheartened. At 3 they can do easily have an off day, or react unfavourably to an unfamiliar person or environment. It's not a cast iron verdict on her intelligence at all.

CruCru Tue 20-Jun-17 20:21:22


I don't know where you are but if it is north London, then some of the selective schools are really, massively oversubscribed (I think some get six or seven applicants per space - and these are the children of people who expect that their children will do well and who can afford to send their kids to prep school). It is hard not to take it personally but do try not to. Some schools also look for a mix of personalities / a balance of genders and ages.

The 3 / 4+ is very stressful - but it should only be stressful for the parents. In that way, it is much better than the 7+, as those children know they are being assessed and have to write exams.

2014newme Wed 21-Jun-17 13:24:47

You've answered your own question op. She can't sit still that's the reason (totally normal for such a young child). They are looking for confidence, compliance, listening skills. So not sitting still I'm afraid could rule her out
So what though?!
My children go to state schools, we declined the selective prep they were offered. They are very happy and doing very well indeed.

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