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what are they looking for at assessment for entry at 4 to a private school?

(63 Posts)
olivo Wed 16-Sep-09 17:59:39

We are thinking of putting DD down forthe local private primary, and were sent some info, saying that the admissions assessment process would be starting soon. what kind of things are they looking for? DD has only just turned 3 so seems very young compared to some of her fellow year group. do they take things like that into account? presumably they wouldn't want a year group full of september birthdays!

RubysReturn Wed 16-Sep-09 18:02:39

your cash usually ime

Jujubean77 Wed 16-Sep-09 18:05:13

Yes they absolutely take age into account..

They are not so much looking for skills as such, rather the ability to listen and comprehend. So if they are able to sit down and concentrate on being asked to, for example, draw a picture, that is what is assessed rather than the picture itself. Following instructions is key.

LIZS Wed 16-Sep-09 18:06:15

I doubt they will be very stringent atm . dd spent a morning with her peer group, did an activity (made a windmill) with teacher and another child (ie listened and gfollowed isntructions and concentrated), listened to a story and participated in carpet time, drew (fine motor skills) and joined in playtime. It can vary , some are more intense than others expecting more in literacy and numeracy.

Jujubean77 Wed 16-Sep-09 18:06:27

grin ruby, yes there is an element of that too I'm sure....

LadyMuck Wed 16-Sep-09 18:07:21

We have this thread every year. Here is last years. Basically it will really depend on the actual school. A few schools are very oversubscribed and there is an "academic" selection. At others it is more of a weeding out test - ie is there some obvious reason as to why this child couldn't thrive in this school.

RubysReturn Wed 16-Sep-09 18:08:21

plus ability to look photogenic in bizarre uniform.

If I sound bitter, it is becuase we chose state root and our dc are now dim grin

squeaver Wed 16-Sep-09 18:09:24

They do take birthdays into account. They might look at how well she knows colours, can she cut with scissors, can she build blocks in a certain order or copy a pattern from the teacher, maybe can she write her name. How interested she is in giving things a go, how talkative or sociable she is. It all depends on the school

Your best bet is to find someone whose child has been through the assessment and ask them what they do.

BUT DO NOT try to tutor her for it.

And DO NOT get stressed about it.

And DO NOT think of it as an assessment of your child's intelligence, future prospects, your parenting skills or anything else.

Otherwise, you will go mad.

pagwatch Wed 16-Sep-09 18:10:28

they look at a whole host ofthings butthey absoloutely do take age into account. And things that a child has been taught by pushy attentive parents don't count either.
They don't care if your child can read or not. Would probably prefer not as a child whose parents have 'helped' them to read early are likely to be pain in the arse involved parents.grin

The thing is they are usually over subscribed and so an assessment, whilst it seems terrible, is justtheir way of choosing the pupils they want.
I know people hate the concept - and I can understand that. But if you have 30 applications and 12 places you have to have a method to choose.

MarshaBrady Wed 16-Sep-09 18:13:16

Ds did a couple. One where he was taken into a room for a private conversation. Lots of questions, odd one out, shapes. No playing.

And another where he went into a room with quite a few children and played for a bit, heard a story.

No point in preparing for it as usually the schools are secretive.

It is easier in a way as the children are too young really to know they are being assessed.

Just treat it like anything else you might do regularly.

Jujubean77 Wed 16-Sep-09 18:14:26

yes I agree with squeaver

I wouldn't make a big deal of it in any way, definately no tutoring

MarmadukeScarlet Wed 16-Sep-09 18:20:12

One school in London that a girlfriend looked at asked which shools and universities both parents (and possibly grandparents) went to as part of admission criteria.

Both my DC went to their school nursery from 2.5, DD was offerred a place for reception. After 2 terms in nursery I was asked if I though a less 'structured' environment would suit DS (he has SN and def wasn't their ideal pupil - pushy academic type prep.)

Hulababy Wed 16-Sep-09 18:24:11

DD went for her assessment at 3y and it was very relaxed. They are just looking at "readiness to start school."

At DD's assessment DD went off with the reception class teacher. They did some games together They played a game with boxes hidden inside one another and DD had to open them and take them out and see what was in the last box. They also did some drawing - IIRR DD drew a picture of Dora the Explorer ans wrote her name on the top. And they did lots of talking - the teacher came out knowing all about our holidays, her new cousin, her favourite programmes, what she liked doing, etc.

Meanwhile me and DH went for a chat with the headmistress to ask any questions about the school.

pagwatch Wed 16-Sep-09 18:25:47

My DDs school do their assessment as a party. She rolled up all dressed up and di loads of 'games' with the other girls. She loved it. Had no notion of what was going on.

If a school asked anything about me or DH I wouldn't accept a place if it was offered.

FWIW my DS2 was at a private nursery when his ASD happened. I would not have been the slightest bit offended by their suggesting he may find it too challenging. It would have been. I pulled him. He could not possibly have coped with an academic enviroment.

faraday Wed 16-Sep-09 18:26:41

A good friend of mine applied for a £10k a year prep in East Anglia at the end of Y2. It is considered to be an academically selective prep.

Her DS had to go in for half a day and just play, basically. My friend was just a tad smug about 2 little boys who a) cried and b) sat under a table and refused to come out.

Imagine her surprise when BOTH got in. Her DS, 4 years later, had to sit the entry exams for the upper school. The stress! The worry! But the ENTIRE year group of 50 passed (to her chagrin!- she feels at least 5 in her DS's class weren't made of the 'right stuff', but interestingly , ALL were the sons of the wealthiest parents!hmm ).

Really, in today's world, what they want, unless the school is absolutely UNIQUE and REALLY fought over is:
a) your ability to pay the fees
b) for your child to not demonstrate psychopathic personality traits, and
c)not to have SEN unless this is part of the deal.

Turn up for your interview conservatively dressed and bob's your uncle.

I am not being glib- really! But for the vast majority of private schools, as long as your family fit into the spectrum of 'normal' AND you LOOK like you can keep paying, it won't be an issue.

seeker Wed 16-Sep-09 18:27:16

an open cheque book.

MmeProf Wed 16-Sep-09 18:28:15

They will be looking at how your child plays/works, on their own and with other children.

They will also use the session as a 'getting to know you', should your child end up joining them.

olivo Wed 16-Sep-09 18:32:00

thanks ,all.

a tutor for a 3 year old shock ? people don't, do they?
won't be stressing about it, know for a fact DD can't read or write. she can draw faces that look like 'scream', count to 10 and nursery tell me she can follow instructions (not at home though[hmm grin ).

thanks for the link to last years - had a look in the archive but wasnt sure which key words to put in!!

have to say,we've only sent for details on a whim, was a bit late applying for local primaries!

pagwatch Wed 16-Sep-09 18:36:19

I love all these stories

DS1 is at a top ten school. We went to the open day of that and three other schools. we never had an interview with any of the staff - we just did the thing where you are shown around by the pupils. DS1 did a series of pretty tough exams. The boys who got the top marks got in. The boys in the middle went back for interview and the allocation was completed. The Head was on the steps on the day of DS1 addmission exams and that was the only time I met him - and that was only because DS1 kissed his brother goodbye and the Head asked DS1 his brothers name. AS DS2 has obvious SN I am pretty sure that wasn't what got him in.

DD turned up, aged 4 at two local schools, again after I had registered info and trawled around with other parents. I was not interviewed - just took DD to assessments and handed her over.

All this parent interview, looking rich, open cheque book stuff. Don't get it. I know it sounds great and I'm sure it happens sometimes but it is not universal

olivo Wed 16-Sep-09 18:38:39

I am truly shock at some of the things I am finding out here, and wondering whether this is the right thing for us! Maybe because i work in a state school, it seems so far from what I am used to, despite the fact i was educated at private school.
10K a year? which uni you went to?shock

thank you so much, i think i needed my eyes opening!

pagwatch Wed 16-Sep-09 18:44:52


Some of it is bollocks
I never went to university. Neither did DH.

(Although the fees in leafy Surrey are that much...)

MarshaBrady Wed 16-Sep-09 18:47:10

Some schools really do just want the brightest children regardless of parents occupation (I think).

One in Dulwich is very oversubscribed, 150 applicants for 18 places so it's fairly tough.

Although actually we did have to put occupation on form...
It can't count can it.

olivo Wed 16-Sep-09 18:57:01

they do ask for occupation on the form for this one. do schools see teaching as an acceptable occupation wink?

it is 1K a year, no way we could afford 10k a year!

Acanthus Wed 16-Sep-09 19:08:03

I always thought that at age 3/4 they were looking for a) compliance b) ability to talk coherently to an adult c) ability to comcentrate for a few minutes

pagwatch Wed 16-Sep-09 19:15:25

I think occupation is a fiar enough question tbh. They probably want to exclude drug dealer, politician etc.
I think mine ( carer and SAHM) probably left me in the starters gate. And DH always puts the generic industry term for his - which is fucking dreary
No. I think my DCs were on their own

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