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How do we prepare DS for assessment to enter a selective independent school in year 6?

(23 Posts)
clumsymum Thu 01-Oct-09 13:50:30

I've already posted a couple of threads on here about the fact that we want to move DS into the private sector, preferably by Sept next year (if not before, I'd have him out of current school next week if I could).

Now, we would like him to try for Nottingham High School, but I'm pretty sure the level he's doing currently won't be anywhere near the standard for the High (he's bright, school aren't teaching up to his level in our opinion).

I'm guessing we can get past tests? I'll ask the school when I ring them later.

How do we bring him up the required level, without scaring the bejaysus out of him?

willali Thu 01-Oct-09 14:01:22

The High School will probably appreciate that coming from the State sector he may not have covered the same ground as Prep school pupils and make allowances - but best have a frank discussion with the school IMHO and see what guidance you get from them.

mimsum Thu 01-Oct-09 14:10:11

ds1 got into an academically selective private secondary with no tutoring or specific preparation from a bog-standard state primary

the senior school actively discourages parents from tutoring for the tests apart from a very small amount of exam familiarisation shortly before children sit the tests - they also said they would take into account the schools children were coming from and basically marked the prep and state school children differently - what they're looking for is potential not what they already know

I had a look at a prep school this morning for one of my other children and was chilled to be told they start 11+ preparation in y5 and that the first term in Y6 was pretty much all maths, english and VR revision/practice - I'll be crossing that one off my list ....

exexpat Thu 01-Oct-09 14:14:15

Independent schools in my area all have short maths and english tests, then non-verbal and verbal reasoning, plus some also interview (and the interview can include some maths questions).

I think they make allowances on maths and english for kids coming from state schools where they may not have been pushed so hard, but IME they are more interested in general intelligence as shown by the vr/nvr. If you are worried, you could book a few sessions with a local tutor for DS to go through some past papers, then ask the tutor what his chances are. You can also get practice booklets for 11+ verbal/non-verbal reasoning - WHSmiths had loads when I was looking.

Doing the practice papers won't necessarily scare your DS - mine thought they were fun (much more interesting than all the SATs stuff he was doing at school).

dilemma456 Thu 01-Oct-09 14:23:56

Message withdrawn

clumsymum Thu 01-Oct-09 14:26:50

thanks for this. I guess they will make allowances for him in coming from a school that has less of an 'academic focus'. It does scare me that he would find the change very great.

We are also looking at a less academically high flying school, but I do feel he has the ability to do well academically.

clumsymum Thu 01-Oct-09 14:28:47

thing is dilemma, that's entrance to the senior school, and we're looking at him entering the final year in the junior school.

Thanks tho'

Hulababy Thu 01-Oct-09 14:34:37

Have you been to visit the school? I would go and visit - phone and ask for an appointment and tour. Then you can ask these kind of questions. Find out what they will be looking for, and if they take into account children who are at non academic schools currently.

As it is entry into the junior school, ast a non-normal starting point, I assume it will be the school's own assessments rather than anything in particular.

Roselind Thu 01-Oct-09 14:35:45

My daughter got into a selective school in year 6 (just started) - at her school they did a 2 day assessment process including tests and just being there with year 5 otherwise.

She came from a state school with no preparation.

I don't think they made allowances for that and her performance as discussed with me was considered average, whereas her state school considered her way better than average. But I think her general demeanour etc may have helped ie she joins in a lot and is relatively well behaved!

My older daughter failed to get into a school at 10 without coaching; we got coaching and the school rejected her again at 11. She got into another, even more selective school, so we were left wondering if her first failure before the tutoring just left them biased against her.

Just some thoughts. At the end of the day, focus on somewhere your child will be happy. I do think though on experience to date that we have done the right thing to move the younger one now. There is a lot of focus on getting ready to make the transition to senior school. State schools do not seem to do this (eg things like getting your stuff organised, having a structured timetable, more homework).

clumsymum Thu 01-Oct-09 14:46:03

Thanks again everyone (waves "hello" to Hula)

Roselind, I do want to find somewhere where ds will be happy, and I think, longer-term the high school would be the place. Like him, I was bright but didn't apply myself, and at 13 moved into a school which was MUCH more academically focussed that the comp I'd left. Altho it was a shock, I settled down well and would never have got the O'levels & A'levels I achieved without that school pushing me. I look back on it very fondly.

Ds is very bright, needs push to actually apply himself to maths & writing, but does it very well when he settles down to it. Current school don't push, and frankly such homework that he does get can be done by him in 10 minutes flat with his eyes closed.
Add to that the fact that he gets permanently teased about my disability and his own physical differences, and I just want him out. Am fighting currently to find ways to afford it, but we will get there.

Hulababy Thu 01-Oct-09 14:48:35

Hi clumsymum

Hope you manage to get him to a school you are all happy with.

I would definitely take hom for a look round - on a proper school day, rather than open day - and take it from there.

thirtysomething Thu 01-Oct-09 14:55:41

My DS got in at year 7 from a very average state school with no tutoring or preparation (other than looking at a couple of Bond Verbal-reasoning papers the week before....) To be honest the Head said to us that they can tell who is tutored and prefer boys not to be...they could also tell he just hadn't covered some of the maths and so ignored those sections.The Head said they are looking for potential and know how to spot that in a way which goes beyond being prepped to perform in a certain way at the exam.

I do know that the NHS for girls year 6 entrance test is more of a day-long assessment, looking at how each child fits in with their potential class and how they respond in lessons, which seems much better than just doing a test.

clumsymum Thu 01-Oct-09 14:58:51

Hi Hula

Yes, we're going to an open day on Saturday (at the less academic one), and would certainly ask to go back on a normal school day.

I don't know currently what approach to take with ds about it. He knows we are going to look at a school, and has said he wouldn't want to move (ho hum, I think that is a slight "fear of the unknown"). We have said we're going to look, because the kids of Daddy's work colleague go there, and say it is very nice, so we are JUST going to look.
I haven't mentioned the High School yet, that issue will come up when I've arranged a visit.

All I know is that he deserves a better situation than he's in right now (and I'm a governor of his current school).

seeker Thu 01-Oct-09 15:02:33

I am sure you don't have unrealistic expectations, but just in case you do - PLEASE don't assume that moving him out of the state sector will necessarily solve the teasing/bullying issue. Sometimes the drive to conform to a 'norm' is even stronger in private schools.

clumsymum Thu 01-Oct-09 15:14:48

Seeker, it's certainly an issue that I would discuss with the school in any case.

BUT as I said on another of my threads, a move to private school solved the problem for me. Furthermore, the biggest difficulty ATM seems to come from the 'less able' kids in the school (I'm sorry, but it's true). Move away from them, and you move away from that aspect of the problem.

Finally, I do have the expectation that if I'm paying school fees, the school WOULD do something about my son being victimised.

I would be interested to hear why you feel the way you do.

marialuisa Thu 01-Oct-09 15:34:27

Clumsymum-Loughborough Grammar School has a Y6 entry and has info on what is expected on their website. NHS and LGS are very similar in terms of academics etc. so I imagine the advive would be equally useful? Otherwise just contact the school directly, they will be used to it. I think Fluffybunny's DS did the exam for Y6 entry recently so she might have more info.

clumsymum Thu 01-Oct-09 15:37:47

Marialuisa, thankyou, that's very useful information.

seeker Thu 01-Oct-09 18:37:27

Clumsymum - it might be just in my social circle, but among the children I know, there is GENERALLY more acceptance of "difference" - both physical and psychological - among state educated children. Simply because they have been exposed to a more diverse group of peers.

The independent school children SEEM to be largely in classes of "people like me" if you see what I mean, and are not well equipped to deal with 'difference"

Just my observation - and the plural of anecdote is not data.

deaddei Thu 01-Oct-09 19:07:50

I do agree with seeker that private schools are not necessarily better at dealing with bullying than state schools. I know a very highly regarded girls prep school where a girl left in the summer term in yr 5 because of bullying- the head at the time refused to believe it was happening. The new head has opened a can of worms, and has been appalled at the lack of pastoral care given.

Hulababy Thu 01-Oct-09 19:16:46

My experience has been very mixed regards the differences and acceptance. Definitely no more prejudices at DD's school then the primary school I work at.

seeker Thu 01-Oct-09 22:19:11

And in once case I know, I think the bullying was more difficult to spot, and certainly to prove, because it was concealed by a miasma of excellent social skills and boaters, if you see what I mean.

deaddei Fri 02-Oct-09 08:45:24

lol social skills and boaters grin

ProfessorLaytonIsMyLoveSlave Fri 02-Oct-09 09:33:29

I have heard that key things that state school pupils tend to have less experience of than private school pupils are familiarity with NVR questions and ability to write to a topic under timed conditions (the sample English paper for entry to the Senior school on the page that dilemma linked to is probably a good example of the sort of question your DS should feel comfortable tackling).

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