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NLCS - HABS - ST HELENS - Other Schools in North West London

(68 Posts)
maya1234 Mon 11-Jul-11 14:15:27

I know there are other threads on here about preparation people are doing for assesments at 4+ entry into these schools.

I get that it is really competitive and I get that the kids don't have to read.

I know there are those of you who dont agree with private education etc, fine, I am not doing this post to discuss the merits of it versus state, so if this is what you want to do please start your own thread.

What I want to discuss is what is good preparation, not whether it is right or not, these assesments are there to assess a childs readiness to learn and that cant be taught.

Most people I know that are going for these assesments for 4+ entry are ALL getting their kids tutored, pretty much most the kids getting into these schools are either privately tutored or tutored by their parents.

It is certainly not a level playing field when trying to get your child into a good school, what I want to know is how can I prepare my child as best as I can.

My child is shy, she doesnt look people in the eye, she clams up in new situations, she has had no tution, we have not bombarded her with preparation by any means, but need to start doing something especially since most her peers who will be at those assesments will have been tutored or prepared.

I want genuine advice from parents who are experienced in preparing their children for these assesments, most parents I know whose children are in the same year are either tutoring openly, or secretly, I am not here to judge on whether it is right.....I would like to know whether it is what is neccessary...

horsemadmom Mon 11-Jul-11 18:26:28

Mad! Barking Mad! You can't tutor for 4+. Someone is making money from these poor parents and it stinks.
Here's what NLCS is looking for at 4+-
Can DD recognise and point to their name on a sticker?
Can your DD walk away from you without having a meltdown?
Can DD draw a reasonably detailed picture?
Can DD listen to a story and answer questions about it?
Can DD cut with scissors?
Can DD hold a pencil?
Can DD take turns and follow instructions?
If DD can do these things, there is nothing you can do other than showing up on time on the correct day and not driving her crazy. She is either right for the school or not. The people who are spending money for some charlatan to help their kid string beads are fools.

maya1234 Fri 15-Jul-11 09:01:40

hi horsemadmom

My daughter can do all of those things, apparently this is not enough...my daughter can even read and play the piano, and swims very well

Either your advice is correct, or you could be the competition (ok a little far fetched), I am hoping it is correct.

But to date I am finding more and more parents are tutoring their kids for the assesments and then denying it.

I dont want to tutor my kid, but ultimately it is not a level playing field...its part of this weird North London system where if you dont keep up

Paying someone to show your kid to put beads onto a string but when you dont have the time to do it yourself what can you do?

Does anyone else on this forum know much about preparation for assesments, or have experience of using tution for 4+, I know a lot of girls who do get into NLCS have had tution for a whole year before the assesments regardless of if the parents deny..

maya1234 Fri 15-Jul-11 09:05:48

hi horsemadmom

My daughter can do all of those things, apparently this is not enough...my daughter can even read and play the piano, and swims very well

Either your advice is correct, or you could be the competition (ok a little far fetched), I am hoping it is correct.

But to date I am finding more and more parents are tutoring their kids for the assesments and then denying it.

I dont want to tutor my kid, but ultimately it is not a level playing field...its part of this weird North London system where if you dont keep up your kid falls behind..

Paying someone to show your kid to put beads onto a string but when you dont have the time to do it yourself what can you do?

Does anyone else on this forum know much about preparation for assesments, or have experience of using tution for 4+, I know a lot of girls who do get into NLCS have had tution for a whole year before the assesments regardless of if the parents deny..

MammyT Fri 15-Jul-11 18:32:45

I know kids who have got into these schools without being tutored but the one thing they all had was confidence and masses of it. No shrinking violets need apply.

I'm against tutoring young children but the one benefit is that they get used to being questioned by a relative stranger.
You could just ensure they are well socialised of course but it comes down to the child at the end of the day.

mariamagdalena Sat 16-Jul-11 01:19:50

maya, I know this isn't a thread about state versus private; and I really don't want to turn it into one. Parents should be free to educate their children as best they can, be that state, private, faith school, home education, whatever.

I've just been to my little daughter's reception 'graduation assembly'. And she has been so loved and nurtured in school, as well as brought on academically and in developing her confidence, that I have a tear of gratitude in my eye.

I had a look at the ratio of places at 4+ compared to 7+ and 11+ so I can see why you're keen to get her in now... it's just that I would have thought that a good school should be able to see past hothousing and recognise the potential of a shy little girl. And if they're too inept to do that...

You're welcome to PM me, I'll happily reveal my RL credentials as my younger two are on sibling preference already wink

maya1234 Sat 05-Nov-11 11:21:09

Entry to this school just seems mad....
Makes you wonder if this school really is that great.
I mean at 4+ if you decide you want the brightest, most confident, most intelligent children is it any wonder your school gets the best results.....

Feeling nervous about assesments.....how can they assess a child in such a short space of time, what if my kid has a bad day or had a bad night the night before......what if she just isnt in a good mood that day.....

rabbitstew Sat 05-Nov-11 11:45:40

What if an Olympic athlete had a bad day on the day of their competition? They wouldn't get a medal. The same principle applies with schools like that. If you are overshadowed by a child having a good day, then that's just tough luck for you and good luck for them, isn't it? If you don't like that attitude, then don't bother to apply to the school. There are plenty of other schools in the world that provide a good education and don't expect 4-year olds to perform like mini olympic athletes.

Makkapakkaakkawakka Sat 05-Nov-11 17:34:59

You do not need to tutor for 4+. I am also in this area of N London and have many friends who went down the 4+ route and not one of them tutored. You need to heed horsemadmoms advice as it's spot on. If your child can do those things then she is academically prepared. However, if she is the kind of child who clams up and doesn't look people in the eye then you may need to seriously reconsider if these schools are right for her and have one or two alternatives. My DD is very similar and I have to be honest, NLCS and HABS are the last places I would send her even though she is proving to be very able. Have you considered Grimsdell which is the pre prep of Mill Hill and by far the nicest school i have looked at or perhaps a smaller more nurturing prep school which might suit her better yet still prepare her well for 7+ or 11+.

maya1234 Thu 12-Jan-12 13:04:15

Well guess what- at Habs this year all the mothers I knew who tutored got to second round for their 4+ and the mothers who didn't haven't even been honoured with a rejection yet.

I called up earlier and wasnt told either way, but its obvious we have been rejected as letters for second round interviews started going out last week.....Habs is really awful for not telling us we have been rejected and leaving us in hope.....they do the same with the 11+....people in their admissions department need to get a backbone.

Milan71 Thu 12-Jan-12 18:06:00

I don't normally post on forums like this but felt I had to on this occasion. My daughter sat for Habs 4+ last year and was on of the lucky ones that got offered a place. I have to state categorically she was NOT tutored in any way so please do not believe the hype, you do not need extra tuition for a child of 4! I was absolutely adament that she would not be tutored despite many people saying to me that to stand a chance I ought to get her tutored, and my belief was that either she was right for the school or not. We were in a very fortunate position in that she was at a fabulous pre-school and very happy there so much so that we were going to keep her there and even having been offered the place at Habs really had to think twice before accepting, perhaps it was the lack of pressure that worked to her advantage. In fairness my daughter is outgoing and confident which is one of the reasons people told us to give it a go and sit her but other than that I really don't think there is anything you can do but accept that either your child is or isn't right for the school, please don't beat yourself up over it, the most important thing surely is that your child is happy!

maya1234 Thu 12-Jan-12 21:57:13

I cant help but beat myself up over it....it feels so personal to have someone judge your child, and it's no ones fault but my own, I put her in that position.

I was told by her very experienced nursery head she was way ahead of her peers and would definitely get in.

To not hear back has been really disappointing, I think even my daughter has noticed I've been very quiet today...thinking about how I could have raised her better so that she would be more suited to a good school.

I get that its not the end of the world and not everyone will get into these top schools.

Milan71 Thu 12-Jan-12 23:37:37

Don't beat yourself up about it - 1stly you don't even know just yet, trust me you will hear and may be surprised, they haven't finished the 1st round of assessments yet so you just don't know. I also know from friends who's daughters didn't get in at 4+ that habs unlike others do feedback if you ask them but I guess they can't do this until the assessments are complete and all letters sent out. There is always 5+ if it doesn't work out this time. Good luck - I do appreciate how difficult it is, I have many friends that have gone through / going through the same thing.

horsemadmom Fri 13-Jan-12 00:15:52

Your dd may not be right for the school NOW but may be spectacular at 7 or 11.

maya1234 Fri 13-Jan-12 08:26:30

Thanks Milan and Horsemadmom,

I think that anyone who hasn't heard by now is most likely going to be rejected, the first round sessions finished on Monday, so I have started living with it.

I don't think I could put my kid through this at 7 or 11, or myself for that matter. Rationalising it, it isn't the end of the world in any sense.

But I will ask Habs for feedback if they give it, will be nice to know where I went wrong.

dasmummy Fri 13-Jan-12 11:33:46

Hi Maya1234

You are obviously so sad about this I had to respond.

We are through to the 2nd round at Habs with no tutoring. I have no idea if she will get in, but we have applied to a number of schools so I know we will get a place somewhere.

From the speeches made by various heads at various schools we have visited, I know that these schools have more children apply than they can possibly take. Of these candidates, the majority will be suitable to a school like Habs - if not why would their parents apply. As they can't take them all, they will be trying to find a mix of children, with a range of personality type, ages within the year and different strengths. They take a tiny fraction of those that apply - I don't know the numbers, but would guess its 1 in 15 or something similar. It stands to reason that a good number of those that don't get in are just as able as those that do - especially because at 4 I don't see how you can really tell.

My take is that they do not know my daughter, and cannot possibly know her after only an hour or two in her company. Maybe she was what they were looking for, maybe not. Maybe she did her best, maybe (more likely in our case) she was having an off day, and did not. What I do know (and I've got 2 older boys so I've done this before) is that I will not take it personally whatever the outcome, and I'm proud of her no matter what. I see it a bit like a lottery - and you don't get angry or depressed about not winning the lottery do you? Well actually sometimes I do but thats another story!

I hope this in some way helps.

reallytired Fri 13-Jan-12 20:46:48

Prehaps I shouldn't contribute to this thread as my daughter will never go to Habs or any other private school. She will attend the local state primary.

Having a parent who is disappointed/ upset about their child not getting into a private school can be terrible for a child's self esteem. When I got rejected from private schools it was my mother's reaction that upset me more than the actual rejection from the schools. I really felt I had failed her. Don't let your daughter know she is being assessed. If she does twig then tell her that you choose school X because of blah! blah!

Please don't tutor its just too much pressure.

Life is what you make of it. My son was under the child development centre at four, yet at the age of ten he is doing as well as many private school kids. It is madness to assess at four years old.

Maybetimeforachange Sat 14-Jan-12 09:49:55

I think that you need to have a good think about why you are so angry that your daughter appears not to have got through the first rond of interviews. HABS is a great school but it is in an area absolutely teeming with great schools both state and private. Getting into HABS or NLCS at 4 is not an indicator of anything you have done or a reflection that your child is not as wonderful as you think that she is. Not going to these schools will have absolutely no bearing on her happiness or on her A Level results. Please dont set yourself up for a lifetime of disappointment at her "failing" at 4. You did absolutely the right thing by not tutoring, there is no point tutoring at 4 to get into a school. 7 or 11 is a different matter is you are tutoring in exam technique or to cover curriculum which isn't covered in state school but for 4, no way.

If you have your heart set on these schools and she doesn't get in then I would get in contact with somewhere like Radlett Prep or Manor Lodge who have lots of children moving there at 11 but don't underestimate the less high profile schools, ask around and you will find that many of those which may be under your radar are quietly preparing children very well for these schools at 11 but in a far more gentle way.

maya1234 Sat 14-Jan-12 11:07:24

got rejected by NLCS today too....

u cant help but feel disappointed, its horrible.

but everything happens for the best, so i have to learn to be pleased with it

Maybetimeforachange Sat 14-Jan-12 12:41:30

As horrible as it sounds I think that if your DD has been rejected by NLCS and HABS have a really good think about where would suit her rather than where you think that she should go. I don't know where you live but places like Grimsdell which is the pre prep of Mill Hill, Aldenham, Northwood College, Heathfield, St Margarets, St Hildas may be a better bet. Many of them will say that you are too late but don't give up because people will be holding on to these schools as insurance and will give up places if they get their preferred state options. Again, if you have put in state applications then put her in there and see how she goes, you can always pull her out later and in my experience the good state schools are very keen to tell you that they send children on to highly selective schools at 11. The prospectus for my DC's state school specifically mentions that they have excellent relationships with the independent schools.

maya1234 Sun 15-Jan-12 13:05:22

you are right, maybe she isnt right for these schools, they obviously dont want her....

the problem is that I firmly believe my daughter is gifted in many ways, she began reading at the age of 2 and although she is 3 can read books like a 6 year old, her memory is something that amazes me too. She can cut, stick, glue talk about politics, the economy and globalisation (her father is an economics professor), make friends, skip, jump, swim and do ballet.

she is enthusiastic about learning, confident, good at problem solving, polite and social.

I feel like what more can they want? What was she missing?

My concern about sending her to somewhere like Heathfield or Manor lodge is that she is not at the same level as the other children there, whatever is special about her now will just be lost. And I am not just saying she is special, I have 3 other children and none of them have the gift she has, she really is unique.

I visited Heathfield, Manor Lodge, Orley farm and although they are supportive nurturing environments, I didnt think they would be able to harness my daughters potential the way habs and nlcs could.

Of course there is also the fact that with those schools you need to be re examined at 11+, I am not sure I want to put my daughter under such pressure again.

I feel almost resentment at nlcs and habs for not recognising what my daughter has.

breadandbutterfly Sun 15-Jan-12 17:08:19

I'm not going to make this a private re state debate, but am really puzzled as to why you think these 'gifts' can't be natured in a state school or in a (to your eyes) 'lesser' private school? What makes you think the 3 schools you named are in some weird way unique?

I'm sure they are good (I'm a local girl too), but if your dd is as bright as you say (and I don't doubt it), then that brilliance will shine through anywhere. My dd1 attended a v average state primary but still passed the 11+ and is now assessed as gifted and talented at her grammar school. It's just silly to be so fixated on certain schools. If she's that good then frankly it really is their loss. You seem determined to make yourself miserable over it for no reason; as others have said, that's your problem but you must not let it become your dd's problem by her becoming aware of the fact you feel like this.

busheymum Sun 15-Jan-12 17:17:45

we are in the same position as you. My daughter also didn't make 2nd round at either Habs or NLCS. My husband is disappointed but I am relieved!

These schools do have an amazing reputation but that doesn't mean every girl that comes out is successful and more importantly happy.

Our daughter is also in our opinion very bright, reading and writing etc etc, but she isn't as confident as other girls and that is probably why she didn't make it....and I'm glad that the schools recognised that. It would have been worse if she had gotten in and lost self confidence being with other girls who are highly confident.

Your daughter will excel wherever she goes, keep believing in that, herself and yourself.

OhFraktiousTree Sun 15-Jan-12 17:43:39

As a past pupil of Habs it's not a place for the under confident. I've also tutored for 4+ (not a charlatan btw) and will tell parents if their child is not what IME the schools are looking for. Confidence and a willingness to do some 'assessment' tasks with me is the first marker.

There are many good schools in London where your daughter will be recognised and praised for being gifted and brought on rather than being one of many highly intelligent girls who are all gifted in another area.

WineOhWhy Sun 15-Jan-12 17:50:06

TbH, I think it probably is her shyness. When we looked around south hampstead for 7plus, the south hampstead headmistress remarked that they take in a wider range of personality types at 7 plus and that (althugh there are exceptions) the more confident girls tend to do better at 4 given the nature of the asessments. She said that there are lots of girls who don't get in at 4plus and come through very strongly at 7 plus.

It sounds like your DD may well be ahead of her peers academically and sending her to a very nurturing school for her first experience of education could be just the thing for her from a confidence perspective. If she is as talented as you say, I imagine she would come through strongly at 7 plus or 11 plus, and I would not let this experience put you off assessments at a later stage if it is the right kind of school for her in the long run.

We decided not to sit DD for 4plus even though we knew she was bright as she is young in the year and we felt she would benefit from a gentler start. She sat 7 plus and got into our first choice school without finding the assessment in any way stressful. She is doing well at her new school, probably somewhere in the middle of the class, and I actually think it was beneficial to her confidence to have had a few years where is was one of the "top" in her class.

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