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4+ private school assessments

(31 Posts)
mumteacher Fri 05-Aug-11 00:58:41

Does tutoring for primary private school assessments raise the benchmark so much so that it disadvantages those children who aren't.

I'm not saying it does just like to know what people think.

LovetheHarp Fri 05-Aug-11 08:12:58

I can't really see how it disadvantages other 4 year olds if they are not in the same school.

You could argue that private schools can offer an advantage, but even that is a controversial point as a lot do and a lot don't.

I know many many children who have gone on to successful and highly selective independent schools at 11/12 from state schools with no tutoring.

I also know many children who have gone to state schools (non selective) all the way through and have come out with excellent GSCE's and A-levels and are now going onto Russel Group unis. So my answer to your question would be NO.

Dozer Fri 05-Aug-11 12:39:09

If you mean selection for 4+ then presume that preparation helps if the schools are looking for certain things.

Interesting chapter in po bronson's "nurtureeshock" which suggests that pre-school is much too early for identifying the "clever" kids, but that the kids who are selected for certain schools / progranmes do get advantages.

thereinmadnesslies Fri 05-Aug-11 12:45:12

I'm not sure how DS1 could have been tutored for 4+ to be honest. There wasn't a formal assessment, just a morning 'playing' at the school. The school didn't publish any set criteria, just said that they were looking for children who would be responsive to what the school offered.

sue52 Fri 05-Aug-11 14:48:56

No. TBH, I would not have looked at any primaries that assessed a 4 year old on academic ability.

IndigoBell Fri 05-Aug-11 15:02:57

I would have thought a lot of what private schools are looking for at age 4 are things that can't be tutored for - e.g. no fine or gross motor problems, able to sit still, able to play nicely with other kids.....

gladders Fri 05-Aug-11 20:49:02

not at our school it didn't. tasks like threading beads/listening to a story/drawing a picture/doing a jigsaw - can't be taught. it was the way the kids approached the tasks and listened to feedback that was important.

i only know of one child who was tutored. zero advantage imo.

mrsravelstein Fri 05-Aug-11 20:55:24

lone voice of dissent here, but i have just had paperwork through from a selective private school i had put ds2's name down for - at 4+ assessment they say they are looking for accurate recognition of numbers and letters so i would say tutoring would definitely be an advantage. (this is one of the reasons why we've just moved to a new area so he can go to a decent state school instead)

Michaelahpurple Fri 05-Aug-11 22:17:11

Hmm. I live in Chelsea, where the academic pressure and independent school competition is incredibly high, and have never heard of anyone tutoring for 4+ assessment. Am very doubtbul that it is widespread, or pointful. And any school which is genuinely selecting its pupils, who may well be as young as 3.5 years on on letter and number recognition should be given a massively wide berth.

mumteacher Sun 07-Aug-11 09:24:16

Yes but let's say for example the school has 25 places and the get around 120 children apply. Wouldn't the tutored children stand a better chance of securing a place?

Were talking about schools like mrsravelstein mentioned- those that want a child to already know metres and numbers etc

mumteacher Sun 07-Aug-11 09:25:27

Sorry ' letters and numbers'

catsareevil Sun 07-Aug-11 09:32:32

My local private school is 'selective' though I have never heard of anyone not getting into the primary school - I wonder if the assessment is in some ways a marketing device - so that parents might feel flattered that their children have passed and so should be sent to that school. There isnt pressure on private school places everywhere.

CaptainNancy Sun 07-Aug-11 09:33:01

Most schools assessing for 4+intake are looking at the potential of the child and not what they currently know.
I suspect your only interest in this is that you have your own tutoring business to push (as i reported your advert the other day)

IndigoBell Sun 07-Aug-11 12:56:52

Yes, the biggest indicator of whether or not a child will do well later in like is things like how good their working memory is, how good their fine motor skills are and how good their gross motor skills are. All things that can't be tutored for.

mumteacher Mon 08-Aug-11 18:41:35

Working memory, fine motor skills and gross motor skills are things that improve with practice.

mrz Mon 08-Aug-11 18:47:50

According to the latest research the most important factor to future academic success at age 4 is Dispositions and attitudes something that can't be tutored for or improved with practise (in some cases something that can be lost by enforced practise)

carpetlover Mon 08-Aug-11 19:46:21

Are you touting for business again, mumteacher?

Even the most highly selective schools such as NLCS are looking for potential rather than what a child can churn out? They will take the feisty, inquisitive, interested girl who cannot yet read over the clearly 'taught to read' child anyday.
They want children who can listen carefully, ask relevant questions and show an interest in the task at hand. I can tell you as an early years professional, that's a far bigger indicator of future attainment than 'appearing' to be able to read and count.

Maarias Mon 08-Aug-11 21:03:22

I have done assessments for entry into year 1 recently for my ds1. Admittedly, this is not for a reception place but for a child that has already done a year of schooling. However, I would say that even at that stage there is very little that you can really do to prepare, and we did apply to two very selective schools. They are really looking for ability. DS was asked to read a passage from a reading book, then do simple sums mainly under 10. One of the schools then asked him to do some pattern recognitions. Translating this into entry for reception I would think that they are probably looking for some knowledge of phonics and some number recognition (his was up to 20 I think) My DS had both of these at the start of reception, and I don't see how a school could ask for more. I have found that knowing these has really stood him in good stead in reception anyway.

mumteacher Tue 09-Aug-11 01:08:34

Business is great thank you carpetlover infact I have a waiting list so no not looking for any more.

Just interested in what people though that's all.


EdithWeston Tue 09-Aug-11 01:22:33

I thought they were just checking the child didn't bite, and the parents don't have two heads (each, I mean).

Ladymuck Tue 09-Aug-11 09:27:17

Still rare to have a child who doesn't get into a private school at 4 though. Yes, some are over subscribed, but typically there are enough places in the area to soak up the demand. The most selective schools also "weed out" in Year 2, so tutoring for entrance is a fairly high risk strategy - can't think of anything worse than being asked to leave at 6 or 7.

IndigoBell Tue 09-Aug-11 09:37:01

LadyMuch - I'm dead sure my 2 would have never got into a selective school at 4 smile

It would have been hugely easy to spot DDs dyselxia then - and impossible to fix with tutoring.

DSs gross motor skill problems, fine motor skills problems and social skill problems would have also been evident and impossible to fix with tutoring.

None of these things looked like problems to the untrained eye - but to the trained eye they would have been very evident.

I really, really can't see how tutoring would fix the kind of things any selective school worth it's reputation would be looking for.

carpetlover Tue 09-Aug-11 13:41:23

Indigobell, my children's selective school will consider a child with dyslexia. Whilst dyslexia often goes hand in hand with low attainment that does not mean it goes hand in hand with low intelligence (however that is quantified) It is not a learning difficulty in the sense that it is not a developmental delay or issue. You get bright, dyslexic kids and not so bright dyslexic kids. I do hope your DDs school do not assume she will achieve less due to her dyslexia. Dyslexic children with the right support can and do achieve very well. Unfortunately many state schools don't have the funding and many over subscribed independents don't want the hassle. But I'm sure you know all this! smile

The teacher who does the assessments at my DC's school told me that whilst you cannot accurately test until at least 7yrs, you can certainly spot the signs in a 4yr old. If a child is bright but showing signs of dyslexia then they talk to the parents and make them aware of any additional costs that may be involved with the extra support. The parents can then decide whether to go ahead or not.

IndigoBell Tue 09-Aug-11 13:56:19

There are different degrees of dyslexia. DD does not have mild dyslexia. An hour a week 1:1 with a LSA, or extra 'support', wouldn't have made any difference to DD.

Trust me, no selective school would take my very bright DD.

The selective school near me is very open about not taking kids with dyslexia - even if they have places in that year group.

So many people who have mild difficulties claim they have dyslexia - that's very hard to appreciate the difference between that and a child who can't learn to read and write.

Luckily, I don't want a private school (and never did). I'm quite happy with my state school and the support my kids get there.

carpetlover Tue 09-Aug-11 14:08:01

Oh I know there are varying degrees of dyslexia. My point was that often it's assumed that a dyslexic child cannot be bright rather than see a bright child who struggles to process the information in front of them. The few dyslexic children at my DC's school have one to one support throughout the morning every day but of course the parents need to fund that on top of fees. But of course, many dyslexic children, regardless of how bright they are would struggle with the pace in a pushy school whether that be independent or state.

I'm glad your DD is getting the support she needs.

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