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Tentatively considering leaving state primary for a selective private school. What would I need to prep for 7+? Or is it better to do nothing and just see what happens?

(30 Posts)
Notquitesureagain Wed 02-Oct-13 12:14:26

Both DC are at a good local primary. It's very well regarded and on the whole I'm really pleased with it. I suppose I've got a slight nagging doubt that DD1 (who's just started year 1) isn't quite reaching her full potential but on the whole if the decision were up to me I'd probably keep her there.

However, DH is increasingly keen to put her in for 7+ for entry to a highly selective single sex private school. I've done a lot of research on the school and I do think it's fantastic in many ways but have a number of reservations. Anyway, it's important that I take DH's views into consideration and in the interests of 'keeping our options open' I'd really like to know what sort of level DD1 would need to be at by next autumn when she would be due to take the entrance exam to said school.

Her reception teacher described her as being 'top of the class' at the end of last year but that's a bit vague obviously. I know she's about a year ahead of her target reading age but as I understand it, the v competitive private schools (we are in central London) expect a lot more than that. I'm really, really not keen to tutor her but it would be useful to have an idea of how far off the mark she is likely to be and whether a selective school is even an option. I've looked at the requirements for the school and been to an open day etc but I'd be interested in personal experiences of 7+. Or indeed any views on the subject (I know it's a subject many mumsnetters feel very strongly about so I'm prepared for a grilling).

Thanks very much

Farewelltoarms Thu 03-Oct-13 15:03:16

This isn't necessarily the question you asked, but isn't it important to question whether you actually want her to go before you put in the necessary work? I don't think these tests are something she's much chance of passing if you just rock up so some amount of preparation will be necessary.

And if you prepare, then you're invested emotionally which means if she doesn't get in, then you'll be disappointed for her. And yet, you'll be disappointed about something that you felt ambivalent about anyway since you're mostly happy with where she is.

I would have thought being top of your state primary means she's in with a very good chance, what with being in top 5% or so. It's not like every child in a prep school is some other worldly genius - the same sorts of kids tend to be top in both. You'd definitely have to do a bit of exam prep though. When I looked at the VR 7+ Bond papers for my son I realised that, while he was completely capable of being trained up to do them, it wasn't something I particularly wanted to train him up for. Bit like juggling or some other not particularly useful life skill.

I'm really glad we kept him where he and his siblings are very happy. I think children have a way of reaching their own potential in the long run and knowing times tables a year early doesn't make a lot of difference.

keepsmiling12345 Thu 03-Oct-13 20:23:37

I'm surprised by singersgirl's suggestion that state schools don't prepare children for writing stories in timed fashion. I think it probably depends on the school and the level of ability of the child. Certainly, last year in Y1, my DD's school had a specific activity each week to do exactly that. Clearly it then depended on the child's ability whether they were able to write two sides with a beginning, middle, end etc etc or a few sentences. But in my experience, lots of the children could write a decent story in the time given.

singersgirl Sun 06-Oct-13 14:31:22

At my children's school there wasn't a timed element - not as in "you've got 20 minutes, now hand it in". There was also more emphasis on story parts (eg beginnings) and different genres eg instructions or news recounts. They did more complete story writing in Y2. But this was 7 years ago and the curriculum is always changing.

keepsmiling12345 Sun 06-Oct-13 15:21:31

Fair enough. At my DD's school, they did specifically have a timed element in Y1. Just shows the dangers in generalising about "state schools" on the basis of a single school. And the same clearly applies for "private schools".

singersgirl Tue 08-Oct-13 10:28:16

I posted on this thread to give advice that I thought might be helpful to someone with a question, and wasn't intending to make an observation or prove a point about 'state schools' in general versus 'private schools'.

My advice was based on my combined experience of a relatively large number of children at different state schools and private schools who were preparing for 7+ exams, as well as advice from tutors, other threads on here and teachers at the private schools who were setting the exams.

Where I live, many pre-prep schools prepare children for these exams, so they have a lot of practice in all the individual elements of the exam including lots of timed story-writing. Neither of my children in fact did any 7+ exams and they were both at a wonderful state primary until they were 11. And one (rather unimportant thing) that they didn't do when they were 5 was write strictly timed 20-minute stories. They certainly had a time slot within a lesson in which they wrote stories, but there wasn't a bell going off after which they had to hand their papers in.

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