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Moving state school to prep school

(36 Posts)
EvilSidekick Thu 25-Jun-15 10:28:24

Does anyone have experience of moving their child from a state school to prep school? We have a DS who is coming to the end of YR. For various reasons we are unhappy with the school and would like to move him. A lot of this is centred around class sizes and poor behaviour. He has been hit, kicked, spat on by other YR children and despite several trips to the school the issue has not been resolved. Anyway, my question is not about that, but is really if we move him, when is the best time to do so? If we went the prep route we could not afford it for another year due to other circumstances. Have you moved a child in Y1 or Y2? How did you prepare them for the move? What assessments did they have to pass? Thank you in advance for any advice. We are also looking at trying to move to another state school but this seems very difficult.

Losingmyreligion Thu 25-Jun-15 10:49:10

Haven't done it myself but many move after KS1 (going into Y3 at prep school). This happened in my son's prep school class and noone batted an eyelid. Hard now to even remember which children weren't always there.

EvilSidekick Thu 25-Jun-15 10:52:08

Thank you for replying Losingmyreligion. It is so hard to know there is a problem and not be able to move him (state or independent immediately). I am just counting down the days to end of term.

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 25-Jun-15 11:13:24

Firstly these problems happen in prep schools there is a girl in DD's year who has smacked and pinched other children since nursery and is still doing it in year 6.
But many children do move from state to private all through prep.

EvilSidekick Thu 25-Jun-15 11:21:34

Lonecat - what has been the school's reaction? Do they try and address the behavioural issues? I definitely don't want him to move out of the frying pan into the fire.

Fleecyleesy Thu 25-Jun-15 11:22:19

I think when you move a child at such a young age, they don't realise the difference between private and state anyway. I would say that a prep school cannot guarantee that your ds will not be kicked/spat at etc! There is bad behaviour in both sector.

Seriouslyffs Thu 25-Jun-15 11:27:31

Going into yr 3 is a good age and sits in nicely with sats and key stages.

JammieMummy Thu 25-Jun-15 11:31:29

DD (also YR) is at a prep school and there were issues with bullying in her class too, BUT the school were amazing and IMO dealt with it all perfectly. I tell people that bullying can happen in any school regardless of state or independent a good school deals with the issues sensitively but letting all know that it is unacceptable, a bad school does not! The good and bad schools are not defined by how much you pay.

So when you go to look around a school (any school) discuss with them their bullying policy, how they would deal with a hypothetical situation and be honest in the reason you are moving your son. Our school took a two pronged approach 1. Deal with the bullying and underlying reasons but 2. Give DD coping strategies, which will be invaluable throughout her life!

Good luck Evil I understand the heartbreak involved when your child is struggling at school at such a young age!!

electionfatigue Thu 25-Jun-15 11:33:13

Year 3 is a standard move point. He'd have to do the 7+ which is sat in the October or January of year 2 and you'd need to start tutoring for it from year 1, either by hiring a tutor or getting books and doing it yourself at home. You need to check with your local schools what sort of tests they do at 7 and how many applicants they have for each place (can be over 10 in London) to get an idea of how fierce the competition is.

mandy214 Thu 25-Jun-15 11:35:29

Agree that lots of movement at Year 3. Depends obviously on the prep you choose - if it then merges with a selective high school then there are tests to sit and perhaps an interview with the head, but if it is just a primary prep, its a question of being on the waiting list. Depending where you are, you need to get on the list asap - I know where we are demand often outstrips places.

I would question however why you think it would be any better at a different school. Locally, there is an all boys prep and some of the behaviour I've seen from boys from that school (at my son's football team which has boys from a mixture of schools) is horrendous.

EvilSidekick Thu 25-Jun-15 11:40:43

It's true. Can get bad behaviour any where. I am just desperate for the situation to be resolved and the school so far have been unable to do this. It seems very difficult to move between state schools hence now looking at preps. I don't want him going through his school years losing confidence and being spat at and 'beaten up'. It's very hard seeing such a young child needing help and being unable as his parents to help him. Paying fees is a huge commitment but we are running out of ideas.

EvilSidekick Thu 25-Jun-15 11:44:34

Thank you for all your replies. I am so grateful for all advice. I know prep school may not be magic answer we seek. Will look at availability of places and tutoring for 7+.

electionfatigue Thu 25-Jun-15 11:45:12

If you say where you are based you may get some specific advice on schools. For example if you're in N London I could tell you some pre-preps that might have spaces now or for year 2.

MissyMew123 Thu 25-Jun-15 11:49:18

Yes, moved end of Y2. Wish we had moved sooner, however I do think end of Y2 is a good time educationally, moving sooner she would have been happier but she has more than managed to adjust to the academic changes and expectations of the school. Had we done another year in state the change may have been harder accademically. Plus she really does appreciate what she has at her new school over her old school. Yes of course there are still the odd disruptive child and behavious but no where near what we experianced previously.

EvilSidekick Thu 25-Jun-15 11:59:55

Thanks so much. Reluctant to say where I am in case any teachers from current school on here, but know one school quite well and they have 8 spaces so hoping no major influx in next year. I will get my ducks in a row then speak to them about entrance requirements. Yr2/7+ sounds like an achievable plan. That will mean at least another year where he is, but maybe the long summer break will help diffuse things at school.

EvilSidekick Thu 25-Jun-15 12:00:58

Also need time to get over major costs we currently have so can afford fees.

MRSJWRTWR Thu 25-Jun-15 12:16:10

We moved DS2 from state to prep for the start of Y2. Our reasons were to do with the state options being very large (3 form entry) and DS2 having problems with processing, attention etc and basically just failing to progress at all. Anyway, we moved when we did because the school had more formal entry requirements for Y3 and above and frankly I think that if we had left him at his previous school until then he would have really struggled to get in. We are now at the end of Y4 and I can honestly say we made the right decision to move when we did.

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 25-Jun-15 13:10:09

Evil the school have tried several things, but ultimately they are stalled by the parents who think a) it is just a bit of silliness and b) they take the DC to church every week so that is enough.

TessDurbeyfield Thu 25-Jun-15 13:20:02

We moved state to prep early in yr 2 for similar reasons and it was both a very easy move and a transformative experience for DS. Of course no-one will be able to give you an answer on whether the prep will be better or what the entrance will be like for your choice of schools. We live in an area with a lot of private schools and went to see 6 before moving. I was struck by just how incredibly different they all were and there were certainly schools that we definitely wouldn't have gone to and at which there is, apparently, quite a bit of bullying. The luxury that you get through paying is choice and we were able to choose a wonderful nurturing school that suited DS perfectly.

For the school we went to the entrance procedure was very easy. It is not a selective school (though most of its children usually go to very selective senior schools) so all DS had to do was spend a day with the class and take some low key assessments which were just to work out future groupings not to decide whether to offer a place. Certainly there was no preparation and no sense of being examined. There was another school we liked where there was a similar process although in that school they had all potential yr 3 entrants in together. We also saw schools at which he would have had to sit an exam. Once we saw the school and he spent the day there he wanted to move straight away and we were lucky in that a child had just emigrated so there was a space. There was a large waiting list of children moving in yr 3 and we would not have necessarily got a place if we hadn't moved straight away.

Settling was ridiculously easy. They have 3 classes a year and the children are moved around each year as well as working with different ability groupings for some subjects. That and clubs etc meant that exclusive cliques tend not to form. All of the children were very welcoming and he had good friends very quickly. The impact on his confidence, happiness and enthusiasm has been huge. That is down to having found the right school for him rather than going private per se, though it being private has helped in giving us choice and in the level of adult attention.

Sorry that is long - hope it is useful!

satinpillowcase Thu 25-Jun-15 23:02:48

state to prep end year two
children happy at their state school, but i had lost faith in it, and felt it was taking up too much of my time and attention and i would have to constantly monitor just to make sure they were getting the bases covered.
initial difficult period, but that was because we moved just before sats and so unwittingly walked into a period of rote learning. horrified. but the minute sats were over it went back to normal: fun and creative and interesting learning.
children love the school. they love their new friends. the teaching is much more consistent. problems are addressed immediately. bases covered. the behaviour is worse than at previous school (there are quite a few children who are moved there because they were not given adequate extension in their previous state school, but also quite a few with learning and behavioural difficulties whose parents thought they be better catered for in a private school). the teachers manage this behaviour very well.
it has been a very positive experience. it is such a relief to trust the teachers.
it's not really about state or private. i trusted the kids old school before it ran into terrible leadership difficulties. and my first choice state school had an excellent leadership team and fantastic and creative learning opportiutnites. but tmes change, and i couldn't get into the school we wanted, and so i ended up paying for the pleasure of consistency and good teaching, and for me it's been worth it.

EvilSidekick Fri 26-Jun-15 06:58:51

Thank you Satin very helpful. What kind of assessment, if any, did the children have to do?

satinpillowcase Fri 26-Jun-15 12:31:20

none, as non-selective school (I was not interested in a selective school).
fortunate as had not been taught some essentials like joined up writing in the school they were coming from (entered school where all kids had beautiful writing - and this sort of thing seems to count in exams, even though it's all form and not content).

satinpillowcase Fri 26-Jun-15 12:38:36

re selective schools.
my children are clever (top sets etc) and have good memories and learn easily but I still thought that state to prep entrance exams would have been a challenge for them at Y3 as I would have to fill in so many gaps, either by tutoring, or myself. i thought that would be a horrible experience for all of us and take away from our free time and play. so went for non selective.
I went with gut instinct on schools. Saw other non selective that seemed like an exam factory (geared at children who had failed to get into selective preps but whose parents still had selective secondary ambitions. looked really joyless to me) and one i really liked that was simply too small (class sizes minuscule. tiny pool of friends).

PettsWoodParadise Fri 26-Jun-15 12:53:31

My DD entered a selective independent at Y3, there was one place going as we had missed the deadline not thinking this would be a move we'd need to make. 8 anxious parents were waiting in the lobby, one of whom had been tutoring their DD for years. DD had no preparation whatsoever other than told to be herself and she was the one who got the place so you don't have to tutor if they have a natural ability and suit the school. It wasn't 100% based on test but also how she interacted in the classroom on the taster afternoon.

Note that if for secondary you are hoping for grammar unless it is a proper prep without an attached senior school they are very unlikely to be teaching for the eleven plus etc.

Heels99 Fri 26-Jun-15 13:19:56

If you can't currently afford the fees, do make sure that you definitely afford them ongoing including the increased cost of senior fees, inflationary increases, if you work then additional cost of childcare in longer holidays etc.
it would be awful to move him and find you couldn't sustain the financial commitment especially at senior level.
Good luck

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