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7+ preparation for selective London schools

(18 Posts)
LizzieSiai Sun 16-Oct-16 10:33:08

Hi, I was wondering if anyone has used any knowledge seekers tutors or sent their child to any of their workshops? My son is 5 (in yr1) and I'm trying to prepare him for 7+ assessments. His current school is an independent school but they don't prepare them for 7+, 11+ or 13+ because they'd ideally like for the students to stay on until sixth form.

My husband and I have been to a few open days and are really keen on Dulwich Prep and Dulwich College Junior School. I am aware that the majority of his 'competition' will be tutored privately so we just want to make sure he stands a chance! He's very good at maths (know's his 2, 3, 5 and 10 times tables, can tell the time, great with shapes and symmetry etc.) so we think a great tutor could make him better!

LizzieSiai Sun 16-Oct-16 10:34:19


Mominatrix Sun 16-Oct-16 14:03:57

I mean this in the kindest way - there is no need to tutor him at this point. Your son is more than a year away from 7+ exams and the reason for sending him to an independent school is that they will tailor his education to prep him for those exams. I have gone through the process twice and my sons are at 2 extremely selective schools and I can comfortably say that not using tutors was a good thing.

ridinghighinapril Mon 17-Oct-16 09:50:36

Sounds like OP's son is at a run-through indie so they won't prep for 7+, as it's not in their interest

LizzieSiai Mon 17-Oct-16 11:08:06

Yes, it's a run-through school so we will have to prepare him ourselves...that's why we're looking into tutors or workshops. We've started on bond books age 5-6 but will that be enough?

PenguindreamsofDraco Mon 17-Oct-16 11:12:23

If you went to the DC open day recently you will have noticed that the head stressed they are NOT looking for over-tutored kids, who he said they could spot 'a mile off'.

CB2009 Sat 22-Oct-16 20:52:21

If your school does not prepare for 7+ then I would say the following:

- get a tutor - people say they are not tutoring but most are

- do Bond 6-7 then 7-8 in all subjects - English, Maths, NVR & VR

- read widely - All the well known authors - Dahl. A Fine. Dick King-Smith. Jill Tomlinson. Ask questions to help with comprehension

- nail times tables. At least 2, 3, 4, 5, 10. Others if possible

- write a story each week - to time

On the other side of it now with son in Y3. Worth the effort. But plenty of effort if school not helping with the prep.

Good luck

airingcupboard Sun 23-Oct-16 08:48:31

Ignore mominatrix. A run through shool won't prepare. This is about the right time to start and the post before this one is very sensible

LizzieSiai Sun 23-Oct-16 10:31:00

PenguindreamsofDraco I think Heads always say that they don't want over tutored kids but the majority of the kids are tutored. I think they're trying to avoid admitting children that have memorised things and lack genuine understanding of what they have learnt.

I think CB2009 advice sounds more realistic. We've almost finished English and Maths 5-6yrs bond books (fabulous) but when he goes back to school and I go back to work after half term, it's going to get really difficult for us to squeeze in bond book practice. He gets home at 5.30pm, reads his book, starts HW, practices his spellings, has dinner, practices violin...I don't want him to burn out...he's 5! Haha

airingcupboard Sun 23-Oct-16 11:24:33

Ignore what the heads say. They have to say that but they take the tutored kids

originalmavis Sun 23-Oct-16 11:31:41

Can you see the last papers? I'm assuming it's English, maths and verbal/non verbal reasoning. Bond papers are very good, as is bond online (you can get a monthly subscription).

If it's anything like 12/13+ then they will also want - wide reading, understanding of the world (First News), hobbies and achievements (ie grade x piano). A child should be confident talking to adults, curious and have 'character' (not a timid see mouse).

Have you visited the schools yet? Please please do - speak to the head and teachers, the parents and kids. Google like a journo to find any less than glowing Info and go with your gut. Not all schools are right for each child.

We didn't tutor and DS did very well.

eeyoresgrumpierfriend Tue 25-Oct-16 14:14:01

I have a DS at one of the schools you mention. He joined in yr3 from another indie that also didn't prep for 7+ as they wanted them to stay on.

We started prepping 2 months before the tests. We downloaded the Exam Papers Plus practice papers from the net (harder than the Bond ones) and did a few of those and focused mainly on story writing as that's what he was weakest at. We did an hour or so twice a week. He got offers from all the schools he sat for.

Yes lots of kids we encountered at KCJS exams did seem to have had tutors (heard the same about SP and WU) but I don't think it is as prevalent at the Dulwich schools yet. Your son sounds bright so I really don't think you need to if you can spare a few hours yourself in the weeks before the exams.

Plenty of people who say they aren't tutoring really aren't!

Mominatrix Wed 26-Oct-16 15:24:25

airingcupboard, I find your advice and view a bit disturbing. As with others here, I went through this experience successfully twice and did not intensively tutor. I am certainly not the only one. The boy in question is at the beginning of Year 1 and will sit the exam in over a year. In the meantime, much will change in his academic profile so I find it bewildering to recommend tutoring now - for what? If the boy was in Year 2, of course it would make sense to acclimatise him with exam format and technique, but 14 months of preparation for an exam?!?

Of course there are parents who intensively tutor for over a year prior to a 7+/8+ exam. To what end? To just get a boy into a school? These are the same parents who will continue supplementing with tutors throughout their children's time at the schools so they will continuously make the mark. Just getting into a school should not be the goal; these schools with famous names do not have fairy dust which they sprinkle on the children who attend them and the world we live in will not automatically open doors just because of the school a person went to. What is most important is how well the child does at the school they attend and a mediocre record at a big name schools actually looks worse than a stellar record at a lesser known school. I stand by what I say because I firmly believe that if a boy cannot comfortably get into a school with just a terms preparation, perhaps the school is not the best environment for that child in the long run.

airingcupboard Wed 26-Oct-16 22:24:59

I can only say what I have seen for the competitive NW London schools, which is that a year's tutoring is the norm. A child who has had this will be no more or less able to cope with the school than all his peers, the majority of whom will have had the same tutoring, so they all start on a level playing field. It's a sort of escalating arms race, I don't like it but that's what happens round here.

LizzieSiai Wed 26-Oct-16 22:48:16

Schools in SE London are becoming increasingly competitive too. I most definitely do not want him to be a little fish in a big pond. I just want to make sure he's comfortable and prepared for exam conditions.

airingcupboard - yes, I believe the Heads say this because they have to.

I honestly do not think there's anything wrong with 60-90mins of tutoring per week. I may just stick with doing it myself then going professional in Feb/March 2017.

eeyoresgrumpierfriend Thu 27-Oct-16 11:40:30

Well said Mominatrix. I have a good friend whose son was tutored through 7+, at the start of yr 4 the school advised his parents that they needed to get a tutor as he was falling behind the pace.

LizzieSai as I said I have experience of the schools you are aiming for and tutoring would be the exception rather than the norm. A bright boy (and it sounds like your DS is bright) really won't need it.

The DC and DPL 7+ tests were also quite different. DPL's stood out as it was much more personal - less focus on the formal exams (although they still do papers) but lots of one to one interaction with teachers so I suspect may be harder to tutor for. PM me if you want more info.

LizzieSiai Thu 27-Oct-16 14:15:11

Thanks for all your replies! I have just spoken to an experienced 7+ tutor who has given me great advice. Surprisingly, they agree with a lot of what has already been said in this thread - that tutoring is not necessary for DC and DPL. They told me what to focus on when prepping my son for the assessments...fabulous!

eeyoresgrumpierfriend I will pm you for more info re your experience.

S999 Sat 29-Oct-16 11:42:31

Great choice - Dulwich College Junior School. I have a boy there and it's top notch, both academically and otherwise. Pastoral side is brilliant.

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