3+ 4+ 5+ 7+ support thread 2017

(305 Posts)
mumteacher Thu 17-Nov-16 23:14:14

In previous years I have started these threads to help and support all those parents involved in the independent school admissions process.

I wasn't going to start one this year as I know I would not be able to check back on it as regularly as I would like, which then defeats the purpose of the thread.

However, after numerous positive PM's about the threads I think it would be a shame not to start one where at least the hand holding can continue. flowers

There are many many people who have been through the process and 'live to tell the tale' . There are also other tutors I know who read this thread and it would be great if you all could help and support and share your ideas.


OP’s posts: |
newmummycwharf1 Thu 17-Nov-16 23:40:11

How lovely! We are trying to decide between going for the 3+ at highgate school or the 4+ at the hall in hampstead. We dont plan to hire a tutor and plan to do all the prep ourselves, along with whatever our son's regular (non-feeder nursery) help him learn through play. 3+ at Highgate would be in January and 4+ the following year. Any tips?

IsayIdontknow Fri 18-Nov-16 09:31:40

Hi mum teacher, my son is going for 7+ in Jan, his maths and reading are good but his writing is nothing special. We are not going for tutoring but I would like to practise with him before the tests. Besides making sure there is beginning/middle/end and adding some wow words I am at a loss of what to do. Any advise? Thanks!

IsayIdontknow Fri 18-Nov-16 09:31:58

Advice I mean blush

Jiggleberry Sat 19-Nov-16 12:34:56

Amazing, I wish I had joined mum sent before today! I had just posted in the 'preschool' subheading so will copy and paste here.
Hi all
Looking for some guidance from veteran mums/dads.
My son attended 3, 3+ assessments for local independent boys schools and did not receive an offer from any.
I was very laid back about the whole procedure (in retrospect, too laid back). He is a fun loving bright boy. I didn't put any pressure on him about these assessments and told him we were just seeing what toys these big boy schools had.
1 went horrendously as he was overtired. 1 I thought went well, he detached from me easily, played and shared nicely and willingly went into the class room without me and came out beaming (granted I can't know how he interacted in the classroom) and the final one was so-so. They asked questions of which he answered all correctly but he wasn't great at the small things, saying hello and bye and he got upset towards the end when someone said bye to him, got upset when a teacher asked him what he was playing with. He can be temperamental like this sometimes, (it was approaching lunch time) but I have thought this is normal 3yr old behaviour but maybe I have been naive?!
I am surprised at how disappointed I feel for him and in myself.
He currently attends a day nursery and I have decided to move him to a Montessori as I think this will provide some boundaries and discipline he would benefit from.
I will retry him next year at 4+ but I would be grateful if people can tell me what to expect at a 4+ assessment so he and I can be better prepared. Does anyone have any views on a tutor and if a tutor is not necessary what can I do at home with him?
Does anyone know how many places are available at 4+ for schools such as St martins/MT Prep/ St Johns so I can be realistic?
If anyone has children who have been successful in this process I'd be grateful for your knowledge.
Many thanks!

2kidswhatschool Sat 19-Nov-16 23:38:31

Jiggleberry my daughter sat a 4+ asessment and was offered a place. I wasn't in the room but from what she tells me a lot of it was aimed at seeing if she would and could follow instructions. They also watched for her interaction with other children and had her take part in an activity which would display her pencil grip. She did tell me that there was a puzzle but it was too tricky. Don't beat yourself up about the 3+ I'm sure with this experience everything will go better next time.x

Jiggleberry Sun 20-Nov-16 04:18:45

Thanks a lot for taking the time to reply and for the 4+ information.

To reveal my complete lack of
Preparation further, I wasn't prepared for them to ask me questions confused
I was asked his strengths and when I looked slightly puzzled as I wasn't expecting this question the teacher rephrased and asked 'what is he into' so I rattled off the things he's mad about (animals/transport etc normal 3 yr old boy stuff)
They asked about weaknesses I said he can get overwhelmed in a new environment but once he's settled he's outgoing. Finally they asked what I wanted for him and I said the truth for him to be a well rounded young man.
I now feel my answers would have also let his chances down. Do you think there are 'better' or 'right' answers to these?
I feel maybe for his strengths they want things like 'fluent in French'
Or 'can recite Shakespeare' type answers!

The headmaster/mistress are present for the assessments, a lot of parents were talking to him/her. I didn't as I went alone and was just focusing on what my son was doing as for 2 of them I knew he was tired and getting grumpy so had the potential to throw a wobbly. Do you think this influences the results and if so, what type of conversation does one strike up with the headmaster/mistress?

Any advice/thoughts greatly appreciated.


Homely1 Sat 26-Nov-16 21:40:09

Yay re the thread!

mumteacher Sat 26-Nov-16 22:54:12

Highgate 3+ or Hall 4+? Ask yourself which school is it that you think your son will be most suited to? Or that you'd like your son to attend?
I would recommend you sit Highgate 3+ see what happens and then can make a more informed decision as to sitting the 4+ the following year. Highgate works out in your favour you may not feel you want to move him from Highgate to The Hall a year later.

Highgate - talk about transport, where can we travel to by car? Plane?
Animals -zoo and farm and where they live in when not in capacitivty

OP’s posts: |
mumteacher Sat 26-Nov-16 23:02:13

Story for 7+
Along side a b/m/e make sure he has about 6/7 wow words and 3/4 generic sentence
starters, like 'After that' 'next' 'firstly' if he's not armed with some he will probably start each sentence with 'the' or 'then'!

Give him three pictures and ask him to write 3 sentences for each picture. Each picture must have two wow words and one good starter.
3 good sentences per picture is 9 sentences, approx 13/14 lines which is a decent enough length.

OP’s posts: |
mumteacher Sat 26-Nov-16 23:04:00

Northwood boys schools on the whole take their bulk in take st 3+ and hence only a handful of places at 4+. It varies each year but bt 6-10 boys.

OP’s posts: |
mumteacher Sat 26-Nov-16 23:08:19

If senior members of staff are around always try and speak to them. Their time is precious so if they are they it's because they want to converse with prospective parents.
A lot of information can be gathered on a school from their handbooks.

OP’s posts: |
movingfromhague Sun 27-Nov-16 10:02:32

Hi, we are moving to London next summer and our boys will be 4 and 2 then. We realize that we have just missed the 4+ admissions into independant schools for sep 2017 reception and as we won't be residents in London till mid next year, state schools are likely not an option either. I'm starting to get worried that getting into an independant school is also starting to look very tricky. We initially wanted to live in the Wandsworth/clapham/balham area but now we are flexible. I'm sure we're not the first ones to be in this situation so there must be options. Any advise on which schools we would have a chance of securing a receptio spot next year ?


IsayIdontknow Sun 27-Nov-16 12:20:17

Thanks a lot mumteacher! Your advice for writing is great! Do you have any tips for time management? Is it a big problem if the child can't finish a story in that time? It is hard for a 6 year old to focus on writing if he has to look at the clock as well!

mumteacher Sun 27-Nov-16 15:56:05

Your right in that registration has now closed for many independent schools. However, ring the schools you are interested in (asap) explain your situation.
I know some (not all) of the north London (Northwood) boys schools have made assessments available later in the year for those not in London.
Speak to as many schools as you can.
Orley farm are 'flexible' too.

OP’s posts: |
mumteacher Sun 27-Nov-16 15:59:43

Content over time always.
If he writes 10 amazing lines in 25 minutes with all that I've mentioned before, it's better than 'Then we went to the park. Then we had ice cream...'

OP’s posts: |
mumteacher Sun 27-Nov-16 16:00:44

(Sorry sent too early)

15-20 lines of this!

OP’s posts: |
Mummywow Sun 27-Nov-16 20:35:08

Hi Mumteacher
My daughter is neither at a prep style nursery or has been tutored and is doing the 4+. She is bright, engaging and confident - recognises letters, numbers, just about cuts, good vocabulary, draws well, counts well, writes name and I understand joins in well at nursery. Not the overly compliant type yet not disruptive either -- just has an Independent mind/ideas! Still didn't get through to SH 2nd stage. Any tips of what else I can do with her between now and January? Thsnks!!

mumteacher Mon 28-Nov-16 00:08:48

Not sure how I can help - from the sounds of it there's not a lot your daughter can't do.

OP’s posts: |
Mummywow Mon 28-Nov-16 09:14:41

Thanks for getting back to me. Will she need to write numbers/spell other words? She's not so keen on puzzles and isn't the most coordinated so perhaps something like that let her down.

cellardoors Mon 28-Nov-16 15:44:32

Hi Mumteacher
Can you shed any light on how the 4+ differs for winter born girls v summer born ones? Despite assessing girls by their age groups, would you say the big school e.g. Habs, NLCS etc take more winter borns than summer borns?

FrankensteinsSister Mon 28-Nov-16 18:02:06

We also completely failed to prepare (I hadn't even considered I might need to dress up before my friend asked what I was wearing!), didn't realise the pressure of the situation, and had a grumpy guy for parts of both.
However, (and I'm hugely grateful) we got in. And believe me, he was barely co-operating for questions, and we asked to leave early to avoid a melt down. I really think it's luck of the draw.
With the headmaster chat, I told both I liked the emphasis on creative subjects (e.g. Creative writing) that boys tend to do worse in at coed schools, which echoed points they had made at the talks. Re-gurgitating points they make themselves has to be a good strategy ;)
I also said I wanted an excellent foundation, whichever way his strengths ended up taking him.

I really feel for you - it was surprisingly stressful!

Jiggleberry Tue 29-Nov-16 14:21:17

Thanks FrankensteinSister
Hard to not kick myself about it. Genuinely had no idea just how competitive and oversubscribed it all was. Also had a baby earlier this year so wasn't as focused as I ought to have been. I know he's only 3 and obviously this is not the end of the world but can't shake it off!! Feel like I've missed the boat as the competition is even worse at 4+ etc

We are looking at our schools now but travelling further is going to make life hard for us given our jobs.

strawberrybubblegum Thu 01-Dec-16 05:41:14

Mummywow - puzzles improve a lot with practice. Start her off with really simple ones, like 3- or 4- piece foam ones (bath is relaxed, and a captive audience!). Offer them frequently, but keep it playful and low-pressure. I found it really helped to choose pictures she found appealing (mermaids and princesses - sigh!). Once she increases in confidence, you can get boxes of 4 (with a range of pieces) linked to most tv shows - I found those worked well.

Mummywow Thu 01-Dec-16 21:50:42

Thanks strawberry bubble gum. She can do big jigsaw puzzles and other puzzles but doesn't seem that interested as thinks it takes too long so very much mood related! Do you know if they are expected to know the difference between capital letters and lower case/just phonics or letter name too?

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