Prep school that only goes to 7+ for boys - will it keep options open or will 7+ just be stressful?(22 Posts)
One of the two schools we're STILL struggling to choose between only goes up to 7 for boys (11 for girls).
The head says that this isn't a bad thing as then you get to keep your options open and send your ds to a school which really suits them as by 7 you will be more aware of their needs/ strengths etc.
Is that marketing blurb or a valid point?
And will it all be stress for us and more importantly ds?
I really hate the idea of having to have him tutored and would resist it but it sounds like most of the boys are.
I think he has a point. Ask them what schools they have sent children to in the last few years. If you transfer at 7 to a prep with a senior school then the transfer to senior school is usually easier. So pain at 7 but less pain later!
I suspect it is mainly to service boys with older sisters. Depends your whereabouts but tutoprign for 7+ isn't the norm around our area and it is more a screening assessment than a pass/fail.
Where we are (SW London) tutoring at 7+ seems common and friends who've been through it found it very stressful - as did their sons. Mind you, they were going for the most academic prep schools.
There are lots of boys' prep schools that also have a pre-prep and are non- or semi-selective at 4, ie a chat and an informal assessment. If you are anywhere near me, I'd think that route would be a lot less stressful. But if you're near LIZS perhaps it's not the same.
Does this school have a preference for 7+ school - when we were making this deicision the school very much did and we went to see this also as part of the decision process. I am sure I remember a thread earlier from you re this sibject - are you near me (check the name) it is such a similar story to our own. We did end up doing Year 3 entrance assessment exams - we did not tutor - I suspect some did - he got in - however this school only goes to 11(or 13) so will be doing it all again. DD goes to a selective school and was assessed and selected at 4 - we do feel that she has the better deal.
DS (also SW London) will be going to a pre-prep that runs from 4 to 7 or 8 (some leave at 7, some stay on to 8). They are non-selective on entry and strongly against tutoring outside school but still manage to get many of their pupils into the more academic prep schools (lots to Colet Court, KCS Wimbledon, etc.). A lot of effort goes into consulting with the parents to find a school where the individual child will flourish and be happy.
(getting back to original point, being a pre-prep only was a positive attraction for us. With no idea of how academic DS will turn out to be, trying to choose a school to take him through to 11 or 13 (or beyond) would be almost impossible. This way we get a year or so into his school career before having to think about where to apply to in the longer term, and another year or two in before having to make any firm decisions.
I also suspect it is not necessarily as clear cut a decision by 7+. We have a Year 6 adn it still isn't clearcut ! dd is Year 3 and would not like to have to commit this young for up to 18.
As LIZS says, I don't think it's very easy to tell by 6 how academic a child is or what they might excel in. No exam system is going to be perfect, but the older the child, the more accurate it's likely to be.
Most all-through prep schools cater for both academic and less academic children and lots have scholarship streams from around Year 5 (age 9-10). Round us they send the higher achieving boys onto St Paul's, KCS, Westminster and Winchester at 13, and the not-so highly-achieving ones onto less selective senior schools.
It's not easy at 6, but (IMO) it's impossible when they're not even potty-trained yet... (given how early you need to put names down for many/most schools around here)
As another personal factor, there's a strong history of dyslexia in my family so my DCs have a higher than normal chance of being affected. In spite of my attempts to guess whether DS is likely to be dyslexic (I'm kind of guessing not at this point) I don't think it'll become clear until he's done some formal reading/writing work. So I may or may not need somewhere with good dyslexia support longer-term.
The whole selection thing is doing my head in. DS1 is in Y6 of our very good local primary but, in common with most of his friends, is being tutored now for 11+ exams next term. It's all unbelievably high stress, and it does seem as if it's now or never, so I can see the attraction of having a go at 7 and then again later if things change.
some interesting views here - We were very happy to get an acamedically selective place for our DD at age 4 (reception) - so far she is loving it (now Yr2) and all the time it works we will stay with it - if we reach a time when it is not for her we will look at our options - but we dont HAVE to which is comforting - unlike DS who sat entrance at 7 and will have to do again at senior - the pressure seems far more for him.
Still not worked out which school of the two is best.
I am very sure that the one which only goes to 7 is the best for now but not sure whether that is cancelled out in the medium term when he is having to sit exams.
Apparently most of the local parents do hire tutors for the 7+ and I'm not keen.
I guess if he moves at 7 it will be to a school he can stay to until 18 so in that way at least he wouldn't have to move again at 11 or 13.
If he went to the other school we're considering he'd have to move at 11 or 13 anyway so I guess it's just taking exams and moving at a younger age.
<<head spinning with confusion emoticon>>
Tricky one. We have friends whose ds has just started at a similar pre-prep, partly as they also have a dd....
I don't think the 7+ would be traumatic - especially if all the other boys are doing it? The thought of tutoring seems crazy to me - are the school not geared up for this? Does the head think tutoring is a must?
Changing schools at 7 - also not too traumatic - especially as they will all be new boys at the prep school?
BUT - if you do not have a dd, and have some reservations about the school, then I wd go for a school that takes him through til 11/13 personally? Less hassle.
Thanks Gladders. The head says she does not think tutoring is essential and would rather people did not BUT she has resigned herself to the fact that nearly all of the parents do it and has given up trying to persuade them otherwise. We live in N. London so it's just the done thing sadly!
We don't have a dd (yet - possibly might try and have another soonish) but partly for that reason think all boys means he won't have any contact with girls.
The prep schools we'd look at actually don't take many new pupils at 7+ as have their own prepreps, so most would already know each other. That said there would always be one or two other new boys at least and boys tend to be less cliquey than girls at that age don't they?
well FWIW, if I only had boys, I think an all boys school can be a bonus - boys have a different outlook to girls (however hard we try) and ALL the boys in my ds's class are behind the girls in v basic reading. Some of it is down top them being boys, and some is down to teacher's expectations IMO... If it were all boys together I think he would have more fun!
If the prep schools don't take boys at 7, then I think that is another reason to start from reception?
If you do go down the all boys route, then it's just another good reason to keep in touch with those you've met with girls through antenatal groups etc?
and I do realise this is none of my business and that i ahve not been through this - am just trying to see myself in your shoes!!
Gladders your advice is useful - it's not none of your business because I posted on here asking!
I'd very much agree if ds was a typical boisterous boy but he's not at all - he's the quieter, studious type so I actually don't think the mixed school would be a problem on that front.
I do worry more about the 7+ transfer. The local preps DO take kids at 7 but just not as many as at other stages. I don't know the ratio of applicants to places and how that compares to 4+ and 11+ though asthat would be key to how easy/ hard it is to get a place.
The head is adamant that if you choose the right kind of school for your child they invariably get in (it's just that if you have a child who isn't very academic and choose the hothousey one they won't but that sounds fine to me as I'd want to pick the right one anyway - hence all the agonising now)
Just think if I choose the mixed one, there will be another raft of threads from me in about three years' time about schools again. Argh!!
ooh v tricky then - quieter type might well enjoy having the calming influence of girls in the class... i take it there are no co-ed options throught to 11/13?
where do the boys usually transfer to? i know our school has more places available at 7 or 8 as they start streaming the children then, but still it's only another 6 to an existing group of 40 who have been together since nursery....
I think on balance I would still go for the all boys option - I wouldn't describe my ds as hugely boisterous, but i think he would benefit from being in a larger peer group. (have now convinced myself of benefits of all-boy eductaion so am off to register him for local all boys prep at 8!!!)
He keeps saying he likes girls and I've even asked him if he wants to go to the boys school with lots of nice boys orthe school with both girls and boys. He ALWAYS says the mixed one. But then again he's 3 so I'm not putting too much on that.
But there are so many other considerations anyway. It's driving me quite mad!
There is one local prep which is mixed but it's VERY expensive (to pay for access to all the lovely facilities of the upper school but I don't think you need that at 5 or 6) and has pretty poor results. It goes all the way to 18.
Dh is not at all keen on that one and it's not really an option now anyway.
at the thought of tutoring for 7+ !!!! I am with the head who said that the child will get in if the school is right for him - but appreciate this is not helpful to you at the moment! DS1 is 10 and has just gone to a very selective school. He is loving it, and enjoying the daily tests, as he is quietly competitive and academic - but it is very high pressure and in retrospect I would not have wanted him to go if he had to be hot-housed and tutored because he would have been unhappy if it had not been his natural environment IFKWIM.
am with you - I didn't want our two going to a school at 3 where they could stay til 18. You had to sign something saying you intended them to stay there for 15 years which is not legally enforceable, but still scary.... also if we did want to move them at 11, it would have felt awkward...
Hmm... don't know then? Don't think his opinion should be taken too seriously at age 3? my ds would probably have chosen whichever school had the best playground!!
can you revisit them and really check out the provision for quieter boys at the boys one, and focus on where boys would go next at the co-ed one?
We had this dilemma with DS. The school that took boys to 7 and girls until 11 is in our road, less than 50m from our house! However the classes were 60-75% girls (DS not impressed) and I couldn't face the move again at 7. We have chosen to send him to a boys school (age 3-13) 3 miles away.
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