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Just received appointment for reception class entry assessment (independent school) what to expect??

(38 Posts)
fishnet Thu 05-Feb-09 12:03:42

Just had DS1s appointment through for his entrance assessment for September. Anyone know what we should expect? The school just says "assessing his ability to learn". What is that supposed to mean and how can I prepare a three year old without telling him its an assessment?

fishnet Thu 05-Feb-09 12:17:34


verygreenlawn Thu 05-Feb-09 12:20:31

Can only go on what they do at my ds school - they start with a story, then split them into little groups to talk about the story and ask them some questions - things like identifying colours, shapes.

The key thing is that it isn't about anything academic - its about behaviour, taking turns, listening to the teacher. The Head told us at the time that they are just looking for signs your son is ready for a classroom environment. I would imagine yours will be very similar given the reference to ability to learn.

Don't think you can prepare - tbh both my boys thought the afternoon was great fun.

verygreenlawn Thu 05-Feb-09 12:21:32

Oh and I didn't tell mine it was any kind of assessment - I said it was just to meet some new friends they might be going to school with.

fishnet Thu 05-Feb-09 12:25:27

So I don't need to get him to practice writing his name 20 times a day then or anything like that?

This is stressful. Will cause us problems if he doesn't get in. Am being very careful that he doesn't pick up on the importance but at the same time don't want him going in and messing about. He is bright but is inclined to run around like a loony when he gets excited!

They have said he has a 20 minute session on his own and then if he gets through its the classroom assessment the following week.

Also does anyone have any views on whether its best to take him to look around before the assessment day? The school is running an open day next week. We've alreday been but he hasn't.

seeker Thu 05-Feb-09 12:27:06

Another argument for the local primary.......

giantkatestacks Thu 05-Feb-09 12:29:31

Is it a selective school or not? some have 'assessments' but let everyone in. Mostly the assessments look at how you interact with your child and how they respond to the adults. No one expects them to count or read or any gubbins like that.

I think if he is inclined to run round like loony then its best they see that as well - you wouldnt want him going to a school that he wasnt suited for then being chucked out at 7 - if it is selective. Sorry if thats a bit too honest.

fishnet Thu 05-Feb-09 12:32:16

We don't really have a local primary since we are renting and won't be in this same house by this time next year. Don't want him to start school for six months and then have to change.

Plus we need a city centre school due to work and pick up issues and in this area that doesn't equate to good state schools.

Plus the school is one of the best in the country. It gets fantastic results.

I'm convinced on the school (ok still a bit roubled by the single sex thing) just hoping he gets in!

verygreenlawn Thu 05-Feb-09 12:32:55

You might find he behaves very differently at school - my ds1 is very energetic but sat there quietly for the whole assessment and barely said a word - to the extent I was worried he looked really withdrawn! But he was fine. Remember they are just looking for potential - I'd be a bit concerned at any school that wanted to assess actual ability at this stage.

Do they get a report from nursery? Ours did as tbh this gives a fairer view of your child overall.

We didn't take either of ours to the school beforehand, though by the time he had his assessment ds2 obviously knew about the school because ds1 was already there.

Don't worry! Chances are if he doesn't get a place it may have been completely wrong for him!

fishnet Thu 05-Feb-09 12:36:53

It is selective. At the open day they told us that it would be silly to say that its not an academic environment. They said they need to ensure their school environment is right for the boys since otherwise they will struggle.

He does run around like a loon at nursery but I thnk that is probably because there is a little group of them and they all do it. Nursery say they don't think he'll have a problem and that he's bright and doing the things they expect. He can read phonetic words and do basic maths pattern spotting and shapes etc.

Maybe I should just have a little chat about not running around.

LadyMuck Thu 05-Feb-09 12:40:30

"Plus the school is one of the best in the country"

But best at what exactly? Wrap around care, pastoral support, sport, music, discipline, positive behaviour management, learning support?

I'm alwasy slighty dubious about "fantastic results". These are not always down to the school, and I have come across private school parents who still end up tutoring little Johnnie in order to get the desired "result". Indeed i know some parents view that for their purposes it is sufficient that their child has a particular prep school on their cv, but they will take care of everything else.

Do you know how selective the school is, ie how many applicants fail to get an offer?

LadyMuck Thu 05-Feb-09 12:43:31

If you have to give your child one message for the assessment (and at 3 they can often pretty much only absorb one!), then I would suggest that you encourage him to LISTEN to the staff. Don't worry about running around - the dcs school include a stint in the playground as part of the assessment to see how the boys play in that environment.

giantkatestacks Thu 05-Feb-09 12:45:42

It might help if his birthday is in Sept/Oct/Nov/Dec as well - I know of a school that didnt make any offers for the summer months. shock

fishnet Thu 05-Feb-09 12:47:39

Can't get an answer on that one from the school Ladymuck and its difficult to tell because its a new infant unit to the main school. They've only had two years of infant boys through. The first year was non selective, last year was selective. Have heard on the grapevine that it was 1 in 8 but a friend who works at another local independent school says that is more likely to have been the figure for the senior school and probably more like 1 in 3

Also they have said that the intake depends on the applications. The classes are generally 15 max. Last year they only took one class but they have the ability to take another if they get enough boys through the assessment.

When I say one of the best I do mean for results at senior school level. I agree entirely that everything else is also important but far harder to assess until your child is actually there.

fishnet Thu 05-Feb-09 12:48:37

He's an April baby.

Mind you dS2 is June

EldonAve Thu 05-Feb-09 12:48:58

My 3 year old's assessment (for a non selective school) involved some 1:1 time with the Head. She had toy animals and they talked about them, asked him questions etc

Our local selective primary assessing the children in a group - they are looking at how they interact and picking the outgoing ones basically!

I don't think you can do any prep but the best thing is as LadyMuck says - tell him to listen to the staff

fishnet Thu 05-Feb-09 12:50:39

I mean 1 in 8 (or 3) get a place

fishnet Thu 05-Feb-09 12:54:41

Aha he can do animals!! He is Diego obsessed.

we were talking about animals recently and I asked him if he could think of a small animal

"red eyed tree frog"

a creature that lays eggs

"leather back sea turtle"

an animal that is good at digging

" armadillo"

We'll be ok when he has an assessment for the local Brazilian independent school!!

NotQuiteCockney Thu 05-Feb-09 12:59:22

Month of birth makes a big difference, I'm afraid. DS1 got into his school on odds that were nominally 1 in 4, but probably much worse (due to sibs).

You can make sure he's well-rested, not hungry, etc etc for the assessment, but not much more, I don't think.

Oh, I lie. I did a tour of the school (with a group, a pre-arranged open-day thing), the week before, with DS1. So the place wasn't entirely new to him.

LadyMuck Thu 05-Feb-09 13:02:00

Have you checked what their sibling policy is?

fishnet Thu 05-Feb-09 13:04:14

No idea. Haven't seen anything about it. Presumably since its new they haven't had to dela with that yet. Or maybe there is a difference if you have an older child in the junior school

Had better check if DS2 might struggle due to being end of June. Don't want them at different schools.

verygreenlawn Thu 05-Feb-09 13:12:42

Do you have a plan b school? Always useful just in case.

I know our school sees the boys in different groups for assessment so they aren't unfairly compared - so they group together Sept-Dec, Jan-April, etc. Seems much fairer when you consider the effect of a whole year difference on a 3 year old.

WRT siblings, I guess each school is different - I'd describe our school as academic but from what I've heard it is pretty rare for a sibling to be declined, and if I had to bet I'd bet it would be on the basis of behaviour. An academic school isn't going to take a chance on a child who might be disruptive and prevent other children from learning.

fishnet Thu 05-Feb-09 13:18:03

There is another city centre independent but haven't visited it or registered our interest.

We currently rent a house in the catchment area of a very good state primary but we won't be here for long and its a long way from work so I would have school pick up problems.

Do you think it makes a difference if both parents go to the assessment day? Surely not in this day and age? DH can't make it.

verygreenlawn Thu 05-Feb-09 13:28:16

If the assessment is just a session for your son, then definitely no need for DH - but you should maybe check it doesn't also involve a chat with you. Our school you definitely have to have a session with the Head as well, but you can book that separately or on the same day if the Head is free and it suits you too. No big deal, just a chat about what you're looking for from the school.

MollieO Thu 05-Feb-09 16:12:07

I would take your ds to look round the school prior to the assessment. We had an informal assessment with the head - she asked him almost as many questions as he asked her. Once we had a place we then had another visit to the school to meet his teacher (who had already visited him at nursery) and see his classroom. It meant that when he actually started school he had visited it three times and it was already "my school" to him.

Some schools have very formal assessments - alphabet, numbers, shapes, colours, pencil control etc. Seems a bit much at 3 imo. At my ds's school the assessments are more to gain general character than academic intelligence. They have two reception classes for the first time this year 13 in each in Sept and two new boys this term so 14 in each. Nice size imo.

I wouldn't worry about the single sex thing either. My ds's best friend at nursery was a girl and he has settled in well. I like the fact that they understand how boys are (lots of outdoor play, building dens in the woods etc).

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