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Boys moving on from prep school - 11+ or 13+?

(22 Posts)
SomeGuy Wed 14-Oct-09 15:23:51

Any thoughts on the best age for boys to move on to a (fee-paying) 11-18 school from a 7-13 or 5-13 prep school?

ABetaDad Wed 14-Oct-09 15:29:58

Interesting topic - struggling with the same decision in a few years time.

My feeling is 11+ is better to get settled in before puberty and the 13+ push to GCSE exams starts in earnest.

Have a feeling 13+ exam competition to get in is realtivley tougher than 11+ too.

abra1d Wed 14-Oct-09 15:31:29

My son could have got in at 11 but we put him in a prep school to wait until he was 13. He lacked a little social confidence and we thought a slightly gentler atmosphere would help.

watfordmummy Wed 14-Oct-09 15:35:05

We are encouraged to leave at 13+ rather than 11+., although my heart thinks 11 would be better as friendships would be established by the time my dss get there at 13.

SomeGuy Wed 14-Oct-09 15:53:55

Obviously the prep school will encourage you to stay on the extra two years paying their fees.

I guess it depends on the senior school whether 11 or 13 is better.


"Boys wishing to enter the School at 11+ take the 11+ entrance examination in January of their Year 6. Boys wishing to enter at 13+ from preparatory schools also take the 11+ exam in Year 6 for a conditional offer confirmed by a satisfactory pass in the 13+
Scholarship or Common Entrance examinations two years later (see below)."

Which strikes me that you might as welll just pass the 11+ once, rather than do two sets of exams.

This is reflected in the admissions numbers: 75-100 in Year 1 and 50-75 in Year 3.

The Year 3 papers do sound harder as well.

I wonder if perhaps 11+ entry is easier if your child is shy, as a timid child would perhaps be entering with a cohort of similar 11 year olds, as against 13+ entry intermingling with children who have been established for 2 years already plus confident prep school graduates.

I would think from an academic point of view the 11+ entry would mean you would spend Year 7 + 8 doing work that was directly relevant to Years 9-13, than if your child was still at prep school.

procrastinatingparent Wed 14-Oct-09 16:04:51

DS has just gone to a school that has entry at 11 and 13 (he was coming from the state system so had to enter at 11). If we had had the same issue as you I think we still would have sent him at 11. This is because he might as well start where he is going to be any way, and because I loathe what exposure I have had to 12 and 13 year old boys at prep schools. As they are at the top of the prep school they seem to be very arrogant and can behave really badly (during my teaching practice for my PGCE I got a range of lewd comments from 13 year old prep school boys). As tiny little 11 year olds in an 11-18 school, they know their place!

SomeGuy Wed 14-Oct-09 16:07:20

I haven't noticed any lewd 13-yeard-old boys at my son's prep school, but I would agree that the intake is obviously going to include more state school boys at 11, which will make it perhaps that bit more 'soft' and less intimidating.

mimsum Wed 14-Oct-09 16:08:00

the head at ds1's school much prefers 11+ - well he prefers 10+ actually - as they've got so much more time before any exams which matter - it also depends on the senior school you're thinking of - ds1's school had the littler ones in the junior dept where the teachers came to them for most lessons rather than the other way around - for the schools around here the ratio of applicants to places is the same at 11+ or 13+

wilbur Wed 14-Oct-09 16:11:36

I wonder about this too. I can see what procrastinatingparent means about the top two years of prep schools, but our has both boys and girls so it is diluted a bit. Also, ds1 is a gentle, worried soul and I sort of feel that a couple of years as a big fish in a smaller pond might be beneficial to him. But it is definitely harder to get into the schools we are interested in at 13 and I get the argument about establishing friendships too. It's a tough one.

LetsEscape Wed 14-Oct-09 17:25:05

It's a really hard decision. Quite a dilemma..

Not all schools have a 11+ and 13+ entrance those that do are invariably very academic and that doesn't give you much choice if your son isn't highly academic and you want a day school. Many of the traditional 11+ schools near us have dropped a 13+ entry so the choice is limited.

I didn't realise that the 13+ boys have to do two exams one at 11+ to be given a conditional offer and another at 13+ this means that you have school exams hanging over you for at least 2 years! Sounds awful to me. I prefer the 11+ saga which is over in 2 months from exam to place offers.

11+ does have the advantage that you make friends at the start but also means you are pushed into a big environment from an early age and less time to be a child and you need to have very good organisational skills.

I think it all boils down to your son and your local school choices and which one you feel fits best.

verySCREEEAAAMlawn Wed 14-Oct-09 17:29:49

Ours (4-13 boys) definitely encourages 13+ - no surprise there - on the basis that 11 is a "notoriously difficult" age to transfer schools (according to the Head). Yet if you check the school website, it very much encourages applicants to join the school in Year 5-6, presumably from state schools, to prepare them for CE at 13+!

My bias is for ours to go at 11, as I've noticed there's a huge difference between the boys physically (and presumably emotionally) in years 7-8 - they look kind of gawky and out of place! I really felt for the more mature boys at the end of last term at speech day, all voices breaking and facial hair developing!

verySCREEEAAAMlawn Wed 14-Oct-09 17:30:31

Sorry for the exclamation marks there, I've just read my post back and realised I sound utterly hysterical.

abra1d Wed 14-Oct-09 18:57:55

Although we've gone this route (staying on until 13 at prep school) I have noticed some very 'cock on the dunghill' behaviour from the 13-year olds as they get towards the end of the year. A teacher told me that they were like that because it was nature's way of ensuring everyone was glad to see them leave. Every year she tells the year sevens not to turn into nasty year eights.

LIZS Wed 14-Oct-09 20:41:59

It depends , some schools only intake at 13+ others 10 or 11+ as well. If they take at 11+ that tends to be a greater intake than at 13+ , but you have more state shcool competition as it is an obvious time to move, so it may vary according to which secondary is an option and how competitive it is to get a place. Some kids take the exam at 11+, pass and defer it to 13+. At ours about 1/3 leave at Year 6, this year proportionately more girls than boys. Agree some are ready to move at 11 , others benefit from 2 extra years of being "top dog" .

pagwatch Wed 14-Oct-09 20:53:51

It also depends if you are leaving an obvious feeder.
At our local prep they are expected to go to DS1s school and the vast majority aim for it. But selection is very tough and boys assume that those staying on at prep until 13 haven't got in. If they then get in at 13 the perception remains that they failed first time.
The 11 years plus matches enjoy a substantial amount of grudge based insults

It is a small issue in the scheme of things but some DCs will prefer to feel 'accepted' from the start iyswim
I am just please we lived no where near here smile

CowsGoMoo Wed 14-Oct-09 21:18:52

My sons prep has a small percentage who leave at 11+ but most remain to do the 13+ as the school mainly feeds into schools that start at 13+ including a 13+ grammar.
We have observed the boys and girls in yr7 and yr8 and have not witnessed the behaviour some speak of here. My sons prep actively encourage leaving at 13(more so for the boys) as traditionally boys are emotionally behind girls and studies were done (please dont ask me to find them!) that proved that boys, being that bit more mature at 13 coped better with the upheaval at that age, where as girls are ready and capable to be emotionally challenged at 11. We've really looked into this recently as my son is in yr6 and would be leaving his prep at the end of this year if we went down the 11+ route. However, we've decided to stay with the prep school and move him at 13.
My son is not doing any exams this year either, perhaps this is down to some individual schools..... he will do CE at 13+ and hopefully might be offered a scholarship (would certainly help with the finances!!) but is not doing anything this year, well not that Ive been told of!!
oh and yes my sons prep is a feeder to the senior school he wants to attend!

Litchick Wed 14-Oct-09 22:02:22

Tricky one.
DD is defo leaving this year at 11 and ready for it. She couldn't bear another year at prep - she's mature don't you know.
Her DS ( they're twins) will stay.
Mostly because he wants to and also because schools seem happy to take at 13 for boys.

I think that last two years is great for maturing 13 they have so outgrown prep school. Mine is Summer born and will still be 12 when he leaves but some will have been 13 since September. So time to move on.

Litchick Wed 14-Oct-09 22:05:36

Worth asking the secondary school?
We have schools here that simply dont take til 13, then others that take state school entrants only at 11, then others that have an entry at 11 and 13.
If the last option I'd ask when the larger intake is.

SomeGuy Wed 14-Oct-09 23:47:18

I remember I worked very hard when I was 11, not so by the time I was 13. Seems a better age to change school, they'll be terrified. grin

procrastinatingparent Thu 15-Oct-09 10:33:06

DS is coping very well with the travelling and change of school, and is really enjoying the challenge of it all. And a little bit of terror seems to keep him on his toes...

We had the choice to send him to a prep school for two years and then on to (another) senior school, but one reason we didn't was because we thought he would have outgrown the prep atmosphere very quickly. I do think he is a pretty mature 11, though - or so his new teachers seem to think - and another less confident child might enjoy a couple more years in the cosy bosom of the prep school system.

As to 'cock on the dunghill behaviour' - I may have been scarred by an unfortunate experience but I would happily teach (and have taught) any number of 14+ teenage boys than the 13-year-old prep boys who spent the lessons talking about my cleavage.

islandofsodor Thu 15-Oct-09 10:38:44

The dc go to a prep attached to an 11 plus senior school. In Year 7 all the children go on a team building weekend designed to integrate all the children from other schools with the ones from the feeder prep.

There is another nearby prep which goes to 13 and the only ones who seem to stay on are the ones who go onto traditional 13 plus public schools.

As far as I am aware my dc's school does not "save places" for 13 plus entrants. Children can join the school at 13 subject to there being space.

thedolly Thu 15-Oct-09 11:04:03

7-13 schools are obviously designed to feed into 13+ seniors. If you are not going down that route then you might as well make the move at 11+, no?

What's the point of being top dog at prep school and then being thrust into an environment where almost everyone knows each other, the environment and the routine better that you will. It's OK to look pityful and lost when you are in YR7, not so much so in YR9. Also, 13+ transfer just gives very little time to get used to teachers and subjects before having to choose options.

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