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Applying for Private secondary school, but not academic

(23 Posts)
Brookesy1 Sat 09-Jul-11 19:01:48

My ds is about to go into year 6 in a state junior school. He is good at sport but a summer born only child who is not academic. He is average at literacy but below average at maths. We are considering the private school sector because of sports opportunities and small classes. I think he will get lost in the local 2nd school which has 1300 children.

Our dilema is having seen past exam papers I think he will struggle with the entrance exam, he already has a tutor to help him with his maths. My question is should I consider asking the private schools to offer him a place in the year below, so he becomes the oldest rather than the youngest? And how would that affect his sports team place being a year older than his peers?

Any thoughts gratefully received. PS is desperate to go to this sporty private school even though his friends are going to local comp.

Brookesy1 Sat 09-Jul-11 19:03:15

Thank you

menagerie Sat 09-Jul-11 19:07:13

Doubt they'd allow it. Look into their sports scholarships - they may make allowances if he brings honour to the school that way. Is it an academic school? Find out what the pass mark is. then make sure the tutor focuses on what will be required of him for the exam, rather than general development. How long till the exam?

SuburbanDream Sat 09-Jul-11 19:09:27

If you have a definite school in mind, I would just make an appointment and have a look around or have a good chat with them. I doubt that they would give him a place in the year below TBH, unless there was a very good reason for it. If he is sporty, are there sports scholarships or other trials that would help him gain a place? Really, the best thing is to speak to the school and find out what your chances are realistically so that if it looks likely to be difficult to get in, you can look for other options rather than pinning your (and your Ds's) hopes on one school Good luck.

meditrina Sat 09-Jul-11 19:11:17

Some schools do exercise flexibility about which year summer born children go into. You'll only find out by asking.

It might matter in terms of sports teams, as any which are age-affiliated normally take age on 1 September as the qualifier. Perhaps you could talk to the Head of Games too?

Brookesy1 Sat 09-Jul-11 19:14:20

Hi there! Exam is 1 hour maths, verbal reasoning, 1 hour comprehension, report from school and interview with headmaster. Pass Mark 50 percent.

Tutor since been asked to just do the exam papers. Not the most academic in the area but is selective. Nearest non selective is £3k a year more. He is down to take the non selective school exam but the fees would be more of a struggle and no bus so I would have take and pick up each day.

bodiddly Sat 09-Jul-11 19:18:34

I know a couple of people who have had exactly this problem. My suggestion to them was to try and move the child across in year 6 and let them feed across to the senior school/higher years. If you do this you have far less competition than at usual senior school entry. Competition of a few versus hundreds. Is this a possibility?

Brookesy1 Sat 09-Jul-11 19:18:59

We have been to school and met headmaster and his advice was that it's not only the exam results, he was very positive with ds and said that they look for potential rather than academic success. Trying not to pile on the pressure as ds needs to motivate himself, but he seems to think that he is better than he is and doesn't take critique well from me!

Brookesy1 Sat 09-Jul-11 19:23:38

Thank you good advice only the prep school that feeds into it is separate and husband not keen to take this route. Another option would be the other more expensive school which although non selective at senior school becomes so when you go into the prep school. Then you have to take common entrance exam at 13 years? Nothing straightforward.

SuburbanDream Sat 09-Jul-11 19:25:56

well if the headmaster was positive, I'd say that's a good sign. My DCs started at independent school this year after we moved house. I was a bit daunted by the prospect as it was our first experience of private school but they settled in really well.

Brookesy1 Sat 09-Jul-11 19:32:26

Many thanks for kind words, we'll stick with the gentle encouragement to do the writing, reading, exam papers etc and see how he gets on in the coming months. He is doing taster day in Nov so if henreally likes it then he knows it's in his hands. Less tv and computer games and more study.

NonnoMum Sat 09-Jul-11 19:37:14

Why not try it? I think Prince Harry was held back a year, so if it's good enough for royalty, it should be good enough for your son...

GiddyPickle Sun 10-Jul-11 18:54:53

Private schools are much more flexible about this type of arrangement it seems. I am basing this solely on knowing parents of a July born child who strongly wanted him to be moved down a year and found private schools happy to accommodate this but their state school adamant they wouldn't even consider it. The child had no special reasons for needing to go down a year other than being young for his age and a bit behind (but not significantly behind) in his reading.

If you do it therefore, bear in mind that you will be committed pretty much to staying in the private system as you might not find a state school who will accept a child out of their normal year group later on.

pengelly Mon 11-Jul-11 19:20:26

I have precisely the same situation with my ds. August born, non academic young for age, academically not where he should be. Only state secondary is 1800 strong and fills me with dread. Sports apart, dropping a year, applying for early entry in year 6, and offering to pay annual fees up front all may help your position. Being the older one in a younger year mau have positiver effect on his self esteem and his performances may improve.

dramafluff Tue 12-Jul-11 16:34:20

Good luck to all! There are a whole heap of different independent schools out there and they are NOT all academically selective. Non-selective schools are places where children who were never going to be atomic physicists etc can really excel and, more importantly, do better than they would have the chance to do elsewhere. Non-selective schools will have entrance tests, but these are not designed to pass or 'fail' a child, but to give them an understanding of their areas of strength and weakness to be able to help them better. These tests can also help early identification of any slight or otherwise SEN issues that may not have been picked up. You should also find the overall experience and happiness of you DS or DD enriched by good extra-curricular activities that might play to their particular strengths, whetever they may be (music, drama, sport) and they are all areas to ask about scholarships! It IS a huge commitment - as others have said the transition back to the state sector if it becomes necessary can be difficult - not just with school's intake requirements, but for DC possibly having unpleasant times from new classmates. Not always the case I realise, but it can be tricky.

bubblesincoffee Tue 12-Jul-11 18:03:58

Private schools differ significantly, so you have already done the best thing by talking to the school.

They really do look for potential rather than achievement.

50% should be doable with tutoring, and he could well get a place if his English scores are ok and he is very sporty.

FWIW, I went to a private school and my maths was rubbish. I was offered a place provided that my parents would agree to paying for extra tuition (with one of their approved tutors so I was doing the right work) if it was decided I needed it after the first term. Thankfully they decided I didn't need it!

coccyx Tue 12-Jul-11 18:25:09

Not every one at private school is academic!!!

Brookesy1 Fri 15-Jul-11 22:08:41

Many thanks for kind words, have found a maths teacher from the school in question who will help ds through summer hols 2 hrs a week and then again at half term and Xmas. He is confident if ds can get offered a place his maths etc will improve with tutor groups of only 9 children in each level. Hopefully this will be an advantage, may be he can even put in a good word once he gets to now ds. 5 months to go, should be enough time. I can only support ds, it's up to him to put in the work.

Lisa20b Tue 19-Jul-11 12:41:41

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

MindtheGappp Tue 19-Jul-11 12:49:48

How selective is the school? Many schools are non-selective.

Usually selective schools assess on academic potential via verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests. Doing the test a year older should not make a lot of difference as they are all corrected for age.

How would he feel about repeating Y6? How would you feel about paying an extra year's fees?

My advice would be an early meeting with the senior school to go through your concerns.

everlong Tue 19-Jul-11 20:46:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Brookesy1 Tue 20-Sep-11 19:23:53

Hello, have decided to put ds into sports scholarship. All coaches, rugby, football, cricket say his ability and potential plus commitment should give him a good chance. As he is not academic hopefully exposure and enthusiasm will show him as a pupil the school want to attract.

PotatoSkins Tue 20-Sep-11 21:15:48

Is the sports scholarship for the academic school or the other one?

He may still have to pass an entrance exam if it is the academic one. They will look at his sport obviously but be aware they will want a bit of brain in the classroom too, in order for him to keep up with his peers.

If at all worried, i would go down the sports scholarship route with the less academci school, that way he won't struggle when he gets there.

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