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Secondary Schools applications - added value - thinking ahead

(6 Posts)
SerialStudent Sun 22-Sep-13 12:38:46


I'm thinking ahead a year to when we start applying to private secondaries. I am totally ignorant unaware at this stage of what's exactly required when applying


I'm wondering if next schools look at the whole character of the child applying - in terms of academic achievement AND any extra curricular clubs and achievements they have gained along their way through primary?

Or am I just thinking a load of bollox?

Ladymuck Sun 22-Sep-13 15:58:07

If your child is in Year 5 then this is a good time to be visiting the various open evenings. It is far too much to try and visit everywhere in year 6, and it also gives you a chance to see how a school has changed over the course of a year.

You also need to look at the admission criteria for schools that your child is eligible for. Some may depend solely on feeder schools, or distance from home. Others may have aptitude tests for music or sport and technology. Other may have faith requirements. In general a state school will be unlikely to consider any extra curricular activities of your child in the normal round of applications, but if you feel that a school is a particularly good match for your dd as a whole you could always appeal and then these activities may provide evidence as to why the school is a good match for your dd.

The schools don't choose the children as such, you apply for the school, and they produce a ranked order to applicants depending on their admission criteria.

titchy Sun 22-Sep-13 16:41:02

Bollox I'm afraid! State schools look at nothing except how highly ranked child is against admissions criteria!

As a parent however you certainly should be considering which school is a good fit in terms of academic and extra-curricular provision, with the proviso to also check whether you are likely to get a place.

SerialStudent Sun 22-Sep-13 17:49:50

titchy. Thanks, you make some very valid points.

I was referring solely to private schools though - however I do note that your comments are valid for both private and state.

SerialStudent Sun 22-Sep-13 17:51:25

ladymuck - thanks for giving me the low down on how to proceed. As always, you are a veritable font of knowledge and your advice is always very much appreciated flowers.

Ladymuck Sun 22-Sep-13 18:32:53

Drat - I'd not picked up that you were looking at private schools only.

Again different schools are looking for different qualities. The girls schools in particular do seem to look more carefully at character often via group activities rather than the just the traditional interview.

A lot will depend on the type of school you are looking at. Obviously the most academic are going to look at entrance exam results most carefully. But even the very academic schools want a variety of talents so that they can maintain a high level of music, art, sport and drama. To that end they will be encouraging prospective pupils to apply for scholarships. Even if your child doesn't formally meet their stated requirements it is always worth contacting the school and discussing whether it is worth applying. It allows you to show what your child can contribute.

Certainly you will want to visit your prospective schools at the upcoming open days and then again at one of the midweek open mornings/afternoons to try and get as good a feel for the ethos and values of the school as possible. Just because a school has a good name and good results doesn't mean that it is where your child will flourish.

In terms of whether extra curricular activities or achievements count, then I think there are 2 angles:
a) if a child does nothing, then why not, and how do they spend their time?
b) can this child obviously contribute to school life via sport, music, drama etc.

If your child is naturally very interested in one or more of these areas, then it may be worth looking at what scholarship requirements might be, and whether it is worth directing some effort into one area (eg getting that extra grade on a musical instrument or even starting a second instrument; joining a netball club outside of school). But if not, I wouldn't worry. The child who spends their time making dens and caring for animals will be just as interesting to teach as the one who plays 2 instruments.

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