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Year 8 and Common Entrance boredom

(17 Posts)
inthename Wed 26-Nov-14 01:46:25

This might sound daft, but is year 8 of common entrance always a constant stream of past papers and not much else. Ds is bored rigid and being a typical 'preteen' about things like revision. This is all new to me as he's an only child and on a bursary, so no previous experience of this exam or the preparation for it. School seem to be having a fairly high turnover of staff as well due to illness and maternity leave and staff leaving which has also proved unsettling as the really good teachers were replaced by ones who seem to rely heavily on printed worksheets.
Are there any tips for lifting the boredom and helping ds out of the doldrums? He's also preparing for whats termed as a 'non academic' scholarship (so the creative subjects) but school seem to be flinging all their efforts at those who may achieve academic scholarships.

happygardening Wed 26-Nov-14 06:57:49

IME yes yr 8 at a prep is all about preparation for CE as is yr 11 in most schools about preparation for (I)GCSE. The reason why parents send their DC's to prep school is for them to be properly prepared to pass CE so a good prep is just doing what they are being payed to do. Obviously a day prep simply has less time to offer much else. You've mentioned before that your DS is bored rigid but as I've pointed out ad infinitum to my DS's they need to get used to being bored rigid and just get on with it, even the most exciting job will have boring bits such is life.
It's unsurprising that a school I s flinging all it's resources at those hoping for academic scholarships these have significantly more cache than creative scholarships.
If yoir school has a high teacher turnover then it's possible there are staffing issues but this close to CE I don't see what you can do about it you and your DS are going to have to make the best of it another useful life lesson for him. Perhaps he's not only being prepared for CE but life as well. grin

Hakluyt Wed 26-Nov-14 07:02:00

Do they have a good record of getting kids into the school your son wants to go to? If so, then tell him they know what they're doing, it's a means to an end, and to get on it. And make the weekends as enjoyable as possible.

LIZS Wed 26-Nov-14 07:22:39

yes sounds about right. It was one of the reasons ds did it and dd moved on at 11. dc prep tried to break the monotony by giving the year8s responsibility as prefects etc and trips. In the end life can be pretty dull and it is up to the individual to seek out ways to motivate themselves and pursue other things. Year 10/11 won't be much different. However from your other posts the school sounds pretty useless and the high staff turnover may well be indicative of a lack of leadership and encouragement of initiative. Can you use your ds' other interests to provide extracurricular opportunities ?

summerends Wed 26-Nov-14 07:23:18

It does seem to depend on the prep school and teachers how they manage to supplement and expand on the essential preparation and practice. Tell him for maths, English and languages it is like timetables, learning and securing the basics by lots of practice will pay dividends later however tedious. In his case the exams are a means to an end. Otherwise tell him a lot of education is what you read, watch and discover for yourself outside the classroom. Boredom in school can be used as motivation to develop his own interests outside.

NoelleHawthorne Wed 26-Nov-14 07:40:19

what is with everyone getting a scholarship?
is this just a financial incentive to go to teh school?

LIZS Wed 26-Nov-14 08:13:00

I'd bet if you asked the parents of academic scholarships candidates they would also say the school isn't doing enough . Even if successful they often don't carry much if any monetary value, it is all in the kudos .

ZeroSomeGameThingy Wed 26-Nov-14 08:19:07

Noelle I'd say the generally tiny financial incentive has become the least interesting aspect of working for a scholarship. (In the context of traditional preps. May be different at 11 +.)

Firstly there's a considerable amount of kudos attached to being in the scholarship class in yr 8. If they're lucky they'll receive brilliant, mind stretching teaching - with the goal of seeing their name on the leavers' scholarship board. Again if they're lucky they'll be entertained with a whole heap of extra curricular stuff tied in to the subjects they're studying. I'd imagine this is fun for the teachers as well, so having a scholarship class in a prep attracts high calibre staff.

Then there's always the promise that all the extra work means the pupils will be able to relax a little when they move to the new school - I'm not sure whether this is true in practice.

Most importantly from the children's' point of view the work should be more exciting than CE work and they take their exams earlier so have the rest of the summer term free to play. (None of which is of any comfort to the OP of course.)

But only a small proportion of the class will actually be awarded a scholarship.

ZeroSomeGameThingy Wed 26-Nov-14 08:24:55

(inthename I fell asleep with the phone in my hand last night, trying to think of something useful to say to you. But I couldn't come up with anything you wouldn't already have thought of. I was sending empathy though...)

TheWordFactory Wed 26-Nov-14 08:33:45

DS sat for and won a scholarship. The financial award wasn't the incentive ( we put the cash back in the pot).

He did it because his prep school felt the challenge would be good for him and if he did well enough he would be exempted the boredom of CE!

happygardening Wed 26-Nov-14 08:48:26

Scholarships especially into the super selective big names e.g. Words DS's school, Eton, Win Coll et al are all about Kudos there is often no financial reward. I believe at Eton you get access to lectures and things in the first year that aren't available to others, I'm not sure if they get anything different at Win Coll but they do wear gowns, both have separate boarding houses for scholars.
Neither Eton or Win Coll hold their scholarship exams until May only a few weeks before CE so not significantly more time "to play".
Prep schools like to publicise their scholarship results particularly the academic ones because it's often seen as an indication of the quality of their teaching.

inthename Wed 26-Nov-14 09:10:27

Thanks all, will keep doing the 'means to an end' speech - think with ds theres a lot of hormonal angsting going on too!!!

ZeroSomeGameThingy Wed 26-Nov-14 09:16:48

Happy Those few weeks are significant if you're currently 12!

happygardening Wed 26-Nov-14 09:27:37

DS2 sat Win Coll entrance exam in May results came out just before 1/2 term I seem to recall so it did mean he had a lovely relaxing half term whilst friends sitting CE revised. Some schools of course hold their scholarship exams much earlier in the year if this had happened to DS2 I would have removed him from his prep and let him have the time at home.

summerends Wed 26-Nov-14 15:45:33

inthename I suppose the positive side is that if he is undergoing the teenage transition induced apathy stage then it is as good a time as any for not having to have to use too much of his brainpower. Could you think of some project that might engage his interest outside school such as some money making scheme? Possibly to do with his DT skills?

inthename Wed 26-Nov-14 19:57:05

lol summer, he's got loads of projects on the go and his teachers are full of praise, but trying to avoid brain switch off and teenage induced apathy is proving interesting!

Hulahaha Fri 28-Nov-14 19:57:48

Year8 is boring but quite poignant , with tons of lasts ... Before he moves on .... My DS didn't get truly bored until Easter - perhaps because he coasted through Year7. If the teachers are good they should keep them motivated , with the only exception being Maths where it is just past papers all the time .

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