Year 7 indie entry not successful - what next...? (surrey)

(16 Posts)
pringles999 Wed 10-Feb-16 14:12:55

Primary state ed ds has not been successful at gaining a spot in year 7 for two indies. We had been advised that both were well within his academic capability (school had suggested RGS as worth a shot based on comparisons with previous pupils, but we decided against it).

This is when we do not have the benefit of a prep head to dig deeper - the feedback has simply been - competition increased, score for cut off higher than ever.

Has the competition for places really escalated that much? Seems much worse than girls' schools where we had a relatively stress free process.

Feel so sorry for my ds who had rightly or wrongly believed he stood a very good chance and found papers relatively easy (bar CEM test though). However we know that there is a tendency to silly mistakes in maths particularly.

It has been suggested to us to consider prep for two years, but I am concerned that with pre-tests most of the places will have been allocated and he would be fighting for a handful of places that come available. Anyone else been in this position?

AnotherNewt Wed 10-Feb-16 14:23:26

I am so sorry, it's a horrible position to be in. And yes, there really are more prospective pupils than places, and competition in and close to London can be fierce.

Did you apply for state places, and what are your chances of getting a school you like?

In parallel, you need to look at whether you can still have a plan B for the independent sector. It might help if you make a list of all the schools in your area and look at whether they have a 13+ entry and how they run it. Some pre-test in year 6, others might do it later; some do not pre-test at all (but that'll mean competitive exams, so no more certainty of getting a place than at 11+).

If you have any candidate schools once you've done that, then it might be worth talking to a prep.

Or, for competitive exams, you could start at state and tutor (in theory you could do that for CE too, but I think that's much harder as the curricula required diverge quite a lot).

sayatidaknama Wed 10-Feb-16 14:26:41

I would ring round some other secondaries and see if there are any late exams / possibilities. You might want to follow this up in a few weeks once the waiting lists have started moving.

In the last 2 years 11+ has become ridiculously competitive. Definitely try preps esp mixed ones as a lot of girls leave at this age. Whereabouts are you in Surrey? You will probably get more specific advice if you can say.

Waitingandhoping2015 Wed 10-Feb-16 14:28:50

I know one person that this happened to about 6 years ago - so things could be different. From state primary. He didn't get into the middling-academic school they wanted and it wasn't close, he was near the bottom of the entry results.

They phoned all the prep schools within range and ended up at Downsend in Ashtead, where the Head said he would get him through CE and into the school they had originally failed on. After two years he gained entry

ReallyTired Wed 10-Feb-16 14:32:34

I am sorry that your son is in this this position. Hindsight is always in 20 20. A state school simply cannot prepare a child for entrance to a selective independent and if a child attempts the entrance exam from a state school they are simply set up to fail. I was in the same position as your son many years ago. I did not stand a snowflake chance in hell as I had never done the topics on the maths paper. The following year I went to a different private secondary school and resat the entrance test. I got full marks on the maths exam and got in easily.

Which part of surrey are you. There are plenty of private schools for less advanced children. For example my brother went to Halliford, Shepherton and loved it. Another school that is less pressurised is St John's.

foragogogo Wed 10-Feb-16 14:38:29

We are in Surrey and the feedback we've had from heads at interview is that is has indeed got a lot more competitive. The schools we applied for had, for example, 500 kids sitting for 60 odd places. 200 odd got through to interview stage and were told had made the grade academically. Still means over half of perfectly capable children wont get a place. It is also complicated by the fact that this year is a high birth rate year I think - so more 11 year olds around. hence all the "bulge" classes in the primary schools for the current y6. The grammar school tests round here were insane - 1000's of kids trying for 100 odd places. That means the cut off pass mark must have been up in the high 90%.

It's an awful numbers game - means that kids doing perfectly well achieving exam scores in the 70% area who will probably go on to do very well at GCSE are getting the message that they are "not clever enough". Horrible.

foragogogo Wed 10-Feb-16 14:44:27

This is for the "Tier 1" schools though. There are definitely other schools that are not as oversubscribed that have far less stringent entry requirements and look at the child as a whole as well as exam performance. Main results day for boys here isn't until later this week so it may be worth phoning round other schools this week and next to see if they have any places come up as there will be a lot of movement in the next few week, I believe, as people accept and reject the first allocation of places.

TeddTess Wed 10-Feb-16 14:47:25

if you tell us where you are we may be able to suggest some schools that take late entries.
i know people who only applied after the state offers came out in march this year who managed to get in - not all schools are completely oversubscribed and some have a second round around Easter (but won't be saying this yet until the first round offers and acceptances are in)

pringles999 Wed 10-Feb-16 14:48:35

Thanks for quick responses....

We have applied for state and it is by no means a poor option, but our dd is at indie and of the two of them he would benefit most.

Waitingandhoping - my concern about doing this is that pretty much every school within a reasonable distance (Cobham to Guidlford) now pretests at 11 - 5 or so years ago not the case. I would hate to put him through 2 years of prep with the stress of having to battle it out for very few places at 13, presumably he would have to wait until he got a CE mark and ring around then, which is leaving quite late in the day? A lot of potential uncertainty and what then if he doesn't make it? He is able but clearly so is everyone else !!!

pringles999 Wed 10-Feb-16 15:00:34

reallytired oh yes hindsight....sad but his primary regularly sees a good % of children admitted at 11 to RGS/ghs etc and we have had an experienced tutor to cover the gaps. Given our dd's experience we thought it would be ok.

St John's was a no. They only had 30 places for boys at year 7.

Clavinova Wed 10-Feb-16 15:20:56

Do St John's make you choose between 11+ and 13+ entry? Could you phone them and ask if your ds could be added to the 13+ waiting list? I know boys who have sat entrance exams for RGS (Guildford and Reigate) in Year 7 from a prep and been accepted and also at Freemen's in Ashtead in Year 7.

titchy Wed 10-Feb-16 15:23:41

I'd do parkside for two years then try Reeds, St. John's (though may be too late for 13+ now), Epsom college. Halliford, Claremont, Boxhill as back ups.

Waitingandhoping2015 Wed 10-Feb-16 16:28:44

Hello - yes I see your concerns! If this was me I would:

- get on the phone to admissions at every possible school suitable and see what they can do, armed with his current ability levels and extra-curricular stuff etc. See what they say. It will certainly be a wait and see what happens after the next few weeks of acceptances etc.

- get on the phone to relevant prep schools and see what they suggest. Essentially you are leaning on the knowledge and the experience of the Heads of those schools to get advice which you won't get from your current Head. They will certainly unexpectedly lose a few boys (and therefore revenue) at the end of this year as they will jump ship at 11+ instead of the planned 13+. Shrewsbury House definitely lost some last year, Kings House also. Downsend is one to try as I said above. Parkside is another one.

- City of London Freemans in Ashtead do a 12+ exam and entry.

Given numbers involved and turnover and offers/rejections ratios etc., you might be surprised that some schools are not actually full in September!

Bombaybunty Wed 10-Feb-16 18:08:57

Definitely put him in a local prep school and try again for entry at year 9.
My DS went to Downsend and was extremely well prepared for Common Entrance.

Several of his friends didn't do the pre test but still were offered a place later. Some have moved schools since the start of year 9.

yourmothernotyourfriend Sun 21-Feb-16 20:34:48

Have you tried contacting Cranmore in Horsley to discuss availability of places there and target schools for 13+?

unexpecteditem1 Mon 22-Feb-16 22:49:12

In North London things are definitely more competitive than there had been. My DS didn't get in to any selectives from his State Primary - nor did any of his friends. My two older daughters got offers from all their choices and are both now in top Independent schools. Granted DS may not be as bright (or perhaps as mature?) as they are, but I wasn't expecting NO offers from the selectives. In North London there is also the issue of far less boy schools than girl schools to choose from.
Is it worth going to a Prep for two years and trying again when he may be older and more mature and more interested in the process? And have the support of the Prep head to back him up? Is this even possible?

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