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13+ ; Common entrance; prep schools

(27 Posts)
dontbutme Fri 20-May-16 15:03:02

DS is in local state primary, top of his class, did some tutoring; didn't get into either of selective independents he sat for. Not thrilled with options open to us: non-selective secondary with few facilities. Is it a good idea to put him in one of the preps for Year 7 and 8, and retake 13+ CE? Prep I'm thinking of is very academic, will motivate him and is prepared to help him catch up in Latin, French and the things he never did in primary. Plus one has the support and input of the Prep Head. Good or bad bad bad idea?

SAHDthatsall Fri 20-May-16 15:14:24

Yes I would. That was always our ultimate back up plan and I have known it work well for others.

GinandJag Fri 20-May-16 16:53:20

My DS1 joined a prep school in Year 7 and he flourished.

You need to know what your 13+ options are and the pre-testing they have. DS's senior school protested in the January of Year 7 which was fine. The other obvious senior school pre-tested in Year 6 so we missed the boat for that (we were living abroad at the time). Most senior schools are fine if they don't sit a Latin paper. Some may require higher level French. My DS had no languages but picked up French very quickly and did the Higher paper no problem (and then his GCSE in Year 10).

The Head or Director of Studies at the prep school will explain everything about your local senior schools.

dontbutme Sat 21-May-16 14:37:54

Very helpful thanks. GInandJag, what about friendship groups - I have friends telling me Im crazy to put him in an environment where everyone already has friends, vs. going to a secondary where everyone will be new in the same year. Was it an issue for your DS to break into existing friendship groups?

AnotherNewt Sat 21-May-16 14:42:39

It's a good idea if:

a) the prep school usually has at least a few joiners at that point

and more crucially

b) there are secondaries around who have not already made their conditional offers (or are known to be receptive to considering post-deadline applicants even when there is no exceptional reason)


c) there are a range of competitive entry 13+ schools in your area.

GinandJag Sat 21-May-16 16:07:16

There were a handful of new boys, but DS didn't particularly make friends with them. He made friends with the other boys who were good at football.

The other mums were good too - having the whole class over for a sleepover at the exeat.

Once the girls leave at the end of Year 6, there is a completely different dynamic.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Sat 21-May-16 16:10:21

Don't worry about the friendship issue. At my DSes prep school, they had a few boys coming in for Year 7 and 8, absolutely not a problem, they were all made welcome and fitted in.

happygardening Sat 21-May-16 16:17:08

A handful joined DS's prep in yr 7 (2 from the state sector) I think the boys were pleased to have some new blood bought into the group. One of the boys who joined was the only one DS2 had a vague interest in keeping in touch with once they left at the end of yr 8 (not that he actually did).
If you'll consider boarding there are lots of options open to him for 13+ entry and with varying CE requirements so a good prep will not only advise you on where to consider, but enable him to catch up and prepare him well. Even the most selective and sought after will not require Latin if there's a very good reason for your DS not doing it.
Good luck.

bojorojo Sun 22-May-16 13:11:57

It is fairly common for childrento join at 11 and try for other schools at 13. Children are usually very inclusive and making friends will not be a problem in my view. Also, my children went to senior schools at 11 where they knew no-one. This is just the same. Most of the senior schools I know only required Latin if you took the scholarship papers. At my DD's prep, only the scholarship group did Latin so not important for everyone and if he did not get into the selective schools at 11 he is probably not scholarship steam anyway. He will just need to catch up on French. It may well be that his other subjects are fine if you do not aim too high. I would advocate doing sport, music or other extra curricular so the senior schools see him as a good all-round candidate with something to offer the school. Take advice on what might be appropriate from the prep school. Going this route opens up lots of possibilities at 13 so it is definitely a good idea.

Cleo1303 Sun 22-May-16 15:29:41

I think it's a very good idea. One of DD's friends at her prep school didn't get any offers at 11+ so has done just that. Also, some of her other friends moved at the end of Year 5 because their parents wanted 13+ and not 11+. Most of those children joined the same prep which takes children from 3 and had no problems making friends. There are quite a few children changing around in prep schools Years 5-7 and I'm sure he'll settle in well.

BeauGlacons Sun 22-May-16 15:40:43

Not a problem and know lots of parents who have done it but I think you have to realise that the vacancies at Y7 become available because the prep children are lea in for the selective state schools your ds hasn't quite met the bar for. Others will have left for the very selective day schools (in London at least who have an intake at 11).

Is this the time to have a little think about what would nest suit your boy at 13 and possibly finding a school where he will be happy and fulfil his personal potential.

My youngest is in 6th form now. If you are SW London or Surrey pm me. But broadly yes, go for it - your other option isn't really a runner is it? Unless fees will be an issue and you will have to compromise.

happygardening Sun 22-May-16 15:51:50

bojorojo IME a 13+ schools (admittedly the super selectives) are happy for a child not sit Latin at CE if there's a good reason for it, e.g. Latin not offered at the prep which primarily applies to those at preps in Asia or having been in the state sector and this not done any/enough Latin. OP you need to check with the schools you're interested in. I think at CE there are at least two if not three levels for Latin I would have though level 1 was doable with two years preparation.

dontbutme Sun 22-May-16 15:59:45

Thanks so much to all - this has been very informative. So so different from the State sector. (and if I new about the influence Prep heads have I may have put him in Prep from the start. Not being British this has all been revealed to me over the years...)

Yes indeed BeauGlacons a few boys left for the selective day schools (that my son didn't get into) but the Head seemed quite unfazed and thought there would be enough places for him to go to at 13+. I know Heads cannot guarantee a place at a particular school, but are they really that well connected that they can guarantee a place somewhere - i.e. my son won't be left without anything at 13+, right?

We don't want boarding and are in North London so Surrey not an option. Any suggestions of good all-rounder schools?

AppleSetsSail Sun 22-May-16 16:34:20

There's a huge amount of movement between years 6 post-rejection and the end of year 8. The majority of the boys at my sons' prep gain entry to super-selectives by way of unofficial channels (including mine).

There is huge movement around year 6 - he'll fit right in.

The schools will give a wide berth re: Latin. PM me if you'd like our amazing Skype-based Latin tutor.

dontbutme Sun 22-May-16 17:23:22

AppleSetsSail, please can you elaborate a little on 'unofficial channels'? And will def pm u for the Latin help. Thanks.

AppleSetsSail Sun 22-May-16 17:25:05

Not by passing the 11+ but rather the prep staying in touch with the secondaries, letting them know about their promising late bloomers.

dontbutme Sun 22-May-16 17:40:11

Thanks. All very helpful.

GinandJag Sun 22-May-16 18:47:01

My DS didn't do Latin, as he entered the system in Year 7. He went to a demanding senior school, ie required higher level French.

teta Mon 23-May-16 09:01:17

Yes,do it.I did the same this year.Ds1 has very quickly made friends.If you're child is top of his state school he should be perfectly capable of doing very well in Common Entrance.It was a shock at first though,for ds1 .Homework every night - up to 3 subjects and nearly always due in the following day.Including subjects they didn't really cover in the junior school such as Rs,Geography ,Science in a proper lab. and French.

originalmavis Mon 23-May-16 09:03:15

DS did his pre-entry exams and interviews for 13+ in year 6, so check your dates!

originalmavis Mon 23-May-16 09:04:29

For latin look at the Cambridge resources. I find home ed sites have very good worksheets too.

dontbutme Mon 23-May-16 11:20:56

Yes teta, sounds familiar. very little homework for the last couple of weeks so will be a big shock, but also, i think he would like it. What about prepping for CE? One mom was saying her son is so fed-up with just doing papers at school in Year 8, little actual learning going on. Is this true of all schools?

happygardening Mon 23-May-16 12:49:17

It is inevitable that much of year 8 will devoted to CE practice just the same as much of yr 11 will be devoted to (I)GSCE practice in most schools in both sectors. But a good prep should also have sufficient other activities to slight offset this. I can't comment on London schools but quite a few boarding 13+ schools are not pre testing in yr 6/7. My suggestion before you commit yourself to sending your DS to a prep have a meeting with the head, and discuss what options are open for you for 13+ entry. If it's a good reputable prep they will know who pre test and who doesn't, what the CE pass mark is and also how difficult it is to get in various schools (you've definitely missed the boat for some of the super selective big name boarding schools) and what they're looking for then you can decide if you like the possible option and whether or not to choose this route.

teta Mon 23-May-16 12:57:44

The whole of year 7 and 8 is about prepping for Common Entrance.Saying that,the coursework is very similar to that of a traditional grammar school.Yes,it would be hard to get in the Scholarship group as these are normally examined before Christmas next year ( in my area ).There wouldn't be enough time for you to get up to speed.
My ds's school tries to finish the syllabus early and then spends lots of time practising past papers.The actual common entrance exam is in May next year for us.Beware If you do decide to go ahead the level of work for Common Entrance has been much harder for ds than his twin sister ( academic scholarship and one of the bright ones in a state school)in an academically selective school.So it's by no means an easy option.It would be helpful for you to practice French/Latin in the holidays.Also maybe summer holiday Cricket/Tennis if you would like your DS in teams.

originalmavis Mon 23-May-16 13:28:34

Remember it's not all just academics. They want a 'rounded' child with outside interests and hobbies.

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