State/independent secondary schools in London - please calm me down(10 Posts)
Dd goes to a nice state primary. She is in year 5 and I am starting to panic about secondary schools. Where we live, all the secondary schools closest to us (which we would likely get) are not great - they sound ok on paper but results are not great.
My dd is doing very well at school at the moment, but I don't think she is the type who will do well anywhere - I think she needs to be pushed. If I don't want her to go to one of the schools nearest to us, then our only option is to try for a couple of state super -selectives outside of our borough or some independent schools - but even the independent schools are hard to get into. I just worry that even though dd is is doing extremely well at her state primary, she will not do well enough in any exams she sits. We are doing the usual preparations etc but I am just so stressed about it.
Where in London are you? My advice is to visit all the options on normal working days and get a feel for them. Look at the stats on how well the middle and high achievers attain, and the overall value added scores. Visit the independents and look them up. If you opt for grammar or selective independents they will have past papers on their websites that you can give your DD to try. Many opt for a tutor to work on familiarisation and speed, tutors book up early so get on waiting list now if you haven't already). A good tutor will advise whether your child is likely to pass and which schools are best suited to them academically. There is a scary forum called 11 plus forum that you can use to help you through the process, including tips if you tutor your child yourself. Of course if you are sitting grammars then you will need to register via the local authorities for each one (some will admit based on attainment/position in the test and catchment, some (normally super selective) by just the former). I would try and keep calm at least outwardly as children perform better (and cope better with rejection) if the process is low key.
Don't just look at the headline figures of your local schools. Look at how the high achievers did. (If she is a high achiever. Which means level 5 in Y6 SATs)
All of this is on the dcsf league tables.
Odds are you'll find well over 90% of high achievers did well. So if your DDs a high achiever then odds are she'll too do well.
I think you should be looking for a tutor now (depending on where you live of course) if you want to try for a super-selective grammar or independent school. Tiffin Grammar in Kingston, for example, has a preliminary paper in November and those who pass that one move on to a second test.
The independents start the 11+ exams in January, but have interviews/workshops, etc., any time from September onwards.
Registration for some of the state grammars is open now so do check so you don't miss out. Try the Elevenplusexams forum which has a lot of information on there. DD did tests for our borough's superselective, the two neighbouring regions plus an Independent - the key www she wanted to do it and we weren't pushing her.
11+ is stressy, no doubt about that.
But whatever you feel inside, you need to be totally calm/matter-of-fact to DD, perhaps putting it all in terms of 'we'll try some of these exams to see if it increases our number of choices. I'm not sure which school might be best'.
State 11+ exams are earlier than they used to be (so that people have their scores before filling in the application form with their preference list).
Independent schools all have their own timetables, so you need to check with each possible one. Typically it's register by about November for 11+ (some have earlier deadlines, so check now), exam Jan/Feb, offers March. Interviews and assessments for scholarships might be either before or after the exams. There are often past papers on school websites, or available to pick up from open days.
Making sure your DD has good exam technique, and is familiar with a range of styles of question, would be a useful thing to work on (either yourself if you can, or with a tutor).
Also, if you google 11+ papers you will be able to get them from a number of schools. Dulwich College gives the answers too so you don't have to do the whole exam yourself in order to mark it, and I expect some other schools do too.
Manchester grammar school has past papers on their site and answer sheets too. All the usual bond papers and ten minute papers are good too.
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