Finding the right 'level' of private secondary school.(23 Posts)
So DD is Y5 at prep school. School from experience won't be helpful in finding a school for Y7 (they will want her to stay and leave at 13).
We went through this with DS and it was obvious that he was good at maths and bad at organising himself and what not, and we were able to find an 'academic' school that seemed suitable.
Now for DD we are a bit confused, I suspect she doesn't want/wouldn't get into a 'top 50 in the country' type school, but I'm just wondering how to find the right level, as we don't have much to go on....
Is there an online test somewhere, or?
Is there an experienced tutor locally who could assess her and give an honest view on her strengths and weaknesses?
In my opinion, the tutors are able to predict possible outcomes well in the independent sector (but not state super-selectives where the numbers are huge).
I did this recently with my DC and found it enormously helpful. I asked lots of probing qs on why the tutor thought my child was a "top 50 type of school" kid, just to make sure this wasn't a sales pitch!
Do you not know where she "sits" in her prep school regarding ability in her year group? I was always pretty much aware of where my DDs were. There are loads of schools from 50 - 250 which would suit. Near me is a very popular girls' senior school and that is rarely in the top 200. It is a brilliant school though. It really brings out the best in the pupils. Where do you Iive? Can we suggest any schools?
I think she is in bottom set of everything, but at the bottom of that set, IYSWIM. The teachers never have much to say about her, unlike her brother. Everything is 'fine'. She is a July child, if that makes a difference.
I think she did a CAT test thing, probably around 105 -110 range? I don't really remember.
We were looking at schools in Guildford/Ascot/Chertsey area.
Licensed Victuallers good for that sort of child I would have thought. They do well with all comers at GCSE, A level not so much.
Heathfield at Ascot takes day girls and you don't need to be bright to go there. LV not brilliant in my view. Mine was an August birthday - I think they catch up! As you are paying, why can't the prep school advise? You are paying for this!
Where are the other girls in her set likely to go?
Does your current school do CAT testing? You could ask for the results of these, which you are entitled to. Some secondary schools will give you an idea of minimum CAT scores expected. I'm not sure but you might be able to get CAT tests at home otherwise.
Also, what is dd good at/interested in? Academics/games/drama/etc. Look for a school with good facilities in the relevant area.
Also, most school do pre tests in year 6 for year 9 entry anyway so your current school should help you to start looking sooner rather than later
Sorry I wrote my reply earlier but pressed post just now without seeing the other replies. But my advice about pre tests in year 6 still stands
why don't you want her to stay until 13? In your position I would apply to a range of schools that I like after visiting and hope for the best. You would also need a tutor as your school will not prepare for the 11+. Do girls also have to do pre tests in year 6 for the 13+? Your prep school will then be obliged to recommend schools.
Sorry, rather fatal error in previous post:
"I think she is in bottom set of everything, but at the bottom of that set, IYSWIM. "
I meant the TOP of that set.
I'm not that keen on LVS. She likes art, she's essentially lazy but maybe that's our fault, reasonably well organised, quite good at making friends but not pushy or stuck up compared with some of the other girls.
Most girls' schools do not pre test test in y6. They start at y7 e.g. Cheltenham Ladies, Wycombe Abbey, Downe House, Heathfield etc. although you can apply for Y9 if you wish. No girls' school pre tested for y9 entry as far as I am aware.
Established boys' and co-ed schools start at 13 so staying at the prep may be an option but if you join in Y9 in a girls' school, friendships have been made. Some Preps have very few children in y8 & 9 if most transfer at 11.
Heathfield is brilliant at Art. We found applying for Y7 easier as DDs did the school's own exams - not Heathfield by the way. Far less stress than CE at 13 and the Y8 curriculum was not stuffed full of revision. The curriculum was broader .
My DD2 was middling to bottom of middle set and bottom set for maths at her prep. We wanted boarding so had several options - we are in Bucks. If you could look at boarding there is more choice for the arty child who is less academic.
Keep her at the prep. They concentrate on them more in those final two years.
We had an online tutor for DD1 for a few months (living abroad). He did some tests, probably CATs, not sure, then after a couple of weeks of "seeing" her he gave us a brutally honest assessment and told us where she would fail to get in at 11+ (most places). It was really useful.
If you can keep her where she is until 13+ I would. My DD was the same at that age - potentially able but a bit dithery and lacking in confidence. She's really taken off in last 2 years and is up there with the best of them.
I'd try and pin the school down a bit if you definitely at least want to think about a move after Y6. Have you looked at Priorsfield (just oustside Guildford) or Farnborough Hill? I live near one of the areas you have mentioned and used to live in another of them and there is a huge choice so I'm sure you'll find something suitable.
I have daughters at both SWPS and Priors Field..... both lovely schools, very different feels to them.... both worth a look!
yes I think we will visit both of them, although neither is logistically very good for us.
Prior's Field is in the arse end of nowhere. I looked through their activities list, swimming at 7:15am with no transport, no thanks....
Spoke to Head he said girls schools not as hard to get into as boys and basically she could probably get in anywhere apart from Guildford High.
So we will take a look at St Catz, Tormead, Fanny Hill, et al
I'm glad your Head has given you some advice - they should advise, even if they go to 13. If you feel you need more help, press for it and I would be surprised if it was not forthcoming.
Are you happy with the list of girls schools given? Did you really want co-ed? a number of the boys from Lanesborough who want co-ed or who are looking for back-up options seem to be applying to Reigate Grammar - bit of a distance, but the coach service seems to make it just about doable apparently - but not sure how hard or easy to get in there or if distance wise that works for you.
Definitely yes to going and visiting the schools mentioned. If you have CAT scores, you can ask the schools if they sound in the right sort of ball park to make an application worthwhile.
And even if you keep her at the Prep, most schools now pre-test in Yr 6 and offer deferred palces for 13+. so it's hard to avoid testing until later anyway now.
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