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Late private secondary school application (scotland)

(14 Posts)
fullofcrumble Sat 21-Jan-17 10:40:35

Hello there!

I'm just looking for some advice here and wondered if anyone could help! DS1 (11) is due to start secondary school in August. We've been slightly worried about the local school as it is absolutely the worst in the county. He's at the stage where things could go either way for him. This last year his work has started to go downhill a bit. He has a hard time from other kids and is sometimes distracted by the troublesome boys. He's bright and keen but I don't think he's going to reach his full potential at the local academy. We were accepting of it but then literally in the last 24 hours it's become a reality that we could send him to a private school in our nearest city.

The only problem we have is that the entry exams turn out to be goingbon today! I've emailed them explaining that it's all very 11th hour and enquired if there are any spaces. Is it likely that they will firmly say no way?

Also the next thing, if they do say there is a space, is the entrance exam itself. I know he's a bright boy, he was in top group for maths for a long time until recently. In the last 6 months he's started to slip. I think mainly because he's just fed up with the school now. The more unpleasant kids giving him a hard time are constantly on him and he's easily distracted. It's a small school (one class per year) so he has had help when needed, but I've no idea how his level compares to that of one who is fully prepared to sit an entrance exam right now! I suspect he possibly wouldn't make it if the private school said "please come and sit a test next week".

It's typical that it's all very last minute and it is really not something that has ever crossed my mind, but does anyone have experience of this? Can anyone advise me of how to know if he's in with a chance of being prepared at such a late stage if the offer arises? He seems to be middle and top for most subjects but he's not fully outstanding and a child genius!!

AnotherNewt Sat 21-Jan-17 10:47:15

It's difficult to predict, because it's up to the school.

It will also depend on whether they have plenty of applicants, because although schools are generally welcoming for those who join the lists late when there is good reason (house move or other change in circumstances), they may not be if it's just that it never occurred to yin before now (not sure of dates for secondary placement requests, but I think they would reasonably expect people unhappy with catchment to have realised they want to make applications by then).

That said, if they have an average or low number of candidates, they may yet register him for the 'late sit' date.

So worth asking, because the worst they can do is say 'no', and they won't hold it against you if you try again if they have a 13+ entry.

Is he used to sitting exams, and does the the school publish sample papers in their website?

fullofcrumble Sat 21-Jan-17 10:59:08

Thanks for your reply!

It's only never occurred to us due to financial reasons, but now that's suddenly changed. He's never sat an exam. He's done a few tests at school, but nothing quite like the 11+ exists up here in Scotland. Their website says that they don't supply past papers as they run through the tests before they sit them. They also say that preparation isn't required, but this makes me feel unprepared!

AgainReally Sat 21-Jan-17 11:04:19

Entry tests for secondary schools are all done but as offers don't go out till February if they can fit you in for a test you should be okay. Depends on the school how many places there are etc. There is quite often a lot of movement before august and a lot of people sit for multiple schools.

AgainReally Sat 21-Jan-17 11:05:39

Most kids enjoy the entry tests, they test reasoning and potential as well as current standards.

fullofcrumble Sat 21-Jan-17 11:12:46

So if they saw he struggled with maths but was great at English then they wouldn't necessarily reject him? Because the other thing I really do not want to risk is having his confidence knocked at this stage. He was upset enough at being taken down a maths group!

AgainReally Sat 21-Jan-17 13:06:24

It really depends on all the entrants and the number of places. Its not so much a line of ability if that makes sense.

When's his birthday?

fullofcrumble Sat 21-Jan-17 13:18:04

He's a September birthday. (Our year cut off here is March)

Lucked Sat 21-Jan-17 13:29:39

I had a colleague move his son in similar circumstances, they went up as a family and parents were very honest about the situation. Admissions person had some long chats with the son and they admitted him without a test. This obviously isn't the normal route but they can be flexible if there are spaces (which is more common in the current financial climate)

When I moved mid term from Glasgow to Edinburgh I had to sit exams on my own but also chatted a lot to a teacher about my work.

AgainReally Sat 21-Jan-17 21:04:31

I was wondering about the birthday because ime, in a lot of Scottish private school, there are very few kids, particularly boys with birthdays in and after November in their "proper" year group.

September - less likely to defer a year but not unheard of depending on ability.

motherstongue Sun 22-Jan-17 22:00:35

Fullof, are we talking about Edinburgh day schools here?

If you are then yes the entrance exams are past but as PP said the results do not come out until Feb. In execeptionl circumstances they will allow a late application, in my experience, but once the offer letters go out and acceptances come in your chances of a place are almost non-existent. Most run a quite lengthy waiting list so they can fill their places with relative ease.

If it is Edinburgh, and you can afford it, you could look at Merchiston and Fettes. These are primarily boarding schools but have a large quota of day pupils. They have a main intake at 11 then again at 13 and IMHO are more likely to be more accommodating than the large day schools.

With regards the tests, the day schools are competitive entry. They will offer the top cohort then work down the list if they have spaces available due to some families rejecting, for whatever reason. The tests are set to have a few challenging aspects but they are not set up for most to fail. If he gets the opportunity he just needs to try his best, you can't ask for more than that! The best of luck to your DS.

fullofcrumble Mon 23-Jan-17 08:48:11

Hi Motherstongue! No, it's not central belt located, but it's the most sought after one where it is so although I don't know for sure, I do suspect it's very competitive to get in.

Hopefully I'll hear back from then this week. I do feel bad that we may have missed our chance for him and we won't make the mistake again with our other kids.

The local school is the bottom of the table. It's a notoriously horrendous school (we are talking drugs and weapons here) , and the only other school (out of zone) near to us will be accepting just 11 students for their new first year. (And just in his class alone from his school there are 15 students who have applied to go there, which is almost the entire year group.!!)

fullofcrumble Mon 23-Jan-17 13:41:34

Great news - having spoken with the school this morning his application has been accepted! First hurdle over. Now he has to sit the entry test which will only make me nervous, because I hate tests.( biscuit to self)

motherstongue Mon 23-Jan-17 13:54:40

So pleased for you and your DS. I hope all goes well.

If you/he wants to feel productive you could always get some verbal and non-verbal reasoning books for him to try as they have timed exercises in them which would give him a feel for being in a timed exam situation for 11+, however, not knowing the school I don't know what their exam entails and the last thing you want is to scare him before he even gets there, lol.

Good Luck

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