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Where to start with prepping 5 yr old for grammar/private school entrance exam

(73 Posts)
crystalgall Sun 05-Mar-17 19:03:36

DS is 5 and in reception.

I know nothing really about how the entrance exams work.

I know they do an 11+ and that's probably about it.

Where do I start? What do I need to be doing?

DS is keen and enthusiastic about school, loves reading. I have no idea if he has what it takes for the exams but figured I should think about where to start from now and give him a chance.

Any help and advice appreciated!

Iamastonished Sun 05-Mar-17 19:04:50

Nothing for several years. He is 5.

BernieKosar Sun 05-Mar-17 19:06:53

Noooo. Just let him be 5.

LIZS Sun 05-Mar-17 19:08:44

You should be to think aboute this around year 4. Until then relax and let him discover and be curious. Early reading has little bearing long term.

lovelyredwine Sun 05-Mar-17 19:14:01

My mum is a retired teacher - she taught at a private primary school so they did lots of exam prep for Grammar and private secondary schools.

She has said that we will need to do verbal and non-verbal reasoning (I think?!) with our dd1 (6 yrs old) on preparation for Grammar school exam, but not until she is at least 8 or 9. I would just let him be and enjoy school at the moment though; he needs to have fun being a kid for as long as possible.

ZilphasHatpin Sun 05-Mar-17 19:16:10

DS is keen and enthusiastic about school

And you find this an undesirable trait so hope to kill it off?

angeldiver Sun 05-Mar-17 19:19:28

We looked at 11+ material in the summer holiday prior to the September test.
That was sufficient to pass.

I know of others who tutored from yr5 onwards, either way, you have some years yet. Relax!

Fruitboxjury Sun 05-Mar-17 19:27:00

When are you aiming to move him? You have several options, you could move at Y3 so he's prepared for exams in school. At 11 there's the 11+ which is becoming more common and there's also now pre-testing for common entrance at 13.

What's his school like, what's the ofsted rating and do they have many children going on to private and grammar schools? If it's a good school and this isn't an unusual move then that's reassuring as you really don't need to worry until a bit later. It also nwans you can talk to the school directly.

My dc are only little but are in the private school system already, there's so much pressure on kids from such a young age that the longer you can shield ds from this the better. That said, I would probably do some research on ks targets and make sure he's hitting them. Any concerns then you're well prepared to discuss with school before any issues crop up.

Good luck

toomuchtvandsocialmedia Sun 05-Mar-17 19:34:15

I would say a regular bedtime story (with good quality picture books) to try and instil a love of language and books.

Matilda1981 Sun 05-Mar-17 19:39:41

He's 5!! No need to do anything if he's bright enough he'll pass an 11 plus with no prep!

amidawsh Sun 05-Mar-17 19:39:44

reception/yr1: read read read (to him, with him)
yr2: help him learn to tell the time
yr3, yr4: times tables. know them inside and out by the end of yr4
yr 5: begin to think about secondary schools.

midcenturymodern Sun 05-Mar-17 19:51:53

I would say towards the end of Y5/summer holidays before Y6. They need to learn about the structure of the exam and how to answer those type of questions, which shouldn't take a massive amount of work. If a child is not 'bright' enough for grammar then you can't make them cleverer with years of tutoring but you can get a borderline child a pass by getting them used to the type of questions they will be asked and how to answer in a timely manner.
I wouldn't want to send a child into an exam with no prep at all, no matter how bright they are, even if the prep was going through a few questions on an old 11+ paper. It's really not nice being herded into an exam hall in a big school surrounded by strangers in their prep school uniforms and be faced with weird questions that everyone else has been practicing beforehand (bitter experience)

Wimbles101 Sun 05-Mar-17 20:29:59

Don't worry about exams at 5. Seriously I've just gone through the whole thing so I'm not sure what kind of genius starts exam practice in the holidays before exams in Year 6 - back in the real world I'd say keep an eye and in Year 3 make sure he's on top of his maths and English - read read read and he knows his times tables and basic maths inside out - once he's there with that the tricker stuff will fall into place ;)

llhj Sun 05-Mar-17 20:37:35

One hour per day starting from tomorrow should do it.

TeenAndTween Sun 05-Mar-17 20:44:52

You move to Hampshire where we have good comprehensive schools so you won't need to worry about either grammar schools or private schools. smile

Seriously - revisit when in Juniors.

EnormousTiger Sun 05-Mar-17 21:01:18

Ah, I assumed you were asking about selective private primary school at 4+ entry which our children had! If you've got until 11+ no need to rush. You might like to look at what schools children come from who go to the schools you want him to go to. Also make sure he learns his tables and spellings very well in due course.

angeldiver Sun 05-Mar-17 21:15:40

@Wimbles101 if your thinly veiled comment was aimed at me, I don't think my child is a genius.
We were somewhat caught out as elder dd goes to a great high school but being in year 11, the sibling rule does not apply. We moved out of the GPA and the schools local to us are dire.
We only had the summer prior to the 11+ to prepare, so that's what we did.
I was surprised that many schools in catchment run 11+ classes throughout year 5.
With 30 places reserved for the highest scoring out of catchment, my dd did enough to get in. I am kind of glad she didn't spend the whole of year 5 crammingsmile.

crystalgall Sun 05-Mar-17 21:30:21

Ok. Thanks for the comments.

No need for the snarky ones. I honestly don't know what is the norm to be honest.

He's my first child, we live in inner London. Both me and his dad are from a modest background with no experience of grammar or private.

Sounds like I can wait a while. He loves books and we read every day.

His school is recently outstanding and very mixed culturally (we are British Asian) but in an area where not many children would be going to a grammar or private.

Thanks for advice.

Notcontent Sun 05-Mar-17 21:46:16

If you are in inner London, then I certainly wouldn't wait until the summer before the exams! If you are looking at 11+ for private and/or state selectives then I would start planning your strategy in year 4.

ohforfoxsake Sun 05-Mar-17 22:01:51

Reading and times tables. That's it. Both very important for school regardless of grammar exams.

After Christmas in Year 5 start some practice papers, plug any gaps on knowledge, maybe take a mock exam in the summer before exam. It's about familiarising them with the exam so they know what they're doing.

Don't get stressed. Don't start thinking about it now. smile

Wimbles101 Mon 06-Mar-17 00:31:16

Angel diver that's great but it's pretty unusual so is not advice I would necessarily pass on.
Realistic is earlier - certainly where we live not even the naturally brightest kid got in with proper prep in yr 5 at least - those who took a more laissez faire approach were pretty much left without a place.

And btw good for you OP for caring about your kid's education.

Wimbles101 Mon 06-Mar-17 00:32:11

Notcontent - thanks and yes agree early in Year 5/end of yr 4

Ta1kinPeace Mon 06-Mar-17 07:46:30

Another vote for move to an area with non selective schools.
Spend the money you save on tutoring and fees to get to work.

CruCru Mon 06-Mar-17 08:16:29


If your plan is to start tutoring at the start of year 5 then it is worth contacting tutors a couple of years beforehand to book your slot (the most desirable tutors get booked up, some years in advance).

crazycrofter Mon 06-Mar-17 08:50:03

We started in the summer before the exams with both our children. In Birmingham we have a number of grammar schools, some of which are harder to get into than others. However I guess they all require at least top 10% of the ability range. My daughter had the choice of two grammar schools (out of a potential 4) and a bursary at the independent King Edwards High. My son only scored highly enough for one grammar school but we're very pleased with that option.

I think the only real benefit of starting earlier would have been to cram more vocabulary. The non-verbal reasoning only really needs a couple of months practice. The Maths and comprehension is just about making sure they have the basics covered and they can work at speed.

I think our children's scores could have been slightly higher with a year of cramming vocab. But the whole process was stressful enough as it was so I'm glad it didn't start even earlier!

I guess you need to look at how competitive the schools are and how good your kids' teachers are/where their strengths lie.

You can't really know this until year 4 at the earliest. Kids develop unevenly anyway. My daughter was always a high achiever from reception onwards. My son got a level 3 in maths at KS1 but only level 2 in literacy- however he improved in juniors with a bit more maturity (he's an August born). Don't worry for a few years yet!

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