Tutoring for St Paul's and CLSB school Admissions(43 Posts)
I’m a regular on mn but have name changed for this.
Ds very bright , sporty and I am hoping he will sit exams for St. Paul’s, and CLSB and maybe one other. I know they are both very difficult to get into and we would also be applying for bursary: / scholarship.
There are a few children his class also applying for these schools - however they are being tutored since yr4 - in class my son is top ability groups and in tests will get usually 80-90% for English and 90_100% for maths. Similar to to these. I know that tutoring can make. Difference - I help my son using bond books at home- but I couldn’t afford a tutor.
Do you think I am setting him up to fail and that the already clever children being tutored will have an advantage - his teacher says he won’t be disadvantaged if I am doing bond books at home . I am thinking that they will all get a place in a school and he wouldn’t. As my help obviously wouldn’t be as good as tutor. Our local state school is gradually failing and I know he wouldn’t be happy there but that is his realistic only other option -
Is your DS at a prep, and if not does the teacher who commented have direct and recent experience of entry to those two schools?
You need to check what past papers or other info the schools provide online and go through them with your child
Being in the top ability group is not enough - is he top of that group?
What about other state school options?
Why do you say this is the only realistic option?
Fact is that if he needs a bursary, you should also think about other state schools and less competitive independent schools because he will need to do exceedingly well to gain entrance and get a bursary.
Have you looked into grammars and other state selective schools? What about other independent schools where the standard might be lower?
I do believe it is possible to tutor for entrance exams looking at past papers but don't forget the English comprehension and essays which you won't find in Bond books.
"Why do you say this is the only realistic option?"
From the day school's OP has mentioned by name, she must be in London, and there are plenty of areas where there is only one state secondary you can be sure of getting an offer from. For some people it's a total black hole and they receive no offer at all on offers day (though a place will be found somewhere by September)
It might be worth adding as a third private school choice one of the schools that is known for generous financial assistance.
@AnotherNewt - I am in London so know that to be true for an average child but this OP is targeting the most selective independents. That suggests that the boy has a chance of getting into QE Boys, Tiffin, Latymer, Wilson's, Essex grammars etc.
(delete as appropriate based on where they live). At least some of these have open distance criteria.
I guess I'd also be wary of targeting schools where the facilities and opportunities are so amazing, only for the boy to be disappointed if he scored well enough to get in but not to get a bursary.
I thought when OP said that it was the only realistic other option, she was referring specifically to state schools (as superselective grammars might need to be deleted on grounds of journey) though of course there is Graveney via the Wandsworth test (again depending on journey).
And widening the choice of private school - OP said she might add a third - is something I've already recommended, though on the basis of availability/size of bursaries (if this is key point) rather than perceptions of how selective (rather more subjective/changeable)
Thank you for your help so far
I think I will look for schools that are less selective - We are in a state school at the moment
Could anybody recommend more schools within 30-40 min travelling distance of Hammersmith / nottinghill / Kensington - preferably North of the river. He is an all rounder.
I agree with Newt. You have selected two of the most academic independent schools, some distance from each other. If you are unhappy with your state options, and we have direct experience of not being allocated a place, even to the nearest, and challenged, school, you should be looking at a bigger range. People can be quite snooty about the "best" school forgetting that a number of London private schools do very well in a National context, even those who are not first choice for a very academic child.
I would have a good look at all the Independent schools close to you. To get CLSB or SPS you need to be very good indeed, and even more so if you need a bursary. Tutoring would only take you so far. Unlike selective state schools, It is not first past the post and schools will be looking for raw intelligence and curiosity. Chances of a bursary may be better somewhere where your DS will be close to the top of the year group.
Those schools will be able to tell a mile off if a child has been tutored, so if he evidently hasn’t been, and still performs well in the exam, he could get a place.
He will need to perform well at interview. Can you track down someone who can help with that? If he can come across well, talk at ease and with confidence about books, things that interest him, current affairs (just to show an awareness of news events) that will stand him in good stead.
Do you know how many bursary places they typically offer?
Latymer Upper. Kingston Grammar. Emmanuel. Ibstock Place. Harrodian. Hampton Boys. University College School.
And if you are trying St Paul's then why not Westminster?
Do you definitely want single-sex?
And what year of entry?
As he's in a state school, I don't think you can rely on high exam scores as an indicator (sorry) as they simply won't be aligned. One thing to try would be buying a 'diagnostic' session with a tutor experienced in entry to at least one of the schools and see what they recommend.
Emanuel is known for the number of bursaries/scholarships it awards.
But you'd need to be OK with co-ed, and either already registered or not seeking entry before 2019. Short walk from Clapham Junction, so overground from Shepherd's Bush would make it a reasonable journey.
Another vote for Latymer Upper - I get the impression that they are more generous than most with bursaries.
Ibstock isn't terribly easy to reach by public transport, but Harrodian should work (as St Paul's is on your list already). Kingston might be just too far away.
I agree that Latymer Upper could be a very good choice.
Long shot/wildcard: the Foundation Coach service stretches as far as Bayswater and Fulham. If either of those works from where you live, then don't rule out Dulwich College (which can offer large bursaries)
Also for private schools you might look at Galore Parks "So you really want to learn..." maths and english text books which follow the CE syllabus and are partly designed for home teaching.
You may find there are gaps between what he is doing in school and what is expected in exams.
I get the feeling OP doesn't know much about the independent schooling system or admissions. The fact she named 2 schools suggested knowledge, but perhaps these were just plucked as being well known and OP hadn't realised how very competitive they are esp for bursary and scholarship.
Yes OP needs to look at a wider range of schools and gather more info - MN is good for getting a general feel but once a researched short list has been drawn up, visits will be needed. The research should also be into sats schools - good Comps and grammars too -maybe more realistic. Op says she can't afford a tutor - fine, but does she realise bursaries are very rarely 100% and a sizeable amount of fees can still be due - is that viable. If not, she needs to think carefully about applying.
And this can be determined by gathering more info about DS and his abilities so getting a stronger sense of what is realistic. I would askmto speak to the teacher or Head off his school to get an honest view on just how clever he is. They may not be experts on selective schools but they will know if he is slightly above average or super super bright. Op needs to ask for real honesty and explain she needs to work out if going for something very competitive is viable. Another possibility too would be get a tutor or ed psych to do a one off assessment of ability.
So first get info about the boy and then more info about schools.
Thanks everyone - you have all been really helpful
Wombat over the years I have been looking into the IS including boarding and visited a few soI have some knowledge and thought I knew but clearly I need to do more research.
I did ask head -who has taught ds and knows his potential well and she said she thought he would fit in well in the IS I mentioned but did say they were hard to get in.
I may ask more directly for an honest opinion.
We are not anywhere near a grammar and I wouldn’t be so anxious if we had a chance of a good state school from where we live. Thanks again
Yes, so press for an honest opinion, making clear you are willing to hear the truth.
Too often schools find parents ask but don't want to hear the truth,so make vague noises which could be taken to mean lots of things, to avoid upset. If you are direct and explain you don't want to waste your and his time on things which are unrealistic, then I think they will be more precise.
- you could ask what his KS1 SATs indicate
- what he is on track for with KS2
- what percentile the school would place him in - not just in the school cohort, but nationally
For the schools you mention, the school need to be telling you that DS is extremely able, one of the brightest they have seen in recent years, is in the top 10% as an absolute minimum, is exceeding age related expectations by a considerable amount. Simply being told he is on the top table or gets 80% in tests isn't precise enough or an indicator that he is more than a commonly bright boy. And that's what you want to know isn't it - is he fairly bright, is he very bright, is he exceptional.
Of course there will be schools for all of the above. However the schools you name want the exceptional or at least the very bright. And they will only award scholarships and bursaries to those who are the best. That's a very small number of kids. It will be great if your DS is in that category. And if he isn't, there will be other schools to suit him....but the reality is that bursaries and scholarships tend to be given to those at the top of the pile.
Best of luck working through it all.
Not sure about St.Paul's but I'm aware that CLSB have a very good bursary scheme with around 1/3 of pupils on some kind of bursary. I would look into that although I'm aware that, in my current school, this involves quite a thorough process to see if you meet the criteria. Good luck .
Bond isn't enough to prepare for these schools in my opinion. Your son will need to be able to do old sats levels 6 maths/English and that includes wordy maths problems and creative writing in a tight timescale. A tutor can assess where your child sits within the cohort of other very bright children who sit for these tests. To be considered for a bursary your ds needs to be operating at scholarship level across the board and possibly have something else to offer the school too. Even then the bursary may not be enough.
DS attempted a similar school at 7+ from a state primary and the competition was extremely fierce. I "regret" not tutoring him for this particular exam as he was simply so disadvantaged compared to children from Preps that are geared for these independent schools and put children through every year. But we weren't really determined to get in IYSWIM. If your heart is set on it please get as much information and help as possible.
I teach year 6 at a (outstanding) state primary and we generally get one boy into St Paul's Juniors at 11+ each year. Highest ever was 3 out of 60.
The boys have always been the very top of the school, working about 2 to 3 years above the average. In addition, they have all been 'sparky' - very intellectually curious and often with a particular passion - history, classics, music, fantasy fiction...
St Paul's is working hard to become 'needs blind' - so if your son is right at the top of the ability range and you are not well off, they can offer a 110% bursary - not just the fees but also money for uniform, text books + school trips.
Our school has also sent boys and girls to Latymer Upper with a similar bursary.
OP - if you're in Hammersmith, why are you not thinking of Latymer Upper? I think it has the strongest bursary programme of selective indies and a high state school entry because it's intake is at 11 plus, not 13 plus. There are 140 places at 11 plus (with another 40 or so coming up from Latymer Prep). It's co-ed though, of course. There are about 1,200 applicants a year though, so make no mistake it is fiercely competitive. They interview about 400-500 for the 140 or so places and so DC do need to come across well in the interview too.
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