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How to know if DS is clever enough for Canford?

(22 Posts)
Nateismine Tue 28-Nov-17 09:29:00

DS 9 is at a village primary. I'd love him to go to Canford School. He has to sit the ISEB pretest next November when he has just turned 10. Sending him to a prep school is not an option- we'd like to spend all our money on Canford!
How do I know if he is clever enough for Canford? I don't want to put him in for the tests if it is out of his league.
He is doing well at his small village primary but is not exceptional. Will his teacher be able to give me a good idea? Will he have been CAT tested at his primary? Or do we just give it a go?
I'd love to hear if anyone has any experience of the pre tests.

Ttbb Tue 28-Nov-17 09:39:28

I take it you are having him sitvthe 11+? Surely that will be an indication and then he can sotvthe 13+ with the help of a tutor if he doesn't do well the first time? You could also look at a few study guides and see how well he fares with those.

BubblesBuddy Tue 28-Nov-17 10:15:51

My DD was at a village primary school and the Head was completely indifferent to us about going to a private secondary school. How will they know what the standard is unless they reguarly send children there and they will be teaching the national curriculum, not to an independent school test? You are probably on your own on that one.

However, do be realistic about whether Canford will suit your child. I did not think they were overly choosy but I would assume your child would need to be at "expected" in all areas.

I do not think Canford is Eton though. Therefore I would not expect the standard to be out of reach but you need to find out what is in the tests and see if you can get tuition. I assume you are going for 11 plus entry not 13 plus.

My DD went into a private secondary school, which is ranked very close to Canford in the Sunday Times league tables from last Sunday, and had no problem with the tests. Neither was every girl there a genius by any means! She would not have been considered the best in her class at primary although she subsequently was offered a place at Oxford so what did her primary know?

The tests for her school were based on the national curriculum and were age appropriate. We live in an 11 plus county and she had scored highly in their test but with no external tuition. In those days the county 11 plus test was verbal reasoning only so she had no tuition in maths, english or interview skills. She just had to be herself. Therefore do not over complicate this. If you can get tuition and he will respond well to it, then do it. In my experience, however, they like well rounded children and doing sport or music is a bonus so keep up any external activities he may do. An enthisiastic child is more likely to be offered a place than one who is crammed to the limit and lost their love of learning.

Nateismine Tue 28-Nov-17 10:44:25

He'd be going for 13+ entry. He won't be sitting the 11+ exam but needs to do this new Pretest which I guess will be the same standard as 11+.
I'm happy that Canford isn't Eton.
Bubbles you sound like you know Canford. What would your reservations be?

BubblesBuddy Tue 28-Nov-17 12:15:49

No, I do not know it. We did consider it though for boarding but decided it was possibly too quiet at weekends. I thought very highly of it or I would not have considered it in the first place and I seem to remember the Good Schools Guide thought highly of it too.

My reference to Eton was that Eton is a lot more competitive to get into. I was not for a minute suggesting there was anything wrong wth Canford. Far from it.

Can you not enter him for the 11 plus exam? Where is he going to go between 11 and 13? He has to go somewhere. A prep school would prepare him for 13 plus assuming he gets into the final cut. You still should ask Canford what they propose to test. It could be they are screening out children they do not think would benefit from what they offer and it may not be that onerous. You cannot set a ridiculously high level of entry if you only get a handful of children like that applying. Schools have their place in the pecking order!

At a screening day at another girls' school, my DD solved puzzles in a group, did tests, swam (1) a length of her choice of stroke (they told me afterwards they had never had a girl before who chose butterfly stroke), chatted informally to staff, met the Head and was generally observed. If they are confident it will be Ok whatever they ask him to do.

happygardening Tue 28-Nov-17 13:02:01

I’m also not sure Canford is very selective (no criticism intended) unless they’ve significantly upped their game in the last few years. The bottom line is that most boarding schools are not oversubscribed whatever their websites claim. Have you spoken to the admission dept at the school IME most are very helpful and will give you a feel for what sort of standard their expecting. They should also be able to suggest some practice books you can purchase or someone on here will.
How are you preparing from CE if Canford do it (less are) are you moving him to a state secondary then hoping he’ll be able to sit CE in yr 8. You need to talk to Canford if you get a place as they will hopefully take into consideration that and let him off some subject e.g French and Latin.

Nateismine Tue 28-Nov-17 13:10:38

For Canford, state school pupils sit Canford's own exam rather than CE. My dilemma is knowing whether I actually need to 'prep' him for the ISEB exam next year or whether he would meet the required standard anyway without any extra input.

BubblesBuddy Tue 28-Nov-17 16:52:15

That as one of the reasons I looked at it. They did their own exam.

What are the components of the ISEB exam? This would give you knowledge about how much prep you need to do. You need to be able to compare your DS's levels with what is expected in the exam. If Canford say that a child working as "expected" will be fine, then believe them. If they want "exceeding" in all areas then I might walk away, but I bet they do not.

These days Latin is only normally required for scholarship exams. Obviously state schools have not touched it. Own school exams do not always include French either. Ours did not which was just as well as DD had not done a word of it. Honestly, they are looking for well adjusted, confident, reasonably intelligent and enthusiastic children who enjoy a broad school life. Canford will not all be about hot housed individuals. I strongly suggest you contact them.

It is almost impossible for anyone to comment because we do not know how bright your DS is. He may be middling in a very bright cohort or middling in a less stellar cohor, which may not be that bright at all. How do we know? Your primary school has the information and I would suggest he should be "expected" in nearly everything that has been covered this year. What you need to work out is if he is not up to speed in anything. His teacher could tell you that because she/he will be assessing him.

BubblesBuddy Tue 28-Nov-17 16:56:29

ISEB books and tests are available on line. See if he can do the work?

Canford's web site says the door is rarely closed! So they cannot be overly selective but they do have quite high standards for 6th form entry.

Fffion Tue 28-Nov-17 18:00:42

Canford is pretty easy to get into.

Nateismine Tue 28-Nov-17 18:22:58

Fffion-for a very bright child or for a slightly above average child.** They said that 65% of applicants get a place- do you think it could be higher than this?

Fffion Tue 28-Nov-17 18:30:30

A very average, or even slightly below should have no trouble getting in at 13+.

If they pass the protest, it’s as good as an unconditional.

Nateismine Tue 28-Nov-17 19:39:03

And to pass the pretest? My son is expected for maths, exceeding for literacy and science.

Fffion Tue 28-Nov-17 20:02:54

Those are attainments, not potential.

The best way to deal with pre-tests outside of a prep school environment is to practise on a few Bond Assessment Papers.

Nateismine Tue 28-Nov-17 20:13:13

And what scores should he be getting on the age appropriate Bond Tests? Is 80% good enough?

Fffion Wed 29-Nov-17 06:00:21

That is something only the senior school knows. It depends on competition within his cohort, for this type of schools and those higher up the pecking order.

ifonly4 Wed 29-Nov-17 11:18:12

Get a clear indication of where he's at at his present school and talk to Canford. They might even see him independently ahead of tests to get a feel of whether it's worth putting him in.

BubblesBuddy Wed 29-Nov-17 13:58:28

Generally the levels you are talking about would be ok for a school like Canford. Honestly, if he doesn’t make the cut, how happy would he have been there?

Nateismine Wed 29-Nov-17 15:11:34

True. My gut feeling is that he will get a place and it will be a good fit for him. I'm just trying to work out how much 'prep' I need to do. I would love to do none and hope innate ability wins but I'm also aware he will be competing with prep school kids who have had thousands of pounds spent on them to get to the required level.

salsamummy Wed 29-Nov-17 17:57:03

Not sure which year you are looking at for entry but I hear there are waiting lists. Fairly selective so I have heared from friends who have children there already or going in 2018.

BubblesBuddy Thu 30-Nov-17 13:58:16

As the mum of a child that went to prep school, they are not necessarily better at the tests. Some are not bright enough and it does not matter what has been spent on them!

I think timing in tests is key. As my DD1 in our village school had done the 11 plus she knew to finish the paper and go back to questions she couldn’t do on first read. This is something children do need to learn and you can get Work works and tests and instil this in him. Work methodically but do not waste 10 minutes on a question he cannot do thereby not giving enough time for questions he can do. Get used to the pace of the papers.

If it has VR, I would get prep books for this. You have every right to try and just because a school is popular does not mean it is more academic. Judging by results it’s not super academic, just like the school my DDs went to. You just have to make it into the 60% that get invited back. Other families might change their minds as well. If the school is a good fit, have a go!

fidgettt Wed 06-Dec-17 15:17:37

I think the CAT scores will give you a very good indication OP. If Canford is the sort of school I think it is I'd say DC would probably need scores upwards of 110, absolute minimum. But obviously this could be higher if a bulge year. I think if he is 120+ then you don't need to worry.

I'd still be doing ISEB pre-test prep though! Children at Prep schools will be doing this so he certainly should given he won't even be learning the CE curriculum.

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