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Moving a child from yr 5 state primary to prep

(45 Posts)
mozzarella22 Sat 29-Dec-18 15:35:07

Hello lovelies, hope you’re having a lovely festive period. I am considering moving my capable, but dyspraxia, boy from an Ofstead Outstanding primary to a prep school for the last term of yr 5 through to end of yr 8. Mainly to avoid the ridiculously competitive 11plus process in SW London and to prepare him for secondary. Anyone done this? Anything I should be mindful of? All thoughts are welcome. Thanks loads.

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TAMumof3 Sat 29-Dec-18 15:37:50

Hello, I work in a state secondary, first thought would be to what extent his needs in regard to dyspraxia are being met ?

MarchingFrogs Sat 29-Dec-18 15:59:59

Isn't there competition for year 9 indie places as well (presumably you are intending to move him out of the state system altogether from this point on)?

QuaterMiss Sat 29-Dec-18 16:11:09

So are you looking towards CE (or whatever pertains by then)? Or some other route?

Please, please choose a prep school that regularly sends children to the senior school (or group of senior schools) you are considering. It's astonishing how many times people blithely rock up to a preparatory school and are then surprised that it isn't actually preparing the child for the route they had in mind. Don't do that.

Otherwise it should all be fairly simple. (But far more enjoyable outside London ...)

Mummyshark2018 Sat 29-Dec-18 16:13:29

Depends why you're moving him? If you feel he is not being properly supported in his current school then I would suggest you find out exactly what SEN support the indie school could offer. Often they are not particularly geared up for SEN, have limited experience, less SeN training and less money to provide support and interventions.

mozzarella22 Sat 29-Dec-18 16:31:36

Hello, thank you TA, his needs aren’t really being met at present despite ongoing meetings and private reports since Yr 2 (now year 5).

Yes Marching, competition for yr 9 too, but having come from a prep, he will be better prepared?

Thanks Quarter! My problem is I don’t really know what route I want him to go down as yet. Is that odd? Should I know? Being a late developer, he is changing all the time. Maths and engineering skills seem strong, sports weak. But things can change.

Thanks MummyShark. The Prep have persuaded me that they are experienced with SEN (plus website stats support their claims), and have the training and provision available.

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TAMumof3 Sat 29-Dec-18 16:41:12

OK so The Prep are geared-up to being proactive with his needs.
Next thought would be how intelligent is he - I appreciate this sounds a bit ruthless but is he able to pass 11 plus with lots of practice / a little tutoring or not really likely to pass at all ?
By this point in Y5 you've probably got a good idea of his base intelligence in regard to the 11 plus subjects - if not then buy a mixed pack of GL assessment papers and get him to sit one of each of the four at home. If without help he is scoring above 85% on each at this stage you are really looking at a child who needs GS more than Prep school.

QuaterMiss Sat 29-Dec-18 16:44:49

I meant the type of school you want him prepared for. People have been known to pick a traditional 'preparing for public school' place when in fact they want their child to go on to a grammar ...

But as long as you're clear on that a move shouldn't be problematic.

At the prep schools I'm familiar with children with dyspraxia seemed well integrated and their needs were met. I'm curious to know what it is that the state school is failing to do.

mozzarella22 Sat 29-Dec-18 17:14:35

TA - he’s working at ‘Greater Depth’ for maths comprehension and reading, but writing and everything else he’s working ‘At’. So, in answer to your question - I don’t know if he would pass 11+. He is getting tutored through a tutor group. Does GS mean Good State.? If so - we don’t have one. Will look for the GL assessment papers. Thanks for heads up.

Thanks Quarter. We have ruled out grammar, as too far away.

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MarchingFrogs Sat 29-Dec-18 17:20:12

GS = Grammar School

mozzarella22 Sat 29-Dec-18 17:24:17

Ah! Of course. Thank you Marching.

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mozzarella22 Sat 29-Dec-18 17:28:59

Quarter - sorry I missed your last question. His current State are only failing in so much as they are behind in the curriculum, compared with independent school children my son would be competing with for 11plus. My thought was we could either tutor him to death and cross our fingers he would get a place, or take this other route.

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TAMumof3 Sat 29-Dec-18 18:17:47

Oh I see - your not thinking of him sitting the 11 plus for grammar - but looking at how best to get him into The Prep of choice.

SATS grade descriptors are unfortunately a very poor guide to the English and Verbal papers in 11 plus, nothing at all to do with Non-verbal reasoning at 11 plus and very low in Y5 for maths (this is because the maths required for 11 plus is covered throughout year 6, but tested for at the start of y6 so a student who is relying only on school won't have covered the syllabus when they sit the 11 plus).

I think your right in being in a "tutor to death" position, however I also think your picturing the field incorrectly.

If what you want is for your son to go to The Prep - he will not be competing for a place with kids who pass the 11 plus - he will be competing with children who FAIL the 11 plus - this is why the Prep entrance test is most likely to take place in Jan/Feb 2020, whereas 11 plus exams for the same intake year will be in SEP 2019.

LarkDescending Sat 29-Dec-18 18:40:43

I read the OP as saying she wants DS to move to a specific prep soon - probably after Easter 2019.

OP: have you ascertained from the prep that they expect to have a place for him at that time? From your second post on the thread it looks likely that they are encouraging the transfer. Are they requiring him to take any sort of entrance test before a place is offered?

Also, have you consulted their leavers’ destinations and do they chime with what you want for DS, insofar as you can know that at this stage?

Oratory1 Sat 29-Dec-18 19:17:11

In my experience DC with SpLD mature and come into their own much later even when bright so I think its a good idea - by 13 you will have a much better idea of his strengths and difficulties and what path will suit than you do now. I would just make completely sure that the prep are completely geared up and sympathetic towards SEND, they vary considerably, often just down to the particular values and views of the Head and SLT.

Does your DC want to move - that makes a big difference too.

mozzarella22 Sun 30-Dec-18 12:55:39

Thank you again everyone for your thoughts. It is all useful.

TA - interesting what you say about SATS and I have heard this before. Re your last para - my ultimate aim is to get my son into a local private secondary. But given his slowness in maturing (dyspraxia, plus August b'day), plus the competitiveness of the 11+ process, my idea is to kick the can down the road so that he applies for our preferred secondary school for year 9 entry. I am not wedded to the prep that have told me there is a current place available, it's just that it is the only one at a suitable distance that will assess him for a term three start, and that goes till end of year 8.

Thank you Lark - your assumptions are correct. The prep has a place available and are not encouraging it, but are contacting me in the New Year to arrange an assessment. Their leavers' destinations include the school I hope for my son, although far fewer in numbers than other schools, but I will be clear from the outset as to our final goal and seek reassurance that we are all on the same page.

Thank you Oratorty - I agree with your views on maturity. I have had a conversation with the SEN specialist at the school and she seemed approachable and flexible. We talked about laptop usage and they are happy for him to have one for all lessons (except when working in a science lab). This attitude is different to his current school who discourage laptop usage saying that his handwriting needs practice. I'm torn by this because though I agree re handwriting practice, I think he needs laptop practice more, as his handwriting is poor due to hypermobility and dyspraxia and he won't cope with the volumes of writing required going forward if he doesn't practice laptop skills and touch typing speed.

And no, my son really doesn't want to move. He's a little shy and doesn't welcome change. He wants to stay in his current school with his buddies. ugh.

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bpisok Sun 30-Dec-18 13:27:37

I am not convinced that your DS will be competing with those that have failed the 11+ GS entrance test.
Private school entry tests are different so those coming from a prep school will have been prepped for the Inde tests (which normally include observed group activities and interviews for example). Those from state would have been prepped for the GS tests.
At DDs school (4-18 yo) only a couple took the GS tests and only 2 actually went (one of which came back after 2 terms). About 10 went to different Inde schools which were substantially different (a couple went to boarding schools etc). I think the majority of parents at her school are wedded to the Inde sector and rightly or wrongly wouldn't consider state.
The transfer from prep to senior school also wasn't guaranteed and they still had to do the entrance test although were given priority if they passed. After the existing pupils (that had priority), there were over 350 external applicants for the 22 remaining places. I would assume that the 350 would be a mix of those that didn't pass the 11+ and those that attended preps that didn't have a linked senior school? I would therefore also assume that those that didn't pass the GS 11+ and also weren't prepped for the Inde tests would be at a massive disadvantage.

You probably need to sit down and work out the end goal since unless your DC is very very bright hedging your bets may not be the best approach?

I appreciate that this won't be the same everywhere but it's worth doing a bit of research

BubblesBuddy Sun 30-Dec-18 18:13:04

Children from state schools are prepped for SATS, nothing else. If a grammar school tests on verbal and non verbal reasoning, for example, a state school will not prep for this.

I can see where you are coming from regarding year 9 entry, but for 11 plus shools, there are surely fewer places available for y9 entrants?Most children I know who have left prep in Y9 go to boarding schools. This gives you a much wider spectrum of opportunity and far less pressure to get in. Some schools are also experienced in SEN and sport is not a requirement to secure a place. I would widen your search but 13 plus is definitely a good idea if you want a less competitive environment at 11 and are OK with flexi boarding.

Oratory1 Sun 30-Dec-18 18:34:38

The most obvious question, and one I'm sure you've considered, is are you sure the local school you favour is the right place for your son as an end goal, however good a school it is in its own right. If you have worries about him getting a place and he is not confident, it might not necessarily be so.

mozzarella22 Sun 30-Dec-18 20:20:10

Thank you bpisok for your considered contribution. I am not looking to put DS up for GS 11+ , just private 13+. Just to be clear - where you say '... they still had to do the entrance test although were given priority if they passed' - are you saying that children from an independent school background, who pass a secondary entrance process, take priority over those from a state background, who also pass? Is that just your school? Or is that a general rule for private secondaries?

Thanks Bubbles - I didn't realise preps prepped for boarding schools specifically. Gosh. I understand there are far fewer places at 13+, but additionally fewer applications. The secondary school I wish for my DS has 96 places available for 1,000 applicants. This feels totally overwhelming and feels as if we have little chance, which is how I've got to where we are. Having said that - I'm not okay with flexi boarding, we are looking for day admission only.

Thanks Oratory - you're right of course, but without moving house I don't really know what to do. But thank you for the perspective.

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TAMumof3 Sun 30-Dec-18 20:39:07

Hi, with using a computer in lessons in place of a sole focus on hand-writing, I've seen a massive increase in the number of Y11 at our school now using computers for all GSCE's - for some this is fab I would stringly advise any student though to learn proper touch typing (Dance Mats is good) as even with an extened time allowance, typing at speed, efficiently and accurately is a must for gaining all deserved marks, particularly in English and humanities. Do check that your school will teach typing, if not push him through a few weeks of online practice.
In addition, students are allowed a Reading Pen in all exams - he may well benefit from this given his profile - ask about these - if school won't/can't provide parents can buy them thought they are currently around the £239 mark.

GU24Mum Sun 30-Dec-18 21:15:12

Hi OP, you probably need to check when the entrance exams are for the 13+ schools. My DS is doing entrance exams in Jan for 11+ but the schools which also offer 13+ entry are testing Y6 boys at the same time. If that's the case for where you'd like your DS to go, he'll only have two terms at the prep school before the exams (and possibly less as I think the ISEB is done at the end of Nov/early Dec in Y6).

mozzarella22 Sun 30-Dec-18 21:21:55

Oh God, I didn't know that! Heck. That is key. Thank you GU24. Am checking now!!

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Motorcyclemptiness Sun 30-Dec-18 21:39:11

OP, sorry to be a doom monger, but occasionally mainstream prep schools claim that they can support DC with SPLD when they don't actually have staff that are qualified to do so, IMO. For that reason, you might like to look at schools like Bruern Abbey, which is a great CE prep for high IQ dyslexic and dyspraxic boys.

mozzarella22 Sun 30-Dec-18 22:59:33

Thank you Motor, I have read about Bruern but that would require a move which we are hoping to avoid. And yes, I know you're right to suggest that a school may say all the right things regarding support for SPLD, but the reality is different. I can only seek to gain specific measures, with a paper trail, to avoid disappointment.

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