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Private school application and previous school report?

(15 Posts)
AnalyseThis Sat 18-May-19 07:34:51

I started looking at registration forms for local private schools. (DD will be Y7 in 2020 and there's a bit of a lottery for local state schools near us so covering both bases without commitment either way right now.)

I notice they all ask for a copy of previous school reports. I do have these but have been working outside the UK for 5 years so they're from an international IB school in another country. They don't have any of the detailed SATs or numerical grading information which some UK-based parents seem to be talking about irl and on Mumsnet for primary age.

Are the schools likely to be looking for academic assessments or just an overall picture of the children?

Overall I think the reports say that DD is a sociable and well-liked kid with a reading age well beyond her age level, average performance in maths and excellent participation in all subjects except the one she didn't like... She's done things like being elected to Student Council and buddying new kids in the playground. But no number or letter grades of any sort for academic performance.

DD has also been homeschooled since January as we decided to do some travelling before returning to the UK. This makes the reports at least six months out of date. Homeschooling has been good in terms of being able to focus on core maths skills (where I think in-the-middle children didn't get so much attention at the old school), and to introduce some of the English grammar which didn't feature in her previous school but is very much part of the UK curriculum.

Is the nature and out-datedness of the school reports likely to be a problem? One of the private schools really highlights its international atmosphere and I can see it takes plenty of forces and diplomatic kids so should be familiar with this sort of thing. One of the others doesn't seem quite as welcoming but maybe that's just the website and it will be different when we visit and I can speak to teachers and admissions staff.

All of the schools have entrance tests. DD quite likes tests and puzzles so not stressed about this.

Before we even get to that point, I'm wondering how much influence the school reports have. What if all the other applicants have years of impressive UK school grades and DD just has four years of narrative on being a nice kid who likes to read and play?

OP’s posts: |
stucknoue Sat 18-May-19 07:46:20

A lot of kids move from overseas so don't worry about that, she will need a written reference from her school indicating the level she's working at (says aren't until year 6 so no one has them at the time of application )

Get as much information about the prospective schools and practice exams papers so that you can work out if she needs a tutor - most will have one

OKBobble Sat 18-May-19 10:34:38

If you do a covering letter explaining that to send woth the application form that should help them put together an accurate picture of her education to date.

LaughAtGildedButterflies Sat 18-May-19 12:15:49

If they have their own entrance exam, I very much doubt they'll be bothered about grades on school reports.

tickingthebox Sat 18-May-19 19:33:09

Aren't they talking about a headmasters letter, like a letter of recommendation? With DS's school the head writes each child a "Headmasters Report" to each school they've applied to, which is always positive, just more or less effusive depending on the child.... You would probably not be asked for one as not a child currently in education.

Jazzmin Sat 18-May-19 19:39:56

Unless the school has a long waiting list, don’t worry. Many are struggling for numbers at the moment and will not be too fussy. Good luck.

AnotherNewt Sat 18-May-19 20:38:39

Private schools may well, not have much interest in SATs, so I think your reports from an overseas school will be just fine (assuming they make your DC look reasonably desirable)

ksb76 Sun 19-May-19 00:43:29

We moved our children from international schools back to the UK and their reports were similar - lacking in any kind of definitive information - grades or otherwise. While they asked for them, I'm pretty sure that the CAT tests that they did for school played a much larger part than the very waffly reports we could send from our international school. So, don't worry. I'm sure they will consider all the information from a variety of sources.

AnalyseThis Sun 19-May-19 06:16:15

Thanks everyone. There's lots of useful info, experience and thoughts here. I'm still feeling out of the swim on UK education and need to catch up.

Yes, two of the websites definitely refer to the most recent "school report" rather than a letter. (Although I'm sure her previous head would be happy to write this kind of reference if needed.)

OP’s posts: |
AnotherNewt Sun 19-May-19 07:13:13

I agree. They mean the ordinary reports. The other, specially written piece is normally called a head's reference (occasionally school reference)

Michaelahpurple Mon 20-May-19 17:34:43

Independent schools don't do SATS and do t do that extraordinarily complex progress marking either, so it really won't be a problem. Not will the gap. If they are the sort of school to object to the homeschooling period, it won't be the lack of reports that is the crunch.

If your past schools have ever done any standardised tests (CATs, NFERs or thing sod that ilk) then include them but not to worry if they haven't

Mumto2two Wed 22-May-19 12:03:27

It very much depends on the school you are applying to, as to how much information they like to receive. Having looked at a broad spectrum of schools for our daughter also for Y7 entry in 2020, our HT has indicated the more selective schools we are considering for scholarship, will want her CATs data and standardised progress tests which the school do each year, as well as her record of exam grades and report from the HT. The less selective schools, generally only need a HT report, and most will have some form of entrance assessment anyway, whether it is the school's own assessment, a consortium assessment or whether it is pre-test and Common entrance. I doubt there will be a problem, as there are many children who return from overseas. Good luck with your search.

BubblesBuddy Wed 22-May-19 12:30:28

When my DD went to a selective independent in Y7 her state school head had refused to send them anything. DD was accepted and loved it there. I am grateful her senior school made up their own mind about her from tests, interview and observation about how she integrated with other children during the collaborative working practical tests they set.

I did not know her old school had done this until a member of staff at the senior school informed me, way after she had started. I was, understandably gobsmacked. Political beliefs clearly got in the way of professionalism. In your case, just explain the position. I am sure your DD will not be disadvantaged.

lovekew Sat 25-May-19 12:53:01

Check with the registrar and confirm what the focus is for the school report and ask about this when you visit them. If you explain then they should accept that ok, and a letter would be fine I'm sure. I can only really comment on my DC experience at Radnor House (coed Twickenham) they are academically selective but also focus on the whole child not just academic results in entrance exams. The assessment has 4 components with 25% marks for each - Maths English, Interview and School Report. The report and/or letter/heads reference is looked at to gauge DC attitudes to leaning and social skills as seen as important not just about the academic commentary as far as I know. Big focus on individual child - but they are a small
School so can do that.

CraftyGin Sat 25-May-19 21:01:45

A school report gives the prospective school more information about your child in order to create a big picture, and make any necessary adjustments for her.

It also says whether you have unpaid fees.

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