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Help!! Moving to UK: good website for school entrance exams?

(45 Posts)
NewUKmum Thu 18-Jun-20 15:48:58

Hi, we are (hopefully!!) moving to the UK permanently later this summer. I want to start preparing my children for school entrance exams. (son 11, daughter 10 and son 8) and, as an educator, have found real exams the best way to prepare. Also, I can't buy any of the "bond books" as it's ruinously expensive to send here. I don't know which schools my kids will apply so I want to look at different schools' past papers. Are there any websites anyone recommends to see these? Thanks from Trenton, NJ!!

OP’s posts: |
MollyButton Thu 18-Jun-20 15:58:00

Do you mean 11+ exams in Grammar school areas? Not all areas have Grammar schools.
Or do you mean entry exams for private schools?

You may well have missed the boat for 11+ exams for your son and maybe your daughter too. If not then Bond books are used by lots of people, and trying to get some time with a tutor (can be done online) could help a lot.
For private schools, the schools themselves can give you some general advice and tell you what kind of papers they may set. If you are aiming at the top independents with entry at 13+ then you should aim to get your children into a good prep school which is used to preparing them for the school/schools you are interested in.

Most Private schools will make allowance for children coming from overseas having not necessarily covered the whole curriculum.

And most schools have no entry exams, and will make adjustments as necessary. Your children will not even need many as they have English as their first language. But you may not be able to apply for a school until you are resident.

NewUKmum Thu 18-Jun-20 16:03:10

Sorry, I wasn't clear. We are only applying for private schools at the plus eleven and plus thirteen stages. Is there a good website that has London private school exams (and boarding schools)? I don't want to go and search 50 schools! Thank you!!!

OP’s posts: |
MollyButton Thu 18-Jun-20 18:06:55

I would engage an educational consultant, either Gabbitas trust or Good Schools, and they can give you individualised advice.

EmmaGrundyForPM Thu 18-Jun-20 18:09:07

If you are saying you can't afford exam-practice books to be sent from the UK then how an earth are you going to afford school fees?

glass2014 Thu 18-Jun-20 18:48:04

For past exam papers we have always used this site, which has over 800 free exam papers:

metalrockseducation.co.uk/elevenplus-thirteenplus-past-exam-specimen-papers/

Our DS applied to seven schools and all of the schools were on here so that made it easy. Our second is applying to a few other schools and we just went here and downloaded the exams. There are a few other sites as well, but this one we found had the most free ones. Good luck on the move!

Michaelahpurple Thu 18-Jun-20 18:50:37

Be aware that a lot of 13+ schools actually select through exams done at 11+ (or e during year 6) , confusingly - which schools were you thinking of for him?

Bond has an online subscription version and does BoFA which are on the same lines which would be well worth a look.

Michaelahpurple Thu 18-Jun-20 18:52:59

A few schools have past papers for 8/7+? Generally just one example eg Latymer used to. But so many have switched to the ISEB online year that these are getting this bet in the ground. BoFa is probably the obvious try out for ISEB.

mumto3little Fri 19-Jun-20 14:51:27

Do you have any particular schools which you have already registered your children?

If not, I am afraid you have clearly missed the main entrance application of 11+ for your son and even 13+, too. In addition, personally I feel it's a bit too late to start preparation for your daughter as many children started at least a year before especially if you think of v selective schools.

If I were in your position, I will look for a prep school rather than independent secondary and put all of children there. The headteacher at prep school is generally very helpful to find suitable private secondary schools for children, so you can discuss the head for the best private options for children.

siz99 Fri 19-Jun-20 21:07:45

Hello!
We spend our summers in the US and had no trouble buying Bond 11+ books through Amazon. The maths assessment books were around $12 and another $3 or $4 to ship.

I think it will be challenging to get your kids ready for entrance exams if they need to take them this winter since British independent schools are a bit further ahead than US counterparts. British children start school a year earlier than they do in the States. And any British children coming from private prep schools facing 11+ will have been accelerated through maths and English in later primary years. For example, my 10 year old in Year 5 (would be 4th grade in the US) is doing what American kids do in Grades 7 and 8.

In your shoes, I would search for schools that go from 4-18 to make it easier. I'm sure, though, you could discuss the situation with school admissions staff to figure out how likely they would be to accepting your dc. I would think you would have better chance of off-year admissions rather than rolling up in a few months and trying for 11+ or common entrance (at 13) testing spots.

This all will vary depending on where you end up as competition for school spots will vary widely with areas. Some areas will have amazing state secondaries that are definitely worth considering.

Good luck

NewUKmum Sun 21-Jun-20 13:48:04

Sorry I wasn’t clear again (two peoples separated by a common language maybe?!). But those numbers are the EXAMS my children will take in two years (the plus 11, plus 10 and plus 8). I was told it’s taken by age and we’ll take them when they turn those ages.

To Miss Glass 2014: thank you so much!! That webite has 27 of the 31 schools we are looking at and I’m going to email them to ask for the other 4. I’ve just downloaded fifty exams or so which will take up our summer homework!

Thank you all for the advice and we look forward to moving to your green and pleasant land.

Any and all other advice about the move from the US to the UK educational system most appreciated! We are excited for this adventure!!!!

OP’s posts: |
titchy Sun 21-Jun-20 17:36:27

I think you need to say how old your kids are now then. As others have said although 11 and 13 exams are taken at that age, you need to have got the ball rolling in terms of applications a
couple of years before that.

mumto3little Sun 21-Jun-20 17:55:13

How old are your age? The exam system is complicated here.

13+: in most cases, children need to register at 9/10 years old, take exam and interview at 10/11, then take another exam at 12/13.

11+: you need to register at 10/11 years old, take exam/interview at 10/11.

8+/10+: not common. But children take exam at 7or8 / 10or11(depends on birthday)
*7+ is more common entry for prep school.

If your children are 9,8 and 6 now, you can start preparation after you arrive here. If you still want to start now, you can just get appropriate age bond books for them.

mumto3little Sun 21-Jun-20 17:55:41

Sorry for typo! "are your children's age."

FelicityPike Sun 21-Jun-20 18:05:20

Did you really mean the English school system?
You wrote that you’re moving to the UK, but from what you’ve posted I think you mean England.
The systems are all different in each country.

bubbleup Sun 21-Jun-20 18:09:05

I don't understand how you can't afford to have books sent to the USA but you can afford private school fees?

Ellmau Sun 21-Jun-20 19:19:40

I was told it’s taken by age and we’ll take them when they turn those ages.

Moe precisely, @NewUKMum, they are taken in the school year in which they attain that age.

So if your children were the age given in your OP NOW, as appeared to be the case, your 11 yo would be too late.

But I gather from your update that he is currently 9. If his 10th birthday is before the end of August, and you are interested in state grammars for him, he will have to take the 11 plus this coming year (September if applying for state grammars, although I gather that isn't the case).

For private schools there is more variance, but for both 11+ and Common Entrance (what you're calling 13+) I would suggest looking at www.iseb.co.uk/Schools/General-information/Common-Entrance-at-13. Note, Year 8 is not the same as US Grade 8, but the year pupils enter when aged 12 and will turn 13 during.

Good luck.

SerenityNowwwww Sun 21-Jun-20 19:25:17

Do you know which schools you will be looking at?

They set their own papers - although some now do one online exam and then interviews (so no written paper). You will know that some are 11+ and 13+ (even 10+) and some don’t allow you to put in for the 11 and 13 (same child, same school).

Bond papers are good and some schools publish past entrance papers too. If you know which schools then people on here will be able to give more relevant info.

NewUKmum Mon 22-Jun-20 13:58:00

Good morning UK! Thank you all for your concerns/advice but as I said my children are a little over 2 years from taking these exams, so we’re good. I just wanted to see what we were in for hence my downloading all of those past papers.

@FelicityPike we are moving to London, UK. Not any other European country so I didn’t know what you mean by “different in each country.” We are just going to be in the UK.

@SerenityNowww we are looking at the London day schools. Don’t have a home yet so we are very flexible on area. I’m just going by the websites and the different league tables. Any recommendations most appreciated, our children are at the top of their classes here but don’t know where they will fall in the UK honestly. Thank you

OP’s posts: |
LoopyGremlin Mon 22-Jun-20 14:04:54

NewUKmum

Good morning UK! Thank you all for your concerns/advice but as I said my children are a little over 2 years from taking these exams, so we’re good. I just wanted to see what we were in for hence my downloading all of those past papers.

@FelicityPike we are moving to London, UK. Not any other European country so I didn’t know what you mean by “different in each country.” We are just going to be in the UK.

@SerenityNowww we are looking at the London day schools. Don’t have a home yet so we are very flexible on area. I’m just going by the websites and the different league tables. Any recommendations most appreciated, our children are at the top of their classes here but don’t know where they will fall in the UK honestly. Thank you

The UK is made up of 4 different countries!

SerenityNowwwww Mon 22-Jun-20 14:07:18

London is a big place though - travel can be tough. Our 13+ exams were taken when DS was 11. I suppose you are really looking for a school that takes the children through to 13.

If I were you, I'd have a think about even a general location - is your company doing any relocation for you? If you are anywhere near the new embassy, there seems to be a lot of the children there going to Newton Prep (Battersea, just south of the river, 1 stop from Victoria station).

There is a Bond online - you can pay month by month or annually (I think).

FelicityPike Mon 22-Jun-20 14:12:29

@FelicityPike we are moving to London, UK. Not any other European country so I didn’t know what you mean by “different in each country.” We are just going to be in the UK.”

WOW! The UK is 4 separate countries!!!

SerenityNowwwww Mon 22-Jun-20 14:13:48

So - if you were looking for 13+ at Westminster Upper you will have missed the boat:

'Candidate registration for 2022 is now closed. Registration for 2023-Entry is open until 15 October 2020.'

St Pauls:
'The next available year for 13+ entry is 2023, which is for boys born between 1 September 2009 and 31 August 2010.

Registration for 2023 is now open and will close at midnight on Monday 21 September 2020.'

CLS Boys:
'Our 13+ entry for 2023 is primarily for boys who are at a preparatory school. Each year, we welcome around 40 boys who join us in Third Form.'

Kings:
'Registration for the pre-test for 2023 entry to year 9 is now open.'

Dulwich:
'closing reg date - Friday 2 October 2020, midday'

I find that if you call Admissions offices they are generally very helpful.

sleepwhenidie Mon 22-Jun-20 14:16:08

LoopyGremlin she has stated London in several occasions though..which, as well as being in England, is in the UK! hmm

ChicCroissant Mon 22-Jun-20 14:21:25

I see that you have two years to prepare for the exams, in that case I would check the dates carefully with any schools that you decide you may be interested in, as you often have to register at least a year-18 months beforehand. If the dates are looking a bit close already, ask if they do a late test for people moving in to the area.

Are there any expat schools near you (poss in NY) that could advise you as well?

It is possible that the employer is paying the school fees, to those wondering why the OP can't get books sent over yet can afford private schooling.

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