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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:08 pm 
Does anyone have any specific knowledge of what independent secondary schools typically ask primary schools to report on about candidates - eg grades (for voluntary yr 5 SATs), written comments, etc etc? Would most appreciate views from anyone who actually knows, rather than common sense speculation!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 11:58 pm 
I don't know, but I imagine that different schools will ask for different things.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 2:56 pm 
Hi Guest

I would imagine that most parents can only speculate about these reports. However, if you want to know the sort of things that go into them, why not ask your child's class teacher/head teacher? They must have written reports before and I am sure that if you have a good relationship with them, they would be happy to spill the beans.

Just my thoughts.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 3:19 pm 
Not an easy one to answer. Parents (usually) do not get the opportunity to view reports/references or have questions relating to its content answered. I know that some independent schools (like my child’s) place a strong emphasis on reports so your right to think about these matters. I would think questions regarding behaviour (e.g. exclusions, social skills), academic potential, attendance and punctuality will feature.

If your at all concerned I would make an appointment to speak with your child’s headteacher – in conjunction with perhaps your child’s form teacher, the head is the person who is likely to complete the report. It's therefore important that the head supports your decision.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 6:21 pm 
Thanks for the replies so far. I suppose another interesting debate is how much the independents really rely on the reports in most cases. It's probably easy to see that if a report asks for specific factual qns about, say exclusions, absence rates, marks, and other things like that, and the replies are bad, then that will be a negative factor! But for the majority of children that won't be the case, so I wonder to what extent the schools take generally ok comments (or glowing comments) with a pinch of salt on the basis that the heads are likely to "talk up" pupils from their school. This might especially be the case for prep schools where there's more pressure on delivering pupils to secondary schools of their choice.

So to put that in a nutshell, do we really think that good-ish reports are given much weight?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 9:37 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
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Location: Buckinghamshire
I think there is effectively a "code" in the wording of the reports that is understood on both sides. For example, "recommend" versus "recommend very highly".

The senior schools also know, based on experience, which Heads write sensible references and which would tend to exaggerate. There may be a short term gain for Prep School Heads over-selling their pupils, but longer term they will discredit themselves and the school if their recommendations fail to live up to expectations.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 1:58 pm 
Given how competitive school places are I wouldn’t discount the importance of school reports, primary in particular. As noted earlier, some independent schools stipulate how important they are in the decision making - I wouldn’t underestimate them.

It’s also worth noting that Heads can be unscrupulous characters. Some fail to provide justifiable and worthy reports, or worse still, fail to complete/return the report all together (as in our case). Many have grudges, biases, hang-ups and even resent (some) aspirational parents. I think a tactful meeting with the Head helps to decipher a lot.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 1:48 pm 
My son would have got a truly horrible behaviour reference from his prep school but was still accepted into the independent school of our choice, albeit through the waiting list and the second time around. (he was rejected at 7+) He did go on to win the science prize and is now an undergraduate at Cambridge. They don't always get it right.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 12:33 pm 
Good news (above), but I must say that independent schools always prefer to accept pupils from the independent rather than state (primary) school sector, irrespective of the child's behaviour or potential. It's all about those more likely to afford the fees... ££££!!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 8:41 pm 
Sorry, but I think the last guest's comment is a huge generalisation. My ds went to an independent school at 11 and 90% of the intake was from state primary schools.


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