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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:42 am 
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I'm not sure if I should post this here or in the Surrey section but hoping someone can help.

Some Background: We haven't discounted the GS route for our DS (all of the Surrey GS's are pretty do-able in terms of journey time). We do however want to keep our options open as he is by no means guaranteed a GS pass so we are thinking of moving him to a prep school.

In our area GS starts at age 11 but most Indies start at 13 so if we kept him at state primary and he failed his 11+ he would have a 2 year gap to bridge (plus a last minute panic of deciding where to send him for those 2 years).

He could start prep school in Year 5 (and for logistical reasons we would pull DD out of state school too and send her to the same prep as DS otherwise the school run would be impossible. She is also bright but again not genius level so we suspect we will eventually face the same quandry with her).

So my questions are:
* Will DS and DD suffer by joining a prep school at this stage Is Year 5 considered too late?

* Are we better to keep DS at state school until we know the outcome of the 11+ and then move him to prep school in Year 7 if necessary?

* Which prep schools in Surrey have a good reputation for pastoral care as well as academic attainment (the ISI reports of the co-eds seem much of muchness to be honest and all feed into similar schools)

* Is there another solution to this dliemma (ie the unknown 11+ results combined with Indie Schools not starting until age 13) that I have overlooked?

Thank you and apologies for the long winded post :oops:


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:28 am 
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A no selective state school?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:29 am 
Sorry about your dilemma LL.

I don't know much about the co-ed schools in Surrey but your best bet may be sending them both to a school that goes all the way to 18 so you do not have to worry about multiple school moves. If the odds are slim for getting a GS place due to such high numbers applying then I would move now if you want a senior school that starts in Yr9 and stay put if you want a school that starts in Yr7.

Yr5 is not too late for Yr9 entry. In fact it is one of the most common stages that a child is sent to prep school so I wouldn't worry about it. I would avoid, if possible, sending DS to a prep school for the last two years as often the senior inde's have already had their pre-tests and this will limit your choice and the prep school does not know your child well enough to advise you on the appropriate school.

So, if you're happy with a 3-18 school I would move them now. You can always still move for the GS at 11 and if your daughter doesn't pass then she can stay. Otherwise keep him at the state school and register for an inde that starts at 11 and goes through to 18 as a back up for the GS. If you favour the 13+ schools to the GS then move them both now.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:32 am 
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Hi there. Although not in Surrey (far from it!) perhaps I can give some thoughts.

I would start with thinking about what specific Independent Senior School might be appropriate. Some are clearly very academic, whilst others are better suited to more average students with perhaps more 1 to 1 tuition, good pastoral etc. You must also think about what your budget is and whether that might rule out some options. Clearly you might have some other preferences (co-ed, single gender etc).

From that you need to get an idea of where the intake for this school comes from. Does it tend to come from a single Prep? Does it recruit many from the State sector? Does this Prep school cater for the 11+ as well the Senior School?

In cases where the Prep is closely linked to the Senior School you could argue the earlier the better "develop right attitude etc". In other cases that won't be the case. You might also find that the Independent School you like starts at 11 rather than 13.

I think if you can develop a specific independent school option then it would help your thought process.

PS At my DD inde school there is a neverending line of refugees joining from the State system in all years from Pre-prep to 6th form!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:16 pm 
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Thank you for all your replies :)

Non selective state is not an option although I wish it was as things would be a lot easier! We want single sex education after primary age and do not live close enough to either the local boy's comp or the local girl's comp to get a place.
Even if we moved, both these schools have their places easily filled by pupils living less than 1.5km away so it would be very difficult to buy a house where these catchment areas overlap (we have friends currently trying to do just that)
For the same reason, we have not looked at Indie Schools that go all the way up to 18 as we defintiely want co-ed for primary years and single sex schooling from age 11 or 13.

We would like DS to attend Sutton Grammar, Trinity or Whitgift based on what would suit him whilst being local / single sex / in budget etc (these have entrance at 11+ but also the possibility to take the exam later at 13+)
For DD we would want Nonsuch or Sutton High (11+ or 13+ option also). All of the local Co-ed prep schools feed into these schools so there is no clear advantage of choosing one over the other.
We would like to leave our options open regarding the aged 11 or aged 13 start because all of these schools are selective to some extent and there is no guarantee of a place at any. We may still, at 11 or 13, have to look at other options.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:20 pm 
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one of mine is at an all-boys' school - so what I'm asking is not sarky (!) but why is it that you have decided on single gender education??


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:33 pm 
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loopylou wrote:
Thank you for all your replies :)
We would like DS to attend Sutton Grammar, Trinity or Whitgift based on what would suit him whilst being local / single gender / in budget etc (these have entrance at 11+ but also the possibility to take the exam later at 13+)

All these school are superselectives and I dont see how your son in Y5 will benefit now if you were to put him in a indie. Also dont put your eggs too much on the 13+ for the two indies, if you look on a thread here these schools arent taking many at 13+ and most kids were left without a school to go to this year at 13+.

I think its also down to your DS's personality too, as it can take time to settle in and make new friends and this can have a short term effect on his work and you dont really want that risk now with a few months to go till exams. However if there are serious issues you are concerned about at his current school then transfer maybe the only solution.

Is your son having any tuition to help prepare him?

My 2pence is keep him in his current school and get a tutor (or diy) if you dont have one to help him prepare. You will be amazed how much kids can learn and take in. I would also add a less selcetive indie as a backup. By the way how old is DD, if she is not doing 11+ for a few years yet could you move her next year if you decide to?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:33 pm 
Given your last post I think you should move DS for the start of Yr5 with the emphasis on 13+. The school will have ample time to get to know your son and prepare him for Whitgift/Trinity and a detailed prep report will always be better than a state school report.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:39 pm 
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That's O.K Milla - I didn't read it as being sarky

DH and I both went to single sex schools and believe (wrongly or rightly) that pupils there will be more focused on their learning and distanced from the hormonal distractions of trying to impress / worrying about the opposite sex. We feel that girls will be less concerned about competition for boy's attention and that bright boys will be less concerned about looking "geeky" in front of the girls etc.

Many studies have traditionally supported the theory that children achieve higher results if they attend a single sex school and that boys will be more inclined to pursue arts subjects and girls more inclined to pursue maths / science courses without the inherent judgement from being part of a mixed school
(like all studies these are open to interpretation and not applicable to individual circumstances but many such studies exist)

We have a DD and DS fairly close in age so neither would miss out from social interaction or be awkward with the opposite sex as a result of single sex schooling (they both have friends over to play and have friends in common and attend "mixed" clubs outside school).

Finally - for our children it just feels like the correct decision and its practically the only thing DH and I agree on so it must be right for them lol


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:46 pm 
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T.i.p.s.y wrote:
Given your last post I think you should move DS for the start of Yr5 with the emphasis on 13+. The school will have ample time to get to know your son and prepare him for Whitgift/Trinity and a detailed prep report will always be better than a state school report.

Tipsy but there were problems at 13+ this year at those schools and left many kids without schools and many of these I can assume were from prep schools that take up to 13+. It seem they are moving the intakes to be more 11+ and so I think at 13 (just for the above schools)maybe walking on eggshells. My understanding (from this forum) is at 13+ its less about academic but more emphasis on extra curriculum like sports music etc.

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