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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:09 pm 
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Hi, I was looking at the colet court website to see what info they offered about preparing for 10+ test (deferred 11+ entry), and found a pretty long suggested reading list on there - http://www.coletcourt.org.uk/admissions/joining-at-11. So I know its only 'suggested' but what are they expecting us to do with that? I'm wondering if its only there to stop parents nagging them about how to prepare for the tests, or if they're trying to save potential students from months of tedious bond papers... Its mostly not a list of children's classics, its too many to get through entirely (my son reads a lot a lot but he would have grown out of the books before he got to the end of a list like that), and its not priority ordered - so, my question is what do I do with it, where do we start, shall I just ignore and stick with the practice tests stuff?

And to save you all from having to read a separate post from me - my son's class teacher suggested I talk to other parents about which tutor to use to prepare for indie interviews. I was a bit shocked. I know people tutor for entrance exams (I was planning to try diy) but have never heard of tutoring for interview, although now the idea is in my head I'm worrying he won't be able to compete without extra help. All advice welcome - please be kind, its my first post...


Last edited by thelastsplash!! on Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:05 pm 
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Location: London
Poor you.

My son was offered St Pauls at 10 for 13+ entry even though he was borderline academically. We did not tutor and left him to write the sheet about himself. (OK we did make him write it in rough first, because to sort out dodgy spelling but did not edit it, even though he said some barmy things.) My best guess was that they would like to see our son in his raw state and might be bored of long lists of chess championships, Grade 8 instruments etc offered by the super achievers.

A friend who in in a senior position at a London day school says they prefer for kids not to be coached for interviews. If they are it takes time to break through the coaching to find the real child underneath. Her aim is to find children who can talk to adults and who have something to say. It does not matter as much what they say. My son's interviewer came out of the St Pauls interview giggling. I have no idea what they discussed but my son seems to have made an impression. My friend says that over-coached kids can appear very flat. Good interviewers ought to be able to get most children to open up.

It may be worth considering a different approach with a very shy child, who might benefit from some practice. Though I am not sure whether you need professionals or whether you could simply encourage a few in depth conversations with family friends.

In terms of reading lists, I would only say that Colet Court is a very academic school. A child will need to be able to read quickly and process information effectively. I would assume that the school would like to see evidence of a good reading habit, though might make an exception for a brilliant mathematician. Are the books on the list very different from books your child would read normally? If not why not pick one or two that he would like from the list. Otherwise I would be inclined to stick to what he enjoys, and what he can talk about with enthusiasm.

One thing is that the test and interview happen at a point in time, whilst children mature at different speeds. It is not uncommon not to get Colet Court but to sail into St Pauls. Colet Court is quite a tough place, and you should only want your child to go there if he can handle the pressure with ease. You do need to trust the school a little by ensuring he is prepared but not over coached.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:26 am 
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Thank you londonmum, that's reassuring about the interviews. It seems a bit wrong to coach children at that age, but the thought that 'everyone is doing it' was making me wobble. When I had interview advice with a careers officer as a teenager, I remember finding that hugely helpful for job interviews, but its a bit of a different thing when you're 9 isn't it!

On the reading, I enjoy digging out all the books I used to love as a kid for him and others that have been recommended to me (he loves reading anything and everything) so I guess I'm just being a bit miffed at the idea that I should stop that to get him ploughing through a lot of books we mostly haven't heard of (probably only because they're recent). And I suppose I'm being a bit completist - i.e. if he's going to read off the list, he ought to read the best ones or everything - which I realise is a bit of a nonsense attitude... I used to try and do this at uni with the reading lists that came with each lecture and its impossible (obviously). Thanks again for very sensible advice.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:05 pm 
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I love books so I had a quick look a the reading list. I have been rather surprised to notice there 'The boy in stripped pyjamas'. I really do love that book but I don't think it is appropriate for this young age ( a 10 year old can't undestand all the untold meanings! There are a few paragraphs where the reader has to read between the lines ).
Personaly, when I read it, I had been warned that it was very sad so I did handle the end withoud shedding a tear. Howerver, a few weeks later one evening, while I was downstairs busy working on the pc, I head my 15-16 years old daughter coming down in tears. I was so surprised to see her in such a sate! She hadn't told me earlier that she had been depressed on that day by a particular event at school.... :oops:
Well, the reason of her tears was the end of the book. :shock: We did talk about it and I realized she needed reassurance for her understanding of some little details.

So yes, it is a great book, but for teenagers only and with conversations with parents afterwards! :)

A little bookworm


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:20 pm 
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Thanks JaneEyre, yes that was one of the books I recognised and I was a bit suprised it was on the 10 year olds list. Its not a bad thing to be moved by a book, but I guess less true if you're left confused and not quite understanding at the same time. I wonder whether your daughter was glad she read it.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:25 pm 
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I don't agree. Our kids saw the film when they were 8 and 10 (I refused to go - I hate depressing subjects! :oops: ), our daughter (now 10) is reading it at the moment, having watched the BBC Anne Frank series when it was on and read the diary a couple of years ago. She apparently commented today, though, in discussions about some item of teen fiction that Mrs 1880 was hesitating over, that she'd already read that and it was not suitable for her...

Mike


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 10:24 pm 
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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is on the reading list at DD's school, which they read in year 7.

DD had asked to go and see the film whilst she was in Year 6, but I refused to allow her to go feeling it was too young for such a traumatic event in history to cloud the last days of her primary school life. Having been to Bergen Belsen and walked in their footsteps I understand exactly what they went through (as much as one can without enduring it onself that is!). Also, having been down to the Imperial War museum in London and taking advice from their curators about exhibits on display at the time which were not suitable for anyone under the age of 13, this again helped me to confirm my desicion (also like Mike, I hate sad things).

I had no control over what DD was reading in school, especially as I found out after she'd already read it. She has since seen the film.

We now live with periodic upsets when things happen in day-to-day life which she reflects upon and relates to that film.

Whilst it's a good book/film which tells of what life was like back then, I'm still of the opinion that it's pitched at too young an age.

However, as for the rest of the list, I don't think it's too onerous, unless of course you only have a couple of weeks :shock: :lol: :lol:

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 10:25 pm 
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Depends on the 10 year old.My son was very moved by it (he was able to read between the lines) and it led to some interesting discussions about racism generally. It also connected him to the history of world war 11, which i don't think is a bad thing. Whilst I agree some discussion of the book is needed once read,personally , i wouldn't put it on a 'off limits' list - our children are exposed to far more confusing messages on TV,i think.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 10:36 pm 
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I have not been able to download the list, however both mine read the Boy in Striped Pyjamas at their Prep School, I think in about Year 5. They seemed to take it in their stride.

If most of the titles are unfamiliar and your child enjoys reading it might be a chance to discover some new titles. One approach might be to show the list to a slightly older boy who reads a lot and get recommendations on which are interesting. (We found that a good way of finding new authors. There is a wonderful range of modern childrens fiction, to the extent that my husband had little luck in getting my son to read the books he had enjoyed as a boy.)

Another approach is to take the list to a good bookshop (the one in Barnes village is fine) and get them to talk through the different books with your son, asking him what he has read already and enjoyed and then suggesting books off the list which he might enjoy.

The list can then be a source of new ideas for a child who enjoys reading anyway, as distinct as a task that must be achieved in order to pass an exam. We used to pick up lists available on school tours and flick through them. Depending on how long the list was my son would have read books by about a third of authors on the list, be disinterested in another third and the remainder were authors we had not heard of but who might be worth discovering.

We turned down the St Pauls place, partly influenced by the tutoring culture we had observed, and my son is at another academic London school. The school is wonderful and he is very happy. However one disadvantage is that school work is pretty full on and he does not have much time to read books of his own choosing. (Trollop and Dickens have been suggested this half term!) This may be because he is in Year 10 and is focussed on GCSE preparation and hopefully this will pass. Your son should read as much as he can whiolst he has the chance.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 10:52 pm 
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mike1880 wrote:
She apparently commented today, that she'd already read that and it was not suitable for her...

Mike


You wait till they say that something is not suitable for their parents. My 14 year old has decided that The Inbetweeners, whilst required viewing for him and his friends, is not suitable watching for his dad.

Video games make things a lot more complicated. We have sad old computers so are limited to what will play. However my son routinely plays Call of Duty (18 Cert) at friends' houses.

Oddly my 12 year old who has never been a reader, has suddenly connected with her new English teacher and is asking for recommended books to be bought for her. The selection is really odd and includes War Horse (which she had admittedly seen at the National around three years ago), some awful tale about a boy growing up in a cellar, and similar. The great thing is that she is talking about what she is reading and is enthusiastic. She much prefers these books to anything more subtle and literary. Children see dreadful things on the news, and perhaps reading books with strong subject matter helps them deal with it.


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