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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:48 am 
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My son is starting Year 7 in September. He is currently at a state primary school and, like most state schools, they concentrate on getting their kids up to the national average. He was at the expected level for Year 6 leavers when he was in year 5 so the school is basically leaving him alone to tread water until July.

I'm not happy about that but rather then spend time and effort muttering about the shortcomings of the state system to anyone who will listen I thought that I spend the next few month getting him ready for September.

Although my son is naturally bright he was only able to pass the Habs entrance exam because of 6 months home tutoring. So he can hold his own when it comes to maths and, to a lesser extent English, but we are aware that he will be behind on the other Year 7 subjects compared to the prep school kids that he will be sitting next to.

I know that some parents will advise that we should let him enjoy the summer but that is not really a luxury we can afford. He is going to start off the new school year already behind the prep school kids who haven't been held back academically for the last few years. I would rather he do the preparatory work now rather than having his confidence knocked when he discovers that, not only is he is no longer the smartest kid in the class, he is now struggling just to keep up.

So any suggestions or advice about preparatory work would be welcome. Specifically, I'm interested in what books he'll be reading. His primary school lets the kids choose whatever reading book interest them without due consideration as to whether the book challenges the kid. I'm going to set him more serious reading along the lines of Tom Sawyer and Co but if I am going to do that then I might as well set something that he will be reading in Year 7.

Yes I know that I sound competive, pushy even :D but I don't want him to regret his decision (it was his choice) and decide that he would rather be top of his state school rather than near the bottom at Habs.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:57 am 
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:13 pm 
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Location: Watford
Please note that your son will not be the only child coming from state primary school.
Agreed kids from prep schools have indepth knowledge doesn't mean you child does not have the capacity to reach his potential after a few months.

I understand you want the best for your kid.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:29 pm 
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Go on - give in.

Get him a PS3 (if he hasn't already got one) and see if he can whoop my boy at Fifa 11. :D

Plenty of time for War and Peace.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:24 pm 
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whl2004 - He is currently playing fifa 10 on the wii so I'll post our/his challenge when the time is right :D

He is very good at a certain WWII first person shoot'em up game. This is of course the Parental Guidance version of the game :D Oh well, maybe this skill will earn him some playground cred points with his peers and will make up for his lack of tennis and hockey skills :D

ttmum - I don't doubt that he will reach his potential after a few months but my son, if he feels that he has no chance of being up there with the best then he will just stop trying. That is his nature. This is why we wanted Habs for him. At a state school he would always be near the top and so he would never learn to overcome this inability to handle failure. Habs will be full of kids who are naturally more clever than him so he will fail and he will learn to deal with it and to harness that and to move forward. However, this doen't mean that I want to shatter his confidence completely. If I can get him on par with the other prep kids to start with on Day 1 then that will give him the confidence to try harder in the weeks and months to come.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:40 pm 
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Location: Herts
OK PD, I think I know that you are genuinely concerned so I will try not to be flippant!

I think it will be your son's skills & aptitude that determine how well he gets on at Habs, and given that he's already passed the entrance exam, I'm sure he will do more than just hold his own. As ttmum has said, he won't be the only state school boy. Prep school children may be more stuffed with facts, but surely that won't impress a teacher over the ability to construct an argument / come up with innovative ideas for a project / be a team player etc etc. I would try & think of fun activities that build on these kind of things - skills your DS probably already has!

Reading is always good. If you look on the "everything else" section of the forum there are often threads about book recommendations. I would try & avoid any text likely to be a set book, as your DS might die of boredom from re-reading something he already knows (hopefully a Habs parent can help you on this).

If this were my son we're talking about, I would also go to extreme lengths to make any "preparation" so much fun & unlike work that he wouldn't notice he was doing it :D


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:59 pm 
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Location: Barnet, Herts
My DS came from a state primary(now Y9) 50% of the Y7 intake was also from state primaries.
Most of his friends came from prep school. He had no 'preparation' the summer before he started indie and was put straight into top sets for everything and has remained there. At the end of Y8 he was given an Academic Scholarship as he was doing so well. All with no help from us at all, completely his own efforts.
He has just got a Silver award in the Intermediate Maths Challenge, highest in his year and the year above. So , if they are bright then they need no 'preparation' from parents, tutors etc. Just let him relax over the summer, there will be plenty of time for work later.
If he was bright enough to get into Habs then he should be bright enough to keep up with his peers.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:10 pm 
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Hi tense -

I see your point about dying of boredom if he has to re-read something that he has spent the summer reading.

I'm currently toying with the idea of getting him a Kindle ebook reader. All the classics can be downloaded for free and I'm sure that he will find one that won't bore him as much as the rest :D Plus the gadget will make it fun for him (at least for the first week). Either way, he needs to train his brain so that he can focus on books with substantive text. The fact that he can't currently do that is the fault of both myself and his teacher.

I'll probably spend the summer tutoring him in English essay writing and comprehension since, as you and ttmum have said, the teachers won't expect kids to be pre-stuffed with facts about science etc. Thanks for the advice.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:46 pm 
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After he took the maths paper, Junior said that he didn't attempt 5 of the questions because he didn't understand what area of maths was being tested. That was about 20% of the marks gone so we thought that this was enough to sink his chances. Needless to say, we were eagerly waiting for The Letter with fingers crossed. Junior still passed the maths test despite only having a possible max score of 80% so I'm probably worrying about him needlessly .

His twin sister will be going to St Albans High School and she'll be playing lacrosse in Year 7. The poor dear is not the most coordinated child around so giving her a racket? is going to turn her into a leathal weapon unless I do something about it before September. So, if any one knows of any Lacrosse for Beginners classes ..... :D

Zorro - With regards to your comment about your son getting an academic scholarship in Year 8 at his school. Mucho congrats on that. It is nice to know that if Junior works hard then he too has a chance to achieve.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:48 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
I would do some work on whichever language he is going to be studying in Y7. A colleague has a dd at the High School now in Y8 who came from a local state primary and before she started she was concerned that she would find it hard to compete in French with all the preps who had been doing it since Nursery. So she found a cheap course on ebay and sat her by the pool with some headphones. It did the trick and she was top of the class in French by the end of the first term. Is he interested to getting into any of the sporting teams? You can get some great summer camps at Gosling and other locations in Herts. Prep schools tend to play a lot more team sport during the school day and so it can be difficult for state pupils to get into the teams. Academically and musically he will have no problem at all. If he has had the self discipline to study for exams at home rather than having it all laid on at school he will already have a head start. DG


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