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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:11 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:19 pm
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I'm new to this forum and feeling quite overwhelmed with prep for DS' entrance exams in January 2014. :(

DS is currently in year 5 in a state primary school rated as "good" by OFSTED.

However, there were serious performance issues with his teacher when he was in year 3 and 4 (she taught both those years), the result being that DS' year (now year 5) have erratic gaps in what they should have been taught and weren't by this silly teacher. This only came to light at the end of year 4 when the underperforming teacher left.

Head teacher has put in place all sorts of interventions to support the children's progress and committed a lot of resource to the children. DS is very bright and did well in his assessments despite this - currently on track to finish year 6 at level 5.

I am, however, concerned about the gaps that he needs to make up in the next year before sitting entrance exams to various independent secondary schools (for year 7 entry) in Jan 2014. I have a tutor for him who is doing her own assessment, will focus on any gaps and fill them in whilst also supporting him with past papers in Maths, English, VR and NVR. I am buying the Bond books etc.. so we can practise.

But I am still losing sleep over all this and blaming myself for not having gotten wind of the gaps sooner and not having intervened sooner. I blame myself because I have to work full time (demanding, professional career) so was unable to tutor him myself and had to rely on au pairs to help him with homework.

I am a single mum, divorced from DS' dad but ex is very supportive although doesn't have to live the day to day reality of all this. For example, I haven't told him the full extent of the issues with DS' former teacher or the impact on DS - he would be livid as he had wanted DS in private school from the start but I convinced him otherwise as I thought the state primary school was a good one and that we could save our money for secondary. :?

We have high hopes for DS (he comes from a high achieving family) and I am so so worried that we have left things too late. :(

He is relaxed about it all and is working hard to fill in the gaps and progress to the required standard.

Has anyone else been in this situation and still gained entry to a selective independent school?

Any advice or support would be much appreciated!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:26 pm 
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Hi Fitnik, sorry to hear you're so worried, but please don't panic, a year is plenty of time, with a tutor and/ or your own support, your DS will be in great shape. Which part of the country are you in? x


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:54 am
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[quote][/quote]Has anyone else been in this situation and still gained entry to a selective independent school?
yes many, many children do all the time, you have almost a whole yr to prepare which is more then enough, do you really want to over prep your child and find he/she cannot cope with the pace of work at a selective indy school??


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:34 pm 
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Daisyduke: we are in Hertfordshire.

Mazer 66: I don't think we are over-prepping DS - he is very relaxed about it, very motivated to succeed and loves his tutor. My main concern is the gaps he needs to fill and it doesn't help that his dad is unaware of all this, albeit very supportive (splitting cost of tuition, going round secondary schools etc..). I am so so angry with the teacher who didn't teach them what she should have and told me a year ago that "everything was on track" when I asked her explicitly about DS' progress in light of private secondary school plans!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:34 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:41 am
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Please don't worry, many children start in earnest in year 5, and with your and the tutors support, DS will be fine. I think you'd need to check the relevant area to make sure that the materials you cover are relevant to the exam - but I would also recommend variety, please don't just do bond papers, whilst they are great, it is also useful for DC to become used to varying formats and questions. Please consider other publishers: letts, Cgp, Susan daughtery ( or similar), schofield and Simms. A good browse on amazon might help as you can 'look inside' the first of pages of several books. Last but not least includesomeexam practise from other independent schools.

Hope this helps..
SH


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:54 am
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sorry I was trying to be reassuring, a reasonably bright and more importantly a well motivated child working with a good tutor can easily fill in the gaps and easily get to level 6 within 12 months
So, do not reproach yourself about sending your child to a state primary. Good tutoring within the last year of a child's education is far more cost effective than sending your child to prep school for 7 years. Best of luck.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:30 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 8:37 pm
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yes, don't worry. You haven't left it too late. We began in Jan of Yr 5 with huge gaps left by our overly complacent and laid back state primary.
I bought the KS2 maths book to revise from and read to them each night from books more taxing than they'd choose themselves. I taught DS essay structures and some creative writing techniques and brought in a tutor for practise papers. Early days yet but tutor was very complimentary and confident on his behalf, and he;s just got a Hampton interview.

If you're working, don't berate yourself for not being in two places at once. But maybe get someone in to go over the KS2 maths revision just 20 mins a day with him to check for gaps.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:46 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:24 pm
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You'll be fine! But twill be a hard-working year for both of you.

My DD - at failing state primary (special measures in May) - only started working summer half term and is now expected to get places at her chosen London private schools.

Key is to understand what the schools you're looking at want - which are they? Does he need to start learning VR and NVR???

I'd highly recommend getting the BOnd overview guide to 11+ Maths - incredibly clear going through all KS2 elements. ANd once he is getting 90-100% in every section you are ready to move on to practising LOTS of papers - ie APPLYING what he has learnt. We did this in summer hols (and then again as revision in Xmas hold) - would have been great to do it at your stage!

Your tutor can only do so much - you need to work out how much you're going to do.

If DS is doing 30-40 mins a day (more if very motivated) you're on track. We did 2 hrs a day during half of summer hols, 4-6 hours a week in autumn term with 2 hour tutor group and 3 hrs for half of Xmas hols.

It is demanding - and you need to work hard to understand where DS gaps and weaknesses are so you spend more time on these. I cottoned on rather late that although DD wrote amazing imaginative stories, her punctuation and grammar were poor.....

There is a huge amount of very useful info on here.

Good luck - eminently feasible -and dont forget to both have at least one day off a week!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:03 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:28 am
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Fitnik - I would not worry too much. As others have stated, you have a whole year. Focus your energy on the year. For maths I found the AE publishing books - it comes in 6 parts I think - was excellent in covering all the ground and filling in any gaps. We only spent 20mins. at a time. The rest was spent on reading which we felt was very important. Reading is the main source of improving vocabulary and writing style. If you have the time, mark out articles in the daily Newspapers - only two or three. You will be surprised as to how soon they start forming an opinion and get well informed on current affairs.

I would also put my dc through past papers, though not too early. We started with GL, Athey etc. then moved to Latymer (these are excellent) and finally onto the Independents. Check out The English School's website. This school is based in Cyprus. They have several past exam papers and you can pick and chose to create your own half papers. The main focus always remained on methodology.

IMO Independents are looking for children who are self motivated and able to think outside the box - hence the interviews.

Good luck.
T


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:04 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:19 pm
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Thank you for all your advice. I am really grateful - and in such a short space of time!

x


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