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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:44 pm 
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The school my DC has sat an entrance exam for is holding interviews over the next couple of weeks. There will be quite a few members of staff involved in the interview process, including deputy heads, headteacher, heads of year groups and the assistant head. How do they decide which children / parents will be interviewed but each of the staff members? Is it significant if you are interviewed by the headteacher rather than a head of year or deputy head or is it just random allocation to fit all of the interviews in within a small timeframe?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:17 pm 
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I think if it's scholarship interviews you tend to get the head. Similarly if you are a borderline case perhaps you get a more senior staff member. Other than that, I don't know.
Going through this at the moment I do wonder how much you can tell at interview talking to 10 and 11 year olds. I have watched very sparky children become quiet and subdued through nerves in the last couple of weeks, and other quiet children become much louder than they normally are, amongst children that I know. I'm not sure it gives enough insight into their real personalities to compensate for the huge amount of stress it causes, especially since children mature at such different rates. Obviously the schools disagree however or they wouldn't waste their time doing it!


Last edited by NLMum27 on Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:28 pm 
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Thank you, that is really helpful. The school will be interviewing parents and children separately (same time but different rooms). I agree that it is pretty difficult to get much out of 10/11 year olds and I'm not sure how much more influence the interview can have over the exam score. I'm not sure if the parents are actually interviewed or just have a general chat and get to ask any questions they have, I guess I will soon know the answer.
The school interview all candidates who have a chance of getting a place after the exams have been marked so they must separate candidates somehow based on the interviews. So, if we get the headmaster then I guess we are either borderline or scholarship and if we get another member of staff then we are more a safe middle of the road pass.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 2:40 pm 
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Last edited by Ladymuck on Sat Mar 21, 2015 5:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:11 pm 
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Ladymuck wrote:
Probably 70% or so of interviews are very unlikely change the outcome, and these tend to be shared out amongst the staff.


I wonder why they interview that 70% then? It seems a lot of work for so little benefit. Better just to interview the scholars and the borderline cases, and those without a thorough reference.


Last edited by NLMum27 on Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:36 pm 
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Location: N London
My sense is that interviews can change the outcomes quite significantly. These schools have more applicants who meet their criteria than places, they can afford to be picky. I guess indies have the luxury of having a little look at the DC, yes it's a restricted view, but combined with possible subtle messages in a head teachers report, it's a way of weeding out some who might not be a pleasure in the classroom/have been over coached but appear in practice to be distracted/disinterested or not that switched on? There must be a value in doing interviews, these schools are commercial enterprises so wouldn't waste the resource otherwise. I bet most seasoned teachers are capable of weeding out a couple of pains in the backside at least, and double checking that the exam results are not the result only of tutoring but that DC are interested and engaged.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 4:04 pm 
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My sense is this: private schools need bright kids as much as anyone, as they live and die on their results. So a child that has scored well in an entrance exam would have to be really dire at interview to then get rejected. A child who did ok but was kind of borderline might, without an interview, not make the grade and be rejected by the school but, because of the process of interviewing, at interview could come across as being fantastic - a real asset to the school and, therefore, the interview process means that they get offered a place. Hence the need to interview more than expected, despite it being an expensive process, in terms of staff time.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 4:29 pm 
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I think that for a very top selective school, there are more very bright children than available places. School would be very choosy and picky; child would need to be bright academically as well as able to offer extracurricular abilities - music, sports etc, besides having polished manners. However, then one wonders how some of the apparently very average children gets into some of the very top schools. Is there a quota for elite class? Or does donations do the trick? Or do feeder schools pull the strings?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 4:38 pm 
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I wonder how many children are invited to interview and then don't get offered a place. I do suspect part of the interview process is so the schools can ascertain how many children have sat exams for other schools and then from that information work out how many offers and reserve list places they need to make.
It must be very stressful for the children who have sat the exam, attended the interview and then not been offered a place. It's bad enough for those that get rejected after the exam but I suppose being invited to interview gives them some hope of a realistic chance of securing a place.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 5:04 pm 
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Last edited by Ladymuck on Sat Mar 21, 2015 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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