- helping parents choose the best private preparatory or pre-preparatory school for their child

Fantastic fantastic fantastic! He absolutely loves it there and he is so happy. We have received a wonderful report and he loves the new headmaster. He has made some gorgeous friends and so far he has seen absolutely no bullying!! He has thrown himself into school life and to be honest he has done more at X in two months then he ever did during the three years at Y! Thank you so much and if you ever have any parents interested I would be only too willing to talk to them.

Mrs S W

Exams and Interviews

Entrance to Top Senior Schools

For entry at pre-prep level, at the age of 3 or 4, a school will want to know that a child is going to fit in and benefit from the education being offered. It is impossible to predict academic performance at 11+ at such a young age, but schools will be looking for signs that a child is interested in the world around them and generally engaged in whatever activity they are set.

A key part of the application and decision-making process will be a visit to a prospective school with your child, although parents often like to see a school without the child present first. A visit will normally involve an interview with the head teacher. Parents should use this as an opportunity to assess the general ethos and values of the school.

Some schools invite children to spend a morning at the school in groups of about 5-10 and they are observed in a variety of situations. In particular the school will want to know that a child is able to settle without a parent present, cope in the playground, take turns with other children and sit quietly and listen when necessary. Other schools will invite children to spend a taster day in school with current pupils. Such taster sessions are set up to be informal and enjoyable for the child, although the way they interact with their parents, staff and other children will certainly be observed.

At 7+ entry procedures are often more formal and children may be interviewed separately by the head teacher as well as observed in a classroom situation. Often children will be asked to bring in a book they particularly like as a starting point for discussion.

Most prep schools will set age-specific tests in English, Maths and non-verbal reasoning which provide them with standardised scores to measure the children by. Depending on the type of school, the results will be used either for selection purposes or simply to assess the general ability of the child.

The most competitive and academically selective prep schools set their own entrance exams. Children who have been registered by the deadline will normally be invited to sit the exams in the January of the year of entry. Schools will be looking for boys and girls who show a high level of potential and are likely to thrive in a dynamic academic environment. Schools generally provide sample papers on their websites.

Whilst schools generally state that it is not necessary for children to be specially prepared for entrance exams, in practice many parents prefer to engage the services of a private tutor to ensure the child has the best possible chance of success. A tutor can ensure that a child is familiar with the format and content of an exam which can give a child added confidence in what can be a very stressful process for a 7 or 8 year old.

Contact us on +44 (0) 1732 368767 for further information or if you would like us to recommend a specialist tutor in your area.