Time For Exams Again
Time for exams again
Preparing your child for entrance to a Grammar or Independent School From the time your child was very young you will have already started to prepare your child by reading to them, letting them practise colouring, teaching them the ABC,making sure they did their homework and giving them extra to do. Once they are at school you will have worked with their teachers to ensure they have the best chance of succeeding at this education business. As your child gets to around seven years old you are probably beginning to look at schools in your area, to attend their Open days - listen to every word that the Head teachers have to say and comparing them with what the other Head Teachers said to see how your child would fit in. You will have compared your schooling initially with the advanced technology you find in the schools today and tried to make sense of it all. You may even have passed by the school at closing time to see how the children behave when they leave school and endlessly questioned parents with older children. For those of you considering a private option you will have no doubt spent time with your financial advisor putting together sufficient funds to ensure that your children can go to that treasured school. However, one thing you know for sure you certainly don't want your child to go to a comprehensive school. This may be either because of your own experiences of them or it could be that the local school down the road has a terrible reputation or that their place in the recent league tables are not sufficiently high in your opinion to allow you to risk your child's future. Whatever happens, you know that your child will have to endure the selection process in order for them to have the best possible opportunities in your area as they approach year 6. For many parents, the stress becomes almost unbearable that their children may not succeed in getting into the selective school. So, what can they do to help their child. Well, I shall do my best to pen a few lines to help you to see what you can do. It remains a stable fact that most good schools are indeed very heavily over-subscribed and the more successful they become the more difficult it can become to get into. For this reason, you must select two schools both of which you would be happy for your child to attend because it is extremely likely that your child will end up in the second choice school purely because of the numbers game. The attitude you set with regard to the forthcoming examinations must be in a frame of calm relaxation. Children must accept it as part of the transition to secondary school and as one which they must take in their stride. It is vital that a child should never get the impression that they have failed at such a young age. This can severely damage their ego and damage their future prospects for later examinations. It must be remembered that many students either are not actually cut out for academia or they may be late developers and will probably not show maturity to their studies until they are nearly in year 11 (16 years old). Having said that, many students now succeed in getting many more qualifications, at the age of 16 than did when the previous generation left school. This proves that most schools have improved around the country and only few schools can seriously be considered to be failing their pupils. Usually, if you are opting for your first choice to be the local grammar school it is unlikely that there will be several grammar schools in the local area unless you are in an area which strongly believes in this system eg Slough which has three grammar schools in the immediate area. If this is the case, you will probably also be opting as a second choice as a fee paying school in which case you will have to register your child in preparation for invitation to sit the examination board with the option for bursaries or assisted places. This will normally incur a small charge for administration. For this reason, it can become very expensive if you decide to enrol your child in several schools in the area so it is imperative that you start looking around at least two years before your child enters year 6. At the entrance exam students will be expected to be proficient in English, Maths, Verbal and also sometimes non-verbal reasoning at every stage that they can enter the school ie 7,11,12,13,16. Common Entrance examinations will be tested across several curriculum subjects, not just the traditional English and Maths. Students taking Common Entrance usually take this at age 12 or 13. If you are attempting to gain entrance for your child for sixth form it will depend upon the grades your child attained at GCSE level usually together with an interview. It is also worth noting that some schools tend to be better known for students entering certain professions such as medicine. This means that emphasis will be upon extra A levels in for example Maths. Common problems with students achieving low marks in these examinations are usually for reasons like not allowing themselves enough time, not having good exam technique, not completing questions properly, answer the question incorrectly - these are common problems which students continue to fail to do right up to and including A level. This is where the role of the tutor comes in. An experienced teacher will have many past papers, and will have several exam techniques that she can teach her students enabling her students to gain confidence. Beware of group tuition in the early stages - whilst it is usually easier for the parent to allow their children to go to group tuition financially, the one to one method remains the preferred format so that children respond and learn more quickly in the area they need to practise. Also, beware that teachers and even many well intentioned head teachers at state schools will tell the parents of children that their child is bright enough not to require any preparation for the exams and this is precisely where students often fail because private school students will have been prepared for these exams for about three years beforehand making these students more likely to achieve success in the examinations even though they are even possibly less able. As a grammar school teacher myself I can quote many examples of students who enter school in year 7 having achieved top marks in their entrance examination but who struggle once in the school. This begs the question: Why tutor a child who is blatantly not ready for a much more intensified learning environment when they would be much better suited to top stream in a comprehensive school. However, it is a market that has been created by anxious parents and as such if you are in the 'market' you have to play the rules in order to succeed. So, what to do at home beside having a tutor? Keep regular appointments with your child with reading. Make them become lovers of books. Also, keep up with different Maths problems and puzzles . Teach them to enjoy them. When you go on holiday provide 'goody' bags of Maths books and English books to do to keep them occupied. This way they do not see learning as onerous. A note here is that mildly dyslexic children can sometimes encounter difficulties with sequencing, so if you notice that your child is struggling with this it may make sense to get them tested - your tutor should be able to access testing for this purpose. Students with other learning difficulties must be helped at the primary level as this can severely restrict their success when entering secondary school. The process of statementing is very lengthy and must be started at primary school. Students with a statement are entitled to extra assistance and even things like extra time in examinations so it is worth checking to see they are not being compromised by any learning difficulties. Nevertheless the attitude of the parents is the number one way you can help your child during this stressful time. Teach them to enjoy learning through example - you will see the results!
This resource was uploaded by: Julia