We would like to share some exclusive insights with you from our fantastic ‘Demystifying the 11+, 13+ and Pre-tests’ event. Here are our top Headteachers’ Top Tips:
How to choose the right school:
- Go with your gut instinct and ask yourself if you would be happy there as a parent.
- Consider the importance of the location and travel logistics.
- Look for a school that suits your child now, don’t start from an imagined future.
- When choosing between co-educational and single-sex schools, the differences are often exaggerated. It is more important to look for a school that is well-run.
- When considering the right entry point, if there is a healthy number of places available, 13+ is recommended for preparatory school pupils to flourish and take up responsibilities such as being a prefect.
- Children should voice their enthusiasm to get involved in all areas of school life.
- It’s normal for children to be shy at interview but being kind, keen and polite are the key attributes that interviewers will be looking for.
How to support your child’s well-rounded education:
- Read stories as often as possible
- Encourage regular family meals
- Ensure the youngest is heard as much as oldest
- Praise effort as much as outcome
- Notice their interests and encourage hobbies
- Know the names of your child’s friends
- Be consistent
- Plan simple outings – for example, visiting one painting in one gallery
- Encourage experiences of the natural world – a walk by the sea
- Love them unconditionally and tell them so often
Mrs Vivienne Durham, our Director of Schools Advisory and formerly the award-winning Headmistress of Francis Holland School, Regent’s Park, hosted the keynote speakers Adam Pettitt (Highgate School), Dr Katy Ricks (Sevenoaks School) and Ben Thomas (Thomas’s Battersea).
Mr Pettitt expressed his intentions to ‘detoxify’ the 11+ and advised parents to ‘retain perspective’. Mr Thomas echoed this sentiment and advised parents to look for a nurturing environment that would meet the needs and interests of their children now and not to ‘chase the brand’ of a school. Dr Ricks reassured parents that their children will be happy if they ‘go with their gut instinct’ when selecting a senior school.
The overarching message of the event highlighted that successful preparation goes beyond practising exam technique. The key lies in finding a healthy balance in order to prepare, but not overwhelm, your child when applying for senior schools.