In Year 3 we start to talk to parents about preparing your children for Senior School entry. You meet with the Head Teacher to begin the discussion and planning. You will need to start attending Schools’ Open Mornings to get a feel of the schools for yourselves.
Only you know what you want for your child’s future, and what you can afford, although the Head Teacher can and will advise about possible choices. After that, time will be set aside to make sure that plans are taking shape and that we are ‘on track’.
Independent Senior Schools either have their own Entry Examination or the children sit the Common Entrance Examination (CE). All Senior Schools also rely on a written reference from the child’s present school about the child’s present grades, academic potential, social skills, strengths and weaknesses, work ethos, extra-curricular achievements and aptitudes, present and past responsibilities and commitment to school life. All Senior Schools have some sort of interview prior, or during the entry process.
Our preparation sessions cover:
Grammar Schools have clear entry guidelines. The offer of a place is based on Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning Tests (VR and NVR). We practise these tests from Year 5 onwards to get a ‘feel’ for the kind of question, timings and examination technique that your child will face. Your child will then be fully prepared to produce their ‘best’ on the day. Selection will then depend if their standardised score is one of the top 92, out of the hundreds of entries that are in that cohort.
There are a number of very good State Secondary Schools in Reading. Many of our children over the years have benefitted from the excellent grounding and care that they have had in their primary years with us before settling in and doing very well at a local Secondary School.
If you think your child is a possible Scholarship Candidate then you need to take advice from the Head Teacher as soon as possible. We will then develop a plan to push their strengths to the scholarship. The earlier we start preparing, the better. As scholarships are competition-based, each entry will depend on the strength of the child’s grades and who they are competing with on the day. There is also an interview about the subject and Head Teacher’s reference as part of the process. The Schools publish the minimum requirements on their websites.
Academic Scholarships may be awarded because of a strong performance in the School’s Entry Examination but more usually there will be a higher level Scholarship Exam to sit. The child will either be invited to sit this after a strong performance in the Entry Exam or CE, or will apply directly for the Academic Scholarship having at least the minimum requirements. This will be validated by us beforehand. The requirements for this are entirely up to the Senior School and may change from year to year.
Music Scholarships needs at least two instruments; around Grade 4 possibly Grade 5 if the competition is strong for the first, and possibly Grade 2 for the second instrument, and accompanying Theory Grade Tests. A good performance is expected on the day.
Sport Scholarships are tested on potential but the schools are looking for children who can be integral to their sports teams and sporting success; so mainstream school sports and team sports are more sought after.
Art Scholarships will require an accompanying portfolio of work. There will be a test on the day usually based on artistic skills, imagination and potential.
Drama Scholarships are usually based on LAMDA with Grade 3 as a minimum starting point. Again, skill and potential will be tested against other candidates. Performance on the day can swing it!
IT Scholarships also requires a portfolio of work for the child to show and a task will be set on the day.
Strong Drama/LAMDA, plus another discipline such as Dance or Voice.
All-Round Scholarships need strength in (usually) at least two of the disciplines above or the child is academically strong with a second strong discipline to offer. This need not be as high a grade as for an individual entry.
Some Senior Independent Schools give financial help for a child who they want for either their academic ability and/or a particular skill that fits into that school’s ethos or results plan. Bursaries are means-tested. It is best to talk to the school’s Registrar directly about the criteria for this.