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The Importance of Preparing Children for Secondary Transfer

Grange Park Prep school

From September 2018 we will have a co-educational setting starting with Key Stage 1 – Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. This will enable us to now offer a mixed education, making us the only Prep School in N21 offering a top private education for boys and girls through to 11+. The move will be phased in gradually over four years and every year group will have both boys and girls by September 2024.

At GPPS we believe that it is our responsibility to prepare children for secondary transfer and to support parents through this process.  We are not an academically selective school on entry (what can you really assess in a 3-4 year old on?) because we feel it is much more important to have parents who are fully supportive of their child’s education and will work with us to get the very best out of them.

In preparing for the school entrance exams, both parents and child with the teachers support must first create mutually agreed and realistic targets. The word ‘realistic’ is crucial here, however counterintuitive it may feel.  Obviously, there is nothing wrong with aiming for the highest possible results or the “best” schools, but it is important for this ambition to be tempered with a realistic perspective of what the child is likely to achieve

Support of parents begins with an informal information-giving session in Year 4 and a list of all the schools with dates of open days, entry process details and exam dates.

We like to encourage our parents to visit schools, with their children from Year 4 so they can start to see which type of school would be suitable for their child.  This may be a local state school, grammar school or an independent school.  Whichever they choose, we believe that preparations for all children are necessary.

From January in Year 4 though to Year 6 we hold additional afterschool classes for the children to sit exam papers from a range of schools in Maths and English each week, we analyse the results to identify which areas require revising.  We have timetabled lessons within the school day to prepare children for Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning.

We help children to prepare a personal profile so that they can prepare for interview by reminding themselves of their skills and achievements. We prepare the children by taking additional exams within lessons, teach interview techniques and set up mock interviews to ensure that they are prepared in every way.

In Year 5 we meet with parents to give general advice on looking at and shortlisting schools.  At this meeting we also outline the demands of Year 5 and what parents can expect in the way of homework and how things will work in school.  Later on in the year we will meet with parents again on an individual basis to discuss in detail the child’s progress, school choices, give advice on these choices and any subject areas the child needs to work on, how to support your child through the process in maths, English and general issues to do with exam practice.  The summer exams in Year 5 are sat in the hall to emulate an official exam.

Once the exams are over and results are out we offer parents meetings to help decide if they are lucky enough to have a choice and/or what to do next if they have not received their chosen school.

Throughout the process it is important to remember and encourage parents that we are a mixed ability school and our advice to them is based on our knowledge of the individual children in our care.  This advice is based not only on the child’s capabilities but where we feel they will thrive and the best school to suit their personalities.

If you would like further information on the school or wish to visit, please give the school office a call to arrange an appointment.

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