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☰ The 11+ Journey by Mrs Hawkins

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The 11+ Journey by Mrs Hawkins

Posted on: 27 Apr 2021 by Weston Green School

As a preparatory school, our job at WGS is to prepare children for the next stage of their education and particularly for the selection process that is required for entry to the majority of independent secondary schools. At WGS we have an excellent track record of doing this. I am fortunate enough to be responsible for this process and the superb team of people who make it happen every year and in this blog I want to outline for you how it all works.

Experience has taught us that securing a place at the right school for every child is very much a team effort and requires us all to play our part and to trust each other to do so. The job of parents is to do their research, whilst being guided by us. Between us, we know your children very well, and we know the local schools well too but ultimately parents will know best what suits their family. Parents should always have in mind their own child - this might sound obvious, but we appreciate that it can be hard to ignore the playground/Whatsapp chatter! Every child will have very different strengths and weaknesses; no two children are the same, and what suits one would be quite inappropriate for another. Moreover, schools change and what may have been true of a school a few years ago, may well not be true today. 

On our website, we have a very comprehensive 11+ guide which lists the schools in this area which parents have applied to over the past few years and gives some basic details about each school. It is a very useful starting point, so please do look at it if you haven’t already. The booklet also provides information about our rigorous preparation process and our Key Stage Two curriculum which will prepare your child for their entrance exams. You can find it here.

It is also our job to engage in honest and open dialogue with parents - the booklet outlines in a clear timeline what you can expect at each stage in the process, including very important individual consultation meetings in Y5 which are key to helping parents find the right “fit” for their child. 

Almost all the local independent schools have some sort of entrance exam, regardless of how “academic” or not their profile. These exams differ from school to school (unlike in some counties where all the children sit one single 11+ exam). But the focus of all the exams in maths and English, sometimes with the addition of general knowledge, and reasoning in the form of Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Increasingly schools are using an online testing process - and particularly in the current situation but our pupils at WGS are used to taking online tests. There is often, but not always, an interview element, and if you are applying for a scholarship – perhaps in art or sport – your child may be invited to take part in other specialist selection processes.  In Y6 we devote time each week in the autumn term to preparing for these interviews and building the children’s confidence when talking about themselves. 

At WGS we have a strong team of staff who are highly experienced in the 11+ process and who confidently prepare pupils for every element of the selection process. We understand the stresses and strains for children and their parents and are confident that throughout the process we offer the very best support, both academically and pastorally.  Our results this year, as in preceding years, are testament to this; once again we are proud to say that all our pupils have gained places at schools of their choice, with a total of 40 offers being received from 19 schools. 

On a personal note, I would like to say well done to all our Year 6 children. Your hard work, dedication and focus throughout this difficult year have paid off and I hope you thoroughly enjoy all the fun activities we have planned for the rest of this term.

Mrs Hawkins

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