Our partner CJA Educational Consultancy has written a blog to help South West London parents find the right school for your child.
Advice for SW London parents – finding the right school for your child…
Over the past ten year’s competition for places from nursery, through to Sixth Form, has become something that many parents face in London. Depending on whether you live in the correct catchment area and get a good local school, or decide to go to an independent school, there are many different entrance procedures and in some cases tests – depending on each individual school procedure. The biggest hurdle parents may contend with, if they have not found a suitable local maintained school, can be ensuring they have registered their child for schools in time, the entrance procedures and academic selection process.
Entrance Exams and Procedures
Nursery entrance depends on your borough, where you live and availability of places in maintained schools. Some schools have feeder nurseries and later may require an entrance assessment for Reception. Many independent schools set their own entrance requirements from 7 plus onwards. Maintained schools can vary, but tend to focus on English, Maths and/or Verbal and Non Verbal Reasoning. The same applies to the many different independent schools, which each set their own papers and have developed their own entrance procedures. Some schools list recommended revision papers and models and others do not. Researching each schools requirements and procedures is fundamental to this process. Some children will be able to sit one test for more than one school such as ‘the Wandsworth Year 6 test’ or the ‘North London Schools Consortium’, which reduces the number of exams a child sits and the stress and worry for both the child and parents. Many schools require an early registration and set pre-tests in Year 6 for entry in Year 9.
Researching and visiting schools is vital
If you can attend the Independent Schools Show in Battersea Park or Senior Schools Fairs at local schools where many schools are represented and senior staff are often present to speak to you about their particular school and ethos. This can narrow down the time needed visiting individual schools and limit time taken off work. Further down the line, it can be beneficial to have your child/children with you as they get older they often form opinions and this can impact how hard they work and their desire to do well in any tests that they sit. Needless to say, it is also important to take into consideration if this is the best fit school for your child; a school strong in Maths and Science will not suit a theatrical and artistic child. If it is very academic – will they thrive or sink in that environment? It is always important to be realistic in any expectation we have of our children – neither of mine are set to be Scientists!
Considering all the options…
The nature of demand and supply has put increasing pressure on places for children in London, and increasingly beyond, and with the baby boom that began in 2007, this is likely to continue. New schools are opening in response to this increased pressure, but it is always worth considering the schools that are on the outskirts, are perhaps less well known and in some cases (if not geographically possible) then is boarding a consideration? This may lessen the stress placed on both the parents and the child.
- Register your child for any schools well in advance.
- Listen to the advice you are given by your current school/Head.
- Visit nurseries and schools on Open Days and visit your favourite schools more than once.
- Read OFSTED and ISI reports.
- Try to read and work with your child whether baking, doing puzzles, making Lego or robotics to support their learning – it is all part of the skill set that the school will be preparing them for in Math’s, English and in the Extra Curriculum.
- Do let your child express themselves and pursue their interests across the board whether sport, music or art – these are all strings to their bows.
- Try to be open to more than one option.
- Know that the right school will find you
CJA Educational Consultancy can support parents from pregnancy and initial nursery choices through to senior school.
CJA Educational Consultancy are offering Clapham Mums the first tutorial at half price.