Great Ballard Prep School. The most influential school years

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1 Great Ballard Prep School The most influential school years

2 Why Have This Meeting? To help you better understand Common Entrance and Scholarships and the process of getting your son or daughter into their next school. To give you a clearer idea of what is expected at each stage, both of your child, yourself and of Great Ballard. To identify factors to consider when choosing the next school. To reinforce reasons why a Great Ballard education is the best way to support your child s continued all round development.

3 What is Common Entrance? The Common Entrance Examinations are the principle method used by the majority of independent senior schools we send children on to. They use it to assess whether a child has the academic foundation and potential to do well at their school. It is confirmation to the senior schools that the children have achieved a suitable standard in a wide range of academic subjects. Importantly, it is not the only criteria for selection. At Great Ballard the children in their final two years will follow the 13+ Common Entrance Syllabus. This provides the children with an acknowledged broad and high quality academic education. Some of the work covered in Form 6 lays the foundations down for this syllabus.

4 Senior School Scholarships During Form 7 & 8 we will identify those children with the potential to sit for an Academic Scholarship. We will then need to extend their learning in order to cover the additional expectations of the scholarship papers. Any decisions about entry for an award will be discussed with parents. The academic scholarship papers are set and marked by the senior school. These exams normally take place during the Spring Term.. However, any child in Form 8, if they have the ability, attitude and potential, could be entered for a music, sport, art, drama or all-rounder scholarship. We will then work with the children to prepare them appropriately. Any decision about formal entry for scholarships must always be made in close consultation with the school. The standards are very high and all entries MUST have the strong support of the school. Final entry deadlines are normally early in the Spring term.

5 The 13+ Common Entrance Syllabus The syllabus and exams themselves are set by the Independent Schools Examination Board ISEB. This centralised group determines the syllabus and prepares and sends out the exams to the prep schools. The subjects covered are highlighted next. Note: there are two or three ability levels in some core subjects. The ISEB website will give you further details about the Common Entrance Syllabus itself. There are subject links on the curriculum information area of our website. (See examples of 13+ exam papers)

6 What is Examined? English-Comprehension, creative writing and literature (2 levels) Mathematics (3 levels) Geography Includes a project worth 20% Religious Studies Science Physics, Biology and Chemistry (2 levels) French includes a speaking and listening exam (2 levels) History Latin Not always compulsory Children with formal evidence of additional support needs can be given further time in the examinations.

7 The Common Entrance Exams The children sit the actual 13+ Common Entrance exams at all Prep Schools straight after half term in the Summer term. These ISEB papers are then sent to, and marked by, the specific senior school each child is registered with. Thus, you can only choose one senior school, which MUST be selected ideally, at the very latest by January of the year of entry. Each senior school has their own academic entrance standard, as a result the pass grade can vary slightly from school to school depending on how selective the school is.

8 Other Factors Considered A written report from the Headmaster which highlights talent and ability in other areas. These can be in sport, music, drama, art or specific other activities etc, as well as any responsibilities the children may have. A supportive comment on behaviour and attitude to school and academic work. This must be an honest view, and I do endeavour to be as positive as I can, which is normally very easy. To an extent any previous interest you have shown, or family links with the school.

9 How do senior schools know about their prospective pupils progress? Once a child is registered, we will keep the senior school updated about progress. If there are any potential concerns, we initially talk directly with you and then, if appropriate, the Head of the senior school. Nobody wants a child to fail entry. The senior schools will receive a full written report from myself just prior to the exams. Be reassured, Great Ballard has an outstanding record of success at CE. We have sent hundreds of children to many different senior schools all over the UK.

10 How do we prepare the children? We follow the set syllabus in each subject. This means that we know and can prepare for the topics which are likely to be included in exams. We ensure that the children have covered a wide range of potential questions by going through past papers in great detail. We advise on exam preparation, revision methods and techniques. The children will have regular examination experience in Forms 7 & 8. We strive to develop each child s confidence and raise their own expectations of success.

11 How can you help? By being here tonight! You should have a clearer understanding of the process. Establish a good balance between work and play. Try and establish clear routines at home for ensuring that any school work or exam revision timetables we give out are completed properly. If you have any concerns, do speak to the subject teacher. As Common Entrance exams approach do expect both your child and yourself to be a little nervous. This is normal; wait until GCSE or A level! Remember, the staff take pride in their subjects and we also want them to do well.

12 Selection for Scholarships Any child in Form 8 with exceptional ability has the opportunity to enter for a scholarship. Children must have strong school support for all scholarship applications. This will be discussed with you. Based on experience we are aware of the senior schools scholarship standards and expectations. Decisions for entry are based on ability, attitude and potential. Final decisions about this normally only take place in Form 8. We help to prepare children for the various scholarships. This includes preparations for interviews or practical assessments.

13 Scholarship Preparation Academic Greater emphasis on interpretation of knowledge and additional or a higher level of work Music Prepare musical piece/s for assessment day, usually at least two instruments. They may well need grade 5 theory of music as well. Sport Practical assessment and external references Art Portfolio of work / practical assessment day Drama Practical assessment day, evidence of public performances All-Rounder Practical assessments usually in at least two areas Sport, music, art, drama etc. These can vary between schools. PLUS, all non academic scholarships may need additional references, a CV of past successes/ability and possibly an interview.

14 Scholarship Success Great Ballard has an enviable record of scholarship success. In the last 5 years alone, we have been awarded 36 different scholarships. These include many academic, as well as all-rounder, music, art, drama and sports scholarships. Note - scholarships vary in monetary value. They are generally less than in the past, and it is now usual practice to potentially supplement any awards with means tested bursaries. There is understandably an expectation to continue sport, music, art, drama etc at the senior school.

15 Which School? This is never an easy decision. If you want some initial advice, do arrange a meeting with me. Collate information - get a prospectus, look at the website, read inspection reports and educational guides and speak to other parents. Do go to an Open Day, but do also visit again on a normal day for a personal tour and, ideally, a meeting with the Head. Come to our Senior Schools Fair which I am looking to host next year. This is a good way to initially speak to lots of schools.

16 How Do You Decide? This involves a number of factors:- Which it the most appropriate school to meet the many and varied needs of your child? What are these? Do the academic standards and subject options available meet your future expectations e.g. GCSE, A Levels, or International Baccalaureate? Priority of specific sports and extra curricular opportunities at the school. Day or boarding? What are the financial implications? How does the school fit in with your family logistics? What does your 12/13 year old child/young adult think? Gut feeling! Read my article published in Sussex Life recently!

17 Other Things To Consider You yourself will need to consider all sorts of issues and should discuss them with your son/daughter. These points may include: Co-educational or single sex Day, boarding or a combination Traditional or progressive Large or small Rural or urban Size of sixth form Academically competitive Wide all round curriculum Religious direction The list could be a lot longer, you need to clarify exactly what you and your child want from their Senior School education.

18 What Happens Next? Once you have made a decision Register with the school this usually involves a non returnable deposit, but it will reserve a place for your child subject to them meeting their entrance requirements. Let us know. This will enable us to start communicating with the school and appropriately prepare children for any early entrance tests, Common Entrance or, if appropriate, a Scholarship. The senior school will then communicate directly with you, as well as liaising with us to ensure that things are progressing as expected. If there are any concerns we will discuss these at an early opportunity with you.

19 The Benefits of Forms 7 and 8 Compared to senior schools we are a small school offering a more personalised education which can provide greater individual support which promotes academic, pastoral and social progress. Specialist prep school teachers, not senior school staff in 11 to 18 schools who may well prefer to be teaching their GCSE or A level students, which is why they are at Senior Schools. A clearly focused academic standard, therefore, there is no treading of water as is often experienced in the first few years of most senior schools. Common Entrance is in many ways approaching a GCSE standard of work. However, different ability levels at the prep school can still be catered for through the different levels in the core subjects. For able children, Scholarship level is well above this!

20 The Benefits of Form 7 and 8 The opportunity to take on positions of responsibility, to be good role models who other children will look up to, and generally just enjoy being at the top end of the school. It is a recognised fact that children who experience positions of responsibility at 13 in Prep schools often take on similar responsibilities at senior school. To mature in a known, safe environment at an important developmental age, and be much better prepared, confident, and self aware for the harsher, more street-wise, environment of a senior school. There is a massive difference between a child of 11 and a young adult of 13. Your children can be children for longer!

21 The Benefits of Form 7 and 8 Children in Form 7 and 8 usually have better access to the best facilities and extra curricular staff. Priority in senior schools understandably, is often with the older children. Because of significantly increased pupil numbers the opportunities to be in school teams, productions etc are often greatly diminished. This can prove to be very de-motivating for a child who is used to being involved. Finally, if you do want to go to a particular senior school, in virtually every instance this is also possible at 13+. I know because I have asked every Headmaster I have visited! Great Ballard does have an excellent reputation and senior schools want our children, because they know they will have had a first class all-round education, and will contribute a great deal to many different areas of senior school life and invariably achieve a great deal at the end of their schooling, which looks good for them!

22 Hopefully things are a little clearer! Any Questions?

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