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Common entrance 11+

Discussion in 'Independent' started by modgepodge, Sep 2, 2017.

  1. modgepodge

    modgepodge Occasional commenter

    I have some questions about preparing children for the common entrance taken in year 6 (most of the threads on here seem to relate to the year 8 exam). I'm about to start teaching in a prep school and will be teaching maths to children who will take this exam.

    What does it entail - I know English and maths, but also science? Verbal/non verbal reasoning?

    I've looked at the maths syllabus online. It looks largely similar to the NC, but practice papers I've seen include questions which wouldn't be covered in state schools any more - rotational symmetry for example. Is it a case of attempting to cover the entire y6 curriculum by Christmas? Clearly this isn't possible (if you only start in y6) - do people 'shift' the curriculum down and teach y6 stuff earlier to y4/5s who are ready to ensure coverage? I was intending to teach using white rose materials, but they are designed around a "mastery" curriculum, with ages spent on each topic; clearly this won't work if it all needs to be covered by Christmas!!

    Is it pass/fail, or do children just get told a %? And do different schools have different % they accept?

    Do most children attending private prep schools also have a tutor in your experiences, or do they rely just on school?

    Sorry if these are basic questions. I just don't want to seem unprepared in September, and a lot of the info on the website is locked down without a school log in. The school's previous maths teacher left a few months ago, and the people I've met so far at my school didn't seem hugely knowledgeable about the maths side of things. I'm worrie dim just going to be expected to get on with it and won't know where to start!
    install likes this.
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Where I teach, the grammar school exam is in September, so for Year 6 we don't do anything for 11+, but do offer some bits later for the private senior school entrance exams.

    Year 4 and 5 have dedicated 11+ lessons, with VR/NVR covered there. We also have specialist maths and English teaching from Year 4 to ensure a high standard of attainment. I don't teach maths or English in these years, but the teaching is at that expected for the age, though many more pupils are at greater depth than would be expected.

    In terms of the 11+, you will need to speak to your school. Some schools prepare, so will have to teach a higher level, others don't prepare at all. In some prep schools the 11+ isn't even a feature as almost all children go on to independent senior schools. It isn't common entrance in the same way as the 13+ exam. Grammar schools use it, but set their own papers, independents don't use it at all..

    Our pupils get told a standardised score. The grammar school is VERY popular and asks for something like 120+ to even be considered for a place. As it is a state grammar, the actual places aren't offered until the spring along with all other state senior places, so most pupils also apply to other senior schools.

    Many of ours do have a tutor.

    If there isn't a grammar school near your new school, chances are you won't do anything for 11+. Wait and ask when you get there. I didn't have a clue when I arrived a few years ago and now lead and co-ordinate the 11+ teaching!

    This is a great site, but wait and see if you need it before spending too much time looking.

    Good luck in your new school...hopefully, you'll wonder why you didn't switch years ago!
  3. modgepodge

    modgepodge Occasional commenter

    Thank you for the information, very helpful.

    I think there are 2 exams we are talking about here. There are state grammars in the area, so some children definitely do the 11+. I have tutored for that previously (albeit years ago) and know it includes VR, and for some NVR.

    However my prep school stops at y6, and there is definitely a common entrance exam involving a maths paper which the kids take in January and it definitely involves maths- I've found the past papers in the clsssroom. I think it is for the local private senior schools, which seem to start at 11, not 13.

    Our children have specialist maths and English teaching in the upper years too. Except for maths that teacher is me and I'm feeling a bit clueless!
    install likes this.
  4. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    The entrance exams in January will be set by the senior school and will be their own entrance exams. And yes there will be maths and English, but don't worry about them yet. Ask the head of maths when you arrive. We finish at 11 now as well, purely because the local senior schools dropped back to start at 11, so the pupils go.

    If there are state grammars, then yes they will largely be VR and NVR. Your school may or may not get involved in teaching these. Have you seen a timetable, are there dedicated lessons? If not, there may be an extra curricula club for those sitting the grammar school papers.

    You will find that people will be supportive and will help you out, try not to worry.
  5. modgepodge

    modgepodge Occasional commenter

    I'm the head of maths :D

    Thank you. I guess I'll have to just wait and see. Hopefully people will be nice!
  6. install

    install Star commenter

    Hi - in my experience many students have private tutors also.

    Feel free to pm me if you need to :):);)
  7. galerider123

    galerider123 Lead commenter

  8. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    I'd say the CGP books were very good for Maths. I know that the top HMC and GSA schools are after numeracy and literacy which is, ideally, a year ahead, although they rarely admit to this. My background is English and I don't need to tutor Maths, but I've noticed that my top students who get the scholarships and first offers seem to be good at chugging through Maths textbooks set a bit above their class year. It's especially important for ESOL students, as a very strong Maths score and a good English score from a child who ha she only been learning English four years prior to the exam seems to make the difference. It seems to show potential and ability, as they must know that language range and nuance improves over time, whereas a nine year old who is already adept at calculus can already prove their existing skill set. I say this because I coached a boy with weak grammar but excellent comprehension, promising vocabulary range and superb Maths skills, who got a scholarship.

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