Senior School Preparation
We take pride in the quality of the guidance we offer parents when it comes to choosing a senior school, ensuring that we find the right senior school for every child.
There is no doubt that the pressure on places at independent senior schools has increased in recent years. Advice to parents begins formally in the Summer Term of Year 4 with a general presentation about how the whole process works, including applying for Scholarships and Bursaries, followed by a one-to-one meeting to discuss your child and plan for their next steps. This meeting is the start of continued communication between parents and the school. We will continue to advise and guide parents until the last day of Year 6 at Rupert House.
Rupert House families are interested in a wide range of schools, both day and boarding, with entrance at both 11+ and 13+. Last year we sent a class of 22 children to 9 different schools. We have built strong relationships with all of these schools and many more to ensure that the transition for all children is smooth.
In addition, every two years, we organise a Senior Schools Fair. At our last fair, we had representatives from a number of schools whch was a fantastic opportunity for parents to meet Heads and senior staff.
The information below will provide you with the answers to many of the common questions surrounding the preparation for senior school at Rupert House. If you have any further queries, please contact Alice Fletcher, Deputy Head Academic.
Who puts a child’s name down for a senior school and signs them up for the assessments?
It is the parent’s responsibility to register a child for a senior school, Rupert House is not able to do this for you.
The only exception to this is if you are applying for a school that requires your child to sit the 11+ Common Entrance (Downe House is about the only one locally) you will need to register your child for the school and then Rupert House will register your child for the 11+ Common Entrance exam
Whose responsibility is it to get the child to the assessment day?
It is the parent’s responsibility to check all paperwork received from the senior school and get the child to the assessment. The only exception to this is the 11+ Common Entrance and the 13+ Pre-test assessments, which are run and invigilated by me at Rupert House, during the school day. The CAT test for entrance to Wycombe Abbey will be invigilated at Rupert House. Other schools may also ask us to do this
How do we prepare children for interviews at Rupert House?
We prepare the children thoroughly for the interviews and assessment days the children will have as part of many of the schools’ processes. Mr Armitage talks with the children about what to expect in the interviews, how to come across well, and the sorts of questions they may be asked. The children have interview practice with a retired headteacher, who works with them on interview tips and gives each of them a mock interview. We find that by doing this with an external person, it gives them more practice of talking to someone unknown to them. He has many years’ experience in preparing children for interviews and has been working successfully with Rupert House for a number of years. Mr Armitage also tends to meet with the children in advance of their senior school assessment days or scholarship attempts to ensure they are well-prepared and approach them with confidence
Who puts a child’s name forward for a scholarship – school or parents?
Subject teachers will have contacted some parents in Year 5 about scholarships, but it is also worth contacting the teacher yourself if you would like to apply for a scholarship. Parents are responsible for registering their child for a scholarship and keeping the senior school updated about changes in their plans or choices. Information about this can be found on the senior school’s website or by contacting them directly
Whose responsibility is it to get scholarship references from external club/activity providers?
Rupert House will organise references from our teachers, necessary club providers and peri music teachers. It is the parent’s responsibility to get scholarship references from external club/activity providers.
What are CEM tests, GL tests and CAT tests? Is there anything parents should be doing at home to practise for these?
CAT tests (also known as CAT4) are a set of tests that are designed to help schools understand children’s abilities and likely academic potential. We do annual CAT tests with our children from Year 3 so they are well-practiced at these. We use them to inform our teaching and set targets. Some senior schools (Wycombe Abbey and The Oratory, for example) ask children to carry out CAT testing as part of their entrance process.
CEM and GL are two different types of 11+ exams that cover a lot of the same content but are slightly different. The children learn to answer these styles of questions in their Reasoning Lessons.
Please encourage your child to complete their homework, including reading daily. There is nothing additional that you will need to do at home in preparation for the entrance exams.
Are the children prepared for their individual schools eg. are the ones going for SHSK given more challenging work to prepare them for the exam?
Although all senior school exams cover similar content, they are all slightly different in their approaches and our extensive experience in this, as well as our strong relationships with the senior schools, ensure that we prepare children for the specific assessment they are sitting. You may find that children receive different homework in the run up to the exams, aimed at skills and knowledge that are more specific to the exams they are sitting.
How do I help my child with exam stress?
Senior school entrance exams can be a source of stress for Year 6 children, however Rupert House children tend to approach them calmly as they have been thoroughly prepared, and staff and parents are incredibly supportive. This year we have more pastoral and mental health support at Rupert House than ever before, including PSHE and wellbeing lessons, an introduction to different mindfulness techniques as part of Move to Think, as well as a new dedicated mental health lead within the school. At home, you can help by:
- Listening to their concerns
- Encouraging healthy routines
- Promoting a sense of perspective
- Trying to keep calm and be positive yourself