Future School Preparation A guide for Windlesham Parents Windlesham House School
A few words from Ben Evans
The process can seem daunting and in recent years there have been the additional challenges of early pre-testing, changing admissions procedures and no common route. Each school can be different but we are here to help! Our strong home-school partnership will ensure that we guide and support parents in your decision making using our deep of understanding of each individual child and their future school requirements. Our curriculum will naturally but rigorously prepare children for senior school examinations and the ISEB Pre-Test in year 6 without losing any essential creativity or the joy of learning. In addition, we will build in speciﬁc study skills sessions to familiarise children with the computerised standardised assessments they will be taking. Our priority is to ensure that the children are effectively prepared for the examinations and the transition to senior schools but without undue pressure and anxiety. We want them to thrive in the Windlesham environment enjoying the breath of the curriculum and wealth of co-curricular opportunities and experiences. I hope the following future schools booklet is helpful and please do contact us for further advice at any time. Best wishes Ben
CONTENTS Year 3
Year by year checklist
Your focus for this year should be to continue to enjoy the opportunities available to you and your child here at Windlesham. Get as involved as you can and start to get to know other parents, pupils and our staff. Windlesham will provide various opportunities throughout the year for you to come into school for both academic, pastoral and social events. These will be published in our termly school calendar. Just as we get to know your child, it is equally as important for us to get to know you, and in turn, you get to know the staff here at Windlesham. The better we understand you and your child, the better able we will be to advise you about the next steps in your child’s academic journey
The majority of senior schools will not require you to do anything speciﬁc at this stage. It will be important that you continue to keep the notion of choosing a senior school at the back of your mind, in case you ﬁnd schools of interest. There are however, some schools who will require early preparation on your part. Schools such as Eton, Winchester, Radley, Uppingham etc either close their lists as soon as they are full, or they operate a ﬁrst come ﬁrst served basis. If you think schools like this may be an option for your son or daughter then please start your preparation as early as possible. If you are unsure whether the school that you want operates a closed list system, please do not hesitate to contact our Assistant Head (Academic) who will be able to advise you.
Choosing a senior school The process of choosing your child’s senior school can be complicated and worrying for any parent. Throughout the whole process, the most important thing to bear in mind is what your child is like. Listen to advice from Windlesham and talk to us about your ideas. Visit plenty of schools, and don’t be afraid to ask questions while you are there. If you are looking at a highly selective school, ask what they require and listen to the opinions of Windlesham staff. Listen to all the advice you can get – from us, from the senior schools, and from other parents: But, be certain that you are listening to genuine advice. Don’t let rumours and gossip sway your decision making! School’s do change over time so it’s worth doing your own research to ensure they still offer what you are looking for. Please bear in mind that many schools offer places not just on academic ability. Schools do expect their standards to be met, but ultimately can decide to offer places on the extra-curricular activities that a child is involved in. Now is the time to encourage your child to play a musical instrument, join the choir, aim to be in a sports team etc.
The school’s reputation
Gender - co-educational or a single sex school
The school’s proﬁle - day or boarding
Proximity to your home - how far do you want to travel?
The style of the school - academically rigorous vs extracurricular pursuits
The school’s ethos
Are the premises well maintained and well presented?
Weighing up all of the above, is the school right for your child?
Publications such as ‘The Good School’s Guide’, ‘Tatler’ and ‘The Week’ could be useful points of reference alongside the school websites and open days
Narrow down your choices For most people, now is the time to start looking at some of the schools you have been hearing about: send off for prospectuses, look at websites and attend open days. It will be towards the end of year 5 that you should be thinking about registering your child for senior schools. At this stage we would advise that this is something you do on your own; perhaps involving your child in discussions once you have narrowed down your choices.
Keeping Windlesham informed Our Assistant Head (Academic) is here to guide you through the senior school process and offer you guidance. With responsibility for the exit process, they will hold information on many schools. It is also the responsibility of the Assistant Head (Academic) to ensure your child is ready and well prepared for their assessments and liaise with their potential future schools so it is critical that you keep us informed of your choices so that we can support you in the best way possible. Being informed is also critical as this allows us to verify whether the correct pupils have been registered for the common pre-tests.
Entry processes and examinations Each school will have their own entry process which is likely to include a combination of assessment, interview and references. Increasingly, schools are asking for 11+ pre-tests (for 13+ places) and these start in October of year 6 with possible further assessment of pupils through Common Entrance (CE) in June of year 8, although this is becoming less common. Therefore, pupils need to be registered at their chosen schools in advance by parents to be involved in this process. If you have any questions or concerns about the registration process, please contact Pippa Sutcliffe.
What are Common pre-tests? The Common Pre-Tests are age-standardised tests used to assess pupils' attainment and potential. Tests are usually taken online, administered here at Windlesham by our Assistant Head (Academic), and consist of multiple choice tests in maths, English, verbal and non-verbal reasoning as well as a group, or more likely, an individual interview. If a child is required to sit the common pre-tests, the senior school will complete this process. As a parent, you will not be required to do anything other than to ensure your child is registered at your chosen school(s). If a child is applying to multiple schools, they will only take the pre-test once. The set of results obtained will be shared with all schools registering your child. It is important that you inform prospective senior schools if your child has already taken the Common Pre-Tests. In the very unlikely event of a candidate taking the tests more than once within a single academic year, the school(s) will be informed and the ﬁrst set of results will stand.
How will Windlesham prepare your child? Our Maths and English syllabuses do cover all the areas of the common pre-tests, but to familiarise pupils with the format, Windlesham has subscribed to ATOM Learning and your child will be able to practise using this program until they take their test in year 6 or year 7. ATOM Learning enables pupils to practise all of the four areas of the pre-tests. The tests are adaptive, so they focus on the areas the pupil needs to work on. There are short tests of 10 minutes and then longer ones which are the same length as the actual tests. Practising for these tests will take place in English and Maths lessons and the year 5s will have one prep each week to practise for the verbal and non-verbal reasoning. Your child will be provided with their own username and password which can be used on any computer or iPad at home or in school. Further information can be found by looking at the Independent Schools Examinations Board (ISEB) website: Common Pre-Tests.
Verbal Reasoning (VR) and Non-Verbal Reasoning (NVR) Testing At Windlesham, we have dedicated time set aside to practise these skills with your child. Verbal reasoning (VR) is, by deﬁnition, ‘understanding and reasoning using concepts framed in words – it aims at evaluating the ability to think constructively rather than just recognise vocabulary’. Verbal reasoning is a test of a skill rather than a test of learned knowledge. The subject is used to determine a child’s critical thinking skills, as well as their ability to use their own knowledge to solve a problem. Non-verbal reasoning (NVR) tests are designed to assess how well a child can analyse visual information and solve problems by using visual logic. The questions involve code and shape sequences, where children will be asked to deduce how they relate to each other.
School References Once you have registered your child at your chosen school(s), they will begin the process of contacting Windlesham for a reference. A standard reference will require information about your child’s attitudes to learning, their personal attributes, talents and interests, how they contribute to school life (participation in clubs, concerts etc) and whether or not there are any particular support requirements that may be pertinent to the application. Within school, our staff always strive to know your children well, from their academic performance and potential, their skills, strengths and interests as well as their talents and achievements. What we may not know as well, is what they get up to outside of school. And this is where we need your help. Remember that schools will be very interested in your child’s extra-curricular activities: clubs they are involved in, competitions they have won, choirs they sing with, the possibilities are endless. What is important here is that you may know something that could really make your child stand alongside their academic achievements. Within school, we start building your child’s reference as soon as we can, noting achievements, moments that matter, success stories and anecdotes. To help us complete the picture we ask you to begin completing, together with your child, their Personal Achievement Record. We know that some children may not always be forthcoming with their achievements. We need you to help them to shine. This will be a live document that can continue to be added to. Your child will be invited to join a google classroom dedicated to their Personal Achievement Record. If you have not received an invite, please email either the Headmaster’s PA or the Assistant Head (Academic) who will gladly ensure this is set up.
Final School Choices Now is the time that you should be narrowing down your choices of senior school. Talk to us about your plans and register your child if you have not already done so. Increasingly, schools are asking for 11+ pre-tests (for 13+ places) and these start in October of Year 6, so pupils need to be registered by parents to be involved in this.
Year 7 is the main age of entry to grammar or state sector schools and competition at some schools can be high. If your son or daughter will attend a state sector school, you will need to contact your Local Authority during the start of the Autumn term of year 6.
School References Ensure your child’s Personal Achievement Record is updated regularly from this point on so that Windlesham can be kept in touch with progress and updates.
Common Pre-Tests - A reminder If your child is required to sit the common pre-tests, the senior school will complete this process. As a parent, you will not be required to do anything. If your child is applying to multiple schools, they will only take the pre-tests once. The set of results obtained will be shared with all schools registering your child. It is important that you inform prospective senior schools if your child has already taken the Common Pre-Tests. In the very unlikely event of a candidate taking the tests more than once within a single academic year, the school(s) will be informed and the ﬁrst set of results will stand.
Preparing your child for interview As part of the application process, many schools will want to interview your child. Here at Windlesham, we work hard to prepare all children for their interviews. For many, this will be the ﬁrst time that they have been in such a situation and as a result, may feel nervous. It is standard process that your child will have interview preparation with at least one member of our Senior Leadership Team as well as the Headmaster. The number of sessions that your child receives will very much depend on their individual needs. These interviews will be organised internally via Form Teachers and Houseparents. You can continue to support your child at home by practising typical questions that might come up (a help sheet can be found at the bottom of this document). Look at the school’s website together and discuss what the school offers so you child can talk conﬁdently about why they want to attend their chosen school.
Offers of places In general, many senior schools will conﬁrm whether or not your child has an offer of a place at their school between January and March of year 6. There will, of course, be exceptions to this rule. It is likely that your child will receive one of the below responses
Your child’s place is secure, regardless of any exam results.
Your child’s place will be conditional on a particular requirement which will be stated by the senior school. This may be to receive a satisfactory reference in year 8, or the achievement of a certain grade in their ﬁnal exams
Some schools will hold a waiting list. This means that they are keen for your child to attend their school, but their present circumstances mean that they do not have any additional places
Your child has not been offered a place
What do I do if my child has not got a place at their chosen school? In the ﬁrst instance, please do not panic. The best course of action would be to book an appointment with the Headmaster and Assistant Head (Academic) to discuss your options. Please contact the Headmaster’s PA to make an appointment.
Will I receive feedback if my child is not accepted to a school? It is unlikely that you will receive any in-depth feedback. If you have concerns, please do come and speak to us so that we can help in any way that we can.
If you have not already made your ﬁnal decision, now is the time. It is not usually advisable to prepare pupils for more than one, possibly two, schools. Talk to the Headmaster and Assistant Head (Academic) to discuss your decision, and listen to the advice you hear from them and from the senior school
Pre-Tests and assessments Although more schools are asking children to sit Common pre-tests in year 6, a number of schools will ask your child to attend a pre-test or an interview at this stage in year 7. Although we keep close contact with all senior schools, it may be that you are informed of assessments before we are here at school, so we would ask you to keep us up to date with any information that you receive. The Headmaster will continue to conduct practice interviews in preparation for any assessments the week before your appointment
Scholarships Throughout your child’s time at Windlesham, their teachers will have been carefully observing their skills and talents and by year 7, will have a good understanding of their potential as a scholar. It would be the school’s preference that we would approach you in the ﬁrst instance to recommend that your child is showing the potential required to apply for a scholarship. However, we always welcome your input and would ask you to contact the Assistant Head (Academic) should you be considering putting your child forward for a scholarship. Please read the speciﬁc section on scholarships for further information
By now, together with your child, you will have chosen your senior school. Now is the time for your child to focus on their end of year examinations, ensuring that any conditions that have been asked of their senior school are met
Headmaster’s Reference It is likely that any references required by senior schools will have already been submitted. However, in instances where your child is applying for a scholarships, or indeed, where a senior school has requested an updated reference ahead of conﬁrming their offer, a further reference will be required. It is important that all the details we hold are up to date. Therefore, we would encourage you to continue to keep your Personal Achievement Record up to date so we are aware of your child’s most recent achievements
Late applications to senior schools There will, of course, always be situations where late applications to senior schools will be required. If you ﬁnd yourself in these circumstances, please book an appointment with the Headmaster and Assistant Head (Academic) who will be able to guide you
Accepted Senior Schools (Class of 2020)
25% of Year 8 pupils gained scholarships to senior schools in 2019
It would be the school’s preference that we would approach you in the ﬁrst instance to recommend that your child is showing the potential required to apply for a scholarship. However, we always welcome your input and would ask you to contact the Assistant Head (Academic) should you be considering putting your child forward for a scholarship
The application process In order to apply for a scholarship, in most circumstances your child must have been offered a place at the school. Applications processes vary by school. In all instances, we would ask that application forms are ﬁlled out and signed by you and then submitted to Windlesham for review, collation of required documents and ﬁnal submission to the senior school. We ask that all forms come via Windlesham so that we are aware of every application being made and can ensure that any deadlines or request are met
Selecting the right scholarship In order to apply for a scholarship, in most cases, your child must have been offered a place at the senior school in the ﬁrst instance. It is not necessarily a requirement that you will have had to accept that place. Some schools will allow you to apply for a scholarship regardless of whether your child has a place. It is advisable that no child applies for any more than 3 scholarships. Typically scholarships will be available in the following categories: ● ● ● ● ● ● ●
Art Drama Music Performing Arts Sports Academic All-rounder
Expectations for each award vary, but you should expect standards to be high and exacting. For example, if you are applying for a sports scholarship, does your child compete at county level or above? As a music scholar, scholls will expect a child to be accomplished in their chosen instrument, and in many instances will expect that more than one instrument is offered. Please take time to read your senior school’s expectations
Pupil Preparation Clinics are held in addition to the lessons to support, extend and cement knowledge for both CE exams and academic scholarships. Study periods are held every morning and evening. They provide an opportunity for pupils to develop their independence, resilience and meta cognitive skills. Interview practice is held regularly with Houseparents, the Assistant Heads, Deputy Head and Headmaster. Individual, tailored, personal help is provided for pupils when they require it. Whether it is explaining a concept that has been taught in a lesson, supporting a scholarship candidate or providing extension work, all of our teachers are dedicated and committed to every pupils’ learning journey. Practice exams are held to ensure that pupils are fully prepared for their CE and scholarships. Study skills lessons are held focusing on revision and exam technique. Please keep in mind that many scholarships now are of minimal ﬁnancial beneﬁt as schools are putting their resources into bursaries.
Key Contacts Pippa Sutcliffe Assistant Head (Academic) firstname.lastname@example.org
Headmaster’s PA email@example.com +44 (0) 1903 874807
We always welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss any issues relating to senior schools. We are happy to offer advice and guidance at any time. To set up a meeting with the Headmaster, please contact his assistant in the ﬁrst instance who will make the relevant arrangements promptly
Check list by year
Year 3 ❏
Get to know our teaching staff and other parents
Year 4 ❏
Begin the process of investigating different schools that you may have heard about
Make yourself aware of any schools who may operate a closed list
If you would like to register your child for any of the above schools, make sure this is done early
Think about your child’s extra-curricular activities and whether these can be expanded
Year 5 ❏
Start to narrow down your choices of senior school to 2 or 3 schools
Start compiling your child’s Personal Achievement Record which will tell us what they are good at, what they like, any particular accolades they have won etc
At all times, keep Windlesham informed of your school preferences
Year 6 ❏
Register your child for your selected school or schools within the prescribed deadlines
If you have not done so, please submit a self-reference form to the Assistant Head (Academic)
Continue to practise using ATOM Learning in preparation for year 6 Common Pre-Tests
Update the school of your chosen senior schools
Year 7 ❏
Find out if your chosen senior school requires pre-tests to be taken in year 7
If pre-tests are required, your child will need to continue to practise using Plant BOFA
Advise Windlesham if you are intending to put your child forward for a scholarship
Record schools informed
Year 8 ❏
Conﬁrm your ﬁnal school choice by February half term
Scholarship Preparation ❏ ❏ ❏
Conﬁrm whether your child will apply for a scholarship Obtain scholarship application forms and complete all sections required by you Send completed scholarship application forms to Windlesham
Please remember that at any time, you can book an appointment to meet with our Assistant Head (Academic) who will be happy to guide and advise you.