Private primary school

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Btw79
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Private primary school

Postby Btw79 » Mon Oct 31, 2022 8:46 am

My daughter attends Y3 of a private school. She is average in the class and there is a group of 5 very advanced kids, they are nearly one year ahead with the curriculum doing Y4 math and spelling. They also happen to be best in sports. They are born Sept-Dec so they have been always the most advanced since reception. My daughter confidence is getting worst and worst. She keeps on saying she will never be like them, they are super bright and she is stupid, she does not even try to get better, for example I push her to write longer essays but she tells me “I write one page as these kids write three pages and I am not as good as them”. She is also not motivated in sport at school although she does well outside, I suspect for the same reason, she just can’t be bothered to compete. It seems the delta between the top group and the rest of the class widens every year more as this top group gets given more and more push to do better, extra homework, extra challenges while the rest just plods along. We are not British, so am I wondering if this is normal for all private schools? Do they all push the top group and leave the rest fairly behind? Is there a wide gap in Y6 between top students and the rest? How do the rest of the kids feel? Is my daughter having issues I should tackle or is it normal for the average/low performing kid to feel they are actually average/low performing?
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Beachboys
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Re: Private primary school

Postby Beachboys » Tue Nov 01, 2022 7:46 am

I feel for your daughter. I had a similar experience myself in school, way back when, and it definitely knocked my self-esteem. There are other private schools in the area where the competition isn't quite as overt as you've described, my kids' school being one. Do reach out if you'd like to chat.
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Hightrees House
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Re: Private primary school

Postby Hightrees House » Mon Nov 07, 2022 6:08 am

Year 3 is extremely early to form any assessment of a child’s capabilities. Having reared two kids who are coming to the end of private day schools in London , I can understand your concerns. The private system in many ways plays to parents fears about their children as the level of measuring and dialogue about it is high.

The “ top “ group you refer to are in percentage terms much older than the others and will at this stage be ahead in development. Unfair but inevitable. They will be pushed and may be heading for scholarships to the next stage.

It will even out over time. Believe me. My sons both climbed the centiles over time.

Do not pressure your child to do more ! Encourage a love of reading by reading aloud to her. Literacy is vital . Engage in much praise rather than comparison and discourage her from these comparisons. Private day schools are ruthless meritocracies.

Consider if your child is at the right primary. Some are much softer but still achieve great results. Your child is undoubtedly very able but needs time and encouragement to show it. Not pressure.
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Janet14
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Re: Private primary school

Postby Janet14 » Mon Nov 07, 2022 7:36 am

Hi
We had a similar experience when we were in a very competitive school in Clapham. Our child was constantly over-shadowed by the other more confident, bright, sporty children and in fact we always thought he wasn’t very bright and it wasn’t until we eventually asked for his cat scores we realised he was pretty bright, just not realising his potential/being over-looked. We hadn’t actually realised how much this was the case until he moved schools in year 5 to a much less competitive school, still private but not in London and suddenly blossomed, like a different child. You might find you have to speak to the school more, wish we’d find that now looking back! All the attention seemed to go on the same children…..good luck with it all!
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Lovelearning
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Re: Private primary school

Postby Lovelearning » Mon Nov 07, 2022 2:36 pm

Hi
I have worked in several of the top London private schools, and tutored children in both private and state schools, and it very much depends on the school, and often even the teacher. It is always a good idea to keep an open communication with both the class teacher and the Head.
Confidence issues are on the rise, along with mental health issues, and I am now running 30 minute 1:1 confidence boosting mindset sessions, online for convenience. Focusing on ‘personal best’ and nurturing a growth mindset, sessions include many exercises that I have evolved over my decades of tutoring and full feedback to parents/carers. If there is interest I may do a small group session, which could also work nicely I think.
All best wishes
Lorraine - lovelearningcompany.com 


 
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NVG
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Re: Private primary school

Postby NVG » Mon Nov 07, 2022 6:21 pm

Year 3 is very young. I volunteer in a school with year 3s and some can barely read. There is a huge gulf between the top and the bottom of the class at this stage. If it’s any consolation my son was put in the bottom set for English when he was about that age. He’s just got two grade 9s in his English GCSEs. Some kids peak early and some much later. Tell your daughter not to worry.
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Btw79
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Re: Private primary school

Postby Btw79 » Mon Nov 07, 2022 9:18 pm

Thank you, this is really helpful.
I am starting to think this is not the right school for her. Which are the private Schools in the area that are less competitive?
When we visited I thought I would want to pay for a good academic school and the accent others had for sport, art, music etc was a bit too much, but maybe they would just be better for my daughter.
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maze
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Re: Private primary school

Postby maze » Mon Nov 07, 2022 10:11 pm

“Which are the private Schools in the area that are less competitive?”

I’d say all the private schools have pretty high standards and expectations so you’ll open Pandora’s box by asking for one that isn’t competitive. There are some differences in culture and style. My top 4 in Clapham area would be:

Parkgate: small gentle school (non selective) with small classes which could be worth checking out. It’s super personable and nurturing.
Eaton House: more traditional and non-selective with boys and girls separated - feels a bit boy focused but that was some time ago. Parents tend to be from the public school systems, not so diverse but may suit if you’re from that background.
Newton Prep: reputation for high academic standards but is actually very nurturing and they stream well within classes - facilities are outstanding for music, drama and sports - lots of inspirational aspects and broad mix of parents. It’s a large school with a lot going on.
Thomas’ also very well thought of and good for a well balanced mix of academia / facilities. Again, excellent facilities but not as good as Newton IMO. Parents are also broad mix but closer to Eaton than Newton. Again, a big school.

..I believe they all have similar feeder results.

Places used to be competitive for the last two and places for boys at Eaton are limited.. it’s probably easier now, post 2016.

This is just a local opinion so others will think differently but that was my experience and our kids went to two of those schools
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TFP
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Re: Private primary school

Postby TFP » Tue Nov 08, 2022 2:43 pm

Selecting out 'high fliers' for special attention at an inappropriately young age is a particularly dismal aspect of the way we treat kids in this country.

The autumn births issue comes up time after time. It's arguably at its worst in sports. e.g. in football, every year the guardian newspaper produces a list of 20 'stars of the future', one per premier league club. this year, one of the journos there decided to split the paper's picks for each year into two groups, namely those who are 'old' for their age group [born 1 sep to 28 feb] and those who are 'young' [born 1 march to 31 aug].

the splits for each year's article are:

2022: 13-7;
2021: 13-7;
2020: 15-5;
2019: 14-6;
2018: 14-6;
2017: 14-6;
2016: 15-5;
2015: 16-4;
2014: 18-2[!].

https://www.theguardian.com/football/bl ... age-effect

On the positive side, most 11+ tests do a pretty good job of taking age within the year into account.
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SomethingDolphin
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Re: Private primary school

Postby SomethingDolphin » Mon Nov 14, 2022 2:03 pm

Dear Btw79, I’m so sorry your daughter feels that way about school. As much as I think most schools in London offer an amazing standard of teaching, the pressure due to the selective independent secondary school entry process is something every child/parent could do without. I‘m not British either and this division into bright/less bright really caught me by surprise. I have also worked in a local nursery for a few years and know how competitive schools around here can get.
Luckily, we found lovely Dolphin primary school on Northcote Rd for our 2 sons. All the staff is very warm and caring, the teaching is superb and the children are given a wide range of opportunities to shine (music, art, DT day, sports, kindness, effort in class, academic success etc). This may all sound very fluffy but my older son has started at King‘s College School in Wimbledon last year. He was always middle of the range when starting in reception at Dolphin, by no means a natural top of the class boy, but got into KCS without tutoring or undue pressure executed by Dolphin. Instead, they instilled a love for learning, quiet confidence in his abilities and an interest in the world around him as well as opportunities to play the sports he loves so much. Because Dolphin is one of the smaller schools every child gets the chance to shine in their own way, participate in sports matches, class assemblies, school council etc., which rounds up a very healthy, holistic approach to teaching.
My younger son is currently in Y6 at Dolphin, not naturally confident at all but the happiest boy when it comes to going to school!
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sheldita
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Re: Private primary school

Postby sheldita » Mon Nov 14, 2022 10:12 pm

Great advice above.

I would also just add that Eaton house they stream the kids at nursery by month of north. I think it makes a huge difference as your daughter would no longer be comparing yourself with much older children. It is a non-selective at entry which means that you naturally have a broad mix of children - but once you’re in it does push them academically but in a good way so that they seem to celebrate each other’s success and recognise they all have different skill sets.
Thomas’s, Parkgate and Dolphin have reputations for being less competitively academic.

Good luck! It’s so hard to understand from looking around on open days and make the right choice!
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Granada
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Re: Private primary school

Postby Granada » Mon Nov 14, 2022 10:14 pm

Great advice above.

I would also just add that Eaton house they stream the kids at nursery by month of north. I think it makes a huge difference as your daughter would no longer be comparing yourself with much older children. It is a non-selective at entry which means that you naturally have a broad mix of children - but once you’re in it does push them academically but in a good way so that they seem to celebrate each other’s success and recognise they all have different skill sets.
Thomas’s, Parkgate and Dolphin have reputations for being less competitively academic.

Good luck! It’s so hard to understand from looking around on open days and make the right choice!
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Naomi I The Brainery
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Re: Private primary school

Postby Naomi I The Brainery » Tue Nov 15, 2022 4:02 pm

Dear Btw79,

I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter's current experience of Year 3 and can understand why you're looking elsewhere. I note that you asked for recommendations for other schools. I'm an experienced teacher, who spent many years in Year 3 and now tutor children in the Wandsworth/Clapham area. If you'd like any guidance or support with looking for the next placement, please feel free to reach out to me and I will do my best to support. Happy to chat!

Best,

Naomi Austin Jones - The Brainery
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Beachboys
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Re: Private primary school

Postby Beachboys » Sat Nov 19, 2022 8:54 pm

I mentioned my kids' school above in my earlier post -- that's Dolphin School. When I say the competition is not as overt, what I mean is that at Dolphin, it's handled in a very positive way. Kids strive to do their best but understand that it's not a zero-sum game. One of my favourite things about the school is how they all cheer each other on, even when they're competing against each other. The school is also great at finding, nurturing and celebrating each child's individual talents, so the kids leave with self-belief and confidence, but also a great sense of social awareness and compassion. Academic achievements are excellent -- I have two sons now at Alleyn's School (one on an academic scholarship), with my third still at Dolphin and absolutely thriving.   
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Head
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Re: Private primary school

Postby Head » Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:47 pm

Hi,

Why don’t you come and visit us at Dolphin - I think you’ll enjoy the sense of ambition our children have, for each other, rather than against each other. We can certainly have those conversations around our positive ethos and approach.

Regards,

Sam Gosden
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