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The entrance interview: a valuable tool for leading headteachers

Last Updated on : 9th October 2019

Growing numbers of children and too few places have generated fierce competition for top independent schools in the capital.  The number of children registering to sit gruelling entrance exams has grown to such levels that parents and children are required to be meticulous in their preparation.

It is perhaps this combination that presents a fresh ‘selection’ challenge to head teachers of London’s top schools… how to accurately identify and subsequently choose “best fit” children?  For many schools including Wimbledon High, Whitgift and Eaton Square (Mayfair), the interview has become the most effective tool for aiding this selection process, enabling them to see beyond the prepared often formulaic answers associated with excessive tutoring.

The interview structure frequently comprises both individual and group scenarios incorporating problem-solving tasks that provide the opportunity to demonstrate ‘individual creativity’ and the ability to ‘think outside of the box’ –neither of which are showcased effectively through the written test.Every school has a unique ethos and it is the role of a successful head to carefully select the right children to uphold and contribute towards maintaining it.

Yellowbird Education has long recognised that preparation must extend to this subjective interview element of the admissions process. Groundwork does not involve telling your child what to say (defeating the very purpose of this step), but ensuring a child is comfortable and confident in unfamiliar interview situations and has strategies to fall back on. Increasingly, interview questions prevent structured prepared answers by encouraging children to demonstrate creativity with examples such as:

  1. Do you think Christmas is for everyone?
  2. How would you teach your granny to use a computer?
  3. What do you understand by ‘Grit and Resilience’?

Yellowbird Education’s experienced team, working alongside a group of head teachers, offers accurate Mock Exams and Interview Practice, equipping children with valuable skills and techniques with which to succeed within competitive school admissions.  They also recognise the importance of parents researching the role each of their chosen schools assigns to this key element of the admissions process.  Certainly, there is a clear shift by London’s leading prep schools to include interview practice alongside rigorous exam preparation to ensure children gain a place at their chosen school.

Yellowbird Education – Holiday Workshops

www.yellowbirdeducation.com

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