We’ve written and spoken previously about how preparation for senior school is a whole-school process. Whilst Prep 6 take the 11+ exams, the foundations take place in Nursery and Reception to allow further growth and development through the Pre-Prep and Prep Forms, culminating in what are essentially the final stages in Prep 6: exam technique and time management.
It was therefore our pleasure to welcome Dr. David Baker, Head of English and Director of Studies at Denstone College, to speak to our English teachers this week about the move from Prep to Senior School and how pupils can best be prepared for this transition.
It may not be a surprise that a high level of success in English, as well as other subjects, is linked to reading! Production of accurate and interesting sentences is as much due to reading great books as it is to teaching, and pupils who are widely-read will find this more straightforward.
Dr. Baker talked about the need to ‘call a spade a spade’ – in other words, describe terms using the correct language from a young age. Whilst some pupils will be able to ‘feel’ a piece of text and have the language skills to describe without needing to use technical language, others will benefit from having such language to help them frame their thoughts.
Likewise, accuracy in writing is important: selection of appropriate grammar, clarity of expression, accuracy rather than using a wide range of punctuation – keeping it simple but getting it correct.
Finally, Dr. Baker also stressed the importance of ‘resilience’ – ensuring that children feel confident to have a go even if they are unsure of the answers. This is something we will be working on with all the children in the coming months.
We were grateful to Dr. Baker for his time and expertise, and insight into the qualities that a senior school is looking for in their First Form or Year 7 pupils. For all present, irrespective of year group, it gave a helpful overview of where we are aiming for each pupil once they leave Edenhurst.