How to Prepare for Senior School Transition

Posted: 20th October 2019

Posted on 20th Oct 2019

Whilst this will primarily be of interest to those in the Prep Forms, we encourage parents of Pre-Prep pupils to read it as well.  Senior School transition seems a long way away but the process of planning for it begins a number of years before.

There is no ‘right’ time to begin thinking about your child’s schooling post-Edenhurst.  Both the Head and Deputy Head are available to offer advice about this process from the earliest stages and at whatever point parents wish to begin discussions.  Our Senior Schools Evening each May, where we host a range of our partner schools, proves consistently popular with parents looking for information.

Edenhurst alumni progress to a wide range of independent and maintained schools.  Our curriculum ensures that pupils are well-prepared for taking senior school examinations at 11+ and also offers the ‘Edenhurst Edge’ – that little bit extra that sets them apart from their peers.  The graphic above illustrates the destinations of Edenhursters over the last five years.

My child is now in the Prep Forms.  What should I be doing?

If your child is in the Prep Forms, now is the time to begin thinking about their next level of schooling.

  • Consider your child’s strengths, interests and needs.  What type of environment would best suit them?  The senior schools that we feed are all quite different, just as our children are unique.

  • Think about your own circumstances.  Is an independent senior school a viable option?  Do you have other children to consider, with any at Edenhurst?  What are the distance: time logistics?  Driving as opposed to using a bus?  Could you car-share?

  • Make an appointment to speak with the Head or Deputy Head about the next steps.  We likewise want what is best for your child and can give advice to help inform your decision.  If you would like to know more about scholarships then this is the time to ask.

  • Attend a Senior School Open Morning (Junior Prep families).  This will help you to get a feel for the school and what it offers in terms of opportunities, facilities and support.

  • Come to our Senior School Choices Evening.  The next one will be on Monday 11th May 2020, where Heads and members of the Admissions teams from many of our partner schools come to Edenhurst to meet parents and pupils.  It is an informal evening and a great opportunity to find out further information without leaving Edenhurst. Whilst primarily targeted at Prep Form parents, those in Pre-Prep are likewise welcome to attend.

  • For Senior Prep pupils and families: we would recommend that you visit senior schools on a non-open morning.  Have a private tour with the Head or another member of senior staff where you can see a normal teaching day.  This will give you a realistic picture of what you can expect.

  • Speak to current Edenhurst parents who have children at senior schools.  They can help to give perspective about balancing two sets of academic calendars, juggling lifts or school buses, Saturday school/fixtures at distance and other considerations that do not affect a day prep school!

  • Look at the scope of what your child is doing.  Senior schools look for a well-rounded child, not one that solely ticks academic boxes.  Music, art, drama, sport and other interests paint a picture of a person when we send our references to future schools.

  • Support your child in their weekly routine.  Listen to them read.  Encourage them to read widely (vocabulary is critical to all 11+ exams).  Check that they have done their homework and give them the ownership of being honest if they haven’t.  Help them to keep deadlines. Give them responsibilities: e.g. packing their bags for school.

  • Talk to us if there is anything that you are uncertain about.  This is a critical decision and we are here to support you.  Please use our experience – this is what we do each year!


Is there anything I shouldn’t do?

  • Engage a private tutor.  If you are concerned about progress or achievement then please speak to your child’s Form Teacher, the Deputy Head or Head as a first port of call.  There is little evidence that engaging a tutor makes a difference to your child’s performance. Your son or daughter will do just as well without a tutor, though many tutors claim otherwise. Many senior schools use entry examinations that are content-free, particularly when they wish to encourage a wide range of applications.  Research has shown that progress occurs most effectively when your child develops a strong, long-term learning relationship with their teacher(s). Few other actions or “interventions” are as powerful. Be aware that engaging a private tutor could hinder that relationship. In addition, unless a tutor liaises closely with us, they may employ teaching methods that are different from those that we use, thus creating potential uncertainty in your child’s mind. A common example occurs in mathematics, a subject where parents frequently seek help. Adverts and blogs advocating different approaches in the teaching of the subject are commonplace and care should be taken not to confuse your child if the approach employed by a tutor is different from the child’s experience at school.

  • As a rule of thumb: if you are considering private tuition then the school that you are considering may not the right school for your child.

  • Download 11+ papers and practice at home.  The children start Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning in Form 2, with weekly practice and lessons.  They are continually building up their skills in readiness for the 11+ as they go through the Prep Forms.  Our ongoing assessment, coupled with annual exams in the Prep Forms, is part of the process of preparation.  Once in the Senior Prep children are working with targeted 11+ questions and practising time management skills.  They have all of the preparation that they need at school – there is no need for anything additional outside.  It is seen as ‘normal’ to them because this is what they experience at Edenhurst.  Our success rate is a testament to this.

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Why Edenhurst?