There are so many myths and unnecessary tensions that circulate about the 11+ and The Village Prep have put together this short FAQ guide to answer all those pressing questions and reassure parents that 1) Yes – it is possible to get into the school you want and 2) the 11+ is just a small part of the whole school journey and it fits seamlessly into school life at The Village Prep.
The Village Prep School girls consistently achieve excellent results in the 11+ and at the end of Year 6 our girls move onto an impressive range of leading schools. In February 2022, Year 6 results included 10 scholarships (from a class of only 13 girls), including two major academic scholarships, a performing arts scholarship and a music scholarship. (Results and destinations can be found here: https://thevillageprepschool.com/academic/results-and-destinations/)
How does The Village Prep manage the 11+ journey?
We start quite gradually around Year 3 by helping our girls become more independent in their learning and ensuring they know how to organise themselves more for the school day by introducing individual subject specialism. Our teachers also take the time to understand the studying approach of each pupil and their strengths and weaknesses, so by the time girls get to Year 6 we have a really clear picture of how we can best support each girl for the 11+ so they achieve their full potential.
When do you start talking to parents about the 11+?
We have an informal conversation with parents in Year 4 to reassure them there is nothing specific they need to do at this time, except help support good learning habits (in particular with reading and times tables) and help children to live a healthy lifestyle, by going to bed early and eating healthily. All of this support might not seem important, but actually it makes an enormous difference to how self-assured a child is which enables them to better deal with more challenging schoolwork.
In Year 5 we talk to parents again to understand what schools they are looking for in terms of co-ed, single sex, local or central etc and we recommend schools that we think will be a good fit for their child. At this point, we then begin to create a bespoke 11+ preparation program for each child. For example, individual home learning packs and specific exam practice that is going to provide every child with the exam experience to thrive in the settings that are right for them.
We want our girls to continue to thrive at senior school and so we recommend schools for children based on what will fit them best in terms of their personality and their particular interests and also where they will get the right support to help them continue to flourish. This is what makes the transition successful.
Does homework increase as the 11+ approaches?
Beyond reading, as current parents will be aware, we do not set regularly set homework for girls to complete at home. Instead, girls from Year 3 upwards are given independent study homework slots during the school day. This helps our girls develop excellent independent study skills and understand how to approach independent learning tasks effectively. This approach also provides immediate feedback for teachers that can be taken into account for the following day’s lesson and ensures girls are provided with the necessary support for any particularly challenging areas. This approach promotes a love of learning and ensures girls are refreshed and focused for the next day – and it does not change in Years 5 or 6.
How does The Village Prep help girls keep a sense of calm around the 11+?
Wellbeing is central to life at The Village Prep and our Wellbeing Wednesdays are an important part of this. Every Wednesday class teachers look at an aspect of wellbeing that is particularly pertinent to their class that week. This allows children to understand what is happening in their own minds as well as providing them with a safe space to talk about any concerns they might have and know they are not alone in those feelings. Wellbeing Wednesdays play an important role with all our year groups but particularly our Year 6 girls who we know benefit hugely from this approach to wellbeing.
What are your top tips for parents?
The 11+ is more than just an exam paper and as a result there is so much parents can do to support their children in preparing for not only the 11+ but also the start of secondary school. At the heart of this is engaging children in the world around them and nurturing their curiosity in the world. More specifically, playing board games, discussing current affairs and cooking with your child all help to expand their knowledge, increase their curiosity and bring schoolwork to life – for example cooking can bring maths to life if you are doubling quantities in a recipe. We also encourage parents to engage children in their own passions – if you are passionate about art for example and share this passion with your child whether it is through books, galleries or the local environment, this passion will inspire them!
Finally, we always tell our parents to let their children’s hobbies become something their child enjoys talking about – their passion will come across in any interviews they have to take as part of the 11+ process. And if your child has a quirky hobby, embrace it! Nobody wants a robot!
What are your top tips for children?
Our two top tips for our girls are to get into good study habits and to stay calm. We teach our girls to set their own goals, work at their own pace and remember that we are there to support them throughout.
Where do the 11+ exams take place?
This is dependent on the school. Some exams are now online and these take place at The Village Prep. Others are in person and some of these take place at The Village Prep and some are hosted by senior schools themselves.
Does every school require an interview as well as an exam paper?
Again, this depends on the school. Some schools will interview every child, others will interview based on the first round of assessments.
Do girls have to take a different exam for every school?
No, not for the group of girls’ schools in London knows as the London Consortium. Applicants for any of the schools in this group only need to take one exam and the results of this exam are then shared with all the schools in the group for which an applicant has applied. The schools in the group are: Channing School, Francis Holland School (Regent’s Park and Sloane Square), Godolphin and Latymer, More House School, Northwood College for Girls, Notting Hill and Ealing High School, Queen’s College London, Queen’s Gate School, South Hampstead High School, St Augustine’s Priory, St Helen’s School London, St James Senior Girls School, St Margaret’s School.