“Life is the most difficult exam we encounter. Many people fail because they try to copy others, not realising that everyone has a different question paper.”—Alexia Bolton, Headmistress
Pennthorpe believes in preparing children for the Common Entrance exams but in a very different way to other Prep schools. Preparation for exams is achieved on a long term basis from Year 3 when children already begin to familiarise themselves with the basics of allocating answers in texts or basic mark schemes for example. We believe that children should be exposed to exam conditions, understand their pressure points, challenge themselves and target their weakest areas with the full support of the academic staff in order to achieve the very best they can.
Our children reach the pre-test stage, confident, knowledgeable and aware of where their strengths lie and how best to play them. While many pupils in other schools now have the same anxiety levels as insane asylum patients in the 1950’s, our children learn to manage their stress levels and continue, through these final years, to strike an effective balance between preparation, enjoyment of the broad curriculum and being a child! Life is the exam we are preparing for.
Matching each pupil to the ideal senior school is something of a speciality at Pennthorpe and one which is made stress free for both parent and child. We start acquainting families with senior schools as early as Year 3, making for a gentle ease into a process which will bring each child smoothly in to land by the end of Year 8.
The programme progresses as follows:
Years 3 and 4:
- Open Evening ‘Future School’ Presentation for parents;
- Future Schools Fair at Pennthorpe with all Senior School exhibiting;
- First formal consultations with parents regarding future schools in Summer term of Year 4.
From Year 5:
- Individual appointments with the Headmistress for initial advice on shortlisting senior schools;
- Parents have full access to a holistic pupil profile to ensure informed decision are made.
From Year 6:
- Appointments with Future Schools Coordinator in supporting parents and pupils making applications;
- Individual appointments with the Headmistress to finalise choices;
- Registrations at more than one school provide room for children to change and mature;
- Mock interviews for pupils;
- Pupil create personal C.V.s;
- Pre-testing for the majority of Senior Schools;
- Preliminary offers made.
- Leadership programme begins;
- Recommendations are made for 13+ scholarships at the end of the year;
- Head Boy and Head Girl appointed.
- Year 8 curriculum allows focus on CE and Scholarship and retains breadth and creativity;
- Leadership programme steps up and Seniors, Prefects are appointed;
- Parents register final school choices and make scholarship applications.