Friday, 30 September 2016

Help with the entry process for 11+, 13+ and grammar schools

Our new e-book on Interview Preparation for Senior School is out now at the new TIEC web store! Our store is packed with advice filled books and factsheets for all aspects of UK education, and this latest addition is all about helping your child through the entry process into a grammar school or independent senior school.

Here's some of our top tips from the book - find more in the full product via the link below! Remember, our consultancy services can help you with any decision or difficulty regarding UK education, no matter the problem or the age of your child. We can also help you find a tutor, set up interview practice sessions, and aid you in choosing the right schools to apply to. Contact our expert team today on 01865 522066 or

Whether you are aiming for 11+ or for entry to an independent school via pre-assessment, here are a few suggestions to limit stress in your family to a minimum:

1.  Be realistic in your expectations. If you tutor your child to excess and they scrape the exam by their finger nails, what will this do to their confidence later on when they find themselves struggling to keep up with the fast pace of a grammar, languishing in the bottom sets. They may have been one of the elite to gain a place at the outset. However, down the line, all they will see is what is in front of their nose - that they are struggling to keep up with peers in school. This can damage confidence and lead to poor performance and a very unhappy school career.

2. Keep informed on the entry process and admission criteria for each school you have on your radar. These change all the time, so knowledge is power. You can find all the information you will need on your Local Authority website, as well as on the school’s own websites for independent schools. Entry test formats change all the time so make sure you are working on the most recent information for these. The types of question covered such as verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, English can vary over time. Some schools differ in the way they test.

3. Back-up planning is crucial. Be careful what you say in front of your child. They need to know you have their back and will be there to support them whichever school they attend. Talking about schools in a negative way, in case they end up being offered a place there, is dangerous. Keep conversations with your child light. Yes, they need to know you would like them to achieve their best and challenge them to work hard towards this aim. However, they also need to know you have a good back-up plan, in case they do not get a place at your first choice school. Let them know that whatever school they go to, you will be there to support, encourage and work alongside the school to make sure they achieve success.

4. Tutoring planning should be considered carefully. You don’t want to start so soon that they are burned out and bored by the time the exam comes around. For some children an intensive course in the summer holidays before the entry test will work better than on-going tutoring every week after school or on Saturdays for two years. Make sure the tutor you use is an expert in the particular exam your child is sitting and that their knowledge is up to date. Different counties set different format exams so preparing for the right one is key.


Click the link above to purchase the full product or visit to find more advice-filled resources to help you answer those burning education questions. Alternatively, get in touch today and speak with one of our experts!


We offer a wide range of services and expert advice on your child's education.
Email or contact Claire on 01865 522066 for an informal discussion on how we can help.
For more information,

Friday, 16 September 2016

Sixth form choices: State or Independent School?

In areas such as Buckinghamshire, which has state grammar schools as well as other ‘free’ sixth form options such as a Sixth Form College or UTC, parents might be faced with a more difficult dilemma when making school choice decisions at this stage of education. With GCSE and A Level, IB or Btec results being so important in the competitive environment of gaining a place at a top university, many parents are rightly very concerned about the need to get the school choice right at this particular stage.

If you are in the fortunate situation of having both State and Independent schooling as options, here are a few of our top points to take into consideration when making this decision. More can be found in our soon to be released e-book, 'Applying for Sixth Form' - more information at the bottom of this post!

  1. Grammar schools are very competitive in terms of entry criteria and the academic educational programme they deliver. Will such a competitive environment, which focuses mainly on academic achievement, suit your child? If your child is self-motivated, confident and bright, the answer is probably yes. If they lack confidence or motivation, this is not quite so easy a decision.

  2. Will your child benefit from a holistic approach to education, where there are sports teams for all who wish to participate, as well as a whole range of other extra-curricular opportunities? If the answer to this question is yes, then you would be advised to consider independent school, rather than state school options.

  3. With the variety of examination options at sixth form, it is important to consider if IB (International Baccalaureate) or Btec might be a more suitable qualification for your child at this stage of their education. State and Independent schools offer these as an option, but you need to be sure they have the teaching expertise to deliver this programme, before making your decision.

  4. Moving from state education to independent education is often an opportunity to gain a scholarship for study at an independent school at sixth form, especially if your child has done well at grammar school or other State schools for the preceding 5 years. This might be your opportunity to give your teenager access to a whole range of new opportunities.

  5. Some parents believe that moving from independent into state education for sixth from may make gaining a place at a top university easier, although this theory is to date unproven. Care must be taken to ensure that your teenager will cope with such a transition into a different learning environment with different teaching styles, as they need to hit the ground running with only 2 years to gain top grades at this stage of education.


We offer a wide range of services and expert advice on your child's education.

Email or contact Claire on 01865 522066 for an informal discussion on how we can help.

For more information,