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Mr Grosse's blog - How we instill the skills required to embrace the 11+ process

The children at Gateway have a vast array of skills and talents which takes them to a huge number of different destinations, when they leave us at the end of Year 6. Preparing them for this is key to our philosophy and particularly the set-up in Years 5 and 6. It is often noted by secondary school visitors that they can spot a Gateway child – they’re independent, organised and unfazed by the size of their new schools – helping them to make to best possible start to this phase of their education. This development of their independence begins in Preschool and all of the children, in all age groups are encouraged to take on responsibilities within their classrooms, as well as across the school as a whole.

Children from Year 6 went to over 20 different schools last year, including local upper schools, grammars and independent schools. As well as ensuring the children are able to cope with the size and scale of their new schools, the children must be just as prepared for the rigours of what faces them in the classroom. Alongside the curriculum subjects, children in Year 5 have discrete Study Skills lessons in Maths and English, preparing them for a variety of standardised testing, including the 11+ that many of the children will take at the beginning of Year 6. Those looking to gain entry into independent secondaries attend extra Maths and English sessions which focus on the specific entry requirements for each school. We are particularly proud of how well our children do and are confident that they find a place at a school that is right for them.

Whilst we try hard not to over test at Gateway, it is essential that we provide the children with the skills to tackle any testing they may come across at school. Resilience is key to this, as the pressure that the children feel when tested can affect them hugely – this can often be underestimated. This year we have introduced Mindfulness lessons to Years 5 and 6, which have provided the children with a number of strategies to help them cope with this. It has been fascinating to hear the children talk of these when settling down, under test conditions.

Mrs La Farge and I are looking forward to meeting all parents in Year 5, over the coming weeks, to discuss their child’s needs and options for Year 7. These meetings are invaluable to ensuring that the children are as prepared as they can be for secondary school education. To learn more about our 11+ support and preparation, view our timeline.

Have a great weekend.

Mr Grosse

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