How to Set Your Child Up for Success in the 11+ Exams

What is the 11+, why is it important and how do you set your children up for success? The White House prep School in Balham answers your 11+ questions… 

The question on many parents’ lips when they first visit a school is about the 11+ process, whether their child is a babe in arms or entering at 7+.

Choosing the right prep school has to ensure the child then has a multitude of options for their next school and with the sheer number of choices – Independent, State, Grammar, Boarding, not to mention the scholarship and bursary options – it can be a tricky and confusing process.

The White House Prep in Balham understands the 11+ can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, for both children and parents, and starts preparing families for this well in advance.

Headmaster Tony Lewis begins meeting with parents two years before the exams to discuss options, narrowing down choices and informing parents about scholarships and bursaries. He will continue to meet with parents over the course of Years 4, 5 and 6 to guide them through school selection, style of exam and interview practice.

The small nature of the school means that all teachers and the Head are very invested in this process, offering pastoral care during this time. Pupils are given the right tools to tackle the exams and the school has even introduced mindfulness and yoga to ensure children’s mental wellbeing.

The friendly, calm and family ethos at the heart of the school all work together to ensure children are eased into the 11+ without feeling too much pressure and are able to perform to their best ability.

Pupils are given the right tools to tackle the exams and the school has even introduced mindfulness and yoga to ensure children’s mental wellbeing

The school’s approach to scholarships, particularly with sports and arts, is forward thinking. The White House Prep introduced a ‘Choice’ lesson which takes place on a Thursday afternoon where children can hone their skills and talents in a particular area, be this sport or drama, music or art.

This enables children to start building a portfolio from Year 4 and are able to show a body of work when it comes to specific scholarships. Children with a particular interest are also taken out in small groups on trips to enhance their knowledge of a subject.

Most recently, an art group visited the Modigliani exhibition at the Tate. This approach, tailored to individual children is working well and the proof is in the number of children (over half) that not only achieve academic scholarships at 11+ but also music, sport, art and all-rounder offers.

The White House Prep is located in the centre of some of the best and most popular schools in London and Headmaster Tony Lewis visits these schools regularly to ensure White House pupils are at the forefront.

Pupils achieve excellent results and offers from their top choice schools from JAGS, Dulwich College, Whitgift, Royal Russell and Alleyns. Boarding schools are also an option with Woldingham, Bedales and even pre-tests at 13+ schools such as Harrow.

Children are accepted into the top set at the most sought-after state and grammar schools, and this gives children a wealth of choice when it comes to making their decision. Once children have received their offers, Tony Lewis will continue to advise parents on the best course for their child.

Children at The White House Prep thrive throughout their academic life at the school and their results at the culmination of the 11+ shows they are doing something right.

The next White House Prep Open Day is on Saturday 21 April 2018 from 9.30am-11.30am. See


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