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Help your child get THAT school place

Nadine Shenton, founder of Confidence in Kids, brings us some interview tips for parents with children preparing for selective school entry. 

Many parents are very anxious about how their child will perform in school interviews but it’s important to remember that the interview is simply a chance for the school to get to know your child and to assess whether the school is right for them. It is not set up to catch them out and the interviewer wants you and your child to want the school as much as you want them to like your child.  That said, there are steps that can be taken to help your child fulfil their potential. Here are my top tips for success.

Do your research
Children are most likely to be relaxed and confident if they know what to expect so find out as much in advance as possible.
Key questions are: •

  • Who will be interviewing them – one person or more?
  • Will it take place in an office?
  • How long will it last?

Browse the school website with your child and think back to your visit. Are there any questions your child may like to ask the interviewer? This will show good initiative.

Accentuate the positive
Help your child think about the things they enjoy and are good at, both inside and outside of school. Do they or working independently? Do they enjoy  company of others at break times would they rather sit quietly reading a book? Keep them focused on the things they enjoy and are good at rather than the things which they are not so keen on. Answer questions fully Your child may be asked about a subject they like at school and, if possible, they should answer with a full sentence rather than just saying ‘English’. For example, “I like English because...” will allow them to display their enjoyment or passion for the subject. Help your child think about some responses and practise with them. 

Practice greetings
You never get a second chance to make a first impression so:

  • Remind your child to smile when they enter the interview room.
  • Get them to practise saying their name clearly at home. • Show them how to make good eye contact.
  • Practise a firm handshake.

Be ready with a book
There is a good chance your child will be asked about a book they've enjoyed. This gives them an opportunity to be articulate and expressive about their chosen book and allows the interviewer to get an insight into their personality.
You can help your child by thinking about some of these questions:

  • Why did they like this book?
  • Can they talk about the style of writing or any themes they enjoyed?
  • Did something they studied at school encourage them to choose this book?

Be able to talk about a hobby
These questions allow your child to show energy, enthusiasm and something of their character. Help your child think about the things they love doing in their spare time; from baking to football, discuss how their favourite activities make them feel.

Show them you’re confident
Children have the best chance of success when they are confident and relaxed. As well as preparing them for the interview, show them how confident you are in their abilities and they will be more relaxed and enjoy the experience much more. Remind them that, however the interview goes, they are unique and wonderful.

Good luck! 

Nadine has helped hundreds of children both individually and in her in-school interview workshops. For more information, visit www.confidenceinkids.co.uk

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