The DUCKS 4 plus assessment is in an evolving state for the school. When DUCKS was created it was very much not a part of the main school. It accepted girls. There was no expectation of entry into the main school.
As a result, many parents rejected DUCKS for Alleyn’s. Dulwich Prep (DPL) was considered a more competitive 4+ assessment than that of DUCKS because they heavily prepared children for school entrance exams.
In response Dulwich College have changed the nature of their 4+ assessment. For the first time the entrance can result in an unconditional offer for acceptance into the main school at 7+ which would see the boy remaining there until 18.
The school were coy for the 2022 assessments about whether this would apply to all boys or whether there would in effect be two tiers of boys at the school – boys with an unconditional offer at 7+ and boys without one. In addition, they are still accepting girls. The result this year was that some boys got offers all through to 18 and some boys got offers just through to the end of Year 2. They also gave offers to girls.
As a result, the nature of the 4+ assessment has been changing. Historically, the assessment at DUCKS was extremely play based and group based. The school were largely assessing the social skills of children. Now they will be looking for at least some of the children to being assessing the academic potential of the children. In 2022 the assessment process was much closer to the approach taken at JAGS and at Alleyn’s but with some strong group element to it. At Mentor we were well prepared for this change and had some excellent 4 plus results.
Our experienced tutors include Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 teachers and former teachers from DUCKS, JAGS pre-prep, Finton House, and Alleyn’s Junior School. In short, we are well versed in the application process for JAGS and the other Dulwich Foundation Schools and these experts have helped us create this programme. Our programme is delivered by experienced tutors with a multi-year track record of getting children into DUCKS. Some of our own staff were previously members of staff at Foundation Schools. Others of our own staff who have got several of their children into DUCK’s and later Dulwich College, using the approaches that we are going work with your daughter or son on. However, we should be clear that at the assessment is changing this year and indeed we know that they school are still agreeing what the precise assessment will be we are somewhat using judgment and experience of other schools given this is the first time DUCKS have this new assessment approach.
Most years we have between 5-7 children who we have assisted to get into the school. Typically, the offer rate for DUCKS is around 25%. Our rate is around 80%. Historically, DUCKS has been easier to get into than Alleyn’s. We would expect these offer rates to fall in line with the JAGS and Alleyn’s rates as the changes to the DUCKS admissions process takes fuller effect. We have a rule that we only help a maximum of ten boys and ten girls each year for the DUCKS 4+ assessment. If we helped everyone, then practically we would be helping no one. So book quickly here!
Last year we helped four children get offers from DUCKS. Two of these were boys who had offers through to 18; one was a boy who got an offer through to 7; and the final offer was to a girl with an offer through to 7 (when the school goes single sex). It is only fair to say that the DUCKS’ process is getting ever harder.
We also have extensive experience helping children with the Dulwich 7+ exams and with the Alleyn’s 5+ and 6+ assessments which were conducted last year at the school expanded. This well places us to help with occasional places with slightly older children.
Firstly, all 4+ assessments are not the same. For example, historically, the DUCKS assessment has been heavily play based and group based. By comparison the Alleyn’s assessment has historically been much more individual assessment of the child. JAGS places more emphasis on group, classroom style activity. We can help prepare your child for all three types if you book here.
We start with an assessment of where your child is, based on our knowledge of what DUCKS are looking for in successful applicants. We do this through a review of the nursery report; a personality questionnaire; a test conducted in conjunction with Cambridge University by our teachers; and full mock assessment with a 4+ specialist teacher which replicates the DUCKS approach.
We will then give you detailed feedback on your child’s performance. We tell you what exercises you should expect and what they are looking for with each exercise. In short, we will give you the inside track on the day. We tell you how your child did and give you some exercises you can do with each exercise to assist her to give of her best on the day. We will be open and honest with you and tell you if we believe your child is on track for a positive assessment.
We then work with you over four different sessions to help prepare your child. Two of these sessions are with just the child and two are with the parents in the room. We see ourselves as helping coach and support parents to help their child pass the 4+. We use a range of experts for this, including teachers, teaching assistants, registrars and play specialists – all the people involved in the assessment.
After this we do another mock assessment. This can be either an individual assessment or a group based assessment as appropriate.
Our full Preparation and Assessment Programme is £1500. You can book here.
While we do the individual assessment dates on an ad hoc basis around you, we need to create cohorts of children for the group assessment dates. We do these later in the year to give children the time to develop more of these skills. By this stage families have usually been working with us for six to nine months and so their children are well prepared. The Mentor Group Mock Assessment dates for 2023 are:
23rd September (Dulwich area)
14th October (Hampstead area)
28th October (Dulwich area)
4th November (Hampstead area)
18th November (Dulwich area)
9th December (Hampstead area)
Firstly, we have a strict rule that we only help ten boys for DUCKS 4+ entry. If we helped more then there would be no benefit for those we have helped. So please do not delay in booking. If you would like to find out more please call us on 020 8883 2519 or make a booking below.
Book here for either our full coaching and mock assessment package (£1,500), or just for our double mock assessment with feedback package (£750). If you are unsure yet but want to reserve a slot with us you can just register (£100) and we will make sure you are in our cohort (once we have 10 boys and ten girls targeting DUCKS we take no more children for that school). After you have booked, our courses manager, Hannah, will be in touch to arrange from you the pre-work that we need from you and to book in your first Assessment dates.