Tiffin Schools Admission Arrangements

(652 Posts)

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tiffinboys Fri 27-Apr-12 00:56:58

Tiffin Schools (Boys & Girls) have issued their Determined Admission Arrangements for 2013-14. Boths Schools have decided to ignore pleas from the local community and opted to continue with Open Selection.

Though most of the grammar schools have catchment/proximity rules, some even going to the extent of denying applications to sit for their entrance test in breach of Grenwich ruling, Tiffins would continue open selection policies. Only handful of children from Kingston & surrounding areas get places in Tiffins. Most of the places go to the children living at very very far away places, eg. Harrow, Southall, Greenford.

Grammar schools from Bromley (St. Olave & Newstead Wood), Redbridge (Woodford County & Ilford County) or Barnet/Herts (DAO & Latymer) or Slough (Langley) would not allow out-of-catchment children to even apply for admission tests. Other schools like Kent grammars would only give places to children living near to the School. Some schools have most of the places for catchment area (Nonsuch, Wallington etc.).

This year, Reading grammars (Kendrik & Reading) and Chelmsford grammars (both boys & girls) have changed their over-subscription criteria from 100% open selection to 100% catchment and 80% catchment respectively.

It is high time that children from Kingston and surrounding areas also get level playing field. Until all grammar schools are 100% open selection, it is fair that some priority is restored for these children.

We have therefore proposed that Tiffins give 80% places on the basis of proximity to the Schools (or such other Centre point in the Borough, as previously proposed by the LA) to those children who pass the entrance tests. Other 20% may be given on open selection.

This proposal complies with Greenwich/Rotherham rulings. We are aware that it would take lot of persuation for the Governors of these school to accept this proposal. We call upon all parents from Kingston & Surrounding areas t write to the Tiffin Schools in support of this proposal and copy these to your local MPs and Councillors.

zoffany51 Tue 05-Mar-13 15:28:24

@muminlondon - 'three times as many of those in the grammars who only achieved Level 4 prior to getting into the school (because they were tutored within an inch if their life - 15% of the total) were entered for all Ebacc subjects compared to those in Kent non-grammars who had gained Level 5.'
Therein lies the problem - where do you send a child like ours, DS2 who is level 5a literacy, level 6 maths if the local grammar won't take him? where is he to go? Yet we know of a child at Tiffin, who by yr8 - did not know what a vase was! Not exactly wide read is he. You are right, overtutoring is creating a cohort of one trick wonders; only thing they are actually good at is vr/nvr entrance tests, or at least disproportionately so. smile

zoffany51 Tue 05-Mar-13 15:37:23

...quite interesting i think - i do recall, on mentioning Tiffin when our children went up to their Ofsted outstanding (and yes very affluent in terms of catchment) primary, the head literally bristled and replied 'You might like to take a view on that'. well now i guess we do have to, and with two DS, barely anything between them in terms of ability as measured by real educational criteria - the ones that count, it will be interesting to see how they progress. how the outcomes compare. smile

muminlondon Tue 05-Mar-13 23:35:30

Zoffany51, the two comprehensives nearest Tiffin enter nearly as many high attainers for all Ebacc subjects as in the Tiffin schools - way above average for comprehensives. The one in Rchmond got the best results in 2012 and has been working in partnership with Tiffin for a few years getting pupils into their sixth form, so is used to having children who get top grades. This is London, not Kent! Good luck.

zoffany51 Wed 06-Mar-13 07:55:14

i know they are both good enough for an able chile to achieve; Teddington School is adding its own sixth form, but pressures are on there with breaking of link status, so we are unlikely to get in. Kingston school you are referring to we have been offered and accepted place for DS2; they have fast track strem testing prior to yr7 entry, so with 5a/6 levels DS2 should b ok for that. smile

zoffany51 Wed 06-Mar-13 09:14:50

? unless of course you are referring to Coombe; but that is only 4 girls that it is performing highly, the boys school that was confederated with it (formerly Beverley) i gather is still a work in progress. smile

zoffany51 Wed 06-Mar-13 09:44:16

...in any event, Tiffins gold standard measure of a childs ability or potential based on nvr/vr testing alone as a means of determining eligibility for admission is a total farce. it proves absolutely nothing; the school and parents alike in the current environment with hysteria over testing, levels, grades obsession - so called sink comprehensives (not fair in my opinion) has created a situation where people are associating a causal relationship (wrongly), whereas in fact there is none. the link between these kinds of tests and future performance is at best tenuous. if you look at the stats published by the school, 'performance' in the test has risen steadily, as have the number of candidates that sit, year on year - for past 6 years. whatever you do to the raw data, cohort, group, rank, age weight it - whatever, the distribution of scores will follow a normal Gaussian distribution about the mean. if you add in more pupils taking the test, effectively you are adding in more mico-normal distributive curves; year on year - so more children in each band. with a fixed number of places, therefore over time the 'qualification score' (or cutoff) necessarily 'rises' - apparently. of course it is nothing of the sort, since the numbers of candidates on all the lower bands also increases by similar amounts. is simply a matter of supply and demand - pumping more numbers into a Gaussian curve, the test and the score; since it adheres to a normal distribution but with a fixed number of places on offer (allocated from the top down) is only really an accurate measure of the degree oversubscription vs. place availability. it eays nothing else. look at the yr on yr figures past six years, you will see that in 2007 final qualifying mark was 221. Tiffin will have taken all boys into the school who achieved this age weighted band score (+2 on appeals who must have scored 220 or lower); these boys are still there - actually at the school now; they will go up into upper sixth to complete their studies in the next academic year (2014). if 231 is deemed a measure of selective ability now; how on earth have these poor boys coped with the pressures of being at Tiffin. yet i would imagine thay have all netted the mandatory multi-stash of A/A* grades in their GCSEs and A/Ss. the system is fundamentally flawed; should be a cutoff (220 would seem logical - since boys who have scored this are at the school, so it clearly is an adequate measure of selective ability). beyond that they need some other way of allocating the places; be it proximity, interview, or as at the girls school, second bank testing of different parameters, such as English or Maths (although in truth, that can only work for the first intake, who have not been afforded the opportunity to tutor for it). i was yesterday informed of a parent, who's DS is at Tiffin School, and who had 1:1 for over a year prior to taking the tests in order to gain admission, she related (and i quote directly); 'Several times a week, we literally opened his head up and stuffed the information and practice papers into him until he could take no more'. Great; so well done Tiffin School - if that is the kind of broken, abused children or insane parents you want at your school; that is exactly what you have got. (and i'm sure there is a deal more that is worse than this, bubbling away under the surface.) bravo. grin

zoffany51 Wed 06-Mar-13 10:06:22

btw whatever aguments you espouse for 'Localism' (whatever that is supposed to mean) - be it for or against; community does work - it is an incredible means of empowerment and facilitation in education. i was at my DSs primary today & i do concur with the heads words, which still resonate all these years on: selective schools - on balance "You might like to take a view on that". TS, or any other state selective / gammar / academy for that matter, for all their plaudits or wherever they fall in the league tables are not a patch on the primary my children attend; not in even the same league. Sure it has a catchment, but children are welcomed there from all backgrounds, social, ethnicity, etc: in many respects it is far more diverse, affords its pupils more opportunity and is a better school for it. if people supported their local schools instead of shopping around to secure the best deal based on league tables, then all schools could raise the bar in a very short period of time; without buy in from 'local' parents - while they choose to send their able children tens of miles away for schooling, that can never ever happen. smile

VicsKid Tue 03-Sep-13 11:33:43

@tiffinboys Your argument is completely invalid, as you constantly refer to my school (upper 6th boy here) as 'Tffins'. If you knew anything about the school, then you would realise it's called 'Tiffin', with no s. Please show the courtesy of naming my school correctly, as it infuriates me when you don't. Thank you.

AmazingDisgrace Tue 03-Sep-13 13:09:26

Not sure that a misspelling the name of the school invalidates the argument (it is a bit irritating I'll grant you) Tiffinboys makes some good points and echoes what many local parents feel.

MrsDavidBowie Tue 03-Sep-13 13:35:53

Lol@VIcsKid

Abra1d Tue 03-Sep-13 14:00:40

My brother went to 'Tiffin's' years ago and calls it both that and 'Tiffin'. As do many of his friends.

My parents still live locally and they are anti the superselectiveness. They don't think it's fair to local children.

veronicalondon Tue 03-Sep-13 14:10:55

Tiffinboys, your arguments would have been correct if Tiffin was the ONLY state school in the area. You are NOT entitled to the best education, but to FREE education. Therefore, you can choose any state school in your area and educate your child without payment.

What, however, you seem to want, is to get to Tiffin superselective school based not on merit, but proximity from it. Can't you see that the next step would be to get to Oxford not on merit, but because you child happened to attend a state school or a posh selective public school. The next step, perhaps, would be the demand for your DD (if you have DD not DS) to marry a prince, because she is prettier, cleverer, etc than the one he loves. The list could go on. Sour grapes is not a solution.

Alas, the only solution would be to raise standards of state schools to an acceptable level. As for superselectives, well, there are geniuses, bright spartks, talented and gifted. They, by the way, have their burden to bear, and a part of such burden is always somebody's envy. Please accept that superselective ARE looking for superbright. Selective look for bright. Mixed ability take all. Make mixed ability of superselective does not solve problems of very bright unchallenged and understretched children in mixed ability state schools.

If your child does not get in, this is not a good school for your child. Your child can be happier and achieve more, perhaps, compared to some Tiffin children. But it would only happen if you let your child into a good school where she/he won't struggle and feel inferior because they can't match up intellectually. There are good grammar schools around which are not superselective. Hope this helps.

Abra1d Tue 03-Sep-13 14:21:33

Can't you see that the next step would be to get to Oxford not on merit, but because you child happened to attend a state school or a posh selective public school. The next step, perhaps, would be the demand for your DD (if you have DD not DS) to marry a prince, because she is prettier, cleverer, etc than the one he loves. The list could go on.

It is a list of non sequiturs.
It's not really a 'next' step because it would be a reversion to the way Tiffin used to operate. When none of the other very interesting-sounding steps on the list followed, either.

zoffany51 Thu 12-Sep-13 17:51:28

Yes for clarity - it is Tiffin School, or simply just Tiffin - not 'Tiffins' (ha ha) or 'Tiffin Boys'; neither of the latter two exist, well not in Kingston at any rate - so pointless applying to them. Even RBK get it wrong by referring to the school often as Tiffin Boys - there is no such place!!! smile

tiffinboys Fri 13-Sep-13 17:26:09

Hi, Kid; Just by the way, the header reads Tiffin Schools, meaning the two schools known as Tiffin School and Tiffin girls School, collectively referred as Tiffins locally.

tiffinboys Fri 13-Sep-13 17:29:01

2000 plus boys have registered for entrance tests this year. Tests likely to be over 2 days.

Hope Tiffins governors get a little wiser and sort out their admission arrangements.

zoffany51 Tue 17-Sep-13 23:15:03

lol: that will never (ever, ever) happen. Perhaps the time has come where locals should vote with their feet, take their DCs elsewhere and fully support the Kingston/Richmond borough non-selectives; there are plenty of good schools around here - spoilt for choice; one credited recently by Ofsted as outstanding across the board. smile

ReallyTired Tue 17-Sep-13 23:29:37

The exam results of Kingston state schools are extremely good. Obviously their children have not come to harm for not going to Tiffins. I really don't have any sympathy with the kingston residents who are some of the richest people in the country. There are lots of really good private schools near kingston as well.

Parmitars (a partical grammar) near watford only takes children from certain postcodes for the selective places. I wonder how Parmitars gets around the Greenwich ruling. Prehaps a similar system would work for Tiffins.

I would like to see certain proportion of places at Tiffins reserved for bright kids on free school meals and a complete ban on private school kids applying. Now that would really annoy the wealthy kingston residents.

tiffinboys Wed 18-Sep-13 08:57:16

Although the thread was about 2012 consultations for 2013-14, it is still generating interest.

From reallytired: I really don't have any sympathy with the kingston residents who are some of the richest people in the country. There are lots of really good private schools near kingston as well.

Well, reallytired, sooner you come out of dreamland that Kingston residents are rich enough to afford private schooling, it would be soothing for your nerves.

The nearest other school option to us Coombe Boys. We could also try Southborough, as it has some vacancy. To see how these are performing, here is league table.
www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/education/school_tables/secondary/12/html/314.stm

Hopefully, you will see that Kingston Borough do not have that hyped-up too many good state schools.

zoffany51 Wed 18-Sep-13 10:11:32

@ReallyTired: I would like to see certain proportion of places at Tiffins reserved for bright kids on free school meals and a complete ban on private school kids applying. Now that would really annoy the wealthy kingston residents.

The private school kids, as you refer to them are not from Kingston - they go up to Tiffin from much further afield; though in principle this is wrong - it would not 'annoy' KoT residents. Of the Kingston children who do attend, there is a fair representation of those from less advantaged backgrounds - although cost of tutoring may well be an issue, as this limits access.

There are significant pockets of resistant poverty and under-privilege within KoT, much as there are in all London boroughs - to suggest otherwise, that all residents here are 'rich' is ridiculous. Our DC is at Tiffin and is eligible for free school meals, so there is one for you. Boys do get in from the local council estates as well. Tiffin is not what you think it is.

To be really fair, the tests should really be uniquely constructed year on year, totally different, with only the sample questions in the actual exam sitting for practice. No books, no tutors - nothing available - now that really would sort out the wheat form the chaff. None of these issues would be pertinent if this was the case.

prh47bridge Wed 18-Sep-13 10:27:04

A complete ban on private school kids applying would be illegal.

tiggytape Wed 18-Sep-13 10:44:10

Kingston has areas of genuine povery just like elsewhere especially if you look at the borough as a whole (Tolworth, Chessington etc) rather than just the town centre (although even there, they have an enormous council estate that used to be a no-go area but is probably better now).

I think the frustration comes from the fact that there aren't many other options for Kingston parents - there aren't an abundance of good comps in the area to send children to - especially boys.

As of this year, it has improved slightly because Richmond have stopped giving priority to their own children via the feeder school system and have also opened a new school to ease pressure. Kingston will also get a new school soon.
It used to be that a lot of Kingston children lived near Richmond but couldn't get into those schools because of feeder school rules, couldn't get into Tiffins because of the huge number eligible to apply, couldn't get into the Catholic schools because of so many Catholic applicants and didn't live close enough to the New Malden comps. If there had been any alternatives, people wouldn't have been half as bothered.

Sutton has a similar set up to Tiffins for the boys (Grammar schools which are open to the whole of London and 2000+ applicants this year). People in Sutton don't get quite as het up about clever Sutton boys not getting grammar school places because Sutton has decent comps with grammar streams on the doorstep to cater for them.

ReallyTired Wed 18-Sep-13 10:48:54

"There are significant pockets of resistant poverty and under-privilege within KoT, much as there are in all London boroughs - to suggest otherwise, that all residents here are 'rich' is ridiculous. Our DC is at Tiffin and is eligible for free school meals, so there is one for you. Boys do get in from the local council estates as well. Tiffin is not what you think it is.
"

I am pleased that such a gifted young man has managed to get a place at Tiffins. He has clearly managed to beat the odds. He is exactly the kind of child that Tiffins was originally built to serve. However there are lot of bright children from the council estates whose parent don't even believe that Tiffins or any other super selective grammer is an option.

I know there are poor people in south-west London and kingston. I grew up there. However its naivety to suggest that low income families can compete fairly with the more well off families.

I don't think that its financially realistic to design new exam papers every year. Reserving a certain number of places for families below a certain income is possible and completely legal.

The other possiblity would be for Tiffins only to take chidlren from certain feeder primary schools. Lots of non grammar schools around the country already do this so it would not be illegal. This would indirectly block private school kids from applying to Tiffins. The Greenwich ruling made it illegal to use a borough boundary as a catchment area, but there are other ways of having the same affect.

tiffinboys Wed 18-Sep-13 12:32:30

I would love to see admission arrangements of a fully selective grammar school which restrict offers to feeder schools. I have not come across any as yet. Most of these schools have distance or catchment policy. Only a handful have open selection policy.

If you are talking about 'partially selective' schools or bilateral schools, then so far as I know, Tiffin schools cannot be converted to that status now. It can only be converted to a fully comprehensive school, under parental ballots.

I am afraid that there can not be a ban on applicants from independent primary schools, neither there can be ban on tutoring. We are not living in 1970's China or Russia.

Reserving certain number of places for children on free school meal is a good idea and should be explored further by Tiffins and all other selective schools. It would be something like bursary schemes run by independent schools.

In our experience, DIY was more useful. If that is not possible and the child is really bright, then at the most one lesson per week for few months is more than enough, which would cost as low as £15-20 per lesson. I know even this much may give difficulty to some families, but for most it is quite affordable and manageable, if their priority is education.

We did mostly DIY. There is lot on material available on free forums and independent schools' websites. We bought many practice papers at fraction of original price from parents of older children at our school and many parents gave much valuable advise and help to us in our 11+ journey. Only our School hated preparation and even mention of Tiffins and other grammar schools. It was another story when time came for SATs; then HT was too involved in pushing children to do tens of practice papers and was too happy with the grammar lot.

prh47bridge Wed 18-Sep-13 12:55:35

Reserving a certain number of places for families below a certain income is possible and completely legal

No it isn't. Schools are not allowed to give priority based on the occupational or financial status of parent. As Tiffin is an academy it could give priority to children eligible for free school meals but it would need to get the government to agree a change to its funding agreement to allow it to do so. Even then it is not clear if they would be allowed to reserve places for such children. They may only be able to give them priority over other children which would be complicated for a selective school that uses the test score to prioritise admissions. I doubt they would want a situation where all FSM children were admitted ahead of everyone else regardless of test score.

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