anyone waiting to hear from Latymer Upper?

(58 Posts)
fruitcorner Mon 20-Jan-14 09:34:27

Anyone else still waiting to hear back from LU following exam last week? Interviews are on 1 Feb and I am not sure whether the school has been contacting people yet to call to interview

mimbleandlittlemy Wed 29-Jan-14 12:20:37

This happened to us last year, Iwant. My ds is G&T, was considered one of the brightest in a very bright year at his primary and he came out with straight level 6s come the May SATs, but he didn't get an interview for either Hampton or Latymer unlike others in his class. We were applying for bursaries for both schools. He did get offered a place at Emanuel, but no bursary element so we couldn't take it.

He watched, slightly incredulous, as a raft of the girls who scraped, just, Level 4s in Maths and 4s/5s in Literacy in SATs but could all pay got interviews and offers from the all girl schools like NH&E, while he walked away with nothing. One of his friends got an interview for Hampton having not managed to finish either the Maths or English papers.

Looking back I wish I had never put him through it because the honest truth of the matter is that the London day schools talk about bursaries a lot but I don't know anyone who has actually got one.

Fortunately he is reasonably happy and doing very well indeed academically at his state school, which equally fortunately, I always talked up big so it wasn't a scary option.

iwanttohideunderarock Wed 29-Jan-14 12:29:57

how interesting mimble, I wish i had known before applying that the bursary aspect would jeopardize his chances. It's hard enough as it is without adding extra pressure. I would have sold the car/remortgaged the house/taken out a loan/sold my body(!) if it would have helped.

we have also applied to Emanuel, let's see what happens.

glad though that your ds is happy and prospering at his state school.

I think you have to be super bright for a bursary - friend's son got offered one at St Paul's and also got 100% Hampton scholarship.

My dd is top of her class too and set for L6 everything
I think some kids are just really really bright, have been tutored a lot or prepared very very well. We were rather lax with preparation - just did a few (ie 5 or 6) past papers dowloaded from grammar school websites after Xmas as we already had KGS which, after reading a lot about Latymer after entering her for the exam, we decided would suit her better in any event. She was a bit miffed when I told her she hadn't got in, but did concede that she would have chosen KGS anyway so was just a nose out of joint thing really.

also down to how they performed on teh day and whether the paper suited them

mimbleandlittlemy Wed 29-Jan-14 12:53:05

I should say I'm sure they are offering bursaries but certainly not at the level we needed and I'm also sure that with the numbers applying they can weed very effectively to take the people asking for the smallest amounts. I was lulled into a false sense of hopefulness going round Latymer with a statistic about the seemingly very high number of the then Y7s who were on a bursary but of course they don't tell you what the % level of assistance actually is. I suppose the question I should have asked (I love hindsight), is how many were on the % we needed and if the answer to that question was none, I would not have bothered.

Ah well.

As you say, onwards and upwards and this time next year you won't believe you went through it. I think it's a bit like childbirth.

LadyMuck Wed 29-Jan-14 12:53:28

I'd say over the last 5 years the competition for bursaries has changed completely. 5-10 years ago they seemed to go mainly to the children of teachers (not of the school itself but elsewhere), whereas now it appears that at some schools up to half or more of the applicants are applying for a bursary, so the competition for the relatively few bursary places is immense, and only near Einsteins, or siblings of a near Einstein, stand a chance.

Conversely there are some single sex schools which on paper appear to be hugely over subscribed, but when you drill down, the applicants per full fees offer isn't as high as you might think.

I don't know whether more freedom of information via the internet and forums such as these has just increased relative competition as more parents are aware of both bursaries and the nature of 11+ testing than 10 years ago?

Nevertheless gutting for the dcs involved, even though they will all be going to a school somewhere next year.

iwanttohideunderarock Wed 29-Jan-14 12:55:33

countess, I don't understand though, the school says it is a means-tested bursary, yet they seem to be applying academic criteria in the shadows....

basically they are saying you can be bright & well off and get in but if you are bright and "financially challenged" we're going to make it even harder for you !!

that just doesn't seem right !

mimbleandlittlemy Wed 29-Jan-14 13:03:33

Well the Hampton bursar did say when I asked that they would want very high exam scores across the board and also would prefer an element of 'value added', ie music, drama, sport or chess.

They don't want to part with their cash unless they think they are parting with the cash to something very worthwhile and actually they also know that the parents of children who are paying full fees want to know that they are being constantly dunned for money only for the very brightest and best. I can sort of see their point. I've seen it on MN in the past too - why should I constantly cough up for someone else's child when I pay the full £18k a year (that's obviously a slight paraphrase).

I do try not to do my impression of the Ancient Mariner stopping everyone and telling them my tale, but I seem to have failed today. Must stop and have lunch instead!

iwanttohideunderarock Wed 29-Jan-14 13:13:45

i just want a level playing field, doesn't seem to be asking much ! Very easy for them to say, look your boy meets the academic criteria (of everyone who can pay), but we can't offer you a bursary, do you want to proceed anyway ?

at which point you can say, nope, can't afford it, or yes, I will sacrifice every bone in my body.

but to be cut out because we submitted an extra form is not fair.

hey ho, must try and get over it. I don't have an issue if he is beaten fair and square, as he was at KCS, this just has left me with a very bitter taste in my mouth.

LadyMuck Wed 29-Jan-14 13:25:39

For some of the schools it was almost an entirely different "competition": same exam paper but different candidate numbers etc.

I know that some of the GDST schools used to tell you that you weren't eligible for a bursary but you could have a full fees place. I suspect that with the numbers going for some of these schools though that isn't a realistic option. But always worth asking for feedback, especially if a full fees place is within your range somehow, and would be of interest.

dunesandy Wed 29-Jan-14 13:26:37

I really feel for you all. This whole process is such a lottery. I still haven't heard from Latymer but no doubt there will be a letter when i get home. our school has told us that this year there have been many surprises about who has and hasn't been called for interviews at various schools which makes it even more stressful.

ARe you sure that is how they do it?
I was under the impression they invited to interview based purely on how they scored in the tests.

yes at dd's primary there have been some v odd results, some children I would have thought would have got interviews haven't. DD not getting one for Latymer was surprising too - the head's jaw dropped when I told her!

LadyMuck Wed 29-Jan-14 13:31:34

But in terms of a level playing field - not sure how that could ever work? If there are 100 places say, and out of the top 200 candidates only 20 are full fee payers, then the schools income would drop significantly? Even the logic of only needing a "small bursary" doesn't quite work for most schools who have to make a broad assumptions of the amount an average bursary family will need over the whole period. The admissions team will just be told that they have X "bursary places" to give out, and it is not until they get in initial acceptances that they can revisit what is left in their pot.

I know some schools are trying to get to a needs-blind basis, but it requires enormous amount of funding.

Needmoresleep Wed 29-Jan-14 13:33:54

Latymer has always thrown up odd results. In DDs year at Prep, two very bright girls top set girls got turned down. The first did not even get an interview, but then got a major scholarship at another day school. A third girl who was not top set got Latymer even though the school had recommended she did not apply. She seems to have taken off academically since then, so perhaps Latymer got that one right. A boy in DS' year failed to get Latymer but got Westminster.

Local legend is that the maths exam is particularly important and unusually tricky. It is true that demand for boy's places far exceeds that from girls. (Many parents want co-ed for boys but single sex for girls, plus there are not many boys alternatives around.) It is a lottery. A couple of fluffed answers in the maths paper on the day and given the numbers applying, you are out.

iwanttohideunderarock Wed 29-Jan-14 13:48:59

thank you all, I can't moan to the usual friends because they all say "poor you, it seems so unfair" which frankly doesn't help when their dcs have made the grade.

I don't want to make out that my ds is better than anyone else's, of course I think he is the best wink but I am also aware that the competition is devilish, and if he had a bad day that's it, all that hard work up in smoke which is of course frustrating for him (and me!).

i am sure he will end up somewhere which suits him down to the ground and I guess if we knew what our options were it really would make it so much easier to brush it off and move on.

just have to hang in there now til half term and see what that brings.....

and very much looking forward to forgetting the whole bloody process, as mimble suggests !

iwanttohideunderarock Wed 29-Jan-14 13:53:58

and of course grateful in the bigger scheme of things that we can even consider private schooling when local states are desperately lacking.

and also for the fact that my ds is happy and healthy and has had seven years of excellent primary schooling with the best group of local friends. And although I don't know where right now, i have no doubt the next seven years will be equally rewarding.

cleadale Wed 29-Jan-14 14:11:54

The bursary policy at Latymer Upper has come under considerable criticism recently amongst the school community. Many current parents feel that it is used largely to "incentivise" the top performing/scholarship students (whatever their financial status or income) who have threatened to take their DCs elsewhere (Colet Court, SPGS etc). No idea whether this is true, but my high-earning manager's DS has a bursary and we don't! confused

Farewelltoarms Wed 29-Jan-14 14:22:09

A different but equally sought after private school (v similar to Latymer) near me seems to have a contrasting bursary policy. It has an outreach programme where they go into state primaries and identify children who would benefit. So there's a child from my kids' school who has a 100% bursary. The child apparently did well, but not brilliantly, on the exam but shone at interview. This child (trying to remain gender neutral here) does not come from the sort of background that would have applied to private school without direct encouragement. Single parent in v low paid job, council flat, from an ethnicity not prominent in the school.

It's quite life changing in a way that perhaps it wouldn't be to the child of the well-educated but not wealthy parents.

castlesintheair Wed 29-Jan-14 14:24:02

cleadale, that is very interesting and I have often wondered about it. I know of one boy at another very selective boys school who was offered a full bursary after his parents hummed and harred about accepting the offer and then threw in the idea of sending him to an even more selective all boys school ...

Shootingatpigeons Wed 29-Jan-14 14:26:33

A lot of hmm here.

With two children having almost gone through these schools I have known a fair number of pupils on bursaries at all these schools, full bursaries too. However the bursary pot which rarely comes out of fees isn't limitless and the way that it is divided is according to the most deserving as defined according to their ethos, often a founding ethos, usually those who would most benefit from the opportunity. They also use some of these funds so that they can continue to provide stability to pupils whose parents are no longer able to pay. Quite a few go proactively into state primary schools to encourage applications from pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds who might not even think to apply.

They are all actively trying to raise money to increase the pot but in the end it has to be rationed somehow. My DDs have friends who have been refugees eg from Sri Lanka and whose parents make ends meet driving taxis, whose parents have lost their livelihood as a result of Cancer or bereavement, whose fathers refused to pay for their education following divorce etc. etc. And even in the latter cases that emergency support ceases at sixth form. When my DD was sitting one of the exams a single parent father whose wife had recently passed away after he gave up work to care for her, asked me where he could go with his toddler and we walked to the park. His DS's teacher was paying their admission fees and fares to give the clever DS this chance. He was from Chessington where I gather the local schools are not great so I hope he had that chance.

Frankly after all these years of paying fees I wouldn't have minded at all if they had gone to be used in the way I have witnessed, and the possibility the money is doled out in the smallest possible chunks to get the cleverest is wide of the mark, scholarships maybe but that is not what bursaries are for.

I assume they would not write to say that you were not clever enough for a bursary to give you a chance to find the money because you have put yourself into the pool for them to consider whether your DC is the most deserving according to a number of factors, financial, in terms of family background and academically, of the opportunity out of those unable to pay and they are considering carefully all those factors. Frankly if you can find the money then you shouldn't have put yourself in that pot in the first place. It is a bit naive to think it is limitless, and will give that opportunity to anyone who gets through the admissions process on a level playing field with all those who can pay. That was the direct grant system abolished in the 70s and since then those schools have had to raise the funds themselves to continue to at least attempt to offer the same opportunities.

castlesintheair Wed 29-Jan-14 14:26:41

Farewelltoarms, I would love to know the name of that school smile

Shootingatpigeons Wed 29-Jan-14 14:34:05

castles I have pm'd you.

Needmoresleep Wed 29-Jan-14 14:50:20

Shooting...I have seen both.

Both DC have close friends who are almost certainly on bursaries and who would not be at private schools if they were not.

Similarly though I know someone who shocked people who knew her by boasting that she had negotiated a bursary up to 90%, not to Latymer but similar, by threatening to send her child to a Grammar instead. Given we all knew that her husband had a good job, she had a professional qualification but chose not to work, and that they had recently had a major inheritance which had enabled them to move home and have a lot of work done, there were some eyebrows raised. Most upset were those in similar circumstances, who had ruled out private on the basis it would entail real sacrifice but that they were too well off for a bursary.

And then the divorced dad who would turn up to Prep school events in his flash car and complain that the very academic school his bright son wanted to go to was not willing to offer enough. Instead his son was going to a less regarded school, further from home, essentially because he did not see why he should pay for his child's education.

Farewell, is the school Alleyns? I know two bursary recipients there who would fit into the non-working single mum/council estate category.

LadyMuck Wed 29-Jan-14 15:11:24

Sometimes one has to take playground boasting with a pinch of salt though. It definitely helps having a senior management team with children at the school where any boasting would get back to the SMT fairly quickly.

But it is clear that it would be better for there to be more transparency in the process. The entry process can be hugely time consuming on both sides. Locally I've seen schools reducing their time commitment by essentially operating 2 streams of candidates, full fee and bursary, and operating different interview criteria for each, so that they are not interviewing loads of bursary applicants to whom they cannot make suitable offers.

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