Kent college prep (Canterbury) / Junior Kings

(8 Posts)
Greengrass1982 Fri 26-Feb-16 06:35:03

Hello,

I was just wondering if there were any current parents of pupils at these schools, who could tell me how they find it ?

MsMargaretHale Fri 26-Feb-16 07:48:27

We had DC at JKS. Could not speak more highly of the school. Small classes, good teaching which covers a wide range of abilities and first class music, art, sport and extra curricular. It's quite big for a prep school. We liked that because of the range of activities it permits. Some crossover between JKS and KC. Some KC children come to JKS at 11 as parents think senior Kings is a better fit. Likewise some JKS children will move to KC at 11. Unless you are looking at boarding, think about the different journeys.

Greengrass1982 Fri 26-Feb-16 08:04:30

Thanks for getting back to me... Do the children at JK attend school at weekends ?

MsMargaretHale Fri 26-Feb-16 08:46:49

They do in the prep. Works out as two Saturdays in three - as there is a long weekend every three weeks. School am and then usually matches in the afternoon. Not sure about pre prep. Go and visit. They will give you a guided tour and answer all your questions.

Calamara Fri 26-Feb-16 09:23:50

I am not a current parent, but I am an OKS and get all the alumni literature. JKS and King's foster a strong sense of community that lasts a lifetime. Being at JKS is like being part of a big family, where there is always something exciting happening. Kids at prep schools without Saturday lessons often have Saturday matches anyway, so it doesn't make much difference. It also gives more space in the week for the extracurricular education that makes prep school education special.

The King's School is a world-class school and the opportunities it gave me were life-changing. The teachers clearly had an intellectual love of their subject specialism and had high expectations without hot-housing us. The location of the school allowed a sense of freedom - I would never send my children to a campus school in the middle of nowhere, as I think the freedom to go out to a cafe or mill around the shops with friends (at appropriate times) is an important learning experience. It also prevents boredom, which probably reduces the chances of pushing the wrong boundaries.

I remember, aged 14, my Dad saying to me that I would get used to being educated in such a beautiful environment, but that he hoped that every so often I would pause to appreciate it. I never was complacent about being educated in a unesco world heritage site. It inspired me every day. The jewel in the crown is King's Week. If you can, drop into the cathedral precincts in early July and see everyone bustling from plays to concerts. Clearly, I can't give you a dispassionate comparison of the two schools.

I know nothing about Kent College, but I can't recommend King's more highly.

Greengrass1982 Fri 26-Feb-16 11:29:41

Thankyou calamara for your post really appreciate it . Can I ask, did you attend both the Juniors and Seniors of Kings Canterbury ?

TheBlessedCheesemaker Fri 26-Feb-16 19:53:14

I know 16 children currently at Kent College who started at JKS but who have transferred to KC in the last 4 years. All of the parents have been extremely pleased with their experience to date

Some of the things they quote are:
1) better SEN provision (esp dyslexia with the dedicated dyslexia unit. JKS had a great head of SEN but she left),
2) more focus on maths and english (at expense of more breadth, of course)
3) more personalised education at both extremes at both junior and senior school (eg one gifted child took a personalised timetable that allowed him to take 2 GSCE's 2 years early even though the school is not academically selective),
4) better wrap around care for working mums (after school activities every day from 4-5 and from 5-6, with choices for each year level. Compare that to JKS with sporadic after-school - none on tuesdays and wednesdays for example - and odd choices of activity in recent years, many of which cost extra)
5) no saturday school
6) cheaper

I know teachers (and houseparents) in both schools and admire them all. They are all dedicated, and all have the same moans.

One thing to bear in mind is that if you have a child capable of getting into (eg) Eton, then JKS is the school to get them there, not KC, because JKS pushes kids and covers subjects such as latin and multiple MFL at an earlier age. Likewise, if you have a child who will embrace everything the school has to offer, then JKS is the kind of school that expects kids to compete for the lead in the school play, volounteer for school council, get to grade 5 or more in two instruments, ace it on the hockey pitch and hold their own academically. So, for the right kind of kid, its a great fit and an amazing experience. For more middle-of-the-road kids, the choice is far more finely balanced. Not saying that you cant do the same at KC, but the bar is different. And whether that is good or bad is very much open to debate.

Its really difficult when your kids are starting out to think of the bigger picture, and nothing is ever as straightforward as you hope. But if you have an idea of what your hopes are, then work backwards from there. Eg if you want traditional boarding or kings school at senior then head to JKS at junior, but if you know your child wont be a bright spark or super confident then maybe a wider academic ability group might be more appropriate? And if your child has a hint of SEN then think very carefully about whether JKS is the holistically pastoral place you want for your child.

And finally, dont sweat it too much (easy to say, i know). All the kids i know at both schools have all had access to fabulous educations (the kind we never experienced ourselves) and are all happy, kind, and high-achieving. And pretty much half the parents i know have ended up on a different path than they expected when they set out, anyway (especially when you throw Langton boys into the mix).

Sorry. Very verbose, but think it will all help.

Calamara Fri 26-Feb-16 22:01:37

Both. Joined towards the top of JKS.

I had been written off by my local primary as stupid - "She won't manage A Levels" "Definitely won't pass the Kent Test". It was a struggle when I first arrived as I hadn't done the languages etc, but the teachers were supportive. I was diagnosed as dyslexic and went on to get straight As and an Oxbridge degree. But it wasn't just that which was life-changing. It was the extra-curricular. It was being in a school where it was 'cool' to get an A grade or get full marks in a test. It was having friends who had deep passionate interests of their own, even if in really different and/or geeky subjects.

The idea that everyone you need to want to 'compete' is ridiculous - my experience was that everyone was supporting one another to get involved and have a go at something we might never have done before. There is so much on offer that everyone can find their niche and some people seem to manage to do everything. The school is not an academic hot house - otherwise they wouldn't have accepted me, as my Common Entrance performance was far form spectacular.

As I said, I don't know Kent College, but I do dispute the suggestion that JKS/King's is only right for Alpha personality types.

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