London Sixth Forms - Latymer Upper, Westminster, Godolphin, Camden, SPGS etc(70 Posts)
We are thinking of moving our DD for sixth form. My concerns are that it can be quite disruptive - sixth form isn't long, and there is a lot to get done. On the other hand we can see that she could probably do with a larger and more competitive environment.
Do any of you have any experience of moving your children into the sixth forms of any of the above schools. How did it go ? Did they settle quickly ? Was the move a success ? Did you get what you (or your child) hoped from the move.
This isn't very clearly put. We are dithering about moving at the moment because although in the main I think it would be a good thing we don't want to move her for very little benefit.
Does anyone know how competitive is it to get into these schools at sixth form ? People are always bandying around figures for the competitiveness of the eleven+ exams, but I hear very little about 6th form entry.
Each of the above schools offer very different academic syllabuses (IB / Pre-U / AS/A2), so it is hard to compare them. Any views ??
Looking forward to any comments to add to our discussions at home.
Livinginlondon, have your DD already decided which subjects to take? We agreed on the core things, and left "up to the school" the 4th/5th subject (we have in mind 4 easyish "filler" subjects). Looking through this prism, you may see your criteria sharper.
My DD told me yesterday quite a wise thing. She said that maths and science teaching does not matter a lot. To succeed, you ultimately just need to sit more hours at the desk and work out a couple of extra textbooks. Any school from the list you are looking at is good enough to shoot you to the maximum of your capabilities. The thing to choose upon and the teachers to talk to at the opening evenings, she said, are those of "creative" departments, where you are pretty much nothing without guidance.
Unfortunately, we have been already to 3 schools where art departments are vibrant and inspirational beyond our expectations.
One factor I personally find exceptionally attractive is when a teacher is firmly connected to the examination board (current or past marker, question or textbook author, etc.).
On the other hand, I do not understand our position and net value. Say, DD is predicted mostly As and a some A*s. What does this mean on the London 6 form scale? I do not think that this is enough for CoL or SPGS, that's clear. But what about others? Requirements on the school's websites are obscure. For imaginary example, they may say that successful candidates need at least 9 GCSEs at A*-B. While by fact the weakest child in last year intake had 10 A*s and 2 As. How to measure that?
We are three weeks + in and DD finding it tough not being amongst her old friends but definitely not wanting to go back to the school (and that option was, and still is, open with incentives ). I am worried about hitting the ground running with new staff that don't know her and all the social adjustment, but at the moment the positive is outweighing the negative.
She certainly finds the new school less cliquey and more friendly, and the presence of boys a plus.
I can only offer feedback on DDs' years. IB is really hard work, as much quantity over quality, doesn't leave much scope for most to read around the subject. Having lived overseas I have great confidence in the global currency of the IB and my teacher friends who teach it internationally feel it gives more potential, and scope for earning points, and therefore doing well. However I have DDs who are specialists, and they were both relieved they could ditch science/'maths, and essays respectively (Science geek wrong on that, the best courses require essays on ethics!) and A levels suited them.
I totally disagree with the comments about Science A levels, perfectly valid based on O level, but at A level, just as with Humanities it is all about debate and a chance to broaden your reading and perspectives. Chemistry A level in particular ambushes a lot of really able candidates.
Plus I refer you to my comments before about which girls get into different courses. Without a doubt if an A level course is already oversubscribed you would need to be exceptional to get in... they only have so many teachers. But then the grapevine gets hot that certain subjects were easier to get in than others and then more apply. It is the same with Oxbridge colleges and subjects. I would just go on what works for your daughter with managed expectations of success.
However girls' schools all lose pupils, to different extents in different years, but their standards are more consistent.
MSAverage - I think your point about not knowing our "worth" is probably what exerts everyone doing this. The schools talk a lot about "seeing potential" and "understanding that you have all been taught in different ways", but that must be almost impossible. Our children haven't generally been ranked even within their own schools so we don't have that much idea how good they are internally, let alone against the rest of the world.
It is an interesting point from your daughter that Maths and Science teaching are not the most important thing to look at: I suspect that is not true really - there is a huge difference, particularly in Maths, between very inspirational teaching and straightforward serviceable teaching. Having said that, I think that she has a point in that it is the Arts that really mark out a school - but in fact there are extraordinarily impressive art, music and drama departments at all these schools.
And CopthallResident - I am so glad that your daughter is enjoying herself overall and can see that she will have found the move worthwhile. I am not surprised she is missing her friends - it is always easier to stay with what you know.
I am not sure that playing the easy subject route is going to help - as you say people latch on to it and suddenly unpopular subjects become sought after, and really she has to do subjects she likes an wants to do.
Managed expectations is what it is all about - there are huge numbers applying to these schools. Somehow she needs to be seen - whether it is by a school like Westminster that have extrance exams or like Latymer who may invite you for interview based on your form.
I feel for your science geek - so sad to shed her essay expectations with glee, and then have ethics come up as an awful surprise.
The point about girls schools standards being more consistent - how do you know ? The mixed sixth forms don't publish girl/boy results. Do you feel that the incoming girls don't do as well as they would have done had they stayed at their old schools ?
Living Sorry I wasn't clear. I was meaning that the girls' school tend to lose girls to other schools at 16, and there is less demand so they end up admitting fewer. With more capacity than demand they will be less likely to have oversubscribed A level courses and the standard you have to reach for entry will be more consistent.
Don't feel for my geek. I think it is good that these Scientists have to think through the ethical issues and actually she is good at essays, its just the thinking she hates
and it might make her rethink her plan to become a millionaire selling designer babies
Good luck to your daughter
I trust FT's rankings the most - Latymer Upper came 25th in the independent schools table this year regarding both A level results and GCSE results. It was the top co-ed school apart from the Perse School in Cambridge - which I think is absolutely brill. Their facilities are fantastic - just as good as St Paul's etc, and in 2012 they got 50 people into Oxbridge. Latymer Upper is one to watch!!! It is however just as hard to get into sixth form as it is in Westminster, SPGS, if not harder, due to so much interest
Who is ameliacampbell and why has she just bumped about 5 threads about Latymer Upper?
Amelia, where do you see that table? In the ranking I look at LU is 42th. It includes grammars, but only 7 of them are ahead of LU.
Although, I find this ranking a bit strange - SHHS is on 12th place, while Eton College is on 17th and CLSG on the 23rd.
singers, just a person enormously happy with a place given in LU?
There was a table that said Latymer was 20th - and they did come 11th for GCSE results, but I do think this Amelia is only mentioning the good parts of the school...I doubt she's a staff member, probably some parent whose child has just got in (it is notoriously hard to get into)
MsAverage the FT rankings also include tutoring colleges so perhaps she factored out those? Then it comes to about 23rd. Still the top co-ed school, whatever anyone says
Newmummy - why are you following Amelia about the boards.....?
I was told about her and decided to look her up
Just found this thread. It is very timely for us as our daughter is trying to move schools for the sixth form and is about to go through the Latymer Upper Interviews. At the moment she is in a medium sized good girls school where she is doing well, but she feels that she is ready for a change.
Does anyone have any views on what it is like to go in to Latymer as a 6th former ? Do they fit in easily ? Do they feel like outsiders ?
What do people think of the academic side ? It is clearly doing well in the league tables, and better each year. Is the teaching good or inspiring ? Are there any areas to look out for ? Our daughter is applying to do languages and history and possibly Maths and Physics or Chemistry. She is also thinking of doing Latin. For History the school is about to start doing the pre-U : she would be in the first year taking it.
What about extra-curricular activities. They tell us that the children do a great deal - are they as enthusiastic as the school tells us ? Is the drama open to all ? And sport ?
It is a big change to make. She could stay at her own school, which would be the safe option.
All thoughts gratefully received.
Of course she hasn't had her interview yet, but we are trying to think ahead a little bit.
i think the ranking that amelia is talking about is this one
they came 26th last year for independent schools
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