London Sixth Forms - Latymer Upper, Westminster, Godolphin, Camden, SPGS etc

(70 Posts)
livinginlondon2 Sat 01-Oct-11 16:57:33

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.

mummyitalia Fri 22-Feb-13 18:24:36
mummyitalia Fri 22-Feb-13 18:24:11

i think the ranking that amelia is talking about is this one
http://rankings.ft.com/secondary-schools/latymer-upper-school/independent-schools-2011#independent-schools-2011
they came 26th last year for independent schools

lovethedog Fri 04-Jan-13 12:43:39

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.

Northernlebkuchen Mon 31-Dec-12 12:15:48

Ah.

NewMummyInTown Mon 31-Dec-12 12:13:27

I was told about her and decided to look her up blush

Northernlebkuchen Mon 31-Dec-12 12:12:45

Newmummy - why are you following Amelia about the boards.....? confused

NewMummyInTown Mon 31-Dec-12 12:12:02

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

NewMummyInTown Mon 31-Dec-12 12:09:01

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 Sun 16-Dec-12 13:34:21

singers, just a person enormously happy with a place given in LU?

MsAverage Sun 16-Dec-12 13:32:03

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.

singersgirl Sun 16-Dec-12 13:23:21

Who is ameliacampbell and why has she just bumped about 5 threads about Latymer Upper?

ameliacampbell Sun 16-Dec-12 13:07:24

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

Copthallresident Fri 28-Sep-12 16:14:42

Good luck to your daughter

Copthallresident Fri 28-Sep-12 16:09:46

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

Copthallresident Fri 28-Sep-12 16:07:34

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.

livinginlondon2 Fri 28-Sep-12 12:32:59

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 ?

Copthallresident Thu 27-Sep-12 01:44:51

However girls' schools all lose pupils, to different extents in different years, but their standards are more consistent.

Copthallresident Thu 27-Sep-12 01:07:11

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.

Copthallresident Thu 27-Sep-12 00:56:29

Hi Living

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.

MsAverage Wed 26-Sep-12 23:05:59

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?

livinginlondon2 Wed 26-Sep-12 21:02:11

The time has come to revisit this thread.

We have been to a couple of Independent school open evenings for school sixth forms, and DD is keen to try and sit some of the entrance exams. She needs to see a few more before deciding which ones to do. There are also some state schools that we will look at but their open days are later on in the Autumn.

It is hard as these are generally very academic schools and you have no real idea what the competition is going to be like. All the schools are very welcoming and encouraging but it is clear that the number of places is limited and that they are all going to be hard to get into.

We are finding it quite difficult to compare schools - the range of exams and subjects offered makes it school very different. At one school you become completely sold on the International Baccalaureate, at another Pre-Us are the answer, at some A levels are best and so on.

Are there others out there looking to move their children for sixth form in London ? How are you all finding it.

Copthallresident Thu 14-Jun-12 00:02:36

DD1s year were entirely different as are the year below DD2, different norms, more respect for each other. You always get the cool girls, the geeks and the inbetweeners, it's just been more polarised in DD2s year. These girls could have turned up at any West London School. When she was making the decision to move we agreed not to consider either these girls or any iffy teachers on the basis you can encounter either wherever you go.

I do think that the effect of "strong characters" like these get amplified in an all girl school, boys tend not to put up with the silly games and the schools tend not to be so liberal because they have to keep a lid on the testosterone. However I think there are advantages to all girl schools too, definitely right for DD1 to 16.

Forgot to mention that Latymer now taking AS with A2s in U6. You don't lose a third term in L6 to exams and boys often still immature, lots of retakes. DD1 thought that would be a nightmare (but then she did 4)

livinginlondon2 Wed 13-Jun-12 20:27:38

Thanks for that. I see what you mean by "preparing the ground" now. It is probably sensible to make sure that hopes aren't built up enormously.

Your last paragraph sounds rather worrying - do you think that this is the all girls' school environment ? Did your older daughter have the same feeling (although she didn't leave) or do you just think that your younger daughter is in a really difficult year ? I am glad for her that she is making the change and hope that it all goes well.

For timings I just meant that some of the schools seem to examine and make decisions in November and December, and schools like Latymer don't interview until January. You are probably right, they will wait. It will all become clearer to us next year I suppose. I am particularly glad to hear that it felt more relaxed than the 11+. I wouldn't want to do all that again.

Copthallresident Wed 13-Jun-12 18:11:41

By prepare the ground I just meant I would have warned her that the other applicants were likely to be of a high standard, and they were after the brightest academically. They made lots of noises about being more interested in potential and in finding students that would contribute to the life of the school so my daughter thought that they would value what she has to offer and spent a long time putting together a personal statement that emphasised all her achievements and what she contribute to her school and outside activities. She was therefore quite angry and felt it was a bit hypocritical that in the end they went for an academic high achiever who actually didn't have anything else to offer. However as I said before I don't blame them, doubtless she will guarentee some A*s to add to their percentage in the league tables, and who knows how quirky and interesting the rest of them were, maybe they had filled their quota! Mary Portas and her daughter were swanning around the open night like they owned the place, quirkyness and interest on display in abundance, I'd be interested to know if they made the cut!

The selection process wasn't that much later than the other schools, I'm not aware of anyone having an issue with the timings, I assume they would wait for an answer if you needed time. It all felt a lot more relaxed than the 11+ entry. Often the issue is with the decision between the existing school and a move anyway. The only real issue is knowing in time to give a term's notice and in DD1's year there was another change around once the results came out with some not leaving after all, some even coming back after a week or two, and some with much better results than expected being nabbed by other schools(Latymer do say to come back to them if you do well)

Not sad to be leaving her current school. She knows from DD1s year that friends keep in touch and her cohort has been dysfunctional, some shocking attention seekers (understandable when you know their back stories). Lots of outrageous and disruptive behaviour, as DD1's friends say, as they look on in amused shock, they have no respect for anyone else, or themselves. So I think she is looking forward to a more normal school environment. I have kept consoling her that she will never have to put up with an environment like that again unless she gets sent to a womens' prison!!

livinginlondon2 Wed 13-Jun-12 08:55:25

Hi CopthallResident,

Thank you for your insights - I love the KCS loo chair !

I hope it all works out for your daughter - it will be interesting to hear from you how it goes next year. Well done to her for getting a place. Is she excited now ? I am sorry she was fed up not to be seen at all by Latymer Upper. It sounds like you need to make that GCSE prediction list sparkle. And interesting that you almost see it as harder to get into than Westminster / KCS.

Can I ask what you mean by "I would have prepared the ground" ?

It is interesting that Latymer are being so selective - I suppose with so many applicants they can afford to be.

I also see that their selection process comes later than the other schools, so that must skew their applications a bit as presumably people who have accepted places at other schools pull out. This makes it hard if a) it is high up on your list of preferences and b) you get into another sixth form that requires an answer before they announce their interviews. It sounds like it certainly can't be seen as a backup, but it is a pity, if the odds are so low, that they don't align it with the other schools.

Do keep posting to let us know how the change goes. Good luck to your daughter who will now be in the midst of her GCSEs. I she sad to be leaving her current school ?

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