Independent/public secondary schools for DS

(31 Posts)
ameliacampbell Sun 30-Dec-12 16:07:29

Hello!
At the moment my 6 yo DS is at Wetherby Prep, and 3 yo DD will be starting at Pembridge Hall in Sep. We are starting to think about secondary schools for DS, and whether we should choose boarding or day, and co-ed or single sex. My DH went to Eton, and I went to St Paul's Girls, so we have both experiences! We need to decide whether to go for the 11+ or 13+. DS is evidently v academic, and has been playing the piano for 2 years. He adores sports, especially rugby and football
At the moment, we have looked at:
Latymer Upper
St Paul's
Eton
Winchester
Westminster
City of London
UCS
Charterhouse
Harrow
One of my best friend's sons goes to Latymer, and it seems to be doing very well - it came 20th in this year's league tables and is the top co-ed school in the country, but obviously Westminster etc is 1st! Of course it isn't all about academics, so we'd love to know about these school's facilities and opportunities for sports, drama, music etc, and their atmospheres - DS seems to be rather shy when with friends and peers etc.
Thanks so much, and happy new year! grin

pleasedtomeetyou Thu 03-Jan-13 02:54:17

There is a magazine called Private School Magazine that you might want to google..... lots of info in there... I just wrote a feature for them about nutrition and stress! Beginning to see why they asked me. Good luck with your research.

peteneras Thu 03-Jan-13 02:39:02

OP may be real or fake (I don’t particularly care) but it’s good for genuine posters to post continuously as there would be hundreds, if not thousands, of genuine and interested (silent) readers to read the postings and learn from them. After all, this is what MumsNet - Education - is all about.

happygardening Wed 02-Jan-13 18:27:23

The OP having been rumbled seems conspicuous by her absence.

hatsybatsy Wed 02-Jan-13 13:53:19

OP - really strange to post randomly about something like this? you seem to have 2 distinct scenarios that you ask questions about - did you not think someone would notice?

fran026 Wed 02-Jan-13 12:19:12

By the way I have a feeling the OP is doing this as a joke, oh well!

fran026 Wed 02-Jan-13 12:18:37

I am an ex-student of Latymer and I agree with what Needmoresleep said. Before it became co-ed, it was a back up for St Paul's etc, whereas now they are thought of as equally desirable to get into - many of the boys in my year had tried to get in to Latymer but had had to settle for St Paul's. Although it was many years ago a grammar school, it now fully feels like a traditional, highly academic public school, however it is more forward-thinking and 'cooler' than places like Eton or Westminster. This public school feel will increase with the new head - he was head of classics at Eton and dep head at Durham. Its playing fields are actually brilliant, contrary to what needmoresleep says - they are only a mile or so away and are just as large as St Paul's.

Socially, Latymer has changed a huge amount. When I was there, the older years were more middle class, pretty normal families who lived in places like Sheen, Kew or Richmond. Nowadays though everyone seems to live in Kensington, Chelsea, Fulham etc, and are more upper middle/upper class (or if you like 'posher'). Instead of having friends from Tiffins or lesser-known private schools, my social circle was exclusively St Pauls, Godolphin, Eton and Westminster. The new students coming to the sixth form when I was there came from places like Harrow, Wycombe Abbey and Cheltenham Ladies, as well as state schools, which really shows the mix of people, which I think is great.

To be honest, all of the schools you listed are very similar to each other, and in many cases Latymer is much better academically - i.e Charterhouse, Harrow and UCS, so it's really just a question of seeing where your DS fits better, Winchester is for more eccentric, less sporty boys, St Paul's for the all-rounder etc. Wherever he is I'm sure he'll do brilliantly!

Needmoresleep Wed 02-Jan-13 09:48:19

The list appears to cover the standard academic boys school options for someone living in Notting Hill and effectively illustrates the range of options available. Different schools will suit different children.

10 years ago Latymer Upper would not have been on the list. It was just about to go co-ed and had been considered the alternative and easier option for boys who were either not prepared for 13+ or unlikely to be selected for a very academic school. It appealed to local children, those not getting Tiffin or other popular state secondaries so seeking a private alternative and those not getting Tiffin and those not wanting to board.

Turning co-ed, an extensive building programme and changes in London demographics have had a huge effect on demand for places. Part of the legacy of the out-going head has been to ensure that this change has translated into improving exam results and higher league table positions. The school, as per your list, is now starting to be considered as an alternative to Eton, Westminster and St Pauls, and at sixth form level as an alternative to Kings or Westminster. It is reasonable to predict increased competition for places will mean results continue to improve. People also appear to be impressed by the new, and surprisingly young, new Head.

The outcome is that getting into the school has become more competitive and a lot more unpredictable. The assumption that it is a fall back for girls not getting SPGS or G&L no longer holds good. The competition for boys is tougher as there are fewer obvious alternatives. 11+ at the best of times is a bit of a lottery and Latymer as a co-ed will have fewer girls and boys places than a single sex schools. It is perfectly possible to be offered a pre-place at Westminster, St Pauls or Eton and not get one at Latymer.

Latymer is very different to say SPGS or Eton. If you are confident that you prefer a busy co-ed former grammar school on a cramped urban site to lots of tradition and playing fields, then it might be wise to be tactical and try for a Prep place at 7+ or 8+. (One way of comparing might be to stand on the Hammersmith tow path on a Saturday morning and watch the Latymer rowers emerge from their boat house with the background of noise from the A4, and then cast a glance over the river to see the St Pauls rowers do the same surrounded by green fields.) Getting into the Prep almost guarantees you a place at 11, but effectively cuts you off from entry to other, 13+, schools.

If you are still uncertain, and 6 is young, you wait till 11 and make your choice once you know who has offered a place. The problem with Latymer then is that the majority of boy applicants will be from state primaries, or preps that only go up to 11, most seeing Tiffin, Hampton, Emmanuel, Kingston Grammar and even Toby Young's Free School, rather than the schools on your list, as alternatives. It is hard for parents and for schools like Wetherby to predict how any one child will fare in a single set of 11+ exams against this different competition.

Unless you are thinking of 7+ or 8+ it is not worth worrying too much at this point. All the schools on your list are good, schools are experienced at picking who will fit, and it becomes clearer as he gets older what school will suit your child.

IndridCold Mon 31-Dec-12 17:34:18

wink

happygardening Mon 31-Dec-12 17:30:21

6 might also be a bit young to narrow your search by whether or not they play rugby but then as the OP states she's considering boarding day single sex and coed I suppose playing or not playing rugby is a good enough way to narrow your search.

IndridCold Mon 31-Dec-12 17:24:07

A couple of the schools on your list are full-boarding. 6 might be a bit young to decide if that is the right choice for your DS.

peteneras Mon 31-Dec-12 16:18:47

DH went to Eton, you say. Hasn't he anything to say about his alma mater?

It’s a rugby and football playing school (together with a few dozen other sports), a centre for academically bright and super bright boys (no, you don't need girls to distract them here and they perform much better without them).

As for your piano playing DS, I seem to remember reading somewhere there are more than 100 pianos of various kinds (150-ish?) scattered within the confines of the School and your son therefore, won’t be far from one if he went there. Needless to say, they have excellent piano teachers too!

difficultpickle Mon 31-Dec-12 14:50:16

Well spotted basildon. The OP also went to two different schools, which may of course be true but the one on this thread is different to the one on another thread. Five lots of school fees is a bit eye watering although I know people in RL who have done this (not many though!). Having already been through this with her older ds and ddI'm surprised she is asking about schools that her dcs already attend.

happygardening Mon 31-Dec-12 12:01:39

Don't know if youre real or not anyway who cares (if your not I think you need to get a life) what about Radley very very big rugby school results are really improving year on year and at 6 you DS might just not be too late to register. Of the list you gave and if you must have a rugby playing school St Paul's IMO is in a league of its own and would be my first and only choice but as I'm sure you're pre prep will tell you registration is again early before 8 I think.

Livingintheburbmum Mon 31-Dec-12 09:53:44

And apparently you are pregnant too going by the baby names board. A 4 bed house presumably will bE inadequate to house your 5 children OP, given you have 2 at secondary, 2 at primary and a 5th on the way. Shall I call it???

basildonbond Mon 31-Dec-12 09:20:43

Amelia - aren't you the person who bumped up all those Latymer threads? I'm sure your children were much older then hmm ...

AndrewD Mon 31-Dec-12 07:38:36

PS - no rugby at Westminster either.

10.5 is the earliest "deadline" that I have come across for any of those schools, or other less London-centric options. I would say that it would be wise to wait a couple of years to have a better idea of which school would work for your DS. I don't have strong views about single sex or co-ed in general, but I do feel very strongly that co-ed will work better for my DS, for example.

difficultpickle Sun 30-Dec-12 23:49:02

amelia not sure about all the schools on your list but both Eton and Winchester only require you to be registered by the time your ds is 10yrs 6 months. Both Eton and Winchester test in year 6, which term will depend on when your ds's birthday is.

6 seems very early to be visiting secondary schools. Are others at your pre-prep doing the same? It is hard to know at that age whether they would like boarding and what their strengths and interests are. At 6 ds loved rugby but by 8 he hated it (although that may change with the start of contact rugby this term!). I also couldn't imagine him liking boarding but I couldn't have been more wrong and he loves it.

I would be speaking to your HT for advice and recommendations although I would imagine you would be better off waiting until your ds is in junior prep.

Livingintheburbmum Sun 30-Dec-12 21:09:50

I think for Eton, you register when they are 10, take the test and interview at 11 and then you need to pass CE at 13. Obviously no harm in knowing what the options are but I'd say there is no real rush. I'd have thought Wetherby would guide you re what type of school they think your DS would be suited to and guide you through the process.

Were I you, I'd try and think boarding v non boarding conceptually and take it from there.

ameliacampbell Sun 30-Dec-12 19:31:21

the thing about independent schools is that you have to let the schools when you'll be applying - esp somewhere like Eton when you have to be on their list 4 years before

Livingintheburbmum Sun 30-Dec-12 19:28:55

You could wait a few years, and see how their personalities develop and which school would be best suited to them both (academics and personally) Your eldest is 6? Is there any need to make a decision now?

ameliacampbell Sun 30-Dec-12 19:27:51

Myself and my husband have functioned perfectly well in the real world - as have all of our siblings and parents...

Northernlebkuchen Sun 30-Dec-12 19:24:46

Co-ed schooling may be more likely to raise dcs able to function in the real world?

ameliacampbell Sun 30-Dec-12 17:49:59

What are the advantages of co-ed schooling?

ameliacampbell Sun 30-Dec-12 17:34:44

That changes things then!

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