The Trinity-Whitgift thread of 2013 continued

(861 Posts)
Somelikeithott Sat 16-Feb-13 16:46:17

Hi all as I posted on previous thread, I realised we had hit the 1000 mark, do felt obliged to open a new one. Hope everyone finds this thread easily

Ladymuck Mon 17-Jun-13 08:30:27

Tonbridge, without a doubt.
More boarders (and it is seen as a boarding school for British pupils, not just a day school which takes in overseas boarders). Both schools have excellent sport facilities but Tonbridge is an academic school which also has good sporting facilities - occasionally Whitgift will stray into sports being dominant. Tonbridge results are better than Whitgift.

Lfs2126 Mon 17-Jun-13 14:17:49

Have you looked at the virtual vids?regret I don't understand lady mucks second reference to Whitgift and sport... I do know that they do really well at all levels in a number of sports , hockey this year has been v good. The boarding house is right next to the sports centre.academically, you can check uni destinations for recent leavers on website to see if fits your sons aspirations. Hope this helpssmile

Ladymuck Mon 17-Jun-13 15:22:28

I think that for some boys at Whitgift the sport is more important than the academics (and in fairness Whitgift will encourage those boys onto professional sporting success). Tonbridge's academic results would usually be better than Whitgift's on almost every measure. Whilst Whitgift has put a lot of investment into its boarding facility it is still fairly unproven. Whitgift is a fine school, but given a choice between these two specific schools, Tonbridge wins.

LoveandHope Mon 17-Jun-13 16:47:11

It's not an easy decision to make. We have visited both schools, met the Headmasters, talked to the teachers and the students. Both have excellent teachers and superb facilities. Our heart is skewed towards one of them, but all the Uni facts / figures are saying that the other one is academically better.

LIZS Mon 17-Jun-13 17:28:52

Whitgift is going to be predominantly day for some time to come whereas there is much more of an established boarding school culture at Tonbridge, even if many go home on a Saturday night. I suspect they will be offering big incentives to get this aspect of the school going. Location wise, Whitgift is better placed for access to London and the more cosmopolitan environment - but is that what you want for a 13yo in UK for first time? We know families happy at either (or in some cases both!) but they are very different.

LoveandHope Mon 17-Jun-13 18:14:57

Thank you all. Can you please advise what is the reputation and standing of the schools - Whitgift and Tonbridge, amongst uk locals ?

LIZS Mon 17-Jun-13 21:48:35

Of the two I'd say Whitgift is probably perceived as sporty/musical and Tonbridge all round and international . If you have the £££ then most would opt for Tonbridge as it is a more traditional public school, OB network etc. I think Whtigift offers IB and A levels in 6th form but Tonbridge takes a more traditional approach with a significant number going to Oxbridge

goinggetstough Mon 17-Jun-13 22:30:04

Tonbridge without a doubt is the more traditional English school with an excellent reputation. My only reservation would be that the fact that although it would appear that there are a decent number of boarders, few of them are full boarders which could be a problem for an overseas family. It is important to ask the school the exact numbers of weekly boarders and full boarders. Another good question to ask is how many boys in year 9 were in last weekend. Schools can sometimes be very cagey about this type of data. So it is worth asking very specific questions.

LoveandHope Tue 18-Jun-13 00:05:35

Thank you.

During our school visit, we were deeply impressed by the 2 W Y9 boys who showed us around. They are well-mannered, humble ( despite they are sports champions and U14/16 national reps), proactive, smart and intelligent.

The T boys are also very polite, and more intellectual.

If we take W, my DS will be in a more cosmopolitan, varied and dynamic environment, and have a 12% Oxbridge chance. New boarding house with very modern facilities.

If T, more traditional study environment, excellent school reputation, older boarding house facilities, 29% Oxbridge. Higher school feess.

Need to make final decision soon.........

Lfs2126 Tue 18-Jun-13 11:00:17

Hi L&H, good luck with your tricky decision today, let us know what you decided in the end!

Ladymuck Tue 18-Jun-13 11:26:16

I certainly wouldn't read the Oxbridge figures that way. At best they tell you what percentage of an average cohort is Oxbridge material. If your son is bright and motivated, then the figures you really need are the proportion of pupils applying to Oxbridge v those who get in (and as you get closer to that age, looking closely at success rates in the particular subjects). I would expect both schools to have a better than 50% success rate for those who do apply. But I would expect almost half of the boys at Tonbridge to apply for Oxbridge, with less than a quarter applying at Whitgift. The Whitgift intake has increased significantly over the last few years (up to 200 boys per year), and therefore the proportion of Oxbridge places in future may vary. I would also note that often Oxbridge isn't always the preferred destination of those who want to practice medicine (where London universities are often preferred), and the courses tend to favour those who want to go into medical research rather than practice (huge generalisation - but given this is a London school, there are many applicants who don't even waste an university application on Oxbridge as they favour the London colleges instead).

There is often some movement between schools at 6th form level, so don't assume that this gives you a true reflection of progress between 13-18 at either school. And don't be afraid to review your decision at this point in time either, especially if your son has a clearer idea of what he wants to study.

If you visited the schools on a non-open day then I'm afraid that the tour guides at each school will have been selected, with care. That is not to say that your guides were the only presentable boys in the school that day - far from it! But the schools know how to do a good sales pitch.

If I were in your shoes, I would want as much information about my son's cohort as possible. How big are the year groups? Where is my son placed academically within that year group (whether someone is in the top third or the bottom third can impact their self-confidence - asking which maths set he will be placed in will give you some good info))? What are the boys in the boarding house like, and what are their standards in terms of academics (eg at DS1's school the boarders have a higher GCSE results targets than the day pupils).

LIZS Tue 18-Jun-13 15:47:54

Agree with LM . Do you consider your ds to be Oxbridge material , would the schools concur ? Published results are not the be all and end all , you need to probe deeper. How do they achieve them with settings , options, early exam entry and so on. Will your ds' motivation match especially given that you won't be there to over see day-to-day. Does your ds favour IB ? A more significant number of pupils at W will have been in the state primary system and majority will have started age 10/11. At T he'd be among a peer group who have only been there a year.

P0M1 Wed 19-Jun-13 17:54:04

Interested to read your thread. My ds is currently at Whitgift in Year 11. He was meant to be going to Tonbridge the deposit was paid but we felt his prep school wasn't doing the job so he did the exam and went in the Summer term of Year 7. Both schools are very different he has friends from his prep school at both. He is not sporty, relatively bright and makes the most of what the school has to offer particularly CCF and is going to do his Gold DoE. I think in terms of life experience W is probably better in terms social spread although T is a fantastic traditional public school. We went to T at the weekend for dd's choir recital and although quite a few kids from the surrounding area board quite a few come from the Far East. It would be interesting to find out what the proportion is. I think you should go with your gut instinct, from my point of view I don't think that it's all down to the academics as everything is so competitive it's about the all-round picture. I think ds has approximately 24 in his year group and there are two parallel sets with six sets, he's in the second set and currently doing 11 mainly IGCSEs and predicted to get main A*s and As. I know that at Tonbridge you need higher marks to get a day play rather than a boarding. A few years ago a parent was only offered a boarding place for her son in spite of the fact that her elder son was a day pupil, she turned it down and went elsewhere, she was also going to send her third son there so they lost out on that too!

P0M1 Wed 19-Jun-13 18:00:39

Tell a lie, 24 in his form, approximately 220 in year but they are whittle it down after GCSE's. I think it's 24 points to stay on and you get A* - 4, A - 3, B - 2. From what I've heard the sixth form is around 160.

FatalFlowerGarden Wed 19-Jun-13 23:21:01

Now... I'm pretty sure I was sitting in front of an MNer at the new parents' talk this evening...am not going to out her though! But if any of you were sitting behind a woman with short dark hair and a black top, on her own, well...that was me grin

LoveandHope Thu 20-Jun-13 05:26:37

Whole-hearted thanks for the very generous, frank and kind advice given to me. I think I have the decision now. Will check on 2 more things and then confirm our decision today.

Very Many thanks again.

SugarHoney Thu 20-Jun-13 11:54:49

I am an overseas mom and my son will join Whitgift this summer as a full boarder. As we were not able to join the parents' meeting last night, any comments and pointers to share please. Many thanks.

SoupDragon Thu 20-Jun-13 12:13:31

I don't think ds is going to be able to attend the sports course as its still in term time for him. Do you think it will make a difference if he doesn't?

Both DSs attended one day of the Trinity sports course, in term time. Their headmistress authorised the absence as the children going to state schools have a day's induction whereas DSs wouldn't get this. It's worth checking with your head to see what they say.

They had a fab time but I don't think they would have lost anything by not going.

Somelikeithott Fri 21-Jun-13 12:42:54

Fatal flower, so glad to hear your news. I haven't been on here for ages, but thought surely there must be some activity again now after the new parents' evening on Wednesday. Wasn't the head of music really entertaining? I can't remember you sat in front of me, what makes you think they are MN's netter? I did wonder about people around me as well. Lol!

It feels real again now, DS finally had his uniform fitting, so he is excited again, wants to try them on this weekend again!!!!!

Next Monday, to go now, Lake Garda group should be a lot smaller, since year 6 only.

Loveandhope, have you made a decision yet? All the best, I'm sure your DS will do well wherever you choose, it is always a tough one. We agonised over trinity, whitgift & DS staying in his current school. A work colleague has Dtwins at Tonbridge now and they absolutely love it. As she lives near Croydon ( more to the south), she hopes they can flexi board as they advance through the school. But currently they are day students.

Somelikeithott Fri 21-Jun-13 13:34:57

That was meant to say I can't remember 'who' ( not 'you'), sat in front of me..... Silly predictive text!!!!!

FatalFlowerGarden Fri 21-Jun-13 18:09:53

Thanks Soup; I checked with ds's head and he was happy to give permission for two days, and said he hoped ds had a wonderful experience. Which was nice smile.

Does anyone think it would cause a problem if ds came with me on Monday for the Lake Garda meeting? I am a bit stuck for childcare (and ds is desperate to come!) The letter says boys are 'not required' to attend, which isn't quite the same as 'not permitted'...

Somelikeithott Fri 21-Jun-13 18:47:09

Maybe phone and ask, fatalflower. I can't imagine it would be a problem though. There were a couple of boys at the parents' information evening on Wednesday.

frazzledforty Mon 24-Jun-13 10:04:36

SugarHoney - apologies for not replying earlier!
Not sure what the others thought of the new parents meeting, but I'm very confident we made the right decision. Yes, the sheer size of the intake is slightly daunting, especially if you come from a very small school. But we met a few lovely new parents (I fished, but don't think I met any MNetters - I'm sure I would have recognised them by their elegant attire and sparkling wit!)

Of course there may be some old hands who would love at my naivety, but I'm really impressed with the school's approach and from what they said I believe that all boys, regardless of their strengths, will find get the chance to shine if they are willing to give it a bash. There was, for example, great emphasis on the fact that the boys who run out for the F team are appreciated as much as the ones who win national colours. I like that.

I also liked that they acknowledge that all boys can't be good at everything - and that they will get extra help if they struggle with a subject.

Their approach to discipline was also reassuring. Whether it's always that easy in reality is obviously a different story, but it sounded logical and supportive, but tough if necessary.

Hope that helps!

SugarHoney Mon 24-Jun-13 14:23:42

No apologies friaries forty. Thank you for your reply. As we are far away, any comments from you helped as we couldn't attend. Glad to know that you are impressed.

Did anyone talk about the boarding house? Thanks

SugarHoney Mon 24-Jun-13 14:58:01

Sorry frazzledforty, I meant to address you but predictive text went ahead of me. Thanks for your comments.

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