Latymer Upper

(81 Posts)
Rifraf79 Fri 22-Feb-13 22:19:53

Our DS has been offered a place at Latymer Upper (year 7) and by a couple of schools further away; We and he really like what we've seen of LU but I'd be grateful to hear from current parents about any down sides/negatives we should be aware of, as well reasons why a bright but not especially cool or sophisticated boy would thrive there. Thanks!

Seren2013 Fri 30-May-14 10:38:08

LetsEscape, I don't know where the rule-pounding is coming from. It's not a big problem, only alongside the absence of other things.Beingfrank, DC will survive. Just some thoughts for anyone applying.

Beingfrank Sun 25-May-14 16:36:59

Seren - you sound rather unhappy. Are you regretting your choice?

LetsEscape Sun 25-May-14 12:08:24

You are absolutely right that this year there is fundraising as a priority. This was not the case last year. As you know the target has been met so next year will not be the same. I much rather the school chose to fundraise rather than hike up the fees and in any case in less than 18 months time we will all benefit from some great facilities including new pool and actually a whole new floor that I am sure will increase the minority sports for all, including the girls.

I am sorry your child has not had a good year. I hope they have been able to enjoy all the extracurricular activities, drama, music etc. and that she has a great time on the activity week coming up soon. For the record, I don't have experiences of rules being pounded into them in year 7. Was this just one form tutor or across the board? Certainly not our experience last year. Actually some rules may have been useful to some individuals! It is however a big school (160+ in a year) which I think can be a shock for some quieter children so is best suited to individuals who are more confident, social and love buzzy energetic places, with bags to do and want to get involved.

Seren2013 Sat 24-May-14 22:39:29

Update for anyone still listening on how our first year at LU has been like. In a word: fundraising. The entire year has been spent being asked to raise money for the new school sports centre. Our friends' children have had school trips and a residential in the first term for the incoming children to get to know each other. What were LU pupils doing? They had a bake sale to raise money for the new sports centre. We parents threw dinners in January and charged our friends for the pleasure, to raise money for the new sports centre. Fundraise! Fundraise! Fundraise!

The happiest parents seem to be parents of boys, and that's no surprise. This school--parents of girls take note--is really geared for boys. The rules are pounded into them the entire first term. Perfectly good children, but rules are rules! There aren't many sports for girls either. Parents have had meetings with the new head of sport, but he doesn't know what to do about it.

The other official line is that the students are fine, but the parents are anxious because they are used to sweet prep schools. That's a very useful angle. The school has no responsibility to make the community cohesive for parents and students. The parents just need to take a chill pill!

harrassedswlondonmum Fri 15-Nov-13 09:16:04

I think the later tours that day were done by year 9 - are you sure he was 11?!

I have a son at LU and looking down the year directory, there are a very high percentage of non-British sounding names. To say that foreigners are unwelcome is not correct, it is just not the case.

complexnumber Fri 15-Nov-13 07:46:01

boy who showed us round seemed more like a 40 year old than a 11 year old - scarily serious and mature!

Ahem! I am 53, and neither serious nor mature.

(And I went to Latymer as a boy)

fruitcorner Tue 12-Nov-13 21:46:53

I went to open day on 9th and had different experience. Staff very friendly and as in any west London school there were lots of foreign parents and i really doubt that foreigners re treated differently than others. I found children I met friendly although the boy who showed us round seemed more like a 40 year old than a 11 year old - scarily serious and mature!

callingearth Mon 11-Nov-13 18:58:57

No you haven't. You cannot possibly have been at Latymer or be telling the truth. Half of my DS class has one or two foreign parents. A third of DS friends speak another language and have lived abroad. My DS is bilingual and I am a "foreigner" as you put it. The staff talk to everyone regardless of income, they give generous bursaries to bright academic children. Mostly unspoiled. And it manages to be academic and rounded.

So I am afraid you walked into the wrong school. It sure wasn´t LU. Or you had blinkers on.

Your post is oozing venom.

London2014 Mon 11-Nov-13 18:23:01

Just been to an open day at Upper Latymer on the 9th of November 2013.
The kids are spoiled, no knowledge of languages. Staff is nice only to upper class people. When they found out that you are foreigner they just walkaway. This is not an academic school.

Seren2013 Wed 06-Mar-13 00:08:21

DC is somewhat noncommittal, but has said LU, probably because of all the teachers' recommendations. I have said that it's necessary to shout loud enough to be heard at LU but also didn't want to make it sound scary.

It's not shallow of you to put the fact that it's a top school ahead of everything else. It's the world we live in. If I weren't influenced by these same forces, I wouldn't be debating this. I'd put DC in Harrodian.

mummyitalia Mon 04-Mar-13 21:06:58

Seren, what I've heard from friends who have sent their children to LU, is that if they shout loud enough they will be heard. Of course, if your DS doesn't do this, then it will be more difficult for him to be at the forefront of drama and sports - less so sports, as do remember LU offers a huge range of sports so he will find one that he excels at.
I personally always put the fact that it's a top school ahead of everything else (slightly shallow of me I know), although I completely agree that at schools like LU, Westminster and St Paul's they are asked to grow up more quickly than at slightly calmer, less hothouse-like schools such as Harrodian. Have you asked DS which one he prefers? In the end, he's the one who's going to be spending all his time there and working hard for the school!

Seren2013 Mon 04-Mar-13 19:58:41

mummyitalia, I just have to say that you have got it exactly! You understand exactly what I've been trying to say is our difficulty choosing between LU and Harrodian, to quote you, "a nurturing school where you can be whoever you want to be." But current school insists that DC being so strong academically LU is the more appropriate place.

However, not happy with what I heard just today from friend whose DCs at LU have never been in a play there. As I feared, the standard is so high only a minority of students get the chance to do many of the offerings. My DC might end up not getting a chance to do theatre, some sports, because of the competition. Am sad, because I think in addition to sending our children to top schools for the best education and best chance to get into top universities etcetera etcetera, it's important that they be children while they are children and be exposed to things that they may never get a chance to do again in life.

DC may not be the next Alan Rickman, but I still want those opportunities during the school years. That is why I favoured Harrodian.

mummyitalia Sun 03-Mar-13 22:07:52

singers the school told me they were £16500! Hm...still, you get much more for your money with St Paul's and Westminster (i.e lunches, some music lessons) so the difference is marginal.
Seren I think you just need to decide whether you feel your son would be more comfortable being at the very top of his year in Harrodian, and not in the other - although obviously I don't know how bright he is, he could be top in LU, St Paul's and Westminster too! Obviously, your son will do well at either, however perhaps at LU he'll be pushed more and get more support. I do sympathise with the pastoral element - Harrodian appeals as a nurturing school where you can be whoever you want to be.
Don't forget the option of moving in sixth form to somewhere like LU or St Paul's if you felt Harrodian wasn't enough at A Level.
I hope you come to a decision soon without too much more stress!

Seren2013 Sun 03-Mar-13 19:42:28

StoicButStressed, the choice isn't between LU and Harrow, but LU and Harrodian. It's a very hard choice for us.

singersgirl Sun 03-Mar-13 18:42:56

OK, fees info from websites:

Latymer: £15,705 (plus lunches on top so about £580 if your child takes lunches)
St Paul's: Yrs 7 and 8 (ie Colet Court) £15,729, Yrs 9+ £19,674 (including lunches)
Westminster: Yrs 7 and 8 (ie Under School) £15,114, Yrs 9+ £21,708

So quite a lot more than Latymer but not £8,000 a year - £4,000 for St P and £6k for Westminster, but for the first two years if going at 11+ cheaper at Westminster and the same at St Paul's with lunch included. And Westminster still has Saturday school so you get an extra half day a week for the price!

We did a spreadsheet a few years ago when we were making our decision factoring in things like school coach costs, meals, music lessons (very similar at most schools)....

Honestly, I should go and do something more useful as well.

I think all these schools get a reasonable amount of homework. For example, at Hampton a couple of years ago they were getting 3 subjects 3 nights a week and 4 subjects twice a week in Y7. My friends with children at Ibstock said they got loads of homework too.

I think, Rifraf, if you are looking at 11+ in some schools and 13+ in others the acceptance timetable is going to be different. If you had looked at 11+ into Colet Court or Westminster Under School as well as Latymer you would have found they all had the same acceptance deadline, so you wouldn't have found yourself in that position.

mummyitalia Sun 03-Mar-13 18:25:19

singers I must have wiped that little piece of info out of my memory...oh well! And finally with HW - I don't think St Paul's get that much more than Latymer...

mummyitalia Sun 03-Mar-13 18:24:14

Actually I've been looking at the fees and talking to Latymer parents - St Paul's include a great deal more in their annual fees, so at LU you end up paying closer to £19,000 a year (with music lessons, food, trips etc), and St Paul's is about £21,000 (I think). Westminster however is around £23,000. Latymer's fees have risen though from £13,000 in only the last 3 years so I don't know how much more expensive it will be.
As I said, in a couple of years there won't be much between them.

Rifraf79 Sun 03-Mar-13 18:08:09

Singer - I would love to know in what way. My fee info is taken from the school websites. Anyway - best of luck to everyone in all their choices, and in their DCs school careers. Once I have heard from Singer I going to try and drag myself away from this forum - but like mummyitalia maybe I will check back once my son has started at LU, and read it all again with a rueful grin.

singersgirl Sun 03-Mar-13 17:43:39

The Latymer science block can't possibly be newer than St Paul's new science block which is opening fully after Easter!

If your son has a strong preference you should definitely go with it as both are excellent schools.

Rifraf, your information about fees is slightly off as is info re homework.

mummyitalia Sun 03-Mar-13 17:14:14

Sorry didn't mean to write the 'social' part - was getting a bit ahead of myself! I think at the moment they're the same socially (of course) but in a few years perhaps will almost be the same academically. Hope I've explained myself better! smile
With regards to differing experiences - maybe I was choosing to look at certain things and not others? I do agree that it is slightly more diverse than others, however perhaps that's just because it's a co-ed school. Whenever I hear of people leaving however, they only leave to go to SPGS, St Paul's, Wellington, or Eton. Which perhaps shows its cohort of people.
I found it surprising too that Eton had a more diverse range! But I think it will be partly to do with international students and the fact they have just as many scholarship places as Latymer. The thing about LU is that they put great emphasis on the amount of bursaries and scholarships they give out (which I think is great and I'm not complaining) but every other 'public' school also has that many scholarships, i.e SPGS, St Pauls, Eton, Westminster. But I understand that that's the way they want the school to be publicised. All I know is that if one of the student's siblings don't go to Latymer, they seem to exclusively go to St Paul's, Westminster, Eton etc. So that's partly why I came to the conclusion that it is the same as these other 'posh' schools.
We were slightly silly in waiting until 13+ to move DS to these schools, as you say it would have been easier and cheaper to go for Westminster Under, Latymer and Colet Court in Year 6. But of course, we wanted him to continue his very caring education at his prep school (even if it wasn't that rigorous!). I think we are going to go for Latymer, as DS seems much keener on it and prefers the ultimately newer and better Science block (he loves Biology). As I've said before, there are only marginal differences between them, and by the time he does his public exams there'll be even less of a difference (academically I mean).
Sorry for the long post (I seem to be copying you RifRaf!)

Rifraf79 Sun 03-Mar-13 16:51:10

Mummyitalia what can I say - except I WILL try to be briefer this time.

Obviously our experience at the open days at both schools differed quite dramatically, as perhaps do the circumstances of the parents we know with kids at both schools. But I can't help feeling that the relative ability of parents to pay the fees of LU (16k) vs StPauls & Westminster (23k) and indeed Eton (32k) must have some bearing on their choices. I may be wrong. And I do find it surprising that Eton has a more diverse roll than Latymer. Of course, it is quite possible that it has a number of very wealthy children from Asia, Africa and elsewhere - though this is not the kind of diversity I was thinking of. But as you have personal experience of Eton, well, I stand astonished - but corrected...

In any case it sound like you are leaning towards Latymer?

Is your son currently in Year 6, 7 or 8? If they are in 8 than I assume he has taken the Latymer 13+ entrance already and you are awaiting an offer in the next few weeks? In which case I you will have to accept before he takes the St Pauls Common Entrance in May/June. Does that mean you'll have to forfeit the large deposit that you paid to St Pauls at the end of Year 7? If you are plumping for Latymer - then I presume you will not bother with stPauls CE? Either way they certainly make it expensive to keep options open to the end. Of course if he is in lower years then all this still awaits, but it does seem to me that the two schools are not very compatible in offering a straight choice - unlike stPauls and Westminster. And I understand that LU has very, very few places for entry at 13, unlike the other two schools that have their main intake then.

One thing you wrote does make me very curious though: in what way do you hope that Latymer will have caught up "socially" with St Pauls in the next few years?

thatwasalongtimeago Sun 03-Mar-13 16:33:06

Stoic, I think you're overreacting a little bit?

I admit starting with "thank you" was out of place given that your post was for the OP. Apologies and point taken!

But where did you get the idea that I was actually saying you hadn't done your job at home?! What do I know about you and your life? When I said "you" I meant it as in "one", i.e. as in "the parent" meaning all of us. It was meant in a general sense. Is that not a correct use of "you" in English, as in the French "vous"? If it's not, I do apologize and would appreciate the correction, English is not my mother tongue.
I did not intend to imply your DC were the "poor" ones as I frankly don't know about that, and I find it very strange that you found it offensive and patronising - God forbid I should assume your DC are the poor kids having to face the extra challenge. Ironically for you, I was actually talking about my DS.

As to your comment that anyone could move to Surrey if they really cared for their children education...Well, what can I say. Maybe you could, for a moment, imagine situations like having to live near an elderly parent who depends on us, or a move not being financially viable, or a commuting life being more expensive and maybe not viable because of professional nightshifts...etc etc. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to come up for reasons why every Londoner is not moving to Surrey, by far "the most affordable suburb" in the UK. Apart from the fact that many just don't want, because of the cultural life London offers their DC, which is also educating them. And please I AM not talking about/referring to/criticising you again. Each to their own.

Belltree Sun 03-Mar-13 14:56:05

In response to Stoic's comments, I just wanted to say that I was at Godolphin in the 80s and I don't recognise any of what s/he (?) says about the schools back then. There was no obvious anorexia at all, no more cliques than you'd expect to find in any school, and while some people used some drugs sometimes, there was no drug culture to speak of. I can't comment on the way they are now, except to say that LU is certainly one of the most competitive and highly sought after schools at 11 for those going private from our state primary. I haven't heard any rumours of these kinds on the local grapevine about either school, unlike some of the other local privates.

mummyitalia Sun 03-Mar-13 13:49:34

It would be interesting to come back to this thread in a couple of years and see how much LU had continued changing - that's why I'm not hesitant to send DS to LU over St Paul's, because by the time he would have done his A Levels or even GCSEs, Latymer would very nearly have caught up with it (both socially and academically).

mummyitalia Sun 03-Mar-13 13:43:19

By the way, the last head boy was actually the only black student in his year (all this comes from the friend I mentioned - please don't shoot the messenger!!)

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