Surbiton High School?

(54 Posts)
Chooknhook Wed 29-Jan-14 11:11:54

Hello, my DD has just been offered a place in Y7 from Sept 2014. We really didn't expect her to be offered a place (due to the extremely high demand) so haven't really looked at it seriously until now. Looking on MN I see that many of the opinions expressed are a little dated, are there any members who have DDs there at the moment? I was a little concerned to read the post regarding the current head, but having seen her at the school think that this opinion must have changed? Any up to date views good or bad would be really appreciated. Many thanks!

DalmationDots Wed 29-Jan-14 14:08:26

DD didn't go there, my DD was at Guildford High though and the now current SHS head taught DD when she used to work at GHS as deputy head. The now SHS-head, when at GHS, was very highly regarded, she is a very positive, fair and professional person. Her passion for education and her school is obvious.
Know good friends with DC at Surbiton and all say it is brilliant. There is apparently a real buzz and energy. Loads of opportunities and different things going on and, from what I've heard, standards not just academically but in terms of the presentation and organisation of the school in all areas are improving.
It is a big school, 6 forms I think, so something to consider but definitely only hearing positive things from friends.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Wed 29-Jan-14 14:27:32

Its going to be even bigger now, they've just bought the big office building next door which they will convert to classrooms. They already have a couple of 7 form entry years, this could push it even higher.
I am surprised they haven't made a public announcement because some parents will feel unhappy if they accept a place at a medium size school and it turns out to be a very big year group. This affects sporting opportunities etc as well as putting a big strain on limited resources. You also end up with a very different school.
With the current rate of headteacher turnover, I don't think anyone locally will choose a school because they like the head! I have friends still in a state of shock that the KGS head didn't confide in them that she was applying for other jobs at open day!

Hulahaha Wed 29-Jan-14 14:28:59

I have a DD there - she loves it . It ticks all the boxes. So glad she went there . The teachers really get to know the pupils and the pastoral care is very good .

Chooknhook Wed 29-Jan-14 15:24:48

Thank you all for you thoughts, I too am shocked at this years Head turnover shock. The Heads at SWPS, KGS and Wimbledon High are all changing at the end of this year. So difficult to choose a school anyway without throwing in the uncertainty of a new SMT? I was even more sorry to hear that the lovely Mr.Dunlop (KGS 1st Yr Mentor) is leaving too. My DD chose that as her absolute 1st choice of school because of him... sad
Does anyone have any experience of SWPS?

Chooknhook Wed 29-Jan-14 15:28:04

Sorry, should be your thoughts...
C- Must check your work thoroughly
blush

reddidi Wed 29-Jan-14 16:29:50

Mrs Fletcher's leaving was public knowledge over the summer, but that's the first I've heard about Mr Dunlop - is there anything to confirm that?

Chooknhook Wed 29-Jan-14 16:30:55

I heard it from a current KGS parent, such a shame...

lalamumto3 Wed 29-Jan-14 17:36:26

I have a daughter at Surbiton, she loves it and is doing very well. The school has a very positive feel. I am also really impressed with their sixth form provision and information provided.

reddidi Wed 29-Jan-14 18:14:18

Apologies for hijacking, forgot to say that I know loads of Surbiton parents and some of their daughters over a 10 year age range. They are all very happy with the school and hold Ms Haydon in high regard.

DalmationDots Wed 29-Jan-14 20:18:57

cakeisalwaystheanswer - a head would never tell anyone, even those close to them, that they are applying for other jobs. It is often very competitive to get a headship elsewhere and no head is going to say they are moving only to end up staying. You then are left with a school who all think you aren't that committed to that school.

I referred to the head in my reply because a head does shape the school hugely, in the case of SHS it has changed a great deal and been brought up-to-date by the current head. You can't guarantee they will stay, but their 'legacy' and the changed they've made will have shaped the school a lot.

pixelchick10 Thu 30-Jan-14 18:35:28

Yes my dd goes to Surbiton - Y10 - been there since Y4 ... she's thriving and there is plenty of extra-curricular activity going on.

LondonRunner Thu 30-Jan-14 19:46:05

Hi All

I have two daughter a year apart. Eldest DD is academic (maths esp) and sporty (hockey and netball), youngest is average student and sporty too (skiing and gymnastics). Both pretty competitive and confident. Dilemma is I want them at the same school and I am struggling to find the perfect school to suit them both and was hoping for a traditional school which looks at all rounders but also get the girls well positioned academically. We live in Wimbledon and would consider a move to Surrey ....

Any advice welcome .... to date this is what I have found:

1. LEH: very impressive, great on facilities, academics, but do not offer hockey and although eldest would thrive I worry about youngest. Also the very impressive and dynamic headmistress is leaving and being replaced by new head who has not been at WHS very long and has not achieved much in her short time there.

2. Notre Dame: loved it, facilities are great, Principle is also good, the girls look very happy there. My concern is it academic enough for my eldest? But accept both daughters could be very happy there and have hear a lot of good things.

3. Surbiton: ticks all the boxes, Head was lovely and has obviously done a huge amount of good in her 6 years at the school, opportunities are incredible for both girls, academics look good. The site worries me and off site facilities. Admittedly I only hear wonderful things about this school too.

4. St Theresa: I am off to see soon. Very interested in the facilities and the new Head who comes with an impressive track record.

5. WHS: I have written off (but not seen) on the basis of reports on poor pastoral care and not great in the sports area. Although I agree good academically.

pixelchick10 Thu 30-Jan-14 20:43:53

why do they have to go to the same school? Plenty don't ... KGS is v strong at hockey ... Surbiton strong at skiing and gymnastics .. although am surprised you have written off WHS if you live in Wimbledon ... it would be top of my list if I was there ...

LondonRunner Thu 30-Jan-14 20:58:39

Pixelchick10 thx for coming back to me. They are very close and want to be together especially youngest. WHS - maybe you are right. I will go and have a look.

Funnily enough KGS is definitely one to consider but feel single sex may be better although that too comes with very high recommendations.

Eastpoint Thu 30-Jan-14 22:05:55

londonrunner What about Putney High? They have really good gymnastics & are easy to get to by bus. They play lacrosse though, rather than hockey.

Schmedz Thu 30-Jan-14 22:11:45

There is gossip regarding every school, some who strongly dislike and some who love every school. Visit each for yourself with your DDs and see what you think and feel about each place.
Your DDs are bound to do well somewhere they are happy and don't have too much travelling (after school and before school clubs are much more accessible if you live nearby).
Good luck with the decision and I urge you to ignore as much of the mutterings of other parents about pros and cons and go with your gut.

pixelchick10 Fri 31-Jan-14 02:33:08

Yes LondonrRunner have to say I always wanted single sex for my DD too ... incidentally one of the girls in my daughter's year at Surbiton moved to WHS at the start of Y10 because 1) she lives in Wimbledon and 2) her sister goes there ... she didn't get into WHS at 11+ though (unlike the sister) only later ...

tess73 Fri 31-Jan-14 09:32:11

I have only heard really good things about Surbiton High.
The head has won leadership team of the year, she is very impressive.
FYI LEH head is leaving too this summer, replaced by current WHS head.
Sad to hear about Mr Dunlop at KGS, he is so smiley, I liked him.
LondonRunner - if one of your daughter's is average academically they won't get into LEH, it is top 3% academically. KGS/SHS both about top 25% iirc.
Sports wise the one thing I loved about SHS was I asked "if you like a sport but aren't that good, what are the opportunities?" Their reply was "we have as many teams as we have girls turn up, often our netball teams go down to G or H!" LEH's answer was "our girls only want to play if they are going to be the best, we would encourage them to find the sport they can excel and be most competitive in". Very different viewpoints, both valid, but kind of sum up the schools quite well I think.
I am not sure how KGS compares in this way, any insights?

Shootingatpigeons Fri 31-Jan-14 09:32:40

London runner my DDs know a lot of girls who have been or are at Wimbledon High, and they are all thoughtful nice girls which does not suggest an absence of pastoral care. They have done well and thrived as well. If you live in Wimbledon it would for me be an obvious choice and the coach journey to LEH only worthwhile if you have a super talented sportswoman, as in county or national standard. Current pupils and parents think the WHS Head sounds like a welcome change at LEH where the current Head has achieved things in the sense of running the school as a good business, the new buildings etc but never filled the shoes of the previous Head in terms of engaging and leading the girls and staff.

However I agree entirely with schmedz though. Go and look and though it is intangible you and your DDs will get a feel for which is the right school for them. I am normally a rational person and even resorted when one DD was moving for sixth form to a decision matrix with factors weighted for importance and how the school scored. In the end she went for the school that scored lowest and is very happy indeed grin

The issue with girls' schools is that whilst I think there are all sorts of benefits academically, teaching styles, no distractions etc and it certainly worked for my older DD if you get a dysfunctional year with some difficult characters (which can happen at any school), as my younger DD did, an all girl environment can amplify the bitchiness and make it easier to manipulate the group norms. My DD has now moved to a mixed school and says the boys act as great levellers and none of the girls can get away with the sort of alpha girl behaviour she had to put up with at the previous school. At the time I comforted her that she would never have to put up with this sort of behaviour again unless she found herself in a women's prison. grin There is also the drawback of not interacting with boys on a daily basis that they can develop some odd attitudes towards them, and become, let's say, predatory.......

tess73 Fri 31-Jan-14 09:33:04

WHS is more academic than SHS.
SHS sports fields are over in Hinchley Wood - take that into account esp if your DDs are sporty, you will be doing a lot of chauffeuring to and from!

LondonRunner Fri 31-Jan-14 10:16:41

Brilliant advice ladies thank you. Also for the info in the LEH / WHS head news that is encouraging.

Having looked at Surrey schools I must say we are spoilt for choice in London. They may not have as much land as the remoter schools but the opportunities they create for their girls are amazing.

One more Q - I am very loath to tutor my DD's but it seems to be the norm. My eldest is top 3 academically in her year group at a good independent prep and my thinking is that she will land where she needs to land without being tutored but my fear is that with so many others tutoring where does that leave me? Esp on the dreaded Reasoning .... Any advice ?

tess73 Fri 31-Jan-14 10:47:10

I don't think you need to tutor her. Get the 10-11+ bond books and run through them esp verbal and non verbal reasoning. If she is ok she will be fine.
My dd has just got through KGS 10+ exam from a state primary without tutoring, just the bond book maths and VR.

DalmationDots Fri 31-Jan-14 11:10:52

I second the bond books, they are all you need especially as your DD is top of her prep.

Shootingatpigeons Fri 31-Jan-14 12:19:16

Londonrunner if your DC is doing well at a good prep that prepares them and regularly has pupils being successful getting to these schools,then you most definitely do not have to tutor. We didn't do anything outside school with my younger DD, who is dyslexic and dyspraxic so was certainly not regarded in the top half of the class for attainment (though they really didn't get her) and she got places at all four selective day schools we applied for including LEH and Surbiton. They are very good at identifying ability as opposed to attainment. A few deranged parents did tutor and it made not a jot of difference to the outcome, all the girls got to the right school for their level of ability, and you risk over cooking them so they lose motivation / undermining their self esteem / making them think that success is the be all and end all.

My older DD applied from the equivalent of a good state school and we did some Maths workbooks to make sure she had covered those parts of the Year 6 curriculum they hadn't reached, some lateral thinking puzzles (the problem solving questions on the papers for the more selective schools -not SHS- are more tests of this) and some cosy sessions once a week in the Autumn Term with a favourite teacher to give her the time management and exam skills and help her with literacy. She also got in to all the schools she tried for, including the one that is more selective than LEH.

Very old but good article from former Head of SHS www.theguardian.com/education/2003/oct/08/schools.uk5

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