G&L v KGS v Surbiton High v Ibstock

(17 Posts)
Richmond555 Wed 26-Feb-14 09:25:54

DD has offers at the above and I am tearing my hair out going back and forth about the decision we should make. The pros and cons are there for all. These are my impressions:

G&L seems academic but caring, but would mean friends were further away.

KGS is closest but DD is very sporty but not necessarily in hockey and too small for rowing. A bit worried that boys might be distracting in years to come, although she gets on very well with boys.

Scholarship at Surbiton but it is not so academic, although very sporty.

Ibstock feels nice and local but not so sporty.

I am worried about regretting turning down G&L if another choice falls short of expectations.

If G&L were on my doorstep we would choose that, but it is the furthest away.

Any knowledge or direct experience of these schools hugely appreciated.

trader21c Wed 26-Feb-14 09:44:42

It's not true that Surbiton isn't 'so academic' - it just takes a broader intake of girls and it's a larger school. There are lots of opportunities. A bright girl can do very well at Surbiton and there are plenty there who have chosen Surbiton over other schools in the area. The school are very good at setting - so if your dd is clever she will be challenged and they work at a fast pace. If she needs help in a subject/subjects, the school do clinics etc in lunchtimes and will support her to get the best results she can and meet challenges. What sports does your DD excel in?

Shootingatpigeons Wed 26-Feb-14 09:48:50

I think boys are far more distracting for those at Girls's schools. Familiarity with pimples and smelly socks breeds contempt grin. It is the girls at girls' schools who become predatory. There is another thread with lots of true and positive comments on KGS.

I don't think the sports on offer at the other schools are going to be make that a decision changer. At schools level plenty of competitive rowers do not have a 6 foot arm span, it is more about technique and being prepared to put in the hours training, she may have to forget Olympic ambitions but not getting into a G&L or KGS Eight if she wants to.

Are you beyond walking distance of Richmond station? Because tube to G&L (lots travel from Richmond) isn't actually any further in terms of time and ease than train to Kingston, and the sports remember will be at East Molesley.

Where does your DD want to go? If you are going in circles then I would go back with her to G&L and KGS (and Surbiton and Ibstock if she liked them enough ) and see where she feels she would be happiest.

Shootingatpigeons Wed 26-Feb-14 09:54:04

By the way the one person I know who went for G&L whose DD had to navigate train then tube ended up feeling the journey and tiredness wasn't justified.

And friends at KGS might be Coombe, Sunbury etc. Would that really be better than having friends that can be reached via the tube lines?

tess73 Wed 26-Feb-14 10:23:38

Remember surbiton doesn't boot any of their junior kids out - that says a lot to me about a school (positive). I am sure they would be higher on the league tables if they did, after all some of these girls arrived age 4.

Assume you are in Richmond, how long is the journey to G&L? Shouldn't be much worse that half hourly train to kingston or the 65 bus?

Re KGS sports field, the r68 goes from hampton court so that's straightforward back to richmond.

Does surbiton have a coach from Richmond? It does make life easy! But think when they're 15,16, sixth form, they might have study periods, how will they navigate the journey then?

Richmond555 Wed 26-Feb-14 10:57:02

What you say about getting about by Tube is a very good point. Very good. We live in Ham, so it is a short bus ride to Richmond station. Or a short bus/cycle to Kingston.

Richmond555 Wed 26-Feb-14 10:59:48

So far her top sports are running and gymnastics. But she is crazy for sport and I'm sure she'll go for anything and everything.

Richmond555 Wed 26-Feb-14 11:09:35

I agree with the girl/boy thing and that girls at single sex schools can be obsessed. But at least during lessons there are no distractions. BTW she has 3 older brothers so smelly socks are very familiar to her.

I also did not mean to be dismissive about Surbiton. I know their results are a reflection of a broader intake and it seems to be a very happy school with good added value.

This is why I go round and round with this! Every time I find a reason why to go somewhere I find a reason to go somewhere else.

The truth is they're all fine schools, but the truth is that not many people would turn down G&L except for SPGS or maybe LEH. Why is this if it doesn't offer something extra?

Shootingatpigeons Wed 26-Feb-14 11:22:16

Surbiton has of course built up quite a reputation for it's gym squad, via offering scholarships and, I think they took on the gym squad from St David's when it closed? That may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on whether your DD is of a standard to be included. However these top flight gymnasts are getting their coaching outside school, and often their choice of school is about the school understanding the outside demands that will be made of them, and valuing it, rather than the quality of the training they get in school. The same is true of the athletes, including runners, we know, who do their serious training at Athletics Clubs outside school. The reputations of schools in those areas, in contrast to team sports and rowing, tend to come courtesy of the quality of coaching etc that happens independently of the school. For team sports and rowing you will find some really top class coaching though, and a sprinkling of Olympic /National squad veterans which all adds to the experience.

The added bus journey into Richmond would make a difference to the decision for me. Think about having to set off half an hour earlier than her Richmond peers, on a dark cold winters morning to be sure of the bus getting her to the tube, they all travel on a particular train from Richmond, not sure of the time. And then having to face another leg of the journey at night once she and her friends are back in Richmond. It just adds an unnecessary source of tiredness. I do know G&L parents in your area but their DD is the only one doing that leg and they have ended up driving her to and from the station, and then go back to bed 3 mornings out of 5 because I think it is pretty early? In contrast KGS is so easy, even from East Molesley, because there will be a gang travelling together.

tess73 Wed 26-Feb-14 11:22:20

If that is how you feel then G&L is the one!
I don't know much about G&L as the journey is too far for us to consider. We're in Twickenham so am deciding between KGS/LEH/SHS with the added attraction/dilemma of Waldegrave!
It is more straightforward for me though as DD wants and, i think, needs a co-ed school.

tess73 Wed 26-Feb-14 11:24:27

ah cross posts with shooting.
are we helping??!? grin
listen to shooting - she is at the other end of the secondary experience, i am just embarking on it!

tess73 Wed 26-Feb-14 11:25:08

how would she get to surbiton?

Shootingatpigeons Wed 26-Feb-14 11:35:05

I think you might be surprised at the number who do turn down G&L for coed or the perceived extra supportiveness of Putney High etc. I agree though some parents are swayed by league tables, but I think that is a mistake, they reflect selectivity not how your DD will achieve. All of these schools enable bright pupils to get A/a*s and to Oxbridge etc. Speaking from the other end of the process, as I say I do know parents who did not think G&L had anything extra on offer that justified the extra tiredness involved in the sort of journey your DD would face.

However above all it is about where your DD will be happy. That is about the factors that are important to your DD eg journey, facilities, and something intangible in the feel of the place. My older DD knew exactly where she wanted to go and turned down G&L, and SPGS.

We just faced this decision for DD2 at sixth form because we had made the wrong decision at 11 guided by sibling rivalry and results. This time we went on gut feel and she is really happy and doing better than we could ever have anticipated at a less selective school.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Wed 26-Feb-14 11:36:21

We are trying to chose between Surbiton and Ibstock. DD is already at Surbiton juniors.She didn't sit for any other girls schools because we think they all have the same USP (no boys!), so you are really only travelling for a school with better results because it has been more selective or for better facilities.

I think all bar one of the junior school girls can go onto the senior school, DD moved there at Y3 and TBH I think there are a lot of girls with guaranteed places who would not pass the entrance test. They have only given guaranteed places for a few years so it isn't affecting their current results.

My concern with Surbiton is that it only has limited sports facilities at Hinchley Wood, it is proving impossible to get a sports hall built there. The grounds are shared with Rowans which is expanding, and both the boys prep and the junior school. Surbiton have recently bought 2 big office blocks near the main school site, if these are classrooms that will mean a lot more pupils sharing the same facilities. There has even been rumours of a boys school.

We all really liked Ibstock, loved the grounds and the setting etc. It's not a great journey but DD is very keen, and I am beginning to think that co-ed may suit her better.

trader21c Wed 26-Feb-14 13:24:01

My daughter's year at Surbiton had an automatic pass to the Senior school - she's Y10 now ... and I'm sure it was in place at least the year before ... so it has been going a few years. It was obviously a big attraction of the school as I didn't have to go through the palava of moving her again (she came in Y4, and had been at another girls indie in SE London before that). Hinchley Wood is great and a beautiful setting but a pain to get to (obviously they manage it though!) and as you say cake, what looks like only a basic changing building there - KGS grounds in Thames Ditton are also awkward to get to (DD has played a few tennis matches there) ...

I've never had the feeling that the school lacked sports facilities but that may be because my daughter is a tennis player so that's her main sport (and the team in her year does well). But she tells me SHS have just got a new boathouse for rowing by the Thames - and (gym aside) obviously other sports like netball and athletics are flourishing. The good thing about Surbiton compared with some other schools (like LEH) is that Surbiton will have an A team, a B team even a C team for netball - whereas somewhere like LEH will only encourage the girls to participate in the sport that they excel in. It's a different attitude - both equally valid but depends what you want as a parent.

What are the facilities at Ibstock like? I assume they are by the school as its in such a good setting?

cakeisalwaystheanswer Wed 26-Feb-14 14:06:43

Trader have pmed you questions about tennis.

I think you are right you must have been either the first or second year to get guaranteed places at the senior school. This is why although it has become more popular at 11+ SHS won't see the same grade improvement other schools have for some time yet. The current Y6 was the last year to not be full in Y3, it filled for Y4. So the junior school has only really had competitive entry since the curent Y5, which I know has a lot of very bright girls. So I estimate that it will not be until 2020 that you can actually compare SHS's results with other 11+ schools!

I would go with your gut feeling
Where would your dd be happiest?
What is she like? Does she thrive on competition (academically) or is she only happy if she is at the top of the class?
As someone said, any of these schools will enable bright children to get top results. It's a question of which school you feel your child will be happiest at IMO

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