St. Michael's Catholic Grammar

(5 Posts)
Fink Tue 03-Nov-15 16:35:27

Does anyone have girls at St. Michael's in Finchley & know about the application process?

I have two worries:

1. We don't live very near (over 13 miles according to Google maps). The admissions criteria seem obliquely to say that when 2 girls have exactly the same score on the test, distance from the school is the deciding factor. In practice, does anyone know what the balance of test score/distance is? I mean, how much of a super genuis would dd have to be to get in from 13 1/2 miles away? It is achievable or basically only for kids who are on the verge of winning a Nobel prize?

2. We (me and dd) are definitely well-up on the uber-Catholic stakes, no problems with that, but I'm divorced and dd's dad is not Catholic. Would that come across in the application process? And, if so, would they care?

The topic came up with another mum whose dd is older, but I don't know her exact circumstances (similar-ish to mine). My dd is only in Year 1 so really it's idle speculation for now except that I like the look of the school so was vaguely thinking about it, in a not very concrete way.

AgonyBeetle Tue 03-Nov-15 18:55:39

Yes, I know this school.

Distance is not a problem for admissions purposes - it's only a tie-breaker if two girls get exactly the same score and they are either side of the cut-off score. In practice, they have 96 places, and the top 130 or so scorers in the test are likely to be offered places (since not everyone puts it as top choice, and some high performers will be offered eg Latymer or HBS or Owens instead).

But re distance, do think about how the travelling will work - it's a fairly easy journey from most bits of central and north London, but it's a long day and they get a lot of homework, so factor in the commuting time. An exhausted 11yo is not going to achieve their best, no matter how good the school.

Girls who get in are unproblematically bright (it's not a school for a struggler, or a girl with specific learning difficulties which make it difficult for her to write fast or organise herself well) but not genius standard. Because they only take Catholics the ability range is much wider than at the other north London selectives. As a guide, there are usually around 400 applicants for the 96 places, as opposed to 1000+ for a similar no of places at HBS. You could look at the BArnet secondary admissions guide for the exact ratio of applicants to places for the last year's admissions round.

The Catholicity criteria are fairly broad - you and your dd ahve to attend Mass, and she has to have made her Communion iirc. As long as your parish priest is happy to sign the form to say you are regular Mass attenders, that is all the school will care about. Loads of girls have divorced parents.

Fink Tue 03-Nov-15 19:09:32

Thanks for the help. I have considered travelling. We were living where we are now (I'm with my parents) when I was at secondary and it was a considerably longer distance, although in the opposite direction away from traffic around the North Circular. I would have to see how the traffic situation goes over the next few years but it wouldn't outright put me off.

The only grammar school which is actually local to us I really don't like. To the point where I was offered a job as a teacher there and turned it down. So unless something else opens in the meantime, it's St. Michael's or non-selective.

peteneras Tue 03-Nov-15 20:46:07

Well, my DD was in St. Michael’s some years back. Although she had other offers too e.g. Latymer etc., St, Michael’s was the only school that I’d wished to send her to even before she was born. I used to read so much about the school in the local papers each August when the GCSE/A-level results were published and year after year the school seemed to be producing fantastic results and improving on them on a yearly basis. So, being Catholic and a firm believer in single sex schools, St. Michael’s was the natural choice for my DD. The school apparently, was, and still is, the best Catholic (faith) school in the country! DD had no problems gaining a RG university place after St. Michael’s and have since graduated with a BSc (Hons) degree and now working happily in a scientific job which she’s trained for.

1. Distance from the school is not a problem at all as far as I know. I remember girls coming from Peckham and many parts of south London.

2. As long as one parent and DD are Catholics, then the Catholicity criterion is met. The parish priest’s recommendation is vital. I know of priests handling in applications in person on behalf of their congregations even after the closing date and were still successful.

The current Headteacher is a no-nonsense man and I particularly like his style in teaching and running a school. He had been Deputy Head before taking over from Ms Morrisey in 2012. A natural successor in my opinion. Your choice in St. Michael’s is spot on and I wish you every success. PM me if you require more advice.

Fink Thu 05-Nov-15 09:50:22

Thanks for the info, very useful smile

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