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!

tripleweetabix Sat 23-Feb-13 03:49:04

Hi Rifraf79 and congratulations to your DS! Our DD in the present year 7 at LU after joining from a small state primary. The plus side to the school is the diversity to the students, the skill of the teachers and the efforts made to made each student feel comfortable in their new school. MY DS has only been playing violin for 1 year but was encouraged to join the junior string group and she has quickly made friends in her form class.They haven't piled on the homework from the beginning so she has had time to find her feet and enjoy loads of lunchtime and after school clubs. On the negative side, there is no house system and there doesn't seem to be much mentoring or contact between years. They will be refurbishing the sports facilities on site and whilst the end result will be fabulous, it will mean off site sports for about 1 year.
Hope this helps..and good luck with your decision..

Rifraf79 Sat 23-Feb-13 11:15:19

Thanks twbx for your reply here and the CLSB thread. Good to hear your daughter is settled and you are impressed with the teaching at LU. It's probably just the presence of girls at LU compared to a couple of all-boys schools we've seen (including City) but the kids seemed pretty urban and mature at LU, so we have a slightly concern that social pressures at LU might flicker close to bullying if your child is not 'cool' with many kids there growing up too quick, as it were. Do any other LU parents have any experience of 'snarkiness' or teasing of their DCs?

One other question for LU parents - our son likes football and cricket but not rugby. He is in his current small school's football and cricket teams but he is not a brilliant player and there are only about 25 boys in his current year so it is pretty inclusive. For secondary, he would be hugely disappointed if he wasn't in the school teams but we are aware with larger numbers (I estimate that there are 80 boys per year at LU) the chances of him making the 1st team are small. With that in mind how serious are the school about encouraging above/or average but very keen players. I note on the LU website that they have 3rd and 4th teams but these have hardly any fixtures scheduled. Are they focussed on the exceptional players to get the best results or do they allow for some movement in squad makeup to give the slightly less able the opportunity to represent the school? With LU I worry that many boys and girls (half in each year?) might just not get picked by teams. This is just me looking at the website so I would appreciate some informed insight on sport participation at the school.

hardboiled Sat 23-Feb-13 11:56:49

Rifrafr, I have pm you.

w4witch Sat 23-Feb-13 12:38:22

Hi Rifraf79. Well done to your DS! It's fantastic for you to have choices at this stage, but I remember it's sooo difficult to make the "right" choice too.

My DS is at LU in Year 8; he is neither cool nor geeky and is definitely not in the very sporty group of (about 10) popular boys. However, he has managed to make it into the C team for football this year and is completely chuffed about it! You're right that there aren't loads of opportunities for the C/D teams to play against other schools (from what I hear, this is pretty similar in most schools) but this has started to change now as the relatively new Director of Sport seems very keen to increase participation across the whole year group.

The main positives about LU are that academically the school seems to be getting stronger each year, the teaching is (mostly) excellent, and the range of clubs and activities on offer is extraordinary (there is definitely something to suit every child). For us, the deal breaker was that LU is our closest school so DS can walk to and from school with friends.

Our main concern about the school was that our non-sporty, not academically brillant, middle of the road child would feel swamped by the cool/sporty London feel at LU. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a London school, and there are a few "cool" kids, but they are a small minority and the "normal" ones just get on with their own thing.

Hope that helps and good luck with your decision making.

Rifraf79 Sat 23-Feb-13 15:12:59

Thanks w4. Certainly sounds like you had similar concerns going into the school and pleased that your son is happy there. We know a few current parents and they have also been very positive about the school, though one did say that by year 9 there is a cool clique emerging and they are a pretty arrogant/ exclusive crowd. This is mainly amongst the fast maturing girls. Having said that this friend, like you, has said that most kids are perfectly happy outside this minority.

The thing about sport is not so much that I hope my son is placed above his ability - but that he continues to get a real sense of camaraderie, teamwork and excitement through sport. It's much better he's off on Saturday morning getting dirty and healthy in school colours than slobbing around at the weekend in his PJs playing Xbox! Sounds like the new sports head recognises that all kids benefit in this way, not just the very sporty.

I believe that this year nearly a 1000 applicants went for 120 places - similar to the last couple of years. As its popularity has increased the school has presumably become more and more selective. I am assuming that this means the lower years are very academically able, and i imagine results will continue to improve.

Like you, we are within walking distance - so this is very much the clincher (unless we hear something awful!) Someone else mentioned its not just the local schoolfriends - it's so much easier as a parent to do after school club/sport/music/drama if you know you can easily pick up if need be.

Venelope Sat 23-Feb-13 18:26:43

My DD has been lucky enough to be offered a place at Latymer Upper, and I would really appreciate any thoughts or info anyone might have comparing the experience for girls there to the nearby all-girl schools, and specifically compared to Godolphin (although we won't hear back from them until next week....)

Presumably there are going to be popular cliques at all the schools? Which school would be better for a sporty girl -- when we did the tour there seemed to be more different sports offered for the boys than the girls at Latymer, but perhaps that's not right? Are there any significant differences in terms of the quality of the teaching, or anything else for that matter that anyone thinks is notable?

I really like the feel of Latymer, and its co-ed aspect, but am a bit concerned that it is very big in terms of the overall number of children per year, although the teaching class sizes seem to be about the same as at other simliar schools.

Sarajevo1995 Sat 23-Feb-13 21:02:39

Our friend's DD attends LU and they are considering leaving as there is little opportunity for true competitive girls' sports. If you look at the teams, they are overwhelmingly boys'. Their same complaint that although the school is co-ed, it seems to lean firmly to the boys.

Tintingal Sun 24-Feb-13 11:31:42

My DD goes to LU and although she has done very well, she is quite a toughie, and likes the cool atmosphere, she's not very sporty either so that's not been a problem. One of her friends has had problems and the school could have been a little more helpful IMO. Her best friend goes to Godolphin and has been v happy with the sport there.

Eastpoint Mon 25-Feb-13 11:47:41

I went round Latymer last year (2011 for 2012 yr7 start) looking for my DD who is now in yr7 somewhere else. A friend's daughter is in yr8 so I asked the director of sport questions based on the problems which have arisen.

1. There are pre-season coaching sessions for the boys (from yr8 up) but not the girls. Why not?
2. Why don't they have more matches for girls? If they played schools such as G&L or SPGS they could have netball matches down to F or G teams in yrs 7 & 8. This would not be a transport issue as they could walk to either of these schools.
3. Why do they play hockey for the autumn term and three weeks of the spring term and then change to netball? Why don't girls play both sports throughout the winter the way they do at other girls schools? This would mean the netball teams did better in the county championships etc.
4. Why don't they have as many practices for girls as they do for boys teams? There are as many girls in the school as there are boys.
5. Why is there a football pitch on site which the boys use for 15 minutes at a time (at lunch break) but no netball pitch for the girls to use?
6. Why isn't there a qualified gym teacher? Why isn't there a trampoline? Keeping girls interested in sport is important and girls who don't like ball games often like trampolining/gym. If there is no need for a full time gym teacher why not hire one part time & at least have a gym or trampolining club at lunchtime/after school?
7. Why don't they have more sport in their normal timetable? They have less than at any of the comparable schools in the area.
8. Why don't all the netball squads train in the same area? The players in the lower teams are never seen by the coaches so how can they move up?
9. Do the girls play competitive indoor cricket in the winter? G&L & SPGS do & play in an indoor tournament at Lords.

My friends DD is generally very happy but has been really put off hockey & netball (she plays hockey outside school now). She is looking forward to starting rowing, if she is picked, in the summer term.

Sorry to be so negative about a school about which I have no direct experience, but I did ask the director of sport (I'm pretty sure that was his title) all the questions above & was very disappointed with his answers.

Rifraf79 Mon 25-Feb-13 14:46:17

I now have spoken to a number of existing Latymer parents, and feel reassured about my biggest specific concern - namely that the existence of 'too cool cliques' and related social pressures.

I'm also told that the school recognizes it needs greater participation in sports across the whole year group. I spoke to a parent who confirmed W4witches belief that this has already improved, and it is a declared aim of the newish head of sport.

Obviously, with a DS going to the school, I have not asked too deeply about girls sport... Venelope, is what you have read here put you off? I imagine that as the school has only been fully co-ed for a decade or so, the culture of girls sports at Latymer is not going to be as developed as it would be in an existing single gender school... but apparently they DO recognize it as a problem. If your daughter is sporty, as you say, then she will get into the A or B teams - it is more an issue with girls who are not sporty but would still benefit from sport in the D or E teams.

I wonder if there are any co'ed schools where boys and girls sports are truly given equal emphasis?

Looking at other schools fixtures/websites it seems that there is a similar dropoff in games played by teams lower than the C team wherever you go, and whether you are boy or girl. One thing I have been told - there are so many sports played at LU that your child will find one that they can participate in.

Academically, everything I have heard is hugely positive. Terrific and committed teachers. The school is apparently very good at getting kids to settle in at Year 7; it doesn't overload them with homework whilst still pushing forward with their learning.

Venelope Mon 25-Feb-13 15:54:47

Thank you all so much for your comments! If the school does recognise the issue and is working to improve things, I guess that is half the battle -- I would have thought that a school that had gone co-ed relatively recently but has girls as half of its students already would be very sensitive to questions about giving the girls and boys teams the same amount of attention and resources.

All this said, our main reason for choosing this school would be its teaching and nurturing of the students, rather than sport, and I gather from everyone's comments so far that here reality matches reputation in that these are perceived to be very strong. Does anyone have any knowledge on these areas about Godolphin?

I'm very glad Rifraf79 has been reassured about the cool clique aspect at Latymer, although following Tintingal's comment I'm now a bit worried about the need to be a "toughie" as my DD isn't very.... Presumably there are some "softies" that are happy there too?!

Moominsarehippos Mon 25-Feb-13 16:00:45

I've heard that there is a bit of bullying there - someone told me that they read the Head saying this in one of those huge schools guide books. I know a couple of boys who have been there (very comfortable, middle class and parents have 'cool' jobs) and they enjoyed it.

Eastpoint Mon 25-Feb-13 16:10:02

My friend is very happy with the teaching, her DD has a group of friends she goes to the cinema etc with. The girls work hard, often staying behind after school working in the library.

The school offers a touch typing course after school to yr8s.

Older girls we know there are very happy, all different personalities, some science based others more artsy but all hard working & enjoying the school.

justone Mon 25-Feb-13 17:22:21

I've heard that there is a bit of bullying there - someone told me that they read the Head saying this in one of those huge schools guide books.
I have heard this too moomin

hardboiled Mon 25-Feb-13 17:34:13

Well...the question is... is there any school with 0 bullying?

Rifraf79 Mon 25-Feb-13 17:35:25

Moomins - The Good Schools Guide from a while back (the edition we have is 2009 so I don't know what the latest listing now reports) quotes the then Head as saying: "we do not tolerate bullying" which I suppose could be seen as acknowledgement that it does (did) exist... The listing also goes on to detail how seriously he takes it with an outstanding pastoral care team, a tiered system of tutors etc etc in place. However, the listing throws in the line "we might not send a sensitive, artistic or eccentric soul here."

The feedback I have got is that it may have been a problem in the past but not much of one now. It's the one thing I have looked into quite hard, and all I hear about are happy, settled, kids of all sorts doing really well academically at LU, and rubbing along really well. Of course it is co'ed - so that brings its own social issues - but I personally feel that a mixed education is a good thing.

The friend with a DD in Year 10 says that the school are quietly expecting that cohort to achieve stellar (SPGS/StPauls) levels of attainment (measured in % of A*/A GCSEs) on their current trajectory, and apparently the same applies to the years below.

There is a Q & A with the Head tomorrow night 6pm to 7.45 - I trust parents with offers know about this? You need to call the admissions office to confirm attendance, if you haven't already.

Rifraf79 Mon 25-Feb-13 17:44:44

Indeed, Hardboiled. And I can't imagine that the bullying at a London Day School could ever compare to the hothouse of a boarding school, or some failing state schools.

Rifraf79 Mon 25-Feb-13 17:53:58

I meant to say that you can take your DC to the Q & A - we have checked and they encourage it. The details were in the letters sent out offering an interview - not the actual offers of place letters.

Moominsarehippos Mon 25-Feb-13 18:16:31

I'll ask my friemd where he saw it. He said the the head admitted there was a 'culture' of bullying and was working to fix it. It was probably post 2009, as I remember it as being quite recent.

Tintingal Mon 25-Feb-13 19:23:40

Venelope, LU is a great school, and I think they're pretty good at selecting the right students for their school through the interview. But, there is no getting away from the fact that it is perceived, and indeed perceives itself, as a "cool" school, and that attracts a certain type of family and child.

hardboiled Mon 25-Feb-13 20:19:55

This is the most recent Good Schools Guide entry on Latymer Upper:
School discipline is pragmatic and effective - ‘Drink, smoking, drugs and bullying? We have them all, and anyone who says they don’t is lying through their teeth’. Has expelled and will expel pupils if drugs are brought into the school, and the good of the school as a whole will always prevail. Likewise with bullying - ‘We have an open culture here. The bully thrives on silence and fear. If a child is feeling belittled or upset, there is always an avenue he can go down,’ and it’s not just words - pupils say it really is like that now. Much praised system of older pupils mentoring the younger ones. The sixth formers sense a real change when they reach this elevated state – ‘The staff really make an effort to get to know you and work with you… I’ve had endless individual help’.

Copthallresident Mon 25-Feb-13 22:49:08

"Drink, smoking, drugs and bullying? " can exist in ALL South West London schools to my certain knowledge, and if you don't believe me go to Wimbledon Common, Richmond Park, Richmond Green, and just about any open space on a Friday or Saturday night in the summer. It isn't that any particular school has this culture, the "cool kids" who meet up outside come from all the schools, and when at school they like to be exclusive BUT that does not mean that your child will necessarily be affected. There are always different friendship groups of DCs with similar values. There is also no way of predicting where these cool exclusive DCs will turn up, we didn't apply to LU for DD2 because I thought it would be like that but in fact a major group of attention seekers turned up in DD2s year elsewhere, and the teachers have struggled to cope since Year 7. Her year at LU are lovely. Sadly as parents we have no way of knowing who will turn up at a particular school, we can only judge a school on how it handles them and LU seem to be proactive on that score.

Seren2013 Thu 28-Feb-13 14:48:21

My DC has also gotten an offer from LU. Please current parents could you tell me a bit about pastoral care? I'm not concerned at all about drink & drugs, as I am quite certain any school would have these issues and am confident LU can handle theirs.

However, my DC has an offer at Harrodian, which looks like such a happy place with plenty of sports and other opportunities for children, boys and girls alike. They have skiing competitions, for instance, unlike LU. And they have a house system, so the students can have fun in-school competition.

But everyone insists that because of our DC's academic abilities, that Latymer is the right place. Our DC is not the most confident and I wonder whether Latymer is the sort of place that will encourage students. Bring out the best in them. Or whether LU only pays attention to those children who are brilliant or who are struggling.

We went to their evening for students who have received offers and they were very vague in their responses to questions. "We recognise that we have to improve these areas and will do something about it." If nothing else, Harrodian is brilliant at making their whole package very very appealing and welcoming.

Marni23 Thu 28-Feb-13 15:21:53

I'm not a current parent but my DS has an offer at Latymer and I too went to their Q&A for offer holders the other evening.

I honestly don't remember them being vague in any of their responses, in fact I thought they answered all the questions really thoroughly! We left feeling very reassured.

Which areas did you think they were vague about? Maybe it was things specifically concerning girls which would have less relevance to me...

hardboiled Thu 28-Feb-13 17:11:07

OP, sorry this may not be of any value to you, but LU is more ethnically mixed and also socially as they offer means-tested scholarships. It is also known to attract local middle class professional families who will make some sacrifices to send their academic children to it. To me, this is a positive thing. Harrodian don´t offer any bursaries (afaik) and attracts those who don't have to think twice before opting for private education...Or so I've heard. The skiing competition fits the picture... Harrodian will me more mixed ability wise. Your DC may feel more confident there but less challenged...

Seren2013 Thu 28-Feb-13 21:57:05

I just talked to a parent from LU and he said pastoral care is not its strong point. He also said that theatre and the tennis team, both of which are of interest to us, are of a very high standard, so if you are not the best, you won't have a chance to do it. While it is great that the standard is high, I'm also leery of my DC being limited and not having opportunities to go outside of her comfort zone. I'd prefer a place where they encourage students to try new things, not just give opportunities to the "experts". Can current LU parents please comment on this? Are these concerns valid?

Marni23, Someone asked about trips and the answer was "we have lots of them". Yes they named a few, but I'm just giving an example of how the answers were phrased. Lots of generalities. "We're looking to improve this."

Harrodian gets a very bad rap as being a place where rich kids hang out. But the reason we applied is that it has apparently become more selective in the last 3 years and improving its academic record. Yes, the skiing sounds elitist, but, what can I say, my DC skis.

One of the teachers at Harrodian is working with other teachers and parents on building a free school in the local area. I'm just saying that in response to the comment about LU's means-tested scholarships and Harrodian not offering any bursaries.

hardboiled Thu 28-Feb-13 22:25:11

Yes I have heard about the drama ending up as an option for those very good at it only. I assumed it would be the same at all schools, to be honest, when you consider the numbers, you can't always put on a play where 140 children will have a role. They do have some children involved in the tech side of, sound, etc. It is true LU doesn't have a reputation of picking "the kid who's not very good at X" to represent the school at "X". It's something I have decided to put up with because of the many things I do like. Hopefully, DS will get at least an initial taste of everything and then be inspired to be the best he can at what he really wants to continue doing.

Marni23 Thu 28-Feb-13 22:36:24

To be fair Seren2013 they reeled off a very long list of destinations when asked about trips. Maybe skiing wasn't among them, I didn't really notice as we don't ski.

I do think in the end that school choice comes down to gut feel. My gut feel was that LU would suit my DS. But that doesn't mean that it would suit your DC, and it sounds from what you say that you don't think it would.

Another Headmaster on the (endless!) open days/tours we went on said 'there is no such thing as the best school, there is only the best school for your child' and I think he was right. Trust your instinct, and if your instinct is saying Harrodian, go with that.

Seren2013 Thu 28-Feb-13 22:56:45

Hardboiled, You said, "It's something I have decided to put up with because of the many things I do like." Would you kindly elaborate on what the many things you like are?

Seren2013 Thu 28-Feb-13 23:08:49

Another question for LU parents: How much of an academic hothouse is it? Not at all/a bit/very. I've heard that they don't give too much homework, but that this is changing. Is there a trend to become a hothouse?

hardboiled Thu 28-Feb-13 23:56:24

Sure seren...The academic level. The good challenging teaching (I've been told). The fact that it's coed. The fact that it is quite a mix of diverse children (I have mentioned this before) and that many come from state primaries. The 80 min lunch break to do clubs, chill out, read or study. The new curriculum. Their new timetable with longer lessons. The world perspectives course and the fact that they don't sit an exam - learning for the love of it. The knowledge that, when the time comes, if DS decides he wants to take the Oxbridge route they will know how to help him along it - as they do with many. Fab music department, science building, etc. The friendly staff we met. What I saw one day I had the chance to be in the school on a normal day: lively pupils rushing from class to class, friendly with each other, some modest, some quirky, all sorts - not intimidating or ubersophisticated at all. The fact that it was DS first choice.

However, I do agree with Marni that there is an element of gut feeling. For me, there's no such thing as the perfect school. I share some of the concerns about LU's pastoral care but in our case somehow I feel DS will survive it. I do know some children who have not been happy there and have left. But also some children who have been and still are very happy there.

Harrodian has more green and open space! It's all about matchmaking! Does your DC have any preference?

hardboiled Thu 28-Feb-13 23:57:20

I was answering to your previous question...

Rifraf79 Fri 01-Mar-13 10:33:05

Seren. First of all - well done to your DC for earning a choice of schools.

Regarding your homework question... My understanding is for Yr 7 at LU it is not especially onerous -good because it allows the kids to throw themselves into extra curricular: music, drama, tennis, photography, architecture...zumba (!) whatever - there is a pretty exhaustive range available. See the clubs list here:
It also gives them a chance to make friends, learn how to be organised etc. If your child has been to a prep - they will find themselves repeating a lot of Latin and French because of the large state school intake.

After Year 7, the homework ramps up. They stream from year 8 as well. Personally, I am interested in outcomes; Latymer does very well in my opinion at GCSE and A level. If they manage to achieve those results with minimal homework, then wonderful - and if the kids have to work hard at home... well, if that is what it takes. Certainly parents I know who have kids there don't think the H/W is either under or overtaxing - just about right I am told. If your child is academic he/she will still be stretched, I am assured.

Something else you should bear in mind when comparing LU and the Harrodian: LU has 7 (or 8?) classes in Year 7 , with only a couple of classes worth coming up from the Prep. Half of the new entrants are from state school. I rang Harrodian just now, out of curiosity (my DS did not apply for it, and we have accepted a place at LU). The Harrodian has 4 classes in Year 7, about 3 classes worth come up through their own prep. What does this mean? Well, your child will be entering a school where most of the kids already know each other, and even amongst the new entrants I imagine private school kids predominate. Whether this means it's a place where rich kids hang out is a subjective judgement.... Personally I would prefer my child to enter a more socially mixed school, and one in which the majority of the other children are also starting friendships afresh. But of course kids make friends quickly and there is no reason to think your DC won't quickly form strong bonds, and I'm sure the school is very careful to integrate new kids. Also lower numbers at the Harrodian will mean that your child is statistically more likely to be in the tennis team or whatever, though I'd be surprised if it were to offer the sheer breadth of activities available at a larger school.

As you mentioned Drama opportunities - When we toured LU some months back we met a very engaging Year 10 girl in the theatre area who was obsessed with stage lighting. She said she was far too shy to appear on stage, but she had found a role that fed her love for theatre. We liked that.

LetsEscape Fri 01-Mar-13 10:37:32

My DD started at LU in September. I know how hard it is to choose the right school for your child especially if you are lucky enough to have many choices. Here are some of our reflections - I hope they are useful in your decision making:
1) We were concerned about the pastoral care before starting because of comments we had heard. Our child is 'young' and not very confident. We have been very pleasantly surprised. The school is large 166 children so it is helps to be a child who is fairly confident but staff are supportive of the kids but perhaps less hand held then some schools. It is a bit of a jump the first weeks in terms of the need for self organisation. We had a couple of issues at first , contacted the form tutor and had an immediate response. So pretty impressive. You have email contact with all teachers if needed.
We were impressed how well staff knew the pupils at parent's evening and how they would consider individual needs/approaches. They really cared about the individual. Reports are issued twice a term so easy to monitor how children are doing and address if necessary. Lots of communication from school in weekly email.
2) The school is very relaxed and friendly but has a real buzz- unfortunately this doesn't come across in the open day as there are so many people. There are the 'cool' groups but it's so big a year that everyone has found their niche.
3) Food is excellent - important to growing people!
4) Facilities are great. Sports centre/pool about to be rebuilt.
5) Our non-sporty girl but is thriving with the choices- much happier than at primary. Sports is only 1 games and 1 PE session per week but loads of other sports before, lunch and after school. Clubs such as sub-aqua! Most do training after school once a week. Less sport for us was a plus as allows a generous amount of drama, Art , DT on the timetable.
6)The extra curricular club list is staggering and very good quality. Something for everyone. Kids are encouraged to be very busy. Music is inclusive with all levels of ensembles. Quality of drama especially very high. Can't comment how hard to get in , but there is a lot of talent around and that must inspire a higher level. Drama / theatre tech clubs for all are available. Also LAMDA classes.
5) Lots of trips available. All year goes an activity trip in June. There were 7 choices for year 7. There is a skiing trip as well as a huge amount of other trips.
6) From parents further up school I hear that Careers' advice is impressive, rowing is superb (girls and boys), as well as swimming.
7) The school is not a hot house as far as we have experienced. Homework is moderate: biggest problem has been to remember to bring books back. Homework is not set for the next day so allows for managing other commitments. Exams only once a year (June) but unit tests along the way.
We are really happy with the school - Sorry post is so long....

Tintingal Fri 01-Mar-13 17:15:58

Let's not overstate the "diversity" of Latymer. OK, there are indeed many state school kids - in our year, the parents of state primary entrants include bankers, journalists at national newspapers, doctors and a couple of City lawyers (that I know of). The children have gone to excellent W London primaries and have been privately tutored since year 4. It's kind of you to call The Harrodian on Seren's behalf, but you know as well as I do there is quite a lot of parental unhappiness at LU about the kids from the junior school and their behaviour in Year 7. I have been happy with our choice, but know many people who are equally happy with The Harrodian. As Marni and hardboiled wisely said, OP, go with your gut. You know your child better than we do.

Rifraf79 Fri 01-Mar-13 21:34:48

Tintagel, I realise I may have come across as a cheerleader for a school that my DS hasn't even started, especially as I was the threads OP and the original post reflected my own uncertainties. Maybe I have been infected by a dose of self justification as we've decided to send our kid to LU!

I certainly wasn’t overstating the diversity of Latymer as we all know the parental profile of all private schools... Nevertheless, I think you would agree that LU is amongst the more socially mixed Independents in London - and that was my point. The fact that some of the state school educated kids are the DC of bankers does not detract from the fact that a higher proportion of LU kids are from state primary, and probably less moneyed than those who went to a private prep. As for the relative proportion of new vs Prep intake at LU and Harrodian – perhaps I should have presented the facts without personal comment. It would be of interest if I were making the choice. If there is a problem at LU, as you say, with their relatively smaller transfer - I would imagine it would also be a factor at the Harrodian where the proportion is even greater.

We also know a couple of happy Harrodians at the Prep school – their parents are very positive and their kids are staying on to Year 7 and beyond.

You are absolutely right and Seren should do what her instincts tell her is right for her DC, and I am sure she will.

Seren2013 Fri 01-Mar-13 21:43:00

Thanks, everyone. I appreciate the long answer, LetsEscape. Hardboiled, DC is happy to go to LU. We will run with that. All your responses have been very helpful. I still have reservations, but after hearing everyone's advice here and elsewhere, I now feel that I might be pleasantly surprised if we go with LU (as in DC will rise to the challenge) and may be unexpectedly disappointed at H (as in it may not be as incredibly awesome as I perceive it to be).

If anyone has more to share, I will check back with great interest.

Chocrock Sat 02-Mar-13 10:12:35

We are unsure about LU for next year, our DS is at the prep school but we are considering moving him for secondary.

I am interested in the dynamic of the current Y7 having heard that there are problems mainly involving the kids who went in from the prep last sept. tint I would be grateful if you would give me an insight as we are concerned about this being an issue for DSs year when they transfer, you can PM me if you prefer.
I have name changed btw.

hardboiled Sat 02-Mar-13 13:04:26

As to chocrock question...if there is any way tint can share the information without compromising his/her privacy...I would certainly appreciate the info aswell, as many of us here are, probably unfoundly, looking for reassurance on a decision we have taken or are about to take this

Tintingal Sat 02-Mar-13 15:43:08

As I have said, I have a DC at LU and am happy with it. As you know, it's tough to get into the school, and there is concern amongst some parents that some of the children who come up through the juniors may not be as academic as those who have passed the exam from external schools. There is also a level of concern about the behaviour of a percentage of these kids. Notice I am being careful here - "some" not "most". Would this put me off? No.

Chocrock Sat 02-Mar-13 18:43:50

thanks tint. We have all been aware for the past few years that the head of the upper has been telling the head of the prep that some of the kids from the prep are nowhere near the academic level of the kids who enter LU at 11+ - aside from thinking what the hell are we paying for at the prep confused we are more concerned about the stories that kids from the prep are causing problems at the upper as they are badly behaved and acting 'entitled' as they feel they have been there for years. It has also been said that they have tried to bully some of the intake?

As you said it is only a few kids and the things I have heard are rumours - although the sources are parents at the prep who have older DC in the upper school.....

mummyitalia Sat 02-Mar-13 21:50:23

We are deciding on whether to send my DS to Latymer at 13+ at the moment, and we're impressed by it. I think on this thread it's diversity has really been over-exaggerated I was talking to one of the teachers who told me that every year the percentage of state school intake goes down by another few percent, simply because the demographic is changing, as it is moving up the league tables. The previous Head has evidently done a marvelous job at getting it from around 100th to now around 30th, and the top co-ed school in the country (I think), so whatever he was doing the new Head needs to continue. I think parents who send their children to LUS expecting it to be slightly less 'rich kid' and 'posh' than other schools in the area will be disappointed - it's completely the same intake to SPGS, G&L, St Paul's, Westminster, although a few years ago it wasn't at all.

mummyitalia Sat 02-Mar-13 21:51:51

But I've definitely heard that it is more of a 'party' school than others - but surely there's always a 'cool' group who do drugs at every one of these schools?

mummyitalia Sat 02-Mar-13 21:57:35

It says on Tatler Public schools guide and some other sites that they get 25% into Oxbridge - that's only 5% lower than St Paul's - is that true?

singersgirl Sat 02-Mar-13 22:44:35

If you're really interested in Oxbridge statistics you need to trawl through the schools' leavers' destinations. Very few publish percentages - it looks as if Latymer got about 18% to Oxbridge last year and 16% the year before versus 35% at St Paul's (boys) last year and around 40% at the girls' school.

But really, what does it matter? The same children would have probably achieved the same things at either school.

mummyitalia Sat 02-Mar-13 23:39:42

so obviously the percentage is rising each year. but of course you're right, the child will get the same results at either of these schools

StoicButStressed Sun 03-Mar-13 00:10:48


Do not want to out myself but feel need to be uber honest to OP - hell would freeze before any of my DC's set foot in either Godolphin & Latymer, or Latymer. I went to one of these schools and - in common with many others there, hated the cliques; the sense of 'entitlement'; the arrogance (could go on but you get gist!)

I SWORE BLIND that my DC's would NEVER go to a private school as whilst all bright, there was no way I wanted them to have even a smidgen of that 'London Day School 'Edge' that can't quite find a name for'.

Agree Latymer does not cater for girls vis sport etc vs. way it does for boys;
Agree Latymer does - on face of it - have a more 'mixed' intake, but that really is down to what another poster said; namely their parents were very savvy re moving to best areas for best state schools then supplementing that with HUGE tuition. Hate the phrase as it's a tad 'catch-all' and sounds derogatory when not meant to be, but bottom line is if you expect anything other than 'posh' kids from v middle class backgrounds then you will have a shock. Am also aware that their pastoral system really is not that great; that if a kid is bullied, the onus is as much if not more on them to 'buck up/fit in' etc than the learning & approp. discipline given to the actual bully/ies.

Having said ALL of that, I DID end up having to send DC's to private school, but WAY out of London; less 'cliquey'; much smaller classes even though school actually bigger; great house system; fantastic pastoral care. As an E.G, can observe just from own experience that whilst that 'entitlement/cliquey stuff' DOES obv still go on there; that i) they crack down on any bullying like you would not believesmile; ii) there are less anorexic girls (is co-ed) there now - i.e. in 2013 - than there were at school I was at in eighties (and know this is even worse now given the VAST peer etc pressure to 'fit in'); iii) the opps for both girls and boys in every area are just HUGE.

If I had a straight choice between Latymer and Harrow, would send DC to Harrow in a heartbeat.

StoicButStressed Sun 03-Mar-13 00:18:07

Whoops, forgot - whilst ALL kids have access to drugs in every school (& any parent who thinks otherwise is just deluded), my obs have been it way less so in the private schools that are NOT London Day Schools. Also, vis Oxbridge etc, DS2 has just got into Oxford for this Autumn and his/their school is ranked somewhere between 6-16(??) in Country wide league tables. But - and it's a BIG but - they also deal with ALL the children really well via using setting but without any sense of 'failure' if in lower sets, and I can honestly say the pastoral care is as important to them as the academic results (that being something that was utterly vital to me when chose school for them).

thatwasalongtimeago Sun 03-Mar-13 01:04:52

Thank you Stoic, however...
DH attended Latymer Upper at the same time you were at Godolphin (are you a mum?) and he came out in one piece and never having been a bully or been bullied, without any sense of entitlement, without having taken any drugs, a caring man, a socialist and a liberal thinker. At the time he was on a scholarship but about half the students were already paying fees - as it coincided with the abolition of the direct grant and the assisted places, etc. One of his best friends was very very rich. Who cares, they loved playing chess together. The pastoral care was good enough and it prepared him for life not being cuddled in cotton wool everyday.

What I am saying is, you obviously hated it, but many didn't. And that was then, and this is now. Every school in London takes bullying more seriously than they did in the eighties. The new Head at LU is very student oriented and has already implemented a new pastoral scheme.

Drugs and sex education starts at home. If you're scared your children will do drugs just because kids in the school do, then you haven't done your job well at home. They are going to live in a society where people take drugs and are on porn websites a lot of the time. Whether they do or don't will largely depend on the values you have taught them. They will also live in a society where there will always be people richer than them. Whether being with rich kids will get to my Ds head or not, again, it will test the values I have taught him at home and his self-esteem and confidence. Eventually, all our DC will face all this, if not at school then in college. And Oxford is no exception - your DD will be able to tell you.

So you swore you would not educate your DC privately but they are at a private school. There MUST be something you like better at the private school. Some of us are in London and London day schools is what we have. We try to choose the one that fits our child and our circumstances best and we get ready to be there for our child all the time.

And finally, you should see the girl cliques at our local comprehensive...

StoicButStressed Sun 03-Mar-13 02:59:00

ThatWas 'So you swore you would not educate your DC privately but they are at a private school. There MUST be something you like better at the private school' - yup, there was ThatWas

It was the tiny classes; the vastly better staff:pupil ratio; the uber high level of pastoral care; the attention paid to DC's welfare as well as their 'results'. As 2 of my DC's were horrifically attacked (nothing to do with or at school/s; only relevance of schools is where I chose for them when moved given their then new VAST and very high needs); THAT was the driver of that choice.

Latymer at the point you mention it and now are two WHOLLY different entities, hence my bothering to post for the OP re my knowledge of it then and now. And trust me, I AM that Ma who has the MOST frank of conversations with my DCs from condoms to drugs to relationships to sex, so in total agreement with you on that one.

StoicButStressed Sun 03-Mar-13 03:21:26

Sorry ThatWas, but have only just clocked how absurdly 'snidey' and patronising your post directly to me was.

Vis your opening line of "thanks Stoic, however..." - it wasn't posted to or for you; it was for the OP and her Q.

Vis the: 'If you're scared your children will do drugs just because kids in the school do, then you haven't done your job well at home.... ...Whether being with rich kids will get to my Ds head or not, again, it will test the values I have taught him at home and his self-esteem and confidence. Eventually, all our DC will face all this, if not at school then in college. And Oxford is no exception - your DD will be able to tell you.

1: my DC's are (slightly unfortunately in some respects) the 'rich kids', so my obs re cliques/London Day Schools are objective observations - NOT on my kids being the 'poor' ones facing that extra challenge in any private school'
2: both DS1 (21) and DS2 (17) have ALREADY very clearly come across/been offered drugs, and thanks for the lecture but am pretty confident that I HAVE 'done my job at home well' - truly, WhereTF did that come from and why? Beyond unness and just makes you look pretty stupid.
3: I DIDN'T - and nor did I say I did - 'hate' my school; was UBER clear that there were aspects of it that I really, really, REALLY would NOT want my DC's to become embroiled in.
4: And you/we all have a choice - I moved out of London to Surrey precisely down to getting the right education for my DC's. You have that choice too (though may well involve a commute for someone), but if you choose not to take it that is entirely your right and your choice...

But DON'T pop up out of nowhere having snide digs at me just as I replied to OP with both the benefit of historical and contemporaneous knowledge of what SHE had asked for - ESP. given you know Jack about what you are actually lobbing at me. Just dumb, really really dumb.

OP, hope you make the choice you are comfortable with and agree it re the best 'fit' between child and school.

Eastpoint Sun 03-Mar-13 08:21:27

MummyItalia in the same way that the children who get straight A*s do wherever they go, including Chiswick School, the party kids find each other. The sporty types meet at county training sessions, musical at the Royal College etc.

Rifraf79 Sun 03-Mar-13 12:12:19

This thread has got a little feisty...

MummyItalia. As everyone says - you must choose what feels right and talk to your DS (and at 13 I am sure he has strong views). I believe you are choosing between St Pauls boys and LU? If that is the case, then the biggest factor surely has to be co-ed v singles sex. But also how academically able is your child... Would they be motivated or demotivated, happy or unhappy to find themselves (perhaps) in the lower half of their cohort? Boys who would be in the top streams at almost every other school in the country will find themselves average or lower at St Pauls. I know that St Pauls do what they can to minimize any negative impact of this, but even so - the boys there are by nature (and selection) competitive, and it can have a bearing on their self-worth. And St Pauls boys work incredibly hard. 2 or more hours of homework a night is common. 6 hours of prep per day over half term just to keep up. For the right child that kind of workload is exactly what they need to stretch them, and they might consciously thrive on it. So I am not saying it is a good or bad thing - I am just putting it out there as a factor for mummyitalia to consider when deciding.

As far as LU is concerned, as the OP of this thread, I was pleased with what I heard here from tripleweetabix, W4witch and Letsescape. and also a poster who sent a PM. We already know parents who have kids at the school and they are all very positive, confirming the good and the less good things mentioned here. I originally started the thread because I wanted comment from people I didn't know personally and whose experience of the school might not be as overall 'rosy' as our friends - and also bearing in mind that even very good friends can sometimes less than truthful with each other when it comes to schools they're 'investing' so much of their lives and incomes into.

Diversity (and by association 'parental wealth') has become a bit of a divisive subject in this thread. The first reply on the thread from Tripleweetabix mentioned the school's diversity in glowing terms, and it was a major plus highlighted in the PM I received as well. Yet others here seem to think this has been overstated or exaggerated... But what does diversity at a London Private school mean? Clearly it doesn't mean that the majority of kids are from low income families - which is why the high numbers of bursaries IS commendable (as it is at St Pauls etc etc - some schools more than others). But obviously, the school does not reflect the ethnic, income, class (there's that word!) mix of the surrounding area or nationally. LU is predominantly white. Have a look at the website of the nearby Hammersmith Academy and you will get a sense of just how white LU is. Having said that, on the open day, we saw many Asian and black kids at the school, and other than income and academic ability (and please, I am not minimising the significance of these) I see no bars to entry. It is not tokenism that the last LU Head boy was black - I believed that it is a true reflection of the schools inclusiveness - as you would expect. In the end, a schools diversity comes down to your experience of it. The parents we know who have children at the school are the same as us. There are professional - mainly with both working, stretching themselves financially in order to pay the fees. Doctors, shopkeepers, some work in the media, a couple are asian, all describe themselves as middle class, not rich (of course - this is all relative.)
As I said upthread - I feel comfortable with the social mix I see at the school, though I understand it is not the same wide social spread of a selective grammar or the local comp, and that at LU there are the kids of celebrities and oligarchs.

I would question, however, Mummyitalias claim that LU has exactly the same intake as several other "posh" schools in the area. Our DS is a bright 11 year old and we put him forward, with his current schools active encouragement, for St Pauls and Westminster for 13+ (with a place at a prep in the interim). His school are very confident that he will receive offers*, but we will not take them up and instead have gone for LU from Year 7. Leaving aside for a moment where we think our kid would be happiest, the extra 8k fees per annum plus extras at both these schools (over LU) is basically beyond our income, though we could eat into savings and equity and take on debt. (StPaulsGS is another 5k btw...) It is the same for most of our friends with kids at LU. The extra fees would be just TOO much of a stretch to be viable when given a choice with LU. But when we toured both schools we certainly felt that the other parents we encountered lived in a far more 'rarified' world than those we came across during the LU open day, and those we know personally - and this is reflected in the St Pauls/westminter/SPGS parents we know socially too. For them, the extra fees are really not an issue. Does any of this mean that DC at these schools are not as nice or kind or inclusive as any other? Of course not. Do very privileged children use their wealth to make those who have relatively less feel bad about themselves, and is that more likely or more prevalent at one school over another? Of course not, one can only make a personal judgement.

* A side not that I think tells you a little bit about Westminster and St Pauls intake - BTW. Westminster make their offers for 13+ to those who took the pretest at 11 around mid/late March. St Pauls interview at some point in Year 6/7. In the case of Westminster, we might well have an offer - but it will be received after the acceptance deadline for Latymer, Highgate, UCS (at 11) and City of London Boys at 13. Which means we will have already made a commitment and paid a deposit to our chosen school at the point we hear from Westminster. If Westminster or St Pauls do then come in with an offer, what do they expect parents to do then? Do we forfeit our acceptance and deposit? Well, some parents would do so at a blink of an eye, but we can not afford to do so. Does this in any way reflect on the income profile of Westminster and St pauls parents... you decide.

I really hope I am not coming across as chippy, snide or 'poor me' in any of this. I know how lucky and privileged we are to be able to send our DS to private school.

Rifraf79 Sun 03-Mar-13 12:12:48

Wow. that was a long post - where did that come from! Apologies.

mummyitalia Sun 03-Mar-13 13:41:25

Wow Rifraf, that was long! I think I was just trying to make the point of how much LUS is changing really, if he was a few years older then it would be a different decision. Now however, I feel that he will feel very similar at both schools - he would be top stream at both St Paul's and Latymer. With regards to the 'poshness' factor, I completely got the impression at open day that it was a 'rich kids' school, and that actually St Paul's was less glamorous and that the parents there were spending all their money on the education and nothing else, whereas it seems at LUS it's slightly different. Of course, there will be a range of wealth at all of these schools, and what we're debating here is the difference between wealthy and super-wealthy, which is totally unrealistic compared to the rest of the country! One of my closest friends has a son in Year 9 in Latymer, who is on a scholarship, and she is constantly going on about the 'poshness' and how wealthy everyone is. She also dislikes the apparent lack of diversity, and she says that compared to Eton (her DH went there - and my DS1!) there are many less black and Asian children. Of course, all of these differences are marginal, when one steps back and takes a look at these top schools, they are pretty similar in their outlook, and of course they're all friends with each other because of their various prep schools/family friends etc.

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!!)

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).

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.

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.

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?

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!)

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.

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

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 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 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 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.

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.

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.

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!

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)

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.

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!

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.

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

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

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.

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