Graveney - catchment area half 2012 distance!!

(145 Posts)
SWandStressed Mon 11-Mar-13 10:07:46

I have just seen the figures for 2013 (and compared them to 2012) and noted the following:

Applications 2115 (up from 2076)
Selective Places 63 (63)
Looked After 6 (up from 2)
Social/Med needs 2 (down from 4)
Staff 1 (n/a)
Sibling Places 102 (up from 81)

Distance offered 1 March 532 (*down from 913*)

That is a major reduction in catchment - and wonder if anyone has got any idea of why that happened. Was it an anomaly? I guess it must be at least partly explained by the extra sibling places taken up this year.

How near do I have to be to be safe for next year?

gazzalw Mon 11-Mar-13 10:32:31

Haven't they changed the criteria for measuring the distance from the school? That could have a significant impact if it's done "as crow flies" rather than by a walking route?

What's the total intake for the year? Is it 210 or 240?

It seems that the number of places taken by siblings/teachers children/looked after/social/medical needs account for an extra 24 children this year over last year.

Remember last year they abandoned the sibling rule for the "selective" cohort which could have increased the catchment significantly.

Know that Graveney is on paper our closest school and we did have it on our CAF list last year but DS was offered a higher placed grammar school position. We applied for selective entry for Graveney because we believed ourselves to be about 300 metres out of previous year's catchment....

My brain isn't functioning particularly effectively this morning but could it not vary wildly (from one year to the next) depending on whether those gaining admission on selective entry criteria generally live very close to the school or not? What happens if all the DCs who gained selective entry lived on the doorstep of the school - which criteria would they ultimately gain entry upon?

sorry can't be more helpful?

The Admissions Lady at Graveney used to work at DS's school and she is very helpful so you could consider asking her?

But as you said it could just be one of those 'blips' which can't really be explained?

Or is it a case that with the demand on good secondary school places only due to become more competitive in coming years, the monied middle-classes (with two/three/four children) have moved, lock, stock and two smoking barrels into catchment to secure sibling criteria admission for their whole families?

Personally I really do think that with the forthcoming, increasing demand for places with the baby-boomers, about to hit secondary school from 2014/15, lottery systems should become the norm. I just don't think for secondary schools in London the sibling policy is necessary or fair.

Mintyy Mon 11-Mar-13 10:34:24

Heh! Bet that's scuppered some of the "moving into catchment" renter plans grin.

gazzalw Mon 11-Mar-13 10:39:20

Hope it has! As they say 'up North' "that will larn them"

Wonder if it means that the number of appeals will go through the roof.

Personally I would have thought that the teachers' children admission effect could have a significant impact in coming years. Think this is the first year it's come into practice. Know that the teachers have to have been at the school for at least a couple of years before their DCs would qualify for entry under this criteria. But don't you think it's an attractive and enticing 'perk' in a profession where perks are hard to come by?

scaevola Mon 11-Mar-13 10:48:06

Presumably if Bolingbroke lives up to expectation, that'll ease the pressure on Graveney.

I suspect the extra siblings had a big impact on thhe shrinkage.

Marni23 Mon 11-Mar-13 10:51:11

SWandstressed can I ask you where you got the figures from? A friend of mine needs information on other Wandsworth secondary schools. Thanks.

SWandStressed Mon 11-Mar-13 10:58:53

gazzalw - yes, I think you are right. I have just checked. In 2012 it was walking distance along public roads. Now its straight line. A little experiment or two with google earth and as crow flies distance shows that someone that is 523 meters as the crowflies might be a couple of hundred meters further away by road.

So if they gave the crow's flies equivalent, I think it might in 2012 have been around 700 meters. So not as dramatic a difference, but still quite a reduction in radius (and therefore a massive reduction in area from the centre point).

And you are right on siblings for staff, and allowing siblings for the selective cohort. The latter makes up the remainder of the difference.

The entry is 250 total. And I think if you are close by (enough to get in on distance) and get high enough up the test you get the selective place (so not freeing it up for another selective grade candidate, although freeing up a catcment place. IYSWIM).

Once the staff effect kicks in properly, the catchment will reduce even further below 500!

SWandStressed Mon 11-Mar-13 11:00:50

Marni - I got the 2013 information from a parent who applied this year and didn't get a place. It was in the letter they received. It was Graveney only.

I got the 2012 information from the wandsworth secondary admissions booklet for 2013 entry, which covers all schools. (This will be republished in the next few months for 2014 entry which will then ahve the 2013 figures for other W schools.)

gazzalw Mon 11-Mar-13 11:03:32

You might think so, Scaevola, but is not property in the Graveney area till relatively cheaper than in the Bolingbroke Academy catchment? So the increasing popularity of the B.A. would not impact on those helicoptering in from other Boroughs?

Also remember current Year 6,7 and 8s mark a dip in the birthrate which is now set to rise significantly year on year, so any children taken out of the equation by the Bolingbroke Academy effect will probably be more than made up for by extra numbers of children in the locale. The Graveney area is after all very densely populated, isn't it?

Blu Mon 11-Mar-13 11:05:10

As a matter of interest, why have they re-introduced siblings for selective places?

Grammar schools don't offer sibling places, do they?

Marni23 Mon 11-Mar-13 11:07:08

Ah, no wonder I couldn't find it when I googled!

My DS has been offered a selective place at Graveney this year which we are likely to turn down. Not sure if this will then be offered to someone on the 'selective' waiting list or if it reverts to a distance place, but anyway, we are likely to be creating an extra place.

SWandStressed Mon 11-Mar-13 11:14:10

Marni - Well done to your DS.

May I ask why you are rejecting? (And I think it will be offered to someone else on selective basis.)

Also, I was confused by the figures given in the letter that I saw. Did you have to score over 250 or over 273? Both figures were mentioned and it seemed to be inconsistent/typo. I think 273 (equating to top 1%!!! of those taking the WT) must be right. Can you shed light?

scaevola Mon 11-Mar-13 11:17:30

It'll change, perhaps, who wins the selective places. Parents between the Commons might be less focussed on the Wandsworth test. And if they aren't going to Graveney, nor will their siblings. Now perhaps that might mean further flung families getting those places. Or perhaps it'll get more local. And another secondary in the borough must mean fewer children having to travel long distances out of their black hole.

And if the one on Battersea Park Road (whatever it's called now) could be genuinely improved too, then the position in Wandsworth would be much better.

gazzalw Mon 11-Mar-13 11:30:05

What would be interesting to know is the number of selective places given to out-of-borough candidates. I know that Graveney is close to Lambeth and Merton Boroughs and wonder if most come from there or further afield?

Has anyone got any ideas?

SWandStressed Mon 11-Mar-13 11:31:00

And another free school opening in Clapham (perhaps). Although if it gets the green light it will be a couple of years away at least....

SWandStressed Mon 11-Mar-13 11:33:05

I know two Lambeth selective entrants to Graveney. But don't know the figures. (And a few that did the Graveney "rental shuffle" from Lambeth).

I think Graveney is attractive to many from all the boroughs surrounding Wandsworth that don't otherwise have selective entry.

gazzalw Mon 11-Mar-13 11:35:18

Blu, I don't know why they've reintroduced the sibling rule - it seems very, very unfair really.

But presumably last year's non-use of it made a significant difference to catchment boundary as I'm pretty sure the previous it was closer to this year's figure than nearly 1000 metres!

Mintyy Mon 11-Mar-13 11:45:00

This automatic sibling place for secondary school children gives me the absolute rage, I must say!

gazzalw Mon 11-Mar-13 11:53:52

I think it's got a place in rural/semi-rural locations, but really in London it's sadly misguided at best and totally biased at worst.

I think it will fall by the wayside as demand on places ramps up in coming years.

Our DS goes to a super-selective so his DD won't be following him, for sure. Most secondary school pupils in London find their own way to school and do so from the age of 11, many without older siblings hovering over/looking after them, so what is the rationale for sibling policies?

I would also have thought that it might prevent parents helicoptering into desirable school catchments and then helicoptering straight out again once their eldest DC has secured a place, not just for themselves but also for younger siblings too.

Mintyy Mon 11-Mar-13 12:01:12

Quite Gazza. And I live in an area with more single sex than mixed schools - so how you can argue the need for a sibling policy here is beyond my ken.

singersgirl Mon 11-Mar-13 12:03:28

Surely sibling policies in general for schools are A Good Thing. I imagine many parents would prefer to have their children at the same school - the same holiday dates, the same concerts/plays/school fairs, no clash of parents' evenings or important events.

Sibling policies for children offered places due to academic selection are slightly different, though I can see the logic from a parental point of view. However, in terms of equal access it is another example of 'back door selection'; the school will become gradually more selective as in the majority of cases siblings of children who got in via selection would also be likely to get in on academic selection (caveats abound, of course).

Mintyy Mon 11-Mar-13 12:12:09

Not A Good Thing for over-subscribed urban secondaries, no.

scaevola Mon 11-Mar-13 12:12:43

Schools in the same borough tend to have the same term dates, so unless you're close to a border being in different schools won't make any difference. And unless you have twins, you'll become adept at sorting out clashing events when you have both primary and secondary schools on the go. Not enough justification for a secondary school sibling rule in cities such as London.

I thinknthey're the right thing for primary though.

gazzalw Mon 11-Mar-13 12:29:26

I would agree that anything other than sibling policies in primary schools is unworkable really.

Secondary schools are entirely different though. And yes, as grammar schools don't have sibling policies, I can't see why it's permissible for siblings of DCs who've gained selective comprehensive places to automatically gain entry.

I can think of two DCs in DS's primary school cohort who have benefited from this 'largesse'

I also can't help but think that there must be some sort of discriminatory appeal potential for those of us who have DCs not all of the same gender but whose eldest attends a single-sex schools.

Mintyy Mon 11-Mar-13 12:33:21

My friend's dd will go to a HUGELY oversubscribed comp that she lives outside the catchment for, on the basis of her elder dd's dyslexia hmm.

gazzalw Mon 11-Mar-13 12:35:40

Yes, I know a family with more than two DCs - the eldest has a chronic medical issue and got a place at a highly sought-after secondary so all younger siblings will get in too.

singersgirl Mon 11-Mar-13 13:42:23

All the reasons you've given are reasons why a sibling policy isn't as necessary at secondary school as at primary school, but none of them seem to suggest to me that it isn't preferable for the majority of people. I live on a borough boundary. I guess as many people live near borough boundaries as have twins. And the fact that you can juggle things when you have twins doesn't make it desirable to have to do so.

Say I live 800 metres from an oversubscribed school and my older child gets in on distance. Two years later my younger child doesn't get in on distance and has to travel across the borough on two buses to the nearest school with places. Why is that a good thing? Why is it any less fair for the sibling to be denied a place than for an older child of a second family who know lives outside the distance area?

Mintyy Mon 11-Mar-13 13:46:03

"Why is it any less fair for the sibling to be denied a place than for an older child of a second family who know lives outside the distance area?"

I'm sorry but I can't understand that last sentence of yours but if there is no sibling policy then the system just becomes fairer.

Blu Mon 11-Mar-13 13:53:29

Singersgiirl, but why would it be worse for a younger sibling to have to make that journey than the oldest child living next door (one door closer, prehaps) applying at the same time, and who hasn't got a sibling?

There are many pros and 'not necessaries' about sibling admissions at secindary level, but in the context of this thread, I can't see what the justification is that children who get into a super-selective stream can then pave the way for priority siblings irrespective of the siblings ability.

Especially in a school which maintains a distance criteria for the rest of the intake - it seems to remove their chances of gettiing into what for those who are not of siper-selective ability, is their local comp.

The sibling policy for selective admissions is a way of doubling the sibling intake and halving the distance intake (depending in overall numbers).

I have no stake in this - no DC at Graveney - but I do know families with children there.

gazzalw Mon 11-Mar-13 13:54:19

But your child's convenience (by getting in on sibling policy) could mean another child has to do that journey across Borough.

It is less likely to cause seething resentment if the system is totally fair and sibling policies really are antiquated.

Lots of children have to cross Boroughs to go to school, siblings or no. Where's the fairness of that, particularly if they've not go siblings to gain them entry to a school.

As I've said, Graveney was our closest school but DS wouldn't qualify on distance so we had to go down the selective route instead. He now has an hour's journey door-to-door each way because he couldn't get into the local school.

SWandStressed Mon 11-Mar-13 14:02:23

And even if there are sibling policies in general (and I can see the argument on the basis of community standing of the school), there is surely no justification for those who have entered this school or the selective criteria to also have their siblings enter on a free pass (as it were). Those entering on that criteria have opted out of the "community school" (whereever they live) for a grammar-ish education.

Its pure social selection on the part of Graveney.

BanoffeeSplitz Mon 11-Mar-13 14:19:48

"Yes, I know a family with more than two DCs - the eldest has a chronic medical issue and got a place at a highly sought-after secondary so all younger siblings will get in too."

I can see some logic / fairness in that actually - if one DC has a chronic medical issue then something that could make that family's life a bit easier, like having siblings all at one school, doesn't seem too unreasonable.

wrt to siblings of selective pupils, agree it's blatant backdoor social selection.

tiggytape Mon 11-Mar-13 16:27:23

Sibling policies are great for anyone who gets their eldest child into a great school and has younger children of the same gender and a small enough age gap to follow up with guaranteed places. For those people I can see the appeal.

For everyone else, sibling policies are not so great. It means many people cannot get their eldest child / only child / other gender child / youngest child with a big age gap into any local state school at all. So many places are taken up with siblings of children in Year 11 who live 5 miles away that people on the doorstep cannot get in.
These sibling pairs won't be travelling to school together, doing the same clubs or plays and in fact will have nothing to do with each other given that they are teenagers and Year 7 baby siblings are an embarrassment!
I don't know any siblings at the same secondary school who travel together. I know we never did!

For primary schools, sibling policy makes perfect sense but at secondary it just blocks places in local schools for people who actually live near the school who get pushed out very often by those who don’t live as close or very close at all.

We have the double whammy that DC2 cannot follow DC1 to the same school yet every other school DC2 will apply to has a sibling rule!

singersgirl Mon 11-Mar-13 18:10:30

Oh, I didn't mean it would be worse for the younger sibling than the hypothetical older or only child; it wouldn't be great for either of them to have to travel a long distance. Although I suppose you could argue that in a sense it would in fact be worse for the younger sibling, as they would probably be hoping and expecting to go to the same school as their older sibling - who after all did live close enough to the school to get in.

But I can think of many reasons to do with community cohesion and family cohesion that would make having two or three children in the same school desirable - both from the family's perspective and from the school's perspective.

If you have three children in three separate schools, you're much less likely to become a governor of any of them or join the PTA; the family will already know the school, teachers and school routines which will make it much easier for them the second or third time around; the school will already have a relationship with the families so ditto.

Distance from school is clearly a good way to decide who should go to a school, but it's not the only way nor is it necessarily the only fair way.

I'm not talking about siblings of children who got selective places, by the way - just siblings of children who got in on distance. Distance changes from year to year, so a few hundred metres difference will mean that it is probably still their nearest school. You could have cases where an older child living next door to a sibling gets in but the sibling doesn't - that doesn't seem particularly fair either.

Anyway, I have no especial axe to grind on this one and am off out now, so will leave it for people who really care about Graveney's catchment to agree with each other.

gazzalw Mon 11-Mar-13 18:13:40

I feel your pain Tiggytape. I know we have similarly aged younger DCs.

My worry is that Graveney again won't be an option for us, unless she gets in on 'selectivity' (and not sure if she will achieve that) or they have changed their admissions criteria (we can live in hope!). The three other local schools are no gos for us I'm afraid. And the girls comprehensive which is doing well is on the other side of the Borough and although she would currently qualify for a place, I'm not sure that that will be the case four years down the line with increased closer population and appeal (it's definitely on the up!).


Mintyy Mon 11-Mar-13 19:56:11

The sibling policy definitely contributes to some schools becoming the destination school within any given area, with all other schools being perceived to be less desirable. And then that becomes a self-fulfilling whatsit.

Very interesting what has happened in a certain SE London borough with a completely over-hyped school, their selective admissions, their massive PR-loving ht and yet, after all that, inadequate leadership and teaching which has resulted in poor results for the students.

If secondary age children (in the state system) could just go to their nearest school and be sure of a good education. What a blooming Utopia that would be.

gazzalw Mon 11-Mar-13 21:32:23

My idea has always been that if every state secondary had a grammar intake then every school would be more appealing to a wider range of parents and it would prevent this 'ghetto' vs desirable, oversubscribed secondary school effect which is so negative the children being educated and to the schools themselves.

Ha, Mintyy are you talking about the school about which there have been quite a few Mumsnet threads (which get deleted as potentially libelous) and about which there was recent focus on exam cheating?????

Mintyy Mon 11-Mar-13 22:23:48

Yes, but that is all I can say <taps nose>.

But that school is perfect example of how a school can get "talked up" leading to a stampede to get in. I shouldn't think there will be quite such an over-subscription problem this year.

OhDearConfused Tue 12-Mar-13 10:22:10

Going back to Graveney, does anyone know what the pass mark was to get a selective place this year?

Presumably most of those 2000+ people who applied (who apart from the 80-100 or so living nearest) would know they didn't stand a cat in hell's chance of getting in on distrance and clearly all but 102 didn't have a sibling. So 1800 applying for the 63 selective places!


aliasPrickleandJones Tue 12-Mar-13 10:23:10

Couple of things I want to add.

I know someone with dc in the lowest stream in yr 7 at Graveney this year. Her dc is lovely, quirky and fun and dyslexic. She is now in this stream forevermore no matter how she develops. There are already some behaviour issues in the lowest stream and she has no chance of making friends in the other streams as they do not share any lessons.

To me, this is not a very satisfactory state of affairs and I am surprised that Graveney continue to be so popular when the majority of the dcs at the school are not in the grammar stream. Their experience of secondary education are IMO not as good as in other schools that practice mixed ability teaching.

As for that other school wink local gossip tells me that plans are a foot for them to stop sibling priority...

OhDearConfused Tue 12-Mar-13 10:42:28

But the immense popularity is only the 1800 people who want to get in via selection (and therefore into the top stream).

For everyone else, it is simply a community school serving an ever-shrinking local catchment where (if you are on the outskirts) there is little else to go to....

tiggytape Tue 12-Mar-13 10:43:47

The mark is out of 282 and the children offered places are generally in the 270's and upwards. Last year I think 98% was the required score and this year, I think it is around 97% (273 out of 282).

The score is standardised by age though so it is not quite that simple but, generally you have to aim to score near full marks to get one of the selective places.

mushroom3 Tue 12-Mar-13 10:50:26

aliasPrickleandJones, do you mean Kingsdale are thinking of scrapping sibling links?

aliasPrickleandJones Tue 12-Mar-13 10:53:34

Yes this is what a mother with a child at the school told me (she has a younger sibling to follow)

OhDearConfused Tue 12-Mar-13 10:57:44

Ah yes, its coming back to me from previous threads.

Although - and I am not a statistician - I think it is a little bit more complex than that. I remember reading that the maximum 282 was the standardised score (a mean of 100 per paper, equalling 200 in total with 242 at the maximum measure of the bell-curve).

Thus that 270 or 273 does relate to 97/98% but I had thought that that simply meant you were in the 97/98 percentile. Ie DC was one of the 2 or 3% scoring highest. It doesn't mean though that they had to get all but 2 or 3% of the answers right (there aren't 280 questions!).


aliasPrickleandJones Tue 12-Mar-13 10:59:11

OhDearConfused, yes you are right that it is a community school but it is not like any other (at least in this neck of the woods) on account of the grammar stream.

The non-grammar streams are not mixed ability in the true sense of the word as those in the top ability have been creamed off...?

Its hard to get a true measure of the place as places like MN only really focus on the grammar.

Mintyy Tue 12-Mar-13 11:01:32

Oh, I hadn't heard that AliasPrickle. I am just about to send you a pm btw.

OhDearConfused Tue 12-Mar-13 11:06:30

But, Alias, it would be interesting to know how many of those that get a selection place were so local that they would have got in on distance. My guess is not many at all.

In any case, all that is then really happening is rigid streaming. Many community comprehensives do it. It just that Graveney has a particularly high-ability top stream (1800 applicants for 63 places). The Upper Stream (next one down) is high ability also just not "superselective".

aliasPrickleandJones Tue 12-Mar-13 11:18:47

DearConfused, I don't know either about how many of the grammar stream are local but not sure if I agree with you that many community comprehensives do it.

One that my dc goes to is mixed ability until yr10. I think its great because the friends they make are not based on ability so they get to be friends with a really diverse set, at least that's been my dc's experience.

aliasPrickleandJones Tue 12-Mar-13 11:20:22

You may have gathered that I'm really anti-rigid streaming smile

gazzalw Tue 12-Mar-13 17:10:30

I do remember that when we went to the Open Day at Graveney a couple of years ago there were some parents who were very insistent about the lower two streams effectively not getting the same care and attention as Upper and Extension - the Head didn't seem to have an answer that suited their questions. Although I would wonder why you would choose a school for your DCs if you didn't really think it would give them the best chances to shine...

OhDearConfused Tue 12-Mar-13 17:21:04

Some people don't have a choice of school - they do just go to their nearest.

TWOTB Fri 15-Mar-13 14:11:58

Does anyone know which sample papers you can buy are the best to prepare for the Graveney test?

And how well you have to do in them to know you have a realistic chance of getting through?

brass Fri 15-Mar-13 17:06:25

I just want to say the reason Graveney is SO popular is precisely because of the streaming.

If you don't like rigid streaming you don't pick that school surely?

IMO children don't benefit from mixed ability classes.

Streaming doesn't prevent mixing, they can mix plenty with children from other sets at break times and clubs, on the journey to and from school etc

They do positively thrive with other children who share the same work ethic and investment in doing the best they can. They aren't slowed down because the teacher is still explaining something they are ready to move on from.

I'd agree with whoever said the siblings of selectively placed pupils would also generally be of selective calibre.

Those of you bemoaning sibling places remember that sibling places will also have been granted to children in other sets and who live locally.

I chose Graveney exactly because it ISN'T a grammar school, because there ARE mixed ability children there AND because they know how to cater for the high-ability top stream.

I think what's unfair is the disparity from school to school which creates ghettos. Just make a nationwide decision that ALL schools will have a sibling policy or not! Then parents might know where they stand although it still doesn't solve anything for those at single sex schools with siblings of opposite gender.

Blu Fri 15-Mar-13 17:38:12

As I understand it there isn't one stream labelled 'Wandsworth Test Selective' and then other streams for children who were admitted under other categories - my friends DS who was admitted on distance is on the Extension stream, for e.g. And pupils can and do move - and some students admitted on the test may be in the upper rather than extension stream - since aptitude over many subjects and attitude come into play once the test is done and dusted.

The curriculum says

^On entering Graveney in Year 7 pupils are initially grouped into four broad
bands of ability: support, middle, upper and extension. There is movement
between bands and all pupils choose from a wide range of subjects for GCSE
and vocational courses. Some setting takes place during Years 10 and 11 for


"I'd agree with whoever said the siblings of selectively placed pupils would also generally be of selective calibre."
In which case, they will get in on the test! It's likely that many of these children will come from highly motivated education-focussed families, yes, but you can't just use that as a justification to give them more nplaces in the school!

"Those of you bemoaning sibling places remember that sibling places will also have been granted to children in other sets and who live locally."
But the overall effect is that if sibling places are granted to those who came in on the test, there will be less places overall for children admitted on distance. whatever stream they may go into (some children admitted on distance will go into the extension stream).That is a fair concern for local parents who want the school because it is their local school, and because it is good. Seems a fair basis for 'bemoaning' to me!

Once a school starts on any selective process it does not seem fair to me that selection should bring with it automatic sibling places with priority over children admitted on distance.

Gazza, Surely all schools use streaming or setting, or a combination of both, so all, in effect, have a grammar stream, or mini-grammar streams on each subject if they use setting., a 'grammar set'. That is the nature of a true comp. It's the standard of education that is on offer, or perceived to be on offer that makes the difference, plus the average ability of the intake and the effect or perceived effet that that has...all spiced up by some parents' natural penchant for a bit of competition in the face of a selective or super selective.

Present company excepted, of course grin. Especially where choices are based on local conditions and lack of choice.

brass Fri 15-Mar-13 18:02:21

I'd be interested to know exactly what the figures are for out of catchment pupils taking up all these places! Could it be an urban myth that these pesky outsiders are nicking all the school places?!

We're local btw but wouldn't have qualified for a catchment place. So selection was our only opportunity and thankfully have been successful.

All the siblings taking up places from our primary also live locally to Graveney but outside the immediate catchment.

aliasPrickleandJones Fri 15-Mar-13 19:21:59

brass, you speak from the point of view of a parent of a child in the 'top' stream. My friend (see my earlier post) spreaks from the point of view of a parent of a child in the 'bottom' stream. You are satisfied because you feel that your child is appropriately challenged academically. My friend is not happy because there are behavioural problems amongst the children in the 'bottom' set.

Can the school satisfy parents of both children?

You are right, I have not sent my dcs to a rigidly streamed school. From what Blu is saying perhaps Graveney's streaming is not too rigid. I hope so.

My dc goes to a South London comprehensive where many lessons are taught mixed ability until yr 10, there is no grammar stream, all pupils accepted by distance. Their GCSE results were better last year than Graveney's. Mixed ability can work.

Blu Fri 15-Mar-13 19:30:42

Brass - no one has talked of ALL the places being used by selective siblings. But if two out of three selective pupils have 2 younger siblings...well, that's quite a number of extra places for a school with a TINY catchment for the local community on distance.

I have other friends with children at G - the eldest (in his last year) got in on the test and TWO further siblings followed, one in the last year before they stopped selective siblings. This is why it caught my eye, I was surprised to see they had re-introduced selective siblings.

Good for their stats, though wink

Do we surmise that you chose G over a grammar partly because of the sibling ticket, which is not available at grammars? Fair enough, you make your decisions based on what is available within the system, and make the best decision for you and your children. nothing wring in that. But surely you can see how it affects families who live close by?

Mintyy Fri 15-Mar-13 20:49:53

Am possibly being a little dense but I cannot see how Brass (or anyone else for that matter) can argue that giving an automatic place to siblings of pupils who have been selected on academic ability is a good thing? How is it a good thing. It is only a convenient thing for the family of the pupil who won a place on academic achievement.

But then I think that state supposedly comprehensive schools having a selected cohort is a fucking nonsense anyway!

aliasPrickleandJones Fri 15-Mar-13 23:03:33

"How is it a good thing. It is only a convenient thing for the family of the pupil who won a place on academic achievement."

Also the school may think its a 'good thing' as may want other dcs from the 'right' kind of family (ie one that preps their dc to pass the Wandsworth test).

As you say Mintyy, how can a school be a comprehensive if it selects?

basildonbond Sat 16-Mar-13 10:01:49

It's really a school within a school - a grammar sharing the premises with a comprehensive

The Upper stream is also full of high achievers - in fact quite a few of the children who get in on the test are in Upper rather than Extension and a lot of Extension children get in on distance. The streams are not determined just by test score - it's a combination of test score, SATs results and current head's recommendation. About 3 weeks into the autumn term they carry out their own CAT tests and as far as I remember they had a maths test as well which led to a bit of juggling - a few children went up from Upper to Extension but I don't think anyone got moved down.

There isn't much mixing between forms and streams - they do everything in their form apart from maths which is set within the streams and Tech - fine for the bright, mostly middle class children in Extension, not so great for children in the bottom sets because of e.g. dyslexia and who find themselves isolated with quite a lot of disruption in lessons.

KandyBarr Sun 17-Mar-13 07:31:09

TWOTB Wandsworth don't publish past papers, but Bond VR and NVR practice tests cover the same ground. The test only covers VR and NVR - not maths and English.

brass Sun 17-Mar-13 13:35:32

Minty you need to read my posts again. I haven't argued FOR anything. I've asked why a parent would send their child to a school they think does not cater for their child's needs. I don't think that is a good thing.

I expressed an opinion that mixed ability teaching doesn't enable pupils to thrive from my experience.

Blu I don't know where you got your sibling figures from - 2 out of 3 selective pupils having 2 siblings hmm are you saying all non selective pupils only have 1 sibling? This is a generalisation based on your one acquaintance.

Also the school may think its a 'good thing' as may want other dcs from the 'right' kind of family (ie one that preps their dc to pass the Wandsworth test).

My personal favourite this morning. If you are entering a selective process whether for this kind of comp or independent school or grammar do you not prepare your child for the test? Alias you sound a little bit bitter. Will you not be preparing your DC for GCSEs Will you expect them to just turn up on the day without any preparation or additional study?

FWIW when DS1 got his place there was no sibling policy. It has only been reinstated just this year. We had no way of knowing what was in store for DS2. Thankfully he scored enough to get in on his own merit. We ARE a local family and this is our local school but we are outside the tiny catchment and therefore just as affected by the inconsistent policies. I'm in agreement that this doesn't work and ideally we should have local schools with the same quality of teaching. BUT the reality is that we don't.

These policies aside I don't think angsty parents help the situation. We ALL want what is best for our children. Labeling families as the 'right kind' or 'bright mostly middle class' says more about you than it does the problem. DS1's class is actually very representative of local families from this corner of Wandsworth.

aliasPrickleandJones Sun 17-Mar-13 15:15:22

Brass, not bitter but possibly cynical.

It's not just Graveney but many schools look for children from the 'right' background to join their ranks. Music scholarships, safe walking route that determines the distance from school, selective tests, sibling policy can all help to achieve this end. In the past, schools such as Haberdasher Aske used interviews but these have long since been outlawed. I think we would be a bit naive not to this this happens.

I did briefly think about putting my dc in for the Graveney test (there are some that travel there even from our neck of Southwark to your school). I decided against because I didn't want to put her through all that extra stress of preparing and sitting the tests to be go to the school which would be well out of her community and friendship groups. Instead she will go to a local school where she can walk to and be with lots of children that she knows from the community. smile

aliasPrickleandJones Sun 17-Mar-13 15:17:58

Should read - I think we would be a bit naive not to think this happens. (ie that schools may manipulate admissions criteria to their advantage)

Blu Sun 17-Mar-13 15:47:20

Brass, I have no doubt that children who get in on the test have on average the same number of siblings as everyone else. The point I am making is that when siblings of selective places are given priority alongside siblings of distance admissions then overall they will take up a significant number of places. Thus decreasing the number of places available for children admitted on distance.

brass Sun 17-Mar-13 16:45:49

So what? Should they discriminate against siblings of some children? If there is a sibling policy it should be available to all surely?

Also you keep trying to imply that selective places are taken up by people who are helicoptering in from outside the borough.

My point is they probably aren't as large in number as you seem to think. You're making out people are missing out on distance but you fail to mention those in catchment who simply bought their way in. Not everyone can afford to do that. I know far more families who bought their way in than families who squeezed in through selection never mind the ones who simply cheated by renting.

Local schools for local children as long as you've got the wallet? I'm cynical about those that need to move house when their DC get to year 4-5.

Blu Sun 17-Mar-13 17:32:09

All the ones I know from Lambeth tend to travel by bike or bus, I think.

I don't see it as discriminating against siblings of selective students any more that Grammars discriminate against siblings. Grammar places are selective so there is no automatic sibling priority. Therefore I would expect to,see the same system apply at Graveny wrt to selective places. And especially as, unlike a grammar, Graveney also functions as a neighbourhood comp and takes students on distance.

No skin off my nose, I would not get in on distance if every single child in the school was an only child. And we didn't apply for a selective place either. Just looking at what appears fairest in theory and what is best for the whole schools environment in S London. Which I think would be better served if every school operated with the same admissions. People who live near Kingsdale say the same thing and decry the lottery.

Blu Sun 17-Mar-13 17:36:52

Oh, and I know people who rented their way in, too. 2 families, actually. I don't think that's right or fair, either.

But that isn't a situation the school actually sets up, whereas the change back to selective siblings is.

As I said I don't thunk anyone is being unfair or underhand in accepting a sibling place, why wouldn't anyone?

PanelChair Sun 17-Mar-13 19:00:04

I agree entirely with Blu. There is no compelling argument for giving sibling priority when the first sibling has an academically selective place. A grammar school wouldn't do it.

gazzalw Mon 18-Mar-13 07:29:11

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

tiredaftertwo Mon 18-Mar-13 08:17:16

Cynical about how school admission operate in South London? Surely not smile
The Council paper relating to this change makes clear it was Chestnut Grove and Burntwood as well - that all siblings should be put on equal footing.

I have a feeling that some overseer (ombudsman perhaps? schools adjudication office?) had said they had to change the rule for selective places. And I wonder whether that body has not been abolished or weakened along with so many others, so the schools have taken the chance to change it back?

I agree it is unfair on local children. But I suspect the schools can make a case, especially the co-ed ones, that they do try to preserve a family atmosphere and that they encourage parents to engage with the school and this is easier with sibling places (I can see both these too).

GraveneyLady Mon 18-Mar-13 11:39:58

Hi everyone

Just thought I'd join in the fun. Some of you may know me - I used to be AdmissionsLady from SGS on the EPE board.

Please feel free to hit me with any questions you might have about Graveney Admissions. Bear in mind I can only be factual - I can't offer my opinions or any speculation.

Do feel free to rip me to shreds! That's what I'm here for wink

gazzalw Mon 18-Mar-13 18:50:15

Hello GraveneyLady

You were very helpful to us last year for DS so will be gentle with you if any questions spring to mind!

Firstly what was the rational for reintroducing the sibling rule for the selective intake?

Many thanks

Blu Mon 18-Mar-13 20:27:52

Hello GraveneyLady smile

Just out of interest - how many selective admissions aer from Wandsworth and how many from other boroughs? And from how far afield?

Classicsgirl Mon 18-Mar-13 21:25:58

Hello graveney Lady, thanks for raising your head above the parapet! Since you asked....I'm interested in why it seems fairly easy to do the Graveney shuffle, ie rent a house and get a place on distance, while still owning another property. I've always wondered why the school doesn't check harder to see whether there is another house that is the real home, especially when it comes to siblings. I've no axe to grind, as we couldn't afford to do the shuffle and don't live close enough to be impacted - and our two had to both get in on the test when there was no sibling link - , but it is pretty common and I don't think anyone's lost a place as a result of it. Done the school condone it? Thanks!

irisgrey Mon 18-Mar-13 22:08:16

Blu, I think it can be a bit misleading to talk about selective entrants in terms of borough because Graveney is so close to Merton and Lambeth. I know a child who travels in from Putney, ie within Wandsworth, with a journey of about an hour. In the same class I know a child who walks a few minutes up the road from a Merton address which is around 550m from Graveney. Both children took selective places but it is certainly the Merton child who has grown up as part of the community around Graveney.

Blu Mon 18-Mar-13 23:22:07

True, borough is not necessarily an accurate indicator of distance.

Blu Mon 18-Mar-13 23:53:17

Classicsgirl: There was a huge thread about that very subject last year. here

TWOTB Tue 19-Mar-13 09:07:48

Thanks, KandyBar

GraveneyLady you sound like you have inside knowledge. Did you see the question above on which types of papers are best to prepare, and what sort of score you DC needs to be getting on them to know if there is a realistic chance of getting in. I know of course that it differs year-on-year and it depends on standardisation. I also picked up on this thread or another that you need to get 270 or so out of the maximum 282 on standardised scores. But how does that relate to real papers we can see and practice on and the raw marks.

aliasPrickleandJones Tue 19-Mar-13 09:38:06

My dd (yr 6) and I were talking about her friends and the secondaries they will be going to today. One of them is going to Graveney as she passed the selection test. Another is already there but got in on distance and is in the lowest stream on account of her dyslexia.

My dd is very confused and assumes all children who go to G are superbright as she assumes they all have to pass the test. I had to explain to her that her dyslexic friend got in on account of distance and did not pass test. The conversation rapidly got quite complicated and at the end of it I don't think she really understood.

I just wish all secondaries had a straightforward transparent system that everyone including the children themselves understand. I find it v. uncomfortable having to explain to my 11 year old how much 'brighter' X is compared to Y.

My dd's secondary does everything on distance (no banding, tests, scholarships). Its so much easier to explain and seems a lot fairer to the dc.

GraveneyLady Tue 19-Mar-13 11:59:39

Hi all

Various questions - not all of which I have the answer to!

gazzalw, I joined last April so wasn't involved with the change of sibling policy. I believe, however, that is was designed to foster even further the sense of family/community. And as another poster mentioned, smart kids quite often have smart siblings who are likely to get in on test on their own account.

Blu - I can do you the borough figures if you would like them, but as irisgrey says above it doesn't necessarily tell you much. Not a problem though. Which year are you interested in?

TWOTB - I just answered the same question on EPE! Was it you? The papers that GL Assessment recomment are
Multiple Choice Verbal Reasoning
Pack, ISBN 9780708719879.
Multiple Choice Non-Verbal Reasoning
Pack, ISBN 9780708719862.

Classicsgirl, the rental thing is a perennial issue. I wonder if any of you know any other schools/authorities that have found a good way to tackle this?

Keep 'em coming!

Blu Tue 19-Mar-13 12:09:36

I am interested to know the distance from which selective students came last year - and boroughs, too - but not if it involves you in endless work!

GraveneyLady Tue 19-Mar-13 13:07:31

For the 2012 intake, the selective students came from the following boroughs:

Wandsworth 38
Merton 15
Lambeth 9
Southwark 1

The distances for the selective intake were as follows:

Under 1000m 7
1000 - 2000m 12
2000 - 3000m 5
3000 - 4000m 13
4000 - 5000m 8
5000 - 6000m 9
6000 - 7000m 5
Further than 7000m 4

All bar 1 of the pupils coming from more than 6000m are Wandsworth residents.

aliasPrickleandJones Tue 19-Mar-13 15:50:56

GraveneyLady said And as another poster mentioned, smart kids quite often have smart siblings who are likely to get in on test on their own account.

If this was apropos my comment earlier then you could not be further from the spirit in which it was said. GraveneyLady, I don't know how 'official' you are regarding the school but if this is the view of the school and the reason they reintroduced the sibling policy then I am shocked!

How can you say that just because one sibling got through the test, the others in the family also will. It is not fair to other families who want to send their dcs to the school.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 19-Mar-13 16:08:25

I think what many people are curious to know are how many of those admitted as siblings of those with selective places did not score highly enough in the test to gain a place in their own right? Does this hppan often or is it a rarity?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 19-Mar-13 16:09:22

Know is


aliasPrickleandJones Tue 19-Mar-13 16:17:19

ComeIntoGarden, but if you had already secured a place for a child through sibling priority then would you bother entering him/her through the test?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 19-Mar-13 16:20:37

Hmm, Alias. I don't want to say too much for fear of outing myself, but I believe it's quite common for children who are applying as siblings also to take the test. Hence my question to GraveneyLady.

GraveneyLady Tue 19-Mar-13 16:21:54

No Alias, to the best of my knowledge that never came up. I was just trying to smooth some feathers by suggesting that it won't be a disproportionate part of the intake - but it didn't work. Apologies.

Maud, I did some work on that. For the 2011 intake, there were 4 siblings who were not admitted because the elder sibling got in on test, and the younger did not score highly enough/live close enough to be offered a place under those criteria. For 2012 intake there were 12 in that position. 2013 intake still shaking down so too early yet to tell how many "extra" entrants we will get who would not have been offered a place in previous years.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 19-Mar-13 16:25:53

Thank you, GraveneyLady.

gazzalw Tue 19-Mar-13 16:27:43

All but the out of Borough siblings of selective place pupils would have sat the Wandsworth Test anyway, wouldn't they?

It is by no means a certainty that just because you have one highly capable child, all the rest in the family will be of equal intelligence. I can think of loads of cases where that is not the case. Is it not proven, research-wise, that eldest siblings are usually the cleverest so one could argue that generally younger siblings wouldn't be as bright.

Anyway doesn't that just skew the statistics for those attending the school to be a more academic cohort than they should be?

I am definitely of the camp that it should be a local school for local children, but not filled with the offspring of pushy parents who've helicoptered their large families into the area to secure no. 1 sibling a place and then can sit back and relax while all subsequent children get a 'free ticket' into the school.

gazzalw Tue 19-Mar-13 16:29:57

Sorry that last paragraph was a rather long, punctuation-free sentence blush!

gazzalw Tue 19-Mar-13 16:33:31

Hi Graveneylady,

If you look at the intake figures for the past five years are there any trends or are there really no discernible patterns from which we can draw any conclusions on intakes/catchment areas etc.?

I guess if the past two and the 2014 intake mark a dip in the birthrate we wouldn't be looking at statistically significant data anyway?

brass Tue 19-Mar-13 17:22:26

You don't get to choose which criteria you are applying under. Everyone takes the test and if there is a sibling present their name is entered on the application form. After the results are in they are placed according to which criteria they satisfy (or not).

GraveneyLady you say 4 did not get automatic sibling entrance in 2011 because they didn't score enough. Will that be the case going forward i.e siblings also need to score highly if 1st child got in on test?

KandyBarr Tue 19-Mar-13 19:19:06

I am definitely of the camp that it should be a local school for local children

But gazzalw that's dog-in-the-manger: you live locally to Graveney but have opted to send your DC to grammar school elsewhere. Why shouldn't others do the same?

gazzalw Tue 19-Mar-13 20:46:54

But we don't live locally enough to get in on distance.....So near and yet so far... We put it 4th on DS's CAF because we already knew DS had passed two 11+ exams (and a third result was pending) and we couldn't guarantee he'd get a high enough score for Graveney (I think he got 271 out of 282 if my memory serves me correctly) anyway....

Believe me if DS (and his younger sibling) could just get in on distance I very much doubt we'd have gone down the grammar school route. We were just very lucky that DS proved bright enough to get into a grammar school. Not convinced about DD so Graveney is even more attractive a proposition for her, but with rising birthrates and increased demand on all secondary school places, I very much doubt she will qualify for catchment entry to Graveney either!

KandyBarr Wed 20-Mar-13 07:41:54

But Gazzalw that really sounds like double standards. It seems 'being local' is a badge of honour that is really just a matter of convenience, used to argue an entitlement to a place at Graveney when it suits, but if a better offer comes along miles away in another borough then avidly 'local' parents are happy to pass over the school.

Graveney isn't a community school and has never claimed to be - there are other schools locally that perform that function. It's a foundation school, before that it was grant-maintained, which means it sets its own criteria - so if you move locally expecting to be entitled to a place, you are likely to be very much misguided.

In the past the school has argued that its system, at least in theory, allows a bright child from a poor background in, say, Brixton the chance of a place and a top-notch education. Many people support that - and find it preferable to 'being local' - which is a byword for selection by accident of birth - i.e. ability of parents to pay for highly expensive local housing.

gazzalw Wed 20-Mar-13 08:51:45

Well I can see where you are coming from but I would argue it wasn't, given that DS already had two 11+s in the bag by CAF submission date. Most people go with a certainty rather than a maybe (particularly when it comes to very sought after schools) which is what we did. Had the Wandsworth Test results come out before the CAF had to be submitted, it might have been higher up our list (if we thought his mark would potentially be high enough to get a selective place, which I'm not entirely sure it was, when we did find out in mid-Feb).

Anyway, DS, for whatever reason wasn't at all struck by Graveney even though we were. As I recall it was actually difficult negotiating it into 4th place on his CAF!

Graveney is a very appealing school to us (we've visited it twice now) and it wasn't about passing it over for "a better offer" but what made sense for DS and fitted in with where he wanted to go. We always saw him in a single-sex school (as did he) and he was fortunate enough to get the offer of one so why shouldn't he have taken it up?

For DD it would make perfect sense for her to go there, but we won't get in on distance (unless it embraces a lottery system) and it is yet to be seen whether she will make the grade for selectivity.

I wonder what % of bright children from poor backgrounds do get in on the selectivity test though? Probably a handful? Whereas I am pretty sure that more than a handful of not so bright children with rich parents helicopter in to get catchment places.

tiredaftertwo Wed 20-Mar-13 10:05:06

Gazzalw, do you mean (your first para) you filled in the CAF in the order of likelihood of getting a place? That is not how the system work: the only reason for putting Graveney fourth is that it was your fourth favourite school, not your fourth most likely. If as you suspected he hadn't got the mark needed for Graveney, then putting it first would have had not impact on your other choices.

Which is a decision I think you are entitled to make btw, not double standards at all - that is the way the rules operate. It is perfectly reasonable to wish that your "local" school did have a catchment big enough to meet the needs of children living close enough to walk (say), while recognising that in fact it does not and you therefore need to look further afield, as you are also likely to live too far from your next most "local" school to qualify on distance there either. That is a position many Londoners are in.

The problem is that schools that do not (completely) serve their local communities still occupy a physical space within them, so people living close to schools that use lotteries, partial selection etc may miss out - and have to apply to schools in other areas that operate those policies too.

I dunno which is best - I can see the selection by postcode argument too. But all you can do is stick to the rules, surely - it isn't double standards to think that in an ideal world, things might work differently, and to recognise that in a higgledy piggledy mess of admissions policies and demography, some people may be winners or losers?

SWandStressed Wed 20-Mar-13 10:07:32

Hi GraveneyLady, a few questions if I might.

I mentioned above that the standard letter (to the parents of an unsuccessful candidate) I saw said that only those candidates scoring 250 or above was offered a place. I assume that that 250 was a typo and the correct cut-off was 273?

Turning to Gazzalw post just now I wonder what % of bright children from poor backgrounds do get in on the selectivity test though? Probably a handful?. Annectodally, I'd agree with her. The usual problem. 2000 kids going for those selective places, heavy tutoring (even if parent given) to get up to the correct mark (for most of the successful applicants), all of which is the preserve mainly of people that are not poor. Do you have stats though. What percentage of the 63 in this and in recent years are FSM? How does that compare to the non-selective entrants?

Lastly, going back to the "rental shuffle" point. The feeling is (as indicated in that thread mentioned above) that Graveney/Wandsworth does much less than other authorities. Can you put that thought to rest by saying that places are withdrawn from time to time? Do you know how many? Does this ever happen after the DC has started at the school.

KandyBarr Wed 20-Mar-13 10:07:56

gazzalw I suspect we're in broad agreement - we clearly agree that selective schools are a good thing and are happy to take advantage of the choices they offer - such as streaming, a choice of co-ed or single sex and so forth. But to try to argue at the same time that places at such schools should be reserved for local families is illogical.

Re bright children from poor backgrounds at Graveney, I don't know, but my DC's extension stream class is a very mixed bag. But as GraveneyLady's figs have shown, those children admitted on criteria about which locals on here are objecting are also very few: just 4 commuting in from more than 7000m away, for example.

aliasPrickleandJones Wed 20-Mar-13 11:18:56

GraveneyLady, you asked "the rental thing is a perennial issue. I wonder if any of you know any other schools/authorities that have found a good way to tackle this?"

Here is a link to a letter to prospective parents for another local(ish) school that is very popular and I believe has similar issues as your school.


Is this similar to the stance that Graveney takes?

Classicsgirl Thu 21-Mar-13 08:45:12

Thanks aliasP&J - very interesting. I think if this was standard wandsworth practice then several families in my DCs classes might not have got places.....but I now see this has been debated to death on another thread on MN so I will retire from the debate.

gazzalw Thu 21-Mar-13 09:58:03

Oops I had a comment deleted - what did I say that was controversial?

Blu Thu 21-Mar-13 10:22:36


SWandStressed Thu 21-Mar-13 10:47:11

Interesting. I missed it. What were you discussing?

MN will delete stuff even if not particularly controversial, simply if the school asks them to (witness Kingsdale threads and so on). And of course we know the school is reading this thread through the eyes of GraveneyLady!

gazzalw Thu 21-Mar-13 10:53:10

Judging by the context I think I was being deeply cynical!

GraveneyLady Thu 21-Mar-13 11:05:54

Hi - back again

Stressed - the 250 was not a typo. Standardisation rather surprising this year.

And places are withdrawn from time to time. Obviously I can't go into detail about that, but it does happen. It happened last year.

Alias, thanks for the letter. They are pretty tough, aren't they? I wonder if it works for them? We do insist that applicants who get in on distance prove their address of course.

tiggytape Thu 21-Mar-13 11:18:54

gazzalw - I've never seen you post anything offensive at all.
Can you get deleted for cynicism? (hopes not)

SWandStressed Thu 21-Mar-13 11:19:51

Thanks, GraveneyLady.

Buth then is the “273” mentioned in the letter a typo. I have a copy in front of me. It reads:

At this stage of the process, only those applicants scoring 250 or above have been offered a place under Category 1.

However, it then goes on to say:

As can be seen from below your child’s score is lower than 273 which is why he/she has not been offered a place under this category.

Unless I’m being dense (always possible), either 250 or 273 is a typo!

GraveneyLady Thu 21-Mar-13 11:22:22

273 is the typo

gazzalw Thu 21-Mar-13 11:36:16

So does that mean that children might have got in this year on selectivity on a lower score than in recent, previous years? I am not good with statistical analysis (blush)

SWandStressed Thu 21-Mar-13 11:38:08

Great, thanks. My friends DC then might stand a chance on waiting list!

From past years' experience, do some of the initial 63 ever decline places?

gazzalw Fri 22-Mar-13 07:47:42

Good luck to your friend's DC, SWandStressed

I'm sure some will decline places as I'm pretty certain,as with us, that Graveney constitutes the 'fall back' option (for some) if a DC doesn't get into a grammar school (not saying that's the case for everyone but the children who do the 11+ tests tend to also do the Wandsworth Test, particularly if they are out of Borough). So there will undoubtedly be some children with selective places at Graveney who are high up on waiting lists for grammar schools.

GraveneyLady Fri 22-Mar-13 12:24:18

Gazza is right - we anticipate some movement once the Grammar waiting lists start moving.

gazzalw Fri 22-Mar-13 12:49:26

wink, GraveneyLady!

SWandStressed Fri 22-Mar-13 13:59:38

GraveneyLady - just wondering if you did have the figures for what %age of the 63 selectives are FSM (and the non-selective for comparison) - asked this above but you may have missed the question.

SWandStressed Fri 22-Mar-13 14:00:13

(Of course, you may have ignored it not wanting to get into that debate wink)

GraveneyLady Fri 22-Mar-13 15:28:48

No, not ignoring, just missed the question, sorry. Which year were you interested in?

(I do reserve the right not to get into that debate thoughwink)

gazzalw Fri 22-Mar-13 15:51:48

Hijacking SWandStressed's question here, but the past five years and in relation to the rest of the cohort would be useful too! Thanks!

SWandStressed Fri 22-Mar-13 17:22:08

Agree. One year could be anomalous. Five years entry to see if there is a pattern would be great.

Thanks, GL!

GraveneyLady Mon 25-Mar-13 13:29:48

We currently have 310 pupils in years 7-11 who are FSM, ever FSM or children in care/formerly in care (we call these Pupil Premium pupils, as we receive a premium for them). They represent 25% of the total numbers.

Of these 310 pupils, 34 were admitted on test, which represents 11% of the total Pupil Premium pupils in years 7-11.

aliasPrickleandJones Mon 25-Mar-13 14:04:55

Thank you GraveneyLady, that's very interesting.

That means that over half of this year's grammar stream are from FSM backgrounds. That's great to hear that a significant number of the poorer children are getting into the school to benefit from the grammar stream.

Taking your figures, on average there are 62 children/year who are FSM … only 28 FSM for the rest of the year's intake. That does not seem very many at all!

Is this because of the affluence of the school's catchment area…or the fact that people 'rent' their way in to the school? I don't know the area enough to make a judgement on that.

AnnoyedAtWork Mon 25-Mar-13 14:17:27

523 feet or metres?!!!

I thought we lived in area but apparently not. We are 0.7miles walk away (not straight line). This is 1.1km walk (perhaps 800 or 900m in straight line).

Does the school provide a list of addresses in area? And is it closest within area get in first?

Damn it. Don't want to have to move dd primary school in year 5 in order to get in somewhere else.

AnnoyedAtWork Mon 25-Mar-13 14:26:20

In admissions criteria it just says "proximity to the school", closest first. No mention of 523 or anything.

How do I find out if we have a good chance of getting in?

AnnoyedAtWork Mon 25-Mar-13 14:27:23

Oh. 523 places.

Sorry for being so dumb! smile

AnnoyedAtWork Mon 25-Mar-13 14:28:44

No you guys are talking about 523 m?? Now I am confused!

SWandStressed Mon 25-Mar-13 14:31:04

523 meters. Its a straight line. Unfortunately, you would not be successful this year, but things will vary from year to year. However, and GL might shed some light, unless there is another change to the criteria for next year (or 2015), it is very very very unlikely your DD would get in.

SWandStressed Mon 25-Mar-13 14:33:01

Its the closest, so the criteria won't mention the distance for the upcoming year. 532 (not 523) was that for 2013. It seems to be getting tighter and tighter every year. Sorry. Sounds like you have no little chance on distance, perhaps on the test though.

Blu Mon 25-Mar-13 14:44:17

Alias, I'm not sure that GraveneyLady's info means that 'over half of this year's grammar stream are from FSM backgrounds.' or anywhere near it!

Bear with me - maths is not my thing, but:

"We currently have 310 pupils in years 7-11 who are FSM, ever FSM or children in care/formerly in care (we call these Pupil Premium pupils, as we receive a premium for them). They represent 25% of the total numbers.

Of these 310 pupils, 34 were admitted on test, which represents 11% of the total Pupil Premium pupils in years 7-11."

I take this to mean that out of 310 Pupil Premium Pupils (PPPs) out of the whole 5 year group, 34 were admitted on test.

Which actually means an average of 6.8 PPP's admittted on test each year, and 54.2 non-PPPs.

AnnoyedAtWork Mon 25-Mar-13 14:50:41

Ugh was hoping to avoid having to rely on exam results! I looked at Wandsworth state secondary schools brochure and we are over 8-900m away from ALL of them!

DD needs to apply in 2015, so we have some time and could move house and/or her primary school. But don't really want to hmm

So it's just as demanding as 11+ then I suppose! And she'll be doing that anyway for an out of area application to grammar schools.

aliasPrickleandJones Mon 25-Mar-13 14:56:51

blush, you are right Blu! Not so good at multi-tasking as I hoped.

Pls scrub my previous post - I thought it didn't feel quite right.

<<back to work now>>

SWandStressed Mon 25-Mar-13 14:56:56

Blu - Agree (Alias has gone a little wrong). 11% of 63 is 6.9 or so (another way to say result). Still better proportion of FSM than I would have guessed! I think the super selectives only manage 2 or 3%.

GraveneyLady Mon 25-Mar-13 16:24:42

Madame, if you come to the next Open Day in October, you can have a look at a map I've prepared showing distances from Graveney, which might help your deliberations. Stressed is right though - you are very unlikely to get in on distance from your current address.

AnnoyedAtWork Mon 25-Mar-13 18:43:49

Thanks GraveneyLady. That will be useful.

Truefriendsareinvaluable Tue 26-Mar-13 22:10:47

Have just read all of this thread - how utterly depressing! hmm

JenaiMorris Wed 27-Mar-13 07:36:52

Indeed, True.

I love London but good lord schools admissions are far more civilised elsewhere.

Blu Wed 27-Mar-13 10:29:35

Actually, by choosing our closest comp, and putting our second closest comp second, and our third closest comp third, and being happy to accept any of them, and then accepting our closest comp, I found the whole experience of admissions in our area of S London very civillised.

There are 'black holes' and schools which people are less happy to send children to while being in an area with no other options, but overall London, and especially Lambeth which borders Wandsworth, offers the highest chance of your child being in a school rated 'outstanding' than anywhere else in the country.

Blu Wed 27-Mar-13 10:50:41

Coming back to strengthen anti-smug disclaimer, because tight catchments do make secondary adimssions worrying for many many people because of the micro-climate of different catchments and school provision.

But on all the secondary admissions threads this year, I don't think a disproportionate number of anxious people came from London, and much of the nail-biting is (understandably) from those who have opted for the selective route. (often as a response to difficulties described above - but not always, by any means).

Wandsworth has many other great and sought after comps in addition to Graveney, but people in the Graveney area of the borough have less choice in the closest neighbouring borough. Hence the keen interest in Graveney's admissions process and especially in the way it affects the distacne catchment.

I am just v interested in schools provision across S London as a whole because I am passionate about good opportunities for young people, challenging the often negative perceptions of S London and especially it's youth. I am a bit obsessed with it all, really.

Obsessed of S London.

tiredaftertwo Wed 27-Mar-13 11:27:07

Blu, you are so right about challenging the often negative perceptions bit.

I do think a disproportionate no. of secondary admission threads are about South London - in fact most of the schools near where I live have appeared in thread titles I think - that can't be normal across the country surely???? smile. Several have received visits from Cabinet members, and several have received attention in the national press, for good (or occasionally) bad reasons over the years. Not normal either.

You are right about the micro catchments an black holes - that does mean you can live within a few miles of four good schools, without a realistic or good chance of getting into any of them, and it is extremely hard to predict so families live with years of uncertainty. Which is very anxiety inducing. Or you can live within the "catchments" of several, as you do.

All this adds up to a very distinctive cocktail, with as you say some really good provision, but other factors making the whole thing complicated and stressful, depending on individual circumstances, so I completely understand the reactions of people not from the area reading this thread.

(They might well ask why school places are not distributed evenly or proportionately by geography, gender, faith, ability, aptitude etc etc.......just don't go there!)

Blu Wed 27-Mar-13 11:43:11

LOL - and of course that's exactly where we should go grin (re your last line)

Well, I know the schools of which you speak, Tired, and in fact our third choice was one of them - the lottery admissions one wink. And that's the thing, isn't it - whenever there is a fuss that sends everyone in a frenzy towards a school, other things happen in it's wake, whether that be parents treating the school as a holy grail, or the school pulling all sorts of stunts to keep it's stats up (and this could include , oooh, gerrymandering the intake by various means, making the best, shall we say, of your exam results, introducing selection-like processes in a variety of schools...)

(I may now be deleted grin)

There are people in black holes, it's awful, and especially frustrating when S London has a galaxy of great schools - from Habs and Sydenham Girls in Lewsiham, Charter, the Harris ED schools in ED and CP, Kingsdale (kids and parents overwhelmingly report being happy), Dunraven, Elmgreen, Chestnut Grove, Graveney, Burntwood, Earnest Bevan and many others (outside my encyclopaedic knowledge wink) and so on and so on. And that's without the faith schools.

Mostly what I hear people call for is more co-ed comps with a standard admissions policy (Looked after / Social and Medical / distance).

tiredaftertwo Wed 27-Mar-13 12:01:04

No, please Blu, noooooo, anything but that, not that discussion [runs to bunker].

Absolutely, you are spot on [taps side of nose knowingly]. Frenzy is not good when years of calm sensible planning are needed to deliver. Nor is the random patchwork of admissions policies, which are likely to get more fragmented as far as I can see, but which are almost impossible to understand at present. I think it is probably worse being in a black hole when there are good schools close - but not close enough. I don't think the problem is primarily to do with the quality of the schools, now, I completely agree (although the problems of the past can cast long shadows - oops veering off to THAT discussion again).

Usedtoboys Wed 17-Apr-13 23:52:35

To those who wonder what happens to extension places "taken" by students who live in the catchment area... I understand Graveney has three extension classes, not two - made up more or less of the 63 kids who get in on selection only plus 30 or so kids who would have got in anyway on distance but who also do well in the Wandsworth test.

madgirl Fri 19-Apr-13 20:10:08

Graveney Lady, after the admisssions consultation and resulting admissions criteria changes which took effect for 2013 intake, do you know if there are any plans at all to tweek or change them again in the near future (say 2-3 years' time?)
thanks! grin

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