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Grammar schools, any opinions/advice?

(42 Posts)
chickaboo Wed 08-Feb-06 20:02:24

Evening, I am new to mumsnet and wondered if anyone has a daughter at the Tiffin in Richmond or any other grammar school in Surrey/Bucks? Do any of you know anything about the admissions policy to grammar schools? My other half went to grammar and is keen for our daughter to go too. Any info greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Hallgerda Wed 08-Feb-06 20:26:33

The admissions policies vary from school to school. The school's website will probably give you some information on admissions arrangements, and what kinds of tests they do. (Some do verbal and nonverbal reasoning only, others mostly test English and Maths.) If you have any questions after looking at the website, there will be a contact e-mail address you can use.

chickaboo Wed 08-Feb-06 20:31:11

Thanks Hallgerda.

Celia2 Wed 08-Feb-06 20:41:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chickaboo Wed 08-Feb-06 21:09:36

Excellent. We are planning on moving house before our daughter starts high school, we currently live in London. My husband went to Aylesbury Grammar (boys)and my sis in law went to Aylesbury high school which is also a grammar and one we have considered. I would love to move to Richmond (and would love to win the lottery too!)although there is a bus that passes the Tiffin from near where we live, I have seen the results for The Tiffin and they are fantastic, but I really wanted an opinion of what the school is really like. Other places we have considered moving to are Amersham and Beaconsfield. Wherever we move also has to have good primary schools for our other daughter.

My daughter starts year 5 is September is this when they do the tests? or year 6?

Is there private tutoring available for grammar achool tests?

Is it right that grammar schools don't have catchment areas?

Celia2 Wed 08-Feb-06 21:24:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chickaboo Wed 08-Feb-06 22:07:27

Thank you. Mother in law is a teacher at a grammar school in Bucks so going to ask her about tutors, I can't believe that there are waiting lists, have to sort this out asap.

mandylifeboats Wed 08-Feb-06 23:51:55

Chickaboo, look at excellent website for all this type of info, can't remember exact web address, think its elevenplusexams.co.uk, has area specific sections on its parents forum as well as general info on exams, tutoring, appeals etc

mandylifeboats Wed 08-Feb-06 23:53:16

just checked the web address, yes that is right

lindat1964 Thu 09-Feb-06 00:46:00

'Maths Whizz'is online peronalised tutoring software - great for getting kids interested inmaths and fab at gearing up from exams- have a look at their website, or cat me if you want to know more.

chickaboo Thu 09-Feb-06 19:11:50

Thanks ever so much, I will have a look at the website and the software, do you know if there is any software for english too? she loves being on the computer and will probaly think its fun rather than studying!

foxinsocks Thu 09-Feb-06 19:17:35

tiffin is in kingston - doesn't matter where you live (well it doesn't at the moment) but literally hundreds of people apply - I think last year around 900 applied for about 120 places.

Here's their website tiffin girls

The whole tutor thing has put me right off all these selective schools. We were told today that if your child is in a state school, it is recommended that they have tutoring through the juniors to be able to stand a chance at these tests.

chickaboo Thu 09-Feb-06 19:41:51

Its all sounding very complicated, I can see a stressful time ahead just like when we were waiting to find out if we got the school we wanted when she started primary.

Fauve Thu 09-Feb-06 19:55:03

If you want to add to your stress , Nonsuch School in Sutton (girls only) is equally highly regarded as Tiffin Girls. As a previous post says, they take the first 40 on ability alone, and the rest by distance from the school as long as they pass the test. However, I asked Nonsuch for their admission criteria a couple of weeks ago, and they said they were being rewritten as we spoke. The new govt thing on secondary schools is going to throw everything up in the air again. For example, Tiffin Girls last year, I understand, wanted to be put at the top of the list as first preference; this meant people couldn't try for Nonsuch with Tiffin as a back-up choice, IYSWIM. So unfortunately people who keep themselves well briefed will be the ones most able to use the system to their advantage.

chickaboo Thu 09-Feb-06 20:19:08

Ok, So if other grammar schools did the same and took the first 40 on ability alone and the rest of the year had to pass test but also live in the area, that would seem to make things easier. I know my daughter is not a child genius and although I think she could possibly pass the test I don't think she would be in top 40, so by living in the area would give her a better chance of getting in. But that is obviously assuming they did the same.

Downside to this of course being if we are in the catchment for say Tiffin and didn't get a place, we wouldn't get one at any of the other grammars unless she got in the top 40 beacause we aren't in there catchment!

I was stupidly thinking of applying for say 4, seeing if we got in any of them and then moving to that area!

thewomanwhothoughtshewasahat Thu 09-Feb-06 20:29:56

fox in socks - I was going to make the point about Tiffin being in Kingston - I know that it grates on a lot of locals (inc me!) that they apply no distance criteria at all. with any luck we'll be living in the country by the time we get to that stage (yeah right)

Hallgerda Fri 10-Feb-06 07:54:48

I don't want to be a wet blanket here, but if you are thinking of moving it is as well to consider what your backup option would be if your daughter didn't get in to a grammar school. I'm one of the many eagerly awaiting the results of this year's secondary admissions round. The fact my local comp is quite good is taking the stress out of the situation for me. (I actually preferred it to one of the grammar schools I looked at).

Have you talked to your daughter yet about the choice of schools, chickaboo? I encouraged DS1 to have a good look at the school websites around this time last year. Yes, I know there have been enough threads here on whether it should be the child or the parent's choice to clothe a minor celebrity for several months, but we found it useful to consider what DS1 wanted from a school.

As for tutoring, you could just buy some sample papers and go through them with your daughter. If the tests involve an English comprehension and essay you may find this book useful; I did! Here is another useful site - as well as test papers, they have books explaining the different types of verbal and nonverbal reasoning question. You may want to give your daughter a go at some of the test papers to decide where her strengths lie - if she's far better at English than nonverbal reasoning, say, you may prefer to apply for a school that tests English rather than NVR.

Fauve, I just love the Nonsuch school motto "Serve God and Be Cheerful"! Tickled DS1 pink too when he saw it on the Sutton form...

Fauve Fri 10-Feb-06 09:16:17

If you're really thinking of moving to be near good secondary schools, I'd say Sutton - there is at least one good comprehensive in Sutton, which we would've been happy with for ds (Glenthorne). And there's Wallington Girls, which is well thought of.

clerkKent Fri 10-Feb-06 12:54:57

It's almost mandatory to get a tutor, simply because everyone else does. Although (apparently) you cannot be taught verbal and non-verbal reasoning, practise does help and as a minimum brings familiarity with the type of questions that grammar schools ask in selective tests.

chickaboo Fri 10-Feb-06 19:40:50

The School my daughter wants to go to is out of question, I am not a snob, but really it is awful, you know when you just know there is no way you could send your child there? we are in catchment ( I think?)and her best friend is going there(another reason I am not keen! another story though...)We will look round it when there is an open evening but results and general opinion make me think it will still be bottom of our list.

I have been thinking of the back up thing yes, but it is so difficult to know what schools are really like, I want it to have good results but more importantly I want her to fit in and for the school to have extra curricular activities she would be interested in. We knew of Tiffin because of parents at my daughters school,some others are wanting to get their girls there too, we don't actually know anyone whos child goes there (hence why I thought it was in Richmond!) and we know a little about Bucks grammars because of my mother in law teaching at one of them. Thats why I asked on Mumsnet because I wanted to know more about grammar schools than the results they get and what the websites say. I wanted other parents honest opinions.

You are right though we need to be looking at a school in an area that has good comp and grammar (a bigger mortgage needed me thinks!)but also my husband will need to commute so that is another consideration.

As for my daughter having a say in the school, it may sound harsh, but wanting to be with her friend is not a good enough reason for me to send her to the school she says she wants to go to, we always knew we would move away when it came to high school. A lot of the children at her school move away in year 6 for high schools. We get a list each year of where they have all gone, not many go to the local schools, some go to grammar, some private and others go to high schools in the home counties. Of course when we start looking round she will have a say and I wouldn't send her to a school she hated so if that meant not sending her to grammar then we wouldn't. When she is in year 6 we will discuss it with her in more detail, at the moment she is more interested in Lizzie Mcguire than which high school she will go to!

Hazellnut Fri 10-Feb-06 20:00:08

chickaboo - whilst I am a long way away from this decision (dd is 1 !) I live nr. Tiffin and if you are seriously thinking of this, I know that Coombe school for girls in New Malden is supposed to be highly regarded. Is a comprehensive so may be a good back up.

bev1e Fri 10-Feb-06 20:12:42

chickaboo, if you are going to select schools that you need to move into catchment for then you need to be looking to move soon. I say that having gone through the schools selection process this year (and eagerly awaiting too) we had to have our selection form in by mid-October accompanied by a copy of our council tax invoice as proof of residency.

However, the grammar school we have applied to appears to take girls from any distance providing they are clever enough (based on the results of entrance exams sat back in November.)

chickaboo Fri 10-Feb-06 20:16:04

Thanks Hazellnut. Don't know surrey too well (as we've already established! ) how far is it from the places I do know in Surrey... Richmond and Kingston? What London station do trains go into from there?

Celia2 Fri 10-Feb-06 20:16:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hazellnut Fri 10-Feb-06 20:18:37

Coombe school is part of New Malden, not sure how wide the catchment is - train goes to Waterloo, takes about 20 mins and go very regularly in peak times (and pretty good off peak too). Is 2 stops on train from kingston and Wimbledon to give you an idea of where it is - about 15 mins drive from richmond (in daylight when the park is open).

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