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Considering move to East Kent but unsure how I feel about the selective school system

(100 Posts)
jeanniedeans Fri 22-Feb-13 09:39:37

We are lucky enough to be in a position to choose where we move to next (we are currently living in Scotland) although the decision is proving a little daunting. Top of my list of potential locations is Canterbury, Kent, although one major sticking point is the grammar school system they have there. My partner and I were both educated at state comprehensives and I confess to knowing very little about how the grammar school system works. Our kids are only 6 and 2, so this might seem a little premature, but we want to get this move right and feel very ill-informed right now. My main concerns are 1) if the kids were to get in to the local grammar school, would the school be very 'results' driven (ie focusing on academic subjects rather than giving the kids a more 'well-rounded' education, and 2) do the non-selective schools suffer as a result of being in an area where there are several selective state schools? Any advice people could give me on this would be much appreciated. Thank you.

TolliverGroat Sat 23-Feb-13 22:46:54

Or in Canterbury the grammar schools are 4%-7% FSM, the religiously affiliated comps are 8-10% FSM, and the other comps are 22-36% FSM. The two special schools have 29% FSM and 79% FSM (interesting that there's such a discrepancy between those two; not sure what the reason is).

Talkinpeace Sat 23-Feb-13 22:53:59

And as a benchmark, before you get to selective schools,
Adisham primary has 13.6 FSM,
St Marys primary Dover has 29.2% FSM,
Canterbury Primary school has 52% FSM

as parental wealth SHOULD have no bearing on a child's academic potential - OK lets be honest and make it 10%
the grammar school FSM should be within 10% of the local area ....
but its not.

Move to another county

muminlondon Sun 24-Feb-13 00:45:33

Talkinpeace, just had a look at primaries in Canterbury and realised why I couldn't live there because there would be dilemmas at every stage. It's a bit overwhelming that two-thirds of the primaries are church schools. I wouldn't even consider myself an atheist - just a bit agnostic with no experience of church schools - but I don't go to church and my expectation is for community (non-faith) schools to be the norm. Where I live the majority of children at Catholic primaries go on to Catholic secondaries even if they have to travel. But the Catholic secondaries in Canterbury don't seem to reflect the attainment in primary schools. Do they all try for grammars?

OutsideOverThere Sun 24-Feb-13 06:47:27

What's FSM?

OutsideOverThere Sun 24-Feb-13 06:52:26

Oh free school meals. well Canterbury Primary is right out on a very poor estate. I'd expect numbers there to be high.

CPS (used to be Beauherne), Parkside, Pilgrims Way are all on poor estates. St Thomas is the only Catholic primary school and thus takes a wide demographic - it's also next to a very poor area in town but all sorts of people send their children there because it's Catholic. (I wouldn't - I went there myself)

there are several schools with much lower FSM I'd imagine than those.

Re the two special schools I don't know the reason for the discrepancy.

OutsideOverThere Sun 24-Feb-13 06:56:10

Dover is poor - it's a port so has loads and loads of immigrants. It also has its wealthier areas like anywhere.

QOD Sun 24-Feb-13 07:32:50

My DD's grammar has 4% fsm, interesting

seeker Sun 24-Feb-13 07:34:19

Muminlomdon- practically all higher ability take the 11+ and go to grammar schools if they pass, regardless of faith. I have only known a couple of families whose desire for a faith secondary over ruled the desire for a grammar school place.

OutsideOverThere Sun 24-Feb-13 07:40:59

I concur to a degree but having been to a Catholic primary, there were a fair few families who didn't want their children to take the 11 plus and sent them to the Catholic secondary regardless of ability. Lots of my friends who were pretty smart went there. They just didn't sit the test.

seeker Sun 24-Feb-13 07:44:32

I think you might find that things have changed- particularly now there is less insistence on Catholics education their children in catholic schools. Still applies to some, of course, but I doubt if it's many.

OutsideOverThere Sun 24-Feb-13 07:48:10

I should add that there isn't currently a 'good' non selective in Canterbury to my knowledge.

There are two that require church attendance - one Catholic, one C of E - and both are regarded as 'Ok' by some parents (better than the other two options - couldn't be worse frankly) and some parents quite like them, but from what I have heard from friends with children there, it's not great.

ie out of control classes, blatant rudeness to teachers, no sense of discipline and can't be bothered attitude by the HT.

One is trying for a scholarship to a paid school. Lots of people do start the church attendance palaver just to get their kids into the C of E, I know that - I wouldn't, I can't be that disingenuous! My folks are thinking of paying if we can get ds1 into the private school - I hate the private education system but at present it's looking like that or HE because I won't send him to the schools in question.

One of the selectives (single sex) has just upped it requirements re 11 plus marks - to limit subscription, it is so popular - the other sometimes takes kids who are borderline 'passes' if it has space so that's another option if he takes the test.

seeker Sun 24-Feb-13 07:51:31

The new academy looks as if it might have something to offer? No?

QOD Sun 24-Feb-13 08:14:16

Saying that, the local comp is only 13% fsm

OutsideOverThere Sun 24-Feb-13 08:24:20

I haven't heard anything about it. If you have info please tell!

OutsideOverThere Sun 24-Feb-13 08:25:55

Ifyou mean Canterbury Academy that's just a rebranding. That's one of the two worst. Spires academy is out in a village and is appalling.

TolliverGroat Sun 24-Feb-13 08:28:45

OutsideOverThere, I wonder if I know/knew you... How old are you, if it's not an indelicate question?

seeker Sun 24-Feb-13 08:33:15

I know it's a rebranding- just thinking that the new start and lots of money might make a big difference. Decent enough results this year for a challenging catchment, surely. Agree about the other.

OutsideOverThere Sun 24-Feb-13 08:38:57

Tolliver I'm 39 smile

Seeker - I wouldn't send a child there - however much money they pour into it, the atmosphere and the behaviour remain the same afaik.
The children you see coming out of that place at home time kind of say it all - swearing and gesturing, bullying each other, crossing roads without looking and fingers up to the drivers.

It's so not good. Yes they have excellent facilities particularly sport but that's not everything. JMO.

TolliverGroat Sun 24-Feb-13 08:43:59

I'd probably have been a year or two ahead of you on the same primary-secondary route, then... smile

OutsideOverThere Sun 24-Feb-13 08:45:09

Oh cool! Are you my sister? grin <excited to possibly know a MNer>

did you go to slgs?

TolliverGroat Sun 24-Feb-13 08:55:13

And seeker looks to be right about the intake for St A's -- if you look at the percentage of high achievers on intake (which I think is down to KS2 SATS results) you get

SLBS 97%
SLGS 85%
BC 82%
Archbishop's 21%
Chaucer 17%
St A's 14%
Spires 12%
Canterbury Academy 11%
Orchard 8%
St N's 0%

so it's right in the middle of the regular non-selectives. There was a period (after my time and I think probably after yours) when St A's wouldn't consider anyone who'd even sat the Kent Test (as they wanted to be chosen for their Catholic ethos rather than be a back-up option for parents who weren't that bothered about Catholic ethos if they could get into a grammar) but I don't know how long it lasted.

TolliverGroat Sun 24-Feb-13 08:57:05

Yes, I was at SLGS 82-89. But probably not your sister unless you are lying about your age, because mine is only 30 (and didn't go to St T's, now I come to think of it, so I'm not your sister unless you are lying about your age and where you went to school).

OutsideOverThere Sun 24-Feb-13 09:00:02

Ha. I might be wink but I'm not.

I went there from 85, so you'd have been a fourth year when I started. It's funny to think that we talk to each other as equals now, when in those days I'd have been terrified of you!

seeker Sun 24-Feb-13 09:16:30

Is "high achiever" all level 5s?

TolliverGroat Sun 24-Feb-13 09:23:20

I don't know, although that sounds likely. It's probably in the notes somewhere, but there are a lot of notes...

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