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Secondary school options for a less confident girl

(24 Posts)
Montagueterrace Mon 21-Jul-14 12:07:04


I'm starting to think about secondary school options for my daughter. She is in the upper middle range of her class so not super bright but definitely very able (her end of year 4 tests results ranged from 3A to 4A). She is gaining confidence slowly, which is great, but shies away from competition. I'd really like to find a nurturing school who could help her gain confidence and reach her potential. I'm afraid that the grammar schools may be too competitive in atmosphere for her, as would the popular local choices of Alleyn's and JAGS (although I'd love to be told otherwise). I'd be so grateful to hear any advice/experiences/suggestions of (state/grammar/private) schools you're thinking of or that you're child attends. We live in SW11.

Many thanks in advance.

AuntieStella Mon 21-Jul-14 12:12:05

Longish journey, but depending on where you are in SW11, all on one bus making it easy: Portland Place School

soddinghormones Mon 21-Jul-14 20:35:54

Streatham and Clapham High - lots of girls from sw11, not pushy but getting decent results, lots of 'added value'

Montagueterrace Tue 22-Jul-14 15:08:26

I think Portland Place might too far from where we live but thanks for the suggestion – it looks like a lovely school. I'm hearing great things about Streatham and Clapham, good to hear another positive report.

Keep the suggestions coming...

ladydepp Tue 22-Jul-14 22:39:19

Emanuel the obvious choice if you prefer co-ed, less academic than Alleyns or JAGS. Lots of children from SW11 there.

Needmoresleep Wed 23-Jul-14 09:23:52

If you live anywhere near a mainline station it may be worth a crack at Wimbledon High. Though selective they will have had girls since the age of reception so the ability range will be wide. Nice school.

almapudden Wed 23-Jul-14 09:33:59

I wouldn't touch Portland Place with a barge pole. Streatham & Clapham, Emmanuel and Ibstock Place are all worth considering, though.

Needmoresleep Wed 23-Jul-14 10:22:32

Worth putting post codes into TfLs journey planner. Journeys from different parts of SE11 can vary considerably. If you are close to the river or near Clapham Junction (and the line to Olympia) schools in Westminster, C&K or H&F are accessible. Francis Holland, More House, Queensgate, St James' etc. Again near rail lines and you can get to Wimbledon, Putney, Ibstock, even Kingston Grammar (if your daughter is sporty) or Surbiton (which is large and so often used as a fall back). Another fall-back is the Hall School in Wimbledon which has a reputation for nurturing but seems to be a love it or loathe it school.

We were in a similar position and were quite surprised at which schools were more accessible. If we had lived 10 minutes walk away the choice would have been quite different. Girls change a lot academically, and I would really recommend a school which has a reasonably wide intake, eg where she would expect start in one of the middle two quartiles.

Montagueterrace Fri 25-Jul-14 10:34:08

Thanks ladies, we're about a 15 min walk from Clapham Junction (btw the commons). Does anybody know anything about Wallington County Grammar?

GoodArvo Fri 25-Jul-14 13:51:48

Wallington County Grammar is a Boys' school. The girls' school is Wallington High school for Girls.

Very competitive to get in and there is a catchment area, which SW11 isn't in.

GoodArvo Fri 25-Jul-14 13:52:19

Wallington County Grammar is a Boys' school. The girls' school is Wallington High school for Girls.

Very competitive to get in and there is a catchment area, which SW11 isn't in.

Montagueterrace Sat 26-Jul-14 07:56:36

Oh, well that's one less to think about...

Montagueterrace Sat 26-Jul-14 17:12:45

Just to update re Wallington High School, I checked their admissions criteria and 100 places are available for the highest score on their second stage test. Not realistic for my daughter perhaps but for anyone else out there the catchment area info from GoodAvro only apples to 110 of the places, the other 100 are up for grabs from any high scorer, regardless of address. Hope that is of help.

CSLewis Wed 30-Jul-14 21:34:58

The Laurels, in Clapham Park. Only opened last year, so only about 30 girls across 2 year groups so far! Private, non-selective, very hot on the pastoral side, nurturing individual character and holistic potential rather than chasing grades.

My daughter went the year it opened; she's also a quiet shy sensitive type, and has thrived under the genuine care of her teachers.

Do look it up!

MumTryingHerBest Wed 30-Jul-14 21:49:20

Montagueterrace are you underestimating your DCs ability do you think? 4a by national standards is very high for end of year 4. My DS got that for all subjects (the school does not test above that level in year 4) and he is near the top of the class rather than the middle.

Montagueterrace Tue 05-Aug-14 12:05:19

No MumTryingHerBest, I'm being realistic. She wasn't 4a across the board like your DC – her results varied between 3A and 4A. Besides it's more improving her confidence in herself that I'm focussing on.

Schoolsearchconsultant Sat 09-Aug-14 20:28:15

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

JanieSa Thu 18-Feb-16 10:32:25

Hi CS Lewis. It's a year and a half since you posted about The Laurels. Are you still happy with it? Do you feel your daughter has had plenty of extra curricular and sporting opportunities. And are you happy with the academic side? Interesting teachers etc? It's a brave decision to send a girl to such a small, new school and I want to do it but need to be convinced it is the right option.....

DMama2 Thu 18-Feb-16 12:44:54

Posting my response to another thread here, as other participants may be interested:

I have a daughter at The Laurels, this is her second year and she is still loving it.

The school have a minibus that parents can opt to reserve a place for their daughter - it will collect girls from Clapham Junction and drop off after school/clubs. We have girls travelling from as far as Chessington to be educated at The Laurels and I think maybe even further now!

We are fortunate to have an excellent sports director to coach our girls, while continuously measuring and improving their fitness and technique.

Considering our small selection of girls (around 14-16), opposed to a large cohort of 100 girls to select from for a Team A, our girls have won South London Netball League and Lambeth girls' football championship!

I've been fortunate enough to witness our Sports Director coaching Year 9 in athletics last year and I was absolutely blown away at how she coached the girls in learning the technique for high jump. I'm not sure whether the girls were aware that they would be actually completing a high jump by the end of a single lesson, however, the way they were taught was exceptional. Always providing encouragement and critique.

Where we do not have enviable sports facilities within the school premises, our daughters have access to quality facilities that allow them to learn/participate in gymnastics, netball, athletics, hockey, basket ball, football, trampolining (I believe a club is being organised), swimming - evening learnt some synchronised swimming.

My daughter says that they play a lot of team sports, which has helped them in their clear communication and cooperation. An example she gave is that it has helped them to know each other better and can see if someone else needs help - it also helped them become better friends.

Quality of Teaching
Mrs Sanders, headmistress, has an excellent team of academic subject specialists. The quality of teaching is superb and is fed back to us through termly parent/teacher one to one tutorials, when we get to meet with our daughter's tutor in person. All the teachers provide feedback to our daughter's tutor, who in turn discusses the same with us as parents and is able identify any underlying issues. These tutorials put the wellbeing of our daughter (home and school) at the forefront, which has a natural effect on her learning.

My experience of The Laurels girls are that they are polite, generous and articulate, which is something that is at the heart of the school's ethos. I've found them to be mature in their thinking also.

We have had a Year 10 girl, whom I've met, take one of her iGCSEs last year in Year 9 and achieved an A* with a Uniform Mark Scale of 100%!

I believe girls are discussing their Options early in Year 9 and my daughter has completed GCSE work in science including experiments and tests.

Opus Dei
I think there are other parents who are better qualified to comment on Opus Dei, however, as a parent who is not a Catholic, I can say that my experience of religion at the school has been positive. We are a Catholic ethos school and the girls have Mass in the Oratory once per week with Fr Frank, whom I've spoken with about Catholicism before we joined the school. I found him to be easy to speak to without being pushy. In conclusion, the ethos of the school reflects our family virtues and provides a wonderful environment for our daughter.

The school very much fosters a family environment, where parents are included. The inclusion you may have experienced when your daughter was at primary school is not usually experienced at senior school, however, it is present at The Laurels and its brother school, The Cedars. We have a class couple who are generous with their time, even though they are working professionals. I think it would be fair to say that The Laurels parents contribute to the school in one way or another - I absolutely love the atmosphere of the school.

I do hope that I've been able to reassure you and look forward to meeting you at school!

CSLewis Thu 18-Feb-16 16:50:13

Hi JanieSa! I've posted on your other thread, but you might also be interested in this thread from last year, on which I posted extensively about The Laurels (just skip the other bits 😉):

CSLewis Thu 18-Feb-16 17:01:01

And to answer your questions... Yes, we are happier than ever with the Laurels, and the many different ways it has helped our two very different daughters to develop and flourish, both academically and personally.

My eldest daughter (Y9) has just embarked on her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award, has loved doing Trampoling this term and has just been on a trip associated with a poetry competition (and has chosen her GCSE options - eek!), whilst my younger daughter has joined the choir, loved Bollywood dancing and STEM club, and has made some great friends (she's in Y7).

I don't have a bad word to say about the teaching staff; all are fully committed and active in their subject areas, and go above and beyond in their efforts to pass on their knowledge and passion to the girls. We are so thankful to have found this school!

JanieSa Fri 19-Feb-16 16:29:18

Thanks for all your responses CS Lewis. My question certainly seems to have sparked some interesting opinion and speculation. There are lots of cynics out there!

CSLewis Fri 19-Feb-16 23:43:24

Yes..! I find it quite sad, actually - that parents are villified for simply spreading the word about a school that they feel lucky to have found for their children. Do take a look for yourself - and feel free to PM me smile

wheresthebeach Sun 21-Feb-16 20:12:06

Take a look at St Catherine's in Twickenham. Small school, strong pastoral care, small classes. My DD started this year and we are very happy.

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