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St Paul's in Barnes v Kings in Wimbledon 11+

(36 Posts)
NKd1165571505430 Wed 01-Feb-17 22:25:08

Hi, I am looking for some advice from parents of boys who may have in recent years joined either of these schools at 11 plus, how have your boys enjoyed it and if you identify any particular pros and cons to either school? Thank you!

Mominatrix Thu 02-Feb-17 10:29:24

One thing to keep in mind is that a boy entering into Year 7 at SPJ will be integrated into an existing group. This is not a problem and the school is very good at integrating the new boys in with the old. They will be all together for 2 years, after which they will all transfer to the Senior School. There is no longer a transfer exam between the junior department of St Paul's and the senior.

At Kings, the 11+ entry boys are separate from their counterparts at KCJS - separate uniform, classrooms, teams. The 2 groups are then brought together at the 13+ intake.

LadyOhDearOhDear Thu 02-Feb-17 10:40:22

Do you want the option of IB in the 6th form. Do you want girls in the 6th form? Sport stronger at SPS (based on the pasting they give my son's (boarding) school in fixtures and the relative ease with which they beat KCS).

11+ set up at 11+ seems very strange at KCS with 2 separate streams.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Thu 02-Feb-17 12:05:30

I am a KCS parent and although happy with the school, except for the sport, the system for 11+ entry is very new and means that at 13+ 3 separate groups will have to be brought together and I would be very concerned about how or even if this will work. St Pauls is a much safer bet for 11+.

MN164 Thu 02-Feb-17 17:01:23

SPSJ is going very well for ours (last year before senior school). The head has changed but I've no interaction with her.

The school has, as much as is possible in an expensive west London school, a down to earth feel. It's hard to pin down what that really means.

They were very good at introducing the new boys to the existing peer group at 11+. The state school boys did a number of Saturday classes on French and Latin before they arrived. Whilst this sound onerous, actually it meant that they all had solid first friends before they arrived in September and were very familiar with the classrooms and some of their teachers. On top of that they organised for each new boy to have a buddy from the existing year. Our son's buddy was great and thoughtful. The parents too were offered numerous opportunities to meet each other and existing parents and teachers before September. To be honest, the whole process was like being wrapped up in cotton wool. It may be too much for some!

The thing that impresses me most about the school is the, for the most part, youthful and energetic nature of the teachers. My son has taken to subjects I would never have dreamed of because of his respect and liking of subject teachers.

The downsides are much the same as for any fee paying school. There are some parents whose wealth is, perhaps, a hinderance, but boys are very good at selecting their friendships and we, so far get on very well with parents of his chosen friends. I also wonder if there are one or two parents who wear the school a bit like a badge of honour.

In the longer run, I'm impressed by the Head at the senior school on the few occasions we've met etc. Finally, by the time yours would get there, the £70m+ renovation will be complete and it is somewhat amazing set in 40+ acres by the river!

All this said, I know nothing of KCS, so can't offer any comparison at all.

jeanne16 Thu 02-Feb-17 17:30:08

Does anyone know how many Oxbridge offers either school got this year? I am just curious since rumour has it Eton only got 20 offers rather than their usual 70 ish. Given that Oxbridge entrance is pretty much the 'raison d'être' of these schools, this is a very important statistic.

LadyOhDearOhDear Thu 02-Feb-17 17:45:16

Eton did not get 20 offers Jeanne - that was a misinformed post. They average between 70-80 and I believe this year is in that range.

LadyOhDearOhDear Thu 02-Feb-17 17:47:20

www.stpaulsschool.org.uk/st-pauls/news/academic-news/university-destinations

Nothing on the KCS website

MrsGuyOfGisbo Thu 02-Feb-17 18:37:53

Oxbridge is not the raison d'etre at SPS - having a fantastic education with other bright peers, great teachers and a really amazing High master ( Head Teacher) is.
Ours are nearly through now, but no doubt it is worth every penny for the ride, not just the outcome.

tourbillon Thu 02-Feb-17 23:37:57

Hi, here is the KCS leavers' destination that couldn't be found upthread ink{https://www.kcs.org.uk/sites/default/files/University%20places%202015-16.pdf\www.kcs.org.uk/sites/default/files/University%20places%202015-16.pd]]f}

tourbillon Thu 02-Feb-17 23:39:14

Hi, here is the KCS leavers' destination that couldn't be found upthread www.kcs.org.uk/sites/default/files/University%20places%202015-16.pdf

LadyOhDearOhDear Fri 03-Feb-17 08:48:42

Tourbillon - do you have this years Oxbridge KCS results? I think that's what was being asked for by Jeanne16

cakeisalwaystheanswer Fri 03-Feb-17 09:53:48

KCS have not published this years Oxbridge results yet which is unusual particularly as it is known to be a particularly bright year group. The HT did write a lovely article for the Sunday Times last year at this time stating that if "You're white and wealthy your dreaming spite awaits", lets hope it wasn't his George Ratner moment. I am sure it will be mentioned in the end of half term letters next week and I'll post it then.

TatianaLarina Fri 03-Feb-17 23:38:50

They're both excellent schools.

SPS suits boys who are naturally hard workers and won't get phased by the volume of work. The music is very strong. They do quite a bit of stuff with the girls' school.

I think KCS edges it on pastoral care. But I don't have a son there. I wouldn't send a highly strung, creative, imaginative, self doubting boy to SPS (I am thinking of my lovely nephew here who has chosen KCS instead, which I think is the right decision for him).

NKd1165571505430 Sat 04-Feb-17 09:33:54

Hi. Thanks very much all. I have heard that at SPS they are very good at not giving the boys homework in holidays (at least in first few years of high school) so they have a proper break. Is that true? Is it same at KCS? In light of the last post, does anyone know any boys with that type of personality who nevertheless enjoy SPS?

NKd1165571505430 Sat 04-Feb-17 09:35:45

Also, cake, would you be happy to expand a little on the sports issues you mention? Are there not enough teams for certain sports for example? Thanks.

Rosehipjelly Sat 04-Feb-17 13:38:40

There are definitely plenty of extremely creative and imaginative boys at SPS. I don't know about highly strung or self-doubting. To be honest I think self-doubting would be somewhat of a problem at all the highly academic schools. If you've gone from being effortlessly top of your class at primary school to finding yourself nowhere near the top it can take some adjustment.

What St Paul's is very good at is helping the boys discover what they are really excited by - both academically and extra-curricularly. So there is amazing music and drama, serious sport at all levels, lots of minor sports for boys who aren't into rugby and football, loads of societies and the opportunities to set up your own society, from student-run improvisational comedy and popular music through the serious science clubs to cooking and film. I expect this is true of all the other schools too.

One of the other excellent things is the vertical tutoring system which, when it works well, provides fantastic pastoral support, partly from boys in other years groups, but crucially from the tutor who oversees the boys throughout their time.

The senior school is actually very relaxed and liberal in a good way. Uniform rules are minimal, for example.

The teachers try very hard to keep boys positive and grounded. There are however some pretty highly-strung parents, but again this is true of all the London day schools. I know a couple of extremely high-maintenance parents at KCS just from my own acquaintances. The higher the profile of the school, the greater the parental expectation....

TatianaLarina Tue 07-Feb-17 19:11:15

It depends slightly how you define creative and imaginative. All children are are to a certain extent.

My experience of both the boys' and girls' schools is that they don't really understand how to nurture creativity. They excel at teaching straight academic skills, that's their forte. They engage with creativity in an academic way.

To answer your question OP, my son and his friends are all fairly robust which I think is preferable. SPS and SPGS are quite ruthless in their way. If your son is confident and solidly academic, then go for it.

My little nephew will be self doubting wherever he is, but he's very clever so he still needs to be at a school that's sufficiently academically challenging. I think he'll get more support at KCS.

Rosehipjelly Wed 08-Feb-17 17:28:49

Well, how do you define creative and imaginative? I was thinking of things like writing and performing music of all kinds, forming your own band or music group, writing, performing and directing plays, creating complex stage lighting and effects, devising comedy sketches and shows, writing poetry and stories, doing painting and making sculptures, learning magic routines. I guess I think of all those things as creative and imaginative.

Maybe I have an unusual perspective as the boys I know are the boys who are doing all these things, and a very funny, talented, interesting bunch they are too. Maybe these things are not specifically nurtured by the school, but they're certainly flourishing there and given space and time to take place.

TatianaLarina Wed 08-Feb-17 19:42:05

Maybe these things are not specifically nurtured by the school

Exactly. You can do all these things, but they're not necessarily specifically fostered - other than music which has always been strong.

Music, drama, creative writing, art - all the things you list - are part of any decent school. So it's hardly remarkable that it goes on. I'd be surprised if teenage boys weren't trying them out tbh. It's more a question of the attention and value given to it.

Music and literature are given higher status than art - as distinct from history of art - due to their intellectual content. But I think the creative writing teaching could be better.

Personally, I don't find playing music that creative. I say that as someone learnt from the age of 3 and had a music scholarship myself. Composing and conducting are more so.

My comments aren't focused on any particular group. It's based on my experience of the schools over the last 30 years.

If you're wowed by it that's fine. I think there's room for improvement.

Rosehipjelly Wed 08-Feb-17 23:27:49

I didn't say I was wowed by it, just that I thought you were unfairly down on the appropriateness of SPS for a creative and imaginative boy. The sensitivity, I acknowledged, might be a different issue. But then my children can only attend one secondary school at a time so my experiences of all other schools are second-hand (apart from my own 30 years ago which is irrelevant now, though certainly their school compares very favourably). My sons' creativity has flourished - whether this is because of or despite of or nothing at all to do with the school is obviously debatable. I believe a lot of it is because of the school and the opportunities they've discovered there. Your experience may be different. You may have many children at lots of schools and be able to compare them on every metric.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Thu 09-Feb-17 10:33:48

To answer your question about sports at KCS there just aren't enough facilities for everyone. There are a lot of user groups because you have the prep, the senior school, the 6th form, the 6th form girls and now the early years 7 and 8 of the senior school. There is only one sports hall, limited astroturf and rugby and cricket are given priority. EG football is mixed for years 11/12 and 13. There can be 300 boys playing but there is only extra training for the first and maybe second team, around 30 boys. This compares very poorly with schools like Hampton which run a friends football league in out of school hours so everyone gets to play. They are building another sports hall some time but sport doesn't seem to be a priority.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Wed 26-Apr-17 15:20:46

I have finally got a number on Oxbridge offers for KCS so will update as promised and a couple of people have pmd as well. "Only" 52 this year which is down on previous years which I think were 58/59. It seems low for what was known to be a very bright cohort, the year group has the best GCSE results ever, but I was expecting them to be much worse because they've kept so quiet about them.

jeanne16 Wed 26-Apr-17 20:05:29

Thanks cake. Does anyone know what SPS's Oxbridge numbers are this year?

rubbishmummy3 Wed 26-Apr-17 21:02:58

Oxbridge numbers are about 72 - bearing in mind they also send lots to Ivy League in the USA which is increasingly popular there

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