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Old Vicarage Vs Kew College - calling out to all the current parents

(28 Posts)
yingyang23 Tue 15-Nov-16 10:51:10

Dear mums,

I need your help me to get my head around one of the big decision for us parents - school?

We live in east twickenham. My daughter has got a place in Kew college (mixed school in Kew) and Old Vicarage (girls school in richmond hill) for reception. My daughter is usually shy at first but once familiar she is very chatty and loves getting involved in things. She needs that nurturing environment, attention and at-least one friend to make her get comfortable in a big setting like schools.

I liked both the schools in their open house. But i know if I look long term Kew College has very good results for destination schools compared to Old Vicarage. Also its a mixed school so a different feel to it (more state like). Old Vicrage is very proper, beautiful uniform and very beautiful building. Girls looked very well behaved as well. I cant assess anything from teaching or on extra curricular at this stage for both the schools. Can i please get some honest feedback from existing parents or anyone who has heard about the school. Will be very grateful. I am one confused mummy trying to make decisions for my darling daughter. Help please!!

LisaAP Thu 23-Feb-17 16:28:10

Hello. I had a daughter at OVS and was extremely unhappy with the school. I would not recommend the school at all. The school does not inspire girls. They want girls to be just like everyone else. Not individualistic at all. The destination schools are not impressive because the school encourages everyone to go for a safe destination and discourages them to stretch themselves at all. The teaching methodology was archaic. Moreover, the headmistress is simply awful. She is very negative, very biased, not caring, not inspirational, and not forward thinking.

Coincidentally, I met a governess at Kew College recently and was very impressed by the ethos of the school and the board's involvement.
Hope this helps.

seriouslycantthinkofaname Tue 28-Feb-17 09:59:21

I would probably go with Kew College, having had friends with kids at both in recent years. The KC parents are definitely more happy with their choice. KC also seems to be a more balanced school to me.

OVS is closer to East Twickenham but the commute to Kew isn't too bad at all. We have made the same commute with our DCs to another Kew school and it's been fine.

yingyang23 Tue 28-Feb-17 10:54:33

Thank you LisaAP and Seriouslycantthinkofaname for responding. Your comments are very helpful. I get the sense KC has got a lot of happy parents.

kamilla17 Thu 20-Apr-17 11:40:14

Hi Lisa, very interesting feedback. I am moving my girl to that school and your message is so powerful. At what age did u take your girl out of the school? I was impressed by their open day and hoped to receive strong preparation for senior schools. can you please share a bit more about Year 4 and 5 experiences.

LisaAP Sat 22-Apr-17 10:00:37

Hi, Kamilla. I ended up with leaving her there all the way through. The problem became much more obvious in Years 5 and 6. They are extremely weak on senior school preparation yet very much against extra help outside of school. If they think your daughter is brilliant, then they help you. Otherwise, they want you to go for a safe option and won't inspire them to achieve their potential.

kamilla17 Sun 23-Apr-17 22:28:22

Hi Lisa, many thanks for such a quick response. it is very frustrating to hear this. Would you mind if i ask more detailed questions. My email address is Would you be able to drop an itroductory note, so I can ask more questions. I would really appreciate your help.

kamilla17 Mon 24-Apr-17 14:13:06

i would have thought with small sizes of classes in Old Vicarage, more efforts should be directed towards girls inspiration and development.

FrustratedofTW1 Tue 02-May-17 11:37:35

I find Lisa's post a little strange. I too was unhappy with OVS but because they streamed the children from Year 5 which created a difficult environment in which some girls developed illusions of superiority / inferiority, particularly since it was not really a division according to actual ability but rather speed of working. I am not sure the school entirely understood the difference though the Senior Schools did and that showed up in the destinations of leavers that year which resulted in some disappointed and unhappy parents who because their girls were in the "top half" of the year expected them to get into the more selective schools especially when girls in the "bottom half" did I would ask about the streaming practise now and decide whether you are comfortable with it.

However I could not fault the preparation for the Senior School exams which was if anything too intensive. I do think this pressure for extra tutoring arises from parental angst rather than the actual requirements of the schools.

I did feel that there was a failure to appreciate that life, and indeed the secondary schools admissions round, is not a horse race with exam results as the finishing post and perhaps girls who did not consistently perform in exams might have other dimensions to their ability that could have been better nurtured and developed. Instead there was a tendancy to focus on the front runners as it were.

FrustratedofTW1 Tue 02-May-17 11:56:34

By the way in the end the girls ended up at the schools that were right for their level of ability. External tutoring did not make any difference. Senior Schools are looking for ability and the exams for the more selective schools are characterised by having questions that require lateral thinking and creativity, and enable them to view a candidate holistically, you cannot cram for that.

LisaAP Fri 26-May-17 08:00:12

I hear from current parents that the streaming into the top half and the bottom half set is still the case. However, I also hear that some parents lobby to get their daughters into the top set, so the setting is not exactly indicative of performance in some cases. Either way, the recommended school for 11+ for girls by the head is pretty much the same regardless of the set.

Lottothink Sun 11-Jun-17 20:33:22

I was very impressed by Kew private schools but fell in love with Teddington as we are considering a move from South East (was looking Barnes/Mortkake/Kew. ) I thought it would be a long commute from Teddington . What do you think ? Even if we choose Twickenham for Kew Schools how do you think it would work with commute to City and even if we get help from a nanny or drop off share with other pupils as they told us they attract parents from Twickenham how long would it take to get to the school ?

On the other hand we would like to be part of the community too. Do you think it would cut you off being part of your local community ? I am also finding it difficult to decide on state or private for primary . What is the success rate of state outstanding primaries for leavers destinations in Teddington/Twickenham ?

FrustratedofTW1 Tue 13-Jun-17 10:36:28

Lotto If you were going private at primary level in Twickenham I cannot think why you would chose the Kew Schools over the Twickenham ones like Newlands, Twickenham Prep, Jack and Jill etc. Plenty of choice and just as good in their different ways. All have good success in leavers destinations. Traffic would be a pain, half an hour wasted each end of etc day and you risk that Kew parents will not want to travel for playdates etc.

Yes bright children from Twickenham and Teddington state primaries get into private schools including the most selective 50% at Hampton, 40% at LEH, some without all the tutoring.

Lottothink Tue 13-Jun-17 11:43:33

FrustratedofTW1 thank you for sharing your views I thought they werent as happy nurturing outstanding but I havent checked them properly and some did not know . we have a boy but mix would be my preference for primary .

we like teddington but I think for those schools it is best to live in Twickenham . what do you think?

your last paragraph suggests that a lot of pupils from state primary go to private at secondary but some say only 1 or 2 ib 60 pupils in their school for example. For state school what results should I check ? % meets national average or outperforms? For example Collis is an outstanding school but 68% meets average . should we worry about this ? and lower than nayional average on writing but over for reading . I wonder if we can afford it is it better to go private to eliminate the stress at year 5 and 6 at state and have a better chance for lets say Tiffin or one of independent such as Hampton ? we really want state primary to work but have concerns .

twick13 Tue 13-Jun-17 16:09:28

Going private in Twickenham or Teddington will give you no advantage for Tiffin. The exit destinations for the different primaries vary. Some have a much higher percentage going private than others due in part to which secondary is nearby and the affluence of that area. Some people choose to live in Whitton where the property is cheaper but pay for private secondary. Others choose to pay a premium to be close to an outstanding secondary.. Quite a fewfrom the state schools go to private secondaries. Those that don't aren't doing so because they couldn't get in other factors are in play. Hampton, LEH , Kingston Grammar all have large intakes from state schools.This thread gives you a flavour of what goes on.

twick13 Tue 13-Jun-17 16:24:02
Going back to my sons primary.
Ds 1 year. 60 total. 4 Tiffin girls/boys, 1 LEH, 2 Hampton, 1 Kingston Grammar, I St Catherine's, 2 Halliford, 2 boarding school
Ds 2 year. 60 in year. 1 Tiffin, 2 Kingston Grammar, 2 Hampton, 1 LEH. 1 Halliford but 5 passed and 4 opted for state, 1 St Catherines

Lottothink Tue 13-Jun-17 16:29:38

Oh fantastic - thank you twick13 . I will check that thread.

Lottothink Tue 13-Jun-17 16:32:22

waw this is very helpful as we are looking at Collis.

Lottothink Tue 13-Jun-17 16:34:38

do you like Collis ? It is very big school - should it worry us? as we are moving to the area we want to choose the school of preference before we start house hunt on that catchment area. If we go for state - which we do want to do that but worried about the chances for private secondary if we still consider it at the time. also after seeing kew preps - not yet visited Collis (they can only do that after mid September) - Collis size made me to think if it would be nurturing enmough and whether they would get to know my son.

Teddyking1 Tue 13-Jun-17 21:59:47

Re Collis
All schools in teddington are good and are large at least 90 per year except sacred heart which is 30

The school is very kind and nurturing despite its size. Great facilities and space especially for boys to run around .Huge grounds .Pool to use in summer term .
Great community.
Re private secondary you will have to tutor from year 5 .however if you go private you will also need to tutor due to the demand for places.

Lottothink Wed 14-Jun-17 08:00:28

thank you Teddyking . its good to know . I think we will try Collis and if we feel like something is not working I guess yiu can always try to transfer to private - though it wouldnt be ideal for our son to change schools . Is there a good community for share childminder/nanny for school drop offs and/or pick ups. already it worries me that the school club before and after is limited to 24 children. also do you get to know extra activities lets say if you want to get proper insturement lessons. are there a lot of activities outside of school too ?

FrustratedofTW1 Wed 14-Jun-17 14:31:13

Lotto Since this is an OV thread, apparently some parents there do not even want their child to go down the hill for playdates! That was the source of my comment about sticking to the private school in your community.

As others have said some primaries have a lot going private, others most do not, especially if like in Teddington, they know that they are certain of a place in one of the outstanding secondaries. When Turing (new parent led free school with inspiring Head) opened for instance a lot who were planning on going private took up places there.

Lottothink Wed 14-Jun-17 14:55:14

FrustratedofTW1 - yes I understand and I think it is a wise comments. It is far and I do not think it is good for our little one. You made me tlook at some private schools nearby . I think if anything Hampton (for mix until 7 - would be preferred) or Mall (if we r ok with single sex) would work if we want private. or Teddington Primary but it looks like a proper religious school which we wouldnt choose.

what I am hearing makes me more confident about sending him to state local school - it seems that private secondaries do get pupils from state - good % too. We will go and see St Mary's and St Peter's ( due to coE extra admissions we might feel safer to buy int he catchment area of Collins) and Collins . If we also feel like they would provide the same nurturing environment to private primaries then we will be sorted smile

horsesforfun Mon 04-Sep-17 09:45:07

We have also been looking at OVS for year-4 (2017/8) but seems very selective - any comments appreciated?

Intheblue69 Thu 14-Sep-17 00:37:29

My eldest went to OVS for a few years. I'm afraid I can't say anything good, at all tbh.

1. Social environment: our dd, who has always socialised well found the place unfriendly. I tend to agree as almost all the teachers I found to be cold and unpleasant. This is almost certainly a school culture issue. I'm not even sure they have a pastoral system at all.

2. Placement: this is supposed to be the schools strong point but I felt very let down. She tested into a very selective school in the end but we had to remove her from OVS to achieve it. The teachers invariably had nothing good to say about her and completely missed her strong points, which the next school we placed her in immediately noticed and developed properly. I can't imagine we would ever have got a decent recommendation or placement out of OVS.

3. Diversity: I think as you walk through the school and look at the girls you can see what you're getting. If you're girl is like the girls there then it's probably going to be alright. Don't expect them to go outside the box or be accepting of girls who are different though.

Most of all don't expect improvement or inspired teaching. They get a lot of gold star girls and deliver them to gold star schools. They won't improve a silver star girl to a gold star level and don't seem to be interested in trying.

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