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GH and GWC nursery to P1

(26 Posts)
SunnyG0507 Wed 14-Nov-18 21:51:53

I know there will be assessments when kids finishing their nursery at George Heriots and George Watson before moving to P1. I wonder anyone knows how many kids from their own nursery/ pre school are able to passing the assessments and go to their P1 directly then? Like 80%? 50%? Or less than that? Their websites said the admissions are very competitive and there is no guarantee for kids in their nursery to go to their P1.

kirkandpetal Thu 15-Nov-18 15:53:56

my 2 went straight into GWC at P1 (so weren't at the GWC nursery).
However, I would imagine the figure is in the very high 90s percentage wise. The school would have to have severe reasons for not progressing a child from nursery into P1.
I think it's a line on the website to assure parents that are trying to get in at P1 level that it's an even playing field, when in reality, if your kid is in their nursery, they're pretty much guaranteed to be going straight into P1.
Good luck - presume you are looking at both as an option?

SunnyG0507 Thu 15-Nov-18 17:18:28

Thanks a lot* kirkandpetal!* Yes I'm considering both for DS to start from the nursery if possible. If there is a high percentage the kids from their nursery can go to their P1 directly that will be great. I know kids all need to be assessed before the P1 starting but am a bit concerned if DS doesn't pass the assessment he will feel bad and lose his confidence. May I ask how do your DC feel about GWC? And how did they feel about the assessment?

kirkandpetal Fri 16-Nov-18 12:22:39

Both my DC love GWC. They are now in P2 and P5 and we couldn't be happier with the school. It is big, no escaping that, but the lower primary (p1-3 + nursery) are in their own building and it feels like a mini school, although they are very good at integrating with the upper primary (p4-p7) and then later on with the senior school. The staff we have come across have been fab, and the junior school headmaster George Salmond is a lovey guy, very, very invested in the kids and the school, mucks in and is very approachable.

Assessment wise, for my 2 going into P1....they spent 20 mins with a lower primary teacher, doing puzzles and just chatting. There is no written or obvious numerical testing, although I'm sure the puzzles and chat are sub-consciously seeing how capable your child is. Its very relaxed, they all wait in the hall before being called, there is juice and biscuits, and books/games to keep them amused. Its very friendly, and neither of my DC were fazed at all.

I presume the same is done for the GWC nursery kids, but obviously, they are being constantly monitored by the nursery staff all year, plus the kids are a lot more relaxed as they are familiar with the building and will recognise faces.

We kept my youngest at a private nursery rather than going to GWC, simply because they were happy there, and also we got the benefit of year round care, 8am - 6pm whereas the GWC nursery follows the school term and times, so no holiday cover.

Good luck! have to say, we also visited Heriots and were equally impressed. we just got a better overall 'feel' for GWC, and logistically it worked better for us.

chocolatesolveseverything Fri 16-Nov-18 12:27:22

My son went from nursery to P1 at GWC this year. I’m not aware of any child who was absolutely turned down - even some kids who I was aware had required additional support with behaviour went straight into P1, though a handful were encouraged to defer a year (if within that age band) and spend extra time at nursery.

The assessment itself was no big deal. The school didn’t even tell patents what exact days our children were to be assessed as they didn’t want us to stress them out about it. I still don’t really know what it consisted of, but my son seemed to enjoy his chat about Transformers with a senior member of staff and I was informed shortly afterwards that a place was available to him in p1.

The purpose of the nursery year from the school’s point of view is to prepare them for p1 so they absolutely do want the children to pass. I was advised by a teacher months beforehand that if there was any likelihood that a child could fail the assessment, the school would be warning us well in advance much earlier in the nursery year so there was time for any support interventions needed.

chocolatesolveseverything Fri 16-Nov-18 12:44:46

Oh, and I’l add that on entering p1 at GWC this past August, my son was still unable to write his own name, or recognise the vast majority of letter sounds. So that stuff was clearly not a problem from the school’s perspective.

He has been learning it all amazingly fast in p1 though, just like the teachers told us he would!

SunnyG0507 Fri 16-Nov-18 17:34:27

Thanks a lot* kirkandpetal* and chocolatesolveseverything for sharing your experience here! Seems like if a kid gets a place in the GWC nursery he/she will be highly possible to enter into P1 then and the assessment seems not that stressful, at least not as stressful as I read from other articles. GWC sounds and seems great. I went to their open morning recently and very impressed.

Have you considered GH or other schools as well when choosing the school for DC?
Could GH or other independent schools be more difficult to get in for the P1?

museumum Fri 16-Nov-18 17:42:48

I don’t know anyone didn’t go from GWC Nursery into p1 but I do know a couple of younger kids who deferred based on the staff recommendations. Nursery give them individual support in whatever they need to pass (eg confident speaking or cooperation or whatever).

SunnyG0507 Fri 16-Nov-18 21:06:36

Thanks for the info museumum! That sounds good. DS's birthday is in December and I was actually a bit concerned whether he will need to defer or not but we will see. The support by GWC sounds good!

chocolatesolveseverything Sat 17-Nov-18 20:28:20

We also went round GH and would have been fine to send our son there, but GWC was much closer to us and the single campus was a big attraction. I also felt the GWC nursery staff at open day were a bit closer to our wavelength than the GH staff had been, but it wasn’t a major issue. (The GH nursery staff kept telling me about routines and pencil grip, whereas the GWC nursery staff consistently emphasised individual choice in activities and opportunities for free play.)

I do have friends who sent their children to nursery/p1 at GH and know they are very happy there.

SunnyG0507 Sat 17-Nov-18 22:15:36

Thanks a lot chocolatesolveseverhing! Very helpful to know what you thought about the difference there!

I went to the GWC open morning and was impressed, especially by their pupils who provided the school tours to the visitors. They seemed to be very confident and polite with good presentation and communication skills when introducing the school to me. Unfortunately I missed GH's Open morning, but we are planning to have a visit to GH sometime as well if possible. For now, from the info I can see from their websites, GH feels a bit more "traditional" than GWC but I may be totally wrong here. I know they are both good schools.

Justquery Sat 17-Nov-18 22:32:16

GH mum here!
Both my girls started in nursery and moved into primary 1 no problem. No children were left out.
With December birthdays a lot of children deferred so in my older daughters class one boys birthday is in November.
GH is more traditional then GWC. I chose GH because of this and because of their pastoral care. My youngest daughter is dyslexic and the school has handled the whole situation very well, I couldn’t be happier.
My husband and I both went to private schools, my husbands being Watson’s, however we felt a smaller school was vastly important to tending to our children's needs. Our children’s names are known, not only by the head of their primary groups but even by the head of the whole school. It really is one big family which my girls love.
It has this reputation for being academic and pushy, but I’m yet to see that, each child actually thrives because they really try hard, I’m yet to see it being through pressure.
One of the biggest things I remembered when going to visit was how happy the children were on a working day, and how engaged they were in their classes.

I have many friends with little ones at GWC and they are also having a great time. They felt GWC was more up their avenue.

I think in the end it depends what you feel when you visit these places and what kind of approach you want for you child and family.

Good luck with the researching. Any questions, just ask!

SunnyG0507 Sat 17-Nov-18 23:13:08

Thanks a lot Justquery! Lots of helpful info indeed!

May I ask how did your DC feel about the assessments for P1? Was it hard? Was it really competitive?

I know GH has a separate campus for sport? Do the early years pupils also need to travel a lot for any sport activities?


Justquery Sun 18-Nov-18 06:28:31

The assessment was not stressful at all - if you are at the nursery it is done throughout their working nursery day. I don’t think it was hard, it was very general. They never felt uncomfortable at any point, and when they did the assessment it was done after nursery meaning I had to take them, it’s only recently changed. If a child didn’t move through - although hasn’t happened in my children’s years, it would be because the school can not cater for that child’s specific needs. This happens very very rarely, once in a blue moon probably in all independent school nurseries.

No travelling is done for early years to sport. They don’t start using Goldenacre until P5 in which usually you share pick ups with some mum friends so it’s easier for everyone. It’s not that bad at all.

SunnyG0507 Sun 18-Nov-18 09:18:37

Thanks a lot Justquery! Glad to know more about the nursery to P1 assessment and I think P5 sounds like a reasonable time to start with the travelling for sports. I was sort of worried whether it is also necessary for the early years. Many thanks!

rookiemere Sun 18-Nov-18 09:55:38

My experience is a bit out of date as DS is now in GW S1.

He went to school nursery - loved it by the way and still talks about it fondly- and I'm not aware of any DC that went of nursery not being accepted in P1 , including those who needed additional support.
GH did turn down a few in our year that I heard about.

Very happy with GW and it doesn't feel as big as it actually is.

SunnyG0507 Sun 18-Nov-18 10:18:13

Thanks rookiemere! So when you said GH turned down some in your year, did you mean they turned down the kids from their own nursery?

rookiemere Sun 18-Nov-18 10:21:45

Yes that's right. At the time - and keep in mind this was 8 years ago - I know of a few GH DC that were at nursery and were not given places in P1. The unofficial reasoning I heard is that GH is much more focused on academic results than GW.

SunnyG0507 Sun 18-Nov-18 10:33:16

Thanks a lot* rookiemere*! That's helpful info indeed. I also heard that GH's assessment is more competitive than GWC, but not sure how is it like now. Thanks for the info!

Justquery Mon 19-Nov-18 20:08:17

Competitive because there are less spaces on offer at GH. They only have 60-66 spaces for p1 and Watson’s have 120ish spaces for p1.

SunnyG0507 Mon 19-Nov-18 21:10:59

Size of the class matters indeed Justquery. Any idea how many pupils in each P1 class in GH and GWC? Thanks!

Justquery Mon 19-Nov-18 21:36:10

To be fair, I think they are pretty similar with no more than 22 in p1 and p2. That’s how heriots work.
Your best going round on a working day - have you done that yet for both schools?

SunnyG0507 Mon 19-Nov-18 21:45:11

I've been to GWC's Open morning but missed GH's. We are planning to visit GH though. I know it's probably best to look around and see how it is feel like there, but just wanted to get some opinions here if possible. Thanks a lot for all the info! Very helpful!

kirkandpetal Tue 20-Nov-18 05:56:06

GWC - In my youngest dcs current p2 class there are 23. There was 22 when he was in P1 (a new boy joined at the start of p2)

Justquery Tue 20-Nov-18 06:03:41

Getting opinions is important.
The main thing to choose by is to go visit both schools on a working day, you will know yourself which one is more for you and your child.
We are so lucky in Edinburgh to have such a choice of independent schools which are all great In their own way. smile

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