Squirrels Wimbledon(21 Posts)
I heard recently that children are being removed from Squirrels (Wimbledon Common Prep School) by their parents and also that they didn't get as many into Kings this year as normal. Anyone got any reason to believe or not believe the rumours? Thanks
I can't answer the parents pulling children out of the school question, but I do have the leavers results for the Squirrels for the past 6 years and they had the same number of boys leaving to go to Kings as 2009 and more numbers than 2005, 2006, and 2007. In terms of this year, seeing as the exams are in January, no results have been posted.
I have these results because I called to enquire after a spot for my younger son, not because I am affiliated with the school (am considering moving to the area). As I don't currently live in the area or know anyone who goes to the school, I can't tell you if what you have heard about parent dissatisfaction is true. However, I'd be skeptical about the veracity of the rumours until you have further proof.
Sorry, I forgot to say that I was talking about 2010 results.
Thanks SofaQueen - that is very useful! We are looking round on Monday for our two boys. I really want them to go to Kings and as they have Summer birthdays I thought they would get the best chance if they go into Squirrels first. Does it look like lots get in?
According to my chart, the range in boys going to Kings from the Squirrels at 7+ are a low of 34% of leavers to a high of 66% - pretty amazing results. However, Kings is becoming increasingly popular with people living in West London,and an increasing number of boys are applying there. This year, and unfortunately it is the year my son is applying, there are about 500 boys applying for the 58 spots (a huge jump up from last year). I think this might be a permanent trend. I questioned if the Rowans and the Squirrels received preferential treatment in admissions and was told that those boys were treated as any other candidate.
I do not believe this is correct. I know a lot of mums of Squirrels boys and they are happy. Squirrels is not for everyone (it is academic and the focus of the 3 years there is to get your boy into KCS through a competitive exam, unlike a school like Rokeby where they go to 13 and can have a different focus while still strong academics) - anecdotally I have heard of the odd leaver where it became apparent that the 3 year cram to the KCS exam was not going to suit him. Far from the norm though.
However... they have gone through a lot of changes recently following a not particularly glowing Ofsted (07 or 08 I think) where they got a satisfactory. Following this there was a head change and a number of other staff departed (as I understand), plus there have been changes to introduce a broader and more creative curriculum. Mums of boys I know who have been there a year or more say the changes are overwhelmingly positive and it will come to full fruition in a couple of years. Reception starters I know all seem really happy.
BY the way I had heard that about the results and found SofaQueen's post very interesting ( /reassuring!)... thank you
It sounds as though the number of applicants for 7+ per place at Kings has shot up enormously in the last couple of years. Only 2 years ago I think the ratio was more like 5 to 1 per place.
My DS is at KCS but didn't go to Squirrels but I know a lot of boys who did. Squirrels will suit some boys and some parents but it isn't for everyone. It is very focused on getting boys through the KCS exam (and other selective exams) and doesn't seem to leave a lot of room for anything else - that's fine if that's what you want of course.
If your DS is right for KCS he will be fine wherever he goes. There are plenty of boys at KCS who were at state primaries and there are some rather good ones in Wimbledon. KCS is looking for boys who are not only bright but interesting and interested in the world. KCS are pretty good at spotting those boys with potential, this isn't something that can be taught.
Slummy - on another thread I noticed you say your DS (the younger one with his brother already there presumably) is being tutored for KCS. State school or pre-prep is one thing - I am pleased to hear there are many boys from both - but your post here could give the impression that you can't prepare for the KCS exam - you are either right for KCS or not - not sure I agree from my knowledge. Sure there will be some boys who will breeze through and are definitely "right" but for most (and that includes many boys whose mums I know) it involves really hard work no matter what school they are at or how bright they are.
DS1 is already there. He went to a state primary and we topped up with tutoring once a week for about 9 months. We tutored to give him a chance to have a look at the sort of exams he would have to sit and to enable him to cover the curriculum that he would not cover until after the exam at his state school. Tutoring is necessary if you have a child who will simply not have covered sufficient ground before a 7+.
It was pretty obvious to us from about the age of 5 that KCS would be a good fit for DS1 but I am not yet sure about DS2 as he is a completely different character and is only just 5. We will probably get a tutor for him some time next year but it is not certain that we will sit him for the 7+.
IMO there is a definite KCS type and the teachers can certainly spot it when they see it. With competition so intense I would not be worried about sending a bright boy to a good state primary and topping up with a tutor - if anything it make the child stand out a bit from a heavily prepped child from a pre-prep.
It's horses for courses though and everyone has their own theories about the madness which is SW London schooling.
It's really hard to know. My eldest DD is at Bishop Gilpin and loves it there. Kings told me that sending my two DSs to Bishop GIlpin would not reduce the chance of them getting in to Kings. I'm not sure. My eldest was born in August, my youngest in June and I just wonder if a class of 30 will mean they will not get through the exam when they are so little. BTW how do people find the tutors?
DH and I went round Squirrels today. I was quite impressed - the boys' reading level was amazing. They were being taught the "ue" sound in Reception (first term) which DD has definitely not been taught in her school. It seemed a mix of old=fashioned methods of teaching and newer methods of free play, free flow learning, etc. Classes no bigger than 20, each with one teacher and one teacher's assistant. IMO, I think it would suit a bookish boy rather than an overtly-physical one, but that's just my impression.
I am also looking for tutors in Wimbledon area especially, we want DS to take KCs exam, could u pls recommend one? many thanks
did you ever find a tutor for your DS for the kings exam? If you did do you have any recommendatio
ns for me?
My son is currently in year 1 at squirrels and I have no idea where to look for a tutor? -any contacts or recommendations please?
May I ask why you feel that you need a tutor? do you feel that squirrels do not adequately prepare for the exam? And is it common for the parents of Squirrels to hire tutors? I have visited the school before and had an impression that they should cover everything that is required to to sit KCS entrance test and should provide enough practice (or at least that is how they present the school).
I am currently looking for schools in Wimbledon so would be very interested in the insight from current Squirrels parent.
Hi - you have made an important point and I thought the same before I entered into the school. Some parents still go through the process without getting a tutor but most of us feel we have to as even the brightest children are getting tutors which means they have raised the bar. If all the parents except those in support groups didn't get tutors then I wouldn't be in this predicament. My son is bright and is doing well generally. However the story writing does become quite challenging and in the 7+ assessment I feel that is where my son would need some extra help to bring him up to the standard of others. I'm actually not adamant my son has to go Kings but do want him to feel confident to write fluently when it is needed. I do know of a couple of boys last year who got into KCS without any tutoring but support from mum so it is possible. So to answer your question it is common for children to get tutors but it's not a must. I'm just making enquiries but don't actually want anyone until March/April as I think by then I will be much more clear where my son needs some support to bring him up to speed for the 7+ tests. Hope that helps
And feel free to ask anything else to help you make your decision
Thank you for sharing. It sounds very similar to what I have heard from other parents. Generally I found that those with boys that were successful at exams to the school of their choice were generally happy with squirrels experience, but most admitted that they used extra help for the reasons you were saying above - that everyone was doing it. Those who were not successful were much less so and some said that they did regret the decision because local options are very limited after 7+ and the children now have to travel much further.
I general my issue at the moment is not so much with squirrels per se, but with the commitment to sit 7+ in general and change schools. They seem so young to sit such a formal examination, so choosing the school where there is an option to stay till at least 11 is looking ever more attractive, be it private or state.
most parents at most pre-preps in London tutor for the 7+, thought it isn't talked about.
Well, it is not a big secret nowdays and is much talked about in where we are
It is understandable if the child is from a school that does not prepare for the test, so that they can get familiar with the format and maybe cover the material that has not been yet covered by the school, or maybe get help with a particular topic that they struggle with. The problem for me is that children from the schools that build their reputation on preparing for the exam feel that they need it or their child will miss out. For me it means that the school does not do what it promises or coasts on the additional help that is provided by parents.
And to WCPS21,
probably the best way is to speak to former parents, so they can recommend someone they were happy with. I hope your son is happy at school, I have heard they have a very good football team
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