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How far would you travel for Kings College Junior School?

(34 Posts)
Hydeparky Tue 01-Dec-15 18:43:16

DS has fallen in love with Kings College Junior School and is sitting the 7+ exam next month. My worry, if he gets an offer, is the length of the commute. I know parents have upped sticks to Wimbledon but we can't justify that. Is a Hyde Park to Wimbledon school bus commute unreasonable for an 8 year old/Year 3 child? No, we are not interested in Colet Court given their child protection problems. Yes, we are applying to WUS but there are far fewer places. Any Kings parents shed some light on how far the KCJS boys travel to school?

cherokeee Tue 01-Dec-15 21:26:45

I can't answer your question about Kings, but am surprised you've ruled out Colet Court. The 'child protection' problems have been addressed (and are historic, not recent) and pastoral care is excellent. I would suggest having another look, if only to expand the options for your son.

Youarenotthebossofme Tue 01-Dec-15 21:59:38

Is there a bus from Hyde a Park to KCS? Plenty of junior boys travel on the school coach into Kings, some from the very first stop of journeys start. The maximum coach journey is approx 60min.
It's a shame you have discounted CC but that is entirely your choice especially if you are paying for your child's education. And as your son has fallen in love with Kings of course you are looking at transport options.
The only problem is after school activities, if your son wanted to join in he would not make the school coach on the return journey so you would have to pick him up. Some boys do the return journey and some take the coach in the morning and are picked up in the afternoon.
Taking the school coach does make it a very long day but a lot of boys do do it. They meet up with their friends, listen to music, relax on the coach.
Good luck to your son with his exams, it is a brilliant school.

Hydeparky Tue 01-Dec-15 22:19:00

Cherokee I don't want to turn this thread into a CC debate but the fact the school "forgot" to declare Operation Winthorpe and Anthony Fugles arrest this year to the Charities Commission makes me very uncomfortable. I know plenty of parents who are similarly uncomfortable and plenty of parents who aren't bothered.

Youarenotthebossofme you raise good points about afterschool clubs. We are not in a position to collect DS from school so the school coach it must be. You raise good points about afterschool activities I'll think hard about if DS is fortunate enough to receive an offer.

Youarenotthebossofme Tue 01-Dec-15 23:32:19

In all reality, are after school clubs a deal breaker though? Plenty of working parents juggle the music, sports fixtures, rehearsals. What would you do if your son is a talented musician and is expected to take part in after school rehearsals? Or when he comes back late after a football/rugby match? Many of the boys have a nanny, grandparent etc to pick them up. Even if he went to Westminster, you would still have the same factors to consider.

cherokeee Wed 02-Dec-15 13:16:14

I agree with youarenottheboss re after school activities being a factor to consider with any school. It's not just clubs and music/drama rehearsals but also sport matches which sometimes end after the normal school day. (You might check, if you don't already know, whether there are after-school clubs. Some schools -- ie CC -- have clubs at lunchtime rather than after school which minimises the number of possible late collections). No doubt you'll find a way to manage the occasional late pick-ups but an easy run on public transportation certainly makes it easier. You don't mention where you live relative to Hyde Park. The few Kings boys I know from south of the park have gone to school via tube and bus. It's not too long for the boys themselves but anyone going to collect them needs to allow probably 90 minutes for the roundtrip journey.
Good luck!

firsttimer08 Wed 02-Dec-15 17:55:25

I think in the first year (year 3) there are limited after school clubs. We are also not planning to move initially and if DS is lucky enough to be offered a place were going to consider getting a nanny (possibly one who can drive).

mertonmama Wed 02-Dec-15 19:57:46

I'm a big fan of KCJS but I think the commute you're considering is too much. I can't think of any boy travelling in from that area. There are definitely boys at KCS who do - but they're 13.

Whilst the after school activities are limited in year 3 and 4 it would be a real shame to have to miss them. Boys have the opportunity to do a sport after school at least one night a week each term from Year 3 plus matches. If your DS is interested in music they'll be concerts to get involved in.

I would think very carefully about the commute and maybe wait until the 11+ - or move. Being local to their schools has been great for my DC - makes the early morning sports sessions possible (though those have only happened since about the age of 11).

Hydeparky Wed 02-Dec-15 20:23:03

Mertonmama thank you for the reality check. Did your DS have any friends living near Hyde Park/Knightsbridge? There is a school bus going via Sloane Square at the crack of dawn at 7:15am. Is this over reach? We can't move as we have a DD as well to consider. Do you think the commute is worse as the boys get older because their homework load increases or gets easier because they are older and need less sleep?

mertonmama Wed 02-Dec-15 21:01:14

I have never met anyone in the junior school from Knightsbridge or Hyde Park - but have come across boys in the senior school from those areas.

If you have to be on the bus for 7.15 you need to think about what time you'll need to leave the house and get up. It probably means getting up about 6.15 - that's seriously early. Your DS would need to have breakfast before leaving.

We rejected a school for DD last year at 11+ with a similar coach journey - even though it is considered a 'better' school. She's thriving in a local choice of school and we haven't regretted the decision.

Needmoresleep Thu 03-Dec-15 09:05:39

Put postcodes into TfLs journey planner. There are all sorts of weird ways to get to Wimbledon. It looks as if it will take around 50 minutes, via Earls Court, which is doable but on the outer limits of acceptability.

Advantages of this journey over more suburban ones are:
1. There is a lot more frequency and alternatives. DD commuted out to her secondary school with a 40 minute journey and was in a far better position when there were tube strikes, road works etc. Some might have had a door to door bus, but when that bus was full they had another 20 minute wait.

2. You are going out so you are likely to get a seat, plus it can feel safer. Boys from our local secondary often played up on the bus, however they were always surrounded by commuters so DD never felt intimidated.

But also look at the car journey. Sometimes it is not the getting there, but getting back which can be the issue.

That said I am not convinced of the benefit of joining one of these schools at Prep. Better to go to a good Central Lonndon Prep and then switch at 11 or 13. Lots enter both Westminster and KCW at this stage. And if this means City, Dulwich, Latymer or Emanuel instead, so be it. Better to have your child sitting comfortably in the middle, than scaping along the bottom for a decade.

firsttimer08 Thu 03-Dec-15 09:47:31

Can I ask what time does the school start? We are considering a 20-25 min car journey if DS is offered a place and just wondering if it's feasible or whether we will have to move closer to the school.

firsttimer08 Thu 03-Dec-15 09:47:54

Also how easy is it to park near the junior school?

cakeisalwaystheanswer Thu 03-Dec-15 11:45:41

DS at KCS senior school one boy from SW1 in his year a few from SW3, I expect most go to CC/SP. IME people for SP/KCS do tend to go with the easiest journey, Westminster attracts a slightly different boy and they will travel.
Could you not go to a more local prep? it would be kinder.

Mominatrix Thu 03-Dec-15 13:19:02

That sounds like a hideous commute for a 7-11 year old. We are in West London and had our choice of 2 including KCJS and chose our other option largely due to commute. We are an easy walk away from school, and this has been crucial for late pickups due to activities, last minute cancellations requiring an unexpected immediate pickup, parent events, weekend games, and school events.

If you are set on KCJS, I'd seriously consider moving closer to the school if he gets in.

Hydeparky Thu 03-Dec-15 13:51:23

Cakeisalwaystheanswer can you please elaborate on WUS "attracting a slightly different boy and they will travel". Do you mean that the boys come from East and North London because its a destination school?

Youarenotthebossofme Thu 03-Dec-15 13:55:25

Firstimer08, that 25min in rush hour? Remember there are 6 schools in close proximity of each other. The cut off point for car travel seems to be 20mins from what I gather of the boys who do travel by car. There is parking if you get there early enough. If there isn't a traffic jam from the cars blocking Parkside and Clifton then you should be able to make a swift exit.
Back to coach travel, I know plenty of junior boys in my son's year and the next year up who travel on the school coach and have done since Transition. Quite a few travel in from Fulham, Kensington, (pick up from 7.20 and 7.25) and a few others even further out. It's not ideal for very young boys to start their day so early but there has to be some give and take for the schooling you want. It is less stressful than travelling on public transport.
Needmoresleep, what do you mean by 'scraping along the bottom for a decade'? I don't know any KCJS, CC or WU boys who feel like they are scraping along the bottom...

SuperWorried Thu 03-Dec-15 15:42:55

I don't know any KCJS, CC or WU boys who feel like they are scraping along the bottom

Talking to parents of a boy from one of the above schools and I was told from the 3rd year since 7+, boys would be divided into sets and this is where some 'persistent' bottom boys start to appear for the rest part of the decade ... Some climbed up the set ladder through lots of additional help (by school and by tutors) but some unfortunately never managed ... And though the schools do not encourage comparisons of scores between students, kids knew who's best and who's struggling at the bottom. I guess even for those super bright kids, some will struggle due to the sheer competitive nature of being in the top tier schools.

SuperWorried Thu 03-Dec-15 15:55:53

WUS "attracting a slightly different boy and they will travel"

DS sits in 7+ next month. A bit concerned with the distance to travel is actually the main reason we put WUS down as a second choice in our application form. So maybe DS (or rather we parents) is not the type WUS would attract hmm

Needmoresleep Thu 03-Dec-15 16:19:06

I agree with SuperWorried.

Obviously some kids have to be at the top of the year group and others at the bottom. And kids mature at different rates so relative positions can change. My concern would be for a child who is towards the bottom and wonder whether they might have a happier childhood, and perhaps better educational outcomes, if they were elsewhere and in the middle. Not least they might then have more time to get involved in other activites: sport, art, music etc. Even "the bottom" at WUS are pretty bright by most standards.

It can be tough. Prepped for 7+, then having to keep up with the pace (one or two at least will be advised that they are not likely to progress to the Senior School), then Common Entrance, then GCSEs at a school where A* is the norm so A can look like failure. And then surrounded by peers who aspire to Oxbridge (or Ivy) at least half of whom will get there. WUS is a great school for those who don't notice the pressure and who love being surrounded by other clever kids. But there will be some for whom it is probably not the right school.

DS loved Westminster. He did not go to WUS, not least because his skills were nowhere near where they would have needed to be at that point. Curiously though many of his friends had come from the Under School he had no regrets about going elsewhere. Making the move later also allowed us more flexibility to decide what would suit him.

34z67y90 Thu 03-Dec-15 16:20:05

Re: scraping along the bottom

At all these schools if the child is not going to cut it at 11+/13+...they get the tap on the shoulder..

34z67y90 Thu 03-Dec-15 16:20:31

and I forgot to add...6th form too

firsttimer08 Fri 04-Dec-15 05:09:48

Youaeenothebossofme why is the cut off time for car 20 mins but for the coach journey nearly an hour?

mertonmama Fri 04-Dec-15 07:27:30

I think Youare's point is that not many people would contemplate driving an hour to school every day as it amounts to 4 hours in the car every day! 20mins is doable (1 hour 20 a day) as you could fit in the rest of your life! I suppose if you had a Nanny you might consider.

On the 'scraping along at the bottom' point raised above, it's clear there are a range of abilities but I've never thought it was a huge issue. The boys are aware of each other's talents but being good at other things like music, drama and sport is as valued by them as academic excellence.

AnotherNewt Fri 04-Dec-15 07:41:55

"Do you think the commute is worse as the boys get older because their homework load increases or gets easier because they are older and need less sleep?"

Better. Assuming they do at least some of their homework on the bus (assuming use of a school coach service).

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