Kingston Secondary Schools(18 Posts)
Many of the primary schools in Kingston look excellent. I know less about the secondary schools. There are some excellent independent schools but wahat about the non-fee paying secondaries? The good primaries must feed into somewhere or do many parents educate privately post primary?
If you are looking for super-selective hothousy grammar then there are the two Tiffin Schools in Kingston. Though as there is no catchment area kids travel in from miles away and in the last round over 1,300 DCs were chasing 120 places for both Tiffin Boys and Tiffin Girls. Super stressful and a lot of full-on tutoring going on from y3.
Coombe Girls is an excellent comp which has an express stream to stretch the many bright girls who go here. Very popular and oversubscribed, last year catchment area was less than 3k.
No good boys equivalent unfortunately, Coombe Boys still has serious problems but is improving after being in special measures a few years back.
Over on Surbiton side have heard good things about Hollyfield School (co-ed) though v small catchment area - about 1.5k.
Due to the disparity in provision for boys and girls a lot of local families send their DDs to Coombe Girls if they are in catchment and send DSs private after primary.
Hopefully things will improve when the new secondary opens down near the Hawker Centre, but this will be a few years away yet.
There are plans to build a new secondary in North Kingston, it should be open in 3 years time. It really is needed, but there is the usual opposition re traffic etc. We used to live in the area and its full of lovely families and lovely primary schools, but they scatter all over for secondary schools. At the moment many of them are linked to Grey Court in Ham which I understand is "improving".
Catholic hildren are well provided for. Boys can try for The Oratory, some get Wimbledon College and Richard Challenor is a link school for the catholic primary. Girls can go to Gumley in Isleworth, or Holy Cross in New malden, it is becoming more difficult to get into The Ursuline in Wimbledon. There are also plans to build a new catholic secondary in Richmond.
Some parents move from Kingston to get children into Hinchley Wood Comp,which is supposed to be very good. Alternatively look across the river at Teddington to live (there is a link to Alexandra). They have a brand new £35m school built on the river bank, it was a good school before, the new building can only improve things.
Carrots-have to disagree with you on Coombe Boys.
Yes, 5 years ago it was dire, but has made great improvements. I think this years yr 11s are the last of those boys, and the intake of the last couple of years has been excellent, with 2 express streams in the year for high achieving boys.
The difference is because local parents have had faith and supported the school, sending good boys from the area. I have dcs at both schools-ironically I have seen more behaviour problems at the outstanding girls.
Deaddei - hope you are right. Unfortunately my opinion was coloured by my DDs experience of her school bus being attacked by a group of Coombe Boys pupils. Hopefully these are not typical.
I will be looking at Coombe Boys among others as an option for DS and will of course look round and talk to staff and pupils before making a decision.
Sadly there are bad pennies everywhere.
I think you will find the majority of boys there are decent hardworking lads.
Sorry about your dc.
What year is your ds?
He's in yr 4 ATM.
Will be doing rounds of open days, tours etc from this Sep.
My big concern is that, coming from a prep school it might be like he has a great big target on his back.
Carrots, What makes you think Tiffin is "hothousey" ?
AD, Dcs are typically coached for at least 2 years to get in. Have seen the utter hysteria caused by the admissions process for some. Have seen the stress caused by that. Then some continue that coaching throughout their time at the school (though these may be the lunatic element).
Have heard lots of stories of Dcs not having time for any extra curricular activities from friends who have DCs there.
Don't have DCs there myself, if you do could you give your perspective?
As the mum of a year 10 Tiffin Girl, I disagree about the hothousing bit - at least at the girls school. She gets considerably less homework than her sister in year 7 at a comp. Most girls do lots of extra curricula stuff, I never heard of anyone spending all their time on homework - in fact my DD does most of it in school during the lunch break.
Unfortunately a lot of applicants have to be coached - it is like an arms race nowadays I believe! I know of a couple of girls at the school who have math tutors but it definitely not the norm.
Carrots, most boys I know go to a tutor for no more than a year not two. There are many extra curricular activities and clubs on offer, the school has an extended lunchtime so the vast majority of boys have the opportunity to take part. Also the school doesn't believe that vast amounts of homework is either beneficial or necessary. All the children I know ( admittedly only boys not girls) that are there love it and I certainly dont get the feeling of it being a hothouse from their parents.
Perhaps the hysteria is more to do with a lot of children who probably aren't GS material being coached and put under pressure by parents who don't really imagine their DC wont get in and don't have a back up?
Grey Court is a good school, improved rather than improving if you like and oversubscribed. Hollyfield is also a popular choice.
Amazing, unfortunately the hysteria then transmits to parents of DCs who are grammar school material but their parents are not willing to put them through the stress of the whole process. So a lot of good candidates don't even take the exam.
Hollyfield has v small catchment area, and it sounds like Grey Court probably has too, so probably not an option for us.
Thanks to all for your advice. My son is not even in primary yet and I'm already thinking of this - ridiculous I guess, but it's such a lottery these days. I've looked into the new school being built close to where we are moving to and I'm hoping that since local familes campaigned for it that will translate into it being a good school attended by kids who come from families who really care about education. We will also be quite close to Teddington and I wonder how many people have tried to access another borough's schools. Kingston council website tells me it can be done...
Helen - no harm in thinking ahead! Though difficult to make any choices at this stage as you will have no idea yet how your DS will be academically.
I would have high hopes for the new comp as a lot of resource is generally put into new schools to make sure they are successful. It is long overdue as secondary provision in north Kingston is at the moment woefully inadequate especially for boys. I wish my DS could go to it, but it will not be open when he goes into y7.
Accessing schools at other boroughs is the same process as accessing schools in the borough as you put them down on the same form and are just subject to the same admission rules as residents of the borough re distance from school, etc. Not sure if Teddington schools have any feeder school system, however, have a look on the website for that borough and the admission rules for each school will be set out.
Helen, Most Richmond schools work on the linked primary school system. Teddington is so oversubscribed that not even all the children at their linked schools were offered a place this year. I think that they only linked school to Teddinton within Kingston is St Pauls Junior School
Local families have campaigned for a comp in North Kingston for ages. This is partly because many children from outside the borough apply for places at the Tiffin schools, and the council (as Carrot said) is obliged to give places to those with the highest exam results, not those who live near the school (even if they live the other side of London). This has left locals outside the catchment area for Coombe and Hollyfield, but with no alternative in Kingston.
However I don't think the new school would have been approved if there hadn't been a surprise (to the council) increase in demand for school places since 2008 - something like 300 reception children were left without any place in any school that year and this situation has continued in later years. Many of the local primaries have been forced to add on extra classes and a lot of children are currently in portacabins (or demountables as they say nowadays) next to a building site. (Should be great by the time your son goes to primary school though!)
I think there is a lot of support and good will towards the new school, but I am not sure how much resource will be available, given current cut backs. The new site has been chosen because there isn't anywhere else, not because it's particularly suitable.
Having said that, I don't think Kingston is any worse than any other borough in South West London, all of which have been oversubscribed for all primary school places in the last few years.
Thanks to all who have offered their advice. Looking forward to moving to Kingston - you all sound like good parents who are switched on - like it!
Yes, Kingston is a lovely place to live.
Good luck with your move and hope you settle in happily.
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