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Latymer Upper

(95 Posts)
Rifraf79 Fri 22-Feb-13 22:19:53

Our DS has been offered a place at Latymer Upper (year 7) and by a couple of schools further away; We and he really like what we've seen of LU but I'd be grateful to hear from current parents about any down sides/negatives we should be aware of, as well reasons why a bright but not especially cool or sophisticated boy would thrive there. Thanks!

StoicButStressed Sun 03-Mar-13 02:59:00

ThatWas 'So you swore you would not educate your DC privately but they are at a private school. There MUST be something you like better at the private school' - yup, there was ThatWas

It was the tiny classes; the vastly better staff:pupil ratio; the uber high level of pastoral care; the attention paid to DC's welfare as well as their 'results'. As 2 of my DC's were horrifically attacked (nothing to do with or at school/s; only relevance of schools is where I chose for them when moved given their then new VAST and very high needs); THAT was the driver of that choice.

Latymer at the point you mention it and now are two WHOLLY different entities, hence my bothering to post for the OP re my knowledge of it then and now. And trust me, I AM that Ma who has the MOST frank of conversations with my DCs from condoms to drugs to relationships to sex, so in total agreement with you on that one.

StoicButStressed Sun 03-Mar-13 03:21:26

Sorry ThatWas, but have only just clocked how absurdly 'snidey' and patronising your post directly to me was.

Vis your opening line of "thanks Stoic, however..." - it wasn't posted to or for you; it was for the OP and her Q.

Vis the: 'If you're scared your children will do drugs just because kids in the school do, then you haven't done your job well at home.... ...Whether being with rich kids will get to my Ds head or not, again, it will test the values I have taught him at home and his self-esteem and confidence. Eventually, all our DC will face all this, if not at school then in college. And Oxford is no exception - your DD will be able to tell you.

1: my DC's are (slightly unfortunately in some respects) the 'rich kids', so my obs re cliques/London Day Schools are objective observations - NOT on my kids being the 'poor' ones facing that extra challenge in any private school'
2: both DS1 (21) and DS2 (17) have ALREADY very clearly come across/been offered drugs, and thanks for the lecture but am pretty confident that I HAVE 'done my job at home well' - truly, WhereTF did that come from and why? Beyond unness and just makes you look pretty stupid.
3: I DIDN'T - and nor did I say I did - 'hate' my school; was UBER clear that there were aspects of it that I really, really, REALLY would NOT want my DC's to become embroiled in.
4: And you/we all have a choice - I moved out of London to Surrey precisely down to getting the right education for my DC's. You have that choice too (though may well involve a commute for someone), but if you choose not to take it that is entirely your right and your choice...

But DON'T pop up out of nowhere having snide digs at me just as I replied to OP with both the benefit of historical and contemporaneous knowledge of what SHE had asked for - ESP. given you know Jack about what you are actually lobbing at me. Just dumb, really really dumb.

OP, hope you make the choice you are comfortable with and agree it re the best 'fit' between child and school.

Eastpoint Sun 03-Mar-13 08:21:27

MummyItalia in the same way that the children who get straight A*s do wherever they go, including Chiswick School, the party kids find each other. The sporty types meet at county training sessions, musical at the Royal College etc.

Rifraf79 Sun 03-Mar-13 12:12:19

This thread has got a little feisty...

MummyItalia. As everyone says - you must choose what feels right and talk to your DS (and at 13 I am sure he has strong views). I believe you are choosing between St Pauls boys and LU? If that is the case, then the biggest factor surely has to be co-ed v singles sex. But also how academically able is your child... Would they be motivated or demotivated, happy or unhappy to find themselves (perhaps) in the lower half of their cohort? Boys who would be in the top streams at almost every other school in the country will find themselves average or lower at St Pauls. I know that St Pauls do what they can to minimize any negative impact of this, but even so - the boys there are by nature (and selection) competitive, and it can have a bearing on their self-worth. And St Pauls boys work incredibly hard. 2 or more hours of homework a night is common. 6 hours of prep per day over half term just to keep up. For the right child that kind of workload is exactly what they need to stretch them, and they might consciously thrive on it. So I am not saying it is a good or bad thing - I am just putting it out there as a factor for mummyitalia to consider when deciding.

As far as LU is concerned, as the OP of this thread, I was pleased with what I heard here from tripleweetabix, W4witch and Letsescape. and also a poster who sent a PM. We already know parents who have kids at the school and they are all very positive, confirming the good and the less good things mentioned here. I originally started the thread because I wanted comment from people I didn't know personally and whose experience of the school might not be as overall 'rosy' as our friends - and also bearing in mind that even very good friends can sometimes less than truthful with each other when it comes to schools they're 'investing' so much of their lives and incomes into.

Diversity (and by association 'parental wealth') has become a bit of a divisive subject in this thread. The first reply on the thread from Tripleweetabix mentioned the school's diversity in glowing terms, and it was a major plus highlighted in the PM I received as well. Yet others here seem to think this has been overstated or exaggerated... But what does diversity at a London Private school mean? Clearly it doesn't mean that the majority of kids are from low income families - which is why the high numbers of bursaries IS commendable (as it is at St Pauls etc etc - some schools more than others). But obviously, the school does not reflect the ethnic, income, class (there's that word!) mix of the surrounding area or nationally. LU is predominantly white. Have a look at the website of the nearby Hammersmith Academy and you will get a sense of just how white LU is. Having said that, on the open day, we saw many Asian and black kids at the school, and other than income and academic ability (and please, I am not minimising the significance of these) I see no bars to entry. It is not tokenism that the last LU Head boy was black - I believed that it is a true reflection of the schools inclusiveness - as you would expect. In the end, a schools diversity comes down to your experience of it. The parents we know who have children at the school are the same as us. There are professional - mainly with both working, stretching themselves financially in order to pay the fees. Doctors, shopkeepers, some work in the media, a couple are asian, all describe themselves as middle class, not rich (of course - this is all relative.)
As I said upthread - I feel comfortable with the social mix I see at the school, though I understand it is not the same wide social spread of a selective grammar or the local comp, and that at LU there are the kids of celebrities and oligarchs.

I would question, however, Mummyitalias claim that LU has exactly the same intake as several other "posh" schools in the area. Our DS is a bright 11 year old and we put him forward, with his current schools active encouragement, for St Pauls and Westminster for 13+ (with a place at a prep in the interim). His school are very confident that he will receive offers*, but we will not take them up and instead have gone for LU from Year 7. Leaving aside for a moment where we think our kid would be happiest, the extra 8k fees per annum plus extras at both these schools (over LU) is basically beyond our income, though we could eat into savings and equity and take on debt. (StPaulsGS is another 5k btw...) It is the same for most of our friends with kids at LU. The extra fees would be just TOO much of a stretch to be viable when given a choice with LU. But when we toured both schools we certainly felt that the other parents we encountered lived in a far more 'rarified' world than those we came across during the LU open day, and those we know personally - and this is reflected in the St Pauls/westminter/SPGS parents we know socially too. For them, the extra fees are really not an issue. Does any of this mean that DC at these schools are not as nice or kind or inclusive as any other? Of course not. Do very privileged children use their wealth to make those who have relatively less feel bad about themselves, and is that more likely or more prevalent at one school over another? Of course not, one can only make a personal judgement.

* A side not that I think tells you a little bit about Westminster and St Pauls intake - BTW. Westminster make their offers for 13+ to those who took the pretest at 11 around mid/late March. St Pauls interview at some point in Year 6/7. In the case of Westminster, we might well have an offer - but it will be received after the acceptance deadline for Latymer, Highgate, UCS (at 11) and City of London Boys at 13. Which means we will have already made a commitment and paid a deposit to our chosen school at the point we hear from Westminster. If Westminster or St Pauls do then come in with an offer, what do they expect parents to do then? Do we forfeit our acceptance and deposit? Well, some parents would do so at a blink of an eye, but we can not afford to do so. Does this in any way reflect on the income profile of Westminster and St pauls parents... you decide.

I really hope I am not coming across as chippy, snide or 'poor me' in any of this. I know how lucky and privileged we are to be able to send our DS to private school.

Rifraf79 Sun 03-Mar-13 12:12:48

Wow. that was a long post - where did that come from! Apologies.

mummyitalia Sun 03-Mar-13 13:41:25

Wow Rifraf, that was long! I think I was just trying to make the point of how much LUS is changing really, if he was a few years older then it would be a different decision. Now however, I feel that he will feel very similar at both schools - he would be top stream at both St Paul's and Latymer. With regards to the 'poshness' factor, I completely got the impression at open day that it was a 'rich kids' school, and that actually St Paul's was less glamorous and that the parents there were spending all their money on the education and nothing else, whereas it seems at LUS it's slightly different. Of course, there will be a range of wealth at all of these schools, and what we're debating here is the difference between wealthy and super-wealthy, which is totally unrealistic compared to the rest of the country! One of my closest friends has a son in Year 9 in Latymer, who is on a scholarship, and she is constantly going on about the 'poshness' and how wealthy everyone is. She also dislikes the apparent lack of diversity, and she says that compared to Eton (her DH went there - and my DS1!) there are many less black and Asian children. Of course, all of these differences are marginal, when one steps back and takes a look at these top schools, they are pretty similar in their outlook, and of course they're all friends with each other because of their various prep schools/family friends etc.

mummyitalia Sun 03-Mar-13 13:43:19

By the way, the last head boy was actually the only black student in his year (all this comes from the friend I mentioned - please don't shoot the messenger!!)

mummyitalia Sun 03-Mar-13 13:49:34

It would be interesting to come back to this thread in a couple of years and see how much LU had continued changing - that's why I'm not hesitant to send DS to LU over St Paul's, because by the time he would have done his A Levels or even GCSEs, Latymer would very nearly have caught up with it (both socially and academically).

Belltree Sun 03-Mar-13 14:56:05

In response to Stoic's comments, I just wanted to say that I was at Godolphin in the 80s and I don't recognise any of what s/he (?) says about the schools back then. There was no obvious anorexia at all, no more cliques than you'd expect to find in any school, and while some people used some drugs sometimes, there was no drug culture to speak of. I can't comment on the way they are now, except to say that LU is certainly one of the most competitive and highly sought after schools at 11 for those going private from our state primary. I haven't heard any rumours of these kinds on the local grapevine about either school, unlike some of the other local privates.

thatwasalongtimeago Sun 03-Mar-13 16:33:06

Stoic, I think you're overreacting a little bit?

I admit starting with "thank you" was out of place given that your post was for the OP. Apologies and point taken!

But where did you get the idea that I was actually saying you hadn't done your job at home?! What do I know about you and your life? When I said "you" I meant it as in "one", i.e. as in "the parent" meaning all of us. It was meant in a general sense. Is that not a correct use of "you" in English, as in the French "vous"? If it's not, I do apologize and would appreciate the correction, English is not my mother tongue.
I did not intend to imply your DC were the "poor" ones as I frankly don't know about that, and I find it very strange that you found it offensive and patronising - God forbid I should assume your DC are the poor kids having to face the extra challenge. Ironically for you, I was actually talking about my DS.

As to your comment that anyone could move to Surrey if they really cared for their children education...Well, what can I say. Maybe you could, for a moment, imagine situations like having to live near an elderly parent who depends on us, or a move not being financially viable, or a commuting life being more expensive and maybe not viable because of professional nightshifts...etc etc. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to come up for reasons why every Londoner is not moving to Surrey, by far "the most affordable suburb" in the UK. Apart from the fact that many just don't want, because of the cultural life London offers their DC, which is also educating them. And please I AM not talking about/referring to/criticising you again. Each to their own.

Rifraf79 Sun 03-Mar-13 16:51:10

Mummyitalia what can I say - except I WILL try to be briefer this time.

Obviously our experience at the open days at both schools differed quite dramatically, as perhaps do the circumstances of the parents we know with kids at both schools. But I can't help feeling that the relative ability of parents to pay the fees of LU (16k) vs StPauls & Westminster (23k) and indeed Eton (32k) must have some bearing on their choices. I may be wrong. And I do find it surprising that Eton has a more diverse roll than Latymer. Of course, it is quite possible that it has a number of very wealthy children from Asia, Africa and elsewhere - though this is not the kind of diversity I was thinking of. But as you have personal experience of Eton, well, I stand astonished - but corrected...

In any case it sound like you are leaning towards Latymer?

Is your son currently in Year 6, 7 or 8? If they are in 8 than I assume he has taken the Latymer 13+ entrance already and you are awaiting an offer in the next few weeks? In which case I you will have to accept before he takes the St Pauls Common Entrance in May/June. Does that mean you'll have to forfeit the large deposit that you paid to St Pauls at the end of Year 7? If you are plumping for Latymer - then I presume you will not bother with stPauls CE? Either way they certainly make it expensive to keep options open to the end. Of course if he is in lower years then all this still awaits, but it does seem to me that the two schools are not very compatible in offering a straight choice - unlike stPauls and Westminster. And I understand that LU has very, very few places for entry at 13, unlike the other two schools that have their main intake then.

One thing you wrote does make me very curious though: in what way do you hope that Latymer will have caught up "socially" with St Pauls in the next few years?

mummyitalia Sun 03-Mar-13 17:14:14

Sorry didn't mean to write the 'social' part - was getting a bit ahead of myself! I think at the moment they're the same socially (of course) but in a few years perhaps will almost be the same academically. Hope I've explained myself better! smile
With regards to differing experiences - maybe I was choosing to look at certain things and not others? I do agree that it is slightly more diverse than others, however perhaps that's just because it's a co-ed school. Whenever I hear of people leaving however, they only leave to go to SPGS, St Paul's, Wellington, or Eton. Which perhaps shows its cohort of people.
I found it surprising too that Eton had a more diverse range! But I think it will be partly to do with international students and the fact they have just as many scholarship places as Latymer. The thing about LU is that they put great emphasis on the amount of bursaries and scholarships they give out (which I think is great and I'm not complaining) but every other 'public' school also has that many scholarships, i.e SPGS, St Pauls, Eton, Westminster. But I understand that that's the way they want the school to be publicised. All I know is that if one of the student's siblings don't go to Latymer, they seem to exclusively go to St Paul's, Westminster, Eton etc. So that's partly why I came to the conclusion that it is the same as these other 'posh' schools.
We were slightly silly in waiting until 13+ to move DS to these schools, as you say it would have been easier and cheaper to go for Westminster Under, Latymer and Colet Court in Year 6. But of course, we wanted him to continue his very caring education at his prep school (even if it wasn't that rigorous!). I think we are going to go for Latymer, as DS seems much keener on it and prefers the ultimately newer and better Science block (he loves Biology). As I've said before, there are only marginal differences between them, and by the time he does his public exams there'll be even less of a difference (academically I mean).
Sorry for the long post (I seem to be copying you RifRaf!)

singersgirl Sun 03-Mar-13 17:43:39

The Latymer science block can't possibly be newer than St Paul's new science block which is opening fully after Easter!

If your son has a strong preference you should definitely go with it as both are excellent schools.

Rifraf, your information about fees is slightly off as is info re homework.

Rifraf79 Sun 03-Mar-13 18:08:09

Singer - I would love to know in what way. My fee info is taken from the school websites. Anyway - best of luck to everyone in all their choices, and in their DCs school careers. Once I have heard from Singer I going to try and drag myself away from this forum - but like mummyitalia maybe I will check back once my son has started at LU, and read it all again with a rueful grin.

mummyitalia Sun 03-Mar-13 18:24:14

Actually I've been looking at the fees and talking to Latymer parents - St Paul's include a great deal more in their annual fees, so at LU you end up paying closer to £19,000 a year (with music lessons, food, trips etc), and St Paul's is about £21,000 (I think). Westminster however is around £23,000. Latymer's fees have risen though from £13,000 in only the last 3 years so I don't know how much more expensive it will be.
As I said, in a couple of years there won't be much between them.

mummyitalia Sun 03-Mar-13 18:25:19

singers I must have wiped that little piece of info out of my memory...oh well! And finally with HW - I don't think St Paul's get that much more than Latymer...

singersgirl Sun 03-Mar-13 18:42:56

OK, fees info from websites:

Latymer: £15,705 (plus lunches on top so about £580 if your child takes lunches)
St Paul's: Yrs 7 and 8 (ie Colet Court) £15,729, Yrs 9+ £19,674 (including lunches)
Westminster: Yrs 7 and 8 (ie Under School) £15,114, Yrs 9+ £21,708

So quite a lot more than Latymer but not £8,000 a year - £4,000 for St P and £6k for Westminster, but for the first two years if going at 11+ cheaper at Westminster and the same at St Paul's with lunch included. And Westminster still has Saturday school so you get an extra half day a week for the price!

We did a spreadsheet a few years ago when we were making our decision factoring in things like school coach costs, meals, music lessons (very similar at most schools)....

Honestly, I should go and do something more useful as well.

I think all these schools get a reasonable amount of homework. For example, at Hampton a couple of years ago they were getting 3 subjects 3 nights a week and 4 subjects twice a week in Y7. My friends with children at Ibstock said they got loads of homework too.

I think, Rifraf, if you are looking at 11+ in some schools and 13+ in others the acceptance timetable is going to be different. If you had looked at 11+ into Colet Court or Westminster Under School as well as Latymer you would have found they all had the same acceptance deadline, so you wouldn't have found yourself in that position.

Seren2013 Sun 03-Mar-13 19:42:28

StoicButStressed, the choice isn't between LU and Harrow, but LU and Harrodian. It's a very hard choice for us.

mummyitalia Sun 03-Mar-13 22:07:52

singers the school told me they were £16500! Hm...still, you get much more for your money with St Paul's and Westminster (i.e lunches, some music lessons) so the difference is marginal.
Seren I think you just need to decide whether you feel your son would be more comfortable being at the very top of his year in Harrodian, and not in the other - although obviously I don't know how bright he is, he could be top in LU, St Paul's and Westminster too! Obviously, your son will do well at either, however perhaps at LU he'll be pushed more and get more support. I do sympathise with the pastoral element - Harrodian appeals as a nurturing school where you can be whoever you want to be.
Don't forget the option of moving in sixth form to somewhere like LU or St Paul's if you felt Harrodian wasn't enough at A Level.
I hope you come to a decision soon without too much more stress!

Seren2013 Mon 04-Mar-13 19:58:41

mummyitalia, I just have to say that you have got it exactly! You understand exactly what I've been trying to say is our difficulty choosing between LU and Harrodian, to quote you, "a nurturing school where you can be whoever you want to be." But current school insists that DC being so strong academically LU is the more appropriate place.

However, not happy with what I heard just today from friend whose DCs at LU have never been in a play there. As I feared, the standard is so high only a minority of students get the chance to do many of the offerings. My DC might end up not getting a chance to do theatre, some sports, because of the competition. Am sad, because I think in addition to sending our children to top schools for the best education and best chance to get into top universities etcetera etcetera, it's important that they be children while they are children and be exposed to things that they may never get a chance to do again in life.

DC may not be the next Alan Rickman, but I still want those opportunities during the school years. That is why I favoured Harrodian.

mummyitalia Mon 04-Mar-13 21:06:58

Seren, what I've heard from friends who have sent their children to LU, is that if they shout loud enough they will be heard. Of course, if your DS doesn't do this, then it will be more difficult for him to be at the forefront of drama and sports - less so sports, as do remember LU offers a huge range of sports so he will find one that he excels at.
I personally always put the fact that it's a top school ahead of everything else (slightly shallow of me I know), although I completely agree that at schools like LU, Westminster and St Paul's they are asked to grow up more quickly than at slightly calmer, less hothouse-like schools such as Harrodian. Have you asked DS which one he prefers? In the end, he's the one who's going to be spending all his time there and working hard for the school!

Seren2013 Wed 06-Mar-13 00:08:21

DC is somewhat noncommittal, but has said LU, probably because of all the teachers' recommendations. I have said that it's necessary to shout loud enough to be heard at LU but also didn't want to make it sound scary.

It's not shallow of you to put the fact that it's a top school ahead of everything else. It's the world we live in. If I weren't influenced by these same forces, I wouldn't be debating this. I'd put DC in Harrodian.

London2014 Mon 11-Nov-13 18:23:01

Just been to an open day at Upper Latymer on the 9th of November 2013.
The kids are spoiled, no knowledge of languages. Staff is nice only to upper class people. When they found out that you are foreigner they just walkaway. This is not an academic school.

callingearth Mon 11-Nov-13 18:58:57

No you haven't. You cannot possibly have been at Latymer or be telling the truth. Half of my DS class has one or two foreign parents. A third of DS friends speak another language and have lived abroad. My DS is bilingual and I am a "foreigner" as you put it. The staff talk to everyone regardless of income, they give generous bursaries to bright academic children. Mostly unspoiled. And it manages to be academic and rounded.

So I am afraid you walked into the wrong school. It sure wasn´t LU. Or you had blinkers on.

Your post is oozing venom.

fruitcorner Tue 12-Nov-13 21:46:53

I went to open day on 9th and had different experience. Staff very friendly and as in any west London school there were lots of foreign parents and i really doubt that foreigners re treated differently than others. I found children I met friendly although the boy who showed us round seemed more like a 40 year old than a 11 year old - scarily serious and mature!

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