Advanced search

Graveney - catchment area half 2012 distance!!

(145 Posts)
SWandStressed Mon 11-Mar-13 10:07:46

I have just seen the figures for 2013 (and compared them to 2012) and noted the following:

Applications 2115 (up from 2076)
Selective Places 63 (63)
Looked After 6 (up from 2)
Social/Med needs 2 (down from 4)
Staff 1 (n/a)
Sibling Places 102 (up from 81)

Distance offered 1 March 532 (*down from 913*)

That is a major reduction in catchment - and wonder if anyone has got any idea of why that happened. Was it an anomaly? I guess it must be at least partly explained by the extra sibling places taken up this year.

How near do I have to be to be safe for next year?

gazzalw Tue 12-Mar-13 17:10:30

I do remember that when we went to the Open Day at Graveney a couple of years ago there were some parents who were very insistent about the lower two streams effectively not getting the same care and attention as Upper and Extension - the Head didn't seem to have an answer that suited their questions. Although I would wonder why you would choose a school for your DCs if you didn't really think it would give them the best chances to shine...

OhDearConfused Tue 12-Mar-13 17:21:04

Some people don't have a choice of school - they do just go to their nearest.

TWOTB Fri 15-Mar-13 14:11:58

Does anyone know which sample papers you can buy are the best to prepare for the Graveney test?

And how well you have to do in them to know you have a realistic chance of getting through?

brass Fri 15-Mar-13 17:06:25

I just want to say the reason Graveney is SO popular is precisely because of the streaming.

If you don't like rigid streaming you don't pick that school surely?

IMO children don't benefit from mixed ability classes.

Streaming doesn't prevent mixing, they can mix plenty with children from other sets at break times and clubs, on the journey to and from school etc

They do positively thrive with other children who share the same work ethic and investment in doing the best they can. They aren't slowed down because the teacher is still explaining something they are ready to move on from.

I'd agree with whoever said the siblings of selectively placed pupils would also generally be of selective calibre.

Those of you bemoaning sibling places remember that sibling places will also have been granted to children in other sets and who live locally.

I chose Graveney exactly because it ISN'T a grammar school, because there ARE mixed ability children there AND because they know how to cater for the high-ability top stream.

I think what's unfair is the disparity from school to school which creates ghettos. Just make a nationwide decision that ALL schools will have a sibling policy or not! Then parents might know where they stand although it still doesn't solve anything for those at single sex schools with siblings of opposite gender.

Blu Fri 15-Mar-13 17:38:12

As I understand it there isn't one stream labelled 'Wandsworth Test Selective' and then other streams for children who were admitted under other categories - my friends DS who was admitted on distance is on the Extension stream, for e.g. And pupils can and do move - and some students admitted on the test may be in the upper rather than extension stream - since aptitude over many subjects and attitude come into play once the test is done and dusted.

The curriculum says

^On entering Graveney in Year 7 pupils are initially grouped into four broad
bands of ability: support, middle, upper and extension. There is movement
between bands and all pupils choose from a wide range of subjects for GCSE
and vocational courses. Some setting takes place during Years 10 and 11 for


"I'd agree with whoever said the siblings of selectively placed pupils would also generally be of selective calibre."
In which case, they will get in on the test! It's likely that many of these children will come from highly motivated education-focussed families, yes, but you can't just use that as a justification to give them more nplaces in the school!

"Those of you bemoaning sibling places remember that sibling places will also have been granted to children in other sets and who live locally."
But the overall effect is that if sibling places are granted to those who came in on the test, there will be less places overall for children admitted on distance. whatever stream they may go into (some children admitted on distance will go into the extension stream).That is a fair concern for local parents who want the school because it is their local school, and because it is good. Seems a fair basis for 'bemoaning' to me!

Once a school starts on any selective process it does not seem fair to me that selection should bring with it automatic sibling places with priority over children admitted on distance.

Gazza, Surely all schools use streaming or setting, or a combination of both, so all, in effect, have a grammar stream, or mini-grammar streams on each subject if they use setting., a 'grammar set'. That is the nature of a true comp. It's the standard of education that is on offer, or perceived to be on offer that makes the difference, plus the average ability of the intake and the effect or perceived effet that that has...all spiced up by some parents' natural penchant for a bit of competition in the face of a selective or super selective.

Present company excepted, of course grin. Especially where choices are based on local conditions and lack of choice.

brass Fri 15-Mar-13 18:02:21

I'd be interested to know exactly what the figures are for out of catchment pupils taking up all these places! Could it be an urban myth that these pesky outsiders are nicking all the school places?!

We're local btw but wouldn't have qualified for a catchment place. So selection was our only opportunity and thankfully have been successful.

All the siblings taking up places from our primary also live locally to Graveney but outside the immediate catchment.

aliasPrickleandJones Fri 15-Mar-13 19:21:59

brass, you speak from the point of view of a parent of a child in the 'top' stream. My friend (see my earlier post) spreaks from the point of view of a parent of a child in the 'bottom' stream. You are satisfied because you feel that your child is appropriately challenged academically. My friend is not happy because there are behavioural problems amongst the children in the 'bottom' set.

Can the school satisfy parents of both children?

You are right, I have not sent my dcs to a rigidly streamed school. From what Blu is saying perhaps Graveney's streaming is not too rigid. I hope so.

My dc goes to a South London comprehensive where many lessons are taught mixed ability until yr 10, there is no grammar stream, all pupils accepted by distance. Their GCSE results were better last year than Graveney's. Mixed ability can work.

Blu Fri 15-Mar-13 19:30:42

Brass - no one has talked of ALL the places being used by selective siblings. But if two out of three selective pupils have 2 younger siblings...well, that's quite a number of extra places for a school with a TINY catchment for the local community on distance.

I have other friends with children at G - the eldest (in his last year) got in on the test and TWO further siblings followed, one in the last year before they stopped selective siblings. This is why it caught my eye, I was surprised to see they had re-introduced selective siblings.

Good for their stats, though wink

Do we surmise that you chose G over a grammar partly because of the sibling ticket, which is not available at grammars? Fair enough, you make your decisions based on what is available within the system, and make the best decision for you and your children. nothing wring in that. But surely you can see how it affects families who live close by?

Mintyy Fri 15-Mar-13 20:49:53

Am possibly being a little dense but I cannot see how Brass (or anyone else for that matter) can argue that giving an automatic place to siblings of pupils who have been selected on academic ability is a good thing? How is it a good thing. It is only a convenient thing for the family of the pupil who won a place on academic achievement.

But then I think that state supposedly comprehensive schools having a selected cohort is a fucking nonsense anyway!

aliasPrickleandJones Fri 15-Mar-13 23:03:33

"How is it a good thing. It is only a convenient thing for the family of the pupil who won a place on academic achievement."

Also the school may think its a 'good thing' as may want other dcs from the 'right' kind of family (ie one that preps their dc to pass the Wandsworth test).

As you say Mintyy, how can a school be a comprehensive if it selects?

basildonbond Sat 16-Mar-13 10:01:49

It's really a school within a school - a grammar sharing the premises with a comprehensive

The Upper stream is also full of high achievers - in fact quite a few of the children who get in on the test are in Upper rather than Extension and a lot of Extension children get in on distance. The streams are not determined just by test score - it's a combination of test score, SATs results and current head's recommendation. About 3 weeks into the autumn term they carry out their own CAT tests and as far as I remember they had a maths test as well which led to a bit of juggling - a few children went up from Upper to Extension but I don't think anyone got moved down.

There isn't much mixing between forms and streams - they do everything in their form apart from maths which is set within the streams and Tech - fine for the bright, mostly middle class children in Extension, not so great for children in the bottom sets because of e.g. dyslexia and who find themselves isolated with quite a lot of disruption in lessons.

KandyBarr Sun 17-Mar-13 07:31:09

TWOTB Wandsworth don't publish past papers, but Bond VR and NVR practice tests cover the same ground. The test only covers VR and NVR - not maths and English.

brass Sun 17-Mar-13 13:35:32

Minty you need to read my posts again. I haven't argued FOR anything. I've asked why a parent would send their child to a school they think does not cater for their child's needs. I don't think that is a good thing.

I expressed an opinion that mixed ability teaching doesn't enable pupils to thrive from my experience.

Blu I don't know where you got your sibling figures from - 2 out of 3 selective pupils having 2 siblings hmm are you saying all non selective pupils only have 1 sibling? This is a generalisation based on your one acquaintance.

Also the school may think its a 'good thing' as may want other dcs from the 'right' kind of family (ie one that preps their dc to pass the Wandsworth test).

My personal favourite this morning. If you are entering a selective process whether for this kind of comp or independent school or grammar do you not prepare your child for the test? Alias you sound a little bit bitter. Will you not be preparing your DC for GCSEs Will you expect them to just turn up on the day without any preparation or additional study?

FWIW when DS1 got his place there was no sibling policy. It has only been reinstated just this year. We had no way of knowing what was in store for DS2. Thankfully he scored enough to get in on his own merit. We ARE a local family and this is our local school but we are outside the tiny catchment and therefore just as affected by the inconsistent policies. I'm in agreement that this doesn't work and ideally we should have local schools with the same quality of teaching. BUT the reality is that we don't.

These policies aside I don't think angsty parents help the situation. We ALL want what is best for our children. Labeling families as the 'right kind' or 'bright mostly middle class' says more about you than it does the problem. DS1's class is actually very representative of local families from this corner of Wandsworth.

aliasPrickleandJones Sun 17-Mar-13 15:15:22

Brass, not bitter but possibly cynical.

It's not just Graveney but many schools look for children from the 'right' background to join their ranks. Music scholarships, safe walking route that determines the distance from school, selective tests, sibling policy can all help to achieve this end. In the past, schools such as Haberdasher Aske used interviews but these have long since been outlawed. I think we would be a bit naive not to this this happens.

I did briefly think about putting my dc in for the Graveney test (there are some that travel there even from our neck of Southwark to your school). I decided against because I didn't want to put her through all that extra stress of preparing and sitting the tests to be go to the school which would be well out of her community and friendship groups. Instead she will go to a local school where she can walk to and be with lots of children that she knows from the community. smile

aliasPrickleandJones Sun 17-Mar-13 15:17:58

Should read - I think we would be a bit naive not to think this happens. (ie that schools may manipulate admissions criteria to their advantage)

Blu Sun 17-Mar-13 15:47:20

Brass, I have no doubt that children who get in on the test have on average the same number of siblings as everyone else. The point I am making is that when siblings of selective places are given priority alongside siblings of distance admissions then overall they will take up a significant number of places. Thus decreasing the number of places available for children admitted on distance.

brass Sun 17-Mar-13 16:45:49

So what? Should they discriminate against siblings of some children? If there is a sibling policy it should be available to all surely?

Also you keep trying to imply that selective places are taken up by people who are helicoptering in from outside the borough.

My point is they probably aren't as large in number as you seem to think. You're making out people are missing out on distance but you fail to mention those in catchment who simply bought their way in. Not everyone can afford to do that. I know far more families who bought their way in than families who squeezed in through selection never mind the ones who simply cheated by renting.

Local schools for local children as long as you've got the wallet? I'm cynical about those that need to move house when their DC get to year 4-5.

Blu Sun 17-Mar-13 17:32:09

All the ones I know from Lambeth tend to travel by bike or bus, I think.

I don't see it as discriminating against siblings of selective students any more that Grammars discriminate against siblings. Grammar places are selective so there is no automatic sibling priority. Therefore I would expect to,see the same system apply at Graveny wrt to selective places. And especially as, unlike a grammar, Graveney also functions as a neighbourhood comp and takes students on distance.

No skin off my nose, I would not get in on distance if every single child in the school was an only child. And we didn't apply for a selective place either. Just looking at what appears fairest in theory and what is best for the whole schools environment in S London. Which I think would be better served if every school operated with the same admissions. People who live near Kingsdale say the same thing and decry the lottery.

Blu Sun 17-Mar-13 17:36:52

Oh, and I know people who rented their way in, too. 2 families, actually. I don't think that's right or fair, either.

But that isn't a situation the school actually sets up, whereas the change back to selective siblings is.

As I said I don't thunk anyone is being unfair or underhand in accepting a sibling place, why wouldn't anyone?

PanelChair Sun 17-Mar-13 19:00:04

I agree entirely with Blu. There is no compelling argument for giving sibling priority when the first sibling has an academically selective place. A grammar school wouldn't do it.

gazzalw Mon 18-Mar-13 07:29:11

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

tiredaftertwo Mon 18-Mar-13 08:17:16

Cynical about how school admission operate in South London? Surely not smile
The Council paper relating to this change makes clear it was Chestnut Grove and Burntwood as well - that all siblings should be put on equal footing.

I have a feeling that some overseer (ombudsman perhaps? schools adjudication office?) had said they had to change the rule for selective places. And I wonder whether that body has not been abolished or weakened along with so many others, so the schools have taken the chance to change it back?

I agree it is unfair on local children. But I suspect the schools can make a case, especially the co-ed ones, that they do try to preserve a family atmosphere and that they encourage parents to engage with the school and this is easier with sibling places (I can see both these too).

GraveneyLady Mon 18-Mar-13 11:39:58

Hi everyone

Just thought I'd join in the fun. Some of you may know me - I used to be AdmissionsLady from SGS on the EPE board.

Please feel free to hit me with any questions you might have about Graveney Admissions. Bear in mind I can only be factual - I can't offer my opinions or any speculation.

Do feel free to rip me to shreds! That's what I'm here for wink

gazzalw Mon 18-Mar-13 18:50:15

Hello GraveneyLady

You were very helpful to us last year for DS so will be gentle with you if any questions spring to mind!

Firstly what was the rational for reintroducing the sibling rule for the selective intake?

Many thanks

Blu Mon 18-Mar-13 20:27:52

Hello GraveneyLady smile

Just out of interest - how many selective admissions aer from Wandsworth and how many from other boroughs? And from how far afield?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now