Help needed with when to apply to West London Private Schools ?(16 Posts)
Hi there everyone - I was wondering if anyone can tell me when is the best time to register my dd for independent secondary schools? I have just moved to Ealing, my dd is only 4 but I am not sure how the system works these days... Some school websites say to register her the year before entry, however I have heard that for the best schools (eg G&L, SPGS, etc) you have to register now!? Any advice to clarify please? Is there any benefit to registering early? Also, when it comes to sitting 11+ can you apply to as many schools as you like or is there a central application process in which you have to put schools in order of preference?? Thanks in advance - it's scary out there!
There's absolutely no need to register now! And in most cases you wouldn't be able to anyway as they open registrations from late Y5/early Y6 (ie when your DD will be 10/11).
You apply to as many schools as you want (usually 4/5, some of which are very selective/academic, and some less so) and the schools don't know where else you've applied and how you privately 'rank' them.
Don't worry-you've got loads of time yet and your DD will change a lot between now and when she's sitting the exams (eg you have no way of knowing yet how academic she'll be and therefore which schools will suit her by then).
Gosh, that is such a relief, thank you Marni! I was envisaging having to fork out hundreds of pounds on registration fees on a wide range of schools when, as you say, I don't really even know yet which schools we will be looking at! Thanks for your advice. x
Depending on your income levels, views on private education at primary age etc, you might want to consider your DD sitting for Notting Hill & Ealing High School, lovely school with fantastic music etc. If she gets a place & you feel at 10/11 she would suit G&L, SPGS or Latymer Upper you can move her.
Thank you Eastpoint, I know that school very well - and love it - I went there myself! - not sure she is confident enough at this stage - but would definitely like to consider for 11+ - also, would like to keep options open with a dedicated prep school.
Any views on G&L as I am interested in IB ? Also, they do joint activities with LU? NHEHS seems a bit insular in that respect - at least it was in my day, and that didn't do me any favours! But yes, music has always been brilliant there. And is very close to where I live.... do you think there are many from Ealing that go to G&L and other central schools? Sorry for all the questions!
Lots go to G&L from Ealing, but it is more central now. They don't do much with LU as LU is now mixed, I think they might still do one language exchange but that's all. G&L aren't allowed to use the LU pool anymore. G&L row at the KCS boathouse in Putney and they have a joint rowing ball, I'm not using not the right terms but have the correct intention. There are quite a few girls who did NHEHS prep & then moved to SPGS, probably not as many go to G&L as the results are quite similar. My dds moved to a secondary school without a prep & I think that is easier, everyone comes in on the same footing.
For 11+ exams there is something called the North London Consortium which means they only sit one or two exams & the results are shared by the other school with which you have registered. NHEHS is in a different group to G&L. SPGS, LEH & PHS have their own exams. SHHS, NLCS, FHS (both), St James', Queensgate, Queens College, Heathfield are all part of the consortium. Falcons are talking about taking over Gunnersbury House, should be interesting. Also the people who set up Ravenscourt Park & Kew Green are opening a new mixed secondary near Brentford Fountain.
Moving from state to private is not a problem at 11. Lots do, and the schools will want to attract those with potential as well as those already prepped. However you will need to keep a weather eye open on how prepared your daughter is for a set of competitive exams at 11. Some form of out of school top up will almost certainly be needed.
However the number of affluent people in London seems to keep growing, and several of the schools mentioned attract the international rich who chose to be based in London for schooling. These schools are already heavily oversubscribed - I think LU is close to having 10 applicants for every place whilst SPGS has introduced a computerised pre-test - and my guess is that the demand will keep rising.
Even if you do aim for 11+ it may be worth your daughter having a shot at Latymer Prep and Bute at 7+. LU is the school of the moment with the Head apparently telling prospective parents that he soon expects their results to match those of SPGS. If you can get a place at 7 you avoid the scramble at 11. Bute is similarly competitive but as many as half will go on to SPGS and a good proportion of the rest will go to G&L. It also enjoys a reputation for nurturing which is in clear contrast to the tougher more strictly academic reputation that SPGS has.
Needmoresleep, which school are you saying has a reputation for nurturing? Just curious as we're looking for a nice school for a bright but possibly rather too relaxed girl in West London. Have been thinking co-ed as I suspect she might find an all-girls environment slightly more testing, but a nurturing all-girls would probably be good too.
Bute House, the junior school to SPGS. This may have changed now with the new head but we used to know some lovely girls there and parents who liked the way the school did its best to discourage over-competitiveness, eg by making it very hard for individual girls to know where they stood in the year group. The results at 11+ have always been exceptional. No other West London school gets anywhere near as many into SPGS, and most of the rest end up at other sought after schools.
The atmosphere seems quite distinct from the senior school which appears to be seriously competitive and not for the faint hearted. Many thrive, but some don't, and a proportion live up to the school's reputation for considering themselves better than their local peers.
Post 11+ G&L has a much stronger reputation for nurturing bright girls, certainly that SPGS. But West London is well served with good schools and there is a lot to be said for looking round and relying on feel and instinct. We have know some really super Putney High girls and Wimbledon, LEH and Notting Hill and Ealing all seem great schools and friends are very pleased with Francis Holland. The co-eds are different again. LU has quite a busy feel, but might suit a girl who is less at ease in an all girl environment.
Thanks, needmoresleep - this is very helpful - I was thinking of perhaps applying to NHEHS for 7+ but I am hesitating as I know that although they say transfer to the senior school is automatic, in Y5 you are in fact assessed and told whether you have a place or not - those who don't make the grade are asked to leave although they are welcome to apply for and sit the 11+ exam externally. I was wondering if it is the same with Latymer prep? The idea of getting in at 7+ is very appealing in some ways but I would not want to be faced with that sort of dilemma in year 5! My DD is bright but unconfident socially. I think she needs time at somewhere nurturing to bring her confidence out. She is currently at a v small, v pastoral local prep school in Ealing - I am wondering if it isn't best to leave her there and see how she gets on in terms of developing her confidence. It is SO hard to know what to do for the best!! Any advice warmly welcomed!!
Bute House is not the junior school for SPGS and has no affiliation with them whatsoever.
Funnily enough, OP, we live in SW13 which I think is too far for Notting Hill & Ealing, but would love dd1 to go there - it would suit her down to the ground, and her tutor agrees.
Perhaps we could swap houses
Elibean - ha ha ha ha !!! Nice try but NO WAY!! Took us over a year to find our beautiful house and another 6 months to work on it! NO way am I going to move anywhere for at least the next 20 years!! However, if you want to move here I know the area inside out and could help you as sadly am mad about all aspects of property and renovation!!!
Apple - thank you , yes I knew that - they just have a very good success rate with SPGS and are likely to (statistically) enter more pupils because it is one of the local prep schools. A lovely school, though
BTW - re my dd being bright but socially unconfident - does anyone have similar experience and \or advice as to what I can to to encourage her? The problem I foresee is that whilst she is bright, unless she can demonstrate that she is socially confident she will be overlooked despite the fact that she could potentially develop very well given the chance!
Also, has anyone noticed (and thinks it is unfair) that some prep schools select those born early on in the academic year as they are the ones that are more 'advanced' - I find this unbelievable given the way that children develop at different rates.
worrymerchant, my daughter is exactly the same. He is bringht but not confident. I am looking at schools for her now as she has just turned four. I would like her to go to NH but i do not think she would do well at the assessment and I am not sure it would be the right school for her, because she is so shy.
Where do you send your daughter?
For anyone concerned about affluenza Nhehs is marginally better than some other west London private schools. One of the worst aspects of private education is the sickening feeling that some kids have never touched down in the real world. More diversity in the pupil mix is a massive bonus .
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