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St Olaves or KCL Maths School for Sixth form

(20 Posts)
sleeperinsouthlondon Tue 18-Mar-14 18:17:54

NC for this.

DS now holds conditional VIth form offers for both of the above.

He has a fortnight to choose between them.

St Olaves have set more stringent GCSE result conditions, but both should be fine.

Any experience/thoughts?

AllMimsyWereTheBorogroves Tue 18-Mar-14 21:18:18

Isn't the KCL Maths school brand new? It might be fantastic but as a deeply risk averse person I would probably go for the established school with the known track record. Are they equally easy to get to?

sleeperinsouthlondon Tue 18-Mar-14 21:23:54

No. KCL much easier to get to.

KCL staff have impressive passion but, as you say, they are unknown quantity.

OhYouBadBadKitten Tue 18-Mar-14 21:25:43

The kcal maths school does look very interesting.

OhYouBadBadKitten Tue 18-Mar-14 21:26:11

Kcl silly ipad.

peppermum Tue 18-Mar-14 21:36:15

My son is currently year 13 at St Olaves. Just be aware of the conditions to pass through from Year 12 to Year 13 - was 3 Cs at AS, but will be 3 Bs from next year . Does the other school impose these same conditions and might that affect your decision?

AllMimsyWereTheBorogroves Tue 18-Mar-14 21:43:20

OK, so having looked at the website, at the KCL school all pupils will take A levels in Maths, Further Maths and Physics. There are no other A level subjects available. They will also take AS level in Computing and do a broad-based programme of general studies, including learning a modern language. It all sounds very good for a 16-year-old who is 100% certain that those are the subjects they want to study in the sixth form and beyond. Is your son in that position?

sleeperinsouthlondon Tue 18-Mar-14 22:06:00

Yes Mimsy. His offer from St O's is for the same subjects. KCL curriculum also includes STEP papers, extended projects, as well as the new MFL from scratch (taught by KCL language dept). that you mention. We do seem to be leaning that way. Just hope they get the hang of an administrating a school quickly!

Pepper I don't think it is likely to be an issue, particularly in the subjects he'll be doing. I do worry that he is too conscientious for such a relentless ethos though (if that makes any sense at all).

sleeperinsouthlondon Tue 18-Mar-14 22:12:34

I think the crux of the dilemma is that both DS and I are usually risk adverse but the scales are tipping the other way on this one, despite that. Doesn't sit entirely comfortably with either of us.

DH is entirely laidback and is more or less taking the line that either will do. I am not finding that reasoning entirely helpful.

It feels like a much bigger decision than it did yesterday when it was still hypothetical!

AllMimsyWereTheBorogroves Tue 18-Mar-14 22:18:41

Sleeper, I've talked myself round and I think it might be a risk worth taking in your circumstances! Ease of journey is not a small consideration, and I'm rather taken with the idea that the school day is timed to start at 9.30 so the teenagers can get enough sleep!

If your son does decide to go to the KCL school, I hope it all works out really well. It's often a big plus to be in the first intake of a new school that is building up cohort by cohort as there is so much energy and enthusiasm at the start. I'm a parent, not an education professional, but I wonder if it's less tricky to administer a sixth form of this type than an ordinary school.

peppermum Tue 18-Mar-14 22:33:51

They love the conscientious at St Olave's! It is okay to be clever and hard working. It may seem a bit relentless to the outsider, but it gets results, and they manage to have some fun as well! Maybe it's not for everyone though. Whatever you decide, good luck with your decision.

sleeperinsouthlondon Tue 18-Mar-14 22:39:54

Thanks both.

We have agreed to family discussion on Saturday so I will continue to let my subconscious work on it until then.

Your input has really clarified my thinking smile

peppermum Wed 19-Mar-14 07:02:56

I think my subconscious must have been pondering your problem overnight ! I wanted to add a couple of things to your thinking. At Olaves the so-called "triple double" is a very popular A level combination i.e. Maths and Further Maths plus the three sciences. Maths and Further Maths are taken as one A level option, leaving space for 3 more AS levels, dropping one at the end of Year 12.

The offer at KCMS seems more limited, especially for that 4th AS level. At Olaves your son could study anything, and would also have the option to change courses early on in Year 12 if for some reason he couldn't cope or didn't take to the subject.

Finally, it would be worth have a quick look at university requirements, and make sure he would have the right A levels to move to his next goal. Universities like the EPQ, but for most of the top universities you also need 3 good A levels, and sometimes I think Maths and Further Maths may not count as separate subjects, so just check it out.

Hope that helps and good luck!

irrationalme Wed 19-Mar-14 09:00:48

DD offered St.Olaves and we have accepted. Maybe see you there grin

sleeperinsouthlondon Wed 19-Mar-14 23:13:55


sleeperinsouthlondon Wed 19-Mar-14 23:21:08

I hadn't heard of the triple double Pepper, although I was quite taken aback by the treatment of Double Maths as one subject, meaning that DS's offer is for a place studying 5 A levels as opposed to the 3 and a half at KCL. I might quietly ring a couple of Uni admissions officers this week.

I'll let you know irrational smile

peppermum Thu 20-Mar-14 18:04:21

Sorry - I was worrying I had got my info wrong but I've just checked the LSE website (maybe he might want to do economics..!)

"Please note, however, that Further Maths, if taken as a full A level, is generally seen as an 'additional' or fourth subject, rather than a substitute for one of your three main subjects. Thus a combination of Maths, Further Maths and one other subject is not seen as providing the required breadth of knowledge and skills."

Also as far as the double/triple thing goes - they would still give up something at the end of year 12, so it would be 5 AS levels and then 4 A levels (with Maths/Further Maths counting as 2)

Sorry if I'm over-egging it a bit here but just wanted to check I had my facts straight. If he's heading for engineering or a pure maths/physics degree I'm sure that would be fine, but it's as well to consider keeping as many doors open as possible.

HercShipwright Thu 20-Mar-14 18:56:02

If he wants to do a maths degree, then KCL maths school is THE place to go. For sure. He will get an unrivalled maths education. If he wants to do e.g. engineering, or natural sciences or some such, then Olaves.

The two maths schools (we have one starting where I live too) are very subject specific. They are designed to produce state educated kids who are equipped to do maths at Cambridge or Imperial (or, presumably, Exeter and Kings) without needing extensive catchup work when they get there.

peppermum Wed 26-Mar-14 08:28:47

Did you make a decision, sleeper ?

Cornucopia55 Sun 30-Mar-14 22:35:22

My DS1 looked at both KCL and St Olave's as well. At 15 he was totally certain that he only wanted to study maths at uni. He decided to apply to Olave's and not to pursue KCL, though, for a few reasons. If I remember right, it was:
- Narrowness of subject range; although he was sure he wanted to do double maths and physics, it was not really specified what the KCL humanities classes not leading to an A- level might be. DS thought, though unlikely, he might want to change his mind about third subject. Just as well he thought of this then, as now, aged 16, he now has no idea what he wants to do at uni and thinks maths might be boring hmm

-DS loved the economics presentation at Olave's and thought the teachers were great.

- KCL maths school is targeted at kids who have potential in maths which would not be tapped in their current situation, and/or from backgrounds where they might need extra help to fulfil that potential. I think they're ideally looking for kids who are not from a very academic background - a chance to shine in maths, for kids who might not have shone in other areas, maybe? Maybe I've got it wrong, but that was how I read their material.

- Olave's does all the STEP paper preparation too, and it seemed unlikely that you'd get much at KCL that you wouldn't get at Olave's, but there was the potential for other subjects.

- Olave's has all the sport and drama and music facilities etc already established.

On the other hand, at KCL being part of the adventure of such an exciting new school could be a really good experience, and I can imagine that it could turn into a really great community as being one of the trailblazers would probably be a great bonding experience for students and teachers alike. I bet it would be a good talking point at uni interviews, or anywhere for that matter. An acquaintance who is a maths academic at uni thought the KCL maths school sounded absolutely brilliant and it sounded like it was being talked about a lot in uni maths departments.

DS only applied to Olave's and one other grammar in the end, and he's accepted an offer from Olave's.

What did your son decide, sleeper?

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