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Emanuel - is it true they are pulling their socks up academically?

(54 Posts)
Alsoflamingo Tue 07-Oct-14 14:39:37

Just that really. Was always regarded as second fiddle to the uber academic schools - and that is probably still the case. But Head claiming (as is Good Schools Guide) that they are improving on the academic front and just wondered if anyone could confirm or deny that is the case. Basically wondering if it would be a good bet for a child that is v. bright, but might not quite make it into the crazily competitive schools. So really wondering about how ambitious it is for the bright kids/quality of teaching etc. TIA.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 07-Oct-14 14:45:05

Um, did you mean to post this on you MN Local site, where people would know which school - in which City / county - you are referring to?

lottiegarbanzo Tue 07-Oct-14 14:47:00

Your local site, not you.

Alsoflamingo Tue 07-Oct-14 14:49:32

Oh dear. Am such a MN klutz that I didn't even know that was an option. Er, so maybe that is what I should have done…. Talking about S/W London. Sorry if have posted in wrong place. Just saw threads about this same school before in this section so assumed correct place to post.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 07-Oct-14 14:51:23

Here is fine but you do need to say what part of the country you're talking about, or people won't know!

The local site might offer some insight too.

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Tue 07-Oct-14 15:32:52

Did you go to the recent open day? Academic upturn was definitely the message being given out at the HT speech which seemed to be born out by the last few years results.

I liked the admission approach where they interview all candidates (or was it all that passed an initial test). Takes away some of the "having a bad day" pressure on tests that others might fall fowl of.

Alsoflamingo Tue 07-Oct-14 17:15:02

Actually didn't go to the most recent Open Day. Went to one last year. Found the Head slightly irritating as he kept making laddish jokes about football teams during his talk. Overall came away slightly underwhelmed. But all this sort of thing can be so subjective/depend on pupil showing you around etc. Good Schools Guide also hints at discipline problems which rang slight alarm bells. But have heard others rave about it so wondering if I am missing something.

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Tue 07-Oct-14 17:28:39

Interesting as he also picked up on football in his talk this year. I didn't find him "irritating" but I did find him less confident and fluid than other HTs I've heard. That said, perhaps being slick salespeople doesn't make for a good HT either.

jeanne16 Tue 07-Oct-14 19:40:17

Plenty of their pupils get all A* grades. They just have a slightly wider spread of abilities than a St Paul's or KCS.

MLP Wed 08-Oct-14 09:12:54

As a comp, this year at GSCE Emmanuel had 23% A* and 59% A*/A, according to its website. Waldegrave (a comprehensive) had 20% A* and 48% A*/A, while Putney High (private) had 50% and 86% respectively.

I've heard Emmanuel described in the past as the most expensive "comp" in the country, which is a bit harsh - but the results are closer to the likes of Waldegrave then the main private schools in SW London.

We have friends with kids there who love it. By their own admission their DC are not the most academic but have found their niche there and are enjoying it.

MLP Wed 08-Oct-14 09:14:12

To be clear, when I said "as a comp" I meant "as a comparison"

Alsoflamingo Wed 08-Oct-14 13:28:49

Interesting. Many thanks for those stats, MLP. Does rather look as if the claims about socks being pulled up academically might be a bit premature. Having said that, I quite like a bit of spread of abilities as think more 'normal' learning environment. I guess Q is the extent to which each child is encouraged to reach their full potential.

tempo Thu 09-Oct-14 11:53:56

My ds is at Emanuel. He couldn't be happier, is thriving on all fronts. He is stimulated academically, is loving all the sport, great extra-curricular stuff and he has a happy group of totally "normal" friends.
It is never going to be on a par with St Pauls, Westminster, KCS, etc. but then that's not what it strives to be. There is none of that pushiness or pressure. But if you want to get good academic results the opportunities are all there. A friend's dd just got all A* and A at GCSE and is predicted to do the same in sixth form.
I can't recommend it highly enough. But you'll have to register early as it is increasingly in demand, not just as a back up, but because parents actually want to send their children there.

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Thu 09-Oct-14 12:38:20


The best advice always comes from the students themselves and their parents. Thank you.

partialderivative Thu 09-Oct-14 13:40:45

The best advice always comes from the students themselves and their parents

So my comment will be completely useless, just self-indulgment.

We used to play Emmanuel at rugby in the mid-70's. They used to thrash us every year (mainly due to a player who went on to represent England). I played for Latymer.

Alsoflamingo Thu 09-Oct-14 16:09:56

Tempo - thanks so much for that. Agree the best insight (obv) comes from people who actually know the school well.

Which doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy the rugby reminiscing!!

irisha Thu 09-Oct-14 17:32:27

I think I posted my thoughts on Emanuel last year when we went to Open Days and it was one of the schools I registered DD for (in the end decided not to sit the exam) and my impression was that they didn't pull their socks up academically.

In order to do that - they need to do one of two things 1) increase selectivity of intake; 2) teach the relatively mixed ability intake better and get the most out of them. My impression was that they do neither very well.

My recollections have now faded, but one example of 2) not being done very well is that they don't set in Maths for TWO years, i.e. Yr7 and Yr8. This is ridiculous for a school that is not very selective. I can understand why JAGS, Alleyn's, SPGS etc don't set until year 8 or at all but even KGS (which is definitely more selective than Emanuel) sets after Easter - into 6 sets.

The best state comps set maths, often from the very start.

Then they actually acknowledged that they kind of stream into to streams on entry - A and B stream based on entry exam results. So if you are great in maths and a brilliant scientist but bad at English you may end up in Stream B! That smells of sheer laziness to me. But wait... It gets even better - the streams are kind of correlated to the language you choose - so if it's French you decide to study, it's top stream and Spanish/German (I forget which it is in Yr 7) you are in the bottom. May be somebody sees the logic in all of this - I don't.

I didn't like the headmaster - he was complacent, defensive and generally not particularly available for chats before or after the talk (unlike in all the other schools I visited, including JAGS, Alleyn's and KGS).

We looked at Woldingham as back up - it's only mildly selective (probably less so than Emanuel even) but they set in Maths straight away, and band in humanities and sciences. Their results are way better than Emanuel.

Also, Emanuel is very much viewed as plan B by many (still I believe) and really academic kids often choose to go to a more selective school even turning down 30/50% scholarships.

Pop1ns Thu 09-Oct-14 20:12:32

Great post Irisha

Michaelahpurple Thu 09-Oct-14 21:35:20

I haven't visited it as not on the 11+ path, but our pre-prep which runs to year 6 has sent increasing numbers there I've the last few years People tend to have strong reactions on way or the other to the head and it seems at our school to be chosen against Harrodian, with very few liking both, if you see what I mean. I think it picks up some more academic children from those who want co-ed but for some reason don't like Latymer. It does seen to be less of a wholly safe back up , but this may as much reflect the ongoing and increasing pressure on places in Central London schools (hence the new ones in Lee and marble arch, and wetherby expanding)

soddinghormones Fri 10-Oct-14 09:13:54

The children from dc's primary who've gone to Emanuel are with one exception very firmly in the bottom half of the cohort. We know dc who've turned down 50% scholarships in favour of a full-fees place at JAGS/Alleyn's. There will be a few children getting straight As and A*s but not many. Personally I would only have considered Emanuel if it had been my child's only likely offer and if the state alternative was truly dire

houseisfallingdown Fri 10-Oct-14 13:13:07

Haven't got to secondary school age yet but DCs state primary send quite a few there each year and they all seem to be really happy. ( lots have brothers and sisters still at the school so get to hear how they are getting on). Some of them have been pretty academic and girls have chosen it over putney high, Wimbledon high etc for several reasons such as co-ed, sports, location etc and just the general feel.
As someone said I think there's definitely something to be said for having a school with a wider range of abilities. I was pretty good academically but went to an extremely academic school where you felt you weren't good enough sometimes. I don't really want that for DD and DS.
However I haven't looked round or anything so who knows! It's on my list for next year!

jeanne16 Sat 11-Oct-14 18:11:20

My son is at Emanuel. They were streamed from year 7 and setted in maths and science from Year 8. They get lots of kids with all A and A* grades. Some of the comments here are really Quite extraordinary.

jeanne16 Sat 11-Oct-14 18:13:48

And 8 pupils from last year got into Oxbridge whereas I believe Putney High got 0.

irisha Sat 11-Oct-14 19:48:06

jeanne16 Emanuel cites 4 going to Oxbridge in 2014 (I believe it was 3 in 2013), not 8. Putney High had 5 last year (but 8 offers, 2 Cambridge offers were not taken up), and 2 this year - not zero. Plus Putney High being a girls school loses lots of clever girls to King's College and, probably, Westminster and other co-eds.

I am always more curious about GCSE statistics since there isn't the type of movement you get in 6th form.

Emanuel gets 23% grades at A*. I don't believe this number has improed meaningfully over the last couple of years. However you look at it - it's low for a selective school (OK, not super selective but still selective) with at least an "above average" intake. What is even more concerning is the number of Cs it gets at GCSE - 14 in Maths - that's almost 15%. A selective private school with good teaching, small classes, appropriate support etc shouldn't be getting 15% grade C in Maths! And there are tons of Bs. Similarly, Geography and History have same number of grades C. Why?

I am not saying that a bright kid can't get all A/A* at Emanuel or that there are no bright kids there or that kids cannot be happy there etc, but I think the question whether the school is pulling their socks up academically cannot be answered with a resolute "yes".

It's a real art to be able to teach a relatively mixed ability cohort well, and setting and banding from the earliest stages (with differentiated tasks and levels of support) are some of the key elements(that's, for example, what Woldingham does very well - so get 44.5% A* grades at GCSE). Emanuel does not do that and gets very defensive when quizzed about it. My information comes not from hearsay, but directly from Head of Maths and Deputy Head (since the Head didn't make himself available for questions last year). The latter couldn't tell me how the ability of the cohort changed in the last few years when I asked. He should have been able to say that based on CATs that they presumably do in Yr7.

The current Headmaster has now been around for 7-8 years so whatever he did to improve the school should have started feeding into GCSE results already.

TheLovelyBoots Tue 14-Oct-14 07:01:27

My understanding is they're able to be more selective these days only because there are too few spots in Central London day schools (as we all know!).

What Irisha just described has put me off the school forever.

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