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How hard is it to get accepted into Francis Holland SW1?

(12 Posts)
laurecd1 Thu 29-Jan-15 10:03:39

Dear all, I am new to this site and I hope some other mothers will be kind enough to give me a little help. We moved to London from Dubai last September and with a daughter in Y6, we were literally thrown into that whole 11+ ordeal. As she is a hard working and rather competitive child, she decided she wanted to go through it and we did our best to support her with tutors etc. I should add that she is bright, in the top set of her class (but not at the top) and very outgoing. She took the exams for Latymer Upper, G&L and Francis Holland SW1, after getting the green light from the headmaster at her current school. We just got the letter from Latymer Upper announcing that she was not invited to their interviews. I expected that after seeing the impressive number of very eager kids (and their parents!) at Latymer but still, these letters make you wonder about what's coming next. I am very afraid that G&L (our top choice) is rather on the same level as LU and that it would take a miracle for her to be accepted there. I gather she did quite good at the informal interview there but I am not sure that will truly help. Anyway, I am at a point where I think our best bet might be FHSW1 but even there I don't want to be too optimistic; competition seems pretty fierce there too. The exams and interviews were already taken so of course I am just really seeking objective feedback. Many many thanks for your kind input and sorry about this long message.

Needmoresleep Thu 29-Jan-15 10:25:52

I would not get too hung up about "levels". There seems to be a West London belief in a hierarchy which has SPGS at the top and then Putney/G&L followed by LU/WHS/NHEHS and then FH, with the various Queens bringing up the rear.

In reality all these schools are fishing in the same pool and each will have their own culture, USP and selection criteria. LU is an odd one. Half the places for girls, quite a large contingent coming through their own prep, and huge numbers applying. It is perfectly possible to be rejected by LU yet gain a place at Westminster (for boys) or SPGS. It happens. Or be accepted by LU and not gain a place at Putney or G&L.

G&L and LU appear to be very different schools. Broad generalisations, and each school will be looking for a mix, but the latter might suit a feisty co-ed, good at drama, art, or sport and perhaps with an aptitude for maths. (Just a guess, but I understand the top maths sets tend to be boy dominated so I assume they welcome girls who can help re-balance.) I assume G&L will be interested in taking a proportion who are all-rounders who might go on to IB, and also girls who with thrive in a nurturing all-girl environment.

It sounds as if you were aiming at the right schools. You only need one place - and a back up plan. Does the prep go up to 13+? If not, and after you have the results, ring round places like Thomas' Batters, Fulham Prep or Newton. Places come up at 13+ and occassional places before then, and with preparations for CE, Yr 7 in a prep school moves at a fast pace.

I hope that helped. I took about two years to get over the 11+ nightmare. Remember you only need one place.

laurecd1 Thu 29-Jan-15 10:46:22

thank you so very very much! I am very grateful for your input and kind words! It helps to know others are on the same boat. Whatever happens shall not be the end (nor the beginning) of the world. Her current school does go to up to 13+ so we won't be without a roof over our heads, should the "worst" happen! Thanks again!

Needmoresleep Thu 29-Jan-15 11:13:09

In which case, and provided you are prepared to lose a term's fees, you are well placed to get through a wait list or pick up an occassional place.

Children change a lot between 10 and 12; the work gets more complex and some fade whilst others start to shine. So, though its not what you or your daughter want, it is far from the worst outcome to sit where you are.

Hang on in there though. If G&L is your first choice your HM may have pitched his reference to appeal to them.

laurecd1 Thu 29-Jan-15 14:27:13

Dearest Needmoresleep, I am incredibly grateful for such valuable and kind advice. That does help a lot. I will as serenely as possible wait for the results and should my daughter not get in either school, will explore options such as the ones you mentioned. What chill me to the bones though is that I have 3 much less academic younger boys coming right after her!!! Many thanks again!

byroniks Sun 24-Jan-16 12:26:52

DD didn't get an invite for interview at CLSG, which is on the same consortium as G&L. Does this mean that DD won@t get an offer from G&L as well?

NWgirls Sun 24-Jan-16 13:11:05

OP, rest assured that FH (both schools) are much less difficult than LU and G&L to get into - especially if you can hold your nerve and be patient in case you "only" get a waiting list space initially. And my guess is that if a prep has advised to go for these three schools, FH is seen as very very likely.

And I agree a no from LU does not have to mean a no from G&L - different exams formats, might have a better day at one than the other. But given the huge numbers sitting these two, it might be wise to manage expectations on G&L, as it sounds like you have done (at least in your own mind).

She will be fine, one way or the other. My DD also loved G&L but is extremely happy at FH (Regent's Park, not SS). Relax!

NWgirls Sun 24-Jan-16 13:22:17

Byroniks: No, that does not necessarily follow, as each school makes its own decision even if they used the exact same entrance test.

My DD got a rejection/waitlist/offer combo from one single consortium test two years ago - illustrating how passmarks can differ significantly.

Interview impressions will obviously also differ.

I am not sure which of these schools is most selective - both obviously very - others may have useful views on that.

Be aware that the school where she physically sat the test has access to her full actual test papers, whilst the other only gets a points score. I was told by one registrar that access to the exam papers sometimes can be helpful in borderline cases.

byroniks Sun 24-Jan-16 14:21:12


Thank you very much for the info.
She sat the test at G&L. The letter from CLSG says that her score didn't quite reach the cut off as they were only inviting the top 300 applicants for interview. Here's hoping her performance in the interview would pull her chance up.

She sat the test for Francis Holland Sloane Square as well. HOw difficult is it to get into?


NWgirls Sun 24-Jan-16 18:36:08

Byroniks: My pleasure. Re FH SW1, please also see my post to OP further above - so quite a lot easier, and if (like I believe is the case with OP) your DD is at a prep where the head has advised/supported you applying to such very selective schools, then I believe you can be quite confident in getting FH.

But if you are applying from a state primary without the same experienced guidance - then it is harder to tell, as the target school selection depends on the parents' realism/optimism and knowledge about the standard required at each school vs. their own child. Average girls would have to have a great day (and have been taught well at primary) and still be a real gamble and may well be rejected. Clearly above average ability/potential girls would be fairly safe bets. Just my take.

Caveat: I am basing a lot of this on my experience with the other FH (NW1/Regent's Park), which I believe to be no less (--probably a bit more)-- selective than SW1.

neuroticnicky Tue 26-Jan-16 15:02:32

I'm not sure applying from a state primary makes that much difference -after all the 11plus is only Maths and English and most of the girls at our local state primaries who apply for private schools seem to get into the schools of their choice . The main point to note is that it doesn't really matter which of these schools your DD gets into-she is likely to do just as well at any of them.Sometimes it is better to be the one of the brighter children at a less academic school and I have known girls who got very good results at FH. Comparing the A*/A A level results last year has: LU 73%, G&L 64.8%, St James 63%, FHNW1 62.7% and FHSW1 43% which suggests that FHSW1 should be the easiest to get into and that there is not always much difference between the other schools in terms of results.

byroniks Sat 30-Jan-16 11:06:23

Part of their assessment includes the school reference. Im just wondering whar do they normally put on the school reference?

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