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St Pauls Girls - getting a place after state primary?

(32 Posts)
AltoPalo Thu 30-Jul-15 10:55:37

Does anyone know how many state school girls get into St Pauls at 11? Are the stats published anywhere? And does anyone have tips on how best to prepare?

My daughter goes to our local state primary. This week she attended a summer camp that SPGS runs for state school kids at the end of year 4. She has fallen in love with the school and keeps asking whether she can go there after year 6. I have always assumed that it is out of our league both financially and academically but her Head nominated her for this camp so maybe she thinks her capable. I want at least to explore it before dismissing it.

How exceptional do you have to be to get into SPGS? What particular qualities and talents are they looking for?

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Elibean Thu 30-Jul-15 12:05:56

There was a girl in the year above dd at state primary who got a scholarship to SPGS - she was very bright, and very motivated, but not wildly above the rest of the bright girls in her class.

About the summer camps, I'm not sure its the same thing but my eldest dd did a day for G&T at SPGS in Y5, along with another girl. Neither of them applied (though both temporarily fell in love too!) in the end, and to be honest I don't think my dd would have had a chance in hell of getting in. Bright, but not motivated or hard working.

My neice (from a private school) who is bright and hard working, and wasn't going for a scholarship, didn't get in - though she got offers from all the other selective girls' schools in the area.

So some luck involved I think!

basildonbond Thu 30-Jul-15 12:28:30

The girls DD knows at SPGS are bright and hardworking but not genius level. They've all got something else as well though - county netball, v good at music etc

The scholarships are purely honorary - something like £200 a year (which isn't going to put much of a dent into fees of £20K+ ...)

I don't know anyone on a bursary so am not sure how generous they are

AltoPalo Thu 30-Jul-15 12:38:53

Eli - I'm not sure whether the summer camp is the same thing as your DD attended. Its not explicitly stated as being for gifted kids but I think each local state primary was asked to nominate two children who do well and might benefit from a week experiencing SPGS. DD says a woman with a clip board writes notes when they answer questions so I'm not sure whether SPGS is using the week to assess children for some reason. Where did your DD end up?

Basildon - my DD has no specific talent like you mention although she's an enthusiast for her instrument and her sports.

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needmorechoctoday Thu 30-Jul-15 12:57:15

SPGS is an exceptionally difficult school to gain a place at, the academic bar is very high and girls are generally self-assured and highly self-motivated. It's an incredible school and I can see why your daughter has fallen in love with it!

They are experienced at spotting potential and ability in state school pupils, who have not been as heavily prepped & tutored, as many candidates from west London preps. If your head teacher thinks that your daughter should apply, then I would listen to her advice.

Your daughter will need to practise for a reading comprehension exam, a writing exam and a maths exam. There is a further exam paper that varies from year to year and aims to challenge girls in a creative, fun and extended way.

There are huge amounts of advice for books, tutors etc that can be found on 11+ websites. It's worth doing some prep to become more familiar with exams and the expectations.

I would ring the school regarding bursaries, they do vary.

AltoPalo Thu 30-Jul-15 13:01:15

Thanks NeedMore. Which 11+ preparation sites would you recommend?

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chocolatechip123 Thu 30-Jul-15 13:06:07

A neighbours child got a place there - she is a lovely girl, extremely bright and quiet/calm.

I used the Manchester Grammar School past papers. The schools also seem to like kids that do lots of activities ad get involved in school life (library monitor, on the 'Green team', lower school buddy etc) and do sport, music and enjoy artsy stuff too.

Also, children need to be able to converse well with adults, have opinions, be able to debate and question, answer questions well (and field hard ones too) etc.

needmorechoctoday Thu 30-Jul-15 13:18:17

Head to the North London Girls Consortium first for a look at past papers, however, SPGS do not use these papers and do not release their past papers, but it's are a great place to start.
Explore this site, there's specific SPGS advice there too.

Is your daughter a reader? Use the summer hols to read as widely as possible and try to talk to her a little about why she likes/dislikes them, character and plot development, style of writing.

ealingwestmum Thu 30-Jul-15 15:16:19

SPGS do release their past papers, you can access at least 2 years from their website.

As already suggested, reading is great preparation - all types of material including newspapers. Comprehension is notoriously the toughest part of the paper, although dependent on each girl's skill bias.

Use a range of papers as suggested, other ones include Sevenoaks as well as our more local West London schools, although Y5 may be a little early for these, end of Y5/Y6 better when school curriculum has covered much of the content.

There is a pre-test first in December, done online at the school.

Best of luck OP

Teddingtonmum1 Thu 30-Jul-15 18:41:43

My niece got a 100% bursary to SPGS last year from a state primary don't think she was tutored either but very bright & motivated .

ASingleJourney Fri 31-Jul-15 06:09:40

My DD will start Year 7 at SPGS in Sept. I believe the school is looking mainly for intellectually curious girls and accommodates various personality types (my DD is shy and not the most self-assured). One indicator (my personal view only) of whether a child might fit in well at SPGS is her reaction to its unusual comprehension exam (samples are available on the school's website) - some girls think it is great fun while some others are put off by it.

In terms of preparation (we took the DIY route, with essentially no guidance from DD's primary school), I would suggest gradually building up to the SPGS practice papers as they can be pretty challenging for a 10-11 year old. We used materials from other private schools (including North London Consortium and Manchester Grammar School) and didn't have DD sit a SPGS practice paper until late Nov (5-6 weeks prior to the actual exam).

I share the views expressed above that reading broadly (and discussing what's read) would be helpful preparation. Also agree that girls don't need to be genius-level (my DD certainly isn't) to secure an offer. DD is musical (playing a couple of instruments to a reasonable level), which we believe helped.

If you think your DD would enjoy SPGS's academic environment and her head is nudging her towards it, I would encourage you to apply. FWIW, we really didn't know how DD would fare prior to her sitting the 11+ exams at SPGS (and other schools).

Elibean Fri 31-Jul-15 17:00:37

Alto, my dd ended up looking at several of the local indies and chose the state secondary over them - until she saw Kew House School, at which point she fell in love. She's going there (she's quirky, techy and very design orientated so a new, slightly different-thinking school should suit her better than a more traditional, more academically orientated school).

They can change a lot between Y5 and Y6, but if you want SPGS to be an option then a good, gentle practice plan sounds very sensible - good luck to your dd whatever she chooses!

Bearleigh Fri 31-Jul-15 21:25:04

The daughter of a friend got into SPGS from a state primary with no coaching. She got a 100% bursary too. She's very bright but not a genius, and not that hardworking, and not doing lots of extra curricular stuff either. She's a lovely girl, and I gather has made a lot of friends of all sorts. Don't feel intimidated OP - go for it.

AltoPalo Sat 01-Aug-15 09:49:07

Thank you all.

Money will be the huge issue for us. We have three children and if we ended up sending all to SPGS or equivalent it would cost our combined after tax income! So it's a bursary or nothing but I'm not sure we earn little enough to qualify. We will see.

DD is an enthusiastic reader but I don't tend to discuss what she reads so I will definitely address that. She has lots of outside interests including an instrument but I don't think she is amazing at any. What grade do you need to be by Y6 to impress? She has Grade 1 only at end of Y4.

DD was born at the end of August. She has had a year less than some girls to practice instruments, sports etc. I wonder whether they take that into account.

OP’s posts: |
Gruach Sat 01-Aug-15 10:04:30

Do you like to read yourself OP? I'd say the best thing you can do for your DD is to share books with her. Read to her and with her, take turns reading aloud. As wide a variety of material as possible. Pass on any vaguely suitable book you enjoy, encourage her to pass on books to you.

(I'm not intending to patronise - I grew up with parents who did this, still share books with my DM who's in her eighties, and we all enthusiastically press books on the young of the family. My reading often comes via a recommendation from a child. Trust me, apart from pure enjoyment, it works. One hundred percent bursaries to the most sought after schools are perfectly possible ...)

Zodlebud Sat 01-Aug-15 10:30:53

Schools do make a small adjustment for summer born babies. It's only a mark or two but it could make all the difference.

chocolatechip123 Sat 01-Aug-15 10:39:36

Slight detour - at what point do you need to ask about bursaries? I'm not sure about girls, but with boys at 13+ entry you can be having them sit an examexam/ get offers when they are ten years old. A lot can happen to a family in 2 years.

chocolatechip123 Sat 01-Aug-15 10:41:49

With music - I think grade 5 by year 9 is a decent target. A friend of DS got a music scholarship to go into year 7 and he is now working for grade 6.

ealingwestmum Sat 01-Aug-15 10:42:13

Good luck with it all Alto. I have no idea on bursary applications but the posters on here with knowledge of 100% offers sounds very encouraging.

You have over a year to decide, the deadline for applications is Nov Y6 and if your DD has the natural innate ability that SPGS seeks, then she'll shine.

Can't comment on what you do with your other DC - always the challenge but conversely, maybe don't think that far ahead and get DD1 sorted first?!

I know, a simplistic view but that's where I'm at this Saturday morning smile

ealingwestmum Sat 01-Aug-15 10:47:49

If your DD is not applying for music scholarships then her level doesn't really matter. She can still contribute to music life and continue to develop at school.

SPGS look for circa G6+ at time of application on first instrument so the bar is very high, and then further shortlist subject to passing of the tests, Most of the other local selectives look for G5+, with GDST around G4+.

basildonbond Sat 01-Aug-15 10:51:34

SPGS is the most expensive girls' school in London so even if you got say a 50% bursary you'd still have to fund a hefty chunk.

Before you even talk about the possibility of going to your dd you should have a chat with the bursar at St Paul's and ask them what kind of support would be likely or possible with your level of income.

Every year there are threads on MN started by distraught parents whose children have been offered a bursary to go to the school of their dreams but it's not enough so they can't go. You don't want that to be your child. You also don't want your child starting secondary elsewhere feeling that it's second best.

I'm afraid that grade 1 by the end of Y4 wouldn't be enough to make a difference (although your dd may be bright enough/sparky enough in the interview for that not to matter). At dd's selective secondary the musicians are jaw-droppingly good - there are two grade 8 violinists in her year (just finished Y7) and a jazz pianist who is so accomplished he could turn professional now and they've all come from state primaries.

Good luck, but be realistic - especially with two more children to sort out - and make sure you talk up the alternatives

ealingwestmum Sat 01-Aug-15 10:53:35

Final comment on the music scholarships, looks like they've just changed their policy for 2016. Previously it was an 'honorary' type award (I think £100) but has now changed to £1560 per annum for 5 years - value of 2 x free music lessons fees.

That's a more positive contribution!

chocolatechip123 Sat 01-Aug-15 10:54:14

DS got offers from 2 good london boys schools so here's my tuppenceworth.

He likes sport - not mad keen but likes team and individual ones and likes doing gradings and galas.

He isn't artsy - but loves doing computer graphics and programming.

Big reader - anything at all

Subjects - very good at maths, loves languages and science. Enjoys writing stories for fun, taking photos and making things in 3d.

Character - very chatty, polite, funny. Is very happy to chat /boss adults and loves to talk to people and ask questions.

He enjoys puzzles (we all do) - the back of the second section of the Times is fought over at our house.

Enthusiasm - he us a very enthusiastic kid, and buzzes around always asking questions, making up word puzzles, being curious. He's quite sparky and not a quiet, serious type.

We did MGS papers.

AltoPalo Sat 01-Aug-15 19:47:52

Now this thread is scaring me. The summer school was very normal and encouraging but when I read about kids on grade 6 music aged 11, or kids who read adult novels in year 4 etc I just return to thinking these schools aren't for us even if we could afford it.

DD1 is pretty normal really. Enthusiastic about life and inquisitive but not a prodigy by any stretch of the imagination. I wonder where she wouldn't do better at our local state school where she will sine rather than SPSG where she certainly wouldn't be top of anything. I was a talented girl at a normal state school and it did wonders for my confidence.

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ealingwestmum Sat 01-Aug-15 20:26:18

Not meant to scare you Alto, but you have raised some valid points. What started off for us from Y4 by my DD's request to move, St Paul's being the top of the mountain, was by Y6, her worst nightmare. She still went through the process (for her own satisfaction/ego I think.

She is not super bright, but driven, and enjoys the stuff she does. She did not feel at home there, and was so relieved when she was able to walk away and secure a place for the school that 'wooed her' for who she was.

She has a huge respect for girls that have secured and accepted places (as have I), but it wasn't for her. Hence the comments from people that children do change a lot between Y4 to Y6. There's a lot to be said for being able to sing as you put it within your cohort, follow your intuition on what's best for your DD1.

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