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LMS vs Tiffin Girls Sixth Form

(14 Posts)
evestaywith Fri 21-Aug-15 12:09:47

Hi there. DD has been offered a place at both LMS and Tiffin Sixth Form from September 2015. We are having a very hard time deciding which one she should go to (she's actually had other options but we've decided that these 2 would best suit her). For a long time we thought LMS would be the better option since it's a smaller and as we heard from many sources friendlier school. Almost everyone we met mentioned Tiffin being very competitive and too much results driven. I'm a bit concerned that if we go for Tiffin my dd would feel too pressurised. She's been to both induction days and felt slightly better at Tiffin (must say she's a bit shy and found it a bit hard to fit in at LMS). Any other opinions about these schools?

PS: Heard LMS's head mistress is retiring; does anyone know anything about that?

Fatfreefaff Fri 21-Aug-15 12:29:16

I would not recommend TGS. My own daughter went into Sixth from the lower school and hated it. A girl in her year wrote an open letter to the leadership which many signed, complaining about the relentless pressure - nothing is ever good enough - and lack of pastoral care. My dd left last summer and I hope it has improved but I doubt it.

evestaywith Fri 21-Aug-15 12:57:35

Thank you Fatfreefaff, I really appreciate it. Did you find that the teachers were pushy or even the girls themselves?

KingscoteStaff Fri 21-Aug-15 13:56:57

What's the difference in travel? Are you right in the middle or significantly nearer one?

6th form is stressful enough without a massive commute - particularly if she's likely to be doing music/drama after school.

Which is the larger intake, proportionately? I know that LMS have a big 'clear out' after GCSE as they only offer A level and won't allow girls to continue a subject without a B or above (A in Maths).

Fatfreefaff Fri 21-Aug-15 14:22:22

Evestaywith, I think the teachers are interested in the Oxbridge applicants and they get a lot of help, other uni applicants less so. They err on the side of caution when predicting grades, which certainly affected DD. There is an attitude that anything less than an A* is a fail.

There are some cliques and girls do push themselves and some have family pressure. Altogether it was a miserable 2 years. Anxiety, self harming and eating disorders are rife in the school.

evestaywith Fri 21-Aug-15 15:31:29

KingscoteStaff: Well location wouldn't necessarily be a problem since we are renting and looking to move asap. Indeed, it is very important that she can easily commute to school since she does enjoy taking part in extra-curriculars.

I'm not sure which one has the larger intake. DD got accepted into both yesterday in the light of the GCSE results.

evestaywith Fri 21-Aug-15 15:39:09

Fatfreefaff, ok what you are saying certainly makes the choice easier. My dd is very keen on applying to Oxbridge but not to the expense of becoming a nervous rack because of school pressure. Still she was thinking that Tiffin being stronger academically this would help her more with her A-levels. But we would not want to compromise on the social side nevertheless.

The atmosphere you are describing sounds awful. We will most probably take your advice and go for LMS. Thanks for your help.

Fatfreefaff Fri 21-Aug-15 16:09:58

I think that LMS would also have expertise in filling in the UCAS form and preparing them for interview.

Bear in mind that TGS gets great results because all the girls are very clever - some are exceptional. Some teaching was good - some quite poor. Girls are tutored in Sixth even very clever ones.

As your daughter is Oxbridge material she will do well at any reasonable school.

DD2 has a friend in LMS from primary who is going into L6 who is rather loud! - DD feels that girl'sfriends are rather snobby and she didn't apply there for that reason. I always think the girls there seem nice though. Perhaps they feel a bit intimated by new girls.

evestaywith Fri 21-Aug-15 18:13:03

That's precisely what I thought. It's not necessarily that Tiffin is excellent but the girls who get accepted.

Myself I thought the LMS girls were really nice when I saw them (from a distance) and was really surprised to hear that my dd found them rather cliquey. And perhaps yes, they are a bit awkward to new girls but I think she would fit in ok once they get to know each other and all.

What you're saying about their application expertise is encouraging. This was indeed one of my concerns. So let's hope for the best!

Ripeningapples Sat 22-Aug-15 08:20:58

If your daughter felt more comfortable with the Tiffin 6th form then surely you have your answer? Personally, I would opt for Tiffin and here are the reasons why:

LMS has been on a downward slide for a number of years now. Just look at the year on year decline vis a vis GCSEs and to an extent A'Levels too. Look also at how the 6th form numbers have been decreasing year on year for the last three or four years also. These things surely tell you that something is gravely wrong underneath the impression the school likes to create. Have you compared the results of both schools objectively?

Add to the above some pockets of very poor teaching (I don't know what subjects you daughter wants to study) that are never dealt with and the fact that there is a high churn of staff and questions need to be asked. The last Ofsted report whilst grading the rest of the School Outstanding graded the 6th form as Good.

There have been enormous problems at this school at SLT level and this has trickled down to impact the motivation of the staff. Some very good ones are leaving this year.

A new head starts in September and I really hope she gets the school back on track and gets it heading upwards again. it really is a huge positive but if I had the choice between LMS and Tiffin I'm not certain I'd be convinced that she could make a big enough impact, especially in relation to building up a really good and motivated staff again, quickly enough for this year's 6th form intake.

The schools admissions policy changed about seven years ago and the school now is dealing with the legacy of this. It is more transparent which is brilliant but if you admit a broader cohort you have to manage it and the school has not done so.

If your daughter is an A* student and extremely bright then Tiffin would be a no brainer for me. If you feel she is not quite in that league then perhaps I would consider LMS but I think it would be a high risk decision at present. Ultimately though it's your daughter's decision and I would listen to the concerns she has already voiced - she needs to feel happy about whichever school you chose. We didn't listen properly to our own daughter because we thought we knew better. We have reaped that in spades.

Self harm, anorexia and anxiety is rife throughout most of the high performing London schools by the way and can happen anywhere. It is least likely to happen if your daughter is happy and feels in control of her destiny.

JanetBlyton Sat 22-Aug-15 09:43:19

yes, for the reasons above and daughter's prefernce Tiffin sounds best.

Fatfreefaff Sat 22-Aug-15 10:42:07

There are other schools in the area. Greycoats, Camden, Marylebone. I am sure they all accept late applications with a string of A/A*

evestaywith Sat 22-Aug-15 18:13:00

Thank you Ripeningapples, I've noticed as well that Lady Margaret didn't do that well results wise lately and what you say about the reasons why that happened certainly makes sense.

My dd intends to study English, Economics, History and Maths. Would you happen to know anything about these departments? At the induction day she met most of the teachers and liked them.

Regarding the fact that it is her choice ultimately and I should respect that I couldn't agree more. I don't only want her to thrive academically but also to enjoy herself and make good friends. But she is not convinced Tiffin is the place for her either! She hates places where there's lots of peer pressure and not much pastoral care (this being the case at her Secondary School). As I said up until very recently we were very happy about Lady Margaret and only had the other schools as a second option. She absolutely loves the area and the extra-curriculars offered there (to be quite frank so do I).

Fatfreefaff, yes I suppose they would accept us but from my opinion it would be a bit late to start the research since I know very little about the schools. Thanks for the suggestions anyway, it's something to keep in mind.

Considering all these factors I think me and my dd both agree that LMS would better suit us. Although there is the obvious risk factor with the changing leadership as well as the declining school ethos no school is perfect; as you mentioned if she's up for it she can perform very well anywhere and I doubt that she would not be given reasonable support for say university and the like.

Thank you all again, you've been very helpful and definitely made our decision so much easier.

poppy176 Sun 11-Sep-16 22:15:42

I wonder if you could give me some advice. My daughter has just started LMS in the sixth form. I know that she has only been there for a week but so far she hash't been too impressed with the level of teaching in some of her classes. Please let me know what your daughter's experience has been at the school both socially and academically. Thank you.

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