St John's Leatherhead(25 Posts)
Would be grateful for any comments from current parents, or those that know the school.
Bit concerned about good school guide comment: 'parents tell us that hard work and academic success is not universally seen as cool ....' Hoping a parent is going to step forward and disagree (rest of report is good). I know these reports aren't everything but...
One of the reasons we are looking at indies is our experience of this at the local high achieving comp, depending on set....Ds cares slightly too much what others think.
If your DS is RGS, Hampton, Kings Wimbledon, Wellington, Epsom etc. level, then those schools are generally ranked far more highly. Possibly for the very reason you quote. St John's seems very good but due to the high numbers of selective schools it is surrounded by, it does take the tier below and it's co-ed nature seems to lead to a very different cohort than the slightly more selectives.
We experienced DDs two different schools. One in a very academic school (which we found to be laid back and just have an ambitious, hard working is normal type atmosphere) and other DD in probably an all-girls equivalent of St John's (marketed itself on being all about extracurricular, relaxed, supportive).
We would go for the academic school any day, even if DD was low in the year group there as DD at the other school experienced just the atmosphere you talk about - it simply was not cool to work, the girls with behaviour/friendship/social etc issues got far more attention and the school was so busy 'not pushing' DD came out with Cs but was capable of As...And since has retaken and got them.
DD at the academic school did just as much sport, had just as much of a social life and was just as happy and supported...
I would say that the Good Schools Guide comment is bolleaux actually.
St Johns is a very broad church- everything from the rugger buggers to the musicians, to the party girls, to the mathmos, to the not particularly stellar in anything in particulars. Yes the results don't always compare brilliantly to other local schools but it doesn't really pretend to be "just" an academic school. My boy is in his final year and I can honestly say that others' academic achievements (or otherwise) have never been a source of conversation or judgment and his social circle contains those destined to Oxford and to ex-Polys alike. Everyone finds their niche in my experience and achieve to their abilities in a supportive (but fairly vigorous) environment.
Thank you both for your thoughts.
MarsTwirl, my ds is not RGS level (well not without fairly extensive tutoring).
It seems to me that it is becoming increasingly more competitive to gain entry to many of the local boys schools, I have heard and been told on another school open day, that far greater number of boys are accepting the schools which were their 'back up' for RGS/Hampton. I am sure then, many of these schools are changing with every cohort admitted and may look quite different in a few years time.
Homebythesea, can I ask what you mean by a vigorous environment ? What I am really looking for is a school where he can fulfil academic potential (ie a bit of prodding and encouragement to not just 'get by') and where he can have positive self esteem, as I can see this is potential issue with him.
Vigorous in that there's lots going on, all are expected to pitch in. The house system is great because there's nowhere to hide, all are expected to take part in something, and a real team spirit ensues. St. John's has really got the best out of my not particularly stellar at anything boy, and he is exceeding academic expectations compared to when he started, and has found a sport he loves to do (something he had not experienced prior). They are streamed very well so if he is very bright in any particular subject he will not be the odd one out. GCSE subjects have 7 streams.
But I agree with you that the relentless ramping up of the academic expectations doesn't serve our not particularly academic boys very well in this area. I'm not sure he would get in if today's protesting etc existed when we were applying 5 years ago!
I wonder if anyone has any impression about St Johns Leatherhead, particularly under the “new administration”, just started last September . DD applying there as first option, we don’t want single sex or boarding .
For 11plus this year with exams next week they are overwhelmed by applicants especially boys, it is very popular at the moment with great pastoral care and a lovely Lower School building.
Thanks so much. I knew it was going to be hard . We will see .
From all I have heard via several parents with children in (DS and DD) it is a fantastic school and their children love the school and the parents do too. Good luck to your DD.
Sunshine5050, have you had the exam yet? How did it go? Wondering what the options were for the writing section? Example paper seems to suggest they don't give children a choice. Seem different to other schools.
Sorry no we are on the last date, I'm mainly concerned about the parking! I wouldn't worry about the set out of the paper at this stage, the last 2 English papers my ds has sat have been continuation pieces.
Letters are in the post, the Prep Schools know already, fingers crossed!
Exciting times! But why would they tell the schools first?
This is normal practice, the Prep schools know in advance by around 24 hours.
I wonder what the thinking is? As a 'feeder' school I know Downsend had about 40 kids, so I was told, taking the exam so maybe they feel obligated to inform them in advance.
It's so prep schools can assist parents if they don't get offered.
We are trying to choose between St. Johns and Claremont Fan Court for our DS to start in Year 7 this Sept. In year 9 St. John's will end up costing around £9,000 more per year than Claremont!! In year 6 and 7 it's around £1,000 more per term but in Year 9 St. John's gets super pricy. My question is : is it really worth the money? We like St. Johns a lot but equally we like Claremont very much and in Sept the new Head starts at CFC. He's currently the Senior Deputy Head at Kings Wimbledon. I think the school will go from strength to strength. Most people we speak to view St. John's as the better school, the more academic school....We didn't even think our son would get into St. John's so the result has come as a complete surprise. Any insights and advice?
I don’t know anyone at Claremont but had only heard from others that it was a strange school ( this was 3 Year’s ago),I would guess a new Head would make a massive difference.
St Johns has always been a school for the rich but non academic as it’s very pricey but as you can see a very beautiful school. I know many who go there now all love the school but would say their child is not academic more sporty. It is getting more popular so would guess it is getting more of an academic in take.
If money is an issue I would be careful with St J as their trips are pretty pricey too. Maybe worth you having another visit to the schools as it may help you see if there is a difference between the two that makes the money worth it.
Not sure what structure Claremont has but St John utilises what I call a "house comes first" structure. Similar to Epsom College the children at 13 are placed in houses which is the focal point of the school day. Very different to having class/home rooms and occasionally doing things as a house. This is worth paying more fees for in my opinion.
St John's whilst on paper isn't as academic as CLFs or Epsom at the moment I think a lot of it comes down to that years cohort. Demand is really high this year and I suspect results will be 'better; when this in-take completes their GCSEs.
Sazzy5, you seem to know the schools in the area... your insights are helpful. How does City of London Freeman's compare?
Heysunfish lol I know a few schools but things change rapidly with a new Head plus lots of DC are coming out of London which makes entrance exams more difficult to predict. Only one person I know went for COLFEs which they deemed was their academic choice, great school etc their DC didn’t get in but did get into StJ with a scholarship. I don’t really know much about the school other than it is good academically and certainly a sort after school. It is one I would’ve looked at if we were nearer.
Think the key is to know your own child and their personalities.
I knew CLFs wasn't right for us even though on paper is the better school.
I know some with two children at the school and it is great for one of them but not so much for the other.
I personally feel if you are academic and sporty Epsom probably covers that combination the best.
My DS is at St John's, he's doing his GCSEs this year.
It's been a great school for him, took him a year or so to settle but he's happy now. Great pastoral care and the right amount of academic pressure.
The new head hasn't made any major changes yet, but it's still early days. From what I hear it's become lots more difficult to get a place since the junior school has opened.
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