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SW London Independents - where do the "bottom" 80% end up?

(120 Posts)
Shirleycantbe Mon 19-Oct-15 13:37:15

My DD is in year 6 and preparing for the 11+ in SW London. A daunting process not helped by the fact that she has processing speed issues. She is however very bright - top 5% and higher in standardised tests (eg CAT). So we are just hoping that this will be recognised and some allowance made on the basis of her ed psych report.

As part of my obsessive panic research, I've been looking through the mumsnet threads on the whole 11+ topic and secondary schools in this area and all I read seems to imply that even the slightly "less" scarily academic options (from this I'm assuming Surbiton High/Emanuel/Ibstock/St Catherines) still look for kids in the top 10-20% of the cohort. Stories of children with level 5 and 6 SATs not even getting interviews etc etc.

Where does this leave the rest of the children in the year?! I am personally interested because my younger DD (yr 3) is not top 10%. Maybe top 25% ish at this stage. Will she seriously get in to none of these private schools? Or is this categorisation of which schools cream off which % of kids by ability somehow flawed? I know it is getting more and more competitive but it seems insane if the majority of children sitting the tests are basically wasting their time...

eddielizzard Mon 19-Oct-15 13:41:52

i'd like to know this too, and my children aren't in the top 20%. god knows what we're going to do because we're not in the catchment for any state schools either.

great. paying 60% tax, no state school place and can't get into any independent schools.

will we have to move in order to get an education for our kids?

majurormi Mon 19-Oct-15 13:45:07

She might not get in. The schools have their choice of the brightest who will get the best results with the least amount of support. It is a profit business. Most who do not succeed will go to state. Many others will stay on until 13 and go boarding. There are a few schools that are easier to get in right now, but the competition is fierce. More House (girls), Kew House (co-ed), The Hall (boys). The international schools are an option but much more expensive, Southbank, ASL, ACS... Or look further aftield, Notre Dame, Epson, Box Hill. My ds was a solid level 5 and did not get in anywhere, luckily we ended up at a top church school which was our backup. It is a tough system.

SunnySomer Mon 19-Oct-15 13:48:07

Eddie - I'm going to sound really stupid, and apologise in advance for this, but how is it possible not to be in catchment for any state schools? Or do you mean, any state schools you'd like? Doesn't the LEA have a responsibility to place children into a school?
(Northern, rural ignoramus here)

Ancienchateau Mon 19-Oct-15 13:59:37

Off the top of my head, I can think of 3 girls who got into 2 of the schools you mention this year. They were all very much bottom half of their year in their "outstanding" SW London primary of highly tutored kids. I also know of a boy who failed to get into any of the schools he sat and was offered a late chance to sit for another on your list and he got in. My point being, they do get somewhere. Probably not in the first round but via the wait list or parental ringing round.

eddielizzard Mon 19-Oct-15 14:12:42

not stupid at all. you're right - just not any schools we'd like ie. none of the local ones.

all my local schools are heavily over-subscribed. some of my friends can actually SEE a school but can't get a place as it's so over-subscribed.

we were offered a place at the opposite end of the borough that at the time was failing (hence the large catchment area, no-one wanted to go there). logistically a nightmare, and a very poor ofsted.

sw15mum Mon 19-Oct-15 14:28:47

Also thinking of our also 'outstanding' SW London State Primary all the children got schools in the end- about 2/3 private including all the schools mentioned by the OP. Most had at least 2 offers and some had more. Most were probably tutored to some degree but that was more in exam practise etc as they are not prepared by their school. They can't all be in the top 20ish% although I guess it's hard to compare across schools?

sw15mum Mon 19-Oct-15 14:34:32

Sorry- meant to say that last year they all got schools...

wheresthebeach Mon 19-Oct-15 15:03:12

If you're set on private then maybe move your yr 3 DD into Emanuel for year 6. They have two classes there now and its a good way to get your DD prepared. Emanuel also have a sibling policy so if your eldest gets in the youngest has a much lower pass rate to get over. I'd look into sibling policy at Surbiton and St Catherine's as well.

But yes, it's tough everywhere now. We're in the middle of high birth rate years and it will ease off in a few years time....

Shirleycantbe Mon 19-Oct-15 15:15:27

Wow, and I thought it was stressful with DD1! We have only 1 (not at all ok) state option so it will have to be private. Can't stay at prep school past 11 either.

Beginning to wonder if I should start tutoring DD2 in Yr 3..... insanity.

This whole system sucks.

I will wait and see what happens to the kids in DD1s year though - the school is non selective and I know many of the middle set are aiming for Ibstock, Surbiton, St James, Francis Holland - if they get places there is surely hope for my DD2...

GinandJag Mon 19-Oct-15 15:19:10

I don't think there are many private schools only looking at the top 10%. There are lots of myths and assumptions. The best thing is to be open with the senior school. Make an appointment with the headteacher and be open about your child's abilities and struggles. They will let you know if their school is appropriate.

My DDs' school is selective and the girls get mostly A* and A at GCSE (my DD got 10 A*). They also promote being well-rounded. Their entrance exam is a maths paper and an English comprehension and related creative writing. They don't do VR/NVR. They target the top 50% but because of their selection process the odd weaker candidate gets a place.

If you are on the Waterloo - Richmond line, it might be the place for your daughter.

TalkinPeece Mon 19-Oct-15 15:34:41

but how is it possible not to be in catchment for any state schools?
Very, very easy, particularly in London.
Lots of houses built, no new school places.
I know of whole roads that are not in catchment for any school at all.

Shirleycantbe Mon 19-Oct-15 15:54:43

We are on that line GinandJag - could you tell me the school? Top. 50% sounds much more doable...

HeighHoghItsBacktoWorkIGo Mon 19-Oct-15 15:55:11

OP, I don't know your area, but I've just been through all this. My advice would be:

1. Prepare your DD for the entrance tests (Don't go crazy, but at the same time don't be seduced by those saying no practice is necessary. Everyone else is practising and you are in a head to head competition. Not nice, but truthful.)

2. Apply to at least 4 schools (Again, not nice, but unless everyone else agrees to scale back, the logic of the situation pretty much forces you to do so.)

3. Finally, rest assured that all private schools are not looking at just the top 10% or 20%. They all like to say it. They all want to give that impression. London is crowded and there is pressure on places which is raising standards, but it has not gone that far yet. For example, a school may tell you that they have 500 students sit the entrance test for 100 places. What they don't tell you is how many offers they are making. They may be offering places to 250, or 300 DC to fill their places because the applicants are all applying to 5 to 7 different schools and each child can ultimately only go to one school.

It's a vicious circle with a lot of hysteria. I think searching the 11+ Forum for more information and gossip about your target schools might be helpful.

AFewGoodWomen Mon 19-Oct-15 15:55:47

So what do the families who cannot / will not pay for private do in these areas?

TeddTess Mon 19-Oct-15 15:57:20

re girls, i would estimate that:

top 5% end up in SPGS/LEH/Guildford High/Tiffin
top 10-20% end up in KGS, Wimbledon High, Putney High
top 30% end up in Surbiton High

then there is also St Catherine's, Radnor House, Sir William Perkins, Claremont, Marymount, Notre Dame

Radnor House are changing their entry to one main intake in yr5 which is interesting (and makes a lot of sense imo)

these are the ones i know of in SW outer London. not sure of the schools closer to London.

that's not to say there aren't top 1% in all the schools above, just the general "how difficult to get into" hierarchy

TalkinPeece Mon 19-Oct-15 16:04:28

So what do the families who cannot / will not pay for private do in these areas?
They apply for super-selectives in other boroughs up to 15 miles away
They hope to get a not too shit allocation in another area
or they move out of London

it is unbelievably grim

your estimates make no mention of 60% of the kids
where do THEY go?

GinandJag Mon 19-Oct-15 16:14:24


It's Sir William Perkins's School in Chertsey.

From London, the girls take the train to Staines and then switch to the Weybridge line. There are loads of girls from Twickenham, Richmond and Putney on the train, plus a school coach from Twickenham.

chickindude Mon 19-Oct-15 16:24:10

There are 1200 children sitting for KGS in January.
There are 120 places, they will interview 300.
A child I know sat the exam last year. Very able. Top of top set. Child didn't get in. Mother phoned to ask what marks the child got in the exam.
89% in maths 80% in English. Very worrying.

Shirleycantbe Mon 19-Oct-15 16:29:29

That is terrifying chickindude. My DDs school is not a hot house (ie doesn't do the whole 11+ prep very well) and even the top third of the top set ( including my DD1) are infrequently getting those sorts of marks. And DD1 has CAT scores in the 99th percentile.

DD2 is going to have a shock.

Thanks for the info GinandJag - I will definitely take a look at it!

originalmavis Mon 19-Oct-15 16:29:54

What does your school advise? There must be a member of staff who manages the leavers.

Is she good at sport, arts or music? I know a few children who aren't brilliant at exams but were offered places on the basis of their art, music, sport or even dance drama skills.

originalmavis Mon 19-Oct-15 16:32:50

Does the school go to 13+? Would you consider sending her to a school that does to 'polish' her up? There's a big difference between 11 and 13 with some children.

Moominmammacat Mon 19-Oct-15 16:43:31

One of my DSs got 25% extra time for one of the North London selectives because he was dyspraxic ... perhaps you could get it for processing issues?

TeddTess Mon 19-Oct-15 17:06:38

the other 70% go to

St Catherine's, Radnor House, Sir William Perkins, Claremont, Marymount, Notre Dame

and that's just the SW London/Surrey border ones. there are plenty more deeper in Surrey.

TeddTess Mon 19-Oct-15 17:12:19

and from our non selective state primary last year EVERYONE who applied privately got a place. really don't panic.

5 years ago people thought of KGS/Surbiton high as back ups to LEH. It's not like that anymore.

I should have added St George's to the above list at the same level as say Surbiton High.

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