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Notable omissions from Tatler Schools Guide (South East)

(72 Posts)
nightsky010 Thu 29-Oct-15 18:29:23

A friend and I were looking at the Tatler Schools Guide (South East area) and noticed quite a few schools which were surprisingly absent. Can anyone provide insights on why this would be?

I assume they consider aspects such as exam resilts, exit results / uni destinations, quality of teaching, facilities, financial stability of the school, type of pupils, how fashionable the school is, direction the Head is trying to take the school in etc ? But even taking the above into account there are still some schools omitted which I would expect to see.

Examples from the south east area:

Somerhill / Yardly Court, Tonbridge:
It has never been in the guide afaik. This is the main feeder school for Tonbridge FGS! How can it not be in there? Doesn't it tick all the boxes above? Other Preps included in the area are Holmwood House (every year) & Rose Hill (dropped out recently).

Rose Hill, Tunbridge Wells:
Was in there 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 but not 2016. Wonder why it's dropped out for 2016? It's got great exits & results. Has it also become unfashionable?

Hilden Grange, Tonbridge:
Has never been included, anyone surprised by that? (Hope I'm referring to the correct school there!)

Lancing College, West Sussex:
In the guide 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 but NOT 2015, 2016. Doesn't this school have a national reputation? Isn't it very old & established? Very famous Chapel, even has a farm. Has it become unfashionable? Why did it drop out? I did see it's not been the top performer in the county for several years as its been 2nd place to Ardingly College which has the highest results in the county (in the guide for every year). Could that be why? Plenty of schools with lower results are in.

Ashdown House, East Sussex:
Did this drop out of the guide around the time of the terrible allegations?? That would explain it. It's back in now.

Insights / speculation / comments appreciated!

granolamuncher Fri 30-Oct-15 00:48:51

It never ceases to astonish me that people take The Tatler Schools Guide seriously. Please don't, nightsky. It's only a frivolous offshoot of a gossip magazine, published for the sake of advertising revenue from some particularly snobbish schools.

nightsky010 Fri 30-Oct-15 03:35:45

A bit like the Good Schools Guide is designed to generate subscriptions revenue then? We could argue bias with most school guides. At least Tatler do view the schools in question, unlike GSG or Spectator AFAIK.

I didn't mean that to sound snarky btw :-)

Don't worry, I don't take it that seriously... But I'm still interested in the 'snob value' of particular schools.

granolamuncher Fri 30-Oct-15 08:02:18

Yes, The Good Schools Guide should also be read with a sceptical eye. It is a owned by Lord Lucas of Crudwell (,_12th_Baron_Lucas), a Liveryman of the Mercers Company, which runs SPS, SPGS, Abingdon, the Hall etc.

To see The Tatler visiting a school and just how superficial its research is, check out this excerpt from a BBC documentary, which has Michael Halls of KCS Wimbledon declaring that the guide actually matters (enough to put any sensible parent off in the unlikely event they could afford the fees which have risen astronomically on his watch):

Eastpoint Fri 30-Oct-15 08:45:29

Do all the schools which appear in the Tatler Guide, apart from the ones they really couldn't leave out (eg Westminster, Eton, Winchester, St Paul's) advertise in Tatler?

SettlinginNicely Fri 30-Oct-15 08:53:44

Tatler is a pretty trashy magazine. Have you seen the other thread currently running in AIBU about a Tatler piece on Brooklyn Beckham? They would not be my guide to anything as serious as education or the money spent to fund it.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Fri 30-Oct-15 10:15:26

All of these books are just advertising and waffle. Awards won by Indy schools whether they be from Tatler or even the Sunday Times are awarded to the schools with the biggest PR budget. So you will see awards for schools like Wellington and Kings College who are PR mad, and awards to flagship schools of big chains with big PR budgets like Guildford High. I can't remember the last time Westminster, Winchester, St Pauls, Eton, Wycombe Abbey won an award which in itself speaks volumes.

If The Economist started running a fashion supplement we would all laugh for 5 minutes and then ignore it. Why does Tatler get all this attention?

MarsTwirl Fri 30-Oct-15 10:18:00

Tatler miss out some of the top performing, most opportunity-rich schools. It is more which schools they get a chance to visit (head invites, they have time to visit etc). Schools probably pay or have to advertise in tatler.
It is interesting to read but certainly wouldn't guide my school choices.

Ruggles Fri 30-Oct-15 10:22:19

Hi Mars - would be very interested to know which top performing / opportunity rich schools you mean. Thanks

chantico Fri 30-Oct-15 10:33:22

As posted on the other thread (had you realised it double posted?)

"Can anyone provide insights on why this would be?"

Because, apart from the big name schools which they could not omit, the featured schools are those which have paid to advertise in the relevant supplements.

Look at who is advertising, and them who is written up.

(Schools cannot pay to be included in GSG. And yes, they GSG visit the schools (don't know how often) and use parent reporters as well as staff visits).

IndridCold Fri 30-Oct-15 11:15:56

I can't speak for all of them, but a friend of mine is a GSG inspector, and she is extremely thorough and conscientious in her work. She has ruffled a few schools' feathers in her time too when she has said things as she has seen them!

wurzeldrink Fri 30-Oct-15 11:40:59

Interesting,just had a look at the websites for the preps and they all seemed pretty so so.Very local client base and children going to local schools,lots leaving at 11(kent),so certainly didnt seem like glaring omissions to me,none of the leavers seemed to be going to top tier schools,plenty of prep/private primary schools all over the country just like them.
Lancing-decent enough school but again,every area of the country has schools as good-decent local school,strong local reputation but nothing more,every area has old established schools,doesnt mean they should all be in a good schools guide.,or that it isnt a good school,but many many schools of a similar calibre can be found.
Dont buy the advertising line,very few of the schools in the guide advertise in the magazine
Guides are just that...guides..nothing more nothing less,treat them all with a pinch of salt,read between the lines.

Clavinova Fri 30-Oct-15 19:31:45

Lord Lucas and Tatler both acknowledge your sentiments on rising school fees granolamucher;

Have you misquoted Michael Hall though granola? At the beginning of the BBC documentary what he actually says is, 'It matters to us how we're perceived everywhere.' He acknowledges that The Tatler Guide is 'more fizzy and fun' (compared to The Good Schools Guide) but 'quite accurate'.

If you read the ISI (inspection) reports for the schools you've listed op, with the exception of Yardley Court perhaps, there are a few negative comments which presumably Tatler have also read or noticed for themselves - boarding doesn't sound very appealing at Lancing College for example.

nightsky010 Fri 30-Oct-15 20:59:37

Granola - thanks for the info, interesting!

Eastpoint & Chantico - I tried to find a list of advertisers but I can't. So I could only tell by flicking through the mag, but I don't even read it!

SettingIn - yes it's trashy and snobby, but it's very influential too!

Cake - I agree about the PR budget, but I'd like to hope there are exceptions. There's one school I know of which is in the guide and they are not very famous, spend FA on PR and have a shit website plus few flashy facilities.

Clavinova - unfortunately that headline in behind a paywall, but I laughed at the headline!

I get that Tatler isn't exactly the most reliable source for school reviews, but it is influential and im still curious about what schools Tatler thinks its readers might like.

Wurzeldrink & Clavinova, I'll reply regarding particular schools in a minute :-)

HeiressesGiltnor Fri 30-Oct-15 21:03:25

Schools have to 'request' Tatler to come in, as far as I know. I would assume money also changes hands!

I've worked in two v good, thriving & large prep schools, neither or which featured. Why? We didn't need to advertise. Both schools were full to the brim and had a great rep. Interestingly, neither school had official open days either. You would just make a private appt for a tour and come round during a regular school day.

nightsky010 Fri 30-Oct-15 21:30:39

Clavinova - I've just read the ISI again for Lancing, Yardly Court / Somerhill & Rose Hill. I agree about the boarding at Lancing. Rose Hill had a few minor things too, and the EYFS at Yardly Court does not sound stunning (was graded Good, quite a few comments) But surely there must be schools included which have worse? (Though admittedly I've never found one in the guide which is below ISI Excellent.)

Wurzeldrink - regarding Lancing, I was under the impression it's a lot more famous than perhaps it is? I thought it did have a modest national reputation. But then I don't know - I'd consider Bradfield and Bryanston might have a modest national reputation, but perhaps not? And I assume Wellington is pretty famous, but maybe I'm wrong and it's just super fashionable with Londoners? What about Canford (or do I mean Clifton?) Oakham? I didn't think Oakham was at all famous, but then someone told me otherwise! So maybe I'm a bit clueless?

As for the Preps (Holmwood, Yardley Ct, Rose Hill, Ashdown) I agree that none are major feeders for Westminster, SPS, Eton, Harrow, Winchester, but I'm not sure schools like that exist outside of London (for Westminster & SPS) or the 5 or so Berkshire preps which are big feeders for Eton & Harrow, Winchester and then the various official local feeders for other big Publics..... Admittedly I've not looked at exits for other well known preps in different bits of the country such as Dragon / Summerfields but I can't imagine they're too different from the Preps in my list? Ashdown has some every year to Eton / Harrow & has famous alumni, Holmwood afaik sends some to Eton / Harrow / Charterhouse and Yardley Court is the feeder for Tonbridge (though my perceptions of how famous or good Tonbridge is may be squewed due to being a local).

nightsky010 Fri 30-Oct-15 21:46:29

Heiress - I doubt payments would be made, but advertising contracts and perks of the job, yes. Were they Preps in the Home Counties? Hard to speculate without knowing specifics, but great for your preps that were able to fill their spaces so easily.

fastdaytears Fri 30-Oct-15 21:56:15

Can't comment on Tonbridge because I didn't know it existed but I do know a few people who went to Lancing and they are quite staggeringly average (being generous) but did seem to enjoy school. I did not know that there was a farm though and I will be asking about that for sure. How amazing.

I didn't know anyone took the Tatler guide seriously. I find Tatler itself fairly amusing in a frothy-pointless-sparkly-dresses way but I probably won't be basing any major life choices on anything that comes out of that brand (other than the eligible bachelor of the month they still do that?)

fastdaytears Fri 30-Oct-15 22:03:28

God isn't Google stalky and weird sometimes! I had two siblings and the Dragon a LONG time ago and no idea where their classmates went on to afterwards, but now I can find out what a bunch of 12 year olds I don't know are up to.
Anyway, lots of fancy places so I think the Dragon probably does deserve to be in all the guides plus the uniform is pretty cute (is that a criteria?).

nightsky010 Fri 30-Oct-15 23:06:29

Interesting you've never heard of Tonbridge. If you don't mind me asking, are you Oxfordshire sort of area / north of London?

I googled for more about Lancing. It's got 550 acres, famous chapel (biggest school chapel in the world or some such) a farm on which students can 'work', equestrian centre due to open for riding and pupil livery, plus some swanky new buildings as well as the old ones. Results are very respectable but not stunning.

I agree Dragon deserves to be in there. However the Dragon exits list does at first glance have lots of fancy places, but you notice the places listed are not specifically for 2013, and that it talks about 'top' destinations. Therefore I read the list as 'the best schools to which we have ever sent kids' rather than 'schools to which we sent children in 2013'.... I imagine using the criteria Dragon used for that list that most Preps could come up with a comparable one?

Haha! I don't read Tatler (except for the annual Schools issues) so I'm not sure about eligible bachelor of the month! I wonder what they do to review those ;-)

fastdaytears Fri 30-Oct-15 23:58:09

Oxfordshire, yes.

You're missing out with bachelor of the month. If it's still a thing.

Orbiting Sat 31-Oct-15 05:45:46

Having watched Granola's excerpt on KCS I can now understand why some schools are highly scored by Tatler. A 10 million music school designed by Glyndebourne architect. Did I hear that right (and that was after the the head regretting another capital building project of an atrium?). I would hope that was a selectively edited interview but it does bring to mind the quote 'vanities, vanities all is vanities' rather than emphasis on a good education.

MarmiteAndButter Sat 31-Oct-15 05:54:41

No money changes hands. No advertising is required.

My DH was always praised in the tatler school guide as an inspirational head. That bit is true grin

fastdaytears Sat 31-Oct-15 07:46:58

Marmite that's fantastic! Hope you have it casually open on a coffee table at home when people call in...

nightsky010 Mon 02-Nov-15 02:49:41

That made me snigger! :-)

That part was as I expected from Tatler.... But there are actually some remarkably unattractive / unswanky schools in the guide too! But they could hardly miss out KCS anyway!

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