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Godolphin or Latymer Upper?

(41 Posts)
Shirleycantbe Tue 16-Feb-16 08:21:22

DO has been offered places at these 2 schools and I am struggling to choose between them. She is very bright and articulate but with somewhat slow processing (both schools gave her extra time in the exam). She may need some support with managing time and note taking going forward. She is a bit of a dreamer, very kind and gentle, not especially cool, a bit on the sensitive side, above average sports wise but not amazing. She's had a bad experience with a disruptive group of boys at her prep so is favouring the all girls option but I'm not convinced it would be best for her in the long run.

Any advice or experiences?

Cookingwine Tue 16-Feb-16 09:12:12

Very interested to read that both very academic schools were offering extra time for exams and offered her a place. Have you met the SENCO? What are the provisions for SEN? I would love DD2 to go to Latymer, but was ruling it out because of dyslexia. I am sorry I cannot answer your question though, they both seem like really good schools.

Needmoresleep Tue 16-Feb-16 11:15:56

Dyslexia and other SEN support is very strong at LU.

G&L is more nurturing. LU has very strong art, music and drama and some very talented and creative pupils, but a girl would probably need to engage and be willing to put themselves forward. G&L might be a better option for a more reserved child who needed to be encouraged to participate.

Abracadabra10 Tue 16-Feb-16 12:28:04

Hi Shirley. I'm afraid I don't know G&L, but slow processing is unlikely to be an issue at all at LU. They are excellent at dealing with SEN, eg. in my DC class at least 3 pupils are dyslexic and some DC even had a SENCO/ support worker shadow them for the first few terms. One of my DC also has slower than average processing and has had no problems whatsoever. There are no exams at the end of year 7 as there seem to be at most schools and the academic atmosphere is surprisingly unpressured (in years 8 and 9 at least)! The social atmosphere is fairly "edgy" I would say, but the non-cool/ show offs do find each other eventually grin Apart from the fact that they are generally confident kids there, there is no particular "type".

(Don't let this influence your decision) but there is a new state of the art sports centre just opening with facilities that would rival any private health club anywhere! Families can make full use of the gym, pool and classes on evening or weekends for a small fee (tbc). And the riverside location is a big plus too.

People do say G&L more nurturing though. I guess at the end of the day, so much depends on the friends they fall in with and this is something we can never predict! Good luck.

Shirleycantbe Tue 16-Feb-16 17:45:00

Thanks for the advice. I'm torn because I get the impression that SENCO type support is excellent at Latymer but that overall it's a tougher environment.

I want DD to emerge from the teenage years feeling good about herself and worry that at Latymer she might end up feeling not cool enough.

But overall Latymer feels more exciting, progressive

It's a great choice to have but not an easy one!

jeanne16 Tue 16-Feb-16 18:03:28

Tatler magazine called LU the 'coolest school in London'. Personally that put me off the place.

Mulberry10 Tue 16-Feb-16 18:47:43

My experience is of Godolphin rather than Latymer, but I agree with what has been said so far (although I don't know anything about the specific support at Latymer).

Godolphin, despite its very academic reputation, is a warm and accepting environment where girls of lots of different types thrive. My DD has made lots of really lovely 'normal' friends there and is incredibly happy - there are plenty of cool/rich girls too, but it hasn't been hard for her to find people she feels comfortable with. The headmistress is very down to earth, and the school feels quite grounded although it is constantly busy with lots going on. My sense of Latymer is that it is bigger and perhaps more media-trendy if you know what I mean? I do feel there is more of a Latymer 'type' of girl, but that is very much an outside view. Do PM me if you'd like to know anything more specific, and good luck - and very well done to your DD!

contraryMe Tue 16-Feb-16 18:48:16

I'm slowly getting worried about accepting our LU offer. At the moment it's the best we have. It seems to be a bit "too cool" for us. I didn't look into it too much as l was assuming we wouldn't get an offer as its so popular apparently. No other school seems to have this reputation. Sigh.

Needmoresleep Tue 16-Feb-16 19:29:47

jeanne, I think you are a few years out of date.

It is only about 7 years since LU was fully co-ed, and it has gone from being a clear step below G&L and Putney in the Chelsea-banker-wife informal league tables to possibly half a rung above. Places for boys were always tricky, but it has recently become much harder for girls, in part because over time it feels much less like a boy's school that takes girls. The Tatler 2016 Guide no longer emphasises its coolness but instead talks about rapidly improving results and increased competition for places. With this increased selectivity, results should continue to improve, and there will be less room for the party kids.

But horses for courses. LU is a busy co-ed school, whilst part of G&Ls attraction is that it is a gentler, albeit still very academic, environment. BOth are lovely schools and both are big enough that most DDs should find their own crowd.

30somethingandticking Tue 16-Feb-16 19:51:34

Our neighbour is at LU. He is far from cool. A very normal boy who isn't at all sporty (but is musically talented). He seems very settled there despite his lack of coolness.

30somethingandticking Tue 16-Feb-16 19:54:17

That is not to say there isn't a cool crowd. I know of some of the cooler kids having parties etc but there appears to be room for non cool kids in the school as well.

Mulberry10 Tue 16-Feb-16 20:02:55

Needmoresleep's point is interesting actually - I grew up in West London when Latymer was a boys' school, and in those days it was very much a second-best to St Pauls, and not an especially great one. I can't think of any other school whose reputation has changed so fundamentally in that time. All thanks to the arrival of girls? Or was it already on the up?

Abracadabra10 Tue 16-Feb-16 20:06:47

Also no matter how much you visit the school and seek opinions, you can never be sure who will turn up in your child's year 7 class. So it's always a leap of faith in this sense and one school is as random as the next. I guess the other consideration would be whether you have any preference for A Levels or IB.

Abracadabra10 Tue 16-Feb-16 20:32:39

Also said this on the Hampton thread so apologies about sounding like a broken record, but the curriculum at LU is, in my view, really well devised. Lessons are really fun and creative as far as I can tell. There is never "homework for the sake of homework" - it's always a short and relevant task. Many nights nothing at all. Pupils are not graded on reports in the same way as they may be at other schools. There is just an L grade which means you are working within Latymer expectations and basically on for A/A star at GCSE and probably 90 per cent of pupils will be in this curve, so no need to stress. If you are the top one or two in the class in a particular half term you may get L star in your report, but they all know that it is perfectly possible to never get LStar and still get top GCSEs. No setting until year 8 and even then only for Maths and French. No exams until the end of year 8. So despite any social pressures that exist, they are really given space to find their feet academically. It's the education I wish I could have had!

Mominatrix Wed 17-Feb-16 07:45:51

I don't know anything about G&L except for the daughters of friends I have who go there, but the inclusive and gentle environment which has been mentioned above is repeated by my friends.

I do know a bit more about LU due to US uni outreach efforts and it's reputation amongst the admissions offices of the top uni's is very, very strong because of it's dynamic curriculum - unique amongst the London Day school (e.g.: getting rid of French in it's prep schools up to Year 9 and replacing with Mandarin and Spanish, its innovations in pastoral care with a new focus on building resilience, and a clear stated focus on trying to develop children to think out of the box). The key figure is its relatively new (young) Head who is not afraid of making changes and has huge ambitions for the school.

ealingwestmum Wed 17-Feb-16 08:45:34

Mominatrix, this is a reassuring post of yours, especially for those making this difficult choice (but what a great dilemma!). We chose LU last year over the other neighbouring schools, even though on paper (leagues), it's perceived to be lower down, especially for those measuring the leavers destinations success rate to Oxbridge. The list is diverse including the growth in US/overseas, if that's where the aspirations of students are.

I am not in a position to comment on the higher years, and have therefore avoided provided reassurance to those seeking it on this, but I will concur with Abracadabra10 that the teaching is maximised in lesson time, with any spill over as homework only, and holidays as relax, enjoy and read. For the early years.

We chose it because we felt the learning style would be more innovative and interesting. When I ask my daughter now, half a year in, if there's one thing she could change about LU, what would it be, her response is...longer days to fit more lessons in. Not because she's super bright (because she's not, but just LOVES the lessons!). This is on top of her massive extra curricular schedule. I tell her not to share that one amongst friends, as it is most certainly not cool. She is obviously not one of those ones...there really are all sorts at LU amongst the large year groups!

Good luck with choosing Shirleycantbe, you won't go wrong with either.

Tammy2 Wed 17-Feb-16 08:52:36

I'm an ex Dolphin. I loved my time there. Made great friends and I had a fantastic education.

Great pastoral care. Can't fault it in any way. If I had daughters and still lived in London it would have been my first choice of school.

In my day LU was always considered less academic but I am not sure if that is still the case.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

whatwouldrondo Wed 17-Feb-16 10:18:03

I would just reinforce the point that you can't know who will turn up in Year 7. I dismissed Latymer for my DDs because of it's edgy reputation in favour of schools that were further out, but the "too cool for school" crowd turned up in my DDs year complete with drugs, sexual antics and exclusive / disruptive behaviour. Meanwhile that cohort at Latymer were a lovely group of girls and a few refugees transferred there (and to G&L ). I also know a girl who left G&L because she couldn't take the behaviour of what she christened "the size Zero gang" in her year . I think these are problems associated with London affluence rather than specific schools.

I have always envied the Learning Support at Latymer but don't know anything about the set up at G&L. I would certainly ask some searching questions. From my experience of two schools Learning Support can be something that is delegated to the SENCO and often amounts to little more than a few sessions with a specialist teacher. Unfortunately for some reason these teachers have tended to be well meaning and caring but flakey, with a one size fits all approach which my DDs didn't have much time for. I also had to spend quite a lot of time chasing the bureaucracy for extra time provision (though that was partly the result of OFQUAL moving the goalposts at short notice). Finding them relevant support with coping strategies etc mainly happened at home. Awareness amongst other teachers was a bit patchy, one even suggested my DD was "cured" because she was working at A* standard. hmm I am not saying that is the set up at G&L just that these are warning signs to look out for. You want the strategies for Learning Support to be at the heart of a schools educational strategies, not something they have gone through the motions on by appointing a couple is specialist teachers.

neuroticnicky Wed 17-Feb-16 10:56:17

I much prefer the G&L school site which has the advantage of onsite playing fields and I therefore suspect girls sport is better there. I have never really like the LU site (new gym or not) and the two schools have a different feel. G&L seems more like a traditional private girls school whereas LU (including the rather grotty main hall) has a more grungy feel. If I had to chose between them for my own DD (who is coming from a state primary, fairly tough, thinks she is cool and gets on well with boys) I would go for LU but for a kind, sensitive girl coming from a prep with above average sports I would go for G&L.

LetsEscape Wed 17-Feb-16 13:04:53

We had a similar decision to make 4 years ago for our sensitive but internally quite confident DD. We chose LU and I think it probably was the best decision. They are both excellent schools so you can't really go wrong. We took an extra visit in the day time and that made us feel the atmosphere and confirm our decision.

Our DD was (and remains) certainly not cool and that has not been a problem at all. The year group is large 180 and that can mean you feel a bit invisible at first but the 'cool' gang (which is actually quite small) find each other, but so do the quieter, musical, arty, theatrical and sporty children. There is space for everyone to find their niche and the facilities are great.

We had a social blip in year 8 and once I informed the form tutor it was dealt with seriously and immediately. They take any bullying very seriously especially misuse of social media and pupils have to sign a contract. The PSHE programme is well thought through from social relations, sexual and drugs education to mental health and resilience work.

There is so much going on in terms of clubs, music, theatre and sport that it's quite hard to fit in school work. The school ethos is to get involved and the lower homework levels and fewer exams than other schools allow this without compromising public exam results.

As said up thread, the curriculum is innovative. The World Perspectives course is fascinating and assessed via soft skills such as presentations, a conference, PowerPoint, group work and research etc. so that the Latymer leaver has great skills for uni and work. This course replaces one GCSE and is UCAS accredited.

Unpredictably we needed support from the SEN department, known as Academic Mentoring. They are really fabulous and if your DD already has an identified difficulty I would guarantee that she will be well supported. I would really check out what G&L has to offer and compare.

Shirleycantbe Wed 17-Feb-16 14:50:04

Thank you all so much for the detailed information. It's much appreciated although I'm not sure we are yet at the point of being able to make a decision!

neuroticnicky Wed 17-Feb-16 16:57:44

I don't think there is much to choose between LU and G&L in terms of academic results these days but I'm not sure why people think LU has changed so much academically compared with other schools. According to the Sutton Trust, the average annual Oxbridge rate at LU between 2002-6 was 10.6% while last year (21 Oxbridge places according to the website) it was probably around 12%. While academics/Oxbridge rates are not the only criterion, LU appears to still be some way behind the likes of Westminster and St Pauls (SPS and SPGS) in terms of admission to top unis.

ealingwestmum Wed 17-Feb-16 17:22:30

Neuro, do you never get bored of beating the same old drum?

Sorry - but it has to be said, I am sure I am not the only one that thinks it...

There, I've even been forced to make a sweeping assumption...I've stooped that low.

Most people are able to give advice based on either their own experiences (1st hand, not just through their friends, or friends of friends, or MC family as the gospel), or caveat their comments. Or with children already in senior school (correct me if this is wrong).

Some people might, just might want their children to actually enjoy their school life to the full. Novel concept, but nevertheless...just might.

Mulberry10 Wed 17-Feb-16 18:16:15

Shirley, did you not get a sense looking round of which school would suit your DD? I must say LU sounds amazing from what everyone's saying, but G&L still feels like the better place for my DD. You probably have a gut feeling at some level?

Mominatrix Wed 17-Feb-16 19:08:36

neuroticnicky - interesting what you say about LU and admission to top universities. I agree that their Oxbridge statistics are not at W/SP levels, but do disagree about your statement. Taking the top 50 universities in the World list and this list does not have Unis like Durham on it, LU has over 100 leavers last year attending them. I don't know what the sixth form numbers are in total, but I would have to disagree with the statement that they don't have many students going to top universities.

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