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State secondaries in Wandsworth, H & F, Merton

(20 Posts)
Stargazey44 Sat 09-Apr-16 18:31:03

Advice please! DD, yr 5, not academic but arty and musical, not religious. I am trying to decide which schools we have the best shot of getting her into in the area, given that I don't think we are in the catchment area for any other than St Cecilia's (we live on the same road - please god that's close enough). Private not an option.

St Cecilia's (v close but we are not religious - for some reason avoided by several parents I know)
WLFS (I think would suit her most)
Lady Margaret's (older sister still on waiting list 2 years in...)
Bolingbroke Academy
Chestnut Grove
Holland Park

I realise that all are nigh on impossible to get into, but seeing as we'll have to put 6 down on the list, how would you rank them in order of likelihood? Have I missed any? Any advice massively appreciated!

SelfRaisingFlour Sat 09-Apr-16 19:34:19

None of those schools is in Merton.

If you don't live within the very small catchment for Graveney, she'll have to get a selective place. I've heard that this requires a very high score in the Wandsworth Test. You say she isn't academic, so that seems pretty unlikely.

You should find out the distances needed to get into a school from the boroughs' websites.

SelfRaisingFlour Sat 09-Apr-16 19:36:01

There's Ricard's Lodge in Wimbledon. Are you close enough to get a place there?

SquirmOfEels Sat 09-Apr-16 19:45:35

London schools generally don't have catchments (ie priority admissions areas) and it's all by distance.

As St Cecilia's has 45 open places (+5 open music aptitude ), then as you're on the same street, your chances are looking pretty good.

The others, not so. With a Sw18 postcode, anything other than Southfields Academy is going to be a long shot. Graveney always worth a punt via the test, and Bolingbroke might just work (because it's a feeder school system, and not many people who aren't at the feeders apply so even though you'd be bottom category there might not be many applicants in it if it reaches that far).

You might want to consider Burntwood, you probably won't get a first round offer, but in the last couple of years I've known families from a considerable distance get in via the waiting list before schools break up in July.

AveEldon Sat 09-Apr-16 19:46:29

Bolingbroke Academy you have v v little chance of getting in - almost all the places each year go to those kids in the feeder schools

Chestnut Grove - you could try for an art place

Have you considered Burntwood?

PonderingProsecco Sun 10-Apr-16 08:05:43

Just clicked onto a St Cecilia's in London.
If same one very Christian. Glorifying God in motto etc.
Guess that will attract some parents and majorly put off others.
Depends on parent.....

MrsGuyOfGisbo Sun 10-Apr-16 09:46:31

Dunraven is fantastic, but is SW16.

AveEldon Sun 10-Apr-16 09:49:10

Where is your older child at school?

Drinkstoomuchcoffee Sun 10-Apr-16 15:29:54

Unless your DD is very clever (Graveney selective) or you have religion (you don't and it' s a bit late to convert like others do) your only option is an open place at StC's or an application to an undersubscribed(for a reason) school like Southfields or Harris Academy Battersea. Most people would bite your arm off for StC's so I would go with that and count your blessings.

Casbotsproudmum Wed 13-Apr-16 14:57:27

I live in Hammersmith but know a lot about the Wandsworth / Merton etc secondary schools as researched them for my niece.
WLFS: Very hard to get into: think it was 2000 applications last year and I know people living just down the road in Chiswick who didn't get in (both in 2015 and 2016). you could try to get in on a art and music place though?
Lady M: Same as above but even more so: Hammersmith border seems to be the furthest acceptable but only COE reference (think cut off for non COE was 0.3 miles): I'm curious why you consider Lady M if not Saint C as both Church schools?
Holland Park: I'm not sure where you live but I think the cut off was 0.4 miles in 2015, don't think it changed much.
Ricards Lodge: Was my favourite school when researched for sister's DD: I was actually quite upset she didn't put it higher than 3rd (only due to awkwardness to get to from her house).
Burnswood: My 2nd favourite: my sister's and niece's favourite.
Graveney: I hated it. Truly did. Ridiculously selective and they think they are better than sliced bread. We have several schools with better results and which are not selective or require stupid tests in west London.

We also looked at Dunraven (top 3 for all of us) and briefly considered Chesnut Grove.

NynaevesSister Wed 13-Apr-16 18:27:34

I can't comment on the schools although I have two friends with children at Graveney and they love it. Dunraven has an absolutely tiny catchment.

Put your schools down in the order that you love them the most. It doesn't matter if School A is a long shot - this could be the year that they announce they are doubling their intake (as Kingsdale did this year).

But make sure you use the sixth slot for a school you don't want but are absolutely sure you will get into and it had at least some redeeming features (like being close to home). That way you don't end up with a school you don't want that's four bus rides away.

NynaevesSister Wed 13-Apr-16 18:29:16

Incidentally you could put down a school like Kingsdale - it goes on lottery not distance. Lots of the children come in by train (to Gipsy Hill or West Dulwich/Sydenham Hill stations).

Mandzi34 Wed 13-Apr-16 20:28:06

Watching this thread with interest!
Does anyone know if you sat the Burntwood language aptitude test, would it then need to be your first choice?

lalalonglegs Wed 13-Apr-16 21:46:02

My daughter is at Burntwood and we are very impressed by it. It has fantastic opportunities for musical girls - the choir is amazing and they have a very strong orchestra. I've been slightly less impressed by the art department (but, tbf, that might just be her teacher rather than the department per se). The school itself is well organised and welcoming and seems to maintain a good, calm atmosphere without perpetually banging on about discipline as so many secondaries do <I'm looking at you, Bolingbroke>. She has made friends with some lovely girls since starting in September.

Burntwood offers some places based on the Wandsworth test but, as most children doing that are aiming for Graveney, I don't think your daughter would have to get a stratospherically high score to get in that way so probably worth a go. I agree that Graveney would be a very long shot if your daughter isn't particularly academic. I believe Bolingbroke is popular enough with children from the feeder schools not to have any spare places for non-feeder school children now - although I understand from friends that have children there that spaces do come up during the year. Chestnut Grove has "arts scholarships" which allow children out of catchment to get in - it seemed a good, solid school but we were slightly meh about the fact it was going to be a building site for several years.


lalalonglegs Wed 13-Apr-16 21:49:42

Actually, I've just looked where St C's is and, if you live close to that school, I think you would probably get in on distance to Burntwood. We have friends who live off Lavender Hill and got in to BW in the current Y7 intake smile.

AveEldon Thu 14-Apr-16 19:55:08

Mandzi34 - you don't need to put BW as first choice if you sit the language test

Mandzi34 Thu 14-Apr-16 20:40:31

Thanks AveEldon.

Stargazey44 Thu 21-Apr-16 16:31:34

Hi, thanks to all who replied and for all the very useful information! SelfRaisingFlour, I think we are close enough to Ricards Lodge, so will definitely look into that, thank you - hadn't considered it before as in the past I'd heard it didn't have a good reputation. I'd love to hear what the consensus is now, or from any parents whose daughters are currently attending. AveEldon, thank you, I will take another look at Burntwood. Her older sister is at the lycée in South Ken. We had originally thought that's where she'd go as well, but the French system is highly academic, with little art, drama, music etc. Also her French is less strong than her sister's, as she is on a bilingual course at primary school (1 wk in French, 1 week in English - also why it wd be hard for her to shine academically), whereas older DD did everything in French. I'll also look into Kingsdale - I hadn't heard of that. Once again, many thanks to all.

SelfRaisingFlour Thu 21-Apr-16 17:04:58

There is a thread about Ricards Lodge in the Merton local talk part of Mumsnet.

I know people who are very happy with it and others who took their daughters out, but I don't have personal experience of it.

Blu Thu 28-Apr-16 08:23:35

Mandiz (and OP) for all applications put the schools down in the order you prefer them.

The schools offer places based ONLY on the published admissions criteria. They do not know whether you have put them first or last. The LA then looks at all the schools that could admit you, and offers you the one that is highest up your list of preferences.

You seem to have some options based on distance, a chance for an art place at Chestnut Grove (outstanding, and I know children who are extremely happy there and doing well. I have had a child at a school with building work and it was fine: very well managed), and think about a lottery place at Kingsdale? Where you can also increase your chances by applying for a music aptitude place. But not sure of the transport routes. The Norwood School also has a fantastic music offer and musical aptitude places, but again, transport could be tricky.

The distances given are the distances in the first round on National Offer Day. They do spread once the waiting lists start moving. But even so you are way out of reach for Dunraven.

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