Tiffins school, Kingston(108 Posts)
DS has just been offered a place from the W/L here. Anybody got any first hand experience as I am deeply conflicted about this...
Well it's one of the best and most sought after schools in London. More competitive than Westminster, King's Wimbledon et al. One of the best performing schools in the country. So would be interested to know what makes you hesitate to accept the place? Do you think your DS might find it too high pressure? Or do you think a private school can offer something extra? There will be 100s of people behind you on the waiting list if you do not want the place.
its really good if you are a choral singer as well. Probably one of the best in the country.
Presumably at the moment he's down for another school. Do you prefer that one and think he would be happier there?
Well KGS is a good school. I guess it boils down to you deciding whether KGS offers more and whether any added extras at KGS are worth £150000 (more by the time he finishes). And that will depend on how well off you are. But most people in your position would go for Tiffin.
There is a lot of money involved and he'd obviously get a great education at Tiffin but you say you are "deeply conflicted" so is there anything else apart from the cost which is worrying you?
Is your son expecting to go to KGS and looking forward to it and you are worried he might be upset by the change?
Presumably you tutored him for the Tiffin entrance exam. Why go through all that and then turn down the place on offer?
was there anything specifically about KGS for your ds? or was it just where he got in?
To turn down Tiffin you'd need to have some very specific reasons for wanting him to go KGS imo.
He will be under more pressure at Tiffin, if not from the school from fellow pupils
with pushy parents . KGS is focused on the individual and enabling them to achieve their potential. If your son is the sort who thrives on pressure then Tiffin might be where he will do best, if he will develop confidence in an encouraging environment that values every individual then KGS may be better for him, as it was for my DC (who moved there from a more academic school and achieved better results at A level in that environment than they would have done if they had remained at the previous school ).
KGS has better facilities for extra curricular activities if that is where he is likely to have potential. Personally we chose private over Tiffin because it enabled our DCs to persue a range of interests in a better environment with more facilities. That was what we were prepared to pay for, rather than academic success, any good school including the outstanding comes around Tiffin will enable a bright pupil to achieve their academic potential providing it is the right environment for them.
I know children at both schools. There is no massive difference in the expectation that they will work hard from either school. The myth that Tiffin is a hothouse pressured environment is simply not true. The boys are expected to work hard and as they are generally the top 5% of their cohort it isn't any huge surprise they are high achieving and well motivated is it?
I specifically said that the pressure does not come from the school necessarily but I know pupils at Tiffin too and their parents put them under pressure to achieve . It starts with the tutoring to get in and carries on through to university applications. That inevitably affects the atmosphere. KGS does have a more diverse pupil body in terms of their
healthy perspective and approach to studying.
Ui am sure ther are plenty of pushy parents at KGS as well.
Also doubt many children get into KGS or any other local selective, whether state or private, without tutoring.
Actually a lot of children from DDs non-selective prep passed the 11+ without tutoring. One girl got offers from KGS, Latymer Upper, Godolphin, Putney High, Ibstock and one other - can't remember that one. She wasn't offered a place at Tiffin Girls though!
It never occurred to me that DD should be tutored. Those parents that did employ tutors never mentioned it. I panicked about some maths questions and DD had two-and-a-half hours with a tutor over the Christmas holidays but I don't think you could describe her as "tutored".
People keep quiet or lie about tutoring, but that doesn't mean it isn't happening.
Someone once said to me, "we haven't gone down the tutoring route, but she has been doing practice papers for 18 months." How is that not tutoring?
I don't think that familiarising your child with exam conditions and helping them with the parts of the curriculum they may not have covered in a state primary in the couple of months before the exam either yourself or with a good tutor who will make it into an encouraging positive experience is unhealthy but years sat round someone's kitchen table with several others in a tutoring factory endlessly repeating test papers, especially in the days when it was only reasoning papers as far as the Tiffins were concerned is definitely not a positive educational experience, and has everything to do with parental angst being ramped up and exploited by tutors and certainly nothing to do with the requirements of the selective indies who are looking for potential not cramming. I do hope the new Tiffin entrance tests are succeeding in enabling them to select on ability too but that remains to be seen.
The difference between Tiffin selection and that of independent schools is that the latter have more freedom to look for "potential". So they interview, can look at approach as well as raw scores, can look at what school a child is coming from, references, other contribution a child may make. (My guess is that achievement in music or sport suggests a child who can also get their head down and achieve academically.)
There is a lot of difference between heavy tutoring and preparedness. Parents whose children are coming from the state sector do need to look at what independent school exams expect and make sure their child has covered the ground and is used to doing tests under timed conditions. However kids are practicing Grammar tests for years and years. I remember one mum whose very bright daughter was a Bute, being told that there was little point in her taking the Tiffin exams. None of their pupils got in. Yet this was a school which regularly gets a huge number of SPGS offers.
Yes tutoring happens in Private schools. Before AS, DS and his friends were making plans to have a day off revision only to discover one of their friends had three seperate tutors coming in that day. The others were astounded. (And a cautionary tale, this was the boy who in their friendship group did least well at A level, in part perhaps because he seemed to lack confidence in his own abilities and became very nervous.) He also discovered that an overseas boarder friend, who he had considered exceptionally bright, spent every Christmas and Easter vacation staying at a tutorial college.
That said I suspect the proportion of tutored kids at private schools is lower than at Tiffin. Ron is right that high aspirations and expections of peers and peer's parents will have an impact, though my view is that this can be positive as well as negative. DC will come away believing anything is possible as long as you work hard and get the results. The problem we have spotted is that it has taken a while for DC to realise they are actually better than they think at maths and science. So DD was not top set until Yr11, yet is now being told it is a real shame she is not taking double maths. Ditto DS who is finding he has a higher place in maths exams at University that he ever had at school, and again probably could have considered specialising in maths or STEM. We had a bit of this at Prep, where the projects on display were usually those we knew had been produced by tutors, nannies or parents. In some ways this is fine. Better to peak at University than before. However at any academic London school it is wise to keep reassuring DC that they are doing well, even if day to day they feel they are being outshone.
We had a bit of this at Prep, where the projects on display were usually those we knew had been produced by tutors, nannies or parents. In some ways this is fine.
How is this fine?
Are the teachers stupid? If something is meant to be produced by a 7 year old surely it is obvious if it is not. Why would you put those on display?
Perhaps to impress prospective parents looking around the school.....
Needmoresleep: Interesting what you say about the Bute pupil not getting an offer at Tiffin. My DD's very clever friend got six offers at 11+ including G&L and UL, but didn't get an offer from Tiffin. Her mother got the impression that they take only a very small percentage of prep school girls and think that if you can afford to pay for prep you can afford to pay for a private secondary. DD's prep has had only two offers from Tiffin in the last five years and they also get offers from SPGS, LEH, etc.
Cleo: do you not think that prep school children not getting offers at Tiffin might be related to the fact that competition for Tiffin is a lot fiercer than it is for private secondaries and that most prep school children are just not clever enough to get in?
Few parents can afford to shell out ££££s for their children's education - particularly if they have large families - so they never apply for the selective secondaries. Some do so as a fall back option, in case their child does not get into a high performing state. Everyone can apply for Tiffin, so unsurprisingly, it is much harder to get in to.
Most clever children in UK are educated in the state sector.
it's probably because historically the test was just VR and non VR.
many children are tutored/coached/practice these tests for YEARS before the Tiffin exam. It's hard to get to a high enough standard in those tests if you are also prepping for the very competitive independents. The preps will only be focusing on those indies.
Personally I didn't enter dd for Tiffin because i didn't want to spend/waste time on VR/NVR just for one school. Many of those seriously going for Tiffin will be focused solely on Tiffin and maybe the sutton grammars.
I suspect this will change in the future as the test is now maths & english. I would have entered dd if that had been the case in the year she was applying.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.