Alleyns and Kingston Grammar(17 Posts)
Just wanted to see if there were any parents on here with dc's at these schools. Ds's prep has suggested Alleyns for him (he is academic but more interested in art and drama, not sporty). We were quite excited by it based on what we heard but when we got there it didn't feel right - we met more than one girl who was a bit too cool/borderline arrogant and it didn't feel warm and friendly at all. This is based on one open day so we may be mistaken and very interested in hearing from current parents. We also went to look at KGS based on the Good School's guide and we really liked it. Lovely down to earth, confident friendly kids, not the amazing facilities they had at Alleyns but good enough for ds. Alleyns gets the better academic results and everyone we have spoken to says it's a lucky child who goes there but we just didn't really feel it. Any feedback from parents at either school gratefully received.
Hi my dd is at KGS and very happy but can't help you with a comparison to Alleyns as I don't know it.
I would go with your gut feeling tbh, that's what we did, I looked at 8 schools and KGS was the only one I felt she would be really happy at and so it has been.
Children don't care about facilities! What they have is enough, it is a relatively small school and they are very well organised (also go and see sports ground is amazing)
i'm a strong believer in gut instinct too.
KGS definitely goes against the grain re arts/drama, it is not the poor relation to maths/science. Infact the head talks quite a bit about "STEAM" rather than "STEM".
It is very sporty but different levels of participation/ability are managed well. if there is a sporty bone in his body KGS will find it!
I want to add that I have been extremely impressed with KGS.
Most importantly, so has my DC.
Thankyou all! No clearer yet as have had pm's saying from parents at both schools saying how happy they are! We are booked in to take a look at KGS again next week and Alleyns as soon as they'll let us. Location wise we are very flexible as I work from home and dh has his own business. We have been renting and holding off buying until we know where ds is going as he's an only child so no-one else to worry about! At present it looks like they are both great school so ultimately we will just go with what feels right and take the plunge.
so tricky choosing schools from open days isn't it?
while I do know one of these schools, my opinion is not really relevant here - my only suggestion would be to try and visit both at least once more. And once the offers come through, every school will bend over backwards to accommodate further tours/chats with teachers.
We had one appalling open day at ds's school - but the taster day and the second open day convinced us it was the right one for him. The interview process and then a final tour with the head of year reinforced that before we made the final choice.
Alleyn's is an excellent school but it does not suit every child; if you did not feel it was right, I would suggest you follow your instincts. I did not feel it is the right school for my child either when I visited an after talking to other parents with children there even though they are happy and the education your child will get there is one of the best in the country; I don't think my child will be happy there though.
I do agree with everyone that gut instinct is all we have to go on - because really how much can we gather about a school just by looking at the classrooms?
BUT - if you've been put off by one arrogant pupil then I think a second (and third?) visit will help you clarify. One arrogant pupil does not mean the school as a whole is not for your dc?
When we were shown around DC by 2 very underwhelming 12 year olds, we went back and then met 3 fabulous, enthusiastic, chatty boys who sold it to us!
FWIW I have no vested interest - I have no child at either school.
I wouldn't judge schools from open days.
Our perceptions changed completely post exams - they way different schools did exams, level of organization/(dis)organization, follow up, warmness, how breaks were handled etc.
For what it's work we got both Alleyn's and KGS and chose Alleyn's. I have lots of issues with the school, but arrogance/unfriendliness are definitely part of that.
If anything, I don't think its academics are great (either at entry since lots of siblings with lower requirements or teaching) - all the more surprising they get the results they have now. May be, things improve at GCSE.
Unless there is a specific issue you are worried about/want to get more perspective on, views from current parents aren't going to help your individual family and child.
Do the exams, interviews, get the offers, see them again with an offer in hand and then decide. Your views might be very different by then.
Thanks all - it seems the best thing is to see how things develop. NV, what was it about the academics that concerned you - pls pm if you prefer!
Rereading my post - was typed in a rush.
What I meant to say "I have lots of issues with the school, but arrogance/unfriendliness are definitely NOT part of that."
Academically, the issue I have is that they don't set at all in Year 7, including maths. I can't see how you can teach math without setting. Year 8 onwards is not really setting - it's two broad groups, i.e. top half and bottom half. The material is mind-numbingly boring and there are no extension activities, like coaching for the maths challenge or anything along those lines.
In other subjects there is no setting either. This would be fine if the school were truly selective, but since there is a junior prep with automatic entrance and sibling priority the classes are a bit of a mixed bag of abilities in different subjects.
Humanities are better taught than sciences and I guess there is lesser need for setting and stretch. Generally, speaking extension in lower secondary is quite limited.
Thanks NV, that's very interesting and backs up something a friend said. Her ds liked Alleyns but is a Maths boffin and had come away with the impression that he wouldn't be stretched (he ended up at an extremely academic single sex school). I'm guessing teaching higher up the school must be impressive as they seem to get great results all things considered.
I had a DC who moved to KGS from one of the most selective independents where they had felt pressured and had encountered exclusive behaviour in a dysfunctional year. They responded immediately to the encouraging friendly inclusive atmosphere and we are sure their results were better at A level than they were would have been at the more selective school (nobody at the previous school matched the A* in one subject so actually measurably so). It isn't about the results, they just reflect the selectivity of the school, but about which school will enable your child to achieve their potential.
It isn't about the results, they just reflect the selectivity of the school, but about which school will enable your child to achieve their potential.
these words should be posted on every "which school?" thread!!
nocamping I have tried my best but life moves on ;-)
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