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Fresh feedback on Emanuel school Wandsworth

(50 Posts)
Turandot Tue 20-Dec-16 13:54:27

Could anyone share their recent experience re Emanuel school. It souds like a healthy break from major hot houses in London but we want to be sure it stretches enough the most capable ones too. There has not been any updates on the school since 2011 unless I missed it. It looks most appealing as our prep school is fiercely academic and very sporty single sex school which is not ideal for our son . Many thanks!!!

OP’s posts: |
Noitsnotteatimeyet Wed 21-Dec-16 06:57:54

It's mentioned on here all the time! I was distinctly underwhelmed by it when we looked (on with occasions six years apart) so didn't apply but know a lot of children who've been/are currently there. In recent years it has been considered one of the back-up schools in the area and certainly the children in my dc's cohort who went there were in the lower half of their primary's ability range.

The majority seem happy there but imo it was an expensive option which didn't really offer anything particularly special. It offered very generous scholarships though - up to 75% non means-tested - so that has attracted a few high fliers in the past but in general the cohort has been less academic and the results at GCSE reflect that.

Due to pressure on spaces in this part of London however it has become harder to get into in the last couple of years.

jeanne16 Wed 21-Dec-16 14:33:14

London Independent schools are now so competitive that for many people, there is very little choice. You take the school that offers a place. Having worked in a couple and had DCs in a number, I think I can now say with some surety that it actually matters less than many parents realise. The teachers are all pretty similar so the education the pupils receive is similar, and most have good facilities and offer extra curricular activities which your child may or may not use.

The main difference is the 'name' of the school. So St Pauls, Westminster etc cream off the top, and so it goes down the pecking order. So to answer the question, your DC can get a pretty similar education at any of them, including Emanuel.

user1482610710 Sat 24-Dec-16 20:44:12

We've got two children at Emanuel and couldn't be happier - it's a great school. Both of the kids had other offers including from grammars and - on paper - more prestigious and academically better performing schools. As such, Turandot, we were keen to explore exactly the issues that you've raised. We loved the feel of the school but wanted to make sure that the kids would be appropriately stretched.

In summary, the staff do a great job of pushing the kids without pressurising them. There's a nice balance struck of letting students find their own level but supportively encouraging them to be ambitious.

I'd also say that the nature of the intake is changing even in the few years we've been involved. Getting in is much more competitive than it was and some friends of ours have found that their children haven't managed to get into Emanuel but have been accepted at schools that currently produce better results. You can see that playing through, especially in the younger age cohorts.

As jeanne16 points out, the standard at most of the London independents is pretty similar now. We made our choice based on the atmosphere and ethos that we thought best suited our children and our family. We've had no cause to regret that decision.

Hope that helps.

Turandot Tue 03-Jan-17 12:22:55

Thank you so much for sharing your views and experience of the school. We are going to see the school in spring and take it from theresmile

OP’s posts: |
ladygaga01 Fri 17-May-19 16:26:56

Turandot - just wondering what decision you made in the end / and if your child is happy? Thank you

Icouldprobablygetaplace Sun 19-May-19 21:14:52

I have a child here and initially we were very happy but there are things I am not so pleased with.

The general academic standard is relatively high, and this year a lot of kids didn't get in which says something.

However, the sport offering is still weak and very few children actually participate in competitive sport, which is not what I was led to believe or what I consider acceptable.

The music department is very lovely but not particularly affective at getting kids involved. The drama department seems strong.

I think Emanuel need to concentrate on offering a bit more on the extra curricular side to make it value for money.

SquirmOfEels Tue 21-May-19 08:50:38

Are you thinking of a different Emanuel?

It's very sporty school, regularly putting out 4 or 5 teams, and offering 18 or so sports.

Other big strength is drama.

New head recently - is he making much difference?

Icouldprobablygetaplace Tue 21-May-19 21:22:06

Definitely thinking of the same Emanuel.

It's really not that sporty! They offer 3 core sports in y7/8 for girls. The current y8 cricket team c has 2 games scheduled this term. Two. There are 4 cricket teams for the boys, but c/d don't get too much action.

The 18 sports just isn't true.

I don't think the new head has much of a leaning towards the sport.

SquirmOfEels Tue 21-May-19 21:36:17

I wasn't thinking of just the core sports in games lessons, but all the ones on the PE lesson carousel, plus the clubs (which is how other schools count them)

Girls started cricket as core sport only a year ago (rounders before that, which is still plated sometimes) so I guess it takes time to build up a fixtures calendar. Especially as fewer schools put out teams other than A & B

Icouldprobablygetaplace Wed 22-May-19 10:15:39

Yes, the carousel is more varied - but there is not much in the way of competitive sports. Certainly the Dulwich schools and the GDST have a little more offering and put out more teams.

Hockey is very poor at Emanuel, with only 20 odd girls selected to train competitively. There is no room to be nurtured or discover a love for that sport unless you are in a club outside of school.

However, the netball at the school is good.

volpemum Wed 22-May-19 11:22:11

I am not a parent at the school but i have just gone through the 11+ process and Emanuel were by far the loveliest school to deal with. It was a lot nicer than the Dulwich schools where you really feel like a number and they could not care less if you want a place or not ! They sent nice personal notes with the offer and just the fact that they take the time to interview all children makes me like the school more and more . We loved the offers afternoon and I was really impressed with the new Head who seems to want to implement some positive changes but not all at once. Unfortunately my DC had his heart set on another school but for me it was a really difficult decision.

I have no experience on the boys side but my DDs both play sports against Emanuel and the girls Cricket team are really good ! They don't seem as strong at Netball but they often field 4/5 teams against my DDs school.

jeanne16 Wed 22-May-19 15:21:57

I think all the London Independent schools sell sport heavily to prospective parents and unfortunately many are disappointed by the reality. My DD was at Putney High and many parents could be heard complaining that their daughters never made a team in netball or lacrosse. A friend’s son was at KCS and gave up all sport because he never managed to get into a team. All these schools are expanding and with the higher numbers comes less opportunity.

Similarly a friend put her DD into Latymer Upper as she loved drama but in spite of auditioning for every play, she never made the cut.

So it is not just Emanuel where there is an issue.

Icouldprobablygetaplace Wed 22-May-19 16:54:11

@jeanne16 it needs to be addressed properly and parents told realistically the chances of getting in to sports teams and likewise, drama plays and so forth.

Selling a school as it being 'very sporty' and in reality it is for roughly 30 kids out of the year is a gross mis-sell.

AnotherNewt Wed 22-May-19 17:27:17

Many schools now have separate sports websites, and although teamsheets etc are password protected, you can see the numbers of teams and how many fixtures, if that is what interests you. I think for most schools the numbers who make the team/s is going to be less than half the year group.

If Emanuel is 30 pupils, then it's only c.25%, unless it's 30 boys and 30 girls, in which case it's about half (does that include rowers?)

Hockey is still new for Emanuel isn't it? IIRC it was netball there for two terms until very recently. Just like rugby was two terms, but is now one plus football.

Gingercat1223 Wed 22-May-19 17:30:07

I agree with posters below, the biggest surprise to many new parents at these schools (I'm a parent at 2 x SW London secondaries) is that the story you are sold at open days is not the reality, the same few dc who play at club/academy level get chosen for all the A/B teams, they sometimes get the main parts in drama productions too! It's even worse if there is a feeder prep as those dc are known to sports staff already.
The best entry sport is rowing as everyone starts together.
It's a shock but it seems to be the same at all the schools.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Wed 22-May-19 17:36:51

Parents should also be wary of schools offering a large number of scholarships. They have lovely pictures in their brochures of the school winning everything but in reality this means that an average DC will never get to use the sports facilities that they are paying for because someone has received a large discount to use them instead!

Icouldprobablygetaplace Wed 22-May-19 21:21:57

I think the problem at Emanuel is with things like hockey / athletics they have to be invited to train - they are not even open sessions, so only 20 odd girls actually train for hockey outside games lessons.

I agree on the large scholarship entry / team selection - it's bad there!!

cakeisalwaystheanswer Wed 22-May-19 21:39:14

I do sympathise about the sport and it's not right but it is the same everywhere. That is why I believe that prep schools are much better value for money. DCs get a chance to try everything and get exposure to top class training and coaching at a very early age so they know what they like and are on the front foot for senior school. I have heard of so many senior school age DCs giving up sport because of the lack of opportunity to play and thinking that they aren't good enough.

More positively, on the music front apparently Emmanuel have poached the head of music from Ibstock who is meant to be fantastic. And you do have Mr Milne, who was by far the nicest, kindest man ever to work at Kings.

Icouldprobablygetaplace Thu 23-May-19 11:59:31

'I do sympathise about the sport and it's not right but it is the same everywhere. That is why I believe that prep schools are much better value for money. DCs get a chance to try everything and get exposure to top class training and coaching at a very early age so they know what they like and are on the front foot for senior school. I have heard of so many senior school age DCs giving up sport because of the lack of opportunity to play and thinking that they aren't good enough.

More positively, on the music front apparently Emmanuel have poached the head of music from Ibstock who is meant to be fantastic. And you do have Mr Milne, who was by far the nicest, kindest man ever to work at Kings.'

I think you are probably right here, that prep schools give the sporting edge - they are certainly the ones pushed towards those scholarships.

It's something I feel there will be a rebellion about soon - there needs to be sport that is accessible at Emanuel, not just those picked for team.

Sherry19 Thu 23-May-19 14:37:12

Yes same at WHS, when I looked round I spoke to some girls in Year 10 who were giving me a tour and all those I asked seemed to play no competitive sport there at all. I was quite surprised.

I guess it's just if you're good at that sport you get picked and if not, you don't.

However I think all these private schools should still offer training for everyone, regardless of their ability. Otherwise how can you improve?

HelloHelloHello27 Thu 23-May-19 14:59:07

DD is at WHS and it seems that at least in the lower years there are competitive matches for all those who want to compete. There were definitely netball teams for everyone who wanted to play although the A and Bs had more matches than the D and Es. The teams weren't set in stone either so DD could be in C one week, E the next and then back up to C. They really mixed it up.
Also true that the most of the A and B teams are dominated by the same girls but they tend to be the super sporty ones.
I think by the time you get to year 10 they can't do everything so if they want to be in the plays that takes time, if they're super musical that takes time etc so they have to make choices about what training/ clubs they do at lunch time and after school. They can't do everything and they will still be doing sport just not competitively.

daisypond Thu 23-May-19 15:31:03

It’s harder to get into Emanuel than it used to be. I looked round about ten years ago. I know two children who went there then - both left early. One moved abroad and another left because of bullying issues. In my day maybe only three children from our state primary went to independent schools for secondary - out of a cohort of 60. Now it’s more like 15-20. The demographic has really changed. I know a couple of people whose children were turned down from there in the last two years.

Icouldprobablygetaplace Fri 24-May-19 11:20:00

However I think all these private schools should still offer training for everyone, regardless of their ability. Otherwise how can you improve?

This!!

Yes, they split into drama / music / sport in the later years, but actually there should be room for it all, they shouldn't be made to choose, especially when a school is promoting them being 'all rounders'.

What happens is some kids just end up doing nothing, which is really demoralising.

audrey01 Thu 30-May-19 17:56:06

I tend to agree with other posters here. My DD is at Emanuel as well (Year 7) and perhaps the problem lies in that girls seem to do sports in the wrong order as other schools. For example, Emanuel does netball in term 1 and hockey in term 2, when most schools do hockey first and then netball. So the fixtures schedule for Netball in Autumn was not that great, with only teams A and B competing regularly against other schools, whilst teams C, D and E only managing one or two games. This is really demoralising for those girls who want to play, but admittedly are not at the same level as the more sporty girls in the top teams, who then keep improving whilst the others are left behind.

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