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Surbiton High v KGS - still so stuck

(39 Posts)
Keepcalmandcarryon2017 Thu 16-Feb-17 16:34:41

Dd has offers at both. Journey time is the same for her due to where we live. None of us have strong views on co-ed v non. We are finding it so hard to choose! Dd v sporty. Anover average academically but not a nerdy type. Any views and steer would be great. Is Shs focused enough as girls go up the school?

amidawsh Thu 16-Feb-17 19:18:53

- is the journey time the same but SHS by coach and KGS by public transport? how do they compare both by public transport?
- how convenient are the sports grounds? can she get there independently?
- does she like hockey? KGS is v hockey focused
- does she want to do gym, dance, cookery, textiles, trampolining etc? I assume they're available at SHS, not at KGS
- do you have other siblings to consider?
- what does she want? as someone said to me 2 years ago re school dilemmas "it is a choice not a decision" - i think that's really true!

Pop2 Fri 17-Feb-17 20:06:07

Look at the HT situation.KGS one is great but am unsure of the SHS-is she leaving?

Ashers40 Fri 17-Feb-17 21:45:26

Yes she is

BicycleRider Sat 18-Feb-17 14:25:01

We are in the same situation. Dd1 very academic, not very sporty at all. Loved Surbiton & 3 of her friends are are going there, none to KGS, but she likes the coed aspect & it's marginally closer. Surbiton more tech-y but also bigger... It is a really difficult decision!

Parabole Sat 18-Feb-17 14:54:39

We are on the same boat for DD2. Does anyone have any experience higher up the schools? Or any info on the search for a new HT for SHS?

Keepcalmandcarryon2017 Sat 18-Feb-17 18:19:07

Glad to know others are also deliberating although it doesn't help all of our dilemmas! I have heard a bit more now about both schools being pretty similar in their homework ethos and monitoring. Kgs deemed a bit more 'calm' whereas Shs has masses going on and a bit more manic, but not in a bad way. Horses for courses. My problem is I think I am more a kgs girl and dd is more Shs and obviously she is the one going to the school! Just want to be sure the size of Shs doesn't mean girls could get 'lost' academically as my dd def benefits from close teacher attention.

Parabole Sat 18-Feb-17 18:37:38

I hear you. We loved the energy at SHS though the results at kgs are so much better...I worry that only the top girls get good results at shs and wonder if it's easy to fall through the cracks (from an academic point of view at least).

Thisdoesnotgeteasier Sat 18-Feb-17 20:52:31

I hadn't realised there was such a difference in the exam results but I just looked at the 2016 A-Level and GCSE results and the KGS ones were noticeably higher. Anyone got any insight into that? Have been interested in SHS but my worry is how middle of the pack girls do there. I have no idea - would be interested in any thoughts.

A close friend just finished at KGS and had straight As and seemed to achieve that without too much undue pressure. She was very sporty and KGS was good for that as well.

77789sunset Sat 18-Feb-17 21:38:40

My dd is in Year 7 at SHS, I've been very impressed by the attention all children are given by the teachers. My dd is doing very well academically at SHS but I didnt consider KGS for her as she wouldn't have got in. I'm sure if you visit both schools in the next 2 weeks and speak to the children who show you round you will get a better impression of which is the right fit for your dd. The SHS open event for offered places is much better than the general open mornings. There will be many parents there next week making the KGS/SHS choice and on the 2nd of march parents with Tiffin/secondary state school offers.

Keepcalmandcarryon2017 Sat 18-Feb-17 21:59:15

Hi sunset thanks for reply. Yes will visit the open mornings. Perhaps we are over analysing things as both are great schools really. How many in your dd's class? Do you feel you can contact her form teacher with questions? Any interaction generally with the school? Do the class-by-areas work?

77789sunset Sun 19-Feb-17 08:43:17

There are around 22 children in each class (as they expanded to 7 classes), yes I've emailed her class teacher, head of year and more senior staff plus the administration team re various queries. I've met her class teacher twice, been to a full parents evening and met every teacher and had 2 sets of effort grades and more test information than I can remember! There is a new parents information evening when you join. I think the effort the admissions team make to write individual letters when you are offered a place shows the care throughout the school.
We live on a major road near a school bus stop and 4 of her class travel from her bus stop with her with more joining on the route so yes the class areas work. 1 of the reasons the the GCSE results vary between the schools is that SHS junior school use to be non selective at age 5 so some of the girls in the 2017 year 7 will be there because they joined when they were young not because they passed an exam. Over time this will change as the Junior School is now selective at reception age. If your dd got into KGS in this particularly challenging year then she will be fine academically at SHS.

BicycleRider Sun 19-Feb-17 09:56:28

If your dd got into KGS in this particularly challenging year then she will be fine academically at SHS.

This makes me think, would it be better to be middling at KGS or towards the top at Surbiton? DD1 shares the top at her primary (state) with a few others, none of whom got into KGS. Will she be pushed more at KGS? and will that matter in the long run? FWIW, she is interested in science/tech which makes me lean towards Surbiton as KGS seems more liberal arts focused.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Sun 19-Feb-17 10:48:01

The junior school has always been selective and very oversubscribed at reception age because of the wrap around care and its close proximity to Surbiton station that suits working parents. It is only in recent years, definitely current Y9 and maybe Y10, that girls from the junior school were guaranteed entrance to the senior school regardless of their performance in the entrance exam so it shouldn't affect current results.

If you look back to about 5 years ago SHS results were stronger at GCSE and have declined since when other schools have improved. At the same time the intake at SHS has substantially increased so it has become less selective and embraced a "beyond the A*" philosophy. This could change with the new head as who knows in what direction they will want to take the school. SHS will lose a lot of warmth with Ms Hayden leaving, I'm not sure that is easy to replace.

amidawsh Sun 19-Feb-17 11:35:40

i have a year 8 DD at KGS and a year 6 DD who will be going. We have turned down SHS and St Catherine's.

Happy to answer any questions. DD1 is very happy at KGS. She is not sporty yet she is in a hockey team and is very excited to start rowing. DD2 is very different - more rounded (drama, music, more sporty but not in school teams), very into dance, tech. Not as academic (only reads because i make her for eg).

I also know plenty of parents with girls happy at SHS.

They are really both excellent schools with incredible teaching and I think quite similar in terms of urban schools with separate playing fields, discipline and general approach to school life.

The key difference imo is 150? (120?) girls at SHS vs 50 or 60 girls at KGS. That is both a pro and a con. Wider range of girls' "stuff" at SHS yet much more competition for teams etc. Also the whole girl environment at SHS vs "annoying" boys at KGS.

nocampinghere Tue 28-Feb-17 14:55:51

Keepcalmandcarryon2017 and BicycleRider what did you decide?

we are still undecided down to these last two. DD is veering towards SHS (she's less daunted by it i think). dh wants KGS. i don't know! time is running out.

Keepcalmandcarryon2017 Tue 28-Feb-17 17:44:49

Still undecided. Planning to make a decision on Friday somehow! Interesting she is less daunted by the smaller school! My dd probably prefers SHS; feels maybe KGS more serious and academic which is less appealing to her. She (and we) love the vibrant and energetic atmosphere at SHS and were very impressed at the open event. I think both will be great. Just need to make the leap of faith...!

BicycleRider Tue 28-Feb-17 20:44:39

Still haven't decided yet, seeing KGS this week and will make the choice then!

farangatang Wed 01-Mar-17 14:59:03

I don't think you can go 'wrong' with either of the decisions - both are decent schools and you and your DD obviously liked both enough to apply.

I would go for the one with the easiest independent journey. Neither school has their sport fields close by, so perhaps the location of those might help with the decision (as your DD is going to be involved in all the after-school/weekend sport if she's sporty!).

SHS Juniors has always been academically selective and they used to offer guaranteed senior school places, but think this has stopped recently. In the SW London Indie school stakes, SHS is definitely known as 'less academic' than many others, but in fairness there is little between the top 50 in league tables for 'value-added'.

If worst comes to worst, you can always change after Y7 or for 6th form!

Good luck! I have friends with DDs at both schools and they are very happy with their choice (interestingly, one at KGS used to go to SHS Junior school but wanted co-ed for Senior School). Another, whose DD started at KGS in Y8 had an awful time at her Y7 choice of school and is now finally very happy at KGS. So much depends on the cohort/class mix and that is entirely unpredictable.

If you have a gut feeling, go with it!

nocampinghere Wed 01-Mar-17 15:10:44

thanks farangatang
KGS sports fields better located for us... do SHS lay on a minibus from the sports ground to Teddington Station for late practice?

Thisdoesnotgeteasier Wed 01-Mar-17 15:20:23

As I understand it (having asked similar question) is that the late coaches back stop at Hinchley Wood station and Surbiton station, among other venues, but not at other stations.

77789sunset Wed 01-Mar-17 16:30:27

Yes the SHS buses go from HW to Surbiton after Netball club on Mondays and hockey club on Thursdays in Year 7. There are stops along the way at HW train station and Surbiton hockey club. I would let your daughter decide on which school, at SHS she will have 22 ish girls who live within a few miles of your home in her class and 130-150 in the year, at KGS she will have 50 girls and 50 boys across the year group from a wide catchment with a mixture of home location in her class. At both schools the classes are mixed up for various subjects at different stages so you meet children from across the year group.

Keepcalmandcarryon2017 Wed 01-Mar-17 18:57:06

Sunset that is really helpful actually. Having friends close by is such a valid point and useful for lift shares from sports matches and clubs etc too. I think I will be delivering the acceptance to SHS. 90% sure! What other subjects do they mix the classes up for please and from what year group?

Parabole Wed 01-Mar-17 19:18:50

Does anyone know if the kids at KGS get tutored to get those results or is it all down to the school? The senior girl we spoke to at SHS said girls there only get tutored for languages if they do.

77789sunset Wed 01-Mar-17 19:44:32

They stream in maths from November and mix the classes up for languages. I would go on your gut feeling and the mixed v all girls option.

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