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Wallington boys, what's wrong?

(45 Posts)
Estella78 Tue 07-Mar-17 14:23:22

Hi everyonesmile

My DS's got a place in Wally boys, which was our second choice. We are a bit disappointed as commute will be a bit longer, but that's a life. The only thing is I don't get why most of the parents and DSs thinks it is inferior to other grammars in the area, but at the same time have no particular reason for dislike. What's wrong with Wally boys, why nobody likes it?

antimatter Tue 07-Mar-17 14:31:34

'cos majority of parents are after Wilsons with it's Maths speciality.

Wilsons very good school from what I know from my dd's friends.

My ds is in Wally Boys and their humanity departments are amazing.
Best English department in the country. Philosophy taught at A levels. Amazing Art department too.
Music is much better at Wilsons though.
A lot of is perception I think.
Def Wilsons creams off best maths students over all.

Estella78 Tue 07-Mar-17 14:44:47

So Wally boys math department is not as good as Wilson's? Quite disappointing sad

AuntPol Tue 07-Mar-17 15:40:04

It's all relative, though, estella. Even if Wally Boys maths dept is not as good as Wilsons, it's still going to be very good.

There is a lot of ridiculous local snobbery, with parents claiming Wilsons is "better" than Wally Boys. I'd just ignore it if I were you. I have several friends with DS at Wally Boys, and they are very happy with it.

antimatter Tue 07-Mar-17 17:52:09

If your son got a place in Wally Boys he will be fine.

What I am thinking is happening Wilson's is creaming off top 0.001% of able boys in this one subject in particular and they have cohort which is more likely to achieve highly in Maths. They are great school. No one denies it.

Wally Boys in my son's year had 2 sets of those taking Maths 1 year early and many of them are into Maths and Further Maths now. But this is just one aspect of schools life! if you are only looking at one subject and assume that your child will definitely be taking that subject you are trying to predict a future 5 years ahead!

From my point of view was very important to look at the actual guidance given to the boys later on in their education, over all maths is not the hardest subject to get A in A levels - but Chemistry and Physics are.
2 of my son's friend were in this top set for Maths but aren't doing it for A levels.

We had great advisory evening from the Head of 6th form at Wally Boys few months ago explaining how they are helping kids to choose best options for A levels looking at their GCSE scores from different subjects.
My son is doing very well in Wally Boys 6th form predicted to do very well in his a levels.

Estella78 Tue 07-Mar-17 22:06:30

Thanks ladies! I do agree that maths is not everything, hope my Ds will be happy at Wally boys. The funny thing is his maths is just superb, according to the tests they've done at school his maths as at the level of 13-15 year old. I don't know what went wrong on his Wilson's exam....

Wimbles101 Tue 07-Mar-17 22:07:59

Have to say that Wallington looked the nicest in the open day and the most caring of the Grammars. Unfortunately DS narrowly missed the pass mark for it but it would have been our first choice.

Estella78 Tue 07-Mar-17 22:18:00

Yes, Wimbles, we liked the atmosphere too, hence my question - what's wrong if it looks nice?

Wimbles101 Wed 08-Mar-17 03:27:13

Estella - I'm not sure tbh - people can be very snooty about schools - based on perception and slight differences in pass rates.
I have a friend whose son is there and she's extremely happy with the school / very caring ethos apparently.
I liked the grounds too.

teddygirlonce Wed 08-Mar-17 07:07:59

I think it's all to do with perceived 'kudos'. Wilson's is seen as the most difficult of the Sutton grammars to secure a place at which then makes it more sought after - and it then becomes a upward spiral of academic aspiration and success that makes it more sought after and therefore more difficult to get into... and so it continues.

I think that it's a modern school (whereas Wally Boys and SGS very much look their age) also helps the cause.

One of DS's former primary school classmates is at Wally Boys (13+ entry) and is really enjoying it.

I think all three of the boys Sutton grammars have their own identity and it is easily possible to do super well from any/all of them. It's horses for courses TBQH.

Interestingly, Wimbles101, when DS was doing the grammar school rounds ahead of the 11+, we/he didn't rate Wally Boys - we found it all a bit shambolic (and there was also some blip with the 11+ exam day). However that was a goodly while ago now (six years).

I do know of a boy from DS's former primary school (but some years below him) who has had issues at Wilson's with bullying which marred his first year there. And I have heard it said that the greater size of the school/year groups, as compared with WCGS and SGS, means that it feels less personal and nurturing.

merlottime Wed 08-Mar-17 07:59:30

A friend has DS's at Wally boys and is very happy. I however didn't take to the Head, and was put off that his focus seems to be on opening a new free school /grammar extension in Croydon, rather than on the existing school. I agree that reputations seem to be self-perpetuating, as last year or maybe the year before they didn't get enough acceptances so had to offer places to people who didn't pass the second round test, following which they stopped requiring a second test. The atmosphere at all of the schools is quite different though so I can see how for some Wally boys would be a much better fit in terms of ethos and extra-curricular focus than Wilsons.

Estella78 Wed 08-Mar-17 08:10:16

I think they have two "Heads" - one Mr Bean and another Mr Wilden. The last one is responsible for a new school, the first - for existing. I heard about the situation regarding offering places to kids who did not pass second round. The same happened with SGS as well. I don't know is it true or not, but heard that the exams that year were extremely hard and they did not put through enough kids.

Wimbles101 Wed 08-Mar-17 09:29:47

Estella - yes SGS did do this last year.

Wilsons was extremely tough second round this year - we didn't do it but I've been told some questions in Maths were level 7.

Unfortunately WCG have stopped doing 13+ entry otherwise I would have tried it.

I preferred that it seemed to focus more on humanities - the other two really feel like Beth Maths focused - Id be deluding myself if I thought this is DS' thing - he's brilliant at it but hates it 🙄

I think I must be very unaspirational because I really wanted a caring school for him with above average academics - not a hothouse.

Notenoughsleepmumof3 Wed 08-Mar-17 09:56:00

I think Wallington is a lovely school. It was our 3rd choice, so we aren't going there ( we got our 1st), but it felt very caring. I wouldn't worry. I think if your DS gets into any of the the 4 South London Grammars he will be fine. All of the schools average the top 3-5% across all subjects. My son is brilliant at Maths, but he put Wilsons 5th on his CAF, not because of the school, because it was the worst commute for him. Also, he may be great at Maths, but humanities and English is his favourite, so I feel at this level, it really doesn't matter. They will be fine at any of them.

Estella78 Wed 08-Mar-17 11:05:16

Notenoughsleepmumof3, my Ds is not keen on English at all (and MFL too)! smile He likes Science a lot and then Maths. Hopefully Wally boys will stretch him enough in Science and Maths.

Notenoughsleepmumof3 Wed 08-Mar-17 12:22:43

Yes, I think it will. I was very impressed with the boys who showed us around Wally and SGS. They were great, bright, polite young men. And hopefully, if he isn't keen on English and MFL, maybe it is better that he is at Wally. They might get him excited about them. The humanities department was excellent. It will stretch him in Science and Maths I'm sure. Those are such important subjects and are taken seriously at all the good schools. It really is splitting hairs at this point. Well done to your DS. I hope he will flourish.

MagicMarkers Wed 08-Mar-17 21:41:29

I know parents with boys at Wallington and they're very happy with it.
It was third choice for our boys (they are both at Wilson's) and I think it was partly to do with how cramped and dowdy the school's buildings looked. I understand that they are doing some building work so that should improve. I haven't heard any complaints about WCGS academically and they are very into pastoral care.

All the Sutton grammars are very good. The waiting lists do move so you might get your first choice later on. I know a boy, who got Greenshaw on allocation day and then got a place at Wilson's in the May half-term. I also know a boy, who didn't pass the Sutton Grammar second exam, didn't put it on the CAF form and then got a place when they had to lower the pass mark last year. He got a place at WCGS on allocation day and decided to go to SCS when offered the place.

Estella78 Wed 08-Mar-17 21:54:35

Thanks MagicMaker!smile But know I am not sure I want our first choice. I do believe in destiny - we have not got a place in Wilson's initially, plus today I sent out a reply slip for their reserve list, paid for "signed for" delivery and when I went home I noticed that the man on the till wrongly typed their postcode on my proof of postage. So i am not sure they will received the letter... maybe it is a sign this school is not for him

Estella78 Wed 08-Mar-17 21:56:09

sorry for mistakes, almost asleepsmile)

SoulAccount Thu 09-Mar-17 08:42:51

The very process of applying for competitive, selective places puts many parents into a competitive frame of mind.

They have to have 'won' the 'best', and make sure their school is bigged up so that everyone knows it.

Many things affect people's preference; the travel route from their home, the particular sports / extra curricular on offer, a 'feeling' ....

If you want to go on the list fit the other school e mail and tell them.

Bloosh Thu 09-Mar-17 11:27:27

My dn was very unhappy at Wilson's and would have been much better off at SG or Wellington Boys. Wilson's is incredibly competitive, overly so.

Estella78 Thu 09-Mar-17 11:33:24

Bloosh, what was the reason for his unhappiness? Had he been moved to another school? For my Ds I want an academic environment with great pastoral care. How is pastoral care at Wilson's?

Bloosh Thu 09-Mar-17 11:49:15

Well he is competitive but wasn't one of the top ones! Everyone talks about their cv etc from y7. There wasn't enough of the more creative subjects (drama etc) which he liked. It very much catered to the all-science, all-maths types, he says.

All in all, he found it overly strict (not sure how valid that was). He has friends at SG and Wellington and says they were all loads happier and loved their school.

He was there from the start but left for sixth form elsewhere. He did really well there.

He made some wonderful friends and had some great teachers at Wilson's, but it wasn't the right school for him. I wouldn't criticise the school at all as this is just one boy's experience. But if he was choosing in retrospect he'd have gone SG or Wally for sure.

Estella78 Thu 09-Mar-17 12:47:35

Thanks, Bloosh! Glad he is happier now. My DS is not super competitive, not sporty, but likes science madly. Probably it is best for him (and his self-esteem) to stick to our 2nd choice.

Bloosh Thu 09-Mar-17 13:26:43

You could always go and look again, then decide if it's worth taking up a place if one comes available. I only visited a couple of times but really liked what I saw.

My dn was very good at maths etc in y6 but as things turned out he is actually more on the arts side, so a maths specialist school was not for him. Guess it's hard to make these choices at age 11.

If it helps all the schools are average in my area and I wish so much my kids had the option of a grammar!!

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