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Kendrick (Reading) opinions please

(7 Posts)
Mountainscalling Sun 08-Oct-17 22:13:46

DD is currently year 5 and we're deliberating over whether she should try for Kendrick school in Reading.
She's bright, and we believe, capable of passing the exam but we're struggling to decide whether it's the right school for her if (and I know it's a big if) she were to get a place.
She's been tutored since term 5 in year 4 to counter a poor year during which she became very bored and wasn't being challenged. The tutor would prepare her for the entrance exam if required.

So, my question is, what it's really like at Kendrick?
e.g. Is it hideously difficult to get in to but once you're there isn't too pressurised or is it highly pressurised throughout?
Clearly all the girls there will be bright, how do the ones 'at the bottom' cope?
Is it just an exam factory or are there similar extra curricular activities similar to other schools?

DD isn't desperately keen at the moment because it's all girls and she has more male friends at the moment - doesn't realise that this is likely to change regardless of whether she's at a mixed or single sex school. We've been to four other open evenings in the last couple of weeks and she has no opinion as to which of those schools she'd prefer - so basically she's just not interested!

Unfortunately their open evening isn't until April and I didn't think to go to last year's!

Singap0reSling Mon 09-Oct-17 09:48:29

I have a DD doing GCSEs at Kendrick. She's been really happy at the school, she's made friends and taken the opportunities to engage in extra curricular activities. Generally she's happy with the work and the pace that they go at.

I guess statistically it is "hideously difficult" to get in - our approach was "well it's there, might as well give it a go". I believe it's around 800 who sit the test at Kendrick these days, with another few hundred who sit the Slough test and share their results with Kendrick for consideration. So over a 1000 in total for the last few years, for 96 places.

But please make sure you are in catchment to begin with - no one outside of catchment has got a place since the catchment area was introduced. There's absolutely no point. No appeals have been won either AFAIK in the last 6 years at least.

Although my DD is fairly academic, she's not genius level IMHO. She has her strengths and weaknesses, which she tries to accept - she's stronger in some subjects than other, and that's all there is. It's the same for every Kendrick girl, and in fact every person at every school, surely? So there'll always be someone at the "bottom" but they might be top in another subject.

I've heard my DD talk about people who are amazing at some subject, about people who are slow at other subjects. There is still going to be a mix and range of abilities. The 11+ test is really crude as a selection tool.

The teaching is generally very good, most of the teachers are very enthusiastic and seem to put a lot into the school and the girls. Obviously there's the odd one here or there that seem less good.

Once you start, there's a huge emphasis on school engagement and extra curricular activities. I think the school is well aware that some parents and girls think schooling is just for exams and the pursuit of A*s (or 9s now) but the school's message is to relax and ease that pressure by doing other things for fun.

My DD has done a fair amount of extra curricular sports and music she's really enjoyed that social aspect of school. It would be a shame for the any of the girls to not join in with something, there's a wide range of clubs/activities.

OP if your daughter is not enthusiastic about any school at this stage, then are you keen for her to sit the 11+? Is she willing to do the preparation for the test? Is she happy with seeing her tutor already?

Sorry for the long post, hope it's of some help for you OP.

Singap0reSling Mon 09-Oct-17 09:51:20

You might find out more on the elevenplus forum, in the Berkshire section.

Mountainscalling Mon 09-Oct-17 10:22:32

Thanks Singap0re that's all really helpful.

We are in catchment and our approach has also been, "it's there, it would be a shame not to try". We're close enough that the journey would be no more onerous than three out of four of our other options so there really seemed no reason not to give it a go.

DD's lack of enthusiasm is, in part I think, down to a general desire not to grow up. She's not particularly emotionally mature yet and I don't think she wants to accept that the move to senior school is going to happen regardless of whether she wants it to or not!

I wouldn't say she 'happily' goes to the tutor right now but she's fine once there. Think the reluctance is that it prevents potential play dates that day! The tutor has served the purpose we originally went for and part of the reason for my post was to try and gauge whether we should continue for Kendrick prep or knock Kendrick on the head!

Great to hear that there are plenty of extra curricular activities and that the girls are encouraged to take part in them, that's very encouraging and would be important to DD. Do these activities tend to be at lunchtime or after school?

Hope the GCSEs go well!

Singap0reSling Mon 09-Oct-17 11:04:54

Clubs run both during lunch and after school. Generally my DD stays after school for sports or music. During lunchtimes, she's tried debate, more music, robotics, university challenge; and I think there's chess, chickens and lots more she's not interested in! There might be a list on the school website some where...

Good luck to you too.

AbbieRuin Mon 09-Oct-17 18:27:15

My dd went to Kendrick and it was absolutely perfect for her. She's a bit of a coaster, so they kept her working hard. She threw herself into drama and house activities, and really enjoyed her time there. She definitely didn't feel pressured, but she is quite alarmingly laidback! So I think for her it was great being at a school that just automatically had high expectations of their girls.

Mountainscalling Mon 09-Oct-17 22:16:22

Thanks Abbie. Lots to think about! My DD definitely needs to be kept working hard but she's not at all laid back so need to consider whether she will interpret being encouraged to work as too much pressure.

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