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Guildford High School 12+/13+

(24 Posts)
guildfordschools Mon 22-Jan-18 15:10:56

Has anyone any experience of this? Specifically DD's prep school goes to 13, she has applied for 11+ and got a waiting list place, but they said she is in the 'unlikely' part of the waiting list.

If she was to stay at current school for Y7 and/or Y8 does the 12+/13+ get more difficult, or what?

notagain01 Mon 22-Jan-18 17:25:02

GHS is an 11+ entry school. Only offers places for 12+/13+ if spaces come available. Socially this wouldn't be much fun at a girl's school. Why don't you look at St Cats or Tormead, I know girls who have gone in at year 9 in both schools and have been very happy. Don't think they are not academic schools, the range is just slightly greater (not much!). Loads of girls get mutliple A*s.Tormead is the more pastoral of the two, St Cats felt like more of a business!! However, if she is very sporty then St Cats might be better.

guildfordschools Tue 23-Jan-18 00:45:49

unfortunately we didn't apply for Tormead, IDK, it didn't quite inspire. We have a place at St Cats but it's not terribly convenient to get to for us. So a bit silly really. Something about not wanting to sit too many exams, IDK.

AFAIK neither Tormead, St Cats, nor GHS have 13+ entry, not sure I can see any difference.

GuerrillaShoppa Tue 23-Jan-18 07:44:54

Occasional places do come up at GHS in Years 8 and 9.

However I don't know what your chances of getting in are given that your daughter has already sat once and been wait-listed. Perhaps another poster can advise? Also, I have a friend whose daughter started at GHS in Year 9 (she's now at university), who found it hard to break into already established friendship groups and always felt a bit of an outsider. However, that is just one personal experience in one particular year group.

notagain01 Tue 23-Jan-18 08:24:26

Neither Tormead or St Cats have big intakes at 13+, but they do have some girls that enter at that point- I know from personal experience as my daughter had year 9 places (after prep school), at both. We decided on Tormead as it had less of a "corporate" feel than St Cats. I agree with GuerrillaShoppa that if your DD is wait-listed at GHS now, she will be unlikely to get a 12+/13+ place. Personally I don't see that as a problem- my daughter is very academic and we didn't even consider it! Ignore the GHS hype!!

guildfordschools Tue 23-Jan-18 09:16:09

hype maybe but unfortunately we don't have too many other options as I'm not 100% sold on St Cats for various reason, but point taken on 12+/13+

FrogMog Tue 23-Jan-18 22:24:00

I agree. GHS is fab but there are other great options. The chance of a place at 12 or 13+ is unlikely as it is reliant on someone leaving which is very rare.
Can your DD move at 11 to one of the other schools?
It is the natural point for girls (most girls boarding schools even start at 11+ now). I think Wellington, Marlborough etc might be the exception.
It is hard enough managing friendships aged 12 - I would not want to add to that by being the new girl and trying to break into strong friendship groups.

I'd also worry a prep school environment is much cosier and smaller. The shift from that to a larger secondary at a non-natural entry point is a big jump.

Make life easier for your DD and find her an 11+ place or a school which only starts at 13+ (which would probably be a co-ed public boarding school).

ChocolateWombat Wed 24-Jan-18 19:17:54

I'd agree and say it's time to give up on GHS. Any odd places given at 12 or 13 (tiny numbers) will go to those who didn't apply at 11 - often when it's just odd ones and twos, it's people moving into the area and having a first go, not a second try.

It may still be poss to apply to schools you didn't apply to, even though the process is well under way. Many schools will take an extra one or two who apply late, IF they are strong candidates - they have a bit of flexibility. Other schools might not quite full,made spite what you think. Girls schools often struggle with this, especially in areas where there are several and mixed available too - so it's worth asking in a couple of weeks and expressing interest.

It maybe that you need to reconsider schools you weren't keen on before or look a bit further afield to widen your options. As others have said, your DD can do well in a number of schools. In the end, GHS might just not be right for her....if this is the case (and the exam results suggest it) you have to accept it and start looking for Plan B. Your energies would be spent better on this than trying to find a way to apply for 12/13+ when the chances for her of entry at that point are absolutely tiny.

Personally, I'd look for an 11+ place, rather than remaining at Prep, if you were keen for 11+ transfer. There may well be a way for her still to go at the end of this year. That said, it's good you have another option, which is staying to 13, but that's really only worth taking if there are genuine opportunities at 13 - few seem to really exist in girls schools. What about mixed? There might be more possibilities at 13 there.

GuerrillaShoppa Thu 25-Jan-18 09:46:52

I agree with notagain01 - you should not get caught up in the GHS hype.

As an observer of the GHS 11+ selection process over a number of years, you can generally spot a “GHS girl” in advance. Contrary to popular opinion, they are not always the very brightest girls. There are many girls who meet the academic bar required to get in. (A higher standard is required to get into the senior school than the junior school - there tends to be a preponderance of former junior school girls in the lower maths sets from Year 7).

At 11+, GHS is looking for girls who are competitive (hence the lacrosse section of the selection process) and confident in their abilities, who tend to excel at a sport, music or drama (rather than being good in a number of these areas) i.e. they are already specialists in one of these areas at the age of 10/11 and will be labelled as specialists in this area throughout their school career. In my experience, the school tends to prioritise selection of extroverts who can deliver the school the PR potential of county or national exposure in one of these areas over quieter, more introverted, academic girls who cannot.

There are many parents who make a conscious decision not to enter their girls for the 11+ exam at GHS as they know that the school would not suit their daughter temperamentally. If they have a more introverted daughter, who is going to work diligently come what may, they feel that the pressure of spending every day with a cohort of 100 or so competitive, bright extroverts is unnecessary. (Of course, if you feel that your daughter will coast without the competition from such girls, then GHS may well be the right school for your daughter!) Also, those parents who want their daughter to be exposed to a range of different interests throughout her school career, regardless of her initial ability, also tend to rule GHS out as its commitment to excellence tends to bar opportunities for girls to develop any nascent ability.

I think that, provided that you select the right school for your daughter, it will not matter whether she joins at Year 7 or Year 9 as she will find her place. Good luck!

Fifthtimelucky Sun 28-Jan-18 10:03:02

Guerilla, I agree with much of what you say, but in my daughters' years there were also plenty of quiet studious girls (including one of mine) who do not meet the extrovert stereotype.

I was also puzzled by the reference to lacrosse forming part of the selection process. On entrance exam day, the candidates do do some sport (could be lacrosse, but if wet more likely to be something inside like bench ball). But that is not part of the formal assessment process. It obviously reflects the priority the school places on sport, but I think it's just to get the girls doing something active, relieve the exam/interview stress a bit and break up the day.

GHS definitely encourages girls to participate in extra curricular activities like sport, music and drama, and to a high level, but I disagree that they are necessarily labelled as specialists. Some are, but many of the girls have far more than one string to their bow, and participate in a range of activities.

Sport and music are encouraged at all levels, so the first teams and best choirs/orchestras are very selective, but there are also opportunities for beginners and those who are not so good and they definitely encourage sport for all, not just those who represent the school.

On the original question though, it is certainly true that very very few girls start in year 12 or 13.

FrogMog Sun 28-Jan-18 13:40:06

I second fifthtimelucky my DD and many of her friends at GHS were quiet, introverts who were perfectly happy enjoying their time there. They would be involved in some kind of music/sport etc but not necessarily the best. Girls of all personalities suit and love the school. I can see form the outside or knowing the odd girl there you can assume it is the kind of school you'd only send a very confident, outgoing girl to but it really isn't. Pastoral care, mental health and wellbeing are excellent and continually getting a greater and greater profile.

But as said above, a place in Year 8 or 9 is unlikely and not always the best time to start.

GuildfordMum101 Sun 28-Jan-18 14:54:36

I am afraid if you have failed to get into GHS at 11+ you have failed. Of the wait listed girls only the first 2 or 3 get a place, and places further up the school rarely become available, even at 6th form there are only a handful. Tormead on the other hand, is much more flexible. There seems to be a higher turnover here, we have had 8 new girls over the last year covering year 9 into 10. Many girls are international and/or moving in to the area. Don't get too hung up about GHS. It is wonderful but so is Tormead. I have had a daughter at each. My GHS daughter, exceptionally academic, NOT sporty at all, dabbled in a bit of music and drama, but really just there for the academic excellence, now at Oxford. My Tormead daughter, pretty average in all things, but actually of the two, the happier in her choice of school. She was wait listed for GHS and didn't get in, in hindsight, thank god! She has thrived at Tormead, and now that the school has been updated, the facilities are as good as GHS without the annoying parents!!

madlife1 Mon 29-Jan-18 09:39:15

Thank you Guildford mum 101. A balanced view for once!! I agree with you. I also have daughters at both! My DD at GHS would be doing just as well at Tormead I'm sure. Tormead is a lovely school- the teachers treat everyone as if they have great potential (which they do).

GuerrillaShoppa Thu 12-Apr-18 09:28:34

I know that this is quite an old thread now but just to say that there's definitely have been some movement on the GHS 11+ waiting list (unless they over-offered places). Two St Hilary's girls have declined places.


ChocolateWombat Thu 12-Apr-18 11:47:26

All schools over offer. Even the very top schools are not the top choice of everyone who applied - perhaps due to distance or sibling factors.

Schools make their best calculation of the % of acceptances to declines based on previous years and offer accordingly. Consequently, they only go to wait list if more decline than they had imagined.

And some schools won't use wait list at all. Instead, they know that some last minute applicants will appear - perhaps moving into the area - they might test them and find them if the standard of those who got the original offers and so give them the place.

You know people who turned down places - there will be others too and the school will have been expecting that. People sometimes get caught up in the hype of schools and imagine every applicant has it as their only or top choice - but many kids sit 3 or 4 schools and the fact that GHS is academically very very high up isn't the only factor in deciding. Some people take entrance exams because they are early on and a good practice for another school, some hope for a full bursary and apply but don't get the full bursary they need, others choose another good but more local school in the end, some go boarding, some go to where their siblings are or near. Even very good and popular schools can find 20% or more of offers are declined.

EMPS Tue 29-May-18 05:29:49

Forget Guildford High School. DD has not made it. Look elsewhere. Tormead is flaccid. St Catherines is monied. Try Surbiton.

EMPS Tue 29-May-18 05:34:50

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

GuerrillaShoppa Tue 29-May-18 11:36:39

Whoa - someone’s got out of bed this morning and decided to rattle a few cages - you’ve posted on 12 other threads this morning and all before most people have eaten their breakfast! If Tormead is flaccid, does that make the Guildford High School (GHS) approach turgid, I wonder? wink

I guess it's all a question of what you believe is the purpose of secondary education. Some parents believe that it's to concentrate purely on spoon-feeding and teaching to the test to achieve a string of A*s or 9s. Others believe it's about preparing children for a working life beyond school, learning to get along with and lead a range of people from different backgrounds and of differing abilities. Some more believe it's all about hobnobbing with like-minded (narrow-minded?) people from the "right" backgrounds. And a whole load more rationales besides. You makes your choice....if you choose to be guided purely by the league tables, that decision is, of course, yours.

Here's a link to a recent thread about Foundation Maths GCSE at St Cats and the league tables. League table positions can be heavily influenced by micro-managing which pupils are allowed to sit the exams and carefully selecting the syllabi for the subject exams they actually sit. Whether this is in the pupils' long-term interests is a moot point.

Mumto3teenagekids Tue 29-May-18 12:55:06

I don't think anyone would disagree with the great achievements at GHS. After all, in theory, they cherry picked at age 11. There would be something wrong with the school if they didn't achieve higher overall results than schools which are slightly less selective. As GuerillaShoppa says it's all down to personal choice. There aren't enough places for every bright girl near Guildford to go to GHS, hence why the surrounding schools are full of bright girls! Some people choose to not even try for GHS as they prefer the atmosphere/offering elsewhere.
Just read the St Cats/foundation thread- doesn't surprise me. Any school dependent on league tables wants to remove any grades below an A or a 7.

anrolnotrom Wed 26-Sep-18 16:27:12

I know this is an oldish thread but I also know people will be reading this in subsequent years. Contrary to what GuildfordMom101 has said if your daughter did not pass the 11+ entrance to GHS, they certainly have not 'Failed' and whilst the waitlist may not move dramatically, it can be certainly more than 2-3 people that get places off it. This year for example I know someone who declined outright, another who declined off the waitlist after being made an offer and was quite an able girl and another who declined after having been offered off waitlist quite late in the day - the offer was made a couple of months after the acceptance deadline, and this girl was nowhere near what you would call 'highly academic'. She was a middle set girl at prep school in English and a lower middle set in maths. It was clear that GHS had run down it's list until they got to her. Even her parents had to admit it was a mystery that she was offered and they had sat her on a whim. Not everyone at GHS is a genius. Obviously, most are very able but there are girls who made it through by fluke and others who did not get offers despite getting offers and scholarships elsewhere. There is a degree of randomness in all of this. Most of the time the choices are logical but a good 10% are a bit inexplicable. Another point people need to take into account, GHS girls don't do well because they went to GHS. GHS does well because of the girls who go there. Those same girls would do just as well had they gone to SHS, SWPS, Tormead et al. It wasn't the school that made them successful, they would have been anyway. Unless they go to some sink school somewhere massively challenged, these girls will do well.

OlderThanAverageforMN Wed 26-Sep-18 17:20:17

I can explain the offer if it was a couple of months after the deadline. My DD was seventh on list, another friend fifth, we both decided to come off the list and go for Tormead instead. Once you have paid your £750 deposit to go to another school you are not then going to accept the belated offer to go to GHS and loose your deposit. Most of the list would have plumped for another school pretty soon after the first offers.

anrolnotrom Wed 26-Sep-18 17:52:41

OlderThanAverage....In most cases I agree with you but there are so many people who are so desperate to get into a school like GHS that they will forgo the deposit elsewhere. Fortunately the people I know turned it down as they were really in love with the school they accepted and they reasoned that their DD would not enjoy being weaker in the cohort. My point was just that not everyone is super academic at GHS, the school want to fill spaces and they will go right down the waitlist if needed and it happens every year. All schools including GHS end up with random spaces as people pull out and they go down the waitlist offering to lower and lower people until they hit someone who is willing to forgo their deposit.

OlderThanAverageforMN Thu 27-Sep-18 13:56:17

anrolnotrom True :-)

IheartNiles Thu 27-Sep-18 16:45:47

Nuts comments on this thread.

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