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Kingston Grammar vs Tiffin boys

(57 Posts)
KindergartenKop Sat 10-Feb-18 16:55:38

Are the two 11+ exams equally difficult? Do people who pass both tend to go to Tiffin because it's free? So is KGS technically easier to get into if you're willing to pay? How bright, roughly, do you need to be to get into these schools? Thanks smile

Clueless01 Sat 10-Feb-18 17:10:03


Round one Tiffin is fairly straightforward. Round two Tiffin is much harder, especially the maths. DC said it was harder than both Hampton and KGS.

KGS 11-plus includes VR, which Tiffin doesn’t do anymore. Older DC did the old-style Tiffin exam as well as KGS and got into both. We chose KGS for him as we felt the environment there better suited him. Though obviously took a hit financially!

Hard to generalise but would say most of those who get into Tiffin would probably go there rather than fee-paying, be it KGS or Hampton. But my impression - and it is anecdotal - is that more might now choose KGS. We know of others who did same.

Clueless01 Sat 10-Feb-18 17:12:07

How bright? Hard to know. Many of those who get into Tiffin (not via waiting list) have traditionally been heavily tutored. We did about 12 month’s work at home with both boys so they became familiar with types of papers and questions. It’s hard to go into these cold and good to practise.

Clueless01 Sat 10-Feb-18 17:59:19

Should add both DCs educated at state primary.

KindergartenKop Sat 10-Feb-18 18:37:26

Thanks, this is useful. Is Hampton the other school you considered then? Or were there any others of a similar ilk?
When I ask about intelligence, I sort of mean are we talking the top 10% of state primary kids or the top 1% plus tutoring? And if my DS is in the, say, top 5% and doesn't get into Tiffin, would he get into KGS?

FeedtheTree Sat 10-Feb-18 18:56:52

Kindergarten - it depends on the other applicants. Tiffin does attract a fiercely well-tutored group of candidates because it's free. Neither of my DC got in, and they both got offered places at Hampton and scholarships at Reeds.
One thing to bear in mind with KGS is that it's mixed, so there are far fewer places. I'd definitely take a look at Hampton to if that's your area. I hear very good things of it. We went elsewhere in the end, but I'd have been happy if DC had gone there, and the boys I know who go there thrive.

Clueless01 Sat 10-Feb-18 19:27:38

Would say both DCs in top half dozen or so of their class in state primary but we didn’t start seriously on 11-plus work till year 5.

Sure, probably need to be fairly bright but the issue we found, at least in state primary, was that the level you needed to reach to be able to compete with more heavily tutored DCs and/or privately educated DCs was, for DC1 at least, beyond what was then being taught in state primary. He needed a good grounding in year 6 stuff before he was formally taught it, as well as being very confident with everything in year 5.

Tiffin, in particular, now sets some fiendish problem solving questions in the latter part of the second round maths paper that a good number will struggle to answer. And without making DCs’ life miserable, it’s hard to know how to prepare for everything. Certainly we tried to avoid that.

Much will simply depend on the day. Put a DC in a freezing cold Tiffin gym on an October morning where the heating doesn’t work and he might not do as well as another similarly able DC sitting in the dancing studio. Equally, luck of the draw on questions - some DCs prefer story writing to writing a letter. In general, though, Tiffin has become a little easier to get into in recent years as year 7 numbers have increased (to 180) - the cut-off score (after going through the waiting list) has fallen. And KGS is mixed, so only 55 places in year 7 for boys. Although the Hampton exam might be harder, it might not be harder to get into as there are more places up for grabs. And it’s a great school (even if we chose, for our own reasons, KGS for older DC over Hampton, Tiffin and KCS).

KindergartenKop Sat 10-Feb-18 19:37:01

Ok, that's interesting.
When would/did you start tutoring?
Did they all have separate exams and interviews? Did your kids find the whole process stressful?

Clueless01 Sat 10-Feb-18 19:52:43

We started the extra work in autumn term of year 5. Needed about a year of English/Maths and VR. Did some NVR. As the year progressed, focused more on weaker areas as they became apparent.

All separate exams and interviews. So January was a bit full-on, but over in 2-3 weeks. We sought to minimise stress by keeping it low-key and throwing treats at same time.

Vicky11Plus Sat 10-Feb-18 21:14:29

Honestly I do think Tiffin really is a lot harder to get into than KGS.

From our state primary there seem to be a few each year that get offers from KGS but in the six years my DD has been at the school no one has ever got into Tiffin boys and only one girl into Tiffin girls.

Obviously not all the the children take these exams but quite a few do each year.

KindergartenKop Sat 10-Feb-18 21:16:57

Thanks, this is all helpful. My kids are still small but I don't know much about all this stuff. It's good to know when and where to start though!

nocampinghere Tue 13-Feb-18 09:45:49

I would say Tiffin is quite a lot harder to get into than KGS. Or Hampton or any of the other schools.
The sheer number of applicants for one.
Secondly you are up against kids who have been preparing for those Tiffin exams since they were in the infant school (no joke).

The exam change must have been a blow to many of these families... but even now to get through the multiple choice test into the top 400 to get to the second stage maths & english is very very difficult.

Clueless01 Tue 13-Feb-18 10:35:59

Yes. Would agree with that. Harder than all the local selective schools to get into. 1800 applicants for 180 places. They take about 500 to second round. And the tutoring for it is intense. Having said that, many of those also sit the Sutton grammars and some of those offered places might opt for, say, Wilson’s instead. Relative to how it has been in recent years, it seems Tiffin go further down the waiting list now than before. But it is still difficult.

ReelingLush18 Tue 13-Feb-18 10:43:35

I would say Tiffin is quite a lot harder to get into than KGS. Or Hampton or any of the other schools. Going on my own - albeit - limited experience (of the DC's former primary school), the children who went to KGS tended to be the ones who didn't pass the 11+ for the local state options (Tiffin/Tiffin Girls/other SW London super-selectives) but had the money to choose private education over a comprehensive one.

nocampinghere Tue 13-Feb-18 12:03:02

other SW London super-selectives

there aren't any others ? Only Tiffin...

TeddTess Tue 13-Feb-18 12:08:34

the children who went to KGS tended to be the ones who didn't pass the 11+ for the local state

I actually think they cater for quite different markets and offer quite a different education. My experience is that the applicants overlap far less than you may think. Sure some KGS applicants may have "had a go" at the Tiffin test, or done it as an early 11+ practice, but they won't have been intensely prepped for it or as a serious contender.

ReelingLush18 Tue 13-Feb-18 13:04:27

there aren't any others ? Only Tiffin...

No that's not true, there are five others in the borough of Sutton, with varying degrees of accessibility depending on where one lives.

itschilly Tue 13-Feb-18 14:00:21

Tedtess-I agree. Quite a few DC's at out state primary did the Tiffin girls test, mainly for practice for the independent 11+ and did no specific prep at all. Some got through to the second round but of those who did I know none would take the place if the got it. Listening to the chatter in the queue it was quite obvious that a lot of the kids had been tutored for YEARS and this was literally the make or break day. It was quite eye opening actually and completely put me off the school.

nocampinghere Tue 13-Feb-18 15:02:22

ok so Sutton borough is really not accessible for most kids at KGS. They are overwhelmingly from Kingston Hill, Surbiton, Wimbledon, Teddington, Richmond, Kew etc...

ReelingLush18 Tue 13-Feb-18 16:22:21

Lots of boys and girls from Wimbledon (and Merton generally) at all of the Sutton ones in my experience.

KindergartenKop Tue 13-Feb-18 16:41:56

Why is tutoring kids bad if it means they can access a great school?

ch16 Tue 13-Feb-18 20:01:03

Hello Tiffin parent here.
DS got KGS 10+ place from 250 applicants with general interview.
In the Tiffin exam we estimate he was 100 out of 180.
His whole class at Tiffin got into Wilsons/SGS.
I will let you do the maths.

woodlanddreamer Tue 13-Feb-18 20:07:26

Why is tutoring kids bad if it means they can access a great school?

What if they can't keep up when they get there as they only got through the exam with a big push?

KindergartenKop Tue 13-Feb-18 20:26:29

I get the impression that anyone serious about Tiffin at a state primary does tutoring, so most of the class must fall back in year 7! I suppose it's not fair on those who can't afford tutoring so it's not the social leveller Theresa May claims.

pestov Tue 13-Feb-18 20:28:56

I work at a Grammar school but not super selective. We can tell within the first couple of weeks who has been tutored to within an inch of their lives. Grammars are great at pushing able students, we are not so good at dealing with lower ability, but we don't boot them out. Every year I have a couple of Y11s with a C grade as their aspirational target. Invariably they leave with a clutch of Ds whereas I know a comprehensive would be so much better for them

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