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How best to apply to St Marylebone & CSG

(11 Posts)
NofGreenGables Thu 03-May-18 12:39:19

We, like many families have no single sex (choice of my daughter for secondary) schools in our catchment (catchments being so tight) but are equidistant from St Marylebone and Camden School for Girls. We could commute to either in under half an hour (under 2 miles) but are not eligible under typical distance criteria. My daughter is, according to her teacher a grade 3 level harpist (has not taken exams yet) and also very into drama and singing. We are Christian but not CofE, despite a Protestant minister grandparent.

For St Marylebone we must indicate which specialism she would be applying for (music / choral / drama). I am in a quandary as she is apparently very musical (good at sight reading and aural etc.) but we are not super pushy and she has been just allowed to enjoy her harp but is not grade 5+ which most muso schools require to be considered "hitter" level. She is grouped with much older children in her drama classes due to her natural ability and propensity to memorize lines very easily. She loves to sing, but although has a good ear and is tuneful, is not an X-Factor starlet in the making. My question is, can anybody advise as to the strategic advantages of applying for one over another of these specialisms? I would like her to be appreciated as an allrounder, as we have yet to decide what her real strength of the three is. Do you have any idea which is more contested? Would a grade 3 (with reference letter, not graded) harp be viewed more keenly than a drama application?

As for Camden School for Girls, I assume her only viable route in (though still a long shot) would be to apply for a musical aptitude place which would allow her to perform vocally and with her only instrument.

Many thanks in advance for any strategy advice / personal experience you may have had with either school.

OP’s posts: |
Backingvocals Thu 03-May-18 15:28:34

We live half a mile from St M and dd did not get in because we didn't apply through the church attendance route.

Although DD sings in the church choir (was a founder member in fact) and we've attended this church for 10 years we didn't attend enough and so our vicar declined to sign the forms angry. By contrast girls are coming via the church route from up to five miles away and all they needed was a friendly's obviously a bit of a lottery but if you are going to apply at all you definitely need to be on the church side.

Sounds like she has a good chance on the music side also but I can't speak to that.

NofGreenGables Thu 03-May-18 16:34:59

thanks @backingvocals... we are Catholic and regular attendees of mass, but I am not sure that washes with CofE?

Re the music, do you have any idea of how high the standard needs to be? Or does it have to be simply a demonstration of aptitude?

I supposed it would be helpful to know how many applicants vs places of each type of place. I will investigate if I can.

OP’s posts: |
cingolimama Thu 03-May-18 17:44:19

I think the "musical aptitude" places are a complete lottery. First you must pass an electronic MA test. Most of the very skilled musicians I knew (Grade 5 +) failed the MA test, which is bizarre. However, it is supposed to identify musical potential, not current level of skill. For both Camden and St.M the music places are wildly oversubscribed. I would consider choral or drama for St. M. You can get the information about which one has more applicants at the open days in June.

Good Luck!!!

NofGreenGables Thu 03-May-18 22:51:21

@cingolimama - very interesting... also somewhat unnerving as you never really know how things will turn out.

OP’s posts: |
NofGreenGables Fri 04-May-18 12:16:09

I've done some digging and apparently there are more harpists than I thought in Camden, so mine might have to rely on another instrument... or maybe we will have to go the choral route? Probably too much competition for piano which she also plays...

Also, we are in private education right now so just wondering if this will be a black mark against her attempting to get into the state system? Or am I being paranoid? Thoughts?

OP’s posts: |
cingolimama Fri 04-May-18 12:51:30

Paranoid. No one cares where your DD went for primary. Truly.

NofGreenGables Fri 04-May-18 13:04:20

So much the better in that case

OP’s posts: |
ourkidmolly Fri 04-May-18 13:17:46

Are you applying for Catholic schools? There's LSU in Camden?

NofGreenGables Fri 04-May-18 13:27:12

Thanks @ourkidmolly - thinking about it. Currently not in a religious school... THinking of St Michaels over LSU mainly for academic performance. Have yet to visit.

OP’s posts: |
AlterEgoe Tue 08-May-18 14:07:11

My DD is a harpist too! I thrive there is a growing number which is nice. Sounds like we are going to bump into each other at one of these assessments. wink

I'd see how she progresses in all of the areas (music, drama, singing) and reassess over HR summer hols as to which to apply by. I think we have some time before we need to commit. Good luck!

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