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DD just missing the mark

(24 Posts)
MaWithAmbition Wed 17-Oct-18 23:41:11

Can anyone please help a first time parent facing selection choices for secondary school ?
My DD is a bright and happy child but we are completely floored and uncertain about options for her for secondary schooling,
We are in Croydon borough but other S London boroughs could be commutable for secondary schools - from Bromley to Wandsworth really.
My DD has been through Sutton SETs but only met outcomes for Greenshaw. Also Riddlesdown (eligible for ability waiting list). Wandsworth (240 score so missing out on recent thresholds for Graveney but possible band A for other Wandsworth based on recent year figures. I really don’t wish to subject DD to endless rounds of tests
However, would really like her to go to a school which encourages her natural ability. Does anyone please have any suggestions for a first time parent in this scenario please?

Don’t want to break her spirits with endless tests, for which she nearly got there (she’s only recently 10 after all) - just want the best.

We do not have religion as a fall back, norvany other priority criteria. We’re close to Crystal Palace, but know just how fiercely competitive those places are. We don’t have the means for private education (not that that’s necessarily better). Just any help or advice on which schools might be worth a reasonable shot in applying to with hope for a place.

Wouid appreciate any kind help if you can. The end October application deadline is fast approaching .

Many thanks

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clary Thu 18-Oct-18 00:43:28

Really non specific advice here op.

I don't understand a lot of your post as we don't have all those tests where I live - are they grammar school pass levels?

Anyway, with 14 days to go, I would focus on what schools she will get into - catchment? most local? where others from her primary will get to? and pick the one of those you and she liked best.

You ask which schools she has a shot at - surely you can tell that the best? Look at furthest distances offered in the last few years. Make sure you put down a banker that you are ok with somewhere on the list, so you don't get a far away school you hate (as opposed to a close one).

Hope this is a bit helpful 😀

BarbarianMum Thu 18-Oct-18 06:54:31

OP if you ask Mumsnet to edit your title to include the words "S London" you might attract more responses from people who know your area/the schools in question. Other than that clary's advice is good.

notaworrierxxx Thu 18-Oct-18 07:34:04

Hi - I’m South east London - whereabouts are you ? Have you considered Kingsdale (west Dulwich, near Crystal Palace) it’s a lottery system so no catchment area and it’s results are good. It’s has a bit of controversy in the past but I personally know lots of happy kids there and it was on my list too.

MaWithAmbition Thu 18-Oct-18 07:57:53

Thanks for the tip

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VenusInSpurs Thu 18-Oct-18 09:03:21

I presume any further tests would be schools that carry out ‘banding tests’ after you have applied?

Really, apart from Kingsdale and any other schools based on a lottery, you need to focus on schools that you stand a chance of getting into based on distance, if that is their criteria. Do you not like any of your closest schools?

If you don’t think you will get a place based on the Graveney score, Distance is key. Out of 6 places it might be worth putting Graveney first as a long shot, if you liked the school better than any more local. Don’t know anything about Greenshaw, do you like that school and do you have a chance at getting a place?

You must list one school that you are pretty sure you will get a place in, even if i is your ‘least worst’ option.

Seeline Thu 18-Oct-18 09:10:25

What are your closest schools like - they are the ones you have the best chance of getting into.

Surely you have visited some schools - which ones felt right - I have always had gut feelings on visiting schools as to whether my DCs would be happy there or not (not necessarily the 'best' schools).

What are your DDs interests/strengths? do any of the schools have specialist facilities or extra curricular activities that would match these?

Crystal Palace to Greenshaw is quite a commute. Do not underestimate the implications of a long school day - especially if there are after-school activities to attend as well.

MaWithAmbition Thu 18-Oct-18 09:18:58

Thank you

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MaWithAmbition Thu 18-Oct-18 09:21:17

Thanks for that
Have seen and liked Kingsdale and will definitely add to the list - but as you say it’s a lottery

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notaworrierxxx Thu 18-Oct-18 09:31:29

My daughter did the SET etc but I think those Surrey schools are just too, too far if you’re in south east London. Now she’s in yr 8 (at a local school) and I see how tired she is from being at a school 15 mins away I thank god she doesn’t have a long journey. So distance is a huge consideration

MrsPatmore Thu 18-Oct-18 10:01:19

Put down your order of true preference for the schools you have qualified for (including the waiting list). Things shake down on offers day and waiting lists can move fast. Put at least one school further down your list that you are sure of getting a place at.

Notenoughsleepmumof3 Thu 18-Oct-18 11:51:32

If you considered Graveney, you might want to look at Chestnut Grove. There's an overland to Balham Station from Croydon. 240 will be too low for a selective place at Graveney but you'd be in the top band at CG. Kingsdale is great option and worth a try on the lottery system. I don't know the schools that well in the Croydon area that are local schools, but make sure you look at them. Sydenhym has the GDST school, worth a try if you think she might get a scholarship. They will have means tested ones as well. I also have heard of 2 really good state schools there. The names escape me now. Good luck. Try the commute to Greenshaw yourself. Think about her doing it on her own, in the winter. Year 7 is a hard adjustment and most kids are tired, but they get in their stride by year 8 usually.

MaWithAmbition Thu 18-Oct-18 13:08:02

Thank you so much
This is really helpful
Thought about Chestnut Grove and also possibly Burntwood but haven’t seen the latter
The winter months commute is a dealbreaker I think
Thanks again

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MaWithAmbition Thu 18-Oct-18 13:10:36

Also had discounted independents before due to lack of means, but the scholarship bursary option is worth consideration
Also she really loved Kingsdale so will add that

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MaWithAmbition Thu 18-Oct-18 13:23:08


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MaWithAmbition Thu 18-Oct-18 13:24:24

Thank you all fit the helpful advice
It’s certainly given me more clarity

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maz99 Thu 18-Oct-18 14:16:04

Hi MaWithAmbition, I also live near Crystal Palace and had the same dilemma as you 2 years ago.

I don’t think you realistically have much chance getting in to any of the non-grammar schools you’ve listed, because of their popularity (therefore probably oversubscribed) and due to your distance. You need to check the admissions criteria for each school, to see which option your DD falls under.

You need to put down at least one school that your DD has a good chance of getting into - this school would be listed when you log in to the website.

You could consider Sydenham Girls (state) - I was told by Lewisham Council that they rank admissions purely by distance for all schools under their management within the borough.

Harris Bromley is another school to look at, as well as other Harris schools, South Norwood & Beckenham

Have you thought of Norbury Manor Girls or Norwood School? There is also Oasis Academy Arena as another option.

MaWithAmbition Thu 18-Oct-18 14:42:39

Presumably your dilemma was happily resolved 2 years ago and your DD is now settled?
Care to name her school?

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maz99 Thu 18-Oct-18 14:55:57

Hi Ma,

My DD is at Kingsdale... it was my first choice.

Harris CP was 2nd choice... and my 6th choice, was my local (nearest) school - another Harris school.

That way, I knew which school my DD would go to if I didn’t get any of the 5 choices. This is what you need to do

maz99 Thu 18-Oct-18 15:00:11

Also, we didn’t get a place at Kingsdale on offers day, but got a place 2 weeks later from the waiting list - my DD’s position was mid 30s on both the banding waiting list and sports scholarship waiting list.

MaWithAmbition Thu 18-Oct-18 16:38:11

Thank you
That sounds like a happy outcome

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maz99 Thu 18-Oct-18 16:57:18

My advice to is to list the schools in the order of how much you want them, and include Kingsdale and, if you liked it, Alison Harris Crystal Palace. Although, the admission process for both are lotteries, there is no harm in trying.

You just need to make sure you have put your local ‘guaranteed’ school in the 6th spot.

Because on offer day, if you don’t get any of the schools listed in the top 5 positions, you will automatically put on a waiting list for each of those schools. Which means you could still be offered a place at any of those schools from offer day up until year 7 starts and beyond. Kingsdale was still taking on new students in year 7 in January.

notaworrierxxx Thu 18-Oct-18 16:57:29

My daughter ended up on a bursary at an independent school so it’s worth looking into - there’s some good bursary funds at schools round south east London.

Also she got offered Kingsdale in mid Aug from wait list. I loved Sydenham school (state ) but catchment is too tight, same for Pendergast hilly fields. Like a PP I put down the school I knew she was most likely to get (my 5th choice ) and that was indeed the school she was offered on 1st March.

I had taken her off waiting list for Kingsdale months before but they kept phoning so think their admin was a bit disorganised !

MaWithAmbition Thu 18-Oct-18 19:03:07

Good to know
Thanks again

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