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Page 2 | Please tell me about KGS

(55 Posts)
jkhj Mon 18-Feb-19 09:17:35

Dear all, I would really appreciate some insight into KGS.

My dd has an offer at KGS and although we all are very keen there are some reservations.

Dd is from a state school, enjoys gymnastics and swimming, not competitively though. She loves music and plays the Volin and piano well, although we have not worked through many grades yet. She is also used to being in the top end of her class academically and I'm a little concerned it may lower her confidence, especially as many of the children will have prep school backgrounds.

How do KGS set children for maths and other subjects, class size, amount of homework especially y7 and any general feedback would be appreciated.

She also has an academic scholarship at Radnor house, place at st Catherine's and waiting list Leh (all of which are closer to us).

Thank you

OP’s posts: |
CowCat Mon 23-Sep-19 13:21:18

I have a DS in year 11 & a DD in year 9 - both at KGS. I am really happy with the school. Both came from our local state primary. That was not an issue. I love the urban location. It makes the school easy to get to. The children can go out with their friends in Kingston on Inset days/ weekends.

Re the teaching, I have been happy on the whole, some excellent teachers & some average ones. I love that they are focused on results. I am partly counting on this focus to get the best possible GCSE results out of my rather lazy but bright DS.

Re sports, my two are not super sporty so can't really comment on that.

amidaiwas Mon 23-Sep-19 13:37:50

I like the phone policy. You don't see the KGS kids' instagrams full of shots of them at school posing in the toilet / secretly taken at school like other kids. Mine both come home with plenty of battery, they wouldn't have if they were on them all day. Phones ARE useful - lots of great apps, can quickly look something up in class, check emails/tasks etc all on line. I like they can quickly text me if they have forgotten something or want to check if i can do xyz without hiding in the toilet to do so.

I like that the girls & boys grow up together as friends.
I like that there are lots of sports team and not just the superstars get to represent the school in matches. Yes there could be a wider variety of non ball sport options and the pavilion at the sports ground needs a re-vamp / more indoor sport facilities would be great.

In yr 7,8,9, homework is light ime. My dd had more at (pushy state) primary.

A focus on results - surely that is important? I think the balance they have is right.

I like the urban location and the independence they have.

allyoudoiscriticise Mon 23-Sep-19 13:43:08

Yes, really love the fact it's co ed. Both children have made great friends with the opposite sex. I forgot to mention netball too.

Expo Tue 24-Sep-19 09:00:47

You know which school is right for your child. You sniff it when you walk in. My DS and DD go to different schools and I knew immediately. My DS is at KGS. He is a sporty boy so adores the sports - he lives on the sports field. He is not super duper academic and the school pushes him nicely. Indeed the homework does seem pretty light honestly so I don’t know where this hothouse results thing comes from and frankly that is what I am paying for anyway. If they don’t get good results then I would be a bit peeved. His friend group seems lovely. Mobile phone thing - well yes it is prevalent but then phones are and will be from now on. They have to learn to deal with it. It’s not an issue. Anyway this school suits him down to the ground. A different school for my DD. You know.

Expo Tue 24-Sep-19 09:12:04

Ps there is no size fits all. Not every school is right for every kid or every parent. I am pretty relaxed about it and trust the school. I can’t help thinking how bloody lucky they are to be so privileged to go to such amazing schools (as I write out the cheques every term through gritted teeth!). My partner is not from this country and he cannot believe the facilities and extracurricular opportunities they have. That’s what you pay for. Lucky things. Some people will always find something to moan at.

amidaiwas Tue 24-Sep-19 13:13:14

Some people will always find something to moan at.
Very very true.

Neston3 Mon 30-Dec-19 21:54:30

Very interested to read this thread. My child goes to KGS and I have to agree that, for us, the phone usage policy is proving to be an unmitigated disaster. In short, the children are given flimsy policies which talk of ‘sensible’ phone use. However, phones are used for hours a day with entire groups of 11 year olds sitting on their phones gaming. It’s appalling. Parents have raised it with us but they won’t talk to the school about it.
Regarding sport and drama, our experience thus far has been equally depressing. Our child wants to take part in both but has only been selected to play a match on one occasion out of 10 Saturdays. Additionally he auditioned but didn’t get a place in the school theatre production.
All in all, we are really struggling with the school, particularly as the phone use policy and access to sports were both raised at open events and we don’t feel that the answers were reflective of actual school-life at KGS.
Given our time again I’m very sad to say our we wouldn’t have sent our child here. Best of luck to those who do.

allyoudoiscriticise Tue 31-Dec-19 10:56:07

Sorry to hear that, Neston3. Has your DS just joined in September? If so, there are plenty more opportunities to take part in dramas. My DD has auditioned three times, and got a part once. Plenty more times to try again.

I'm surprised your DS has not had more matches as I know they field lots of hockey teams and like all children to take part, or are you talking about football? Both my DC get plenty of match time, and only one is particularly sporty.

It's not my experience at all on the phone time. I track my DC's usage and they are not on it all day, or even all / every lunch time. Both take part in clubs offered. I like it that they are encouraged to work with the phones, but do appreciate the guidance and oversight from the staff.

It's probably horses for courses, as is the same for other schools, particularly regarding sports (a friend with a DD at Surbiton regularly complains with all those girls her DD can't get into any teams and I have heard similar feedback regarding other schools).

I have had a very positive experience so far with KGS. The teaching, the pastoral care, and that's it's not huge, so feels more like a community.

Neston3 Tue 31-Dec-19 11:16:01

Thanks for your note, yes he has joined just this year. He goes along to hockey practice every Monday evening but has only been offered one Saturday match. I’m sure he’s no hockey genius but it’s disappointing and a bit dispiriting for him as everyone talks of the ‘amazing opportunities’ at KGS and that unfortunately hasn’t been his experience. Not the end of the world though and it certainly bothers us more than it does him when we see his friends coming home from a match each Saturday. I guess it might build his resilience!
The phone issue really does depend on your child I believe. Ours is regrettably in the camp of those who are quite hooked on them, I know it’s not the same for all. We didn’t give him a phone at all until the summer and only then did so with time and app restrictions. However, when his time runs out there are always a dozen or so other children (largely boys) who are on their devices so he can just sit and watch them play. This just seems tragic to us as he should be off playing and chatting. He attends clubs most days but a few of those were pulled due to low attendance.
We want(ed) to love the school - our son worked so hard to get in and we had such high hopes. We’ve also never had any issues with a school before so we aren’t serial complainers. However, for us the school is full of endless frustration and disappointment.
I wish every luck to those who do choose it as our experience won’t, by any means, be universal.

Romanes21 Wed 01-Jan-20 10:04:45

Another parent here very concerned I'm afraid about the use of phones in the school. We are so shocked that the children (again, I have to agree particularly boys), are allowed to sit on their phones during break times (1.5 hours a day). I heard that games were going to be 'banned' 2 days per week which is only even more concerning as this means that the school thinks it's OK for children to sit on them during the remaining 3 days. It's utterly bizarre in my opinion.
Every other school seems to manage very well with the rule of putting phones away in lockers etc. I honestly can't see any value in letting the children access them for lengthy periods during the school day. Our child's phone is also limited in terms of time / apps access but whilst the school allows unlimited use (reinforced by some very woolly policies about 'moderating use'), we are not going to win the battle to keep phones out of sight. Our child comes home with over 2 hours use of games and over 1000 nonsense WattsApp messages, all accessed during break and lunch times. Oh yes, and we have also encouraged attendance at clubs etc. most days - it still doesn't solve what has become a huge issue.
Sadly I echo some of the previous views in terms of disappointment with the school on this policy. It's a huge issue for quite a few parents and the school honestly don't seem to care or appreciate this. It's such a pity.

ripple11 Wed 01-Jan-20 12:56:52

DS is sitting KGS entrance exam next week, and obviously a few others.
It has been interesting seeing the different phone polices as you visit these schools. One school’s policy is no use at all and if it is used, it’s confiscated and the only way of getting it back is for a parent to personally collect it!

AtomicRabbit Wed 01-Jan-20 15:00:04

I like that policy ripple. Don't think phones are needed during the school day. Simon Sinek bemoans the fact that most of us are addicated - he's right.

Well worth watching.

TheWitchCirce Wed 01-Jan-20 22:09:26

I've got a brilliantly happy DS at KGS. He rarely uses his phone during the day, too busy with clubs and kicking a ball around in 'the cage'. He has been encouraged to try a range of activities and he loves the sport, and drama opportunities. (He also didn't get through the audition stage in 1st year but did get involved in house drama events instead. He has had a part in each of the school plays in 2/3/4th year.).

He is socially very confident, so perhaps that has helped him to limit his phone usage.

I think the Head is great - so obviously a parent himself. Good luck to everyone sitting the 11+ in the next few days.

waxandwane Thu 02-Jan-20 13:11:42

I have a Y7 boy and am happy with the mobile policy. I was pretty shocked at first when he was spending hours gaming, but it only lasted a couple of weeks (we track his usage), until he discovered the ball policy was also generous vs his old state school "it's ball day EVERY day, each class gets it's OWN ball!". He's joined a couple of clubs and while he still sometimes uses his phone to game at school he'd rather save his screen time for later. To be fair with travel and after school activities in and out of school he doesn't have a huge amount of downtime time during the term so I'm pretty relaxed about how he uses it.

I'm curious about the exam factory/teaching to the test idea, as I don't feel like I know enough about what that means. It varies by subject, but my sense one-term-in is that there's a balance between explorative learning and then fairly quickly showing them how to apply it. They are very clear about expectations and what is needed, but personally I find this quite helpful and wish there had more of it in my own education.

The other thing I've been surprised and impressed by was end of term report. I'm not sure how common these are (other friends with kids starting independents didn't get a full one). Am amazed at the detail and how quickly the teachers who may only see him twice a week have fully got the measure of him. It's hilariously accurate - his strategies for dodging effort, that enabled him to coast through primary, are well and truly "busted", so I'm feeling pretty happy about what this means for his potential progress towards achieving his potential.

TheExtraGuineaPig Sun 05-Jan-20 11:59:44

I've posted on here before to say this but I have a DD in year 7 at KGS. She is very happy all round, has clubs 3/5 lunchtimes plus they leave early on Fridays for sport. She has a very normal attitude to her phone - can faff about on it for ages at home but if she's with people she'd prefer to chat and play. She has also - despite her best efforts to avoid - had some competitive E/F team matches on Fridays. I am really surprised someone said theirs has had no fixtures. And I agree with the report - seemed very fair and detailed. Our first experience with an independent school so I can't compare it.

FlumePlume Sun 05-Jan-20 19:56:29

TheExtra This is a bit off-topic, but I remember you from last year’s long threads, and it’s great to hear your daughter is so happy at KGS.

TheExtraGuineaPig Mon 06-Jan-20 16:50:32

Ahhh that's lovely! Yes she is so happy there, fitted in quickly, lovely friends, great feedback from teachers and it seems a really good level for her. She's not finding anything too hard and is flying in her fave subjects. Still not too keen on all that hockey (actually perfectly fit and able, just hates cold fields grin!). I hope your DD is getting on well too Flume.

Tumfy Mon 06-Jan-20 21:37:55

Have DS at KGS & DD at another local indy school. TBH the 2 things that leap out at me are the extra curricular & the report system.
I like KGS. It has broadly speaking been an excellent school for my DS. I thought initially that the extra curricular all looked magnificent & was keen for DS to give it all a go! Because, what are you paying for? Extra opportunities & hopefully good pastoral care with not too much teacher churn. Quality of teachers? The sad facts are that in London, the cost of housing is a significant fact in teacher churn whether in the lovely state primaries or secondaries or independents locally.
So, DS has found his way to 2 or 3 regular sports & drama opportunities & has been involved increasingly over the years. Y7 drama - the great majority are supporting eg scenery creators & movers, lighting & sound etc. They move into more acting roles when they continue in further years - so many plays every year! Sport - A-D teams for some sports. Sorry if your DC doesn't get much action. You can drop a note to pe dept? Quite receptive people.

Onto reports. Excellent & informative. Even when they c&p ( which teacher doesn't?) It still reads to me like a teacher who has the measure of my DS & is genuinely trying to be helpful.
This comes from a small school where everyone really does know everyone. Pastoral care is excellent. You don't realise how much it matters till you experience it. It is part of the school tone.

Incidentally - phone policy, whilst more relaxed, has had better results than at DD's school, which has a far fiercer policy & is far more pushed against.

There are things that I don't appreciate, but they are more particular to the subjects my DS has started at A level. No one loves everything about their DC's schools...

In short I see a confident & relaxed DS who is ready for University in the next couple of years, a good independent learner who is able to set his own targets realistically & achieve them.

Neston3 Tue 07-Jan-20 23:10:57

Good to hear of parents with positive experiences of the school. The phone issue will clearly depend on how hooked your child is; for some this will be a complete non-issue whilst for other families (such as ours), it’s created a whole host of issues that we didn’t expect to navigate.
Gaming on phones is also now much more prolific than it was when some of the older children were in year 1 at KGS. Hence they may never have developed the bug!
For us, trying to manage phone use during school hours has created a whole host of very troubling and purely in our view, entirely avoidable issues.
I hope that the entrance exams went well today.

Thesunalwaysshines Wed 08-Jan-20 06:21:03

I have 2DC at KGS. One in upper, and other in lower years. Very happy with the school. I haven't found a problem with phones. Looking at screen time, they don't use it much in the day. Phones certainly are the bane of modern day life, but I think I important to learn to manage usage. Sorry to hear individual circumstances.

I feel my DC are really looked after, both pastorally and academically, and I appreciate everything that school offers outside of this. Lovely school.

Mumintherain Fri 10-Jan-20 23:04:10

My ds has just sat the 11+ for KGS and two other schools. He is a sporty active boy and also quite academic. He does need a lot of running around time on brakes to keep him focused and I worried about the lack of outdoor space at KGS. After reading this I actually feel a bit more positive. If they do have a lot of physically active lunch time clubs and can kick a ball around that would be all he needs. The phone thing is still a little worrying as I do have to police it at the moment...

allyoudoiscriticise Sat 11-Jan-20 07:38:12

Both my DC are sporty. The sport is great at KGS and they certainly get a lot of it. As another poster has said, lunchtime footy in 'the cage' is brilliant fun! They also go over to Fairfield to do lunchtime football training for girls and boys. If your DS is sport and academic, he will love it.

Mumintherain Sat 11-Jan-20 08:51:20

That’s great to hear @ allyoudoiscriticise. It’s so difficult to know who will fit in where from a short open day visit!

Lifeisnotagame Sat 11-Jan-20 09:30:12

You should get a vibe from the school when you go and visit as to how your DC will fit in? It sounds a bit 'woolly', but it's true.

allyoudoiscriticise Sat 11-Jan-20 10:07:01

Could not agree more. We went to visit a school twice for our eldest DC. A good reputation and closer to us. We all didn't feel it.

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