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Is St Pauls really worth it?

(55 Posts)
CocoC Tue 26-Feb-19 00:10:04

DS has an offer from St Pauls.
We have just moved to the UK, and are not used to this system, so we are just shocked at how high the fees are (and dubious at the fact the school is single sex, in today's world).
At the same time, we want to do what is best for him , as he is very bright and does not particularly enjoy school right now as he is bored most of the time, which feels a real shame.
So, my question is - is an education at St Pauls really worth it? I am not so swayed by the sporting side of things, as quite frankly for the price of the fees, am happy to drive him around to various after school sports clubs.
And is the quality of the teaching, and the academic side of things really better than what you would get at a school like Latymers (which has, to me, the advantage of being co-ed)? Both schools are very local to us, so distance is not an issue.

OP’s posts: |
MrsEricBana Tue 26-Feb-19 00:20:13

In a word, yes. A St. Paul's education gives you something to carry with you for life and yes they attract fantastic teaching staff.

malmontar Tue 26-Feb-19 09:24:52

You are also paying for the ‘old boys club’. Networking is massive after university and schools like St. Paul’s use their alumni network to help graduates get jobs. It is a pretty well known thing and in my office I’d say a quarter maybe less went to state school and most vacancies are filled by people who know someone already here. This is events management btw but it is a well known thing everywhere.

EdwinaMarlow Tue 26-Feb-19 09:38:00

Are the fees at SP a lot more than Latymer's? I think both schools would give you a fantastic education, and stretch your ds.

PatienceVirtue Tue 26-Feb-19 09:50:21

I would pay to avoid that 'something to carry with you for life'. Is it something George Osborne is carrying? If so, ugh.

My children are at private secondaries so I'm not anti all independents but I do have a problem with those old-school public schools. My father and brother went to Eton and were crushed by it. The boys who I knew growing up who went to those sort of public schools came out with inflated Cameron-esque ideas of their own abilities or were cowed by the confidence of others.

Latymer Upper sounds like a fab school and there's no doubt there would be loads of kids who are as able as your clearly very able boy.

Zinnia Tue 26-Feb-19 09:56:12

Have friends who chose Latymer over St Paul's for their 3 DSs, are extremely happy and boys are on track for Ivy League & Oxbridge (phenomenally bright family!). Their sons are polite, engaged, well-adjusted, but otherwise (!) normal teenage boys. The parents are very happy with their choice.

LeFaye Tue 26-Feb-19 10:44:16

Have you visited both schools? And other schools?

We visited a lot of schools, everything from Westminster to Harrodian, and my DS became completely hooked on Dulwich College. Once we visited there, none of the other schools were the least bit interesting to him. Gut feeling matters a lot I think, especially if your DS isn’t keen on school at the moment.

We had thought our son would choose a co-ed, but in the end he didn’t find that detail to be important, and we don’t really either. At Dulwich they do quite a bit with JAGS, and I’m sure St Paul’s have co-ed activities with girl schools too.

malmontar Tue 26-Feb-19 10:57:47

St. Paul’s girls and boys do tons together! The last post is correct in that you need to go with your gut. Of course they’ll have an air of arrogance but so do london state school kids- I was one of them! It’s a massive financial commitment for both schools so do a list of pros and cons and go with your gut.

gambaspilpil Tue 26-Feb-19 13:39:35

St Pauls is one of the top tier private schools however as with any school its got to be the right fit for your DS

NuffSaidSam Tue 26-Feb-19 13:44:16

St Paul's boys and St Paul's girls do mix for some activities/after-school clubs. I wouldn't say they do masses together, but there is definitely some cross over.

Yolande7 Tue 26-Feb-19 13:48:49

I think it depends on what you want for your child. Last year St Paul's girls had a racist text on travelers on their site for entrance prep. The text mentioned practically every negative stereotype there is about travelers. When I made them aware of that, they brushed me off and clearly did not know what stereotype threat is (they did not bother to read the Harvard and Stanford links I send them).

Just this year I have heard two parents independently tell me they were treated badly at interview stage. Both of them belonged to ethnic minorities and felt their treatment had something to do with the colour of their skin. I have never heard anything like that from Latymer.

Needmoresleep Tue 26-Feb-19 13:52:30

You would not be the first to choose Latymer over St Pauls.

LU does not have the same history or prestige, and is not as selective. But it will get bright kids to the same place, and is lower key.

Look round both, and go with your gut.

PatienceVirtue Tue 26-Feb-19 14:55:58

I'm not sure it's true to say that Latymer is not as selective. It will attract different pupils - ones from state primaries and girls for starters. I know St Paul's does have some boys from state primaries but primarily their intake is those that are going for the full prep-public-school routine.

Latymer has its main intake at 11 which means that it's attractive to a far broader group. I suspect numbers wise it's more selective than St Pauls.

(have children in neither so have no particular bias. Though from what I hear I know which I'd prefer)

jeanne16 Tue 26-Feb-19 17:33:41

It is a tough question. Friends of mine with sons at St Paul’s largely rave about the school so it would be good for a bright boy. However for me the fees are eye watering and significantly higher than other independent schools. Also I think the advantages of the ‘old boys network ‘ are hugely exaggerated today. I expect it existed some years ago but not anymore. Also when it comes to Oxbridge applications now, it seems applying from a very top school is possibly a disadvantage unless you are one of the top pupils there.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Tue 26-Feb-19 17:50:08

DS1 turned down a place at StP's for one of the other London boys schools for geographical reasons, as do many others where we live. I've just checked the website and the fees at StPs are higher by about £3.5k pa, I have no idea why.
I completely agree with your comments about co-ed, both my younger DCs are in co-ed schools and I am much happier with the co-ed atmosphere. If you like Latymer send your DS there, you won't be the only family to reject StPs for one of the best co-eds in the country.
I also agree with jeanne's comments about Oxbridge applications in the very top schools. There are rumours about Eton having had their worst year ever for number of places.

jeanne16 Tue 26-Feb-19 18:40:40

Being a cynic, I think SPS charges higher fees simply because they can. They know that there are enough families in London with sufficiently deep pockets for whom the quedos of having a son there trumps everything else. Ditto with Westminster. Having said that I’m sure they are great schools but whether they are worth that amount of money is hard to say.

KingscoteStaff Tue 26-Feb-19 19:49:51

Which sports do your DS play?

CocoC Tue 26-Feb-19 21:27:11

He is generally sporty - football, tennis, cross-country running.

OP’s posts: |
CocoC Tue 26-Feb-19 21:36:00

The thing that is eating me up is today we have an offer from St Pauls, not from anywhere else (we had missed all the deadlines for the others as have just moved to London)- sp he only took the one exam for St P.
So it would mean hoping that in 3 years at 11 he gets through the exams again and gets a place in a good school that is not on the other side of London (basically Latymers -or St P again).
But if he doesn’t get a place then, and continues to drift through current school, I don’t know if i will be able to myself for having given up this opportunity for him.
A bird in the hand? Or am i being too pessimistic?

OP’s posts: |
gambaspilpil Tue 26-Feb-19 22:27:21

I would snap up a place at St P. You can always explore other options at the 11+ stage if he wants to move.

CocoC Tue 26-Feb-19 22:35:22

Does it happen that children move from St Pauls to another school at 11+ ?

OP’s posts: |
gambaspilpil Tue 26-Feb-19 22:54:12

Probably rare but its still an option. Its a highly sought after school and your DS has done well to get a place

afewtoomanychoices Tue 26-Feb-19 23:15:38

My dad, now in his 60s, says that being an 'Old Pauline' as they say, has helped him through life, and the education you receive is like none other. He is not just referring to what goes on in the classroom, rather as a 'whole'. He always says, anyone given that opportunity to go there should snap it up

Allyoudoiscriticise Tue 26-Feb-19 23:30:53

We didn't apply to St Paul,s because of the price difference in fees. Just didn't think it was worth it compared to other top preforming boys schools also with great facilities (Kings, Hampton, Dulwich). Latymer is a high-achieving coed school in the same area. work out how much you'd save over the years and if that matters to you. Latymer gets a high proportion of European families who are used to co ed in their countries.

EdwinaMarlow Wed 27-Feb-19 08:36:41

Ah, OK, so he's going to SP aged - what - 9? Then if you can afford it then I would take the place especially if you say he's currently bored, I was bored at school at his age and am eternally grateful to my parents for spotting that and moving me somewhere more challenging, ditto dc were bored at their state primary and often say to this day (now teenagers) how glad they were to be moved to a selective school aged 7.

You can try for other cheaper, co-ed schools at 11, and people do move, I know some who did, but of course he may - hopefully - be very happy and want to stay. It is a fantastic school and I'm sure he will flourish

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