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Help! Surbiton vs Tiffin

(54 Posts)
thuff Sat 16-Mar-19 11:22:07

Keen to hear impressions of Tiffin girls. We have visited Surbiton, but not Tiffin - and now we have to decide between them

OP’s posts: |
Poppyred25 Sat 16-Mar-19 13:04:00

@thuff , unless your dd is really sporty and wants to play hockey at county level then go for Tiffin. The music is better at Tiffin and whilst class size is larger there can't be a massive difference in facilities. For example from year 10 at SHS the dd tend to bring in a packed lunch & eat it in the classroom (there is a hot lunch option too). If you look at the fees saving it will be massive.

thuff Sat 16-Mar-19 13:18:49

Hi @poppyred25, that’s helpful, thank you. DD is not particularly sporty, but I have worried that Tiffin could be ‘all academics, all the time’. Do you happen to know how much of an arts and / or sports emphasis Tiffin has, relative? DD is an accomplished writer and poet, and aspiring singer. We’d like to encourage all. Re sports, just focussed on health / activity, not competition level. Thanks in advance!

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Poppyred25 Sat 16-Mar-19 14:05:32

Sorry I only know about SHS but i expect the timetable time is similar - 1 x art lesson, 1 x DT lesson, 1 x short PE lesson & 1 x longer games session. There are sports clubs after school that are free.
The main differences are the sport and fee paying v state. Possibly more homework at Tiffin. SHS homework is lighter because they don't set it for the sake of setting it and all the dd have outside interests - sport/music/ drama / d of e etc.
The music / singing will be better at Tiffin.

AwayToday Sat 16-Mar-19 17:42:36

Pastoral care will be much better at Surbiton.

OhTheRoses Sat 16-Mar-19 17:49:35

May I suggest you visit Tiffin and listen to what your dd has to say.

thuff Sat 16-Mar-19 17:55:07

@ohtheroses we’d love to but they have one open day a year, in July, which is after we have to pay for Surbiton. Not ideal...

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OhTheRoses Sat 16-Mar-19 18:09:43

Half a term's fees is a small price to pay for your dd's happiness if she prefers Tiffin.

AwayToday Sat 16-Mar-19 18:50:15

You have to give a term's notice so it would be at least 2 terms' worth of fees!

But really do some googling. Look up "Tiffin Girls review Mumsnet" and you'll find a plethora of threads.

There was a very negative thread recently about mental health at TGS.

And then there have been other positive posts.

Google is your friend....

Hersetta427 Sat 16-Mar-19 19:06:24

Can I ask why you applied to a school you haven't visit and appear to know nothing about?

OhTheRoses Sat 16-Mar-19 20:17:47

There are negative mh threads re all teenagers at present largely because the support for young people is a national scandal. Obviously a school such as Surbiton, or WHS or PHS or LEH, will have more to spend on it and their girls will be better supported.

thuff Sat 16-Mar-19 21:50:20

@hersetta427 that’s quite a negative post... they only have one open day per year - no exceptions - and we missed it due to a family death. Think before posting.

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thuff Sat 16-Mar-19 21:54:53

Thanks all for your comments. I’ve done a lot of googling, but I always assume that you only take the time to write when either really happy or really unhappy. The views of ‘real mothers’ with kids there is what I seek. I appreciate all who have commented

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talktoo Sat 16-Mar-19 22:19:13

Poppyred25 * whilst class size is larger there can't be a massive difference in facilities.*
You don't appear to know Tiffin at all. There is a MASSIVE difference in facilities. There is little added value at Tiffin and that would be my concern. They get good grades because they cream off the brightest girls. Tbh considering the intake the results are disappointing. If money is no object, SHS would be a much better option for most people. Facilities are outstanding, art studios and drama is exceptional as well as the sports facilities. It's a big school for private do they have a wide range on offer.

GrapefruitsAreNotTheOnlyFruit Sun 17-Mar-19 07:48:07

Tiffin Girls gets the best Gcse results in the country and has high added value. You can see this in the government tables. So puzzled by the post above.

In terms of facilities they have tennis and netball courts and a big hockey / football astro pitch as well as a gym on site. I find their school hall disappointing, could be larger, and acoustics are not brilliant.

For extra activities so far my year 7 daughter has done a coding competition, a science club where they are constructing rockets, a script writing club debating society, tennis academy, an orchestra including concerts and a trip to Oxford and she has just auditioned to be in a musical.

There are loads more activities especially on the sports side which are offered but she does out of school activities too and doesn't have time.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Sun 17-Mar-19 08:34:35

OP - I don't know the exact figures but from reading on MN I believe about 1800 girls sit for Tiffin and there are about 150 places. That is a lot of disappointed applicants every year so be wary of advice given by strangers on an annonymous forum.

Have you tried posting on the eleven plus forum?

GrapefruitsAreNotTheOnlyFruit Sun 17-Mar-19 08:54:47

Maybe just phone admissions and ask if they will let you look round? Explain you have an offer but missed the open day.

thuff Sun 17-Mar-19 09:50:26

@cakeisalwaystheanswer thanks, I put a post of the 11+ but didn’t get any replies. I’m so pleased that this post has generated lots of feedback. Btw, it’s crazy but this year over 3,000 girls sat for their 180 spots. It’s so daunting standing in the km long queue just to sit the test. We were blown away when she got in. I’m told some parents send their kids to Tiffin-specific weekend tutoring / camps for years. It’s a crazy system that I think asks too much of 11 year olds. My main concern, therefore, is that Tiffin = losing one’s childhood (which I am getting more comfortable that it is not)

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thuff Sun 17-Mar-19 09:59:27

@GrapefruitsAreNotTheOnlyFruit I can’t thank you enough for your post. It’s great to hear from someone with a year 7 daughter there. Everything you set out is what I hope to be the case, and calms my ‘all academics, all the time’ worries. I would love any other perspectives you have. I will owe you a fruit basket (with no grapefruit) smile

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OftenConfuddled Sun 17-Mar-19 11:01:32

Hello Thuff
I am so pleased to see your thread as in the same position and also confused about what is best.
We are also surprised that DD got an offer from Tiffin as we had almost decided 100% SHS and this was a surprise which has thrown us.

My DD did a few practice papers at home in the weeks before the Tiffin paper but nothing very strenuous so in a way I feel like she will cope on the academics front.

However she may possibly need more support emotionally as she can be very sensitive and is quite shy and is a gentle quiet soul.

So I am interested in the pastoral side of things and how tiffin manage this.

It sounds like there are lots of happy girls at the school but how do the girls that need more support get on? Can anyone share their experiences with how the school handled any form of low grade bullying? Or more serious stuff?

Also, in terms of the pace of lessons, what happens if a child doesn’t understand something the first time around, and needs help? Is it encouraged that the girls ask questions or are they embarrassed to if they feel they are the only ones who don’t understand?

Are the girls taught to think and to learn or are they told what they need and simply have to remember it? In my time o levels were taught in a very parrot fashion type of way and I had a good memory and could recall information easily. When it came to A levels I struggled as I was expected to research things myself and I realised that I hadn’t actually learnt to learn... if that makes sense.

Also, how do the girls (or kids in general), cope with going from possibly near the top of their cohort to being in the middle or possibly bottom?

I experienced this as a child and found it incredibly difficult. Everyone thought I should cope but I didn’t and as a result I found it difficult to ask for help... so am asking because I’m aware of how tricky it can be to be struggling, when surrounded by very able kids who aren’t.

We did see the school on the open day but we found the experience a bit overwhelming so would love a chance to see it on a ‘working day’ so DD can decide how she feels she would fit in.

Her assessment of Tiffin was that it was ok but she wants to see it again.

I hope you don’t mind my asking these questions on your thread Thuff. I feel quite confident that dd will be fine at shs and that she will thrive there but don’t want to rule out Tiffin without exploring these Aspects as financially we will be stretching ourselves.

OftenConfuddled Sun 17-Mar-19 11:02:22

Gosh... that was a long post. Sorry confused

minniecat2406 Sun 17-Mar-19 11:04:21

I went to Tiffin (admittedly I left in 2009!) and whilst it is academically excellent, the pastoral care was pretty dreadful. No interest/support from staff at all, so I'd definitely suggest you query the support available now if it's important to you.

thuff Sun 17-Mar-19 11:22:43

@oftenconfuddled - the more the merrier!! Thanks for the questions, and I look forward to seeing answers to them as wel

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OftenConfuddled Sun 17-Mar-19 12:03:27

Thanks @minniecat

I tried to call the school to ask about pastoral care and they referred me to the policy which states that if any issues girls should go to the head of year.. I think. It would be good to find out from parents if they don’t mind sharing, what the school did well or not in anybtricky situations.

During the heads speech at the open day... he did say something like they were trying to make school life more fun for the girls as they realised this was important. It was good he acknowledged that but it also sort of rung alarm bells as the girls are still young and yes academics are important but so is having fun and ideally you can have a balance of both.

I think my dd will do well academically wherever as she enjoys learning and loves school but I want her to leave school Confident and rounded and with a strong sense of self and just happy.

TeddTess Sun 17-Mar-19 12:08:22

Surely the £££ is a major part of your decision making?
If it isn't, well take SHS and let someone else who doesn't have your choices have the Tiffin spot!

Tiffin is full of very bright hard working girls.
Music & Art is good. Sport less so (but not terrible).

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