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Life at St Paul's Boy's In Barnes

(45 Posts)
Stopshrieking Sun 02-Jun-19 13:39:43

Following on from a similar thread about SPGS -
Could any current parents give some insight into the school - Do parents have a similar reputation for being too competitive at the expense of the boys well being?
If you have a boy there do you still use tutors if so why and if not is it something you feel you should do?
Also I've heard the boys get lots of homework- does that mean that they don't have time for extra curricular weekday clubs outside of school ?
Would like some info as my son will start Yr7 in Sept and coming from state school. We have never used a tutor as we couldn't afford it and are not likely to in the future - Will he fall behind those being tutored?
He does extra curricular sport and music after school - would the homework be too much for him to continue these in Yr7.
Would really like to hear parents views on bullying as well - and generally how they have managed friendships especially if they came from a state school. Thanks

OP’s posts: |
Stopshrieking Sun 02-Jun-19 19:18:32

Bump

OP’s posts: |
Wayland Sun 02-Jun-19 20:46:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Wayland Sun 02-Jun-19 21:34:00

Now, to answer your questions, based on what I assume would most likely be the case for St Paul's:

Could any current parents give some insight into the school - Do parents have a similar reputation for being too competitive at the expense of the boys well being?

Probably some pushy and competitive parents. But most will be super-rich so that their sons will be employed in the family business anyway regardless of grades. The hyper pushy middle-class types will be mostly gone, priced out by the astronomical fees.

If you have a boy there do you still use tutors if so why and if not is it something you feel you should do?

I don't really know in the particular case of St Paul's, but as a tutor myself I have often tutored students who attend similar expensive private schools. Most of these schools used to provide after-school tuition and catch-up classes for those who needed them. This increasingly is no longer the case as most of these schools have deteriorated in quality while at the same time becoming ever more expensive. So you may need to hire an after-school tutor if your son falls behind.

Also, I've heard the boys get lots of homework- does that mean that they don't have time for extra curricular weekday clubs outside of school?

Possibly you will get more homework than in other schools, but there is no reason why this should be the case as I assume St Paul's follows the same academic syllabus as most other schools.

Would like some info as my son will start Yr7 in Sept and coming from state school. We have never used a tutor as we couldn't afford it and are not likely to in the future - Will he fall behind those being tutored?

That will depend on his academic ability. If he is academically able and hardworking, it is unlikely he will need tutoring. Tutoring, in my experience, is only useful for slow learners who want to get from an E or F grade to a C or D grade. It's usually of no help to academically able students, maybe even counterproductive as they won't learn to study independently.

He does extra curricular sport and music after school - would the homework be too much for him to continue these in Yr7.

In general, assuming St Paul's follows the normal syllabus at KS3, if he is diligent and disciplined about doing his work when it is set, then he should have plenty of time left over for sports and music. At my school, we had a long day with free study periods that we used to do our homework. I'm assuming St Paul's is similar, maybe I'm wrong.

And BTW, I'm assuming your son is starting at St Paul's Juniors (AKA Colet Court) as I think St Paul's proper only starts at 13+. Do correct me if I'm wrong.

Would really like to hear parents views on bullying as well - and generally how they have managed friendships especially if they came from a state school. Thanks

If your son follows the golden rule of keeping to himself unless spoken to, then he should be okay. Of course, I'm speaking as a general rule here, and I'm assuming this would apply to St Paul's. I wouldn't expect the state-private "culture shock" to be much of an issue as long as your son is hard-working, well-behaved, and polite. I went from an inner London comprehensive on to a top university, where many kids had gone to private schools. There was no culture shock as we all just got along and studied hard.

KingscoteStaff Sun 02-Jun-19 21:37:02

First of all, well done your boy for getting in!
My DS loves the school. The most important thing is the teachers, who are inspirational. He has come home every single day with unprompted praise for one lesson or another.

The 100 min lunch hour means that they can fit in a huge amount of extra curricular activities and there really is something for everyone. Yes, there is homework every evening, but these are bright boys and none of them seem overwhelmed by the demands on them.

They all seem to keep a wide range of interests, as opposed to some other schools where the sports department discourage their main team members from commiting to music or drama. A very St Pauls moment was a rugby match before Christmas where the head of Drama was pacing up and down the touch line, praying that his 3 main actors and 4 band members would be uninjured for the final performance of My Fair Lady that night!

The tutor system means that each boy has someone watching out for him as an individual, checking that he isn’t overcommitted or missing out on opportunities.

They are so lucky to have this wonderful education, but they don’t come over as entitled to me. A considerable number benefit from bursaries, and that is set to increase with the High Master’s next fund raising plans.

Do pm me if you want to.

whataboutbob Sun 02-Jun-19 22:06:39

@Wayland [ shock] ! You are either a talented spoofer or maybe Ed Reardon’s younger sister who after an early promising literary career has fallen on hard times and had to resort to tutoring the children of SW London’s upper middle class.

HelloHelloHello27 Sun 02-Jun-19 22:11:44

I'd ignore most of what Wayland posted...
I know a fair number of boys at St Paul's and St Paul's Juniors.
All very normal families- (admittedly with money ( or grandparents to pay the fees) - none will be going into the 'family business'- they will be getting jobs...
The main issue I found with my DC going to independent schools at Y7 from state primaries was that they weren't so used to having proper science lessons, hadn't done as much languages etc but all evened out after a while.
If you son got in from a state school with no tutoring he will be absolutely fine and probably brighter than a child who has been drilled for years at a prep school and tutored on top to get in.
There will be boys coming from all types of schools- please don't worry.

Rockylady Sun 02-Jun-19 22:29:22

I know a few people who have come out of SPS including some very close, and I would agree with HHH27 - if your son got in from state primary then he is probably very bright and he will be fine after he adapts. The tutoring may be short lived at SPS if you really need it and normally is for those that were over tutored and struggle intrinsically because they are in the wrong place. The tutoring may have got them in but it will be less likely to keep them in. Unlikely for a bright boy who did not have all the help that others may have had. Well done and good luck!. Tell your son above all to enjoy the experience!

Wayland Sun 02-Jun-19 23:52:08

whataboutbob Actually I'm a fraud investigator, and I sometimes tutor in my spare time. No ad-hominem attacks, please. Let's keep this discussion civil.

Girlgone Mon 03-Jun-19 00:06:33

Can’t comment re transition from state school but can say it’s quite different from Spgs. Possibly because the year group is double at 200 per year and the intake is more diverse, especially with the boarding option. Far greater facilities, such as incredible sports, strong arts and drama, engineering and science facilities and more opportunities to experience a wider range both academic subjects and sports as well as wide ranging extra curricular activities.There is genuinely something for everyone. Spgs is much narrower imo with emphasis on a very classical education whereas the boys school is really forward looking and investing in the future. Tutoring at sps not necessary as there is a fantastic internal support system. Have only really heard of 1 instance of true bullying which was dealt with swiftly. One thing that does bother me slightly is many of DS friends are quite sexist in their beliefs of females in the workplace, not sure where that idea is developed! Genuinely think it is a great school.

Girlgone Mon 03-Jun-19 00:26:34

homework is less than the girls school and even higher up the school still very manageable. Girls seem to have to prepare for more on-going tests than the boys. Boys seem to have more of a balance.

Stopshrieking Mon 03-Jun-19 05:47:31

Thank you all for your replies. I must admit - the view most of you give is the impression I've got from the school during visits and interacting with staff etc. The SPG thread got me thinking maybe it could be similar. It's also good to know that there is good internal support if the boys need it. Ds is really looking toward to September and for all the reasons Girlgone mentions.

OP’s posts: |
jeanne16 Mon 03-Jun-19 08:21:19

Wayland. You do seem to have an axe to grind with both SPS and SPGS!

While I agree that fees have rocketed and there are an increasing number of super wealthy foreigners (!) in these schools, you are forgetting that there are also many extremely well paid professionals in London who are able to afford the fees and who tend to have bright academic offspring. So it is not correct to say that these schools take anyone who can afford the fees. They have lots of very bright kids to choose from.

ForeverbyJudyBlume Mon 03-Jun-19 12:16:05

Wayland is talking utter nonsense. These schools are highly academically focused and have a super-bright intake - there are many very, very rich families in London who can easily afford the fees, eyewatering as they are. Your son will have a great time, congratulations to him.

Mominatrix Mon 03-Jun-19 14:33:53

I would just ignore Wayland, as s/he is spouting rubbish and definitely does not have any concrete evidence or experience to back up the statements s/he freely spouts.

Do parents have a similar reputation for being too competitive at the expense of the boys well being?
There are competitive parents, of course, however I have yet to meet one who would push a child beyond what they feel their child is capable of, and certainly not to the extent that their child's wellbeing is at stake.

If you have a boy there do you still use tutors if so why and if not is it something you feel you should do?
My child has never been tutored, even for the entrance exam into Colet Court. There are children I know who have had tutors, but it certainly is not a majority. The children who have tutors seem to be those who also were heavily tutored to get into the school. Most boys do not have tutors. If your boy is struggling, particularly at the senior school level, there is in-house support at school which your son's tutor will coordinate with him. My experience with the school is that the teachers really want the boys to do well and will provide tailored support as is needed - no need to seek outside help.

Also I've heard the boys get lots of homework- does that mean that they don't have time for extra curricular weekday clubs outside of school ?
My experience has been there is far less homework in the junior school years than other schools and in the first two years of the Senior School, there is less homework that other schools. My son would do half and hour to an hour a night in the junior school and more in the senior school.

In terms of clubs outside of school, he does so much in school that there really has been no need to do any clubs outside school. Particularly when your son enters SPS, some activities, namely sports, will take up many lunch periods and some after school sessions. My son has been able to do 2 sports to a high level and still have loads of relaxation time and yet not get behind in schoolwork.

Would like some info as my son will start Yr7 in Sept and coming from state school. We have never used a tutor as we couldn't afford it and are not likely to in the future - Will he fall behind those being tutored?
One of my son's closest friends entered Year 7 from a state school without tutoring and was just fine - intact, more than just fine. If they pass the entrance exams, it is an indication that the boy is at the level expected (if not above) of their peers they will be joining.

Would really like to hear parents views on bullying as well - and generally how they have managed friendships especially if they came from a state school.
My experience is that bullying is dealt with swiftly and firmly and has not been a serious issue. Of course it exists, but long term bullying is not something I hear about. They boys who enter in Year 7 quickly find their way and have seamlessly melded in with the boys who have been there since 7+/8+ by the Christmas term break.

Congratulations to your son, and I hope he has as great a time at the school as my son has.

MN164 Mon 03-Jun-19 14:53:11

Echo the comments from other SPS parents here. Mine was year 7 state primary and not tutored. The school is much more relaxed than I expected. They are pretty scruffy, for example and the boys don't get much homework (even in GCSE years and compared to our other DC elsewhere). They seem to have plenty of time and opportunity to pursue their interests. The long lunch break is excellent and all schools should do this in my opinion. The teachers are usually young but experienced and identify well with the boys getting their respect.

Well done to you and good luck for your son.

Girlgone Mon 03-Jun-19 15:27:21

MN164- lol at the you think the boys are scruffy. My DS is now in senior school and he takes longer over his appearance than Dd- especially the hair smile) I think even out of uniform at senior school the boys look great. Dd at Spgs...that’s a completely other story!
I wish the Boys school had more cross curricular with the girls as the Boys school has so much to offer!

Wayland Mon 03-Jun-19 15:45:05

Hello,

I want to apologise for maybe coming across a little too harshly in my analysis of the two St Paul's Schools. I don't mean to do them down, I just want to manage people's expectations.

They are generally very good schools. However, they should be understood as expensive private schools with strong academics, in the way that many comprehensives have strong academics. They are not dedicated academic schools as the old grammar schools were, and so they should not be your first choice just because your child is academic.

To be fair, both the St Paul's Schools have tried to widen access in the past few years, with more bursary places, which is admirable. However, someone has to pay for these bursaries, and so many of the students they admit will be rich kids that are not of the best academic ability or character.

Therefore, it may be impossible for them to tailor their academic regimes to suit the ablest as they will have to accommodate many poorly motivated students as well as some slow learners.

Wayland

KingscoteStaff Mon 03-Jun-19 15:55:26

Wayland, I don't know how many SPS boys you know or how much time you have spent in the school, but many poorly motivated students as well as some slow learners are not something I have ever come across.

The increased bursary provision is to come from the investment of charitable fund raising, not 50% thick rich boys subsidising 50% brilliant poor boys.

Mominatrix Mon 03-Jun-19 16:05:17

They are generally very good schools. However, they should be understood as expensive private schools with strong academics, in the way that many comprehensives have strong academics. They are not dedicated academic schools as the old grammar schools were, and so they should not be your first choice just because your child is academic.

I am not certain as to exactly what point you are trying to make Wayland. It seem as if you are saying that the St Paul's are simply expensive comprehensives and are not really tailored to very academic children. You do know that they are both very oversubscribed and extremely selective, just as the grammar schools you are saying which are tailored to academic children.

If you are claiming that these schools are not very good, with mediocre teaching and meh results due to having to take not very academic but rich children, surely their academic results would have suffered?

Additionally, if what you say is correct, then the results of the St Paul's would be far exceeded by the super selective schools which are in the periphery of London and accessible to a good number of children who choose to instead go to St Paul's. However, a quick look at the results of the grammar schools in London compared to those of SPGS and SPS don't support your statement. Additionally, the extracurricular results of the students at the schools (Maths Olympaid, Chemistry Olympiad, Physics Olympiad and other academic competitions) would show that the output of both the Boys and Girl's schools remains quite impressive.

Lastly, the schools offer an academic child a peer group of similar academic children, high expectations, support from the staff and administration, as well as a great array of extracurriculars to make certain that the child also has a balance in life beyond just school. If these schools are not ones you would recommend to an academic child, I am curious to know which schools you would recommend.

ForeverbyJudyBlume Mon 03-Jun-19 16:19:37

Wayland, you seem to be implying rich people are all thick? The two St Pauls may certainly have a lot of rich kids but I would like to see your evidence that they are also slow learners with poor motivation and it's only the bursary kids who are the real high flyers. Again, I think you underestimate how many rich people there are in London, of them a certain percentage will have highly intelligent children - certainly more than enough to fill places at both the schools.

Girlgone Mon 03-Jun-19 16:31:30

Wealth alone can’t buy you a place, there are plenty of instances where siblings are rejected.

Wayland Mon 03-Jun-19 16:44:10

Mominatrix

Hello Mominatrix, let me answer some of your points.

If you are claiming that these schools are not very good, with mediocre teaching and meh results due to having to take not very academic but rich children, surely their academic results would have suffered?

No, they are generally very good in terms of teacher quality and facilities.

Additionally, if what you say is correct, then the results of the St Paul's would be far exceeded by the super selective schools which are in the periphery of London and accessible to a good number of children who choose to instead go to St Paul's. However, a quick look at the results of the grammar schools in London compared to those of SPGS and SPS don't support your statement.

It's true that the results of those who do graduate at SPGS and SPS are among the best in the country. However, we have no information about the percentage of students at these schools who don't graduate, i.e. who drop out, or who are simply not put forward for the examinations because they wouldn't make the grade. League table performance doesn't give a full picture of a schools performance, and there are many ways a school can artificially boost their league table performance, usually at the expense of their students.

I'm not accusing SPGS and SPS of shady practices, we have no evidence of this, but on the other hand, we have no information on drop out rates or non-registration rates for examinations at these schools. So we just don't know either way.

Additionally, the extracurricular results of the students at the schools (Maths Olympaid, Chemistry Olympiad, Physics Olympiad and other academic competitions) would show that the output of both the Boys and Girl's schools remains quite impressive.

I'm not disputing that these schools will have some very bright students, often cherry-picked through their bursary system, and these will be the ones they enter for the Olympaid competitions.

Lastly, the schools offer an academic child a peer group of similar academic children, high expectations, support from the staff and administration, as well as a great array of extracurriculars to make certain that the child also has a balance in life beyond just school.

I've not suggested that these schools don't generally try to do the best with the students they have, as many schools do, and that the staff don't generally have their students' best interests at heart. I know they also generally offer a wide range of extracurricular opportunities, and that these are often charged as extras, on top of already astronomical fees.

If these schools are not ones you would recommend to an academic child, I am curious to know which schools you would recommend?

You should look at all the state schools that are near to where you live to see if they are any good. If not, you should consider homeschooling. One does not need to be in school these days to learn, when you can watch lessons from a computer screen at home and do online tests. Private schools are so expensive nowadays that they should really only be considered as a last resort.

Wayland

Girlgone Mon 03-Jun-19 17:38:25

Wayland- there’s no point in trying to debate this with you when you clearly are prejudiced against private education.
I get it that you feel these kids are entitled/ not deserving but you simply don’t cut it if you are not academically capable at these schools.
Maybe you can’t comprehend that you can get academically excellent kids, who are humble from affluent backgrounds.
You are right however in saying expensive selective schools are not the only option. Bright, motivated kids will thrive anywhere and in the long run secondary education has little bearing on adult success. I’m not saying it’s fair but life isn’t a level playing field and as parents we all want the best for our kids to enable them to reach their full potential and to enjoy the journey along the way.

Glaciferous Tue 04-Jun-19 00:15:27

I'm not disputing that these schools will have some very bright students, often cherry-picked through their bursary system, and these will be the ones they enter for the Olympaid competitions.

All Y7 and Y8 students at SPGS are entered for the maths challenge (and I imagine it is similar at the boys' school). It is not a cherry picking thing. The highest performers in the country continue to the Olympiad and the next highest performers to the kangaroo round. At least try to get your actual facts right. The selection for the Olympiad, such as it is, is entirely on test scores. It is state schools where there will be selection of who is allowed to take it, as DD's friends who attend state schools can confirm.

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