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Wallington County Grammar School (WCGS)

(65 Posts)
Auar Fri 19-Jul-19 19:35:07

Hi all,

I am facing a huge dilemma and feeling so stressed out.

I live in Harrow (Rayners Lane) and my DS has secured a place in Wallington County Grammar School. It's 1.5 hour journey each way in fast trains. My son also has got a place in St. Clements Dane in Chorleywood which is a good comprehensive school. So, I have to choose.

My son is alright to travel as we did two days trial but I am feeling nervous. Due to my work in the city, I can go with my son half way (Balham) to Wallington County Grammar School. But a daily commute of 1.5 hour each way, is it worth to make for the Wallington County Grammar School? I wonder if any parent's child from Harrow or Wembley or similar areas make a journey to these areas for Wilson's, Sutton Grammar, Non-such Grammar, Wallington Girls schools etc. which are in the similar location.

What you advise? Do you know anyone who has the similar experience? I am going mad with stress of making this decision. My son will be 12 years in Oct and I know he will only grow to make a commute which is a reality of working life in London. I hope you can help or even better share if you have similar experience or know someone doing the same. I will highly appreciate any help.



OP’s posts: |
JTro Fri 19-Jul-19 20:24:13

My advise is - don't torture your son. 1.5 hours one way is too much. My son travels to Wally boys 45-50 mins on one bus (no need to change to other transport) and it is more than enough for him, commute is very tiring. If you add on top of the school day: afterschool clubs, detentions (they will happen believe me, even if your son behave impeccably), plus a lot of homework and 1.5 hours commute, your son will have no life and will be very tired

JoJoSM2 Fri 19-Jul-19 20:32:11

That’s crazy and will leave him too little time for relaxation, studying, hobbies etc.

I live in the area and find that when families from very far away apply and are successful, they just move to the area.

What was your line of thought when you applied for a school all the way across London?

I’ve just looked up the comp you’ve also got a place at and it looks like a very good comp.

LIZS Fri 19-Jul-19 20:38:48

Madness of a journey, he would be shattered and probably struggle academically as a result. Not sure how you are holding both places tbh. Did you not apply to more local grammars? There will be others waiting for a place at Wallington Grammar, release it sooner rather than later.

Hiddeninplainsight Fri 19-Jul-19 20:54:00

Harrow to Wallington? That is a crazy commute, for any adult, let alone for a child. Aside from the fact that it would be exhausting, he would never get to see his friends, who would literally on the other side of London. From a social perspective, it would be miserable. I would go for the good comprehensive without any doubt, or regret.

Namechangeforthiscancershit Fri 19-Jul-19 21:00:40

1.5 hours each way sounds exhausting to me. I would go with closer.

PatriciaHolm Sat 20-Jul-19 06:00:50

Honestly, that's insane. Way too much every day. And what happens when there are issues with the trains?

Toomanycats99 Sat 20-Jul-19 06:08:44

That's ridiculous. My daughter is at a nearby school school and someone commutes from east London. They are always late.

Would you commute Harrow to Wallington for work daily?

They will have no life and it won't take much to turn that hour and a half into 2 and a half when a train is cancelled.

They will hAve no friends as wont be able to meet up easily at weekend or after school.

NewModelArmyMayhem18 Sat 20-Jul-19 07:20:51

That journey is a schlep even for an adult (and I have done it myself on occasion) and as others have said 1.5 hrs is the minimum (and it could be considerably longer if there are issues with trains). He will not get the opportunity to fully enjoy school life (and friendships) living that far away.

If you are not in a position to move, I would opt for the very good local comprehensive where your DS may do just as well (if not better) as if he'd gone to Wally Boys. Gaining a place at a grammar school isn't necessarily the be-all and end-all.

Good luck to him.

BigSandyBalls2015 Sat 20-Jul-19 07:27:29

Madness. Go for the comp. I don’t understand why these grammars don’t have a catchment area

DogsandBoysmeanMud Sat 20-Jul-19 07:38:03

Clement Danes has the best reputation of any school in the area. I live in the next county but we have kids from Bucks desperate to get in there. I also grew up near Wellington and absolutely wouldn't put my child through that commute!! It's crazy. Don't forget half the year it will be dark for most of the journey and extremely depressing. Also his friends will all live near Wellington so will spend his holidays wanting to commute there as he gets older!!

AJPTaylor Sat 20-Jul-19 07:44:58

Is this for Sept? You are holding 2 (state?) School places? Yabu. Both desirable schools. Make up your mind and let others get on with their lives. Why would you even apply for a School that involved 3 hrs travelling?

NewModelArmyMayhem18 Sat 20-Jul-19 07:53:54

I'm assuming that the Wally Boys place has only very recently been offered (presumably from the waiting list). Hence OP's dilemma.

I don’t understand why these grammars don’t have a catchment area The majority of places are IC but there are OOC places too.

HPFA Sat 20-Jul-19 08:10:38

I really genuinely struggle to understand what magic people think there is in the words "grammar school"

You have a place at an Ofsted outstanding school with a superb reputation and an excellent Progress 8 score of 0.64 - that is way above average. And you're seriously considering having your child having a difficult commute of three hours to go to a different school? Presumably just because it has the words "grammar school" in its title.

Sorry, OP, I know I'm being harsh here. But please try and be realistic.

JoJoSM2 Sat 20-Jul-19 08:40:52

HPFA, WCGS has a greater progress score than the comp in question and is obviously a million times more academic than any comp, anywhere. It’s a lovely school in a gorgeous setting and a fantastic place to study.

Obviously a nightmare if you factor in the 3h commute. That’s why people move if they get a place.

HPFA Sat 20-Jul-19 10:14:58

obviously a million times more academic than any comp, anywhere.

Well, obviously!! What a ridiculous stereotype. Thanks for proving my point though.

Mustbetimeforachange Sat 20-Jul-19 15:54:18

Crazy. Be the adult here & don't torture your son.

Mustbetimeforachange Sat 20-Jul-19 16:02:39

Or move, obviously

snappedandsharted Sat 20-Jul-19 16:16:15

Don't do it! Honestly Wally boys is not worth putting your son through that every day

BigSandyBalls2015 Sat 20-Jul-19 20:01:27

New model - I wasn’t aware of any catchment, hence the ‘super selective’ status rather than simply ‘selective’

Chartreuser Sat 20-Jul-19 20:10:29

OP I live about 25 mins away on one bus from WCGS and with after school activities friends Ds' don't get home till at least 4-30/5. So in winter he'll be leaving way before it gets light, arriving in the dark still and then leaving in the dark again.

It's a good school for those it suits, plenty of children's do well here from non selective comps too.

It would be a horrific commute, please don't do it to him. Would also mean as he gets older and wants to meet up with friends etc he would always be the one schlepping for hours as everyone else would be relatively close to each other

NewModelArmyMayhem18 Sun 21-Jul-19 08:26:43

BigSandyBalls2015 as I said the (partial) catchment policy has only come in relatively recently (I reckon in the past five years or so).

Actually looking at Wally Boys Admissions info, it looks as if they have less of a catchment policy than the other SW London grammars:

" In rank order of performance in the Selective Eligibility Test (SET). Up to 15 places for those boys who are successful in the Selective Eligibility Test (SET) where the permanent home address* is
one of the postcodes (SM1, SM2, SM3, SM4, SM5, SM6, SM7, KT4 8 , CR0 4 , and CR4 4 – (so localish) at the time of Common Application Form (CAF) submission deadline."

Tiffin still has a very large Inner Priority catchment area, with a radius of about 10 KM but think it was introduced to stop lots of 'far away' applications from parts of London heading into Middlesex/Berkshire.

I think at the end of the day, the schools want the children to be relatively local for all sorts of reasons but well-being and forging friendships being two of the main ones.

As I said previously, I used to do that journey (roughly) years ago, as a former boyfriend lived in OP's neck of the woods. At that time of my life I was used to galavanting across London for work and play, so really didn't have an issue with time spent travelling. I just found that journey a total PITA and I was even travelling non-peak hours mainly, so always had a seat and it wasn't crowded.

I guess if a DC knows no different they would get used to it, but it's not even a direct journey without changes (which would make it more doable IMO). You've only got to have regular issues on one line for the whole school journey to go 'belly up'.

Also 1 hr 30 journeys can have a habit of morphing into much longer ones. That may not be the reality most days. DC1 goes to a school in the neighbouring borough (and we are on the right side for quick, direct access). Their journey still takes an hour door to door and that's leaving home at 7.15am.

CatkinToadflax Sun 21-Jul-19 09:13:36

I used to live just over the county border from Chorleywood. St Clement Dane's was famously hard to get into - I believe that in some years even if you lived in Chorleywood itself but at 'the wrong end' of the village you weren't guaranteed a place. I would snap up your son's place there. By all accounts it's a brilliant school and has been for years and years.

AliMonkey Sun 21-Jul-19 09:25:37

DD goes to one of the other Sutton grammars and we are local (3 miles, 40 min commute). There ar

AliMonkey Sun 21-Jul-19 09:37:14

To continue ...

There are quite a few who live eg near Heathrow and have 1.5 hour type commutes. They are rarely able to do social stuff with friends from school, they tend to not do after school activities as would be too late to get home (or they share lifts or taxis with others). Quite a few have moved closer since starting. Where their choice is local not very good school or that commute I do understand why they do it. But I believe St CD us a really good school so would be my choice in your circumstances.

Having a DS at a non-grammar (as he didn’t want the pressure of grammar) has shown me that he could do well academically at a comprehensive but that it’s sometimes prevented by big behaviour problems from others and that is much less of an issue at grammars. So if you have confidence that St CD doesn’t have major behaviour issues (fights, swearing at teachers, bullying) then go for that. If they are bright they should do well anywhere provided the lessons are not disrupted too much by others.

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