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Tiffin boys grammar school kingston

(12 Posts)
lapoema Tue 17-Sep-19 18:29:37


Can anyone give insider opinion on this school. I have a bright son currently at state primary, we definitely cant afford private secondary school so only options are the local secondary (Orleans park) which is supposed to be very good and a popular choice, vs the possibility of tiffin grammar (if he was successful of course).
I get the impression we would have to give him some form of tutoring/prep for tiffin if he was to have a reasonable shot at it. But we're not sure if it's even worth it. Downsides of Tiffin in my mind are that its single sex and possibly a bit of a hothouse academically (?), plus there's the commute vs a short walk to and from local school and having all local friends etc- lifestyle factors.

Our son is bright but we want him to have a well rounded education and be happy and confident as well as reach his potential. Would be grateful for any opinions on this subject. Thanks in advance

OP’s posts: |
FuckOffBoris Tue 17-Sep-19 22:44:55

Tiffin is "possibly a bit of a hothouse academically"? ROFL, OP. smile You could put it that way, yes.

Unless your child is a bona fide genius, and frankly even then they could probably use the practice to familiarise themselves with the style of the questions, you really need to think about some form of preparation, whether that is by you or by a tutor.

HandsOffMyRights Tue 17-Sep-19 22:58:11

Have you also tried the 11 plus forum?

You look like you are in a very fortunate position having such an excellent (well, on paper - I don't know the school) comprehensive on the doorstep. I'd jump at that!

lapoema Tue 17-Sep-19 23:27:55

Thanks Fxxkoffboris, actually we have booked him a place to start tutoring next year but it does seem quite intensive and we are just trying to decide if it's even worth putting him through it. The tiffin prep seems so rigorous, we are just trying to get an insight as to whether the school is so amazing that it's worth all the stress?! And obvs theres a real chance he doesn't get in anyway at the end of it all. Just wondering if the general consensus is that tiffin is a whole different league to all other local comps, even the good ones. Ie what's all the fuss about? Obviously it has good results but what about everything else? Are tiffin boys well rounded individuals or just academic geniuses?!

Thanks also will check out the 11 plus forum. Really just trying to form an informed view on the benefits of Tiffin vs a good local comp.

OP’s posts: |
JoJoSM2 Wed 18-Sep-19 09:18:21

Well, having worked in a bunch of excellent comps including Orleans Park as well as a a few grammars (not Tiffin specifically, though), I'd say the following:
-Due to selection, grammars are more of a bubble, not just academically but few kids on free meals, kids of parents who'd consider a grammar but not a comp (or send kids private) etc
-IMO the bottom sets in a grammar are about the same as set 2 at a very good comp academically
-I find grammars to have a more competitive vibe and it's possibly more difficult to feel clever as everyone is clever.
-Grammars tend to be much stronger on co-curricular stuff as it's generally those types of kids that are more likely to play instruments or do competitive sport (I've linked the provision at Tiffin for you below)
-More homework in grammars
-if you compare stats, a child will do better academically at Tiffins than Orleans Park but the latter does have very high progress scores too so there isn't that much to it (maybe 2-3x A*s + A's vs straight A's in old money)
-and obvs boys only vs coed

muchamuchas Wed 18-Sep-19 10:06:01

Y9 parent at Tiffin here. I can't compare it with a comprehensive as we've never been. My son is very academic and he's very happy there... lots of very nice, somewhat geeky kids that he gets on with. No disruptive kids that he knows of - from what I hear, this might be the best thing about a selective grammar over a comprehensive. Amount of homework hasn't been a problem. Lots of rugby, cricket and rowing. Also lots of music - the choir performs in various professional productions like the Royal opera house - although very heavily leaning towards classical and choral music. A couple of European school trip options a year.

There were a few surprising things about the school:
1. Y7-Y10 required to purchase a Chromebook and most schoolwork and homework are done on that.
2. Dance lessons are compulsory for the first 3 years. This has been absolutely great for my son.
3. The year group is divided into French and German sets at the beginning - no choice (although I think you can plead special circumstances if you want to). Once divided, you have no option to do GCSE in the other language.
4. Until this year, they only taught ICT in Y7 and didn't offer Computer science as a GCSE option at all. I think they've started it this year - not sure if they are offering it as an A level subject yet.
5. Once a week they go to the sports ground at Grists, and have to make their own way home from there.
6. Discipline seems quite strict, at least in Y7. There seems to be a general feeling amongst the boys of really not wanting Demerits, which I think is good.

lapoema Wed 18-Sep-19 14:11:33

Wow thank you both very much for your useful info. That has helped, much appreciated. smile

OP’s posts: |
itsonlyhearsay Wed 18-Sep-19 21:49:36

Looking at this thread with interest as have a DS in Year 5. We are looking at private, but also Tiffin, Wilson's etc (no good comps near us that we could get into on distance). We are not loaded but DH has a reasonably paid job, although not that stable (I work part time). We could afford it now and it may be ok in the future, but it's a risk to commit to 7 years of private school, although I would to send him there because if the usual - smaller class sizes, pastoral care, better sports facilities, offerings etc, Has anyone grappled with the same issue, sent to grammar (assuming DS would get in), then regretted it?

JoJoSM2 Wed 18-Sep-19 22:12:23

itsonlyhearsay, I’ve never heard of parents regretting it. If anything, feeling relieved.

JoJoSM2 Wed 18-Sep-19 22:14:49

Posted too soon. Fees for 7 years amount to 150k+ which is a lot if not that easily affordable. Some people also move into a good catchment especially if they have more children to think about.

ArsenicChip Wed 18-Sep-19 22:15:59

Orleans is an outstanding school.

What could your son do every week with the extra time the commute to Tiffin would need?

Darbs76 Wed 18-Sep-19 22:36:18

I don’t know the schools in question but we applied for grammar - Wilson’s / Wallington boys but didn’t get in. We didn’t do any tuition - so if you want to get in i’d say it’s a necessity. Some parents are paying for tutors from year 4 as they will save tens of thousands on private school fee’s. We we’re in same position as OP in that we had an excellent secondary with a guaranteed place or I’d have probably looked into a tutor.

My son (and I) know a handful of boys at Wilson’s who dislike it. Things they complain about are constant tests, limited options at GCSE, competition amongst other boys - I think when you’re in a local secondary and are bright you’ve probably got a handful of kids who you compete against. In a grammar you’ve got most of the class. I know my son wouldn’t have liked that aspect or the constant testing.

I think Wilson’s is one of the hardest grammars to get into. I’m glad my son didn’t go to a grammar now as he’s a lovely boy and I think his current school have helped shape that. Academically I bet Wilson’s would love to poach him for 6th form as he’s predicted 8’s and 9’s but he will staying where he is. The travel would have also been a pain, an extra 30 mins each way plus further for parents evening etc

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