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SW Secondary schools advice needed

(51 Posts)
SecondarySchoolNovice Wed 02-Oct-19 11:20:25

Dear mums, We are currently abroad and due to our work related transfer, we would move to UK next year. We are not UK residents so this is all a bit new to me.
My daughter is a very bright girl and she is excellent in English and Science. She is currently in the top 3 of her class in a British school here. So we are looking at her going to UK school system in Year 8 in 2020. I know that it is not a normal entry point but we have received confirmations for places in Year 8 from below schools.
- Croydon High School
- Sutton High School
- Streatham and Clapham High school
- Tormead school
- Woldingham school
We are planning to make visits to each of these schools to start the registration and assessment process. So I have few questions
- Can you please provide your feedback about any of these schools in terms of academic excellence and pastoral care.
- Another possibility (though not much preferred) would be to wait for Year 9 entry point for 2021 and only move to UK then. This is because I loved the likes of Caterham, Royal Russels, Reigate Grammar School and Kingston Grammar school and none of these are available for Year 8.
Do you think these are much better schools so its worth the wait.


OP’s posts: |
SecondarySchoolNovice Wed 02-Oct-19 11:49:59

Sorry, the post went too soon. I also wanted to say that we don't have any preference yet for a place to stay. We are first finding a school for her and then will sort out the house later.

Thanks to provide your feedback.

OP’s posts: |
JoJoSM2 Wed 02-Oct-19 12:02:22

OP, so it basically looks like girls' schools have places but you'd prefer a co-ed option? Have you enquired at Epsom College or Emmanuel? They're co-ed and Epsom has lovely grounds.

In terms of entry at 13+, have you spoken to the schools to see if you could still apply? The offers for those places tend to go out in Y6 so have been long done and dusted.

All the schools you've listed are academic, some higher up in rankings than others but basically all suitable for an academic girl.
Any faith considerations? Woldingham is a Catholic School, for example. Any particular sports that your daughter excels at? Is she sporty at all or would she be ok in a school without all the bells and whistles of facilities?

Do you know if you want to live close to central London or out in the countryside? The locations of the schools are quite different some of the commutes could get quite long.

SecondarySchoolNovice Wed 02-Oct-19 12:16:06

We are not catholic and would rather prefer a non denominational school. I read about Woldingham being a Catholic school but not sure about the numbers of non faith girls. Was planning to ask that during our visit anyhow.

In terms of sports, my DD loves netball and Basketball but she is not super sporty type of a girl.
We are looking for a school that's not a hothouse but at the same time, pushes the able children to excel.

OP’s posts: |
JoJoSM2 Wed 02-Oct-19 12:48:36

Non denominational independent schools aren't all that common. The boarding ones often have a chapel on premises that pupils attend every so often. I'd expect Woldingham will have good numbers of non-Catholics, though.

Out of the schools you mention, Reigate seems to have a bit of a hot housey reputation (I have no personal experience of it, though). Sutton High has a reputation for being very good pastorally with emphasis on girls' well-being & a small school. Not sure what specific reputations the other schools have.

Royal Russell, Caterham, Woldingham all have lovely campuses. The GDST schools (Croydon, Sutton and Streatham and Clapham) aren't that impressive but still have pools, outdoor pitches + might use facilities elsewhere. Kingston is split: the main site is by a busy road near the town centre and the sporting grounds are at another site.

Generally, pretty much everyone will play netball but basketball is less common.

JoJoSM2 Wed 02-Oct-19 12:56:53

Reigate, like Kingston is split between the main site and the sports site.

amidaiwas Wed 02-Oct-19 14:38:01

You might get a yr8 place in some of your preferred schools next year - they won't offer you one now but chlidren come and go all the time from these schools - I've been astonished. Worth asking a full term before.

SecondarySchoolNovice Wed 02-Oct-19 14:54:37

Thank you @JoJoSM2 and @amidaiwas.

Indeed I am hoping to call in RGS, RR, KGS during Feb 2020 to see if they have places which will become available.

Also could you give me feedback on the schools which have already places in Year 8 and we will be makin visits in next 2 weeks
- Croydon High School
- Sutton High School
- Streatham and Clapham High school
- Tormead school
- Woldingham school

Thanks a lot

OP’s posts: |
JoJoSM2 Wed 02-Oct-19 17:18:59

OP, I hope someone will come on with first hand experience to tell you more. However, another suggestion I have is reading ISI reports for the schools to get a bit more insights. I'm crying nsidering Royal Russell for DS and theirs is glowing (I'm also an experienced teacher and found them really on the ball but focused mostly on the juniors rather then the seniors).

JoJoSM2 Wed 02-Oct-19 17:19:35

not crying lol considering

Seeline Wed 02-Oct-19 19:33:46

I have a DD at CHS. It is a friendly school, where the girls are encouraged to try new things and do their best. I wouldn't call it a hot house, but the academic are stretched.

The site is lovely with open playing fields and lots of trees. Good sports centre on site, including a pool

A new Head will be starting after Easter - no details yet.

LIZS Thu 03-Oct-19 08:22:39

RR is not considered academic , more rounded. Do you want coed or single sex? Day only or day/boarding? Relatively few will offer basketball as a sport, what other sport does your dd play?

LIZS Thu 03-Oct-19 08:25:21

Guildford High and St Catherine's Bramley might also be worth adding to your list

Safiya80 Thu 03-Oct-19 08:58:12

OP, if you are looking for “academic excellence”, the schools you are looking at are not really “the best” when it comes to GCSE or A-level results. Go on the websites for each j dividual school and look at the percentage of 7/8/9 grades they achieve at GCSE (old A-A*). This is obviously not the end-all-and-be-all, but it will give you some benchmark for comparison.

The “top” girls or co-ed schools reachable from SW London areas would be the Hammersmith schools - St Paul’s Girls, Godolphin and Latymer, Latymer Upper (co-Ed); then there is Lady Eleanor Holles (Hampton); City of London Girls; Wimbledon High School; James Allen Girls School (Dulwich way). These schools regularly achieve 90-95% A-A*, but are highly competitive entrance exams, etc. Then there are schools such as Putney High and Kingston Grammar which are also very competitive. Another one now wouid be Francis Holland Sloane Square - this is a smaller school, but absolutely fantastic and in the up in every way, by the sound of it (90% 9/8/7 grades last year putting it among the “top tier” of schools).

Outside London the is Guildford High which is similar in terms of results to some of the top London independents.

All these schools will have just about anything and everything going on in terms of extra-curricular and all will claim to have excellent pastoral care.

To give you an idea, there are maybe 10-15 applicants for every place at some of the top London Day Schools, all of whom will be in the top handful from their primary classes. However, people do move and places may come up in later years so it could be worth asking if your daughter is academic. Why not?

You could also look at Surbiton High which is very popular? There is Ibstock Place near Barnes? Notting Hill and Ealing High? These schools get great results, but may be slightly easier to get into than the schools mentioned above.

SecondarySchoolNovice Thu 03-Oct-19 09:00:18

@Seeline we will visit CHS on their open day on 12th October. So may be we will get to meet the new head.

@LIZS We are inclined towards Coed and Day school.

OP’s posts: |
help007 Thu 03-Oct-19 09:54:14

Spaces do come up- my DD is at one of the schools listed above- 3 girls left at the end of Year 7 as their families moved abroad and 3 new girls joined.

LIZS Thu 03-Oct-19 10:00:55

As pupils only need to give a term's notice ad hoc places may only come up at Easter for September. Bear in mind the intake you want your dd to join has only just entered the school.

Seeline Thu 03-Oct-19 10:29:38

No new Head appointed yet for CHS. We were only told the current one was leaving at the beginning of this term.

JoJoSM2 Thu 03-Oct-19 10:48:49

If the OP don't want a school that might feel hot housey, then I'm not sure the 90%+ A-A* schools will be the right fit. IMO, 'academic excellence' isn't about a school where every single pupil is very very able or super swotty. The supposedly 'not so academic' schools on the list, like The Royal Russell and some others, still get most of their GCSE exam entries graded at A-A*, Oxbridge offers and most students going on to Russell Group universities. They're perfectly able to stretch high achievers even if some of the children in the school are more of an average ability.

OP, the co-ed schools on the edge/outside London tend to be boarding schools but they will have high numbers of day pupils. RR, Epsom and Caterham do basketball too.

LIZS Thu 03-Oct-19 10:51:45

Basketball for girls at Caterham is only a 6th form games option, very few take it up and the boys participating are mainly boarders.

Wishingitwasover Thu 03-Oct-19 12:13:05

If you like co-ed and want SW London then you should definitely consider Ibstock Place School.

It’s on the edge of Richmond Park in a beautiful campus. Academically, it is similar to Kingston Grammar in terms of GCSE and A level results and excels in Maths and the Sciences in particular at GCSE.

The main sports for girls are hockey, netball, cricket and athletics but they do have a weekly co-curricular basketball club!

Travel-wise, it is easy for the pupils to get there from Barnes Station via the pro bono school shuttle bus. Children travel from areas such as Twickenham, Richmond, Chiswick, Kingston, Putney and Clapham etc using the South West train network. Others live in Barnes and access local bus services via Roehampton or some very lucky children (from Sheen) simply cycle through Richmond Park to get to school!

They do have a few pupils join in Year 9 but the main entry point is at Year 7, of course. Not sure if ad hoc places come up for each year group but always worth asking for Year 8?

Good luck with your search. All of the schools that have been mentioned are fantastic and get great results. Mostly it comes down to location, extra-curricular activities and pastoral care with whatever suits your DC.

JoJoSM2 Thu 03-Oct-19 12:45:43

The A-Level progress scores for Ibstock look consistently poor for the last 3 years.

OP, the website above gives all the official info on performance of schools but for the independent sector it’s only available for A-Levels. Might be worth a look if you think you want to stay in the area for a few years.

SecondarySchoolNovice Thu 03-Oct-19 13:05:27

@JoJoSM2 : I checked this website and compared the schools in my list. But I want to be sure if I am reading the results right. Can you please tell me how should I read attainment 8 score for each school.
In this comparison, RR has the Attainment 8 score of 16.5 whereas Woldingham and Caterham have it close to 50.

OP’s posts: |
SecondarySchoolNovice Thu 03-Oct-19 13:08:16

I am looking at Secondary schools tab. Just noticed that there is another tab for '16 to 18' performance also. But which one should be given more importance.

OP’s posts: |
CountessDracula Thu 03-Oct-19 13:53:17

That's v interesting, I've not seen those stats before

I've added all the schools near me in and the results are quite revealing!

What they are measuring apparently...

Progress score and description (A levels)
These figures tell you how much progress students who studied A levels at this school or college made between the end of key stage 4 and the end of their A level studies, compared to similar students across England.
The scores are calculated by comparing the A-level results of students at this school or college with the A level results of students in schools and colleges across England who started with similar results at the end of the previous key stage – key stage 4.
A score above zero means students made more progress, on average, than students across England who got similar results at the end of key stage 4.
A score below zero means students made less progress, on average, than students across England who got similar results at the end of key stage 4.
A negative progress score does not mean students made no progress, or the school or college has failed, rather it means students in this school or college made less progress than other students across England with similar results at the end of key stage 4.
The majority of schools and colleges have progress scores between -2 and +2.
These scores are also known as 'value added' scores.

The scores are

KGS - +0.22
St Paul’s +0.20
Laytmer Upper +0.15
Putney High +0.14
SPGS +0.12
LEH +0.05
KCL +0.03
Emanuel +0.02
Wimbledon High +0.01
Godolphin & Laytmer -0.03
Hampton -0.15
Ibstock -0.31

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