SW London girls independent/grammars thread 2020

(1000 Posts)
autumnnightsaredrawingin Sat 05-Oct-19 22:56:15

Last year, there were two amazing threads which were super helpful about exactly this, so I wanted to start a thread for girls due to start September 2020. If anyone from last year wants to contribute please do!

We have narrowed our choices down to 5, sadly not in the right postcode for Tiffin, and decided not to do the Sutton grammars.

So, she will be doing PHS, WHS, LEH, SHS and Woldingham. Also registered for Emanuel but we may pull that one.

OP’s posts: |
sandybayley Sun 06-Oct-19 07:34:08

@autumnnightsaredrawingin - I have a DD at one of the schools you're trying for and she sat for one of the other ones plus the grammars. It was a few years ago but I know how helpful the thread that year was. PM me if you want specific details!

Those schools look like a spread geographically. Do be careful about school journey, go relatively local if you can as it will make your DD's life much easier. It will make your life easier as well.

I'm surprised you're not in the right postcode for Tiffin if you're applying for those schools. Isn't the designated area massive? Obviously not as big as the Inner Area but that gives priority for disadvantaged DD so you'd still have had a chance.

givemesomewineplease Sun 06-Oct-19 08:57:38

Thanks for starting this thread @AutumnNights! I followed last year's one (thanks @Flumeplume!) and found it very useful. Nice to have company on this journey. Feeling nervous about the upcoming exams. Dd is bright and able but at a v average state school and I really don't know how she compares to the kind of kids going for these schools. She sat Tiffin last week - I feel she wasn't prepared enough but we'll see. Still a few schools to visit but currently planning to apply to G&L, LU, LEH, NHES. All v competitive so need a back-up but not yet convinced any I've seen are a good fit for her - probably because I see her in an academic setting but I have to find a banker!

FlumePlume Sun 06-Oct-19 09:10:41

Thanks! givemesomewineplease I’m glad it was useful. I’m going to lurk on this one, but happy to be @-ed if I can be helpful.

AnotherNewt Sun 06-Oct-19 09:11:30

I'll say one of the things I say every year - the journey your DD will make to school matters. Think of what it'll really be like, peak time, raining, on the day she needs her games kit and a bassoon.

If it's a journey you would inwardly groan at, do not inflict it on your DC.

Also, avoid long journeys if possible. In the teen years, having time to loaf with mates for a while after school can be a feature of social life and you might decide you do not want your DD cut off from that because it takes over an hour to get home.

givemesomewineplease Sun 06-Oct-19 10:06:33

Hi @FlumePlume, how is your dd getting on? She's started at SPGS hasn't she? I'd love to know how she is finding it. Academically it really appeals and we liked it very much on our visit, but I guess the reputation of the school and the rumours of the alpha type girls that attend causes me to hesitate. I hope your dd is enjoying it.

autumnnightsaredrawingin Sun 06-Oct-19 10:42:12

I triple checked and we are not in either the Tiffin designated area or inner area. Good luck to those waiting on stage 1 results.

We are hoping to move house anyway- the idea is to wait and see where she gets offered a place and then decide- totally agree re distance and journey time.

We went to look at WHS yesterday at the open day- the head was hugely impressive we thought.

Currently my daughter probably likes LEH the best followed by WHS and PHS (she’s decided she does like it after all grin)

We are applying for a certain type of scholarship at WHS, PHS and SHS too, not sure what her chances are though. Good luck to all!

OP’s posts: |
FlumePlume Sun 06-Oct-19 11:55:43

givemesomewineplease She’s happy and settling in well - all I could ask for at this stage. She’s found a lot of clubs she wants to do, seems to be making friends at clubs as well as in class, and she’s not getting excessive amounts of homework (just 20 minutes this weekend, for example).

Mynameis2 Sun 06-Oct-19 17:21:43

I was on the thread last year and my dd sat two of those schools you listed. I feel 5 schools is one or two too many exams/interviews to go through?

help007 Sun 06-Oct-19 17:36:58

I think it totally depends on the child. DD sat 6 including several off your list and also and found it all fine. They were nicely spread out and she quite enjoyed the process. Days off school, treats afterwards etc.
We were at a state school and had no idea where she might get in so went for a bit of a scatter gun approach.

help007 Sun 06-Oct-19 17:37:28

Also Tiffin that should say

Mynameis2 Sun 06-Oct-19 19:14:52

It depends if the exams are spread out. My daughter sat 3 in a week which felt like a lot.

givemesomewineplease Sun 06-Oct-19 21:49:18

That's great to hear miniflume is settling in well and making friends. That's where we all hope to be this time next year!

Much as I'd like to reduce the number of schools to which we apply to 2 or 3, I feel apprehensive about the sheer numbers applying and know that the lack of an informative ref from our state school head won't help dd if she has a bad day at an exam. Also, we just don't know how she stacks up against the rest of those applying so I think the scattergun approach is our only choice too. She's certainly academic but she's also among the youngest in the year and many schools don't take that into account with the test scores/interviews, so she's slightly disadvantaged there.

We're Hammersmith way so some great schools here, just rather competitive to get into! I don't think she minds sitting exams but all our preferred schools' dates are sandwiched close together - two on the same day - so that's really frustrating. It has meant I've cut City as an option because it fell on the same day as 2 other nearer schools!

Parisa5 Mon 07-Oct-19 10:17:21

givemesomewine - Hi I have a DD at G&L and another DC at LU if it helps. If you are looking for a “back up option”, could I recommended FH SS. You can do it through the Consortium on the same day as G&L, so no extra exam clashes or stress. Also, it may be still be “easier” to get into than the Hammersmith schools, but go in their website to have a look at the GCSE results they achieved this summer. It won’t be a “back up” for long, that’s for sure. They achieved better GCSE results than PHS for example, by quite some margin and not for the first time. It’s just that it’s a smaller school and maybe not such an obvious choice. Definitely worth a visit. Also, there is literally nothing you can do to prepare for the Consortium exam, so don’t stress. They send you a sample to familiarise your DD with the format and that’s it.

givemesomewineplease Mon 07-Oct-19 10:32:56

Thanks for the advice Parisa. I've visited FHSS and was very impressed by the head's talk and the girls who spoke, less so by the more cramped footprint of the school (and that playing facilities are not conveniently located for early morning practises). Also dd isn't so keen on a long tube journey but I was v impressed and the gcse results were indeed excellent so we're visiting again next month and will decide whether to apply. The consortium exam makes it much more of an option.

ColaPip Mon 07-Oct-19 10:37:31

Thanks for starting the thread @autumnnightsaredrawingin.
Think I'll be spending quite a bit of time here!

We haven't quite finalised our list. At the moment, our long list is WHS, FHS SS, G&L, Surbiton, Ibstock, Emanuel.

G&L would be a long shot, but DD will be doing the the Consortium exam anyway for FHS. Her headteacher recently suggested St James Senior Girls as a back up which we're thinking about.

I was at the same WHS Open Day as you autumn and loved it. I think it would also be a stretch for DD but as Stage 1 exam is in November, we're inclined to let her have a go as she's very keen. I figure it would be good experience at least.

DD also loves St Johns in Leatherhead, but I'm concerned it's a bit far from us (Putney/Sheen).

Look forward to chatting more as the weeks fly by!

Parisa5 Mon 07-Oct-19 11:04:58

Hi give - yes, I know what you mean about cramped, but they are going through a whole refurbishment. And there’s something to be said for being able to head down the Kings Rd after school (as opposed to Hammersmith Roundabout) grin

The only thing with the Consortium schools is that they interview all applicants as a matter of course. So last year, I think 1,000 sat the G&L exam and they did 1,000 interviews, spread from November onwards shock. So you have absolutely no idea how your DD may or may not have fared until the day in Feb when the letter comes. At St Paul’s there are three rounds, so if you get to the interview you know you’ve made it to the final 200 or so (for the 100 places). The school that has the most applicants (I think because it’s co-Ed), is LU. I think they get about 1,300 sitting the exam but they are a larger school so 180 per year. They interview about 400-450 - all on one day! It’s crazy.

Expo Tue 08-Oct-19 21:58:22

Hi @ColaPip if you are in Putney then why not PHS?

autumnnightsaredrawingin Tue 08-Oct-19 23:43:29


We feel 5 is ok. It does feel like quite a lot but she is a pretty resilient child and is keen to do all of them! Woldingham is much earlier than the others, and WHS obviously the first part is also much earlier. She is also at a (brilliant) state school and we just wanted to cover a few bases. We are aware that 3 out of those 5 are very very tough to get into.

Also waiting on the results of the Wandsworth test as I think that could be a good indication of how likely it is she might get through the first stage of WHS...

OP’s posts: |
autumnnightsaredrawingin Tue 08-Oct-19 23:44:54

Colapip- absolutely no harm in letting your DD try WHS especially as the first state is before Christmas. If she then gets through- great, if not, you can focus on your other choices. Good luck to her (and you!)

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ColaPip Wed 09-Oct-19 16:02:14

@Expo We're not sure about PHS purely because DD is likely to fare better in reasoning type assessments. She should do ok in English but her maths is weaker, so the PHS English/Maths exams may be a bit of a stretch.

@autumnnightsaredrawingin - good point re Wandsworth test and WHS. I think WT results come out some time next week? All the best to you too!

Expo Wed 09-Oct-19 23:13:12

@ColaPip I would go distance first - so PHS and WHS for GDST if they close. They are both so different to get in to. I would be tempted to try both

autumnnightsaredrawingin Wed 09-Oct-19 23:36:48

Colapip- If you have a daughter who isn’t too fazed by exams etc I’d be tempted to do both PHS and WHS if you are close by to Putney. The exams are far enough away from each other that I don’t think it feels too much, and you never know? We are definitely doing both. Wandsworth Test results come out 14th October I think so not long at all!

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Stircrazyschoolmum Thu 10-Oct-19 11:39:58

Hello! May I come lurk? This will be me in a year's time so any hints / tips I can get early on would be very valuable. I have an older DS so whilst having gone through the secondary process previously the 'all girl' thing is new to me.

I may be wrong but I also get the sense the girls in general are academically stronger and more 'hungry' than the boys at this stage? We are also at a great state - but its hard to gauge where a bright state child sits amongst prep school children.

I saw WHS in the spring and tbh felt a bit underwhelmed. I liked the diversity but it felt very very studious? PHS felt more buzzy and busy, but I think they have a fairly major building project going on right now? JAGS surprised me.. I liked it far more than I thought would, but the head leaving is a concern.

autumn nights why are you thinking of pulling Emanuel? Is it the sheer numbers applying or the co-ed? (Or something else?!) I think it is becoming far more academic than it used to be and friends speak highly of it.

Anyhow.. back to lurking!

winteragain Thu 10-Oct-19 12:23:36

I'm also lurking! Went through it with DD a few years ago and now have a DS..
Stircrazy- important to go with gut feeling although we found the opposite and thought PHS very studious and serious and WHS the complete opposite! DD ended up there and she isn't remotely studious! They have lots of fun but seem to get the work done as well.
They are also in the middle of major building works but doesn't seem to bother the girls at all. Didn't look at JAGs etc as too far away.

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