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Our DD is bright, but is not very sporty and is sometimes lazy.
Basically, we're looking for a secondary school that is:
1) Highly pressured and stretches pupils academically.
2) Has strict discipline.
3) Does not make sports compulsory.
We live in Fulham. One school nearby that we've have always been impressed by is St Paul's Girls' School. However, it's high fees would be a considerable burden for a medium-income family such as ours. What would be our chances of qualifying for a bursary?
Alternatively, can anyone recommend other schools in the area that would be suitable for DD.
I'm a GDST alumna and both my girls have bursaries to go to our local school. I've been very happy with the GDST.
There's Putney High, which is a bus journey away. We will apply for it as well as the other schools we are applying for.
Do you have a GDST school nearby? They tend to be lower fees and have generous bursaries.
We don't want to apply for too many independent schools, but we have outlined about four or five that we think are worth a try. Probably DD won't get into any of them, maybe just one if we're lucky. I tend to think these things are worth doing just for the experience.
I’m not suggesting she would t get in to SPGS by the way. It’s just that most people do a range of schools, in case.
Sure, maybe get some sample papers and work through them gently. Through the Consortium exam (which is mainly multi-choice and they claim it’s more like a CAT test so you can’t tutor / prepare) she could apply for a range of schools, some less competitive than others. There are 12 schools in the Consortium, I think.
Alternatively, Ibstock could be worth a look? Kew House? There is also a new school run by the same organisation that run Kew House School called Maida Vale House? Or Fulham Prep are opening / have opened a new senior school in Parsons Green, I believe? All will be great schools, just a little easier to get in.
Our primary school thinks DD is overall very bright but has concentration issues.
To be honest, I don't expect her to win a place at a highly selective independent school now that I know the amount of competition. They possibly aren't the right schools for her anyhow. But we're still giving them a try.
Also, they never gave me the stats at SPGS or G&L (or if they did, I don’t remember), but at LU about half of those joining in Year 7 are from the state sector. They run Saturday classes for local primary children who may be interested in applying. G&L now do this too and SPGS used to run summer schools and may still do so. LU in particular, is surprisingly diverse. Yes there are some super-rich, but also a lot who struggle to pay the fees and others from what you would call disadvantaged backgrounds. At 6th Form they took in an extra 30, of which 15 are in full bursaries. The school won an award in the Times for social mobility. This is the strength of the school. My DS truly has friends from all walks of life, friend who live at the top of London tower blocks to others who live in Mayfair - people he might never have met otherwise. Backgrounds genuinely don’t matter once in the school because, to be honest, they know they are privileged to be there.
Liam - I think you can stop worrying about the discipline / testing issues in these schools to be honest, as it’s all pretty much a non-issue.
More relevant would be trying to gauge where your daughter is academically. What feedback are you getting from her current school?
For context, SPGS and G&L both have over 900 apply for just over 100 places at 11 plus every year. At LU it’s even more as there are few boys options in the area, so around 1,300 applicants for 130 or so places. Many very bright children will be missed in this brutal 11+ process, which is why most do 5 schools to mitigate this likelihood. There is also the hurdle of the interview, even if they are selected following the exam and they look closely at primary school references / extra curricular interests too.
Above all, go and visit at the open days and see for yourself. You will know what’s right for your child.
Sorry if you think I seemed to get carried away with the issue. It may be that a recent incident at our primary school has made us a little edgy and its been on my mind.
QCMum - No, why?
Because it appears to have descended into total farce. Away with you with your discipline issues
All the help that's been given has been much appreciated.
But when you say, “single mistake” what do you mean? What kind of mistake?
As far as testing goes, they know where pupils are up to, based in the quality of homework, class contributions, etc anyway, They may do some informal “topic tests” to consolidate a particular topic. Otherwise they do summer exams. They give termly reports (at least) with attainment grades, with comments on areas that may need attention. If they are concerned about your child’s progress, they will call you. But, for the main part, being in the average say, 80% of the cohort in these schools, means they are on track for a string of 7/8/9 grades (at least), so there no need for any additional hysteria really.
I think this is a total wind-up and that's a shame because so many posters have tried to be helpful.
What school was that, may I ask?
Dd spent most of her time playing sport and mucking about in year 7. She still managed to get 10 x 8s and 9s GCSE!
Well, St Paul's and all the other schools mentioned here seem to be doing OK without all this testing.
As far as I know, they just have low-key and very occasional tests in class (like once a term) plus exams at the end of each year (but not in Y7).
Agree it sounds like a wind up, @QGMum
I don't want to seem like I'm someone who's obsessed with rules and discipline. Quite the contrary. I don't want my DD to attend a school that would expel her for a single mistake or bad decision and wanted to know how a school would deal with such cases.
Routing testing is necessary to monitor the academic performance of every pupil, to ensure they are progressing, and also to monitor the performance of teachers. Parents should want schools to take this approach as it will allow them to know how their children are performing and to maximise their academic attainment.
Do you know how often SPGS tests its pupils?
LIam - I dint know of any school that would do fortnightly testing, as you describe. That would be a very shallow ethos for any school.
Yes, teens can develop psycho-social issues, but a culture of constant testing or a treadmill of continual grade comparisons will hardly help their mental health.
I have seen, in the last year, one or two pupils drop off due to mental health issues approaching GCSE. In each case, the school literally bent over backwards to help them - even helping one pupil find an alternative place at another independent for a fresh start. They engaged with the psychologists and other support services involved and tried to work in partnership with parents. These pupils were allowed to take exams in a different room, with individual supervision, with extra time for breaks, etc.
As pp say, these are bright pupils as it is and, in a selective school, they are all too aware that this can sometimes tip into an unhealthy mindset of perfectionism or other anxieties. They are there to facilitate these pupils in achieving their potential, not to throw unnecessary obstacles in their way via arbitrary systems of rules, punishments or testing for the sake of testing.
SPGS doesn't test with the frequency you describe, and I can't understand why anyone would want a school that did. Better to spend the time on teaching. Plus, this desire for strong discipline will put you at odds with the ethos of places like St Paul's which has a different approach to potential difficulties and is actually rather a nurturing and understanding place from my own experience.
Do you mean antisocial "naughty" behavoiur or anxiety type issues?
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