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Latymer (grammar) or Highgate?

(69 Posts)
Conundrum2020 Mon 17-Feb-20 09:18:27

So, we will very soon have to make the decision between Latymer (the grammar school) and Highgate for DC. Highgate is closer and, of course, has much better premises (with those fees, they ought to have so that is normal). But I feel that Latymer is more diverse and, of course, it is free! I do understand that funding is an issue for all state schools, so we would have no problems contributing to the schools (it would be nothing like paying for an indie in any case).

We are not wealthy but have the money sorted for going to Highgate the next 7 years. But the money saved by going to Latymer could pay for an awful lot of "extras" (including a deposit for a flat for DC when that time comes).

What would you do? The naicer indie or the excellent grammar? confused

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Malmontar Mon 17-Feb-20 09:21:26

Latymer imo but don't kid yourself that its diverse.

Conundrum2020 Mon 17-Feb-20 09:37:21

I didn't say that Latymer is diverse, but IMHO it is more diverse. Sometimes a small word can make a difference. But thanks for input, anyway! 🙏

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Manchester7 Mon 17-Feb-20 12:46:48

Hi @Conundrum2020. Congratulations on the Highgate offer and on being in the Latymer 192! That’s great. I will PM you.

XelaM Mon 17-Feb-20 20:03:01

Latymer! No brainer

Themythsweliveby Mon 17-Feb-20 20:28:06

So we have done a mix of state and independent/grammar with all our DC intentionally. Grammar is actually better for university as kids need to work more independently/sort themselves out! A child that self challenges and is self motivated will thrive in grammar. However, some children just need a bit more of a push and to be spoon fed (which many independents do really well). And some kids really do make the most of all the extra curricular an independent has to offer, eg. the kind of kid that is really sporty, but also does drama and loads of music. So it really depends, if you can afford it. One of my DC was always happier in state! Really didn't enjoy all the "social" pressure in the independents - and trust me there usually is as to who is pretty/cool/the haves and the have nots. Tends to be less of an issue in grammar.

Conundrum2020 Mon 17-Feb-20 21:59:37

Thank you, Themyths. You're mentioning a really valid point, which I have thought about before - the point about working independently. I've heard quite a bit about children starting Uni not knowing how to study independently and to me that is a shocker at that age. But, of course, if you've been spoon fed all your life, how would you know how to do that?

Some other points you made are very good too! My biggest issue with Latymer is probably the commute/location. We're pleased to have the options even if it woke be easier with just one!

Once again, thanks for your input, Themyths!

XelaM, why the "no brainer" for Latymer? Just wish to hear your thoughts. smile

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XelaM Mon 17-Feb-20 23:06:29

Well, Latymer is our dream school precisely because it's free, but still an amazing school (several kids from my daughter's prep are now there and love it). But then it's very close to our house.

From what I hear it's actually not too pressurised unlike some of the other grammars with great focus on the arts as well. It's a bit of a mix of both worlds.

We went to Latymer's theatre performance of "Blue Stocking" last year and I was totally shocked by the high quality of the production and acting and how well-spoken the kids were when publicly thanking their teachers afterwards.

Highgate is a beautiful amazing school, but I don't think it's worth spending a fortune over the next 7 years when you can have a great school for free. On a completely irrelevant side note, for whatever crazy reason - my daughter hated Highgate during the open day and doesn't even want to sit their exam. I really don't get it, but hey ho. It's certainly a beautiful school, but it will be money you could have saved and the quality of the education will be almost identical.

Although I don't know how bad your commute will be. Doesn't Latymer have a bus service? It used to at one point.

SisterAgatha Mon 17-Feb-20 23:08:34

Latymer Edmonton? Absolutely not. We live semi locally and I’ll try for it out of curiosity but the way edmonton is at the moment I wouldn’t even drive there.

XelaM Mon 17-Feb-20 23:10:48

What nonsense. We live not far from it and obviously the area is not as lovely as Highgate, but the school is a great school

SisterAgatha Mon 17-Feb-20 23:27:24

The school is amazing, I have friends who went there and who teach there. The area is awful. This is December alone. I’ve lived locally all my life and it’s the worst I’ve ever seen it. If they have a school bus and aren’t allowed out at lunch, that would make it a safer option.

This is why I don’t drive around there, it’s about the third time a shot has been fired in to a car in Enfield/Edmonton.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-46250844

SisterAgatha Mon 17-Feb-20 23:36:50

And I personally think that this news story has been played down, the area is rife for aggravated robberies and assaults.

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/02/01/leading-grammar-school-hires-security-guard-pupils-repeatedly/

XelaM Mon 17-Feb-20 23:46:16

My daughter currently goes to school in Southgate (a lovely leafy area with nice big houses). Apparently there are gangs robbing people in broad daylight and there have been numerous incidents with the brother of one of my daughter's classmates getting robbed as well. This is London and there are bad things happening everywhere.

SisterAgatha Mon 17-Feb-20 23:58:02

Southgate is still far nicer than Edmonton, and especially the green which is a very sorry place now. The air ambulance is there at least once a week and it’s creeping in to Enfield, even the better parts like the town and Enfield Chase. Southgate is quite safe in comparison because of the affluence.

Toomuchtrouble4me Tue 18-Feb-20 00:08:29

Highgate - its not what you know, its who you know.

Conundrum2020 Tue 18-Feb-20 04:43:40

Thanks everyone. You're all bringing up the pros and cons I'm dealing with. Saying that, the location has always been an issue with Latymer for some. It has been discussed at MN before. But sure, it is an aspect I'm not excited about, but some of it is being in London. www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/crime-court/highgate-stabbing-community-reacts-as-16-year-old-suffers-knife-attack-in-north-hill-1-6500471. The commute to Latymer could be dealt with in other ways (as we would be saving so much money on fees) and of those we know going to Latymer, no one seems to have an issue with the area.

Is Highgate really a school where you make those sort of contacts? We know quite a few going there (as it is fairly close to us), and they're all from normal families... Yes, of course, there are some uber wealthy ones, which is part of the mix that I'm not too keen about but it is an indie in London, so what do I expect?

There's clearly more thinking to do...

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SisterAgatha Tue 18-Feb-20 08:17:46

I can promise you that Edmonton is considerably worse than Highgate crime wise. It’s in the press every week. It’s more on par with perhaps the worst parts of Croyden, where as Highgate is pretty consistent. Edmonton has gotten considerably worse in the last 10 years.

I would also assume that most people commuting there would approach it from the A10 rather than Edmonton Green which doesn’t give you a true reflection of the area as the A10 is just a blank dual carriageway, not as characterful as the high street. It worsens as you go in to the green. As I’ve said, if you could guarantee you could pick them up, a school bus and not being out on their own at lunch, it would mitigate those problems. It’s such a shame for the school. We are three train stops away so the station would be our only option, and I just wouldn’t ever be able to let my DS go alone.

Conundrum2020 Tue 18-Feb-20 08:49:01

SisterAgatha I'm not saying that Edmonton is as Highgate but some of it is about living in London. Also, at some point I want DCs that are not mollycoddled but independent and that can take care of themselves. But I'm from another European culture where teaching children independence early on is very important... But yeah, the commute is easily solved by just arranging for transport ourselves (not paying an indie fee leaves you with a lot of money for this!).

It is really not as straightforward a decision as I thought it'd be. No fees to pay gives as more money to do things that might be off the cards if we have fees to pay (or at least we'd have to think harder about it). Not all learning comes from school...

There is also the potential issue of feeling like the poor cousin to a certain extent even if I know some families at Highgate.

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Conundrum2020 Tue 18-Feb-20 08:53:31

But yes, I take onboard the issues with the area where Latymer is. However, that seems to come up everytime regarding Latymer so it's nothing new. We obviously considered that upon applying in the first place and I think it is possible to solve fairly easy. I'm thinking more about the school itself. (We could just pick the local comp - which is perfectly reasonable - if it was about avoiding Edmonton).

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Malmontar Tue 18-Feb-20 10:10:00

To be perfectly honest Edmonton is grotty and has been for a long time. We have friends on Hazelbury green and agree that it's got worse. But as already mentioned, thats always an argument that's brought up. Our DD goes to NLPAC and there's always kids there in latymer uniforms and so they travel down from crouch end or Muswell Hill. And all those kids mostly get picked up after dark as muggings are generally targeted in well off areas.

I don't know of any local kids that go to Latymer so the bus stops and silver street train station is always packed with latymer kids after school. Most of them don't need to wonder onto the high road unless they get the bus down through Tottenham.
I know for after clubs lots arrange car pools, at least that what all my stokey friends did. There's also often staff around during end of school as well as a police presence. We've heard of some muggings but there's also been plenty of that around fortismere, APS and Heartlands.

I think when it comes down to comparing the education your child will receive, I don't think the Highgate fees are worth it personally, especially where you have Latymer and (I'm assuming) Highgate Wood as an option.

Conundrum2020 Tue 18-Feb-20 11:42:13

Thank you Malmontar. You say what I am thinking - plenty of kids travel to Latymer from MH and CE, which would be the route for DC. So DC would never travel alone. And if DC would have to travel alone at times, we'd set up a taxi account or similar. For late travels, we've already been approached for car pools...

MH and CE have had lots of muggings the last couple of years as pointed out. I read the Telegraph article when it was published as "Oh great, a school that take these things seriously and try to do something to protect their students." as this is not a "Latymer only" problem.

Before we were in this position, I'd definitely come to your conclusion. But being here now, it's not as clear cut!

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Malmontar Tue 18-Feb-20 12:00:29

Yes, I can totally sympathise that's it's not an easy decision. I guess you don't want to feel like your child has missed out on something because you were being stingy. And stingy you definitely aren't. Highgate fees will only go up with how popular it's become and tbh if it was any other grammar eg QE I would choose Highgate.

Latymer is only so selective because there's just no other options locally so so many apply. Once you're in, it's really not that intense and there's lots of options with arts and sports being huge. Pastoral care is great too. Its a really nice school and I'm not being biased as I didn't go and don't have kids there but as grammar schools go, I think the kids get a great all round education. It'll get better demographically too as they've reserved 20 places for kids on FSM from this year. They only have to score in top 900.

Malmontar Tue 18-Feb-20 12:01:33

Also wanted to add, there are always chance vacancies in privates. I think it's much more difficult if you decide to go from private to grammar further down the line.

JBX2013 Tue 18-Feb-20 13:22:08

Hi Conundrum2020!

Our daughter was at Henrietta Barnett School, close to where we live. She also could have gone to Latymer, which we loved, but we did not want to move and, on reflection, we concluded that co-ed schools are better for boys and single sex for girls.

Yes, Edmonton is palpably worse now, but so are Highgate, Finchley and Southgate for some people, including me. But 'relative safety' is a decision only your family can make for your son. A few (more) reconnaissance trips during actual school run hours and some late in the evening as he will sometimes return home late after clubs and societies?

Austerity funding remains a big challege and, while Highgate is a fine school, transformed since their revamp and the admission of girls, I feel strongly that Latymer is clearly a better school if you can earn a place. The kids will be hungrier, a bit more 'normal', a bit less entitled, more used to srapping and competing and working for what they get. Is it also a bit more ethnically diverse?

Congratulations to your son on achieving an offer at Latymer.

Conundrum2020 Tue 18-Feb-20 15:07:47

Thanks Malmontar and JBX2013. For us it's never been about only selectives so the approach to the 11+ "drama" has been fairly moderate. We also only looked at co-eds. Your inputs make sense and it's helping in this process.

Malmontar, you are right about being worried that DC would be missing out on something due to me/us. And JBX the description about being "a bit less entitled" is what I believe too. Less entitled doesn't mean not being entitled for clarification (as I believe that many kids in North London are pretty entitled in a broader sense!).

We still got time to think but I value everyone's input.

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