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SW London/ Surrey boys independents

(42 Posts)
EshSchools Mon 07-Sep-20 14:54:08

I've looked and there seem to be a couple of threads for DDs going to take entrance exams in the SW London/ Surrey area, but i couldn't see one for boys.

Anyone else in? I am just looking at the application processes and trying to firm up our list. I've also seen there may be changes to some of the exams (I have just seen on here KGS are changing theirs this year) and wonder if this would be a good place to swap news.

OP’s posts: |
AveEldon Tue 08-Sep-20 08:50:13

Hi, we are doing London & Croydon schools.

Dailyjunglegrind Tue 08-Sep-20 09:47:51

Hi, we also watching closelt at updates from London, and Croydon schools..

ChristopherTracy Tue 08-Sep-20 09:57:04

That's weird, there was always a Trinity/Dulwich thread going on - maybe it just needs reviving?

2020notfun Tue 08-Sep-20 12:18:49

Went through it last year in SW London- happy to offer my wisdom!?!

Dailyjunglegrind Tue 08-Sep-20 19:51:51


Went through it last year in SW London- happy to offer my wisdom!?!

I would appreciate any pearls of wisdom you have to share, what schools did your DS consider, and why? And where did your DS start this year? How is he settling in?

2020notfun Tue 08-Sep-20 21:51:22

He has started at Latymer. Only 4 days in but going well. Sat Hampton at 10plus and got a place so we only sat St Paul's, Tiffin, LU and KGS as we knew we had the Hampton place. Were wobbling on the all boys and location with Hampton.
Got through the first round of St. Paul's but not the second and was never the right school anyway- Was never keen but location was good. Looked round Kings Wimbledon- also couldn't see him there whereas could at LU. Not entirely sure why we sat KGS but loved it for DD so went for it.
DD sat Emanuel, Ibstock and KGS the year before ( and some girls schools which is where she ended up).

NeverEnoughCake2 Wed 09-Sep-20 18:53:12

We'll be doing this this year. We've got a great local comp, but its catchment area has been shrinking (we'd have got in last year, but not the year before) so we're not sure we'll get in this year and the school we'd most likely get offered instead doesn't seem like a great fit for DS.

We have a DS who's decidedly stronger at maths than English, so are still trying to work out which independent schools to target. The only open day we made it to prior to lockdown hitting was Reed's, which we really liked, but it's hard to know if that's because we've only seen the other schools in virtual admissions events. Therefore, I'd be really interested in hearing about opinions and experiences of KGS, St George's Weybridge and Halliford, as well as where else people are considering for their sons and why.

Teams Wed 09-Sep-20 21:08:18

Also went through the fun and games last year!
DS just started Hampton and really enjoying it.
We were the opposite to 2020notfun, as neither we or him took to Latymers. it just goes to show it’s important to try and get a good feel for the school that will suit DS.

Fishingeveryday212 Wed 09-Sep-20 21:49:30

We also are doing the 11+/13+ in January. I like St Johns, Reed’s and Epsom but not sure which one would feel like the best fit. I heard yesterday Epsom is dropping the maths paper from the exam which is unfortunately DS’s stronger subject. Im guessing by January all the exams will be sat at our prep school and the ISEB will be used more for selection purposes..

kittybloom Wed 09-Sep-20 22:00:34

I also went through this last year for my son and happy to share my experience but appreciate that it’ll be a different experience this year.

We applied for 5 schools. I looked around more and the reality is that these are all good schools so it is trying to find the balance of those ones which will suit your DS but also a realistic chance of getting in.

We decided that co-ed was better suited to our DS so that made it easier to narrow down. Also, think about travel - our son has an easy train journey and is now completely independent getting there and back. He loves that. No parent taxi or painful long coach journey thankfully. Re sports, what does your DS enjoy? Mine is very keen to row in the future so that was another factor for us.

DS is at KGS and it seems to be going well so far. I only had a positive experience of KGS at the open day, admissions process and during the induction process so I’m happy to date! It feels kind and relaxed but takes its results and sports seriously. I personally like that it is in the centre of Kingston but that’s because I know my DS was happier in that environment rather than large grounds. Horses for courses.

The process is competitive in SW London but my bright but not exceptionally bright DS got 4 offers and 1 WL (but DS wasn’t keen on WL school anyway). He is quite quirky and I suspect he interviewed fairly well which probably helped. He is also stronger in maths than English and I felt that was an advantage but just my instinct rather than any proof of that. I don’t know any boys who got no offers and everyone seemed to end up in the right place. So it does all seem to work out.

DS was at a state school. We did one hour tutor per week with one hour tutor homework on top. He also sat 2x mock exams in the autumn term (which he found very helpful). That level of additional work felt about right and I wouldn’t have wanted to push more - what is the point of excessive tutoring if that gets your child into top school but when they get there it isn’t the right fit?

We did a small amount of interview prep but the advice from tutor was not to over prepare and I remember at the Ibstock open day a teacher saying how she far preferred interviewing the children who hadn’t be overly scripted.

The bit I found stressful wasn’t the exams in the Jan but the callback for interviews and then the waiting game after that.

Good luck!

Autumndaysarecoming Wed 09-Sep-20 23:30:45

Happy to share our experiences too.

Applied to and got offers at 3 private schools for our son, but only because we'd been through it already with our eldest so knew more what we wanted and location was important. Still, it didn't stop us changing our minds as we went through the process!

Really liked the down to earth feel (for private schools) of Hampton and KGS. Hampton used to be a grammar school and still has that feel about it. Eldest is at KGS and they couldn't be happier (great school, lovely community), but they don't do rugby which is my son's favourite sport. Despite really loving it. Hampton was too far in the end as we had offers from other great schools far closer. Didn't apply to St Paul's as the fees are a step up in later years and we couldn't see the point, plus we wanted to head / point away from London (albeit not that far!), if that's makes any sense?!

In the end it came down to Kings and Tiffin, and we chose Tiffin after going through all of that! Almost a week in and our son is very happy there and has become 'bus buddies' with two other boys from near us and is going to another boys house after school this week.

In contrast to the poster below, my feeling is that lots of boys are good at maths, but English sets them apart, but that is only my view from what I noticed from our son's experience and from others going through this, but I could be wrong. KGS aren't doing verbal reasoning this year, so it may make it easier to get in ( it can be tricky, also because it's co ed so competition from girls) as that has apparently previously tripped a lot of kids up according to parents.

Advice would be go for an easy / quick journey. All these schools are excellent and these kids will be shattered at the end of the day and getting up in the morning. Also think about where the sports fields are for weekends and how easy to get to for parents' evenings etc. This was a reason against Hampton, but only because of where we live. Personally, I also preferred independent travel with good transport links rather than being on a coach for years, but some kids really love I being with their friends on the coach (but you can get the same thing on a public bus... and it's free!).

Happy to answer any questions.

Sunshineismyjam Thu 10-Sep-20 07:56:09

Hi- would love to join you. Am doing application forms for 2021 entry at the moment. Thanks to those who have shared their experiences above.

I’m doing application forms for DS at the moment and the schools often ask which other schools you are applying for. Should one be honest on this? Or will it disadvantage the child if they know you’re applying elsewhere. Presumably they want to know if you’re treating them as a banker by applying to other much more difficult schools.

Autumndaysarecoming Thu 10-Sep-20 08:00:37

No, they just want to know so they can work out how many offers to make

Sunshineismyjam Thu 10-Sep-20 08:24:55

Thanks @Autumndaysarecoming that’s good to know. Glad to hear your son is enjoying Tiffin. We have applied there too.

Autumndaysarecoming Thu 10-Sep-20 08:35:15

Thanks. Obviously early days, but so far, so good!

FlyingPandas Thu 10-Sep-20 20:42:43

Thank you to those on the thread who have already offered insights into the process - really interesting to read. Would like to join you all if that's okay.

We have Y6 DS2 at state primary who is registered to sit for Hampton and RGS Guildford, whatever format those assessments end up being in the current climate! Loved both of those schools (especially Hampton) for their down to earth grammar school type feel, as commented by previous posters - they both have such a nice supportive, friendly vibe. We are only looking at those two - we are lucky enough to have a great state school option and if no success with the indies then we will go down the state route. DS2 has had CAT scores done, is working with a tutor and working his way through 11+ prep books.

I will be absolutely honest and say it is DH who is very much driving the independent school applications - DS2 is very academic, noticeably more so than either his older or younger siblings, and I think DH is slightly over-excited (!) about this academic ability. He is understandably keen to see what DS2 might achieve and wants to give him the opportunity to aim high.

However, I am probably more of a realist. I am very aware that competition is super fierce at these schools and DS2 probably has a very, very small chance of getting in - he might have high CAT scores but I know the London/Surrey schools look for a lot more than academic ability and being clever will not be enough! DS doesn't play a musical instrument, can't play chess and is not at all sporty. He loves reading and learning but he doesn't like football, rugby or cricket! So we are probably on a hiding to nothing but we shall see. I am humouring DH for the time being and obviously encouraging DS2 to do the absolute best he can but I also feel the need to manage expectations carefully....

Looking forward to seeing how all the boys get on. Good luck to everyone.

Autumndaysarecoming Thu 10-Sep-20 21:14:45

FlyingPandas. It's worth noting that a very clever boy at a state comprehensive will still have opportunities - and maybe have even more than his private school peers in the future? I was speaking to a parent who has a clever child at a state comprehensive and they have been selected to go on various courses and schemes, including those run by Oxbridge for bright state school children.

Saying that, it doesn't sound as if your son will have a problem getting into an independent. Hampton take a lot of boys (I don't know about RGS) so his chances are high.

Seeline Fri 11-Sep-20 10:07:39

@FlyingPandas My experience is nearly 10 years old, and for 10+ at one of the South London schools. My DS wasn't sporty or musical (although the school did find a talent for singing once he had started!), and wasn't outrageously clever but still got in. I am still involved with the school and lots of the boys don't have these skills or interests, so don't give up hope!

BalhamDad80 Fri 11-Sep-20 13:19:23

We faced the same thing with our son (10plus) - can't recommend highly enough, they tutored our son to 4 out of 4 places offered. Happy to discuss.

ripple11 Fri 11-Sep-20 23:44:59

@FlyingPandas not playing an instrument nor being sporty is not a barrier to Hampton, from our experience. Yes it helps....but concentrate on interests he does like. Incredibly supportive school, and fantastic communications. The only school where the Head sent a personalized good luck message before the exam!

MGMidget Sun 13-Sep-20 09:04:28

Yes I agree with Ripple on Hampton. All things being equal the school admissions policy does suggest they will then look at what extra the boy will bring so then they may take into account an extra talent, especially one that will help the school shine in a sports team , choir, orchestra or performing arts. If you DS cant offer this but shines academically that may be enough. Think about his areas of interest that he can talk about at interview too (both academic and extra curricular interest). These schools like bright boys but also (in my DS’s experience ) will be interested in your DS’s love of learning, how they have developed their interests, how their mind works). If your DS has a particular in depth area of interest encourage him to be prepared to discuss it at interview. Anything at all, not just the standard musical instrument, sport etc.

EshSchools Mon 14-Sep-20 14:26:43

Do you all think Hampton is for very clever boys only? DS is in top sets - but middle of top - at a non selective prep school and I have more or less decided not to bother with Hampton although I liked it very much at open day.

I had pencilled in KGS (stretch), Reeds or St Georges as quite likely to get in and Claremont or Halliford as the more sure bet. I am not getting anywhere trying to narrow it down and would ideally like him to only have to sit 3, max 4.

OP’s posts: |
Singingrain1223 Mon 14-Sep-20 16:42:19

@EshSchools , Hampton is for all rounders, my ds is there and I'm struck by the fact that all the boys are strong in both maths and English plus very nice down to earth boys interested in the world around them. Some are sporty and some are musical but not all. It's a tough exam and your ds needs to be interested in life and widely read plus quick at maths. In my ds's class some also got into Kings Wimbledon but didn't go, some didn't get into King's (which likes strong English), most got into KGS/RGS and some into Tiffin but scholarship offers etc drew them to Hampton. Not many ds who get offered Hampton would have also sat Halliford, the academic gap between the 2 schools is too wide.
Also perhaps consider sport with your choices as Reeds rugby only, KGS no rugby etc.

NeverEnoughCake2 Mon 14-Sep-20 21:37:40

Does anyone have any recent experience of Epsom College 11+? It's been mentioned as another possibility for DS and as being similarly competitive to Reeds entry - does that sound about right?

I'd also be interested in hearing how any students who joined Epsom College lower school in year 7 have found it, given they only started admitting at 11+ in 2016 - how's the teaching and how easy is it to make the most of that huge array of co-curricular activities?

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