Hampton, KGS, Ibstock school entrance exams(5 Posts)
Does anyone have experience of getting their sons into these schools? My son is in yr 6 at a state primary and has always been bright but not the absolute brightest in his class - second to top table maybe - and I'm just trying to get an idea of where other kids who succeeded in recent years from state primaries were in their classes. On his last report he got a level 5c in maths and reading but only 4b in writing. I'm hating this whole admissions process and the way it's making me feel that my son, who's wonderful and lovely and clever and funny, isn't quite "good enough" for some schools. How do I encourage him to do the work necessary leading up to the exams and the exams himself without putting too much pressure on him and how do I make things alright if he doesn't get into these schools? Also, does anyone have any other suggestions for schools bearing in mind we live nr Richmond? (Also thought of St James' but it's moving to Ashford so not sure).
DS1 sat exams for some of the schools you mention, and others, last year - he's just started at a different school in Y7 this September. Looking at the children in his year group who applied to private schools, I'd say you don't need to be top of top table to get into any of those schools. All the children who applied to Ibstock from our school got in. Lots got into KGS too, though only 2 have gone - they're bright boys, but not super-mega-standout bright. 5 boys got into Hampton; certainly the 3 from DS1's class (including DS1) were purportedly the 'brightest' in that class.
The SATs results you're talking about sound perfectly good for Y5, and very similar to what DS1 himself got - he got into all the schools he sat for.
You might also consider Emanuel in Clapham, Latymer Upper in Hammersmith (harder to get into for boys than girls, apparently) or the prep schools of King's College Wimbledon or St Paul's (Colet Court), though the last 2 don't take very many children.
I have to agree with singergirl. Each of these schools take a range of children apart from the super selectives (Colet, Kings, Westminster and to some extent now Latymer). The really top academic children get scholarships so your son with those SATS stands a good chance of getting a place.
You may also want to consider St Benedicts in Ealing (now coed), Westminster under school take a few at 11+, City of London all very do-able on public transport.
Lots of DS's contemporaries applied for these schools. One or two of the brightest came out of the Hampton exam quite distressed and failed to get an interview. Some of the slightly less able, but perhaps more confident ones got in. I think confidence is a factor with Latymer Upper as well.
Probably for Westminster, St Paul's or King's College you would be looking at a child who had been standing out as ahead for most of his primary school time.
Another factor is the teaching, or if you go down that route, tutoring. It really is true that some teachers and tutors are better than others at getting children through entrance exams. There's always the question of whether your DS would be better near the bottom of a school he had scraped into, thanks to good tuition, or nearer the top of one he got into easily.
I would expect most children expected to get level 5s (or close) would get into KGS, Ibstock, St. Benedict's, St. James' and Halliford (bus from Richmond but long journey).
I know several people with sons at St James' and they seem to think the journey to Ashford will be easier from Richmond than the journey to Twickenham (fast train rather than bus). Quite a lot of boys go from the Richmond area so I'm sure there will be some plan. (Don't be put off by a thread on MN about some dodgy stuff that happened there 30 years ago. I've never heard a word of complaint along those lines about St J's, although the Classical bias isn't to everyone's liking. The boys I know there are very happy, however.)
If you are concerned, you could look at Hampton Court House, which I understand is less academic and works on bringing out other aspects of the child.
As to the pressure of the whole process, I think the attitude to take is that you are trying to find the school that will best suit him. If he doesn't get into one (or more) it's the case that the academic approach wouldn't be right for him, ie, it wouldn't be 'good enough' for him, rather than the other way round. Some of the very academic schools may not take kindly to him being 'clever and funny', but would rather he shut up and got on with achieving good grades. One that would appreciate him will appreciate other boys like him and he will find kindred spirits.
Remember that every year one or two children move schools. Finding that it doesn't work as you'd hoped isn't failing, it just requires re-adjusting. Not everyone gets it right first time.
Another thing to watch for is the Tiffin exam. If most people in a class take it, the ones who didn't will stand out on the day (although at DS's school they had a fun day to make up!). If only a few take it and the majority get in, the few who don't will feel worse than if everyone took it and most people didn't get in.
Can I just put in a word for the children who a simply transferring to the local comprehensive. It must be hard listening to the others discussing all their choices when you know you have none. Might be worth a word in your DS's ear.
Thanks so much for all your good advice - I feel I've got it in much better perspective now. I completely agree with the last poster re St James' - I know quite a few people whose sons go there and all love it, and the slightly unusual ethos really does make it a nice place to be (my son was slightly horrified by the idea of a vegetarian lunch though!)
I also know what you mean about having choices - to be honest in my son's school, the vast majority will go to our local comprehensive which until recently I thought we'd do too (and it has lots of advantages - very local, he'd know lots of children, results are really improving etc). I agree - there's nothing worse than hearing someone bleating on about this school and that school when you only have one choice - which is probably why I'm on this forum bleating instead. (Don't think my son would even think to mention it much at school because he'd be quite happy to go to local school and it's us who are asking him to look at other options).
Tiffin is another matter - almost everyone in his school takes it and a handful usually get in. It's a tricky one because I know from knowing lots of similar children in past years that my son wouldn't get in, but his tutor has covered some verbal and non-verbal reasoning (along with eng and maths) so I suppose it might just be worth a shot. What I wouldn't want is him sitting there panicking because the paper is so hard and then the experience putting him off other exams.
Thanks again for all the advice!
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