Latymer grammar school - any feedback?

(17 Posts)
highgatemom Fri 20-Nov-09 16:13:43

Hi everybody

My daughter just passed the first round (verbal and non-verbal) exam for Latymer grammar school in Edmonton, north London (the country's second top state school according to a Sunday Times list last weekend).

I was wondering if any of you have children there and would be grateful if you could please let me have some feedback. Is it a good school? Is it nurturing or a crammer? Thanks so much in advance!

creditcrunched Fri 20-Nov-09 17:04:04

Hello highgatemom, my ds also made it through to the second round and judging from your name we are fairly local to eachother.

We heard very good things from other parents with dc at the school but did not rank it high on our list for two main reasons.
1 - the transport route from highgate area to edmonton is not great
2 - the physical location of the school is not particularly great and there are high tensions between the local schools in the area. This week there was another stabbing very close to the school and last year a number of latymer pupils were mugged locally.

That said, it is a great school with fantastic results and the few pupils (and ex-pupils) I have met all enjoyed their time there and said the pressure on homework was not too great - I got the feeling they were all very motivated to work hard anyway, so the school did not really feel like a crammer. Not sure about the pastoral side though, nobody mentioned anything going wrong.

Good luck to your DD!

madminnie Fri 20-Nov-09 20:31:45

My dd was offered a place there but we went for a different option largely for the reasons given by creditcrunched. I do think it's a really good school that gets fantastic results and friends tell me it is more laid back than you might expect. Good luck for next round!

Ponders Fri 20-Nov-09 20:39:11

state school????

Ponders Fri 20-Nov-09 20:41:52

Oh sorry, my brother went to Latymer Upper & I thought it must be the same school

highgatemom Sat 21-Nov-09 21:18:51

Hello creditcrunchmom

Thanks for your feedback, which confirms our thinking. Shame about the location since it seems like a very good school. Logistics of school transport day-in, day-out would be a nightmare, I suspect.

Well done to your son too and good luck in the next round and many thanks again!

Missmodular Tue 01-Dec-09 23:16:09

I went there in the 90s - just in the sixth form mind, but I thought it was great. I never heard anything about other school tensions but things might have changed since then. It's one of those places where the more you put in, the more you get out. The music activities were (and still are, I believe) first class - four orchestras, choir, chamber groups etc. I really got on with the teachers and thought it had a very nurturing atmosphere.

Of course, things could have changed since then, but I couldn't recommend it highly enough.

I knew a couple of people who lived in Muswell Hill when I was there, who didn't have too much trouble with the commute - there is a bus, think it's the 102?

LukeyB91 Wed 02-Dec-09 13:16:17

Hallo.
Although slightly out of place here- I'm an eighteen year-old male first-year undergraduate, I think (and hope) I can contribute to this discussion usefully.

I went to Latymer very recently, I only left it and came to university this year. I was there from year 7 to year 13.

I would definitely recommend it. The general learning atmosphere of the place is pretty ideal- the perfect mix of challenging the pupils and avoiding unnecessary pressure. I would second what 'Missmodular' said- "It's one of those places where the more you put in, the more you get out." This is definitely true.

In general the teaching is of a very high standard, and the teachers themselves are very skilled in what they do, without being unapproachable. Many of the teachers are true academics, with an incredible amount of in-depth knowledge about their subject which is invaluable to the pupil. What also comes with being a 'true academic' is palpable enthusiasm- the teachers have great academic attachment to their subjects which can be contagious and inspiring. I can think instantly of at least 5 teachers whom I'll always remember highly favourably, for the nature of their personalities and their lessons.

In response to one of your initial questions- I think the nurture:cramming balance of the school is greatly tipped in favour of nurture. There is an emphasis on the well-rounded development of the pupils; whilst academic achievement is obviously encouraged and considered important, it is not seen as the absolute be-all and end-all.

So it is, as ‘madminnie’ said, ‘more laid back than you might expect’. I never felt under direct, forceful pressure from the school to act in a certain way or be a certain way. The teachers were almost all approachable and relatively informal.

The extra-curricular opportunities are bloody good. There a loads of student societies, subject-based ones like politics society, religion-based ones like Jewish society and interest based ones like juggling society. And there’s a great emphasis on getting involved with the societies which are about things relevant to you, or you enjoy. Sport and music are both very good, especially music, as ‘missmodular’ said. The orchestras etc. are amongst the best in the country.

Onto some of the negatives about the school that people have raised. Firstly, whatever school you go to there’ll be local tension, particularly with other schools. Muggings, also, depressingly, are a feature of modern life, especially in London. Both of these things will be present in some form or another, to some degree, at any school in any place in London. I don’t think there’s more inter-school tension and muggings at Latymer than any other comparable London school, really. I personally never had any issues specifically because I was from Latymer. It’s true that some people did, and there was an element of people being picked on because they went to ‘nerdy’ Latymer, but you’ll get that with any grammar/independent school. It’s an unavoidable symptom of the unarguably elitist nature of grammar and independent schools; those not privileged enough to go to them will, with some justification, resent others’ advantage.

The other negative people have mentioned- travel, I think is even less well-founded. I don’t know anyone who had a really horrific journey on a daily basis, especially not people who lived in North London. I myself travelled from Hackney every day, on the train, which took me and hour, but was fine. If you’re willing to extend your search for a good school across a fair distance, it’s inevitably gonna lead to a bit of a journey. The journey from anywhere in North London, Highgate included, is not that bad. I know a fair few people who went to Latymer from Highgate and didn’t have great difficulty. The thing is, also, that there will almost always be other Latymer students doing the same journey as you, so there’s always somebody to travel with. And after a while you just get used to the journey, and see it as completely normal.

Final plus point- you can say that a good measure of a school is the students it produces. On a personal level, I made some friendships at Latymer that will last my lifetime, and met some fellow students who are some of the most admirable people I know.

Right, finally (sorry this has been so long and rambly!), negatives. I have very few, as you can probably tell. The only main one I have, as intimated earlier, is a general complaint about the nature of grammar schools- they are inherently elitist. Latymer has a huge majority of middle class/upper middle class students. There is a fair amount of homogeneity across the pupil body. People at the school quite often talk about ‘the Latymer bubble’; a state of detachment from the facts of reality due to operating in such a homogenous, middle class environment. A friend of mine came to Latymer sixth form having come from a working class background and a predominantly working class school, and found the middle class homogeneity of Latymer alienating, to a considerable extent. But, as I say, this is an inevitable feature of any grammar or independent school, and for some is not even a problem, or is even a plus point.

So, all in all, from my point of view, bloody good school with only one real negative, the one I just explained. And, as much as I loathe the fact that saying this will sound like just dropping in a bit of a boast- I’m now at Cambridge, and I definitely wouldn’t have been able to get here without the support of Latymer.

Sorry again for the length and ramblyness of this. Hope it’s been useful, and I hope you find a suitable school for your daughter at which she’s very happy, whether or not that school is Latymer.

creditcrunched Wed 02-Dec-09 13:28:43

lukey - very interesting post, but what on earth is a cambridge undergrad doing on mumsnet? wink

greenday Wed 02-Dec-09 13:43:22

Wow, Lukey, I have to say I've never seen such a long post in my mumsnet life. But having said that, I read every word of it with interest. As per creditcrunch, what is an 18 year old lad like you doing on mumsnet?

I lived in one of the areas where most students would come from. No opinions / experience to give I'm afraid, my DCs are still too young.

Still, just to say - a concert voilinist friend went to Latymer. They do churn out good musicians. Another friend's DD is still there, but is undergoing counselling for anorexia. Just that I heard there is an increasing amount of girls from Latymer with the problem.

Correlation does not equal causation. Still, that's what I heard from the mum. FWIW ..

GypsyMay Wed 02-Dec-09 19:10:02

Lukey,

Your post was lovely and in fact brought tears to my eyes. My son has just sat the entrance exams for Latymer and if he turns out as articulate and thoughtful as you I will be very proud.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

(By the way he thought the maths exam was hideous so he may well not be going to Latymer)

Best wishes

screenfix Thu 03-Dec-09 19:00:11

Just want to say don't take too much notice of issues to do with travel or muggings etc. We did, consequently turned down a place at Latymer for our dd, and now bitterly regret it!

LukeyB91 Sun 06-Dec-09 13:27:53

I found this through google- I was googling to find out about Latymer winning some Sunday Times School of the Year thing, because I'd heard it had. And in the course of that search I found this discussion, and hoped that i could contribute usefully. I hope I've done that, and that I'm not just an unwanted intruder!

This singular discussion is the only reason I'm here, this is the only mumsnet page i've ever been on.

Yeah, 'greenday' is right, latymer does churn out good musicians. It's known for being one of the best schools in the country for music.

Never heard about the anorexia thing. All i can say is that the growth of it at latymer could just be a reflection of the growth of the problem in general, which is due to a whole raft of social and psychological reasons.

Sorry that i write at such length and so rambly!

pinkteddy Sun 06-Dec-09 13:53:57

Lukey you're definitely not an unwanted intruder! As Gypsy May writes, a very articulate and thoughtful post. My dd (aged 6) attends Latymer Saturday music school (not directly connected with the school but uses their facilities) and I can vouch for the fantastic facilities they have there.

missslc Wed 09-Dec-09 21:40:32

Lukey

Very generous of you to give such a full account- don't ever apologise for a good ramble. All the best academics do it- maybe you can become a teacher at the end of your degree and inspire in the same way as you were inspired!!

qumquat Tue 26-Jan-10 12:34:45

I don't know Latymer School at all, but on the anorexia issue, sadly it seems to go hand in hand with high academic achievement, most high achieving school will have correspondingly high levels of eating disorders IME.

Sraymond Mon 04-Apr-16 10:02:36

Hi everyone it would be really useful if any of you know what Latymer is like and east barnet school. IVe got a conditional offer in both schools east barnet is closer to where I live and is just a standard comprehensive school I have heard that Latymer is a reputable school and so I just want an idea as to what it's like if any of you do have kids who go to either of these schools. I'm from Dubai and will soon be living in London for sixth form. Thanks

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