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SPGS-is it not 'THE BEST"!?

(17 Posts)
parentrapped Sun 21-Mar-10 22:14:44

DD did not get into SPGS but got all others she applied for and going onto charming school. Everyone is surprized she did not get a place at St Paul's but have SO many negative things to say about the school/pupils when we say she is not in...YET, same people are so impressed with the girl who unexpectedly got in and was not a top/standout academic,sport, musician...really average all aroun(this from her own Mum and the primary school as well-no me!). Do flukes happen at SPGS both ways?? and why are people (our family included) so emotional about this one particular place? We are only in the country o 2 years and not English so whilst we like the school and hoped DD get a place we still dont understand why it evokes such controversy? Why are friends in one breath saying good thing she is not going and then asking how I suggest they prepare their own DD's to get in next year..??!!

zanzibarmum Sun 21-Mar-10 22:46:00

I know a girl who got into St Paul's but who failed to get an offer from so-called less academic girls schools in London. .

St Paul's are not good with creative types - as two expelled girls said recently in the Evening Standard st Paul's seems to be good at turning out bankers and corporate lawyers

Ihatenicknames Mon 22-Mar-10 07:43:10

SPGS has a pretty good record with creative types: Rachel Weiss, Thomasina Myers, Thea Sharrock...

parentrapped Mon 22-Mar-10 10:11:50

odd-girls i know who got in r definitively more 'creative types" than bankers and lawyers although also know 2 banker lawyer nothing but workworkwork girls which is fine. as far as the lsit of names for accomplished grads....hmmm,then not sure what the fuss is over. only know rachel weiss, lovely and clever but just another hollywood mum...

IHeartKittensAndWine Fri 26-Mar-10 12:55:46

Ihatenicknames at least the first of your list was expelled from St Pauls - and can think of several other "creative types" who were as well!

singersgirl Fri 26-Mar-10 13:54:06

No, Rachel W was expelled from NLCS and ended up at St Paul's from where she went on to Cambridge, I believe.

Nickmom Wed 09-Nov-11 13:50:12

I just re read this thread and share your frustration. My daughter was considered a pretty sure thing at St. Pauls. Very bright. quietly competitive. top performer at her school. Other girls who had always performed less well got in and now I find myself constantly being frustrated with people saying very insensitive things. It is not a perfect process and I do believe that they made a mistake not taking my daughter (and from what I hear the made a mistake taking a few girls who are clearly over their heads already). I know I should just ignore it but it can still bug me.

wallowaway Wed 09-Nov-11 14:52:40

IME (limited) once you get through the initial ability/potential test, most reasonably prepared girls will have a fair chance at the attainment round. Mine was offered but grabbed a state place instead, which she loves. Her main attribute SPGS kept mentioning was her creativity, not the brute force of her academic ability. So creativity didn't stop her being offered a place. She was comfortable with the selection process, but who can say if she'd have been easy in her skin once there?

So maybe it's just luck, and not the "best"? Once you get through what is effectively an IQ test, maybe it's luck on the day for the majority of girls, on the fat end of the Bell curve top quartile, jostling for a few places. The ones at the thin top end of the Bell curve will generally be fine, if there are no learning difficulties, but the rest will need practice and luck. A girl who got two scholarships recently apparently didn't make any state offer, neither grammar or comp music places. Combination of not good enough for raw talent academic/music places but good enough, and coached enough, to fit in SPGS.

Maybe the lottery aspect is why some find it hard to ignore? I always think the insensitive comments say more about the supplier's insecurities, than what you know about your child. We thought less than twice about rejecting SPGS and have had no regrets whatsoever since. I'm sure they thought less than twice, perhaps even once, about our rejection too! So many other keener applicants.

Needmoresleep Wed 09-Nov-11 15:40:23

It will be difficult for any school to cleanly top slice the brightest applicants, and some odd decisions will be inevitable.

This will be true of all schools. The problem with SPGS seems to be the attitude of some SPGS parents. One mother acted as if there had been a death in the family when I revealed that DD was going to an equally nice school nearby. She then proceeded to act - and I met her several times after that, as if I was not worth knowing. Another father decided to explain to me in depth how SPGS collected all the cleverest girls in London, without seeming to mind that he was clearly labeling my own child as less bright. (A couple of terms later, though, the same parents were moaning that the school pushed the girls too hard!)

It is very strange, and I sympathise with Nickmom.

Several of the girls we know that have gone there have had an awful lot of coaching before sitting the exams, with the names of good tutors being carefully passed around. Not getting in is really not an option for some. Boys have more choice, with Kings Wimbledon, St Pauls, Westminster, and boarding (Eton) all being seen as acceptable. I assume that once in, a girl needs to keep up, something which would not be so important in a school with a broader intake. One we know, was really high on the wait list but did not get a place, and is now nothing special in her fallback school, though a sense that girl and mother are slumming it a bit both socially and academically.

There are a number of good schools in West London, both private and state. Presumably any child who is being considered for a place at SPGS should thrive in other schools. At which point I wonder whether it is more fun to be in the top third of another school, and able to find your own level, or in the bottom third at SPGS and feel as if you are struggling. I suspect the first group will come closer to achieving their potential, and emerge perhaps with better social and emotional skills. I also wonder what the pressure is like once you are actually in the school. We turned down a place at the boys school for our son, in part because we met a mother who was able to list exactly where her son came in his year at Colet Court and happy to write off a couple of his peers as "not very bright". I don't think she was unique, and have heard others describe a system that produces some very anxious children. Her boy was in the same year that my son would have joined, and we did not want this for him.

Its hard though. These girls, at least if you listen to the parents, all seem to be so bright, musical, sporty, artistic and sophisticated. I am not sure what my rather ordinary DD makes of it all. I am glad she does not have to cope with it at school.

MuddlingThroughItAll Wed 09-Nov-11 18:38:28

This might make you feel better

Supposing that I got the right school, I would've expected a school that creams off the brightest students to be higher than 41!

Haberdashery Wed 09-Nov-11 19:41:30

It's a really good school (or it was when I went there quite some time ago). So are lots of other schools in London and elsewhere, including, shock horror, some of the ones you don't pay for. It's not worth worrying about. BTW, there was very little coaching when I went there. I don't personally know anyone who had coaching to get in or tutoring while there. And, although I got into SPGS, I did not get in to other similar schools. They saw something in me that deserved development that the other schools did not spot (I had been to a frankly dreadful primary and didn't know anything though I was pretty bright). I think this is the only thing that is slightly different from eg Godolphin or LEH, though that too may have changed since my day as I am v v ancient!

singersgirl Thu 10-Nov-11 10:44:55

I wouldn't rely on that kind of crude ranking table to choose any school. You need to look on an individual school's website to see what the results are really like. Because those tables are calculated on points, rather than percentage of A* and As, if a school encourages all its children to take 4 or 5 A-levels (some do) they're going to get more points even if the results per A level aren't as good. And then of course you need to decide how important the small differences in results are to you. And most importantly of all you need to visit the schools, rather than relying on hype and bullshit. We chose a school for our son which regularly gets a bashing on here, but we've found it to be quite different from its reputation. It's also 5 minutes from our house in the car, 20 minutes by bus, which to us outweighed many of the other finer points of comparison with other schools.

singersgirl Thu 10-Nov-11 10:59:14

I really don't have a candle to burn for SPGS, but think these league tables are rubbish, and I'm clearly procrastinating, as have work to do.

It depends what you're interested in. Many people want to know how many children get the highest grades possible. With the new A* grade that's clearer at A-level. Although that newspaper table is for 2010 exam results, I think the 2011 results will show what I mean:

2011 A-levels
Lady Eleanor Holles (5th in that newspaper table): 82.65% A*/A (33.65% A*, 49% A)
SPGS (41 in that table): 93.2% A* / A (48.4% A*, 44.8% A)

Obviously both schools select able girls and get incredibly good results, but only 7% of exams taken at SPGS last year were below an A* or A. At LEH only 17% were.

At Norwich High School for Girls (9th in that table) 50% of A-levels were A* and A (of which only 14.9% were A*), so half of the exams were below the highest two levels.

Twinprimes Thu 05-Feb-15 00:06:48

I have known many old girls of spgs who agree that the atmosphere can be lethal . A 12 year old daughter of friend told me that twelve is "try everything" year for spgs and with so much affluence and so little "minding" around for many of these girls this is an achievable goal . If you don't worry about cyber bullying, anorexia , or too much spending money ( and all that it implies in teenage years) then this may be a good choice .

MN164 Thu 05-Feb-15 10:15:15


Spreading your "wisdom" on West London schools today across the threads.....

Stick to honest accounts of the schools your kids are at. Second hand anecdotes and thinly disguised bitterness doesn't convince anyone.

If you're going to make throw away comments about something as serious mental health issues, why not do some research into evidence, rates of occurrence? You'll find that its a nationwide issue and that every secondary school has kids with issues (boys and girls). The issues are nearly always connected to home life and the question is how well schools support. Perhaps such rigorous thought doesn't suit your prejudices?

Lilymaid Thu 05-Feb-15 10:27:19

Zombie thread resurrected by Twinprimes

MN164 Thu 05-Feb-15 10:45:04

Yeah. Sort of scattergun fire across the board's this morning ... . I'm just as bad though .....


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