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Info re Wimbledon college, please

(36 Posts)
BarkisIsWilling Fri 20-Jul-12 21:19:26

DS is in y6, and tells me this is his first choice. I don't know anything about it, beyond what is on the school website.

What do y'all know? Is it hard to get into? (I am RC).

Your imput gratefully received smile

BooksandBrunch Fri 20-Jul-12 21:36:33

Hi there,

My own DS won't be going there but know the parents of around five to six boys, some with siblings already there, who will be starting in September. They absolutely rave about it and it was the first choice for the majority of them. What I picked up from parents nattering is that, as long as your ds is in the top two sets, it's brilliant (get the impression that Sats results are used to help set their sets). I kind of get the impression that it's the more relaxed version of say The Oratory and The Vaughan. Parents with ds's who are more keen on say Football opt for this school too as opposed to say The Oratory, who don't do footy at all.

In terms of getting in RC wise, priority goes to the usual, holy communion, baptised catholic, etc, even if you live quite a way away and as long as you tick all those boxes, you'll probably get in as they get quite a few applicants who don't and are still able to get a place as long as they live near enough. Last year, distance played a part in getting a place, but like I said, not a prob if you tick all the RC boxes.

BarkisIsWilling Sat 21-Jul-12 14:37:59


As I have a DD at St Phil's, him going there would be really handy, as John Fisher is a bit too far IMO. DS had chosen the Oratory, but that is across the river, and again IMO, a bit too far.

I see they are putting more emphasis on homework from the website, but that's okay.

BooksandBrunch Sat 21-Jul-12 15:38:36

Ok cool. You really shouldn't have any problem then. Even though it may be a dead cert, please, please, please make sure you still put six choices on the form as it's always best to cover yourself. And believe me, your local councils choice if you didn't get a place there, will be more akin to a young offenders institute.

Being qualified and not taking advantage of the likes of say The Oratory and Cardinal Vaughan as your back up choices, which are much sought after schools would be brave. People travel far and wide and cross many rivers (excuse the pun) to get to them. John Fisher is extremely popular also. I know of parents who would bite your right arm off to get a place in any of these schools. BTW did you look at the Vaughan? Quite a different culture to Wimbledon College, so he probably wouldn't like it, but just wondered?

Good luck, was the most stressful time of my life. Wouldn't wish it on my most hated enemysmile.

BarkisIsWilling Sat 21-Jul-12 15:44:14

Thanks again BnB. I am already looking forward to March 2013 when my tribulations will be over :D I am considering Vaughan as I am in SW2. I could go for London Nautical too, except (brainwashed) DS insists on single sex and catholic school.
I was recently advised to not put 3 top schools as my top choices, as this might reduce the chance of DS getting into one of them if he did not get the first choice, as they'd likely take those who'd chosen them as first choice. If this makes sense?

Taking that into consideration, I am thinking, WC, Vaughan, Bishop Thomas Grant, London Nautical,John Fisher and possibly St Joseph's.

BooksandBrunch Sat 21-Jul-12 23:44:03

No probs Barks,

VERY IMPORTANT: What you have mentioned re how the schools are allocated and not getting a school unless it is your first choice is a system that ceased over 2/3 years ago. The new system is law and applies to all boroughs. SW2 is lambeth, here's a link to the admission process here


No school knows where you''ve put them on the list!!!!! FACT. It was stopped for the very reason you mention. How it works is, If he was in say WC's first 120 (depending on the number of places that they have) and it was his first choice, then you'll get WC. If he's not listed in their first 120, then you LA will look at what is next on your list -the vaughan. Are you in Vaughan's top 120? If yes, you get offered vaughan, if not they go to your third choice; are you in BTG's? Yes, then you get offered BTG. All the schools do, is send in their list of names in priority order to their LA and that info goes into one massive pot so to speak.

Okay so for the school, if St Josephs for example, had you in their 120 also, and you've already been allocated your preferred choice of BTG, then the massive pot would then go to number 121 on their list.

I wish primary schools would make more of an effort in stopping this false information, spelling this out and most importantly, explain to parents that the old method is no longer in existence.

Sorry to rant, it just makes me so cross. This is why it's important you see that you still list six, because if they don't have another one off your list to go on, then it's their allocation next.

PS: Did consider Nautical myself but their results are not great. People seem to be speaking less favourably about St. J at the moment. But it's still okay to have on the list, after all, like I said, the councils allocated poo school, would be a lot worst.

BarkisIsWilling Thu 26-Jul-12 06:18:01

Thanks. Regarding preference order, someone was explaining to me that while the schools did not know your first choice etc, the LA did, and sent out names in order of choice to schools, with those who'd not put a school first having their names sent to the school after first pick. It sounded implausible, but when in doubt...

DS tells me he would rather attend BTG than St J's, so all I have to do is fill the form in according to his dictates and that school will be last preference.

23balloons Fri 27-Jul-12 16:42:22

If you look at the website it has the admissions criteria, which changed a couple of years ago. Priority (after SEN, siblings etc) goes to baptised practising catholics who attend church every week and holy day, once all those boys have places those who attend church less get a chance & then distance will kick in. Last year the furthest distance was around 6km for attendance every week. You should go to the open evening & check out the school in Sept.
As mentioned earlier it is a good school if you are bright & love rugby. If you end up in the lower ability sets it's not as good. As your son is set on going there he must know something about it or have friends going. As with all schools certain ones will suit certain children.
Good luck, it sounds like you have plenty of choices & all pretty good schools so I am sure he will be fine.

marriedinwhite Fri 27-Jul-12 21:46:33

OK. One of DS's godparents is an Wimbledon College boy. Lovely chap although mid 50's now. We are local. On the catholic criteria we have friends who got into the oratory even though they lived further away on the basis of their commitment to the catholic faith. Going back 8 or 9 years though.

We are closer than SW2 and probably equidistant between the Oratory and Wimbledon College.

DS goes to school just over the road and is 17 now. We have been doing the journey for 9 years. 9 years ago I would have said WC might have been a "free" option had we been catholic. The boys I see on the Ridgeway now, do not seem to be of the same calibre as they were 9 years ago. They look chavvy nowadays - and DS tells me they are troublesome and often looking for a fight.

Can't comment on the academics but from what I see on the streets in the mornings there might have been a downward shift.

marriedinwhite Fri 27-Jul-12 21:47:37

It is not a "rugby" school.

BarkisIsWilling Sun 29-Jul-12 10:57:15

Thanks, 23balloons. Most of his friends want to go there or to the Oratory, and actually talk about "good schools" with each otherwhich I find quite shock.

marriedinwhite, it's funny that your DS's take on WC is remarkably similar to that of my DS on SJ college.

mumwithtwokids Sun 29-Jul-12 15:03:35

We went to the open evening last year. Wasn't particularly impressed with the school or the way the boys carried themselves. Definitely not in the same league as London Oratory.

BooksandBrunch Sun 29-Jul-12 19:25:27

I must admit, I partially agree with Mumwithtwokids with regards to the calibre of kids, as in, when I used to use the same train station that WC kids used, there was definitely two groups of kids so to speak. Some that looked more troublesome, where I also witnessed a child being a bit bullish towards another child, but equally, there were a lot of lovely boys too. I also personally know of really beautifully brought up children who have lovely parents who go there. I at the time simply put it all down to what I heard about the settings situation, and assumed (never the smartest thing to do I know) that the nicer looking kids were those in the top two sets which is why I stressed the top two groups being key. It is also a comprehensive, so important to keep it real.

Bark is it likely that your ds will end up with level 5 in his sats? Without getting onto the politics of tutoring, one of my friends did tutor her ds to ensure he was in one of the top 2 groups for WC.

In terms of Oratory versus WC, I think it would really depend on your ds's character. Oratory is the far superior school, both in brand (Tony Blair's son went there and Nick Glegg, despite being an atheist but 'saved' by his Catholic wife, had a private viewing) and results (rough figs. 94 % GCSE's A- C including English and Maths vs 72% for WC). Having said that my own ds, unlike me, is more of a conformist and so wouldn't struggle with their strict regime. I've heard of dc's really rebelling against it. Dc's who would struggle to fit into a box would more suit WC. Also, if your dc dotes on footy, then Oratory would be a definite no, no and much better would be Cardinal Vaughan, which once again are for those more able to conform with results the same as Oratory, sometimes more. WC for those who love footy and not conformist.

23baloons Must admit, from parents natter, never really saw it as a rugby school and more all round sportssmile

23balloons Sun 29-Jul-12 19:40:03

Hi Re the 'rugby' have a look at their website, they are already holding pre season rugby training for y6s who will be in y7 in Sept. They don't even mention football as it is considered to be a minor sport in WC. However, with the new head and some new PE teachers football is starting to be played. A friend whose son went there last year said the y7s were told there would be no football till y8 but everyone had to competed at rugby even the E & F teams. Tbh the focus on rugby was one of the reasons I didn't consider the school for my son, as I said above though this may change in the years ahead.

For me the lack of space for the boys to play at lunch was offputting and the fact that they are only allowed a tennis ball to play with but I know other parents who don't mind this. Also the building though beautiful is very old and takes a lot of the school budget to maintain (also told by a friend who works there).

BooksandBrunch Sun 29-Jul-12 20:15:07

23 Oh gheez, no that wouldn't have suited my ds either who is more footy. And that definitely wasn't the natter amongst parents that I know, who spoke about the school extensively and also selecting it for those very reasons. They were very MC parents, so I'm wondering if that has changed for this forthcoming year 7?

It was on our list and knowing he would have been in the top group and our ds is very focused, we wouldn't have been disappointed if we got it. We got our first choice though so it didn't happen.

AngelEyes46 Tue 31-Jul-12 19:01:51

bark - to reiterate what books says, schools definitely do not know your choices. All schools send in their respective list in order from 1 to however many have applied to your home LA. Your home LA then uploads it to their system and if for example, your 2nd school sends in their list before your 1st and you are in the allocated number, your dcs status is updated as 'provisional'. When the 1st school is received, if your dc is in that allocated list, the status is set as 'offer' and the 2nd school and anything below that is set as 'no longer required'. The system then looks at the 121st dc of your 2nd school but another dc's 1st and sets that to 'offer'. The system is continually changing and being updated until all schools have sent their lists in.

However, the schools do get to find out where your dc's choices of schools are before appeal. The concern for that is if you are appealing for a RC school but have put a grammar school higher.

BooksandBrunch Wed 01-Aug-12 11:02:48

@ AngelEyes - thanks for that more detailed clarification (although it got a tad mind boggling at the 121st dc - 2nd school bit. Would you mind further clarifying? It helps when talking to friends in a similar position). I became aware only because I had a similar understanding to the op, not helped by the fact that a tutor friend, the admissions assistant in WC AND someone in admissions in the local council believe it or not, also giving me the same wrong information. So when people were telling me otherwise, it took me ages to believe them. This is why now it makes me so cross that schools are not taking time out to stress the actual system to the parents. So many parents are not aware.

I definitely didn't know either, that at appeal, they know if you placed a grammar school higher, which of course leads to a rather tricky situation if you're appealing against an RC place. Too funny.

BarkisIsWilling Sun 26-Aug-12 17:15:49

Thanks for all the info. It is most useful.

I will definitely bear your advice in mind, come October.

BarkisIsWilling Fri 14-Sep-12 13:52:24

Been to the Oratory's open evening, liked what the headteacher had to tell us but not happy there was minimal interaction with actual students. In my group at any rate, they seemed reduced to a door-holding role and only spoke if you spoke to them first. The students were very polite and good representatives of the school.

Teachers indicate they expect DS to hit some 6s in SATS, so let's see what happens...

bizzey Sat 15-Sep-12 12:28:45

Bark...interesting comment on your impression of LO open evening ....I felt exactly the same last year.I got the impression that they did not need to "sell"the school to us because we were all so desperate for our ds to go there ! Bit too arogant for my ended up low down on the list !

Try and go to the day time one(even less interaction on my visit !) but of our choices it was the only school that did a day one and I thought it would be good for ds to see a secondary schoolin action ifykwim.Primary mark him absent with a special code.

Having said that...there were alot of pros for the school and I dont mean the accademic results .

You are doing some of the schoolsI did last year ....please keep up dating ! It would be intresting to see if there are any changes !

I dont want to influence on your choices but gut instint and an honest pros and cons list helped us .

Good luck

BarkisIsWilling Tue 18-Sep-12 20:59:14

Thanks bizzey!

Just got in from the open evening at Cardinal Vaughan Memorial. I found it much more pleasant although the head's speech was not improved by a slight muffle to the microphone.

At LO the staff sat onstage with the head, whereas at CVMS it was just the head, the headboy and a year 8 student. This, and the contents of the speeches given by the latter two, gave the impression that the evening was for the Year 6 boys as much as for their parents.

As we were there pretty late, we did not see any demonstrations in the science lab, or performances in the Drama suite (unlike at BTG), however teachers were on hand to talk about their specialisms and give a flavour of the daily life of a year 7 student.

We were led around by 2 sixth formers - a girl and a boy. No teacher led interaction so we could, and did, ask questions and see real live students grin close up.

bizzey Tue 18-Sep-12 21:18:31

Where are you going next !!!!??

BarkisIsWilling Tue 18-Sep-12 21:24:22

St Joseph's and Wimbledon College. Don't drive, so won't go to John Fisher.



delphie Fri 21-Sep-12 13:28:34

Hi Barkiswillling I think we must be circling each other round south london and school open days!!
Am also RC living in south london have son in year 6 and older daughter (but not at st phils) I have been to see Oratory and BTG and liked both though found the head teacher at BTG a bit OTT. Am also going to see wimbledon college, kingsdale, elmgreen will try to get to cardinal vaughan on the same day as wimbledon college (que nervous breakdown!!!!!) but saw it last year and felt like we didn't have a hope in hell of getting in. Would love to hear more about what you think of other open days / schools

BarkisIsWilling Fri 21-Sep-12 18:29:46

Hi Delphie

I like Mr Desa! There used to be a video of him dancing at a BTG disco on youtube - wonder if it is still there...

So paranoid was I in choosing a sec school for my PFB that I used to look up what their pupils might have put up on youtube showing their extra-curricular activities.

Where's your daughter?

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