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Secondary education

Sevenoaks school - Current and Former parents feedback

13 replies

2morasmum · 28/01/2024 11:29

Dear All,
my DC is starting Y9 in September. Would you care sharing your experience of the schools. All comments welcome!

OP posts:
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LuluKentGirl · 29/01/2024 15:18

newbie yr 7 parent here. DD started in September. overall extremely positive experience - it's a busy, energetic and demanding school that bright independent learners will most likely thrive in. lots of querky/nerdy kids and it's definitely cool to like school and homework.

we've had some wellbeing/settling-in issues, in part relating to the busyness of the school day (and MASSIVE transition from prep school) and school have really done everything they could to help and support my daughter.

kids need to have the mindset of being at uni - same kind of approach to self-motivation and independence which is a pretty big ask for the youngest there.

depending on where your DC has come from, there may be quite a learning curve to climb - maths in particular is taught years ahead of curriculum (currently GCSE elements for yr 7s).

it's a slick machine and we are impressed.

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schoolSearch2 · 29/01/2024 21:50

OP, hope you don't mind me joining in. I am looking for similar input

@LuluKentGirl what has been your experience regarding sports ( individual, team) and other extra curricular offerings?

Is it just academics that the focus is on?

TIA

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LuluKentGirl · 30/01/2024 09:09

schoolSearch2 · 29/01/2024 21:50

OP, hope you don't mind me joining in. I am looking for similar input

@LuluKentGirl what has been your experience regarding sports ( individual, team) and other extra curricular offerings?

Is it just academics that the focus is on?

TIA

the extra-curricular offering is huge, there are clubs and societies for everything you could want - knitting, Japanese, sailing, coding, ceramics, chess etc etc - again, think uni-style. the school day is structured around a long lunch break, so there is a generous amount of time to fit in a lunch time activity each day; clubs also take place before school, at first break, and after school.

there are massess of opportunities on offer and Admissions do clearly look for kids that will take advantage, and who want to learn/explore/stretch themselves etc.

but if you fill every gap it can be hard to find breathing space in the day, and we've had to pare back my daughter's day a bit as she signed up to loads of things last term and it just proved to be too much.

our DD is musical not sporty so i can't comment so much on the team sports side of things, but the sports provision from what i've encountered seems supportive and 'have a go' inclusive and everyone has a place in a team from As to Es.

my impression is if you are sporty that's great and there's lots to do - they are certainly competitive. but if you're not, that's ok and you won't be pushed into it - there is an understanding that everyone has their 'usp'.

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rainbowsneverend · 30/01/2024 18:02

I have name changed as I post quite a lot on one of the boards and don't wish to out myself.

My DD is also starting in Year 9 this September @2morasmum and really can't wait. She was very excited when the list of last year's clubs came through and has already highlighted what she wants to join!

I have a question about music @LuluKentGirl for orchestra and choirs (if you don't mind me asking) - are these age based or skill/ experience based?

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LuluKentGirl · 01/02/2024 09:38

rainbowsneverend · 30/01/2024 18:02

I have name changed as I post quite a lot on one of the boards and don't wish to out myself.

My DD is also starting in Year 9 this September @2morasmum and really can't wait. She was very excited when the list of last year's clubs came through and has already highlighted what she wants to join!

I have a question about music @LuluKentGirl for orchestra and choirs (if you don't mind me asking) - are these age based or skill/ experience based?

Edited

answer is both; Foundation Orchestra is definitely age-based. my DD (y7) is a g8 violinist - there are several younger kids at this level in the FO and the standard is high overall. the other orchestra (Symphony?) is for older years. we were advised by HoM that it's better to stay with age group even if you could technically make it in the higher group.

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LuluKentGirl · 01/02/2024 09:39

LuluKentGirl · 01/02/2024 09:38

answer is both; Foundation Orchestra is definitely age-based. my DD (y7) is a g8 violinist - there are several younger kids at this level in the FO and the standard is high overall. the other orchestra (Symphony?) is for older years. we were advised by HoM that it's better to stay with age group even if you could technically make it in the higher group.

posted too soon. Choirs - not sure really, i know Junior Chamber Choir is invitation only, don't know about others higher up the school.

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EffysMum · 02/02/2024 08:34

My daughter joined in Year 9 the year before last. We were worried about the school beforehand, she's not an academic superstar (she is academic but not overly) and isn't outstanding at anything in particular (she loves drama) so I was worried she'd be a small fish in a pond full of big shiny Koi Carp!

She has slotted in so smoothly, we have none of the girl dynamics that plagued her at her old school, it seems to be ok to be a bit geeky. She's made friends and seems to be keeping up academically.

They are encouraged to be independent learners which has its downsides as the impetus is on them to fix any issues (they're given opportunities to do that, but no one will force them).

Overall it's been a very good experience for her and a relief for us!

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rainbowsneverend · 04/02/2024 11:31

Thank you @LuluKentGirl that all sounds very sensible. I'm also glad to hear that about the lack of girl dynamics @EffysMum as it is quite a problem at my daughter's current school which definitely has a 'mean girl' culture this year.

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EffysMum · 04/02/2024 18:22

@rainbowsneverend yes, my daughter's previous school was the same and although she wasn't in the middle of it, it really affected her. Since starting at Sevenoaks she seems to have relaxed and is more confident and happy to go to school. She's friendly with a lovely group of girls and boys and (touch wood) we haven't had any trouble with tricky girl dynamics.

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ZingyBlueRobin · 27/02/2024 09:47

DC joined in the Sixth Form and is doing a lot of music. Music ensembles vary - some are open, some are invitation, but there are so many that there's something for everyone. The standard of some of them is truly impressive and DCs really flourished musically, both technically and in terms of confidence.

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Brombased · 27/02/2024 13:59

Can I ask, for those who have experience of having DCs in Years 9-11 - how did/do you find they coped with having school 6 days of the week? I know the Sat afternoon is sports/activities, but as we consider our DC going there, we are concerned about DS burning out (the other school we're choosing between is Alleyn's, so no Sat school - DC is not very sporty so would be unlikely to be in a sports team, he is very musical)

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EffysMum · 28/02/2024 12:00

My daughter has been fine, with the long holidays and the half termly exeat weekend (no Sat school) she has coped ok. We keep things very quiet at the weekend. I've struggled losing my let loose Friday nights thoughConfused That being said, Saturdays are very peaceful...

I get the sense that they don't give much homework in year 9, maybe to help with the transition? It's definitely increased in Year 10 but she's used to it now.

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Montaguesmum · 29/02/2024 12:49

HI I have a L6 and we joined in yr 9 during covid. She is a day student but we rent a small place near the school. The school has an amazing amount of extra curricular. She hates ball sports and was a competitive swimmer but didn't want to go back after covid. She found her place in the sailing group and is on the team. She has long days as sailing is the longest sport - they have to get to the reservoir etc so it frequently runs to 5 in the winter and 6 in the summer. That said she 100% loves it. Only this year has she cut down slightly on her music commitments as the IB is a lot of work (we have been through the IB before at another school so know the drill) but she still does voice and sings in two choirs (and this is a reduction in activity!). Saturday school is tiring but tbh in the years pre the GCSE year there was very little weekend homework and def not on the expats so they got a chance to rest. That doesn't apply in the 6th form but that is the nature of the beast. No racial issues (she is not white) and it's a very international feel.

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