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Secondary education

Secondary school decision - Hammersmith schools

49 replies

valvalm · 28/02/2024 10:21

Good morning all,
First time poster here so forgive me if I don't get all the acronyms right.
Our daughter has been lucky enough to get some offers for secondary school after 11+.
We went to the different offers holder event and we are trying to make the right choice for her.
We are left with SPGS, Godolphin and Latymer Upper. We rejected the other offers last week as less convenient in terms of commute.
I understand that they are all fantastic schools. Obviously Latymer is a co-ed school which is a big differentiating factor - and probably the reason why we won't go for it in the end. My husband is not a big advocate of that for the moment.
Do people have views though on ending GCSE? I understand SPGS will do that soon as well?

Can someone give me differentiators between SPGS and Godolphin please? What I get from talking to parents / friends around me is that SPGS is over academically, number 1 in all leagues for a number of year and it should be a no brainer.
Looking at GCSE results though it looks like we are only talking a few girls having 9 vs 8? Am I correct?
The things that worry me at SPGS at the moment is that it seems to lack diversity in terms of ethnicities. We are of mixed background and when we went for the offer holder there, the vast majority of the girls were of Asian ethnicity,

Please help me!

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vivalasviva · 28/02/2024 10:28

If I were you I'd go for gut feel if you have one. There are lots of post on here debating SPGS in particular and it's the school that seems to generate the most vociferous posts! Some will say noone ever turns it down and others say you'd be mad to go there!
The reality is that lots of girls will have offers for those 3 schools and will all choose different ones. Girls also move after sixth form quite often so you're not necessarily making a decision for the rest of her school life. G&L has IB in sixth which may be important to you?
If you definitely don't want co-ed turn down LU today and concentrate on the others.

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valvalm · 28/02/2024 10:37

Thanks for taking the time to answer me.
I have not had a chance to look at IB yet. We are not English and not sure what the difference are with A level (apart from the number of subjects). Does it change something for university entries?

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vivalasviva · 28/02/2024 10:44

valvalm · 28/02/2024 10:37

Thanks for taking the time to answer me.
I have not had a chance to look at IB yet. We are not English and not sure what the difference are with A level (apart from the number of subjects). Does it change something for university entries?

Not really- they just have to do more subjects as you say, and some are compulsory so it suits an all rounder more. But G&L do A levels as well.
You can't really go wrong with any of those schools. I have a DC at LU at a niece at G&L.

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PreplexJ · 28/02/2024 10:46

“There are lots of post on here debating SPGS in particular and it's the school that seems to generate the most vociferous posts! Some will say noone ever turns it down and others say you'd be mad to go there!“

I do see posters say none ever turns it down for a couple times on here and also in real life. But I never hear others say you'd be mad to go there
at least not in mumsnet.

"The reality is that lots of girls will have offers for those 3 schools and will all choose different ones."

Of course individual can have different preferences. The fact is the girls (or families) , in general, in certain prep schools in that part of london, will have a strong preference to one school than the other. This can be easily verified by the data published by individual prep school website.

I do feel it is useful, like OP to have a good think through on different factors, consider what it important for them and their DDs education journey.

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valvalm · 28/02/2024 10:59

Thanks a lot vivaslaviva, did your son or niece had to choose between the 3 schools? and if yes why did they choose one or the other.

What do you think of Latymer removing GCSE and the potential impact on the children for university entry. I am sure that the school will have make sure that it does not impact them but just wondering what other parents think.

I don t think SPGS have mentioned yet when they will scrap them but if anybody knows please.

Our school told us this morning that Godolphin is often seen as the school where girls that were unsuccesful at SPGS go.

Thanks PreplexJ as well. I had a look at some big name prep results (Faulkner, Kensington prep, glendower) to see the proportion of offer compared to acceptance and the rate of acceptance for SPGS is indeed very high
100% at Kensington prep over the last few years, maybe 90% for the other two.
I cant see the detailed results for Bute but I assume that it would be similar.
I had the impression that those prep schools were more diverse in terms of ethnicity though so cannot get my mind around it.

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PreplexJ · 28/02/2024 11:05

@valvalm “I had the impression that those prep schools were more diverse in terms of ethnicity though so cannot get my mind around it.“

Because on offer holder day, due to the limit capacity the school actually encouraged those families already make up the mind no need to visit again. So for those prep school students they might not show up on the day at all. However I guess all the feeder schools will be more diverse profile.

For the choice between A level and IB, one can decide and change at the sixth form stage to a IB offering school, so there is less to worry about it now unless you think switch at that stage is a lot of hussle.

I also observe that some schools that offer IB as an option may have lower average A level scores, as they attract some of the high achievers to IB. So when you look at some public results, you might take that into account.

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vivalasviva · 28/02/2024 11:07

valvalm · 28/02/2024 10:59

Thanks a lot vivaslaviva, did your son or niece had to choose between the 3 schools? and if yes why did they choose one or the other.

What do you think of Latymer removing GCSE and the potential impact on the children for university entry. I am sure that the school will have make sure that it does not impact them but just wondering what other parents think.

I don t think SPGS have mentioned yet when they will scrap them but if anybody knows please.

Our school told us this morning that Godolphin is often seen as the school where girls that were unsuccesful at SPGS go.

Thanks PreplexJ as well. I had a look at some big name prep results (Faulkner, Kensington prep, glendower) to see the proportion of offer compared to acceptance and the rate of acceptance for SPGS is indeed very high
100% at Kensington prep over the last few years, maybe 90% for the other two.
I cant see the detailed results for Bute but I assume that it would be similar.
I had the impression that those prep schools were more diverse in terms of ethnicity though so cannot get my mind around it.

Most of us who have gone through GCSes with older children think it's a good.
I think if you're at one of the smart West London prep schools it's hard to turn down SPGS as you will be under a lot of pressure from the school to accept it. Much easier if you're coming from a state school or a gentler prep not in that bubble!
They're all good schools - which one would your DD prefer? They play different sports as well.

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vivalasviva · 28/02/2024 11:09

'Our school told us this morning that Godolphin is often seen as the school where girls that were unsuccesful at SPGS go'

I think that's a pretty outrageous thing for your school to say to be honest and would make me think they don't really care about the child going to the right school for them!

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valvalm · 28/02/2024 11:14

My daughter is not very sporty lol (nor arty nor musical). She would do sports of course but more for fun or to be with her friends.
She likes trying new things but once she thinks she has mastered it, she often wants to change. She did piano for a few years and when she had reach a good level in exam switch to violin and now that she had reached a good level there she wants to switch instruments for bassoon or drums.
She had capabilities in swimming again but as soon as she manages to enter a very selective club she said she wanted to do something else.
Her dad is just like that and I dont want to force her to stick to something and prefer she enjoys the ride. Some parents will disagree I am sure.
So as long as the offering of clubs/sports etc is vast, which it is at all 3 schools she will find something and then something else.
I think if the choice was down to her, she would chose Latymer (for boys..).

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vivalasviva · 28/02/2024 11:28

If she'd prefer to go to LU but you don't want her to, just let her decide between the others.

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Lion400 · 28/02/2024 13:38

They are all good schools, well done to your daughter for the offers!
G&L is a bit more rounded in terms of sport and art, but can be bitchy. SPGS has fewer sports facilities and is therefore not as sporty.
LU is quite male oriented, in an old fashioned way. Some girls don’t appreciate the misogynistic tint. Though some girls really don’t like an all girls school.
Tricky - but a nice choice to make!

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valvalm · 28/02/2024 14:24

Oh interesting, what do you mean by bitchy? is it because it is all girls? or it attracts more "bitchy" girls than SPGS?

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vivalasviva · 28/02/2024 14:26

Lion400 · 28/02/2024 13:38

They are all good schools, well done to your daughter for the offers!
G&L is a bit more rounded in terms of sport and art, but can be bitchy. SPGS has fewer sports facilities and is therefore not as sporty.
LU is quite male oriented, in an old fashioned way. Some girls don’t appreciate the misogynistic tint. Though some girls really don’t like an all girls school.
Tricky - but a nice choice to make!

Edited

Interested in how you think LU is make orientated- not our experience at all.

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vivalasviva · 28/02/2024 14:27

Male orientated....

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SamPoodle123 · 28/02/2024 14:35

valvalm · 28/02/2024 14:24

Oh interesting, what do you mean by bitchy? is it because it is all girls? or it attracts more "bitchy" girls than SPGS?

I think you can find bitchy girls anywhere. I have a dd at G&L and she says everyone is very nice and inclusive. She is only in first year, so maybe bitchiness comes out later. She is very happy there.

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valvalm · 28/02/2024 14:49

Thanks Sampoodle123. Did you have the same decision to make about all the hammersmith schools?
How do you find the diversity in lower years at Godolphin? There were a few offer holders events. At the one we went to it seems quite balanced.

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valvalm · 28/02/2024 14:59

Also it seems SPGS girls are taking 9 GCSE on average compared to 10 for Godolphin. Does anyone have a view on that?
Is it better to have more GCSE for university, or less so you can have ensure slightly better grades?

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SamPoodle123 · 28/02/2024 15:00

We did not apply to SPGS or LU. I was put off from what I heard about SPGS to be honest. However, since then I have met a parent in real life who is happy with it. I think you can probably hear good things and bad things about any school. I was also put off by some comments I heard about LU. However, I will still consider it for my ds when he does 11+ (feel like not much options for boys!). G&L has balanced mix....many different nationalities. She is happy there. We had offers from other schools to consider, so I get what you are going through. You just want what is best for your dc and it is hard to know which one to pick. In the end we decided to let dd decide since we liked all the schools. And I think she made the right decision.

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valvalm · 28/02/2024 15:01

Also it seems SPGS girls are taking 9 GCSE on average compared to 10 for Godolphin. Does anyone have a view on that?
Is it better to have more GCSE for university, or less so you can have ensure slightly better grades?

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SamPoodle123 · 28/02/2024 15:02

valvalm · 28/02/2024 14:59

Also it seems SPGS girls are taking 9 GCSE on average compared to 10 for Godolphin. Does anyone have a view on that?
Is it better to have more GCSE for university, or less so you can have ensure slightly better grades?

Yes, and someone pointed out that G&L also does IB, so their A levels results are also effected by that.

I am not from here so I do not really understand the GCSE, A levels or IB. I need to figure it out though....

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vivalasviva · 28/02/2024 15:16

valvalm · 28/02/2024 15:01

Also it seems SPGS girls are taking 9 GCSE on average compared to 10 for Godolphin. Does anyone have a view on that?
Is it better to have more GCSE for university, or less so you can have ensure slightly better grades?

Universities are only interested in the best 8 in general ( obviously there may be exceptions) so 9 is absolutely fine.

There will always be happy and unhappy children and parents at every school and lots of parents who have views on schools that their children do not go to. ( I have a good friend who has deep entrenched views on EVERY school around, except for her daughter's which is 'perfect'!).

Don't listen to heresay, just go with which one you preferred and where you can see your DD. Don't worry about what other people think.

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PreplexJ · 28/02/2024 16:11

"Universities are only interested in the best 8 in general ( obviously there may be exceptions) so 9 is absolutely fine."

Depends what university and what courses, some universities are very open to publizise their applicants profile including the distribution of successful vs unsuccessful applicants GCSE and grades. You will see some very competitive course the average GCSE subjects candidates had invited to interview are over 10 subjects. Doesn't mean the school needs all those grade for everyone, but it is the distribution as it is.

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Parkerspiece · 28/02/2024 16:16

valvalm · 28/02/2024 15:01

Also it seems SPGS girls are taking 9 GCSE on average compared to 10 for Godolphin. Does anyone have a view on that?
Is it better to have more GCSE for university, or less so you can have ensure slightly better grades?

At SPGS, students in fact take 11 GCSEs in general. The compulsory seven subjects are: Maths, English x 2, Science x 3 and MFL. They then have to choose 4 more options. Some of the options are so-called “school-directed courses”, which are not included in the exam results table. That is probably the reason why you worked out to be 9. The school-directed courses, as told by the school, are treated in the same way as (I)GCSEs by the sixth form schools , universities and employers. It's kind of what LU is going to do, but they are replacing all but two subjects.

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PreplexJ · 28/02/2024 16:31

"Some of the options are so-called “school-directed courses”, which are not included in the exam results table. That is probably the reason why you worked out to be 9. The school-directed courses, as told by the school, are treated in the same way as (I)GCSEs by the sixth form schools , universities and employers. "

But do not reflect in those so call "league tables" and hence results look favour with some with less subjects when compared across.

I guess LU will drop out from league table in a few years time due to the change. Could be a positive move.

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TheRainItRaineth · 28/02/2024 17:14

Looking at GCSE results though it looks like we are only talking a few girls having 9 vs 8? Am I correct?

This is more or less right, G&L got 67% grade 9s last year and SPGS got 82% 9s. These are both good sets of results. If you have a child likely to get 9s in whatever, I don't think G&L will prevent her from doing so. So you probably shouldn't choose on that basis.

I think what you are mainly choosing with these schools is the feel and atmosphere, which I think are a bit different. I don't think ethnicity will be an issue at any of them. The main practical differentiators between G&L and SPGS are probably IB, which sports are offered (eg hockey vs lacrosse) and uniform. If none of those matter to you, go on where you liked best.

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