New to this forum and have a bright, but not terribly confident, daughter in Y5. We've been told she has grammar school potential so was thinking of putting her in for 11+ at Kendrick but as well as hearing it is ridiculously competitive to get into, I have heard a lot of negativity about the school in the playground including the facilities not being very good, the pressure being immense, teachers focused on getting results rather than ensuring the girls are well-rounded, many of the girls not having English as their first language (although this clearly has no negative effect on results), and only about 20% of girls being local to Reading.
My eldest has just started Y10 at Kendrick. She is very confident/fairly oblivious to other people (!) so obviously experience may vary, but fwiw:
Ridiculously competitive? Yes. There may be only a few marks between comfortably getting in and being on the waiting list, so some of it does come down to just how the girls do on the day. But it doesn't prejudice your applications elsewhere, so worth trying imo.
Facilities not very good? They have a little pool, tennis/netball courts, sports hall, but do use Palmer Park for some athletics etc. Science labs have just been redone I think. Art and Product Design looked great to me! Food tech kitchen has just been done up, as has the drama studio, and they are currently fundraising for more renovations. It's certainly never felt like a problem to us - although e.g. dd2 is at Waingels which is all newly rebuilt and does look WAY more flashy, so I can see where people are coming from.
Immense pressure? My dd1 is not one to notice tbh, but it *really* doesn't feel like that to me. You will get the "we have very high expectations" talk at the open evening and also as a new parent if she gets in, but parents evenings have always been very friendly affairs, and the girls certainly have time for extracurricular activities if they want to.
DD2 was not interested in going there - she wanted to be somewhere where if she was doing well, it would be noticed, rather than just being run of the mill! It probably does help if your daughter is either bright, confident or thick-skinned
But some of DD1's friends were quiet little mice in Y7 and they've all blossomed in ways they might not have been able to elsewhere.
Results v being well-rounded? Well, the cliche/joke at Kendrick is all the insistence of "well-rounded Kendrick girls", so no, I don't think that's true
There are loads of clubs which they are strongly encouraged to join when they start the school, the 6th formers are encouraged to run clubs for the lower school, they have house drama and music competitions, interform dance competitions, etc etc.
They don't have *as* wide a choice of GCSEs as you might find elsewhere, but Drama and Business Studies are offered, and everyone *has* to do a technology (food, textiles, ICT, product design).
I don't think my daughter has come across anyone who doesn't have English as a first language (if she has, they've been fluent and she hasn't noticed!). I'm sure there are some, but it doesn't seem to be a problem
Not local to Reading? Yes, girls can apply from anywhere and some do travel long distances. 20% is probably an exaggeration though. We're very close to Reading town centre, and my dd's closest friends live in Purley, Woodley and Caversham.
But yes, go to the Open Evening (end of this month) and see what you think.