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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:53 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:13 pm
Posts: 70
Hi All
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.

We are new to the area but I'm guessing that some of this is sour grapes. I'd really like to hear from any parent who already has a girl there to get an insider's view. I don't want my DD to sit the exam only to find out it's not the school for her anyway!

Thanks for any help you can give me.
BL


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:13 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:24 pm
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Suggest you go to the Kendrick open day (usually Sept) for another source of data in reaching your decisions.

FYI, we did go last year and came away very unimpressed, contrary to our expectations. I am sure other Kendrick parents will have different opinions.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:56 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2007 11:19 am
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BaileyLane wrote:
Hi All
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.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:44 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 6:14 pm
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My DD has just started at Kendrick this week so it is too early for us to comment on what the school is really like. However, having a look at the class list and addresses, 80% are from the Reading area: Woodley, Lower Earley, Caversham. The remainder are predominantly Wokingham, Maidenhead and Camberley with just one coming from London. There is no one in the class who is not entirely fluent in English although several probably do not have English as their home language.

CN


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 5:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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My comment would be don't ever go to Reading station at the time the girls are arriving - as a long serving teacher I was shocked at the behaviour. :shock:


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:21 am 
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Joined: Sat May 21, 2011 9:44 am
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Hi BL

My daughter has just started in year 7. She decided, after what felt like tours of a million schools, that she could happily spend five or so years there. The school has somehow managed, over the years, to cope with all types of girls' personalities, so for us it was more about how comfortable she feels about her time there, rather than what others say.

I am not a school teacher but I noticed that every shop in Reading, including the station outlets, welcomes literally hordes of Kendrick girls, together, so they aren't too shocked by their behaviour. Since other schools go by local catchments, it's also to be expected that the density of red sweatshirts is much higher than that of green/navy skirts/jumpers.

You need to bear in mind that many apply and most do not get in. That's a lot of potential dissatisfaction swirling about, and even bright pre/teenagers are often naive about how they express themselves. Some super-selectives are hot houses, they are well known in teaching circles, if you catch an experienced tutor at a communicative moment, but that was not an issue for us in the case of Kendrick. Every outstanding school reads the 'riot act' to its year 7s and 12s, whether it is to aspire or acknowledge their privileges with humility and responsibility. It prevents motivational issues and prepares them for life.

The 20% is surprising. Even in a grammar area such as Kent you'd only expect 25% to qualify. So 20% is actually quite high, considering how accessible the school is. This can only be a good thing for the girls. I'm told there are at least four from London/Swindon-type distances, and more from Slough/similar distances who started this year. Certainly there are hundreds migrating from Reading station to school every morning. It's also because the train is a lot faster and more predictable than buses or cars in the morning jam, even for more local girls.

It does depend on the test day, and of course how much you are pinning your hopes on the place. It's very important for some and less so for others. The school does not have much experience of SEN support, so for e.g. if you have a 96th centile child who has specific learning difficulties, this may not be the best school for her. There are only three classes, but they each have 32 girls, which may be an issue for some. Girls develop so much over those years that a shy girl may really bloom, she certainly won't be the only one. There seems to be plenty of emotional space for shy ones. Shy is not the same as weak-willed.

The Open Evening is a good chance to compare the feel of the school to others. It may be good if both of you attend with DD. We found ordering the schools quite easy after mulling over our various takes on a place. It's also useful to ask what real data causes someone to hold the opinions mentioned, and where their DDs have gone. I hope it will be an easy decision for you All.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:51 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2007 11:19 am
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Guest55 wrote:
My comment would be don't ever go to Reading station at the time the girls are arriving - as a long serving teacher I was shocked at the behaviour. :shock:


My daughter doesn't go on the train, so I have no need to defend anyone ... :)

The girls are all very obvious in their red jumpers, and everyone of course knows where they're from. I'd expect compaints if they were regularly badly-behaved at the station - there was an assembly a year or two ago where the whole school got a massive telling-off because a Kendrick girl was seen, somewhere in town, kicking a pigeon!


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:10 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:13 pm
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Thank you all for your comments. Really helpful. I'm finding this whole secondary education thing really difficult and, like every parent, just want my kids to be happy in the best place for them!

Thanks again
BL


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:52 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2007 11:19 am
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BaileyLane wrote:
Thank you all for your comments. Really helpful. I'm finding this whole secondary education thing really difficult and, like every parent, just want my kids to be happy in the best place for them!


It's really tough :( I would definitely recommend doing a few open evenings this year whilst she's still in Y5, and it's not quite so pressured. Good luck ***


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:49 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:54 pm
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Location: kingston upon thames
We've just been along to the open evening tonight and I have to say we were very impressed. Admittedly we are not from the area but DH and DD2 both thought the facilities were fantastic esp. the new science labs.

The girls were friendly and informative - almost too bubbly to be just for show but then that's expected for Y9s and to us showed that they are human and not automatons.

TBH for us Kendrick would depend on moving closer or at least within commuting range but from what I saw today it certainly gave food for thought.

Current Kendrick parents - you must be very proud!


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