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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 5:43 pm 
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Hi All
Did anyone else take the Thomas Telford entrance test this weekend and get the bizarre school tour with no teachers or kids?

A friend had warned us that DS wouldn't actually get the opportunity to look around but I was really, really stunned by the approach taken by the school, presumably they are that convinced people are desperate to go there they don't have to try at all???

Firstly the Head couldn't even be bothered to grace us with his presence! He appeared on a video to explain the schedule of events, the kids were taken off to the hall for the test and then the video carried on to explain that we would be shown around by sixth formers but no teachers would be present as he felt it was "unfair" if one group had more interaction with a teacher(s) than another group!!! There was no hard sell, no discussion of school ethos, not even a "you need us more than we need you" speech... Nothing!

Then the adequate (but not as good as our local comp) sixth formers gave us a tour of a COMPLETELY empty school. Except for a few books dotted around on tables no effort was made for the open weekend.

I really am struggling to see what all the hype is about over TT and I feel a bit guilty asking DS to even take the test. I guess if your local comps aren't great and GS's aren't an option then yes, but we are lucky enough to live close to two pretty good comps, one of which is a new £25million school (Highfields) which quite frankly (except maybe the sporting facilities) blows TT out of the water.

Maybe 10 years ago TT was in a league of their own, but not any more? At least we got to go around it and know for DS2 in 3 years time we don't need to bother.


Last edited by wolvsparent on Sun Oct 11, 2015 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 5:59 pm 
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wolvsparent wrote:
Hi All
Did anyone else take the Thomas Tetord entrance test this weekend and get the bizarre school tour with no teachers or kids?

A friend had warned us that DS wouldn't actually get the opportunity to look around but I was really, really stunned by the approach taken by the school, presumably they are that convinced people are desperate to go there they don't have to try at all???

Firstly the Head couldn't even be bothered to grace us with his presence! He appeared on a video to explain the schedule of events, the kids were taken off to the hall for the test and then the video carried on to explain that we would be shown around by sixth formers but no teachers would be present as he felt it was "unfair" if one group had more interaction with a teacher(s) than another group!!! There was no hard sell, no discussion of school ethos, not even a "you need us more than we need you" speech... Nothing!

Then the adequate (but not as good as our local comp) sixth formers gave us a tour of a COMPLETELY empty school. Except for a few books dotted around on tables no effort was made for the open weekend.

I really am struggling to see what all the hype is about over TT and I feel a bit guilty asking DS to even take the test. I guess if your local comps aren't great and GS's aren't an option then yes, but we are lucky enough to live close to two pretty good comps, one of which is a new £25million school (Highfields) which quite frankly (except maybe the sporting facilities) blows TT out of the water.

Maybe 10 years ago TT was in a league of their own, but not any more? At least we got to go around it and know for DS2 in 3 years time we don't need to bother.


Is this the school where one of the admissions criteria goes something like, 'If the HT decides he likes the look of you'??

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 6:13 pm 
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Well I thought so, but given that he wasn't there, unless he had a webcam installed ..... :?:


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 6:19 pm 
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I have just been on both schools websites and frankly from an academic point of view and outcomes for the children TT is in the premier league and Highfields in the divisions below.It takes more than buildings to make a good school.The ofsted reports for each school which are both from 2009 demonstrates the gulf in quality.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 6:24 pm 
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I think as you said the school doesn't need to sell itself. It can pick and choose who it accepts. I also found the setup very strange but it does have an excellent reputation and exam results.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 6:40 pm 
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2009 was a very long time ago in educational years. Highfields was "reopened" with the new build 2 years ago I think and their GCSE results are climbing year on year.

As for actual results TT spread of low/medium/high attainers is 1/33/66 % and the results are ?/98/99 %. For Highfields the mix is 19/57/24 % and results 13/68/97 %.

From this I can see that although stating they take a mix of pupils from each "bin" of ability on the TT test it is pretty obvious this is not the case. Secondly Highfields are doing a pretty good job with a mixed bag of kids, not perfect I'll admit, but their trend is very much on the up, their results this year are 8% higher than last (72%).

The point I was trying to make, was not a comparison of results, but that TT gave me absolutely no reason to like it. Like you state it is not about the building, nor percentages, nor even the Head, but a mix of everything which gives you a rounded impression of a school. Given that this is the first time as a parent you are even allowed around the school, not to mention the DC's didn't get that opportunity, I am a bit bewildered!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 6:54 pm 
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I don't know the school, but it sounds so strange. I wouldn't like it :shock:


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 7:06 pm 
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/educa ... ml/336.stm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/educa ... ml/894.stm

I think from an academic point of view the tables demonstrate at GCSE TT is a strong alternative to the grammar schools in the area.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 7:25 pm 
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The results of course are only given for those DC's that are actually allowed to sit the exams. From what I hear, if there is the smallest possibility you won't get a C then you aren't even entered or even better, are not allowed to take your preferred choice of GCSE's in the first place.

This is one of the things I wanted to ask teachers about! Someone here said it had a good reputation but I would say it had a mixed reputation, the darker side being a school which cares more about its public image than it does about individual DC's.
I went with no "agenda", truly wanting to hear and see more about the school. Why else would I have put my DS through the the test.

A friend described the school as like "Marmite" and I can see why now!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 7:42 pm 
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I had a close relatives dd who went to the sixth form recently and they speak in positive terms about TT we all have our opinions.The headmaster went out of his way to help that child and personally supervised the extra lessons that were required.He did that with another 4 children at the same time.We can only go with what we know.Its the extra long school days and the effort that is put in which secures the results.

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In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

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