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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:01 am 
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I am after some advice and help if anyone can help me...my brain is working overtime!

I am trying to decide on order preference for our CAF...trying to choose between WHSG and a local all girls (Brentwood Ursuline Convent High School) which she has applied for music scholarship place and have passed but still have to wait to see if she gets a place offered in March as could be more girls that scored higher than her. We are not religious and they offer up to 17 places at the school through music scholarship if you do not qualify under the religious criteria.

We have made a list of pros & cons to each school but from open evenings we like each school equally, the ethos of each school is similar which is what is making it harder for us.

WHSG will mean her getting a school bus at around 6.50am so over an hours journey each way each day.
Ursuline is 20 minutes down the road and just means mean taking an alternative journey for me for taking my other children to school. Also it being more local means more local friends and more ability to participate in after school activities etc...

WHSG being a grammar is possibly going to challenge her that bit more which I do think she needs as is currently finding primary yr 6 a little boring, but I also do worry that she may find it too much of a challenge and maybe she will go from being top of the class and loves learning to middle/bottom and lose interest if its a struggle? But then again will Ursuline push her like she needs to be so she keeps the interest there?

I am not sure how to read the performance tables with regards to results. what should I be looking at? How do I compare the 2 schools?

There are so many issues going round my head, I just wish it was easier. I only have until tomorrow to submit.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:39 am 
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It ain't easy, is it?

There's a lot of opposition to league tables precisely because there are so many ways to interpret them. Do you base your call on
- Number of A*? (One or two children in the school could skew this)
- Number of A*-C?
- Percentage of children with all A*-C?
- Highest average points scored per child across all subjects? (What if children in one school take 15 GCSEs vs 12 elsewhere?)
- Highest value add? (Grammar schools score very poorly here compared with some others, for obvious reasons)

And what do you do about schools that aren't doing GCSEs and going for iGCSEs or IBs instead? And how can the tables give a fair picture when so many schools have opted out of being in the tables?

I would ignore league tables.

Knowing nothing about Brentwood I can't comment on the school but from reading between the lines I suspect in your heart you know that's the right choice. There's nothing wrong with trusting the gut feeling when it comes to making choices for our children.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:40 am 
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I think I would go with the local option as the journey sounds very long.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:51 am 
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I was a bit confused about the scholarship for a state school. Is that their selection criteria rather than it relating to finance?

Again not knowing the school its hard but such a journey has to be justified.

If the local school has a good ethos you only need a handful of girls in each year to be working at a high academic level to carrying each other forward.

If your gut feeling is the local school then put it first and if she doesn't get the music place there is nothing lost, assuming her score is good enough she will then get the GS.

A good secondary school will give her extension opportunities so she shouldn't get bored as she is at the moment. Even if there is less academic push at first the move to secondary school and accompanying opportunities ( including music) should keep her occupied.

I think I would check how the classes are organised from year 8 in maths especially as most schools believe setting is helpful.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:35 pm 
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
Plenty of Ursuline girls join the grammars at 6th form. Have you considered that option?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 1:09 pm 
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Location: Essex
Apologies If you have already discounted it, but if you are anywhere near the station, SHSG is easy enough to get to from Brentwood via Southend Victoria and a bus. Your DD would just need to join the crowd on the train getting in at 0752.

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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 2:07 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:07 am
Posts: 49
Thanks for all the replies.

They give 17 music places per year & scholarships to the girls that scores highest which gives them extra music lessons during school. Other than this you cannot gain a place there without reference to religion (for which we don't qualify)

We do have another option of getting to westcliff from Brentwood which leaves at 7.40 which is a better journey time and option for her..so feel this shouldn't be the only reason we choose Ursuline over Westcliff (or any other Grammar).

I probably am being very overprotective but letting her get on a train to school scares me! I understand there are other girls doing the same journey but don't feel I am or she is ready for that..so would want for atleast the first year for her to get the school bus.

We shall be putting SHSG as an option but it will be going further down the list of preferences.

I think in my heart Ursuline makes sense, but I just hope by passing up the opportunity to go to a grammar school I wont regret it in the future.

6th Form will be another issue when it comes to that, need to get passed this hurdle first!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 3:44 pm 
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With regard to them being able to cope do remember that its nearly a year away and they do grow up a lot in that time, plus you can do a lot over the summer to prepare them.
The first few weeks of year 7 can be tricky but don't make a 5 year decision based on that.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 3:46 pm 
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I think DD is given preference should she wish to enter 6th form at WHSG, being a WHSG student already.

I think this may work pretty much the same in other schools for 6th form entry - a certain number of places are reserved at 6th form for girls already in that school.

Do check rules and feeder school preferences regarding entry at 6th form.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 4:23 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
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Location: Essex
Chai wrote:
I think DD is given preference should she wish to enter 6th form at WHSG, being a WHSG student already.

I think this may work pretty much the same in other schools for 6th form entry - a certain number of places are reserved at 6th form for girls already in that school.

Do check rules and feeder school preferences regarding entry at 6th form.


Like most schools, WHSG guarantees a place to their own year 11s who meet the published criteria, but in common with most of the schools around here, they welcome external applicants whose subject preferences can be met and who make the required grades. DS1 had provisional places at both WHSG and SHSG, but in the end chose the latter.

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