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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:17 pm 
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I have a ds currently in Y3 (I know I may be thinking ahead a little too much). He's just been offered a place at a boarding school outside the area as a cathedral chorister. Plan A for ds has always been to do normal state primary school (ours is lovely) and then try for grammar school. We don't have the financial means for private school and wouldn't really want it anyway as the state schools locally are so good, but the choristership comes with a very substantial bursary that makes it affordable.

Most choristers leave the choir school in Y8 and get music scholarships to public school. I'm not really keen on this if it's possible to transfer to the grammar schools in Y9, that is if he reaches the right academic standard.

So for people with kids already at the grammar schools, or who know about late admissions, are there children who join other than in Y7 or Y12? Do children move out of area and free up places in Y8 and Y9? If we wanted ds to have the best chance of entry in Y9 should he do the test for Y7 entry? Are we likely to have to appeal even if he passes the test for Y7, if we want him to go in Y9. What are the chances this will work out?

We may decide to turn down the place at the choir school if it looks as though it'll wreck his chances of grammar school afterwards - we don't want to be stuck in the situation that he leaves a very musical and academic school in Y8 and we either have to pay a fortune or send him somewhere we really wouldn't choose. Our catchment comprehensive is Millbrook Academy which has some good points but doesn't appear to have many children who excel academically.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:39 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:20 am
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looks like you will have to apply to the school directly - who will hold a late admissions exam which your DS will have to sit and pass to be considered for a place.
This is STR policy:
In Year Admissions
In the case of In Year Admissions only (to gain admission into Sir Thomas Rich’s in Year 7 after the normal September admission and Years 8 to 11) the parent should apply directly to the preferred school in the first instance.
As the process of In Year Admissions changes, we will work with all schools and academies so that all parents/carers are aware of how to apply for a school place.
The Local Authority can only consider application for a place at Sir Thomas Rich’s if there are fewer than 108 boys in that Year group, although parents have a right to appeal. In either case, in order to determine whether the boy is of the required ability for selective education, he will be asked to sit three one-hour tests, including one on English and one in mathematics.

This is Crypt's policy:
"Admissions criteria for late entry years 7-11 (casual applications.)
Any applications for a school made outside the normal year of entry to the school are made directly to the school. A late entry test is sat for entry into years 8 to 11. Where the test score is borderline, performance indicators, e.g. formal assessment, end of year examinations, from the student’s current school may also be taken into account. For late entry into year 7, the same test as those who sat at the correct time will be sat. Final assessment of the suitability for a grammar school style of education is delegated to an admissions panel consisting of the Headmaster and a senior member of the teaching staff".


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:29 am 
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One of my children joined GS in Y8 after going through the above procedure. He was one of I think 5 boys to do that in his year. I know of at least one child who joined another GS in Y9 and one who joined in Y10. I also know several who left GS at all points to Y10. I would say go for it - if he loves to sing he only has a few short years before his voice breaks and he may as well enjoy it. The experiences he has as a chorister will more than make up for 2 years in a grammar school.

Let the future take care of itself - don't worry about making him sit the Y7 test as it won't have any impact one way or another. You don't know what is round the corner or how you might feel by the time he is 12 or 13.

Good luck.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:09 pm 
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Hi there. It seems to me he that you could be turning down a definite offer for something he likes for the possibility of a grammar school offer in a few years.. I'd go for it. Surely it's better to regret doing something and it not working than regret not trying at all.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:04 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:19 pm
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I agree with the above posters.
He has a special talent and you should make the most of that, and go with the Choir school.
Does he play a musical instrument as well ?

There is always some movement in the Grammar School classes and if he is academic, you will have the opportunity to try for entry when he is older.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:26 pm 
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I agree with the previous posters - can't beat singing in a cathedral choir and something will sort out for year 9...


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:44 pm 
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I do agree with the posters above, however, with a caveat. I may be reading it wrong but it looks like you are saying he is in Y3 and, therefore, my reading of it is that he will be boarding at school from Y4? How does he feel about being away from home at that age? How do you feel about "losing" your child at that age?!

I went to boarding school when I was 7, in the UK - my family was in Kenya, so it was a long way. It was really, really tough being away from them and, neither my parents, or I would do it again, in the sense that I knew I would never send my boys to boarding school. 9 is still quite young so your DS must really want to go before I would advise boarding. However, everyone is totally right - it is not sensible to turn down the choral school on the basis that he "might" get a grammar school place. Nothing about grammar schools is certain. It is sensible to turn down the choral school on the basis that he does not want to board, however!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 3:34 pm 
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The boarding is quite a big deal for us but the boys are weekly boarders in the first year so it's a gentle introduction. We looked at dean close for choristerships but with the journey to Tewkesbury every day the boys didn't seem to have much time left for instrumental practice (ds plays 2 instruments already), and I wasn't sure it would suit my ds academically as it doesn't have a great reputation in this respect. King's Gloucester would have been nice but we would have spent 8 hours a week ferrying ds to and from the cathedral. Hence the boarding.

Thanks for the advice here - I feel much less worried about saying yes to the choir school.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 2:24 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:39 pm
Posts: 46
Hi Lysander,
I have a friend who's son sat the tests for STRS in year 9. He passed with flying colours and his parents were told that he would be offered a place pending a successful appeal. Speaking to my son who is now in year 11, several places seem to open up each year, so I think the chances of gaining a place are pretty good, subject to test results. If you are worried though, can't your DS be a chorister without going to a chorister school? Just a thought.
Good luck.


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