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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:43 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:49 pm
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Bit of a dilemma. My son passed the 11+ with a score of 402. Leading up to the test we hadn't set our sites on any particular school or made a big deal of the test (didn't want to put pressure on him) but we did visit Leigh Academy, Hextable and Dartford Boys, and we'll also be visiting Wilmington Boys next month.

My son has always wanted to go to Leigh and our visit convinced him further, the open layout and moderness of the school seems to appeal to him, and he is swayed by alot of friends also wanting to go there. I've explained to him that, due to their selection criteria, it's very unlikely that he or many of his friends will actually get into Leigh (his primary school isn't on the list, Leigh takes no account of 11+ results and living near the school isn't taken into account, it's also very heavily over subscribed).

He's heard some bad things about Dartford Boys (very strict etc) from his friends and it's put him off, though alot of his friends who passed the 11+ want to go to Wilmington. We, as parents, have heard bad things about Wilmington (playground gossip) but only good about Dartford.

I'm not even sure that he'd get into Dartford with a score of 402, though he is in the catchment area. My personal feeling is that he'd be a bit overwhelmed at Dartford. It's a great school and I would love for him to go there and do well, but my gut feeling tells me he'd be happier at Wilmington.

I don't actually look at Wilmington as being 'second best', before the test we were thinking of Leigh, Longfield and Hextable so Wilmington, while maybe not as good as Dartford, will be better than any of the local comps.

We've convinced our son that Leigh is pretty much out of the running. Mum wants him to go to Dartford (as did I initially) but after talking it over we've agreed to put Wilmington down as first choice, Leigh second, Dartford third and Lonfield fourth (pending our visit to Wilmington).

So I'm really after any opinions of Wilmington from parents whose children already attend the school, rather than listening to playground gossip from parents who haven't even visited the school.

Thanks in advance


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 2:08 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:59 pm
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my sisters son is at wilmington and is now in the sixth form. very happy there, in all the years he has been there no bullying, gossiping, etc. and believe me he is very sociable boy and knows all that going on!! very happy school and care about their welfare. i am not sure why everyone classes it as second to dartford, they still get very good results probably not as pressurised as dartford. i hope this helps.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 2:52 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:03 pm
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Location: Bexleyheath
My son started at Wilmington this year and LOVES it, and I am really happy with it too. It has a really friendly, caring atmosphere. No signs of any bullying so far, and the boys are all astonishingly polite!! :D


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 3:15 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:49 pm
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Thanks for the replies, puts my mind at rest. It's always good to hear 'from the horse's mouth' rather than gossip. Headteacher of my son's primary school did say that Wilmington was a little more laid back, it seems to be the more popular with those children who've passed the test at his school.

Not that I'm calling either of you a horse :oops: :D


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 4:23 pm 
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Location: Bexley
But why not put Leigh first if that's the school you really want?
If it can't offer you a place then your second choice will apply.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 5:00 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:49 pm
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Tracy wrote:
But why not put Leigh first if that's the school you really want?
If it can't offer you a place then your second choice will apply.


Leigh is the school my son would prefer, though he's also quite happy with the thought of going to Wilmington. Alot of his friends want to go to Leigh but as I've explained to him, with it being so over subscribed and it's 'lottery' admissions process chances are that not alot of his friends will actually be going there, given that their primary school is not on the list that Leigh initially picks from. It would be very handy travel-wise as it's very close but we feel that Wilmington will provide him with a better education.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:18 pm 
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My son started at Wilmington in September and I have been really impressed with the school. Admittedly, the buildings and facilities may not be quite as impressive as at Dartford or Leigh but the school offers a very high quality of education and has very high expectations of the boys. Behaviour and discipline are good and my son has seen no sign of bullying etc. I have also met the new headteacher who is starting after christmas and was impressed by him.

Dartford may get slightly better results, but of course their admissions policy is such that ( apart from the relatively small central catchment area) they take the 'cream of the cream' i.e only the very top scorers in the 11 plus, whereas the majority of Wilmington's recruitment is based on distance, provided a basic pass in the 11 plus has been obtained. The results at Dartford therefore should be better because of their intake, but it doesn't mean it is a better school (though it is a good one of course!)

People should not choose Wilmington however because they think it will be less demanding or than Dartford. Our experience so far is that the homework given has been extremely demanding and may be in excess of what Dartford give, going on very rough comparisons made with friends who go there. Having said that I also think that the environment at Wilmington is very supportive.

It might also be worth thinking ahead about what you want from key stage 5 (sixth form). Dartford only offers the International Baccalaureate qualification (they do not offer A-levels), which is suitable for some students but by no means all ( It is good if you are an all-rounder and want to study a wide range of subjects) Of course students can always move to a different school for sixth form in any case and qualifications could have all changed by the time ours get to sixth form.

Anyway , after all that , I've realised that you will already have had to make your choices. Whichever school you have decided to put first, they are both good schools!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:24 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 6:18 pm
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Location: NW Kent
Ooooh my first post! After "lurking" for quite a while.

Last year at Leigh's Open Day the Chief Headmaster, not sure of his correct title, explained how once the children do their Ability and Assessment Day and are then banded they often struggle to fill the highest ability band. Maybe your son would fit that category and hence his "chance" of getting in will be greatly improved. I noticed this situation wasn't mentioned this year but i can't see anywhere that their criteria have changed.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:53 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:16 am
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DGS also offers A levels as well as IB, its a lovely school, but very disciplined.


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