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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 10:03 pm 
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TGS took 180 year 7s starting in September 2015 and is taking the same number, I think, in September 2016.

Anyone know how they are fitting so many more children than they used to take onto the site?

Also, the mixed age tutor groups which meet for 30 mins most days and currently contain a mix of years 7 to 9 are going from September 2016 to only contain year 7s and 8s. Anyone know why they run this system at all and how the tutor groups will be constructed for those cohorts when they are in years 9, 10 and 11?

In what year are children currently put into maths sets?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:19 am 
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My daughter is in year 7 and very happy at TGS.

They have opened a big new 6th form building which has freed up lots of space in the main buildings for the other year groups.

Mixed tutor groups are arranged so that children who travel together are in the same house / learning community (or that's the theory)
The idea is that the older kids look out for the younger ones a bit and it means that they get to know another group of children who aren't in their class.
The reality for us is that most of our DD's friends are in her class and if anything, the older kids have scaremongered a bit about teachers they don't like, rather than being supportive, but that may not be the experience of everyone.
One really good thing about the tutor groups is that the tutor is able to give much more attention to the 9 year 7s in the early months. Our DDs tutor is lovely and has been really good for her.

Next year, the system is going to change so that the learning communities are year 7/8 only. They are opening up another house to make 6 houses with 30 from each year in each rather than 5 with 36.
Year 9 will be in a learning community with just year 9s.
Year 10/11 will be together I think.

Setting in Maths happens from year 9 but they stress that they cover exactly the same stuff it is just done in a slightly different way based on ability.

It all sounds quite complicated but has worked for our DD, she is very happy, has lots of friends and is thriving academically.

Any more questions, please ask.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:00 am 
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Ah thank you. That makes the mixed age tutor groups a bit more comprehensible to me and the expanded intake; it sounds as though it has all been a positive experience for your daughter so that's good to hear. I hadn't realised that the new sixth form block was to expand the school permanently - I'd assumed it was merely an improvement in facilities.

I can see that if the tutor does focus more on a smaller number of year 7s that could be good. What has your daughter done in tutor groups that you feel is beneficial? I understand it's maybe 2 hours per week that they spend in tutor groups so it's quite an important part of the week. I guess it could be the luck of the draw with the tutor as is the case with all these kind of things.

Do you know if they keep they seem the same tutor in year 8 too so far as possible? And do the class (teaching groups) stay the same until GCSE options happen? And do they keep the same subject teachers?

So much to think about before the CAF in October this year! (Murphy's law in action that your daughter has made more friends in the teaching class rather than the geographically closer tutor group!!)

Thanks again.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:41 am 
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I don't really know much about what they do in their tutor groups. I think they are briefed on current school news and I guess have a chance to discuss it. I think they also cover the PHSE curriculum in their tutor group.

I don't really know what will happen next year, but I suspect that the classes will remain the same, but they may have different teachers. The tutor groups are having a bit of a shake up to introduce the new house and the change to year 7/8 tutor groups. Whether they will keep them the same after that for the new year 7s I don't know but I would suspect so.

The classes are supposed to be broadly geographically based as well. Given the wide geography of the school, I think they try to make sure friends don't live to far apart.
DDs best friend lives about 30 mins away which seems manageable. If she lived the other side of Tonbridge, it would be much harder.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:39 pm 
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Thanks. Be interesting to know if they have a policy of changing the subject teachers that a class gets each year or trying to keep the same ones if they can.

All the changes to the tutor groups you describe for the new year 7s sound quite good - there will be more year 7s in them than hitherto and then in year 9 they'll be 100% their own age, and then chopped different ways again in years 10/11. It's probably good for getting new friends. Other half of me thinks that the Weald system of keeping 30 girls together for the form time and the lessons and over several years is better ..... not sure.

Too many choices! And then the complication of a Weald annex. Easier not to pass maybe!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:30 pm 
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Don't say that!!!

We are currently going through the stress of putting together an appeal for our younger daughter who didn't score highly enough for TGS and we live too far away from Weald to get a place by rights.

Fortunately she did pass so we are hopeful.

We prefer Weald for her anyway for a number of reasons but TGS is definitely the right school for DD1.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2016 7:46 pm 
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My jokes are not always in the best of taste! Good luck with the appeal.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 8:06 am 
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Hello again, what is the year 7 homework experience like? I've heard elsewhere it is not huge in total but comes in unpredictable waves and quite a bit of it is like assessed coursework or preparation for an assessed test. Is it ok?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:03 am 
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We have had no problems at all with the volume of homework, in fact I have been really surprised at how manageable it has been.
Generally DD has one or two pieces of homework each night, but they rarely take longer than 30 mins each and often she has none at all.

The new homework policy seems to have sorted out a lot of the issues. It is worth looking at the homework policy as it may reassure you.
Teachers are not allowed to set homework to be completed by the next day and they also are not allowed to set homework in the holidays.

Language homework tends to be learning vocab for tests.
Science they tend to have one major assessment each term which needs to be revised for.
English assessments are often set as homework.
Otherwise, homework tasks are pretty much what you would expect.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 8:44 pm 
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Year 7 and 8 at TGS. Seems to be straight forward. Always done by the time I am home from work.


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