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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:21 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:10 am
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Hello, we currently live in SW London, where we send our children (son in Y3, daughter in Reception) to one of the big Ofsted Outstanding state schools. At the moment the plan is to do what many people in our area do: tutor them for a year and then go for one of the independent schools in the area (Dulwich College, Alleyn's, Trinity, Whitgift, Emanuel). It's a bit early to tell with my daughter, but my son is reasonably switched on and I believe he's capable of landing happily in one of those schools. I'm more concerned about the stress of the whole admissions process.
Recently my husband has been dropping heavy hints that it might be nice to move to Tunbridge Wells. Having done a bit of research, I realise we'd probably have to send them to a prep school as most state primaries are very heavily oversubscribed. We'd then try for one of the grammar schools there. But in terms of getting into a secondary school, are we just jumping from the proverbial frying pan into the fire? Anyone with experience of one or both school systems please let me know!


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 12:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:24 pm
Posts: 629
Location: Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent
Dulwich is I gather quite difficult to get into if you haven't had a lot of prep either via a tutor or via a prep school. It is also mega expensive although a friend's DS who is there says it covers quite a lot and the extras are not as much as she was expecting. The Kent grammars are not that tough to get into if the child is bright but if they don't get through you might be looking at private all the way through or finding a good secondary modern. Hopefully someone who comes along will tell you about the options in Tunbridge Wells or environs.

We moved DD from a selective independent to grammar and she is loving it, but we are in the London Borough of Bromley rather than Kent. Most in our area sit the Kent tests, Bexley and then also sit for one of St Olaves or Newstead - it is great as not all your hopes sit with one single test day, but for some it can be stressful. DD fortunately loved all the tests (including the one indie test in the January).

Moving now for your DS would be an odd time as most of the independents have intakes at Reception or Y3, the odd place does come up at other points and if it is a selective independent then there will be an entrance test for those hoping for a place. They may be spaces in other schools but if there is an easy come-by space then I would be doing extra research into the efficacy of the school.

It is really tough moving with school age children, I am glad I haven't done it but know people who have and it isn't easy but can be great in the long run.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 12:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 9:26 pm
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Living in Tunbridge Wells you should be able to access the three boys' state grammar schools in the immediate area ( assuming an 11+ pass) - Skinners in Tunbridge Wells which is super selective ( ie admits on score), Tunbridge Wells Boys Grammar in Southborough ( admits on distance following a pass) and Judd in Tonbridge which like Skinners is super selective and admits on score. All are very good schools, but different. I have children at Judd and have been very happy with the school.

There are other boys' grammar schools in Kent eg in Maidstone, Dartford and Ashford but I think that you would find them too long a commute.

My children went to a state primary which did not tutor children for the 11+ ( that is the rule for state primaries in Kent although there are some schools that appear to bend the rule). If you put your children in the private system they will almost certainly tutor for the 11+ which some will see as a benefit.

If you have any specific questions please ask.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 12:36 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 1:19 pm
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ds is at Dulwich College - he's a bright boy with terrible handwriting (!) - he passed the exam outright (ie not via the waiting list) without tutoring. I think it's accessible for any reasonably bright kids.

Just on the Tunbridge Wells thing - friends of ours relocated to Kent with the same plan as you. There kids entered a prep school in Y2 and Y5 respectively - so there are spaces available in non standard entry age groups.

Their ds did get offered a place at a grammar but by then he'd been surrounded by boys aiming for the Common Entrance at 13 and rather than accepting the grammar place as planned, he'll be heading off to Tonbridge School at 13.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 1:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:10 am
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Thanks very much for your replies. From your direct experiences, Fleur and Twinkle, it sounds like we'll probably (hopefully!?) land on our feet either way. I suppose it's a good position to be in! Thanks again.


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