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 Post subject: Wilmington/Dartford ??
PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 11:43 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:43 pm
Posts: 6
Can anyone help with information about choosing between Dartford and Wilmington Grammar School for Boys? My DS likes both so we are in the position of being able to persuade him if we want to. He scored 130 in all three tests and is generally an all rounder. This obviously doesn't help when considering their specialist status! (i.e one being Engineering, one Language)
I have heard that Dartford is more hot-house and Wilmington more laid back, but don't know if this is true?
Also, now that Dartford is admitting boys based on scores alone, would a total of 390 be enough to secure a place anyway?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:44 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2007 5:45 pm
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Location: Medway & Kent
Hi Susie, Congrats to you and your DS. I do not have personal experience of either of these schools but a friend's son does attend Wilmington...the impression I get is that Wilmington is the slighter more laid back of the two, however as I say that is hearsay not based on my own personal experience.
Good luck with your choice. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:45 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 8:55 pm
Posts: 851
Location: Bexley
Susie

I've visited Wilmington once and Dartford not at all so I may not be any help. However, the impression I have is that Wilmington is indeed more laid back while Dartford is more concerned with its position in the league tables. I thought Wilmington was a lovely school, if a little shabby - though the sports fields are gorgeous. If her talk to parents is anything to go by I think the headteacher at Wilmington is inspirational. After I'd visited the school and talked to the school secretary I came away with the impression that the school is very big on pastoral care.

I do know boys who go to Dartford - in the Bexley/Sidcup area it seems to be the school to aim for after St Olave's for those children whose parents expect them to excel academically. Dartford undoubtedly attracts more very able children, which is why it performs better in the league tables, but I don't believe that necessarily makes it a better school.

The question which only you can answer is which school would be best for your son? It depends a great deal on his personality and whether you feel he would thrive or perhaps feel a little overwhelmed at a more competitive school such as Dartford. If I had to choose between those two schools I know that one of my boys I would definitely send to Dartford and another I would definitely send to Wilmington!

When I first went through this process and was dithering between two Bexley schools, I drew up a list of all the factors which I felt were important or relevant such as ease of journey, pastoral care, what Ofsted said about their science facilities, sport, school start and finish time etc and gave each a score. It helped focus my mind a bit. I would seriously take the school journey into account. Once they start doing things after school (sport, music etc) it's good if they have an easy journey home or if it's not too long a journey for you to go and collect them. I have 2 at GS and their only direct bus is a school bus so I usually end up going to pick them up from rugby practice and music 2 or 3 times a week at the moment.

At the end of the day, you have two very good schools to choose from so you aren't going to make a wrong decision. Good luck!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 12:48 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:43 pm
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Thanks to both of you for your advice....
I've just got back from the open morning at Dartford and I must admit it is very impressive. Good to see it operating during the school day, a very different atmosphere from an evening visit. The children all looked happy :D, which is obviously important.
My DS is now even more unsure which one he likes best. All his friends seem to be opting for Wilmington, so I'm sure this will sway him, although not sure this is a good enough reason!
As you said, the fact that they're both good schools should really be enough to stop panicing about our order of preference...!
His teacher has said he would do well at both (which hasn't helped!) and I guess taking the distance into more consideration as you mentioned, should be a deciding factor - Wilmington is closer.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:43 pm
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Also just thinking about whether it will be a benefit to my son to choose the school where his friends are going. He is attending a small primary at the moment and has had the same friends throughout. Would it be better to take the opportunity for him to make new ones, and send him off on his own, or would I be putting uneccessary stress on him?
So many questions! arghh!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:26 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2007 5:45 pm
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Location: Medway & Kent
I agree with Bexley Mum - transport is a very valid point. They soon start doing clubs after school and it is better for you (taxi driver) and him (independence) if its the easier journey home.
With regard to the academic side I am a firm believer that if a child is able it will do well - whatever school let alone whatever grammar school. You are in a win win situation. One school might be higher up in the league tables but would your child do any better there?
Altho my dd knew several other girls from her primary school, she has quickly made new friends, but it is nice in the early days to know a friendly face I'm sure.
Sounds like your ds is quite happy either way, bless him. :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:57 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:54 pm
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Does anyone have any ideas about scores necessary to get into Dartford ? I hear a score of 375 ~could~ do it but I fear that now it is purely selective it will be same as Judds + Skinners - 405+ !! Any views ?


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