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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 4:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:05 pm
Posts: 103
Given a choice ( wow ! ) which school would you prefer your dd to go to ?
For the sake of keeping the travel angle out , lets assume travel time is exactly the same for both schools.
I need feedback purely based on the schools please including how good the A level standard is and where do children end up from there - unless someone has to say that both the schools are equally good in which case ofcourse the travel time would become the deciding factor.
Thanks for your valuable inputs in advance !
Queenma


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:20 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:53 pm
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Location: south west london
My DD is at Tiffin so that would be my choice ! I hear excellent things about Nonsuch though and if I had had the choice I would have found it hard to make ! We like Tiffin for its smaller size - only four forms in each year group which makes the school feel very much like a small community and that's something our daughter loves. No choosing a school for our son we would like something in a similar size which I think is why we like Sutton Grammar so much. As far as academics are concerned I don't think there is very much in it but have to admit haven't really done that much A-level research - still v early days. Pastoral care at Tiffin we have found so far to be great, lovely teachers and lovely supportive girls.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 11:00 am 
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In the same boat this year. Interested to hear about the pastoral care at Tiffins as that is something that concerns me about Nonsuch. I know a lot of girls at Nonsuch and all pretty much seem to do well & enjoy it HOWEVER I think the overridding fact that I have gleaned from a lot a parents with more than one daughter who has gone through there is that it does not suit all girls, and that some are not particularly happy there.

Two of DD's teachers have each had 3 girls go through Nonsuch and in both cases they have had 1 daughter quite unhappy there, one that has been fine and one that has loved it. They conclude that it is largely down to the personality of each child and their fit with Nonsuch. My neighbour has 2 there, one that has been unhappy, one that is fine. Seems the school tends to just let the girls get on with it, and there doesn't seem to be heaps of support when there are problems. Not trying to put you off, but it is the one school from which I have heard very mixed views. On the academic side there are no real complaints but pastorally there seems to be a very big gap.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:56 pm 
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Hi Three Kids and mynameisbond, thanks for your insights. It is so difficult to make a choice based on just one visit, we do not know anyone personally that has daughters at Nonsuch/Tiffin so your views are very helpful.

Queenma we seem to be in same boat as you, in the Nonsuch catchment, and DD has done well in the test so we are hoping she will get an offer. However, we do not know whether to put Tiffin or Nonsuch as first preference in the CAF. According to the Sutton Trust report, Tiffin has 50% of girls going to Russell Group of Universities as opposed to 30% for Nonsuch. However, how much of this is down to the schools effort or due to the fact that Tiffin does not have a catchment, it is difficult to tell.
DD is very interested in music and sport and my first impression of Tiffin was that it did not place as much emphasis on sport. Views confirming/ contradicting this would be much appreciated.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 9:08 pm 
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I have a DD in the upper end of Tiffin and I have mixed feelings about the school. DD is happy and has lots of lovely friends and very good social life. However as she has gone further up the school the pressure has become intense. Some teachers excellent others very average especially in MFL and ICT, which is surprising as its a language and ICT specialist school. This year only 3 girls are doing PE as an GCSE option so sport not particualrly high on the agenda. New head not particularly inspiring and I think pastoral care could be better but having said that I think that's the same at any grammar school. There are underlying issues with some of the girls in all the years and it's not for everyone.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:10 pm 
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Thanks Louise2, when you say upper end I assume you mean sixth form. I suppose what you say about Tiffin could be true for other grammar schools but thanks again for being frank and giving such detailed feedback. DD would probably not probably be doing a GCSE in PE, she is not excellent in sport. She did very well in the Nonsuch exam but she is outgoing and enjoys other aspects of school like swimming/music/orchestra and I would like her to go to a school which gives her some time and encouragement to do other things (as much as possible in academic schools such as Nonsuch/ Tiffin). In a way, I feel it helps her academic performance and keeps her happy.

It is difficult to get a sense of the school by one visit so everything you say builds up a picture in my head and helps us decide.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:36 am 
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Another good way to separate one school from another is to look at the subjects offered as they are not the same. Your daughter may have a particular interest in studying something which is offered at only one of the schools.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 7:29 am 
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Location: Surrey
This is my second round. I have a good look at subjects offered when we visited schools with DD. I was surprised no German option in Tiffin Girls as they are language specialist school. Nonsuch has more options in DT, Astronomy and Photography in GCSE. However if your DD is strong in Music. Tiffin Girls has strong link to Thames Youth Orchestra and Tiffin Boys. DD is not strong in sport but she likes the swimming pool in Nonsuch. We are only three bus stops away from Nonsuch and we put it down as our 1st preference in CAF last night. I don't really look at the ranking of the school much but I do look at the subjects whether suitable for my DD.

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YoYo


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:09 am 
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If you're still looking for views on Nonsuch, am happy to provide some (though have posted with same views before.)

I have two DDs there, both quite different but both very happy.

Obviously Tiffins and Nonsuch are both very good schools and I do believe that your experience of either will be coloured by slightly more abstract things such as whether your child makes friends (and the "right" sort!), whether they get involved in extra curricular activities and how stressful their journey to school might be.

Obvious differences between the two

- Nonsuch has a catchment. Although we are OOC (though by a very small distance!), I actually like the fact that so many of my DDs friends live an easy drive/ bus ride away. Of course there are exceptions, but from my experience most of the girls live South Sutton/Cheam/Epsom/Ewell/W.Park/New Malden areas which are all very accessible.

- Nonsuch has fantastic grounds/sports facilities. Don't underestimate the luxury of this. I have commented in the past that Nonsuch don't make the most of their facilities, but I think this is changing. For example, the school has just asked parents whether they want their DDs to be involved in extra swimming lessons (free of charge) for those who don't swim well as the school believes this is an important life skill. They are also good at providing sporting opportunities for the not so sporty - DD1 currently doing pilates after school for example.

- Extra curricular - Nonsuch have the joint CCF with Sutton grammar. This is not everyone's cup of tea, but it is very popular. Unfortunately not all girls who want to be involved can be, but if you do get the chance its great. Also girls get the chance to ballgirl for Aegon tournament in the summer.

- Subject choices - this has already been commented on in relation to languages and a few others. Nonsuch also offers food technology - could be vital for some :shock:

To sum it up, I do think if you're fortunate enough to get either school, you are fantastically lucky! I know others have doubted the pastoral care at Nonsuch, but it's not something I've ever had to be concerned about (luckily!) I am aware of one incident where one of the younger pupils was feeling unhappy about a couple of incidents and the school dealt with it very quickly - though not necessarily in the way I would have :)

One thing I think both schools have in common is that they are not for the faint-hearted. Nonsuch is a pushy school and if your DD is not reaching their targets, you will be told about it! I personally like that and would rather know if something isn't working than it just being left to chance - I'm not sure that the girls feel the same way though :roll: The pupils are tested frequently but I don't actually think that homework is too onerous - of course it may be that mine just do it on the bus or at lunchtime, but they still seem to have plenty of time to loll around doing nothing :D One thing I don't agree with is the recent rise in the threshold for being able to stay on in sixth form. Although most of the girls are capable of this, there are always a few that don't make the cut and I think this is a shame.

Hope some of that helps!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:41 am 
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Wow, thanks a lot Yoyo, laretta and 2outof3, that has immediately given me a lot of things to look up. I had just assumed that the subjects offered will be pretty similar but obviously they can be a bit different. Of course we may not have the luxury of an option but she has done extremely well in VR and English at Nonsuch so I should really look at the language options. My DD also claims Food Tech is her favourite subject but I dont know whether she is simply interested in eating the food! She claims she wants to be a GP but she is only 11 and knows nothing of her options!
2outof3, your comments on sport and efeect of catchment have confirmed our instincts. DD will have a long walk to school, the bus routes do not help but I think this is will be much more relaxed than the train/ bus to tiffin.
Also very curious as to the Sixth Form arrangements. As Nonsuch is so close, it would make sense to send her there and go for sixth form in a school further away when we will not worry so much about her travelling. But I know if it is a real exception to leave the school, then DD will not want to.
What is CCF?
Yoyo, the Tiffin orchestra link sounds exciting on the other hand DDs current music teacher goes to Nonsuch, so the transition will be seamless. Although I was wondering whether it is really practical to miss lessons for music in a competitive secondary school.


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