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 Post subject: PHS vs Nonsuch
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:20 pm 
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Hi, DD is presently in Yr 6, at Putney High School, and has been offered a place at Nonsuch. Of course delighted with her achievement but getting cold feet whether we should make the jump from private to grammar in terms of facilities and reaching potential. Any comments would be really appreciated!!


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 Post subject: Re: PHS vs Nonsuch
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:44 am 
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There are a lot of things to consider here even after you strip away the financial aspect, which I think you are going to have to in order to make a rational decision. We had a similar type of decision last year. One day I thought about it in this way - if we won the lottery (which sadly we haven't) would I send DD to school A or B. there was actually no contest so then it was a case of whether we could afford it.

I believe the decision is very much dependent on the child and there are differences between girls and boys. Friendship issues tend to matter more to girls than boys. Grammars suit self motivated children. They do extra curricular activities but you may well find that because of the nature of the intake, and size of it, these may be more lip service than what your daughter would need.

My eldest is at a grammar and I would not change that. He has home friends and school friends and is not particularly keen to mix those, and never has been. He is not particularly sporty or keen on drama. He is slightly musical but has no need/desire for strong orchestra etc. What he does need, and would get less of at an independent, is very strong academic competition. He is in the upper part of his year group and spends his breaks in the maths or music departments tinkering with his mates and loving every minute of it. Were he at an independent he would probably be forced onto the rugby field, or the like regularly, and hate every second of it and meanwhile he would miss out on the number of academic competitors to bounce ideas off.

DD on the other hand has a much broader skillset. Her friends are very important to her and she is very keen on DT, Drama and the other extra curricular activities that are on offer at an independent. To put her in a more purely academic school would have been wrong I think. What on earth she will do when she leaves school I do not know, but I fully expect it to be something that draws not only on her intellect but also her enthusiasm for other persists, and I would not wish to stifle that at this stage.

I could go on as this is a tricky decision for you, but the bottom line is that the right decision is very much child dependent. Take a big step back from the finance, or imagine you have won the lottery - what would you do then?


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 Post subject: Re: PHS vs Nonsuch
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:55 am 
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As ever, Threekids talks alot of sense :D

Dannyboy, I have two at Nonsuch and for them it's been an excellent school. Academically there isn't much to choose between Nonsuch and Putney. However, if money is no problem (oh to be so lucky!) I agree that you should ask yourself whether your DD will have the same opportunities at Nonsuch as she would at Putney.

I have only ever experienced the state system and within the state system, Nonsuch offers as much as I would ever hope for (and more!) However, I can't directly compare to what another independent school would be able to give. The major difference I can see, however, is in relation to sport. Although Nonsuch is one of the very few state schools that can compete at county level competitions I believe that sport is taken more seriously at independent schools and they seem to have more success at this level.

Having said that, however, there are still many sporting opportunities and depending on how seriously your DD takes it, then it may not be worth paying thousands of pounds a year to just beat the odd school at hockey or something!

Drama is very good now at Nonsuch - whole school productions, and lower and upper school annually and music is very good also.

Bear in mind we are about to get a new head (a man!) so who knows what direction the school will head in the near future.

Good luck with your decision :D


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 Post subject: Re: PHS vs Nonsuch
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:18 pm 
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Hi dannyboy,

The other two posters are right, it depends on what is right for your DD but not knowing her as a person, I can only offer our decision rationale as we were in a similar situation. We moved DD from Sutton High (private primary) to Nonsuch. She was offered a 50 % scholarship at SHS which made the decision difficult as we had got used to paying full fees for the school (as you have no doubt). However, there are several factors that swung us in favour of Nonsuch.
1. DD was academic and we felt SHS would not stretch her enough.
2. Although we could afford the fees at current salary, the world has changed since we put DD in SHS in
Year 2 and were unsure of continuing to earn those salaries.
3. Nonsuch seemed keener on extra curriculars than other grammars.
4. We were walking distance to nonsuch as well as SHS.
Now DD is at Nonsuch, the music opportunities have exceeded our expectations. The sports are only for the best (not my DD) or motivated (my DD). My DD has squeezed into sports fixtures out of sheer persistence. Swimming is only for half a year and not as good as SHS. Academics is suited to my DD. Very disappointed with lottery system for school trips. There are plenty of clubs and it is not considered uncool if you want to go for say, debating club. On balance, very happy with school but may look at going back to private for A levels though DD is very happy and thriving and will not want to change.


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 Post subject: Re: PHS vs Nonsuch
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:28 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:00 pm
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Location: RBK
Could some one also give views on pastoral care in these schools? I am told that this is much better in indies than in most grammars. In fact, one of indies, where we applied, made a big point about pastoral care and being like second parents etc.


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 Post subject: Re: PHS vs Nonsuch
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:16 pm
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There is little doubt in my mind that Pastoral care is much better in general in the Indie sector than the state. We have experienced both and there is a deal of difference. Not all children need significant amounts of Pastoral care though and that should be borne in mind. Locally I have greater annecdotal experience of Nonsuch than any other girls grammar, and I have to say it has not been glowing especially in instances where it really really was required. However one has to remember that the Nonsuch leadership is about to change and with it quite possibly the whole ethos of the school, presumably for the better. You don't generally get rid of a head in the way that they did unless there is something funadamentally wrong, but as we don't know what those things were considered to be we don't know in which order of importance issues will be tackled and whether the school consider that pastoral care is on the hit lit of things to be addressed anyway.

From my own experience - DS1 has required little Pastoral care. He requires guidance. I have absolutely no complaints on that score at his current school and have been very impressed by the gentle way in which he has been encouraged and guided.

DD needs more help. There has been a persistent issue which has been dealt with far more effectivly in the Indie sector than it ever was in the state, though I have to give them their due - they did make some effort but their hands were largely tied in a way that they are not in the Indie sector.

DS2 has needed, and continues to need, a very hands on approach pastorally. This was entirely lacking in the state system. The problems were not only not identified or incorrectly identified they were substantialy exacerbated. We have made great strides forward, but it has required a full team approach for which I am inordinately grateful and more than happy to pay for.

Each child is different and you need to consider their personality, as always, but also it is worth considering the unexpected. A severe illness or death in the family, or similar, would put most children in need of some pastoral care and over a 7 year period you never know what might happen.


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 Post subject: Re: PHS vs Nonsuch
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:07 pm 
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Location: RBK
Thank you, threekids.


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 Post subject: Re: PHS vs Nonsuch
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:35 pm 
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The current Nonsuch leadership team have recently conducted their own survey amongst the pupils about the perceived lack of pastoral care. My DD1 represented her sixth form tutor group and was very vocal in her views :lol: Evidently the school is aware that this has been talked about and are looking into it.

Interestingly, my DD and others expressed the view that when girls felt under pressure, the pressure frequently came from the girls' parents as opposed to from the school itself. However, I am aware (and have posted several times on this forum) that Nonsuch do constantly test the girls and if you don't do well in these tests you are "encouraged" to attend catch up clubs at lunchtimes/after school. Is this unusual for a grammar school - I'm not sure.

If I hear anything about the results of the survey, I'll let you know :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: PHS vs Nonsuch
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:21 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:50 pm
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Thank you every one for your invaluable views and information. DD is very motivated so on that basis thought we could make the switch. Also, even despite being interested in sport and music is not crazy about these activities, however it is pleasing to hear that the drama, sports and music departments are progressing well.
Now just hoping the new head brings in all that is missing from the school, pastoral care, better grades....in case you are wondering still, we have decided to go with Nonsuch..hope and finger's crossed that it is the right choice.


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 Post subject: Re: PHS vs Nonsuch
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:29 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:03 am
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dannyboy,

this is a difficult choice and now you have made it, be confident of your daughter. welcome to what is basically a very happy school.


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