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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 12:59 pm 
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Please do go and visit the grammar schools you are thinking of applying to before you send your DC to sit the exams. It will save you a lot of hassle when trying to decide in what order you should list the schools on your CAF later. There are quite a few parents struggling with their decisions simply because, by their own admission, they have not seen the schools.

I did my first round of grammar school open days in year 4, on my own, just to see what they were like and which of them were worth showing to my DS (plus I didn't really feel like dragging him with me at the time). I liked what I saw, so in year 5 I took him to all of them. Visiting each school twice gave me a chance to ask all those questions I didn't think about during the initial visit and confirm (or otherwise) my first impressions about the schools.

Sutton Grammar's open day is usually in early September, Wilson's and Wallington boys in June/July. Nonsuch (girls) and Wallington girls also have open days in summer.

I am not a big fan of open days, but for me, they were worth the time spent on them and definitely a big factor in prioritising the schools. :)

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Last edited by PurpleDuck on Wed Oct 28, 2015 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 1:15 pm 
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I strongly agree with you purpleduck. Infact we did the same,however took sooo long to priorotise while filling CAF :(


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 1:25 pm 
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Same here, newto11+... If I could, I would have lifted Wilson's campus and dropped it into the middle of Sutton! :lol: It had taken me a couple of evenings agonising over the various commuting options before I submitted the CAF. Glad it's done and dusted!

This forum is a fantastic source of advice and that also helped me enormously in prioritising the schools (I don't know whether there are prizes for Star Contributors, but I think one should go to Ladymuck :D ). I think it works best, though, if the forum info is used as 'supplementary evidence' rather than the only source of information, simply because different people consider different things important. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 2:01 pm 
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Good advice. Please look for all local comprehensives for which you might be eligible too, especially if you live near borough boundaries or the equivalent. A scary number of parents are unaware of nearby comps that produce good results and are surprisingly easy to get to.

If you live in London, no matter how bright your child appears to be, there are no guarantees. Relatively speaking, few children from any neighborhood will get into a super selective and Independents may not seem quite as attractive when you're setting up the standing order to transfer the termly fees.

If you don't put a comp you can get into on your CAF, you risk being allocated somewhere far away and undesirable. It happened, for example, to 150 families in Richmond this year. There were stories in the media about children who would have to travel vast distances to places that aren't even served by direct public transport routes.

Visit comps. Look at their results - don't listen to horror stories about what they were like in the Middle Ages. Form your own view of whether your child could be happy there if push came to shove.

We used post it notes to prioritise our choices pre-CAF. The final six included several comps we'd have been happy with. The unexpected advantage is that it's easy to envisage what school is like for DD's friends who attend other schools.

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Last edited by Stroller on Wed Oct 28, 2015 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 2:10 pm 
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Stroller wrote:
If you don't put a comp you can get into on your CAF, you risk being allocated somewhere far away and undesirable.

Absolutely. We have local comprehensives on our CAF, too, and it took us even longer to prioritise them than grammars, having to take into account the probability of finding ourselves within various catchment areas. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:44 pm 
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Agree with all of the above. Would also add that it's worth keeping an eye on the school websites and if there are events other than open days see if you can attend. You can get a really good feel for how staff interact with pupils. A neighbour kindly took my daughter to see her daughter in a school play when we were trying to get our CAF order sorted last year. In my opinion any contact like that really helps decisions.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:35 pm 
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PurpleDuck wrote:
Same here, newto11+... If I could, I would have lifted Wilson's campus and dropped it into the middle of Sutton! :lol: It had taken me a couple of evenings agonising over the various commuting options before I submitted the CAF. Glad it's done and dusted!

This forum is a fantastic source of advice and that also helped me enormously in prioritising the schools (I don't know whether there are prizes for Star Contributors, but I think one should go to Ladymuck :D ). I think it works best, though, if the forum info is used as 'supplementary evidence' rather than the only source of information, simply because different people consider different things important. :)



Well said Purpleduck. You've given words to my thoughts :)


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 9:25 am 
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Completly agree with you PurpleDuck. We started to look when my DS was in Year 4 and went back in yr5 and 6 to make sure and agree on our choices. Whilst this board is great for feedback and sharing thoughts - essentially selecting a school has to be 'your' choice. You can not go on other peoples feedback as we all look at things differently and have different criteria upon which we make our final selection.

The whole process is very stressful anyway - so start early and break it down in bit size chunks as its a big decision.


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