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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:38 pm
Posts: 2083
Location: Maidstone
I am rather new on this indies forum and the UK indies world

I am preparing DD for 11+ and we have some good local gramma BUT the more I read about state vs private and university destinations I am seriously considering independent schools.

Now the school I have very close at heart is Sevenoaks and I really wanted to know a bit more about this school. How diffuicult it is to get in and if we are preparing for the 11+ do we need an additional preparation. Whats the competition like to get in?

Now my second question. IB is really appealling as we just dont know where we maybe in a couple of years (even though we have made UK our home I dont see us spending the rest of our lives here but who knows) IB is a highly portable diploma and also I just love the international flavor which is really close and important to my heart that DD is culturally diverse and learns other languages.

From my little understanding of this Diploma it seems its quite tough compared to A levels. Right now DD loves drama, music and theatre BUT her Dad is in the medical field so he really thinks sciences are the best thing since sliced bread. It seems IB doesnt cater too well in this science area am I right????

Sorry just thought on one more thing I am not sure if its a myth or what BUT I think with indies your child will excel in what she is good at. It doesnt have to be books BUT maybe the full potential of the child will be realised. DD is in state primary school and I am a bit disappointed that the curriculum is very shallow, there isnt much in terms of extra curriculum save for a few stuff run by the teachers who are in most cases amateurs themselves. In my belief I thinks this is where the private excels a bit better offering a wider curriculum. How will my DD know she is good at tennis or playing the piano if she has never got the opportunity. Of course I do have to find some private clubs outside school but its not the same if it was in school....Correct me if I am wrong. I just need a better understanding of the indies


Last edited by sherry_d on Mon Jun 07, 2010 12:36 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:19 pm 
There is no doubting that Sevenoaks is one of the best and most prestigious schools in the country. The competition is fierce and if your DC gets a place then he will do very well there.

Regarding the IB, I have reservations but only because my eldest would not achieve well in the IB. He is very weak at English and Humanities but exceptionally gifted in Maths and Sciences. There are many children who are weak in the sciences but particularly strong linguistically. If my son does A'levels or the Pre-U he will specialise to a high standard but if he does the IB I have been led to believe that each subject contains the same rigour of an AS not and A2. My other son would do exceptionally well with the IB, as he is gifted linguistically and an all-rounder, so I am not anti the IB but I think you should be aware of your child's talents as choosing the IB route could be putting all his academic eggs in one basket. Please also be aware that although the IB has a high UCAS ranking, many important Academics think this is over-inflated and certain scores that are supposedly equivalent to 4 A's at A'level often does not correlate to an acceptance at a top University.

In saying that if you are going to choose an IB school then Sevenoaks, in my opinion, would be the best school to choose. They have an excellent record and more experience in this area than most other schools in this country. It goes without saying that your child will also gain much more than an academic education at Sevenoaks.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:38 pm
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Location: Maidstone
T.i.p.s.y wrote:
The competition is fierce


How fierce is the competition Tipsy. I feel like I am walking of eggshells. :cry:


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:32 pm 
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Location: Warwickshire.
I've just had a quick look at their website, it seems like a lovely school. Go for it!!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:34 pm 
FTB may be along shortly as she has more experience of exact entry requirements.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:40 pm 
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Location: Maidstone
Ed's mum wrote:
I've just had a quick look at their website, it seems like a lovely school. Go for it!!


It really does seem a lovely and diverse school and I just dont want to be too carried away just yet as it seems the competetion is fierce as they are not only attracting kids from this country but also those coming from abroad...I want to know more about their exams and entry requirements so at least DD is well prepared for it. I shall also ring the school for more info


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:03 pm 
I know people with children at Sevenoaks and someone who used to teach there. I would say that overall Sevenoaks is about as difficult to enter as the more selective West Kent grammar schools, although being an independent school it is able to be more subjective in its assessments than the grammars. I imagine that the biggest difference is that a child's written English is much more important than in the Kent test (11+). However there may be more flexibility for a child who excels in one area but is a little weaker in another. Also, extra curricula activities will be of interest and, of course, your DD will be interviewed. In other words they are looking at the whole child. This means they may take one child who might not get into some grammar schools but reject others who would have easily done so.

Since Sevenoaks take children at 13+ as well as 11+ might it be possible to start in a grammar and move in year 9 if you are not happy? If interested in that option you would need to talk to the school about what provision they make for assessing children who are not being prepared for common entrance. Alternatively you could move DD to a good prep school for years 7 and 8.

Some of the state grammars (including TGS for girls) offer the IB. The results are not as good as at Sevenoaks but still pretty impressive. TGS was the top state school in the country for IB results last year, with 2 pupils achieving the maximum possible scores (achieved by 68 pupils worldwide). Also I gather that some girls do transfer from TGS to Sevenoaks for the sixth form.

The "problem" with IB and sciences is that you can only do two sciences (plus maths) and must also take 3 other subjects. At A level you could take a third science (school timetables permitting).

One thing that put me off Sevenoaks school (I live in mid Kent too) was that they have Saturday school. They also have/had a rule that children with more than a 45 minute school journey door-to-door must board. We couldn't quite make it with train frequencies as they are. If you can deal with all that though, I'm sure it's a great school! Certainly the most academic one that takes girls in this neck of the woods.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:11 am 
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Hi, Sherry_d. To follow on from kent99 informative post, our DS is there in Y7, and our DD sits 2nd part of 13+ in three weeks. They do look at the child as a whole, not just results, but the exam results have to be good!

They seem to take proportionately more girls at 11 than 13 (total intake 65-70) and then almost double the year at 13 ( probably about balancing the B:G ratio). Prep school intake (at 13) is through Common Entrance in June, or Scholarship exams in March. There is a separate 13+ exam for those NOT at prep school, involving an assessment day in October (interview, VR/NVR and afternoon 'team player' session, such as a sport), and written exams in February (English, Science, Maths and French).
It is very competitive, and a lot of children are tutored at both levels. It is worth you getting in touch with the registrar for their sample papers, to give you an idea. For 11+ there are written English tasks of comprehension and creative writing, and the science I'm guessing is beyond that which most primary schools will be teaching.
It's a hard road (if you read the posts here, you'll understand the 'traumas' parents and children go through with ANY school transition), and it's no easier doing a second time, I can assure you :? :(
By car I doubt it would take you 45 mins from Maidstone, therefore you may not have to consider boarding, although I understand the day places are more difficult to get.
Their pastoral care is excellent - our son was only 10 when he started, and we were concerned as to how he would cope. Duck to water sums it up :lol: Couldn't wait to go back :) No moans about Saturday school :o
I've everything crossed that my DD doesn't have a 'bad day at the office' on Feb 8th....
I have no idea what my children want to do / specialise in. They are both probably better at Maths and Science than English, but I don't have any undue concerns about them taking IB. There is a wealth of opportunity and scope at schools like Sevenoaks , and I'm sure that the school will bring the best out in them, giving them options they might not otherwise have had.

The head of admissions is a very helpful lady, and always seems willing to talk to prospective parents, so why not explore it further?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:22 am 
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Location: Maidstone
PB Mum wrote:
The head of admissions is a very helpful lady, and always seems willing to talk to prospective parents, so why not explore it further?


Thanks you very much for the information. Infact I just called the school and I must admit that the admissions lady was very nice. I had a list of question I had written down and she answered them all

Among my list of questions was how competetive it was to get in and she said they get about 180 application for 60places and about 20% of these go to international student and she made a caveat that they have more international students who are now British citizens ( i guess like us) and so that takes the number up

What was interesting was she said they are changing the format for the 2011 entrance and right now they dont have any sample papers BUT will have them closer to the time. They will be doing their own tests that will consist of English, Maths and Reasoning test. Not sure what the current format is and how we can prepare for it. In a way I kind of like this as it will be more of a level playing field

Last about Scholarships and Bursaries they say currently they are working at increasing the amount of the bursaries they offer which are up to 100% for low income families. Currently they have two 100% at year 7 but they are looking at offering more and they have loads other buseries which arent 100%

I rang other schools as well Kings School Canterbury and Benendon but it seems Kings only take a handful into 11+ and would mean sitting an exam at 13+ plus I dont quite feel the school. Benendon well Boarding isnt really my top choice BUT will consider it as they say the kids can come home every other weekend as they also have a saturday school. The fees here are a killer and would only go if DD get an academic scholarship and bursary

From you wise people which other schools should I consider. We can move house up to an hour radius from maidstone. The top priority for me is the school must also have a good hit rate for oxbridge and other top universities....

My local Gramma school which we will apply for was the top school in England in 2009 for GCSE look here http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8439641.stm and A levels are as equally impressive. I am just dissappointed that on looking at the school website only 2 student went to oxbridge and 22% got a place in the top 25 Universities....This is why we are seriously considering indies and the other all round extra curriculum activities she will get


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:48 am 
Given the small amount of information you have given about yourself I would avoid Benenden. It is very, very posh and very white and most of the parents are loaded and well connected. I think you would find a better mix at Sevenoaks and Kings.


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