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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:55 am 
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My son recently sat the 11+ exam for Royal Russell and was offered a place. He is at a good prep school which goes on to 13. He has a high IQ but has been diagnosed as dyslexic because he has slow processing. He is doing well in all subjects at school except maths where he finds word based problem solving questions, in particular, difficult. He hasn't covered the 11+ maths syllabus at his school as they prep for 13+ only and we did very little prep at home. He scored just below 50% in his 11+ maths papers which was not high enough for some of the other more academic Croydon schools like Trinity.
We are thinking about accepting RR as they seem to be understanding of the needs of dyslexic children and have good learning support (at a price), but their academic results seem to be poorer than many good state comprehensives and I am concerned about that as my son is very enthusiastic about learning, needs intellectual stimulation and is used to having a wide range of extra curricular activities and great sports at his current school. RR does seem a bit boring comparing to Trinity and Whitgift but I don't have any personal experience of the school and appearances are not everything.
I don't know whether to keep him at his current school and brush up on his maths over the next year or two and then try Trinity/Whitgift/Dulwich College at 12 or 13 or move him to RR in September to start Year 7. Any thoughts would be really useful as I am in a complete state of confusion at the moment!
Also if anyone has any thoughts on St Dunstans in Catford that would be appreciated although they don't seem to have any specific learning support at all at the moment.
Thanks


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:33 pm 
I would keep him at his current school for now and see how he develops in the next two years. I would also consider some form of maths tutoring but not by an 11+ tutor. You need someone who can go back to basics with him and gain his confidence and hopefully help him to enjoy maths not just get through an exam.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:47 pm 
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I would be wary about Whitgift and Trinity at 13+ as they have very few places at that stage. Dulwich is different as they have a proper intake at 13. The number of places available also changes year on year. Whitgift only had 5 places this year as they had too many 11+ acceptances two years ago. The Whitgift headmaster does not like 13+ entry.

You should also consider that he will not be able to pick up a new language at Trinity at 13+ - he can only continue with the languages he has studied up to that point. Whitgift will only allow Italian or Greek as a new language at that stage.

When you say RR's results are worse than the Comps which schools are you comparing it with? Are they Comps that you actually could get a place at or are you looking at places like Coloma which have amazing results.

RR has a reputation for being good with children who have various difficulties and my impression was that it is a lovely, welcoming place - it also has girls which could be a positive for your ds in years to come!! :)

I went to visit St Dunstans and, frankly, I hated it. It is right on the South Circular and struck me as cramped and grim. All of the children I saw were untidy and quite loud. The sofas in the reception area were torn and the floor was dirty. I thought that if they couldn't even be bothered to get that bit right than what does that say about the school in general?

If your ds enjoys his prep school then it may be the best place for him but do bear in mind the caveats above. Good luck! :)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:48 pm 
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Tricky - and I am afraid I don't know South London schools so can't help in that regard. The only advice I would have is to talk to your current school and get their view - if you haven't done so already. Do they feel that he is likely to do better at the 13+ stage? if so, why? (i.e.. make sure they are not just advising you to keep him there to keep a bum on seat.)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:03 pm 
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My own experience of St. Dunstans is that it is a forward thinking and happy place where the kids are very switched on and the staff are extremely personable. It ticks the right academic and sporting boxes as well. The building facade is rather gothic which some find a further attraction and others may interpret as "grim". Catford is of course very urban.

Please also note a comment from last year :

viewtopic.php?p=104444


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:16 pm 
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Hi -and thanks to everyone that has posted a reply - really appreciate it.

I kind of felt the same way about St Dunstan's!

Re Whitgift and Trinity, I hear what you say re 13+ entry so I may also look at other schools further afield that have a proper 13+ entry.

I do feel that he is a bright boy that just needs good maths teaching - so staying for another 2 years at his current school will allow him to develop in that subject.

Still have some doubts re Royal Russell but I can't put my finger on it. They don't seem to have updated the website for a good many years - are they technophobic or just short of cash?! They only do French and Spanish as language options (no Latin or German). Lots of space but not a lot of investment in sports facilities. Maybe all of this is just irrelevant to my son's happiness but I do think its rather expensive given what you get.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:45 pm 
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southlondonmum wrote:
Still have some doubts re Royal Russell but I can't put my finger on it.


I think this is your answer, if you are doubting the school then I dont think you should go for it especially when you are going to be spending quite a bit of money but then again you will have to look at what choices will be there for him 13+. Will you still be able to apply at Russell Hall at 13+ if so then maybe you could turn it down and reapply for 13+ entry if your feelings for the school have changed. Also in the meantime it maybe worth calling the whitgift and trinity and find out how many they took this year or last year at 13+ and how many had applied just to give you some idea of your chances.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:50 pm 
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Yes good idea Sherry d. I think it is likelier to be easier to get into RR at 13 than Whitgift or Trinity.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:53 pm 
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I love the way different people can visit the same school and have vastly different views of it!! I'm sure lots of people think St Dunstans is a fantastic school and lots of their children do really well there. Different strokes etc etc. :D :D

RR did have huge financial problems many, many years ago (in the 1970s I think) so I would expect them to be a bit more on the ball money-wise these days. However, they have invested masses in the new drama facility which may mean that they can't pay for much else for the next few years! I'm always surprised that it is more expensive than Trinity but they do have quite a few boarders from overseas who can easily pay.

Ds is not sporty so I didn't pay any attention to the sporting facilities! :D

I don't think it is a hugely academic school. A friend with a very bright daughter at RR says that, in retrospect it wasn't the right choice for her. However, for a child who isn't top of the class I think it is still a good choice.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:56 pm 
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southlondonmum wrote:
I think it is likelier to be easier to get into RR at 13 than Whitgift or Trinity.


You just may never know , I was suprised one school I telephoned which is high on the league tables of sending kids to top universities which I thought would be very hard to get in had 15places and 20people had applied. So its worth just finding out. However from this forum trinity and whitgift seem HIGHLY popular for the 11+ entry and that may well be for the 13+

Are there many prep schools in the area that leave at 13+ because that may mean competition will still be high at 13+?

LazyDasy seem to have a better idea of the schools


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