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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:12 pm 
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I'm looking for recommendations of independent girls schools in the West Kent/East Sussex area for entry at 11+. (I would also consider Co-Ed, although it would probably not be my first choice.)

My DD will be transferring from a state primary because she is unlikely to pass 11+, so it would have to be either a non-selective school or one that would be willing to take a child who is not an academic high flier (although, obviously as her mother, I think she is completely amazing!).

Ideally, I am looking for a nurturing environment where she will not feel pressured or 'hot-housed' in any way. I would love her to go to a school that will develop her strengths and support her weaknesses, rather than just force her to try to conform to the usual educational model of getting 10 A*s at GCSE.

I would definitely consider a Steiner school, although I have read a lot of negative posts about these schools in other forums.

I'd love to hear people's thoughts, since everyone on this site seems so well-informed!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:50 pm 
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Have you looked at the (all-girl) options in / around Sevenoaks, where you have Walthamstow Hall (selective, but attainable) and Combe Bank (selective, but less academic). There are a number of girls at both who travel from TW area (and there are coaches).


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:30 pm 
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There's also Kent College and Mayfield - both all girls. Beechwood (?) in TW and Lingfield Notre Dame are both mixed. Heard good things about all of them.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:16 pm 
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Combe Bank in Sundridge has an entrance exam but I don't think really describes itself as selective (I'm not sure what the exam is for in reality - probably to screen out severe learning difficulties, and to award scholarships?). It has a new head, so things may have changed recently but my impressions prior to that of the senior school (and I could be very wrong) is that they get impressively good results from a majority of average or below average girls (with a few academic ones who they are lucky stick with it) and this is by thoroughly plugging away at the syllabus meticulously, with not much added of an extra curricular nature. Certainly at one time half the stuff described in the online prospectus did not happen in reality.

All this may have changed under the new head so please do check it out for yourself (and beyond 13 as girls who can leave at 13 for the more selective independents).


Walthamstow Hall - do kids who are not of 11+ standard get in there? If they do, my impression would be that this schools might be a better option?

Are you sure that some of the non-selective Kent schools might not suit? Bradbourne girls is very popular at the moment, and so is Hillview. Also the top kids at Hugh Christie do surprisingly well and are prized posessions there in a way they might not be at a more selective school.

I think some of these not particularly academic independent schools exist in Kent because some people whose children have not passed the 11+ want to pay for their children to be with other children whose parents want to pay for their children, not because the school is offering anything that spectacular for the money (other than the building and the friends' houses!). I'm sure this does not apply to all of them, and please don't misinterpret me as I like schools from all sectors and was independently educated myself.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:19 pm 
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Oh and if you were willing to go down the state route what about the church non-selectives - Bennet Memorial and St Gregs?


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:14 am 
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Thanks so much to everyone for your suggestions.

PB Mum: I've had mixed reports about WH, so we discounted that, also on the grounds that it is selective, although it is interesting to hear you say it is 'attainable' - I assume you mean DDs who fail the 11+ get in?

I had thought CB was selective, so good to hear that's a possibility, although I am really looking for a place that doesn't just plug away at the academics, so from what you describe, Mystery, that might not be ideal.

Kent College is also selective, and I've heard their entrance exam isn't much easier than the 11+. However, people I know whose DCs go there rave about it, so we will definitely explore it as a possibility. Apparently, sometimes you just have to agree to pay for extra coaching in the areas of your DD's weakness and they will take you. We'll see!

Thanks for other suggestions. Keen to hear from anyone with DCs there.

Re: State Schools - I'm not a snob about state education at all (DD is at a state primary), so if I could find the right fit, that would be fine by me.

However, we have no hope of getting into Bennett or St G's, as our DD isn't even baptised! And you know how it is with those schools: you have to have been attending church every Sunday for about 10 years and have a note from the priest/vicar to prove it. Also, I know a few people who have pulled their kids from St G's and moved them to indies, as they thought it was pretty awful.

Bradbourne Girls hadn't occurred to me, though, so thanks for that suggestion! Do you need to be in catchment?

Thanks again!


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 10:59 am 
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Hi TW Mum.

Bradbourne Girls is joining with Wildernesse ( boys non selective) to become the Knole Academy from September. It will therefore be co-ed which you say is not your first choice. Bradbourne has a much better reputation than Wildernesse and according to the local paper parents of girls are very concerned about the outcome of merging the two schools. You might want to look into this. Hopefully it will all work out but I thought you should be aware.

RE WH. I certainly know of girls going there who chose it because they weren't 11+ candidates. I also know of one girl who had it as her backup in case she didn't pass the 11+. Therefore I assume it is not hugely academic. But I have no personal experience.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:56 pm 
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Thanks Twinkle: I was not aware of that situation with the Bradbourne/Wildernesse merger, and I must say I'm not sure I feel 100% happy with the idea, so thanks very much for the heads up!

Interesting what you say about WH, so maybe one to explore further along with CB and KC - probably my preferred option, but not sure she can get in.

Oh, why do I find the whole thing so overwhelming!


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