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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:34 pm 
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Hi

DD was offered a place in year 7 by Henrietta Barnet. She was also invited to interviews to the 5 indies that we applied for and is fairly confident that schools such as North London Collegiate, St Paul Girls and City of London will also offer her a place.

It is now decision time between grammer and indies. I have heard from reliable sources that certain elite non Oxbridge universities prefer to take on students from a state school background, possible reasons could be:

(1) the 11+ exams are more rigorous and competitive than common entrance ones
(2) pressure on universities by the government to accept more state school students
(3) grammer schools produce students with natural talents whereas indies train students to pass exams and get through uni interviews

Does anyone have any view or thoughts about the above please? All replies are much appreciated.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:50 pm 
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If point (1) is true then grammar school students will be at a disadvantage if they do not produce a crop of A* at A'level. The GS tests are more competitive but that does not mean the pool of students are a higher calibre. Many prep schools would deter children below the top 10% from applying to very selective independents whereas many GS have children well above and well below the national average applying.

Point(2) Stuff universities imo and focus on what is right for your DD and your family. HB is a good school and will save you a fortune.

Point(3) Personally, I think it is the other way around, especially if you are comparing like for like in selection. There are non-selective independent schools which may do this but on the whole it seems to be that the average state comps teach to the exam, allow resits and don't give their pupils opportunities to think outside the box.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:37 am 
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If you read the small print you will find that they are trying to get more poor "free school meals" children into universities from failing inner city comprehensives, not more middle class children from state grammars who got lots of expensive holidays with the money their parents saved on school fees!
Recent presentations from headteachers I have attended have suggested that elite Unis may go private. They also think more students will go to Europe, and more European unis are offering courses in spoken English. American unis are already marketing directly to English school students. Here starts the great brain drain.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:53 pm 
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Agreed, 'doingmybest.' The OP was presumably referring to universties such as Bristol, to whom attendance at a GS would be much the same as an Indie - that is, the preserve of the affluent middle classes.

When they use the term 'state school' they do not mean the GS where middle class children are getting an education comparable to, if not better than, that provided at an Indie. They mean a comprehensive.

It has been a very long time - maybe 20 years - since GS were the means by which poor children were able to climb the ladder out of poverty. Unis like Bristol are perfectly well aware that nowadays, GS children are just as likely to be privileged, and certainly just as likely to be coached, as Indie ones.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:48 pm 
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At Edinburgh last term the admissions officer was quite clear. An applicant's results at GCSE and at AS/A/Highers are measured against that of their school and so if you go "to a poorly performing indie you are in a better position than a high achieving state or indie school in terms of what grades they will be looking for". They also said they looked at where you took your GCSEs and measure accordingly for that even if you move school.

OH's godson is at a banded comp and has just had an offer for a course at Durham which is significantly lower than the same course's offer to a girl at dd's academic indie. On the other hand his chances of making it are less - so it seems perfectly fair.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:08 pm 
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(3) grammer schools produce students with natural talents whereas indies train students to pass exams and get through uni interviews


Absolutely 100% disagree with this. I am quite concerned actually that you have come to this view. The reason I rejected a Grammar school for my DD even though she achieved full marks in the 11+ was that the inde would produce a much more rounded person-academically, socially and intellectually. Three years down the line I have no regrets whatsoever.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:28 pm 
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yes I do rather agree with that too. I think indies often do preparation for interview well (not that interviews actually happen at many unis beyond Oxbridge) but I don't believe HBS and similar schools don't. Good schools of whatever hue should be teaching beyond the curriculum and beyond the box ticking but it's very hard these days given how prescriptive marking is. I would also argue that excelling in VR at 11+ is no more a guarantee of ability in essay based or science subjects than getting into good indies.

Indies can also offer a lot of opportunities. I don't believe that all the extra curricular activities are a huge help in terms of uni entrance - they aren't really what top universities are interested in. However looking ahead to the work place they offer some real advantages and skills.

At dd's indie there is huge interest in US unis this year - and at looking to Europe though not all European unis and courses are that fantastic sadly. Agree about the braindrain DoingMYBest.

Given that there may well be no cap on fees by the time the current year 6s are applying (and it's bad enough looking ahead to next year at the moment) saving the money might well be the most sensible way to make the decision.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:24 pm 
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Thank you all for your replies and pms.

DD received firm offers from all 5 indies - North London C, St Pauls, Hab girl, City and St Helens. St Helens also offered a 50% scholarship which sadly is very likely to be turned down by us as the school is not as academically excellent as others.

It now looks like a 3 horse race between St Pauls, North London and Henrietta.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:35 pm 
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vp wrote:
(1) the 11+ exams are more rigorous and competitive than common entrance ones
(2) pressure on universities by the government to accept more state school students
(3) grammer schools produce students with natural talents whereas indies train students to pass exams and get through uni interviews


Why is grammar misspelt so often in this forum? Or is there a variant I am unaware of ?

Search found 895 matches
Search term used: grammer

(Now I have to be really careful when I type this post)

(1) No. Less rigorous, as some only do VR/NVR with little scope for expression. More competitive as so many do them, but arguably the standard is more wide-ranging.

(2)Only to get their funding. Most universities depend on foreign students. Universities don't care where you come from.

(3) No way! Most grammar pupils simply work to exams and curriculums. Most independents look beyond the examinations, especially at GCSE level. As for university interviews, many offer places without an interview, including UCL, so I don't see that you even have to get through them.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:47 pm 
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Hey VP find ourselves in the situation HBS, NLCS or St Pauls propably going to lodge HBS (list waiters will be glad to hear) reason being I think they are going to feel the squeeze more than they think, a present parent told me that recently certain sections of parents were not pulling their weight and not getting involved in PTA and fundraising events which is crucial for the school t compete with the indies.Still cannot decide between the other two though..


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