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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 3:14 pm 
I have a dauughter who is of average intelligence. We live in an area where the state schools are horrific. Are there any independent schools in North London which aren't selective? Please help!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 3:27 pm 
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There are many independent schools which take kids of average intelligence. Most schools do have some sort of test - I assume to weed out kids with special needs but you don't have to be super intelligent to get in. I suggest visiting your local library where they should have various directories that can help you - make a list of the schools in your area and check them out via the internet etc. Phone and visit as many as you can.

You could also try looking for independent schools in North London via a search engine. However there are a lot of rubbish websites out there. I also find that schools can be less than honest in advertising themselves and what they offer. If you have a specific area in mind, post on that part of the forum - perhaps someone can recommend.

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 4:33 pm 
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High - depends what you mean by average. Strictly 50% are above average and 50% below average. Grammar schools take top 15-25% of ability, (some independents try to take top 5% but few manage it because of competition from elsewehere. )

I take it that your think your daughter would not get into grammar school but if you are describing her as average then she probably lies in the next 50% band ie between 25 and 75% - huge band - lots and lots of kids, so YES there are plenty of independent schools who take "average " children - they nearly all have an exam of some sort but some exams (like CSEs... and some of university stats exams ) are difficult to fail.

Anyway - upshot is that when lookng at websites, look out for places that pride themselves in encouraging "full potential" "wide range of activities" "small classes" etc.
If you register I'll OM you with a list of schools (outside London - I admit) that I know lots of kids who have not felt that they wanted to take 11+ or get involved in v selective schools have gone to and been v happy - have a look at those websites and see what they say.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 6:02 pm 
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But remember that independent does not necessarily mean good. And what looks on the surface like a dreadful state school may have a lot of good points, and a lot of "extras" can be bought with the money that would be eaten up by school fees


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 6:14 pm 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi Worried Mum

As a starting point you could go to:

http://www.isc.co.uk/index.php/1

You can search by area and girls senior schools. You will obviously then need to research each school for their entrance requirements, but the site claims to represent 1300 of the 2000 independent schools in the UK, so it's worth a look.

Sally-Anne


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:48 am 
I remember using Gabbitas to advise on private schools a few years back. At the time they offered free advice on schools fitting our criteria. Suggest you check whether they still do that.


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 12:16 pm 
Hi,

I had the same concerns as you (worried mum). My 5 children were all at our local state primary and four of them are still there. My eldest son went on to the local secondary school and having achieved in all areas at his junior school proceeded to go rapidly down hill largely because of big classes ,disruptive children and him wanting to follow the crowd. We made the decision that we would move him to the private sector knowing full well that most of the selective schools around here wouldn't look twice at a child whose abiliity appeared to plateau (and decline) in year 7. Our first choice school was too expensive and had no places. Ou second choice also had no places. The third was a new school which boasted "we will take any child as long as we can meet their needs". There was apparantley no formal entrance exam . We went and had alook at the school. We were impressed and decided that perhaps this could be the right school for all of our children.
We had a meeting with the headmaster explaining how our son had done so well at junior school leaving with all Level 5's and contributing to the school in many different ways through his involvment in sport music and drama. He then told us that he would need to sit an assessment. We were nervous for our son about this since he had had no preparation at all but were reassured by the headmaster that their "tiered entry system meant that if a child fell down academicall y all was not lost as they could be pulled up a tier by other skills i.e sport music drama or other similar abilities. We were reassured by this. My son went in the following week to sit the assessment which he said that he found really hard. We reassured him. He was then invited in to spend a day the following week a sign that we felt meant that he must have been successful so far. He came away from that day absolutely elated. He loved everything about the school and was highly excited (as we were). We then received an email the following morning to say that, following the assessment ,unfortunately they could not offer him a place.

As you can imagine we were absolutely devastated. We had not seen this coming at all. We rang straight away to ask why. Of course the headmaster was too busy to see us all week and we had to wait until the Friday to see him. We were told that his assessment had been disappointing and they felt that they would not be able to support his learning. (This is a child who left Junior school with a reading age of 14years 9 months ) We had spoken at length to boththe registrar and the headmaster about the concerns we had about our sons lack of progress since starting senior school and were so disappointed that they had not taken anything we had said in to consideration. The headmaster then went on to belittle all our son's other achievments on the sporting front saying "there is more to life than rugby" and "I know he did a bit of drama "
The bottom line was that they had invited our son to come and spend a day at the school when thay had already made up their minds that he wasn't good enough and this I think was unforgivable and bordering on cruel!!
As a mother I felt hugely emotional and of course all the things I wanted to say at the meeting I just couldn't for fear of bursting in to tears!!

Gosh this is a long story! Sorry if I am boring you. MY point is that do not be lulled into a false sense of security by these schools. This school obviously cares more about their results than they like to admit. We were attracted be the "rounded education " it claimed to offer and it let us down hugely.

It all turned out for the best in the end as it happens. We decided to bite the bullet and register all our children for our first choice school(known for its excellence in sport which our son loves) in spite of us knowing they were academically selective (at least they were honest about it) Our eldest son sat the entrance exam in January along with the next one down who is in Year 6. He had a 1 hour English paper and a 1 hour Maths paper. He was offered a place the following week(so was the younger one) as someone unexpectedly left . He is thriving there and is catching up quickly.

Has anyone else had a similar experience at a school? It took us months to get over this!!


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 12:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 12:31 pm
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Location: south
Have just given myself a name . I am the guest above . Just to avoid any confusion.


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 12:42 pm 
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Hi Nell

Sounds like an awful experience - glad you got sorted out in the end though.
I have come across some rather pompous behaviour - in some ways similar to the experience you had where schools promise a lot, then don't offer a place. then when they can't get the number of kids they want they "graciously" turn round to offer a place.

One set of parents I know had this happen and just replied (with great delight) "you are no longer our first choice of school ..... "

Herman


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 12:51 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 12:31 pm
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Location: south
How wonderfully satisfying !!
I have draughted 3 or 4 letters to the school in complaint of our treatment but still haven't sent any of them as I feel it would be a bit sour grapes.I still need a bit more time to calm down about the whole fiasco I do feel it is important to let the school know ones opinions though as it may stop them from treating someone else so appalingly so I will send it this term.

Does anyone think that our experience was unusual or is this the way people are treated?


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