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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:42 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:15 am
Posts: 7
Hi everyone

My DS passed the grammar school tests and has now been called for an interview at KES though he has not been offered a place yet but I am really confused that if they do offer him what should we choose a grammar school or an Indie.

Please advise soon.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:53 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
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Would suggest that if you can wait until after the GS allocations come out in March then it is worth waiting to see what you get and then decide between the schools. Might get the chance to visit both schools again and this may help the decision

Indies are expensive unless you have a n AP or scholarship and there is always university to fund :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:57 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 8:37 pm
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If you really like the grammar, I think there's no contest. I'd choose the grammar. You will have so much extra money to spend on extra-curriculars, holidays, theatre trips.

Having said that, we've opted for indies. The nearest grammar is very highly thought of but didn't feel at all right for DS. And the next nearest grammars we fell for but DH hated the area they were in and we'd have had to move. So we went for indies. I'm already lamenting the theatre trips and holidays...


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:07 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:00 pm
Posts: 5418
Location: RBK
If DS can get into either of these, then I suppose lot depends on finances. If one has large income/savings/family trust/wealthy relatives/eligible for bursary, then indies do seems irresistable.

Otherwise, take the grammar route. Quality education but economical on the frills. You would also not need to change the car every year. :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 8:02 pm
Posts: 160
Like menagerie we had the choice of a highly sought over grammar or our first choice inde. We chose inde. If you search back on the forum there are other threads covering this question.
Our children are thriving. The fees are hideous and not easy to find for many people, but it's worth for us to see the children having opportunities that we didn't.
I doubt you can wait for the grammar allocation date, top indes release offers during half term and we had to accept before the local allocation date. These top inde schools are not a back up choice, they are a first choice for many. You need to weigh up for yourself whether the inde in question offers your child the kind of education you desire for your child or whether in reality he could get that at the local grammar. Its not helpful to generalise as there are good and bad in every category of school. Good luck with your decision.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:48 am 
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Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 8:37 pm
Posts: 577
I agree with yummie. If you can afford an independent school, then the only question should be: which school is best for my child? (Caveat - if you can't afford private education for all children, then think hard. I know people who thought somehow the money would materialise by the time the second and third borns reached school age, but it didn't. That's tough - it can make younger siblings feel second best.)
If he hadn't the option to go private, I'd probably have pushed hard for the nearest grammar, or more likely, steamrollered my husband into moving to an area he disliked for eight years, so we were near the three Sutton grammars. Glad not to have had to. Far and away our favourite schools were independents.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 2:21 pm
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I'm finding this really difficult as well so hopefully I can butt in too :D

What is it that you actually get at an independent that you don't get at the best grammars?

For example, my DS may get a place at grammar on 01 March and has had one offer for an independent already and fingers crossed for one other (had interview already.) Now the grammar's results are comparable to one of the independent's and significantly better than the other. I appreciate, however, that there is sooooooo much more to education than the bit of paper you get at the end. So what is it that the grammars are missing? Obviously facilities - no swimming pool (though my DD's grammar has one :D ) no purpose built theatre etc, but you must be paying for more than that?

The only thing I can compare with is my own experience and I went to a grammar and my DDs go to a grammar. They have really good facilities, CCF, fabulous music opportunities, they've been on several trips abroad, oldest does debating, young enterprise etc and I just can't see what else they would get at an independent that they're not getting there. Maybe it's the "love of learning" thing that crops up. Oldest has a string of A* at gcse but can't say that she loves learning to be honest :lol:

I just can't put my finger on it and really need to and soon :shock:


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:28 am 
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Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 8:02 pm
Posts: 160
2out of3 - for me it was the freedom to be an academic kind of child where that wouldn't be 'uncool' or geeky. I can only speak for the Indes and grammars I have experience of though and all will be different. My son is 'amazingly to us' always striving to get top marks. This is so different to how he was even at our state primary. By year 6 being top academically was deeply uncool. My son didn't give a hoot. I know what would have happened at our local grammar, he would have cruised along. I have kept in touch with his ex mates mums and many are doing just enough. Not all children would fall into this category, but my son would have. At the inde we chose my DSs friends have amazing and varied passions which are accepted by the other boys. They are given a lot of gentle guidance re their behaviour/attitudes/moral compass.
The other major reason for us was the pastoral care record at our chosen inde and the time that teachers are given outside of teaching to deal with pastoral issues. I have friends who teach at local grammars and at indes and this is the big difference. I am sure in the maintained sector teachers would love to have more time to devote to pastoral matters/communication etc, but they don't have as much as they need.
I do like the fact that all the extracurric is done at school, but if you are prepared to drive your DCs and have the time then you can find this elsewhere. The access to careers advice, lectures to add on to the syllabus work and HE advice will be a bonus when we come to that stage. The results are really a small part of the decision.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:38 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:44 am
Posts: 1390
Location: Reading
for our 2 options:

the results are comparable - the GS does better but is much more selective so the value add is probably not dissimilar
both have pools
both struggle with little outside space
music at Indie is fantastic, I have heard less positive things about GS
drama good at Indie, I have heard less positive things about GS
mission statement for Indie includes words like 'happy' and 'well being', GS is more 'success' and 'achievements'
Indie does DofE (in fact has just become a testing centre), GS does not
Extra curricular choice generally seems broader at Indie
More trips offered by Indie but can be very expensive

generally a good range of broadening, non academic offerings at Indie but whether they are worth £12k plus per year?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:48 am 
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Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 8:02 pm
Posts: 160
Hi Reading Mum,
It is well worth it for us. The teenage years are not easy and any help in navigating them smoothly with a 'happy' young adult at the end is most welcome! The comments re music struck a chord, my son is still paying both his instruments and is still in orchestras/ensembles etc at his Inde. He also does loads of drama, CCF, sport etc because he can fit it all in at school. I know some of this is on offer at our local GS, but I'm not sure my son would have perceived it as 'cool' to be involved. Some children are happy to be different and confident to just be who they are, but I knew that for my son he would have picked up on what other boys thought. Hence I suspect that the music/drama would have fizzled out by now. In our local GS you only really achieve kudos if you are in the rugby team, not my son's thing at all. Luckily at his school he has had the chance to try lost of sports and has found one he loves. Not an easy choice, and not easy financially, but we're happy that our DCs schools suit them. It's quite common where we live to have three children at three different schools, sometimes a mix of inde and GS. There is no approach that suits ALL children IMO.


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