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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:21 pm 
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Hello

We are currently looking at a range of senior independent schools for our DD and have been reading up SPGS. I really like the school so far for various reasons but I have two main concerns:

The first is the dynamics of the different families and what I mean about that is the wealthy families -v- not so wealthy. How is this reflected in school amongst the pupils? Like most families, both of us work really hard so we can put our DD through private education. One salary basically pays for all of DD's education. The fees at SPGS are very high - double what we pay now for prep school.

I understand that there will be a diversity of families and there will be some families that we can relate to. What we don't want is for our DD to miss out on anything or feel that she has to compete. Are there any families on financial assistance/scholarships/bursaries who can understand my concerns?

I could be completely off the scale here and perhaps really out of touch with the reality of things.

The second worry which I am sure many other parents have faced is the commute into London - I cannot imagine my DD doing this commute although ours is very easy. I appreciate it is still an hour door to door and I find this quite daunting! But they are my worries and not my DDs.

Other schools we are considering are St Helens, Northwood, North London Collegiate, and possibly Northwood College although we need to find out more about this school.

I would be be most grateful for your opinions - however harsh they may be.

Thank you for reading!


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 3:08 pm 
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I don't have a DD at SPGS so can't make any detailed comment on the diversity of the school. All I can say, is that the limited contact I've had with girls/ parents from there has been very positive (at sports fixtures mainly) - buzzy, approachable, inclusive etc. Always think they're a great advert for the school. That being said, your question was specifically about economic diversity and those fees are eye-watering (and not even including the textbooks?!) - as any school has only limited bursary & scholarship funds, there will be either a large number of wealthy families, AND/OR a significant number of very stretched families. I'd suspect the answer is somewhere in the middle and that your DD would feel just fine there - SPGS parents can advise better.

The bigger question though is whether the potential additional financial (and commuting) strain is worth it? All school fees increase well beyond inflation each year (I try not look back at what we were paying 10 years ago) and I see that SPGS make a further increase going into 6th form. This all needs to be factored in & if it's a concern now, it'll only get worse! I know plenty of DDs at NLCS - it's a fabulous school and an academic powerhouse to boot. Not cheap but cheaper than SPGS. St Helens is very good indeed - don't know much about Northwood College.

Essentially, any of SPGS, NLCS & SH would give your DD the platform to reach her potential - good on you for thinking about the bigger picture!

Good luck with it all!


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 4:17 pm 
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Thank you so much Baggies4ever

Your reply really has reinforced what I thought. Not sure if commute is worth it. St. Helens is more on our doorstep and I feel will be a more realistic school.

Having said that we have an outstanding very I we subscribed local state school and we are seriously considering that as an option. With only 25 to a class, it is a huge school but everyone under the sun want to go there.

It's going to be a busy time looking at all the schools. Want to look at every possibility.

Thanks again

I look forward to some more replies.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 4:57 pm 
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Definitely apply to the local state school - if it is outstanding, you have nothing to lose and everything (especially ££££) to gain. Never underestimate the power of local friends and local schools - in emergencies, you are on the doorstep etc. An hour sounds like the top end of an acceptable commute - what if there is traffic/problems on the train/buses etc - it could easily become more than that which would limit the accessibility to extra curricular stuff at school. The fees look astronomical and as someone said up thread, they will only go up, each year. Contact the bursar to get an idea of the general percentage increase and to find out in advance about bursaries/scholarships- they like to talk to people before they apply as then, when you do, they know you are serious - but remember that there is no guarantee of a bursary if you are paying fees and one of you loses your job - we do know of people (not at this school) where the school was sympathetic when that happened, but were only able to allow the child to stay until the end of the academic year.

Fundamentally ask yourself if that is the perfect school for your DD. If it isn't, then is it worth the commute and the tight financial issues?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 5:50 pm 
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An amazing reply kenyancowgirl. I wish I didn't feel compelled to sending DD to independent. Local state school does mean local friends, more time to do activities, walking distance to school and less stress overall. Money to spend on good holidays, a new car and tuition as and when it is needed.

Sometimes I feel that all the years we have put into prep, I just don't want her to lose the person she has become. I have read somewhere here that when their DC started state school after prep, they started to lose the way they spoke, their mannerisms and other small things that prep schools instil.

I think this is heading for another conversation, so I shall post again under a new subject.

I will call SPGS and find out about their fee structure and how it changes over the years but having just read these two replies, it kind of makes me feel that I would be very stupid to consider a London independent school paying around £25k a year when I have an outstanding state school that she is likely to get into. Having said that, somewhere like St Helens would cost around £18--20k a year with all the extras.

We all want the best don't we but sometimes we can't see the wood for the trees!

Thanks kenyacowgirl.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 6:15 pm 
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Prep schools are not the only places where students learn things! I am guessing that you might be at Reddiford prep if you are near St Helens. I can guarantee that if you sat in a class of students working towards 11 plus you would not be able to tell which were the preps and which were the ones coming from state schools.

Why do you feel compelled to send your dd to private school?

Personally I don't think SPGS is worth the money or the commute and I know quite a few students who got a place this year who will be turning it down for HBS if they get a place next week.

In my opinion Habs and City are the two private schools that are worth aiming for. My experience of both has been that who you are is much more important than how much money your parents have. DG


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 7:02 pm 
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LegoFriends wrote:
I have read somewhere here that when their DC started state school after prep, they started to lose the way they spoke, their mannerisms and other small things that prep schools instil.


I don't know how to put this in a sincerely constructive and non-inflammatory way, but if you have this view that your DC is at risk of having a state school ruin some sort of polish that you believe the private side guarantees, it is indeed probably best to keep to indies.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 7:46 pm 
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adelante wrote:
LegoFriends wrote:
I have read somewhere here that when their DC started state school after prep, they started to lose the way they spoke, their mannerisms and other small things that prep schools instil.


I don't know how to put this in a sincerely constructive and non-inflammatory way, but if you have this view that your DC is at risk of having a state school ruin some sort of polish that you believe the private side guarantees, it is indeed probably best to keep to indies.


+1, adelante. I, too, found it offensive. Hand on heart, we did not choose SPGS (or forgo a place at HBS) due to any consideration of how DD would be taught to speak or her mannerism (or those of classmates at either school).


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:19 pm 
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Legofriends,

An outstanding state school will be attractive to positive parents - parents who respect education and push for it to be great - chances are it is a relatively affluent area and I suspect that there will be number of children there from the independent sector - parents aren't daft - if they can get a great education free, they will - a lot of outstanding state schools are actually leaps and bounds better than independents!! We always said that those lovely whizzy facilities are great and attractive to the parents but completely irrelevant if the child has no interest in the Olympic swimming pool, for example! There are times to try and keep up with the Jones's and times to forge out and do what is best for your own child - if that is a particular independent school because it offers the musical instrument she plays or whatever, fair enough - but if it is just because that is what you are used to, then I think you have to seriously consider an outstanding state school - they are almost rare as hen's teeth!

Getting exposure to a range of people is no bad thing - a state school will offer this - it's closer to real life and you can't protect them in a bubble forever. And, so what if your child becomes a bit more individual? Clones who speak and think the same don't set the world alight!

A friend of mine's son went from private prep to state secondary; not even an outstanding one but good with outstanding features. The rationale? He got a similar education in a slightly scruffier environment but when they studied about Egypt, the dad was able to take him there for a long weekend to see the pyramids for himself - they had "spare" money that enabled them to contribute to the educational experience in spades and meant the whole family could enjoy it.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:32 pm 
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LegoFriends wrote:
Sometimes I feel that all the years we have put into prep, I just don't want her to lose the person she has become. I have read somewhere here that when their DC started state school after prep, they started to lose the way they spoke, their mannerisms and other small things that prep schools instil.
Thanks kenyacowgirl.

I have done state primary then indie secondary. Trust me, the good that is instilled comes from the parents, not a private or a state school, there are ghastly in both.
WRT your OP, Friends with kids at SPGS, lots of free places, paid for by huge fees from elsewhere, not much in between and it has become a real struggle as the fees have risen to accommodate their laudable aim of being needs blind. Both sets of parents are happy, one fee paying one free place, both very poor though, one way or the other. As for the travel, definitely not worth it for a half decent local alternative, be it state or private

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