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 Post subject: Which School?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:49 am
Posts: 81
Location: London
Right... I've decided to go for it and ask "the question"!

I am interested in four schools - all unashamedly academic I've been to all four and each has something to offer.

Colchester Royal Grammar School - good results and obviously free, but am not sure if its Oxbridge entrants are those that join in the sixth form from abroad (and girls), and being state it can't do certain exams that the independent schools offer.


Winchester- high Oxbridge and single-sex (which I prefer) and in a nice area but I've heard its full of "quirky" boys

Westminster - same as Winchester but don't know if its full of pushy parents, and boarding isn't great and I'm not convinced about them being in London schools from the age of 3 when there are country options.

Eton - as Winchester but has a positive/negative reputation depending on who your talking to.

I know this is a little similar to Tipsy's post, but you'd be amazed at how many prep school heads tell parents of bright boys that they should make a choice from the bottom three. So if anyone has any experience of these I'd be most grateful. I'd also like to know how grammar school kids do at uni and in their careers, so if there are any recent graduates that would be helpful too.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:38 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:12 pm
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Location: Birmingham
No experience of the schools, but I know from correspondence on the Warwick forum that Eton College (along with Bedford School and Marlborough College) are planning to switch to a full bespoke Digital entrance test written by the Univeristy of Durham CEM.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:41 pm 
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What exams do independents do that state schools don't? I thougth they all did GCSEs and A levels and everything?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:49 pm 
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Location: Barnet, Herts
some independent schools do IGSCE .


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:50 pm 
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katel wrote:
What exams do independents do that state schools don't? I thougth they all did GCSEs and A levels and everything?


Most do the IGCSE, which isn't that important, but the top performing public schools are switching to the Pre-U (designed by Cambridge) from this September (post 16 qualification). I can't imagine private schoolsthey'd would touch the vocational diploma either and although its not compulsory in state schools now, it may well be if Labour stays in.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:31 pm 
Nothing helpful to say, I'm afraid, but I am a bit stunned to hear that someone who has those three great schools within their financial reach would even consider a grammar school, however good it might be (no idea how good this one is.) This is not a criticism of any kind of school, my children have attended every type during the course of their careers, but if I had been able to get them through the hallowed portals of any of these three establishments I would have done.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:38 pm 
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Location: London
KES Parent wrote:
Nothing helpful to say, I'm afraid, but I am a bit stunned to hear that someone who has those three great schools within their financial reach would even consider a grammar school, however good it might be (no idea how good this one is.) This is not a criticism of any kind of school, my children have attended every type during the course of their careers, but if I had been able to get them through the hallowed portals of any of these three establishments I would have done.


Well at the moment we can, but if our circumstances were to change I worry that we could have gone for a safer option, financially. There is a chance that my son may get a scholarship but they are now only valued at 10% remission. Up to a couple of years ago the scholarship was worth 50%, and then that seemed good value for money. How much value does a top independent school add compared to a top grammar school?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:40 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:47 am
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Location: Warwickshire.
Welcome to the forum monstermunch!

Well...what a fantastic choice of schools!! I can understand your dilemma completely.
I'm afraid I don't have experience of any of the schools though, so I am limited in how I could help you really.
Have you asked your son which school he prefers? I assume he has looked around all of them and probably has ones he prefers over the others.
Do you have a gut feeling. Maybe one stuck out more due to its atmosphere. perhaps the children in one seemed more relaxed, more polite...??
I suppose you need to consider what is more important in a school. Given the academic nature of all four, you can relax on this side of things a bit and take academic success, or the opportunity for it, as a given.
Can you re-visit the schools during a normal school day?
Has your son had the opportunity to have taster sessions at any of them?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:47 pm 
monstermunch wrote:
Well at the moment we can, but if our circumstances were to change I worry that we could have gone for a safer option, financially. There is a chance that my son may get a scholarship but they are now only valued at 10% remission. Up to a couple of years ago the scholarship was worth 50%, and then that seemed good value for money. How much value does a top independent school add compared to a top grammar school?



Well, yes, I can completely identify with that, having had one son at a similar establishment, albeit with a massive scholarship. But what you are paying for at a top public school is not remotely like what you would get from a grammar school, or even from an independent day school like KES, except that it obviously includes an excellent academic education as part of the package.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:49 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:49 am
Posts: 81
Location: London
Ed's mum wrote:
Welcome to the forum monstermunch!

Well...what a fantastic choice of schools!! I can understand your dilemma completely.
I'm afraid I don't have experience of any of the schools though, so I am limited in how I could help you really.
Have you asked your son which school he prefers? I assume he has looked around all of them and probably has ones he prefers over the others.
Do you have a gut feeling. Maybe one stuck out more due to its atmosphere. perhaps the children in one seemed more relaxed, more polite...??
I suppose you need to consider what is more important in a school. Given the academic nature of all four, you can relax on this side of things a bit and take academic success, or the opportunity for it, as a given.
Can you re-visit the schools during a normal school day?
Has your son had the opportunity to have taster sessions at any of them?


Hi Ed's mum!

Don't think taster sessions are available, and private tours at three out of the four are out of the question! We were advised to look at Eton last because you then can't view the others objectively when you've seen that place. My son prefers Eton, but then its easy to get caught up in the whole atmosphere - we certainly did - so I don't want to use any instinct there. Probably liked Westminster the least, but still lked it. I suppose I really want to be convinced that we wouldn't be giving up much if he went to the grammar school - it's all so confusing! :roll:


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