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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:19 am 
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Having gone through the highs and lows of the 11+ I am now looking at schools for my DD. I am fortunate in that she stands a good chance of getting into Newstead Woods, Townley and Dartford and so the decision is which school to put first. I am leaning towards Newstead Woods (and many friends have said because it is super selective I would be crazy not to) however I live only just within the 9 mile catchment area and both DGSG and Townley are closer/easier to get to. I am worried that if I choose Newstead too much time will be wasted on travelling to and from school and that she will not have any friends local to us. Some forums have also indicated that Newstead is not all that it is cracked up to be! Does anyone have any thoughts/experiences that could help me make up my mind as I am running out of time!! :?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:45 am 
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Have you had a chance to visit all the schools and calculate how long the travelling time will be for your DD to each school? Honestly speaking if the travelling is going to take far too long to a particular school I would not put my child in that school regardless of its status. You have to remember that your child will be travelling to school everyday for potentially the next seven years of her life. Add onto this heavy bags, wintry conditions and after school/weekend clubs then believe me it won't be so fun after a while especially with the pressure that grammar schools put on children in terms of homework. I would think carefully about her journey to each of these schools and also your impressions of the school when you visited them before making your choices.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:30 am 
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Thanks for the comment. I would need to drive her to school each day (possibly car pool) which would take around 40 mins so not impossible but a commitment for us both. We would be leaving home at 7.40 each morning to ensure she is in school on time/early whereas currently my DD is only waking up then! I have seen each school and to be honest I like them all but for different reasons. Townley has excellent performing arts facilities and is very close for us, Dartford is good on sciences and only a 10 min drive away but an awkward journey for her to make on her own and Newstead has an excellent academic reputation. As with everyone I want my DD to be happy and to do well. She is only interested in schools that her friends are looking at!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:11 am 
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All great schools, but if I was in your position, I would go for DGGS, closer to you or Townley. A 40 minute drive to Newstead sounds like a trek in the morning when you have two great schools ten minutes away. You also have to factor in the cold winter months, after school activities and the snow! Also go with the option dd prefers. She has done well enough to pass the test and should be involved in the decision process.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:41 pm 
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I agree with the above post. I live in Bromley and did spend two terms in the first year doing the school run to orpington when DS joined St Olaves. Theoretically, it is only a 15 min drive from our house but in all honesty on most occasions we were looking at 30 mins in traffic time and Orpington seems to be unnaturally inundated with constant road works. There are several schools quite close to each other St Olave, Newstead and Darrick Wood so there always seems to be a traffic jam. We also car pooled initially but in the end it didn't work out as eventually not everyone in the car pool pulls their weight. Thank fully these were issues which I was able to resolve by simply putting DS on a train in the last term of Year One. I would think carefully of DD's options in case the car journey becomes too stressful for you. Would she be happy to commute on her own?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:38 pm 
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Hi, we have a similar dilemma. Newstead v Dgsg v Bexley Grammar. The thing that is putting me of from Newstead is also the travelling and don't forget it is also 40 minutes to come back so a total of 160 minutes travelling to and from school. we are also in Bexleyheath and as she scored top 180 Bexley gs is also in there. I think if the school was nearer it wouldn't be such a dilemma. DD wanted Newstead very much but having looked at all three now she is swaying towards Bgs. The clubs at Newstead are mainly during lunchtime and they therefor don't have too many choices, as the girls come from a 9 mile radius, so at least they don't get home too late. But during their lunch hour??? Really!! They need time to relax and chat also and have lunch!! So am not sure about that. And the time travelling they could do their homework and have therefor a bit more time for other pursuits (guides etc). It would be ok if you can car pool with people who live near you and mostly they get put in the same class if you live near each other, so works out well, but in the long term I wonder how much this affects DD. Also depending on the scores for Newstead as it might not be viable enough to be offered a place anyway. It is such a hard choice to make....


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:24 pm 
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Hi
We also have same dilemna. DD really wants to go to Newstead Wood and I have been told by school she would get in, which really only adds to the problem as DD feels she has earnt her place, however living in Bexleyheath, the reality of going by public transport would just be unreasonable, particularly on cold, wintry dark mornings and everyone is doing their best to dissuade DD. She is constantly changing 2nd and 3rd preference on daily basis between BG and Townley and has DGSG lower on her options. Finding this really stressful and fast running out of time. Is anyone else putting Newstead as their 1st choice and living in Bexleyheath? Perhaps if there are a few we could car share? I even rang up the coach company but they stopped doing the route a few years ago and would only restart the route from Bexleyheath if there are around 40 going to St. Olaves and Newstead.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:00 pm 
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My only advice to the dilemma of travel is be prepared that the day will come when your DD will have to travel on her own. Even with car sharing, children have different after school activities or a parent can have a sick child on certain days or other commitments crop up. As I have already pointed out car sharing rarely works out in the long run as you are looking at potentially the next 7 years of your DD's school life and circumstances change, friendships change. Make sure there is an easy way for her to get to school by herself if necessary. I am in the opposite situation in that DD could put Townley as a choice for her grammar school but looking at the bus timetables the journey is approximately an hour away from us even though it is a straight bus route. Personally speaking, spending every day on the road making the commute between Bromley and Bexleyheath would be far to taxing on me and my child in the long run; especially with the levels of homework you are expected to do at grammar school level. If you have a good grammar school which is nearer that your DD can go to I would always put that as your first choice. You don't want your DD exhausted and stressed about travelling to school every day or missing out on after school activities because she would potentially lose her ride home.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:35 am 
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In our situtation, DD likes DGGS and she also passed the Newstead exam and within catchment are for both schools. We seem to like Newstead due to the their consistent high performaning results at both GCSE and A Level. We will now have to prioritise based on her preference and hence will go for DGGS as first and Newstead Wood as second.

See likes DGGS and as parent I am facinated at their approach in both the Open Evening sessions we have attended more so than Newstead. Both DGGS and Newstead are good environment for girls to study and they also have students moving on to top universities like Oxbridge, London university colleges like UCL, Imperial, etc.

As a parent teacher myself it will all depend on the level of support and encouragement the child receive whiles they are studying at either school and there is equal chances of girls getting all A* / A grade results. We hope she will change mind if offered a place at Newstead, but other wise we are very happy for her to attend DGGS and will be happy as she already have well over 7 friends from our churc who are currently at DGGS.

My DD is very highly musical [complete ABRSM Grade 5 Theory and Practical piano courses] and about to take Grade 6 Practical Piano exam in December 2012. I believe that Grammar school [be it Newstead, DGGS or Townley] environment are the best for children to shine themselves in their individual talents like Music, Performing Arts, etc. I am impressed with the extra-curricular facilities provided by all three schools and to me it does not seem as if any of them have particular advantage.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 4:32 pm 
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Those last few days, we've been torn about what to put first.

Since our DD has a little brother, we've encouraged her to go to a mixed and we eventually chose BG over C&S.

I then felt I had to just think about DD but not her brother this time. So we chose Newstead over the other girls schools because of its reputation

Based on prospectus and league tables, it' easy to make a choice but in reality, it has to practically work for your child, for you and for your family as a whole.

I'm now convinced that whichever school, let alone grammar, she goes she can get those A* and A. Therefore, I'm going with what makes her life, my life and the family's life easy! I think that's a great gift I chose to give her and every member of the family and I'm finally in peace about my choice. It's not like I'm choosing a failing school for her because I can't be bothered waking up 5 minutes earlier every morning!!! DH now backs me 100%.

We've put Bexley Grammar first which is :
. highly academic
. direct bus
. mixed so that my son has also more chance to go

I chose the optium option. I can understand that some might go for the best option regardless of the difficulties.


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