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PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:25 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:03 pm
Posts: 10
My son got a guaranteed place in Bexley and also passed the St Olave test (likely to be offered a place). No showing off but after the euphoria we are really starting to struggle. St Olave fares better on the league table but we know it is more competitive and some posts say boys below average could be unhappy. Does anyone know if there are more tests in St Olave between 11 and 18 and if underperformers have to leave? We live in Bexleyheath and we'll have to move which gives more hassle. The other choice is Bexley Grammar. Just don't know the real difference between them. Anybody in the same situation? Anyone can give some advice please? I want my son to do well in his future, but also want him to be happy.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:42 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 2:49 pm
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Congratulations.I would like to ask you whether your child had any tutoring .If so could u please pm me the contact information as I am struggling to find one.Hope u will get suitable advice ,I have not any idea.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:22 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:39 am
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I'm sure you will already know that it is such a personal decision and only you know your DS well enough to know what is best for him.

Our opinion is:

DS was Bexley Top 180 last year and we personally decided St Olaves wasn't right for him.

For us, it came down to the fact we thought if a boy does well there, they will fly, but our concern was how (if) the school would support them if they struggled. Every impression we got, from the Open Day, talking to the Head and other parents with boys higher up the school was that the ethos and 'feel' of the school has changed - its all about the results. - . In the Head's speech (last year) there was no mention of the boys themselves, he actually made the point that even if a boy has been in the school since Year 7, if he doesn't get the required GCSE results, 'he would be out' ie not allowed into the 6th form.

Our decision was that, yes, qualifications are important, but so is the 7 year journey to get them.

Well done to your son - good luck with your dilemma (its actually a lovely one to have!)


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 3:36 pm
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We too decided against SO for our son because of misgivings about the Head and because of what our son himself felt about the school. We were fortunate in that our son also did well enough in the Kent test for us to be able to choose DGS over BGS, but it was a difficult decision because I think BGS is a fine school, with a great Head and an awful lot going for it.
I would second checking on Mumsnet because apart from one disappointing visit I have never been near SO again - but a friend whose son has just started there says he loves it!
Ryancq - did your son also sit the Kent test? Good luck with whatever you decide, it's a good place to be in.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:25 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:15 pm
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I am too now having this dilemma. I was all set for SO, my dh and ds went to their open day a over a year ago and had their heart set on it straightaway. My dh was impressed with the Maths Dept (he has a First in Maths from Camb so it's his no 1 subject!)

However when I visited on Open Day I found it very cold, you are so right I found the Head didn't 'care' he went on and on about the results and destinations etc. I also had concerns over the teachers interactions with students and the dc walking around. Not one member of staff spoke to my son which I personally found unsettling.

My dh said it with a competitive school it will be like that and our ds would be pushed etc.

However when we went to the Judd the other week it felt completely different. So caring and such a wonderful atmosphere. The staff were wonderful with their students and chatted to children walking round. It was just lovely and exactly what I wanted for my ds.

Obviously I don't know his Kent Score yet!

But the more I think about it the more I want The Judd.

We will be visiting Bexley Schools this week too, just up make my decision even harder!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:03 pm
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Thank you for all your advice. My son also sat the Kent test. Maybe we should wait a little while for Kent results to be released. Any thoughts between dartford and bexley grammar? Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 5:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:31 am
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I have had 2 DSs at St Olave's. DS1 left after his A'levels in 2012, and DS2 is currently in year 13, so they both started the school under the previous headteacher. Both of them have been very happy at St Olave's and have been well supported by their teachers. However, the school has changed under the current head. As I have written elsewhere on the forum, the focus is now on results and leavers' destinations, and the ethos appears quite different. The older boys seem to have the measure of the head and there are still some excellent teachers there with the values of the school as was. But I understand that lower down the school the head has had more of an impact. As JustAnotherParent wrote, many teachers have left and there are alot of young teachers (and some of them don't stay long either).

I also have a DS3 in year 11 at Dartford Grammar School who is very happy there. I think it can compete with St Olave's academically and the pastoral care and general ethos and atmosphere at the school are fantastic. The headteacher is outstanding.

Choosing a school for your DS is obviously a very personal decision with lots of different factors to take into account. But I have to say that if I had a DS4(!) I would opt for DGS.

Good luck to you and your DS in whatever you decide.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:56 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:28 am
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Location: Bexley
SO or BGS?

BGS every time.
Listen to the Head.
When we last went to the school it was for a Uni meeting.
The Head said although BGS students attending the top Unis was important, so was the individual's needs.
He told us about a student who wanted to do equine studies - not sure on that spelling!
The point was he supported the student going to the Uni of his own choice, never mind the league tables, because it was right for THAT student. This the sort of care and support you get at BGS, the student comes first every time.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:28 am
Posts: 1123
Location: Bexley
In order to compare exam results you must compare like with like. If you do not do this your stats are meaningless.
At BGS, for example, not only is the toughest syllabus selected for each subject but each student will sit 2 languages and latin or classics and individual sciences. That's on top of all the other subjects.
Where's the league table for that combination?

And pastoral care is so important. These young kids are about to become teenagers with all that that entails.
Secondary school can be a very lonely place if you have problems and no-one to turn to.

I think that parents/students going/having gone through the schools in question are best placed to offer advice.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:35 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:31 am
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You cannot compare St Olaves to Bexley re: results. St Olaves is a superselective, Bexley is not (none of the Bexley grammar schools are).

I would expect St Olaves to have fantastic results, you can literally live anywhere in England and get a place (if you are in the top 124 places). It has no catchment area, unlike Newstead, which does.


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