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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 7:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:33 pm
Posts: 26
Location: London, South Brent
My son is in Year 11 and now I ‘m feeling a bit nervous about looking for a good 6th form school for him. Although it is expected that he will get excellent grades in all subjects in GCSE, his current school doesn’t provide courses he needs.

I recently found the following Sutton Trust’s report and found quite interesting.

‘University Admissions: Top 100 State Schools’
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7003253.stm#table

The thing which came to my attention most was the position of City and Islington Sixth Form College, which I have never heard of is supposedly a well below average school but it was in ‘University Admissions: Top 100 State Schools’ unlike woodhouse collage in Finchley which is meant to be above average and is very popular.
Does anybody have any idea how a well below average inner city school like City and Islington can possibly be great at sending their students to top universities?


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:17 pm 
Sakura wrote:
My son is in Year 11 and now I ‘m feeling a bit nervous about looking for a good 6th form school for him. Although it is expected that he will get excellent grades in all subjects in GCSE, his current school doesn’t provide courses he needs.

I recently found the following Sutton Trust’s report and found quite interesting.

‘University Admissions: Top 100 State Schools’
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7003253.stm#table

The thing which came to my attention most was the position of City and Islington Sixth Form College, which I have never heard of is supposedly a well below average school but it was in ‘University Admissions: Top 100 State Schools’ unlike woodhouse collage in Finchley which is meant to be above average and is very popular.
Does anybody have any idea how a well below average inner city school like City and Islington can possibly be great at sending their students to top universities?


Just a thought, but could it be that Islington parents who have been paying for their children's education suddenly panic after GCSE in case their child is discriminated against by the top universities for having been to an independent school and send them to a state sixth form college backed up by private tuition from the teachers at Westminster School, for example? That could be a very successful ploy if the child was willing to downgrade for a couple of years, and would certainly have the effect of boosting the college's results without any effort on their part. I had considered doing the equivalent here in Birmingham, but son refused. :cry:


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 8:20 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2005 11:55 am
Posts: 198
I did an A level at City and Islington and 2 at Kingsway Princeton college (the latter 2 were subjects I had not previously studied on a one year course). This was quite a while ago obviously. I got high grades and got offers to read law at UCL, Kings and LSE.

In my experience the teaching was excellent - they really taught you to pass the exams rather than teaching you all about the subject. What they expect from you is commitment. There is no teacher on your back all the time, they expect you to have the study skills to go into the library and do it yourself. It is more like university, the tutor offers support and it a more adult to adult relationship. The students who worked hard got through.

I think the difference is possibly because the people who go to the inner city colleges to do A levels really want to do it and are therefore more determined or motivated. It is easy for the less motivated ones to drop out quickly. I think that sixth form colleges have an advantage in that the teachers are specialist and just teach that level rather than teaching first year through to sixth form for example.

I think the pupils were mainly from more disadvantaged backgrounds. Not many from posh or private school as far as I could tell, some with quite an unconventional educational background.

I remember City and Islington as being extremely well organised with a fantastic library. The tutors were excellent. They also encouraged you to sign up for development type activities. Not sure quite why it is so successful though. I wonder if the large numbers of students skew the statistics. Also it might be that the local state secondaries are dire so able kids prefer a sixth form college.

I would have a good look before you decide. A friend left Hammersmith and West London College due to ******** harassment from groups of youths. I also see large groups of kids from St Charles Sixth form college behaving in a yobbish manner each day and that is meant to be a good one!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 1:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:33 pm
Posts: 26
Location: London, South Brent
Hello, KES parent

Yes, kids from posh private schools are definitely joining other state 6th Form schools for that particular reason.
It is mentioned in its OFSTED report as well. So competition to get in these good state schools can be much fiercer than in the 11 plus.
I’m very confused by this report from Sutton Trust. It clearly says pupils from independent schools are getting into elite universities with lower A-level grades than pupils rejected from state schools.
I know we don’t have an option going to private but which one has the advantage, private or state?


Dear Nou,

Thank you for a great inside information about the school.
At first, I made a list of above average schools in London borough then I crossed out any schools which are just too far to commute. Obviously City and Islington School didn’t come up on this stage. In fact their A-level score are much lower than even our local schools such as Holland Park and St. Charles. So your information definitely helps. I’m looking forward to seeing the school open day.
So far, Camden School for Girls, St. Marylebone, Grey Coat Hospital are amongst in our top list. Surprisingly quite a few schools are co-ed and non religious when it comes to 6th Form.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 4:14 pm 
Sakura wrote:
Hello, KES parent

Yes, kids from posh private schools are definitely joining other state 6th Form schools for that particular reason.
It is mentioned in its OFSTED report as well. So competition to get in these good state schools can be much fiercer than in the 11 plus.
I’m very confused by this report from Sutton Trust. It clearly says pupils from independent schools are getting into elite universities with lower A-level grades than pupils rejected from state schools.
I know we don’t have an option going to private but which one has the advantage, private or state?


Dear Nou,

Thank you for a great inside information about the school.
At first, I made a list of above average schools in London borough then I crossed out any schools which are just too far to commute. Obviously City and Islington School didn’t come up on this stage. In fact their A-level score are much lower than even our local schools such as Holland Park and St. Charles. So your information definitely helps. I’m looking forward to seeing the school open day.
So far, Camden School for Girls, St. Marylebone, Grey Coat Hospital are amongst in our top list. Surprisingly quite a few schools are co-ed and non religious when it comes to 6th Form.


Hi Sakura

The Sutton Trust has a massive chip on its collective shoulder and a definite axe to grind, so I wouldn't take too much notice of what they say. Statistics can prove anything if you manipulate them enough. It seems to me that most kids from both sectors are being asked for 3 As for any popular subject. There is no sensible way to second guess which way university admissions are going to go in your particular child's year at the stage of choosing a sixth form place, so I think the best thing to do is make sure they have the happiest 6th form experience possible and worry about university admission later when you know what you're up against in the way of government interference.


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