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 Post subject: Realistic school choice
PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 3:11 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 16, 2019 10:41 am
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Hi, also new here and just been through the 11+ mill for the first time... Now looking for advice on school choices. This forum seems to be ALL about Judd and Skinners, but I'm really looking for comments on TWGSB too, which we've looked at and really liked (especially now that it's getting three smart new buildings).

A bit of background: DS is a bright, inquisitive and free-thinking child but is easily distracted and not competitive at all... He's spent his time at his state Primary being by far the youngest in a class full of incredibly academically able Judd/Skinners and TWGGS types, and so is used to feeling at a slight disadvantage amongst peers. He's also not sporty, unlike his peers. He seems to feel he has nothing to prove, which is kind of nice, as he doesn't put himself under huge pressure and is happy in his own skin, but we're having trouble working out the right fit for his next school. His score was 378 - very strong on English and Reasoning, but his school appealed through the HTA system to get him a Pass due to a slightly below-par maths score (which we'd anticipated). His interests lie in science and computing, but his talents are probably more verbal at this stage.

He isn't a fan of tests - he doesn't see them as a game like some other kids do - and it was a real struggle to get him to do any practise papers over the summer, so he only did a small handful. During the year he had a fortnightly tutoring session during term time, so I'd say we were relatively relaxed on that front. His tutor had a very relaxed attitude towards him too, and was confident he'd be fine to pass the test because he has a 'brilliant mind'!? However, we certainly can't claim that he didn't have any 'training'.

So, the big question is, should we discount Skinners/Judd despite being eligible and stick with DS's firm preference for TWGSB as first choice? I'm not sure I want to put him into a super-selective school where he'll feel constantly under pressure to keep up, but then again, that could go in two different ways: either he'll hate it and be miserable, or it'll be the making of him and focus his mind.

Does anyone have experience of making a similar decision for a like-minded child? Any thoughts much appreciated!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 3:36 pm 
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It seems to me that you all really liked TWGSB so, if it is relatively straightforward to travel there, why would you not go to the one that it sounds as if you all prefer? Because, after all, you know your child best and he is likely to do better somewhere that he feels happy - and you say this is his preference.

You can look at league tables etc but each school feels very different - which is why we say always visit - and the feel helps contribute to the best fit!

But I must confess I am not from your area - we chose the school that best fit the needs we saw in our DS1 and that was the single most important thing to us.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 4:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 16, 2019 10:41 am
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Thanks kenyancowgirl.

Have I written one of those posts where I answer my own question?? Possibly! :)

I suppose I should point out that my husband and I also really liked both Skinners and Judd when we looked around, and I'm finding it hard to let go of the two schools that people consider to be 'better' than TWGSB, because they're super-selective. Most of DS's friends want to go to Skinners. A couple to Judd. But DS is dead set on TWGSB. Ultimately, it's not really his choice, is it? We're his parents and need to think long term. Short term pain, long term gain?? He'll be so cross with us if we choose Skinners!

Just wanted to know if anyone out there has a similar sounding DS, and what choices you made/are making.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 4:07 pm 
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Hi my son is at Judd (year 12 now and has bee there since year7). He loves the school and loved it the first time he saw it in Year 5. It is a fabulous school but it is heavily results driven (even having a qualifying score to be allowed to stay on at sixth form). They are tested frequently and if your son doesn’t like tests he may hate it.

I know a couple of boys at TWBGS and they are very happy there. My advice is that you should choose the school your son likes the best and you are all happy with.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:59 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:45 pm
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I have a son at Skinners and there is a big range of boys there of different academic abilities and personalities. Both sporty and non sporty boys, with all sorts of interests. It sounds like your son would fit in fine and find his niche there.

However, he is the one who has to go everyday and if he has his heart set on TWGSB then I'd go with that. As long as he can explain rationally why he prefers that school and has genuine reasons. If he is choosing it because he thinks there will be less tests then he is probably wrong, I think all secondary schools do regular end of topic test for every subject. But if he prefers the culture of the school or subject choices then go with his choice. It's not as if he is choosing between a good and a bad school, they are both excellent and at the end of the day he will thrive most where he is happiest.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:30 pm 
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Please be aware that twgsb has a new progress score of -0.02 for this year . Their website has not updated 2019 figures.. Between 15 and 20% of all gcse results are 4 or under .
They are excellent at sport , so long as you can make the team .
Undoubtedly the widest range of A levels offered .


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 7:07 pm 
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My son is in year 8 at TWGSB and he absolutely loves it. Just as a summary, they have three assessment weeks a year, one per term. My son has been set some homework to revise for the tests but there is no pressure on them whilst at school, as far as I'm aware. He has many friends who came from private schools and those who scored very high in the Kent test, they just preferred the school to others, I suppose. Sports-wise, you seem to only get in the school football (etc) teams if you go to the training sessions, and they often have matches on a saturday.
I'm very pleased with the school, but in the end your son has to be happy where he goes. It's for quite a significant part of his young life and he needs to enjoy each day. Good luck!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:00 am 
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Joined: Thu May 16, 2019 10:41 am
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Thanks everyone for these insights, they're really helpful.

On balance, I think DS would be fine at any of the three grammars, and all the evidence on paper (pros/cons) leave them looking quite equal to us, so we'll have one more look around them next week. Hopefully we'll then be able to base a decision on gut feeling (and maybe even our son's opinion :P ) And of course the ultimate school selection factors of score/distance may well decide for us anyway.

Good luck to everyone else who's grappling with this tricky decision!


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:48 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:40 pm
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I would also like to support the view that a child should choose their secondary school.
I have allowed all of my four children to make their choices and they have been very happy in their schools.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:06 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:38 pm
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I have a boy at TWGSB in year 8 – he scored 350 as is very much a ‘bare minimum’ child who isn’t too motivated but has natural ability. He loves it there! You don’t need to be sporty as there are so many clubs on offer that are non-sports based but an equal number of sports clubs too. DS1 does badminton, basketball, IT and film clubs at lunch. There is pressure to not flunk tests and do well but there’s not a ‘hot house’ culture.

The termly tests give everyone a good idea of progress and what could be attained at GCSE level – you can nudge the boys to knuckle down or give them praise, according to what the reports say! DS1 is excelling at languages – something only uncovered since leaving primary, so all children can excel in grammar, even if they have scrapped either maths or English. Both mine scraped in on English at 11+ level but aced reasoning and were decent at maths.

DS2 has just passed with 353 and as the youngest boy in his year at school. He too has natural ability but is a bit immature. TWGSB will suit him as there’s a good framework and ethic for his personality.

My friend who has 2 boys at TWGSB says it’s full of ‘bright but normal boys.’ Read in to that what you will but I took out of it that the school had an academic basis but no one felt overshadowed by child geniuses and prodigies.

Yes, new buildings on their way and a new sixth form too. Active PTA, pro-active teachers when it comes to niggles, great school trips and so far a sense of camaraderie among the boys.


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