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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2021 2:55 pm 
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Dear omniscient forum mates,

Our DD has sat Round 2 for both the HBS (Henrietta Barnett School) and Nonsuch/Wallington Girls, the latter results still awaited. We're out of catchment for both so the target is super selection for either. We're pre-empting the hard decision of CAF priority order rather than leaving it down the wire. There are the obvious factors to consider for all 3 schools for us (movement into the area, commute, job situation, community etc), in many respects they are all the same advantage/disadvantage for us, so my question is not pertaining to those factors.

What we're looking for is tips on the schools themselves for making a relative choice between them. No access to in-person open days to any of them did not help judge the schools.

Is HBS a "better" school than the Sutton twins in following factors (not exhaustive)?
1. 2019 DoE Progress 8/Attainment 8 score (in the absence of class of 2020 league table)? Straightforward vote for HBS.
2. Other league tables (e.g., Telegraph, good schools guide etc). These are confusing because apparently they all rely on the DoE source of truth but show varied ranking. In some Sutton ones score above HBS and in some vice versa.
3. Oxbridge/Russell Uni offers
4. Ethos of the schools - apart from common national curriculum, what do they stress on. Our DD is more inclined towards science/tech/math/history/sports/arts than English/literature/modern languages/drama
5. School’s facility and financial health
6. PAN advantage – is HBS’s 103 an advantage compared to Sutton’s 200+ in terms of more focused teaching, facility sharing etc
7. Cost of living – property price comparison is straightforward for us to do but are there other factors that favour one over the other?
8. Recommendation on suburbs close to all 3 schools for reasonable cost of living and ease of commute to respective school
9. Between Nonsuch and Wallington is there a preferred option, since they are not located very close to each other for us to move house to a midpoint and commute to either one

Appreciate any feedback (including whether we're looking this problem the wrong way around, advice that all 3 are more or less equally good etc).


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2021 5:16 pm 
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I'm not really familiar with HBS, and that's part of the problem you'll face - HBS is a long way from Sutton and no one will have first-hand knowledge of both it and the Sutton schools.

Between the two Sutton schools Nonsuch is harder to get into than Walliington (you can tell this because they use the same exam, tell candidates the scores and show the cut-offs for admission - Nonsuch's cut-offs are a bit higher than Wally Girls) so there must be a perception that Nonsuch is better than Wally Girls, but when I visited them both I strongly preferred Wally Girls for my own daughter. No one can tell you which will be the best fit for your own daughter. They are both excellent schools with excellent reputations and choosing which you prefer is a personal thing.

You will get the scores for the Sutton exam before the CAF deadline and so will be able to make a judgement about the likelihood of getting an offer from each of these schools. However, you won't get the scores for HBS so you won't know whether she's got a place there until 1 March - are you really going to be able to organise a house move between then and the start of term?

If you move after you've submitted your CAF it may affect your eligibility for any local comprehensive schools you have applied for, as they generally admit on distance and if you move house you may no longer qualify. (Obviously if you move house you wouldn't be able to get to the schools that are local to you now anyway.)

If your Sutton scores are borderline and you move there anyway you may end up with neither of the grammars and be offered a school in Sutton that has spare places (ie one that other people in Sutton have not chosen for their own children). You would need to check the admissions policies of the Sutton comps but I suspect the cut-off date for the address they use for eligibility is 31 October so you wouldn't be able to make an on-time application to these schools using your new Sutton address, and you won't be eligible for them from your current address.

Personally I wouldn't even consider HBS if it meant moving house as there's too much uncertainty. If I was highly confident at a place at one of the Sutton schools I might risk a move (but I'm naturally quite cautious so probably wouldn't). If the scores for the Sutton schools are borderline I definitely wouldn't risk a move.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:01 pm 
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Why would you not throw Tiffins into the mix as well. Having witnessed families who have done house moves linked to school moves the best strategy is to wait till summer next year after you bag the place/ clear through WL if any.

At the end of the day all schools provide just a stage - whatever a child needs to do she needs to do herself and make the most of the platform. Be it an objective assessment of Progress attainment 1.2 vs 1.1, % of Oxbridge etc OR a subjective assessment of vision ,Ethos etc., none of them will yield meaningful deviations . Proof of the pudding is in the eating and children's taste buds evolve.
All high ranking schools will have children of selective ability so choose a platform which works best for the family.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2021 11:26 pm 
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tan3 wrote:
Dear omniscient forum mates,

Our DD has sat Round 2 for both the HBS (Henrietta Barnett School) and Nonsuch/Wallington Girls, the latter results still awaited....
Appreciate any feedback (including whether we're looking this problem the wrong way around, advice that all 3 are more or less equally good etc).

From reading between the lines, I am assuming you have secretly made up your mind on the priority order of those three schools for your CAF - 1. HBS, 2. & 3. with the other two.

In your shoes, and disregarding all league tables - IMO these are irrelevant when comparing HBS/NonSuch/Wallington and I am at the mercy of test result for OOC purpose - my CAF strategy would be:

1. Dream School - if everything works in this direction - including my child showing a genuine desire (not out of my desperation) for this school, this is where I would like my child to go. My own wishes are secondary, as I am ready to make any move, literally and figuratively.

2. And work backwards from there....

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“Sometimes I remain silent. Sometimes I don't. I don't know which I enjoy more”.(lifted)


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2021 10:04 am 
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streathammum wrote:
Between the two Sutton schools Nonsuch is harder to get into than Walliington (you can tell this because they use the same exam, tell candidates the scores and show the cut-offs for admission - Nonsuch's cut-offs are a bit higher than Wally Girls) so there must be a perception that Nonsuch is better than Wally Girls, but when I visited them both I strongly preferred Wally Girls for my own daughter. No one can tell you which will be the best fit for your own daughter. They are both excellent schools with excellent reputations and choosing which you prefer is a personal thing.



Thank you for the advice. If I may pick up on this point (again, only because of the lack of in-person open day and unable to judge the best fit for us from the schools' websites), what factors generally influenced you favouring Wally Girls over Nonsuch?


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2021 10:13 am 
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Samurai wrote:
Why would you not throw Tiffins into the mix as well. Having witnessed families who have done house moves linked to school moves the best strategy is to wait till summer next year after you bag the place/ clear through WL if any.

At the end of the day all schools provide just a stage - whatever a child needs to do she needs to do herself and make the most of the platform. Be it an objective assessment of Progress attainment 1.2 vs 1.1, % of Oxbridge etc OR a subjective assessment of vision ,Ethos etc., none of them will yield meaningful deviations . Proof of the pudding is in the eating and children's taste buds evolve.
All high ranking schools will have children of selective ability so choose a platform which works best for the family.


Thanks for your opinion. I agree that it's hard to draw a line between top ranked schools (hence seeking advice in the first place).
Just a clarification on Tiffins - though it's highly desirable school with their rigid over-subscription criteria, test schedule etc they have almost made sure it's not a viable option for OOC candidates.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2021 10:20 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2021 9:08 am
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2020D2022S wrote:
tan3 wrote:
Dear omniscient forum mates,

Our DD has sat Round 2 for both the HBS (Henrietta Barnett School) and Nonsuch/Wallington Girls, the latter results still awaited....
Appreciate any feedback (including whether we're looking this problem the wrong way around, advice that all 3 are more or less equally good etc).

From reading between the lines, I am assuming you have secretly made up your mind on the priority order of those three schools for your CAF - 1. HBS, 2. & 3. with the other two.

In your shoes, and disregarding all league tables - IMO these are irrelevant when comparing HBS/NonSuch/Wallington and I am at the mercy of test result for OOC purpose - my CAF strategy would be:

1. Dream School - if everything works in this direction - including my child showing a genuine desire (not out of my desperation) for this school, this is where I would like my child to go. My own wishes are secondary, as I am ready to make any move, literally and figuratively.

2. And work backwards from there....


Thank you for the advice. That's the tentative priority in mind (and we might be jumping the gun without the Sutton results in hand and HBS not really publishing them, but as I said can't leave the critical decision till CAF deadline). However, was looking any advice to either support or contradict it. Your strategy is quite sensible.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2021 11:00 am 
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tan3 wrote:
...., but as I said can't leave the critical decision till CAF deadline). ...


I myself made 6 amendments to my CAF back in 2019. Closed off 24 hours prior to deadline. Hope this helps.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2021 11:26 am 
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tan3 wrote:
streathammum wrote:
Between the two Sutton schools Nonsuch is harder to get into than Walliington (you can tell this because they use the same exam, tell candidates the scores and show the cut-offs for admission - Nonsuch's cut-offs are a bit higher than Wally Girls) so there must be a perception that Nonsuch is better than Wally Girls, but when I visited them both I strongly preferred Wally Girls for my own daughter. No one can tell you which will be the best fit for your own daughter. They are both excellent schools with excellent reputations and choosing which you prefer is a personal thing.



Thank you for the advice. If I may pick up on this point (again, only because of the lack of in-person open day and unable to judge the best fit for us from the schools' websites), what factors generally influenced you favouring Wally Girls over Nonsuch?


I preferred the buildings (which seems superficial but your kids spend a lot of time in school, you want the environment to be nice), and they had a dance studio (my daughter likes dancing as a PE option), and I just generally got on better with the Wally pupils who were showing us around on the open day than I did with the Nonsuch girls (there was nothing wrong with them at all, they were lovely - it's just a personal thing, who you click with, who you think your daughter will get on with). The whole atmosphere at Wallington felt brighter and lighter to me, but I have several good friends whose daughters have had very good experiences at Nonsuch so I don't doubt it's also a good school. I can't emphasise enough how personal this decision is. Don't base it on what works for other people.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2021 4:26 pm 
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My daughter is in year 10 at Wally Girls, and enjoys it. It was our first choice, on the basis of gut feel, and location. We did visit Nonsuch at the time too, but it didn't feel as welcoming as Wally Girls. My only more current info is that a friend removed her daughter from Nonsuch a couple of years ago following bullying, and this friend's younger daughter started year 7 at Wally Girls this year and has settled in well. They didn't even list Nonsuch on their CAF. Obviously this is an extreme situation though and may not be relevant for you.


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