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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2021 2:08 pm 
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Hi all. DD has fortunately scored well in the SET/NWSSEE exams this year and on the basis of the score it seems likely she should be offered Nonsuch or Wallington. We have visited a few independent schools and really liked a few of them e.g., Lady Eleanor where students perform better at GCSE, A-levels and Uni destinations, extracurriculars are amazing, pastoral care seems really good etc. We are comfortable financially speaking but fees of £20-25k would involve making major sacrifices, e.g, we do not own a house and are saving up to buy one (side note: as we are renting, hence we are location agnostic and will move close to whichever school DC ends up going to)

My question is: Is it a practical/feasible strategy to send your child to a good grammar/comprehensive school and then spend a bit of extra money (say £5-7k a year) to supplement that education and school experience by private lessons e.g, art lessons, music, sports coaching, if needed private tuition for the academic curriculum or really anything that you'd like to provide for your child and the school does not provide for any reason. Or is it best if these things are best provided for within the school environment and with known peers etc. In some way I guess we are trying to find a middle path between grammar and the really high performing independent schools but would love to hear other people's experiences.

Thank you


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2021 2:12 pm 
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Plenty of people do spend money providing coaching for sport / art classes / dance / music - it is fine to do so. Many of these things can be extras at independent schools anyway (worth checking :wink: )

trick is to let your child try out activities, give up the ones they don't enjoy and cut back on them all if they are finding it too much - if they really take to something, you will become the taxi service taking to endless events and your weekend will not be your own!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2021 12:30 pm 
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I suppose it probably varies.

On sport specifically - 'sport for all' is one of the big selling points of private schools. If your child is halfway decent and/or interested, they'll get to play competitive fixtures for a school team (be it A, B, C, D, etc). For a child who's anything other than very good at sports it's impossible to replicate that in the state system. e.g. dragging a very modestly good teenage girl to a competitive hockey club at the weekends won't end [or even start] well.

Music - whilst it obviously can't compare with private options in funding terms, you might be pleasantly surprised by the provision at the Sutton grammars.

Art - not really my area of expertise.

Academics - if you identify a subject that a child is struggling with then buying in 1:1 tuition is quite common and easy to fit around other things.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2021 7:53 pm 
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It seems to have worked for Emma Raducanu.

Personally, I’m not sure the difference in outcomes between the mentioned grammar schools and independent ones warrants £175k over 7 years. WHSG and Nonsuch each twice the size of Lady Eleanor. 21 pupils in WHSG got straight 9s last year.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2021 10:56 am 
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Thanks all, useful comments. We are definitely inclined towards the grammars but lets see if things change

@tfp_sa : Agree (sports point) and thats my concern too, sometimes children learn best when they do it gradually with the same cohort vs. dragging them to clubs on weekends. I'm happy to hear about your views on music too, it is reassuring


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2021 12:37 pm 
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I can't comment on Nonsuch, but WHSG has a number of sports teams in each age group generally - Netball A, B, C teams etc, same in hockey I think too. So perhaps more similar to private than you'd expect.

The school generally provides good enrichment opportunities too - DD is there in year 10, she can access a free pass to attend Tate exhibitions now she's doing GCSE Art and is going into school this week for a day-long painting workshop, she's been involved in tons of music groups, choir, productions etc over the years, and takes instrument lessons in school weekly. There's an enrichment day timetabled every term, and 3 days in the summer just before they break up, these cover a huge variety of activities.

The school is good at publicising opportunities for their students to get involved in things outside of regular school life, through the Wallington Week (weekly newsletter) - you can see examples of them here: https://www.wallingtongirls.sutton.sch. ... ter&pid=25

Good luck with your decision!


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