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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:42 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:11 pm
Posts: 40
Although our first option would be a grammar school, I’m now thinking that we’d like to have as many options as possible on 1 March, especially if we don’t get a grammar school offer. So we’re now considering Independent school options, in particular North London Consortium schools such as South Hampstead High School which would be very convenient journey for our DD.

Can anyone tell me if it's possible to say whether it’s easier or more difficult in general to get a place in a grammar such as HBS or Latymer, or in an independent such as South Hampstead?
Or does anyone know of a situation where a child failed to get a place at a grammar but managed to get a place at a North London Consortium school?

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 6:25 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:23 am
Posts: 201
High achieving Independent Schools will be just as difficult, if not more so, than some selectives. The only advantage is that they do not have siblings/catchment area policies so all the year 7 places are up for grabs.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:50 pm
Posts: 152
Location: S.W. London
My younger daughter didn't get a grammar school place (she tried for Tiffin Girls, a school which, incidentally, has neither catchment area nor sibling policy - didn't know any grammars had the latter) but got 4 offers from good independents, including one in the North London Consortium.

Elder daughter didn't get a grammar place, either, but got 2 independent offers (taking one at a very 'high-achieving' school) and a waiting list place, so it's definitely possible. It may well be that both my daughters were more suited to exams which covered English and maths rather than just Tiffin's VR and NVR.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:51 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:53 pm
Posts: 76
I think it really depends where you live, how many grammar schools there are and how much money the locals have.

SW London is very, very wealthy so top Indy schools are extremely competitive. I had to listen to a friend at the weekend complaining about how wealthy her son's friends at St Pauls are and they live in a £5million house in Richmond! Everyone likes to assume that all rich kids are stupid, but its really not true, most of the very wealthy parents I know are Oxbridge and have really bright children, who are also fantasic at sports and really nice kids - life isn't meant to be fair. There are an awful lot of people to whom the cost of private education is a very small expense.

I am told by the mothers that Surbiton prep, very unflashy 11+prep, got 6 into Tiffin boys last year and a few into Sutton Grammars, but only got one of the boys wait-listed for Kings College in Wimbledon. Kings should be easier to get into than Westminster and usually St Pauls (when its not a building site). Having said that I think they pretty much all got offers from Hampton, and all the other local Indy schools.

I've always assumed that it must be really easy to get into a top Kent Indy because they have so many grammars, but was put straight by a poster on this site. Its probably because there's too much money rattling around in Kent.

Sorry and I forgot to say that I know lots of really bright kids who didn't get Tiffin, but who get places at one of the local Indys, but then they don't always get the Indy they want. It all depends on how you do on the day, its a bit of a lottery and if you have a consortium of schools pooling an exam that only gives you one chance to balls up. If you have a bright child who sits for 6 good Indy schools and messes up 2 exams, they still have 4 offers!

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:15 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 7871
Location: Herts
In my neck of the woods, Hertfordshire/Barnet, it is easier to get into the indys than the grammars. Nobody from our school has ever failed to get into St Albans boys or girls but many have sat Dame Alice Owen and QE boys and not got past the first round. It is also a numbers game as more places are available at the local indys and they are not having to fight off contenders from Barnet, Enfield, Finchley and Islington or, in the case of HBS and QE boys, everywhere! The North London consortium makes it easy to focus on one style of paper and prepare for that rather than having to deal with all the quirks of Dame Alice Owen, Lattymer and QE/HBS.

I would recommend anyone sitting the grammars to have a backup of local indy's. You may feel it is not an option but if you do find yourself facing a failing local comp you will be surprised how differently you may feel and what you may be prepared to give up. One of our local mums even managed to get her mother to stump up for the local indy when her daughter did not get a place at Dame Alice Owen. If you have not sat the exams you will not have this option. My elder daughter absolutely loved City and my younger daughter absolutely loved Haileybury. It was interesting how they responded differently to the schools. DG

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