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 Post subject: Sevenoaks school
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 7:04 pm 
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Does anyone have any direct experience of Sevenoaks school? I’ve visited and seen the facilities which are excellent. My son however isn’t at all sporty or musical. He just likes maths! He also would be unlikely to get deeply involved in extra curricular as he has his chess and clubs out of school.

What would Sevenoaks give him that a local grammar wouldn’t please? Better teaching? Better exam results?

Thank you


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 Post subject: Re: Sevenoaks school
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 7:51 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 5:27 pm
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Location: london
Sevenoaks is a great school, but if, as you describe, your DC will not involve himself in what it has to offer, then there is no point going there, given the alternative of an excellent education elsewhere. What was it that appealed to you so much the you got dc to apply?

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 Post subject: Re: Sevenoaks school
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2020 3:02 pm 
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Teaching is consistently excellent at Sevenoaks, but is probably very good in both. Teaching groups are significantly smaller (20 at Y7 compared with I guess 30 at the grammars), so arguably more individual attention. With ref to sport and music, you will probably find that your son ends up being quite involved whether he chooses to or not - this is one of the big differences I've noticed. So my son, who is absolutely not sporty, has already played in lots of sports matches against other schools because everyone does - whereas friends at other schools have done very little competitive sport unless they're talented and keen. Music slightly less so - but all the kids have already been involved in a concert for example. I think it depends how you feel about this. If your son would actively hate having to do this sort of stuff, then maybe it's not the school for him - generally the kids around him will be very busy and involved in stuff (the list of clubs is huge!). Personally I've found it's been great for my son to have to do lots of sport, because he's actually really enjoyed it - as well as being able to get involved in the other things that he's more interested in.

Another thing to consider is that Sevenoaks is IB, so if your son is very maths biased then that might not suit him so well (though some kids do move for 6th form). Even lower down the school, though, I would say it suits an all rounder better than a real specialist. But then presumably they wouldn't have offered a place unless he'd performed well in the English as well as the maths papers, so it sounds like they think he's academically well suited.

I wouldn't choose Sevenoaks for exam results. Yes, they're fantastic, but so are the results at the grammars. I would say that curriculum innovation and academic resource (teaching time, departmental facilities etc) are more likely to be noticeably different than result outcomes.


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 Post subject: Re: Sevenoaks school
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:18 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:55 pm
Posts: 450
Hozan44 wrote:
Does anyone have any direct experience of Sevenoaks school? I’ve visited and seen the facilities which are excellent. My son however isn’t at all sporty or musical. He just likes maths! He also would be unlikely to get deeply involved in extra curricular as he has his chess and clubs out of school.

What would Sevenoaks give him that a local grammar wouldn’t please? Better teaching? Better exam results?

Thank you


We know some recent Sevenoaks alumni and one current pupil. All their families love the school and what it offers. ... My main concern is the IB. Of itself, it is not enough for the leading faculties, for example Imperial Maths-Physics or Cambridge Classics. 4 A Levels gives the best preparation for this level of undergraduate degree; the IB entrants need to catch up, on both depth and breadth of core material, even though they are otherwise very well trained for university study.


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 Post subject: Re: Sevenoaks school
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:18 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:55 pm
Posts: 450
Hozan44 wrote:
Does anyone have any direct experience of Sevenoaks school? I’ve visited and seen the facilities which are excellent. My son however isn’t at all sporty or musical. He just likes maths! He also would be unlikely to get deeply involved in extra curricular as he has his chess and clubs out of school.

What would Sevenoaks give him that a local grammar wouldn’t please? Better teaching? Better exam results?

Thank you


We know some recent Sevenoaks alumni and one current pupil. All their families love the school and what it offers. ... My main concern is the IB. Of itself, it is not enough for the leading faculties, for example Imperial Maths-Physics or Cambridge Classics. 4 A Levels gives the best preparation for this level of undergraduate degree; the IB entrants need to catch up, on both depth and breadth of core material, even though they are otherwise very well trained for university study.


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 Post subject: Re: Sevenoaks school
PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2020 4:48 pm 
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A nice but tough decision to make. I have direct experience. I think they are very different beasts and it depends what's on your must have list - co-ed v single sex, boarding and international community, IB v A levels - for a start.

The school culture is very special - innovative, liberal, outward looking and humble. The teaching is incredible and has lit a spark in my child. Also, and for example, for Maths they have very small classes for the exceptional mathematicians - sometimes 1-2-1 as I understand it. The range of subjects is excellent too.

It's the inclusive attitude and the diversity of things on offer that also makes it stand out. My child (joined yr9) hasn't had to do team sports once - but instead there's climbing, sailing, shooting etc etc. Plenty of academic, sports, arts and activism related clubs that he may like to do as well as his current ones? The list is huge. There is so much choice, at all levels - beginner to elite, whatever you are into and however those interests change as you grow.

I'm don't see the IB as limiting the move to univeristy. Many many children from Sevenoaks go to the leading Oxbridge faculties - and Harvard, Stanford, Yale and multiple other top universities of the world for that matter and to read the most competitive subjects like Medicine and Maths...if IB isn't delivering enough depth (which I doubt) then other work/activities are. For Cambridge if you want Maths - then whether you do A levels or IB it's usual to do a STEP paper anyway.

Sevenoaks get top results in public exams but of course they do select academic children! So, the important thing for us is that the children are busy enjoying doing so much more than just academic lessons and exams -right through to the end... I realise that will be a pro for some families/children and a con for others.

We had the Kent grammar v Sevenoaks v another independent decision to make and Sevenoaks was most certainly the right one for us.

Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Sevenoaks school
PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 3:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:28 am
Posts: 29
Parents and children are overwhelmingly positive about the school and the school is, by and large, a happy, positive place.

Don't worry about your son not being sporty or musical, Sevenoaks is pretty good at finding out what the child's 'thing' is, not matter what it is, and giving them scope to make the most of their abilities. I am aware of children who have been very big in the national folk music scene and others champion ballroom dancers. Others spend their lives in the theatre working on sets or lighting. All achievements by the children are celebrated equally and there is no hierarchy in terms of what is celebrated by the school community.

Sevenoaks is a co-educational school and, in my view, that overwhelmingly benefits both genders. For boys I do feel that, because they have had to talk to girls as 'people', their communication skills are far, far better coming out of Sevenoaks that other single sex boys' schools of which I have experience. This helps a lot for university or medical school entry.

If your boy does enter at 11 you will find that some of the boys are 11 going on 8 and some of the girls are 11 going on 15. Keeping up with the girls can be a bit challenging at the start but the boys do catch up in a couple of years.

Generally children of all personality types seem to find a niche at Sevenoaks and, to be honest, the school wouldn't offer you son a place if they didn't think that he would thrive and be happy in the school.

Plenty of pupils get into medical school and universities to study medicine, engineering and sciences from Sevenoaks so I wouldn't worry about that, it should not a factor in your decision.


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