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 Post subject: Newstead or Townley?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:40 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:42 am
Posts: 18
Hi we need to make a call between these , initial thoughts: Townley facilities and building much fresher and better feel, year sizes larger, no streaming of classes initially, head very good inspirational, feels like a school on the up. Newstead classed as super selective so feels odd to go against it if we have the choice, results at very top grades at GCSE significantly better, head didn't seem particularly inspiring, rumours of financial strife. Happy to have these thoughts challenged would appreciate members thoughts on these two schools


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 Post subject: Re: Newstead or Townley?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:56 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:39 am
Posts: 130
Lovely dilemma to have!

Don’t forget travelling distance as a factor.

Have you visited both schools? we had a similar choice with both DSs, and in both cases we knew when we walked into the right school as it just felt ‘right’, the school seemed full of boys that were just like DSs and we could see them there.


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 Post subject: Re: Newstead or Townley?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:09 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:24 pm
Posts: 1609
Location: Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent
Well done to your DD to have such great choices.

NW head retiring and MAT helping with recruitment of new head. Townley Head is leaving to head up a MAT but will still be involved with Townley so basing it on Head probably isn’t ideal.

NW are only offering Latin now as a Twilight class. SMT are very strong at NW. they have few NQTs (but that could change of course). DD loves it but also had friends in her Guide pack who love Townley. For us it was DD’s choice (best fit), options at GCSE and proximity that were deciding factors between Tonbridge, NW and Townley for us


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 Post subject: Re: Newstead or Townley?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:43 am 
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Joined: Sat May 27, 2017 8:14 pm
Posts: 43
Location: Chislehurst
Seems there will quite a few of us with this dilemma.

We're 50/50 too. Being able to see Townley again, and see it functioning is working in its favour.

Not seeing NW functioning, and only during an extremely overcrowded pre results open day is working against it. If it were not for these forums, we'd know very little about it.

We may need to flip a coin, or base it on journey time which seems rather low tech.


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 Post subject: Re: Newstead or Townley?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 11:49 am
Posts: 180
Townley Head is not leaving, just becoming Executive Head of a two school MAT containing Townley and Erith School.


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 Post subject: Re: Newstead or Townley?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:43 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:24 pm
Posts: 1609
Location: Petts Wood, Bromley, Kent
I thought I was quite clear by balancing the two bits of information by saying he wouldn’t be Head of Townley but would still be involved, sorry if it was was seen otherwise. I have heard the new MAT might be growing (albeit slowly) by a few other schools too in the next few years, however only anecdotally via people who’ve been part of the Bexley Teaching School Alliance, so appreciate it may not happen, but if it does it may make it harder for any Head of a MAT to be involved in any individual school. My point stands that heads change and as much as they leave their mark, choosing a school on a Head may be a factor but shouldn’t be a deciding factor as these things change, as do curriculum options etc.

It does seem vastly unfair that we Parents make decisions based on what we know at the time and sometimes it can seem the rug is pulled out from our very well planned and well intentioned feet. I think that is why for us the overriding factor was how DD felt she fitted in with other girls as that was the me of the immutable factors. We could hope the SMT could support any senior team changes, that subjects might change but we could fill in any major gaps and being nearby DD wouldn’t be too exhausted by a long day. Gosh I don’t envy those making the decision today (been there, worn the tshirt!), I do however think it amazing that there are the choices and when we had this dilemma we had to remind ourselves what a very amazing dilemma it was. Every child / family will make a choice based on their options, interests and family life. Good luck all!!


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 Post subject: Re: Newstead or Townley?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:35 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 11:49 am
Posts: 180
Yes, PwF you are right, it is a lovely dilemma to have, which grammar school. Many parents are not able to have such choices or opportunities for their DC. But I do think headteachers and their longevity matter. Mr D may not be moving far from Townley but NW has had three heads since December 2013 and after the current interim's retirement next year will get its fourth in seven years. There is a national shortage of heads and excellent ones should be treasured.


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 Post subject: Re: Newstead or Townley?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:18 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:59 am
Posts: 154
Hi there, we had exactly the same dilemma. What made it easier was that my daughter wanted to go to NW. She felt Townley was too big and too arty for her. She is into science and she also identified more with the girls at NW. I know what you mean about NW not having more than one open day and about how crowded it is. It made my decision harder too as Townley is near me whereas NW isn't. Maybe if you ring NW- they can offer a tour during the day? Anyhow we also spoke to parents with girls currently at NW and their daughters and got a better picture of the school. Just to update- my daughter started NW a few weeks ago and loves it! However I wouldn't have had any issue with her attending Townley either but I think it really depends on the child -which school they prefer. Logistics wise is also important and I am happy that Lewis coaches takes my DD to NW from our area. We also know many girls happy at Townley too- in fact I have a few nieces and colleagues' daughters at Townley and they also love their school! At the end of the day it is how you and your daughter feel. It's a lovely dilemma to have so congratulations!! I'm sure she will thrive wherever she chooses to go!


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 Post subject: Re: Newstead or Townley?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:28 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 27, 2017 8:14 pm
Posts: 43
Location: Chislehurst
sobz70 wrote:
Hi there, we had exactly the same dilemma. What made it easier was that my daughter wanted to go to NW.

Hi, thank you for your response. I believe this is one of the most important factors, as if DD is happy and it is her desire it is more likely that she will fit and do well.

sobz70 wrote:
She felt Townley was too big and too arty for her. She is into science and she also identified more with the girls at NW.

NW being more science and academic is the generally accepted theory, yet the DoE figures show that 78% took 3x Science GCSEs at NW, but this figure is 99% at the more "Arty" Townley.. The figure is also 99% at Tonbridge, and 93% at Dartford..
Potentially having more facilities for Art, Drama, STEM, Language, Music, Sport, etc gives the impression that the school specialises more in these than science. Yet the statistics lead me to conclude it is a more "all round" school offering everything, with 21% more of the pupils sitting 3x Sciences at GCSE level than NW..

sobz70 wrote:
Their curriculum is very wide- mandarin, Japanese, Latin. They also have dance and drama and art if you are interested in those subjects. They also do lots of enrichment activities like trips to Silicon Valley, India, Japan, Germany,France, Italy.

These would no longer differentiate NW. Townley is offering Latin for all Yr 7s, but it's only available as "twilight" in NW. The Head at TG was eager to point out that they are the only school to visit Silicon Valley, and actually get through the doors of Google, Facebook & Microsoft too.. I have seen Tweets from TG of the pupils on trips to India, France and Russia in the past year.

sobz70 wrote:
I know what you mean about NW not having more than one open day and about how crowded it is.

In general, NW seems less open. From lack of Open Days, to Tweets, it just seems like there is more information coming from hearsay, history, rumour and on these forums than the school is able to present itself. Maybe as demand outstrips supply already, they do not see it necessary to promote further..

sobz70 wrote:
Anyhow we also spoke to parents with girls currently at NW and their daughters and got a better picture of the school.

We have spoken to a number of parents now (colleagues, friends, ex-Jnr school, etc) with DDs at both Townley and NW. On the whole, pupils and parents are happy with their decision to send to either. But we get the impression those at Townley are happier overall with the facilities and teaching offered.. Distance also plays a major part in the decision. Those in Hayes/West Wickham/Beckenham have little practical choice but to select NW so may have this preference and not even attempt the Bexley test for this reason.

sobz70 wrote:
We also know many girls happy at Townley too- in fact I have a few nieces and colleagues' daughters at Townley and they also love their school!

There are 100s joining both schools annually who do well. We know a family who sent DD1 to NW, but wouldn't send DD2. We know a family who sent DD1 to NW, and DD2 to TG and felt TG is the far better school. We know a DD who went to TG but left and returned to Indy. Ultimately, it also depends on the DD, and neither school will suit everybody.

I thank you for your response again, and wish everybody all the best whatever they decide!


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 Post subject: Re: Newstead or Townley?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:54 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:59 am
Posts: 154
I asked about the triple science and double science option at NW - they allow students to choose as not everyone may want to do the triple science option. In Townley it's compulsory to do triple science. . GCSE results are better at NW however it's not only about results I do understand. NW has an engineering dept so if you are into engineering that would be a great opportunity. Latin is offered in yr 7 at Townley and when I asked they said it wasn't currently offered at GCSE. In NW you can take it for GCSE if you want to as twilight option.
I have nieces and colleagues DD's at Townley and heard mixed reports too- even from Townley, people have removed their DD's for various reasons.

I also know of someone with a DD at Townley and DD at Newstead who advised me to keep NW no 1. What I am trying to say is different people will say different things but it ultimately depends on how you and how your daughter feel.
I have three DD's too and all 3 are so different that one may thrive in one school but the others in another. It really depends on what you want out of the school and where your interests lie. The feel you get from the school etc and logistics- what works for you all as a family.

Goodluck to all with this very hard decision!


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