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Re: Thomas's Clapham, Streatham and Clapham Prep offers

by MGMidget » Wed Dec 21, 2016 9:42 am

I can't give you an estimate of level of churn to other local prep schools myself since I don't know of any. Maybe someone else can or maybe it can be pieced together from various posters experience. I can tell you specifically from my experience that in each school year my son has been in there has been either one or no children leaving from his class (always at the end of the school year if I remember correctly) and they have left because the family was moving out of London. In other classes it may have been slightly different of course but I haven't heard of classes losing lots of children. I can only give you a parents perspective not whole school statistics.

Re: Thomas's Clapham, Streatham and Clapham Prep offers

by papinian » Tue Dec 20, 2016 6:01 pm

MGMidget wrote:Some movement will occur between schools I'm sure but I don't think there's a lot of children leaving Thomas's for local schools - not from what I have seen anyway.
Different people may have different views of what constitutes "a lot" in this context so it would be helpful if you could give your view as to what the level of churn is and, specifically, what the level of churn to other local prep schools is. Thomas's Clapham admits 80 in each year (about half of whom are siblings) so that's the number that we'd be working off. Of course, not everyone who leaves to go to another local prep will have been "managed out".

Re: Thomas's Clapham, Streatham and Clapham Prep offers

by sofiatheseventh » Tue Dec 20, 2016 5:55 pm

I don't dispute that at all.

But you originally said
I have not known children move to other schools down the road although I have known moves to happen the other way
so I was just pointing out that I know of 2 who have done just that in the last 6 months.

If you post to correct 'speculation' it is better to be accurate.

Re: Thomas's Clapham, Streatham and Clapham Prep offers

by MGMidget » Tue Dec 20, 2016 5:38 pm

And I recall a former head boy at Thomas's saying he moved from Broomwood. Some movement will occur between schools I'm sure but I don't think there's a lot of children leaving Thomas's for local schools - not from what I have seen anyway.

Re: Thomas's Clapham, Streatham and Clapham Prep offers

by sofiatheseventh » Tue Dec 20, 2016 4:47 pm

Well two kids definitely joined Broomwood from Thomas's Clapham this year.

Re: Thomas's Clapham, Streatham and Clapham Prep offers

by MGMidget » Tue Dec 20, 2016 1:06 pm

As a current Thomas's parent (and have been for a few years now) I feel I must say something on this thread because the speculation is getting a bit out of hand!

For starters, if 'managing out' of children was commonplace I think it would be a hot topic amongst parents in the school and it isn't. Of all the children I have known to leave the school in the first few years this has been because the family is moving out of London. I have not known children move to other schools down the road although I have known moves to happen the other way - i.e. from the other local schools to Thomas's. There may be someone who will say they know someone who moved locally and/or was 'managed out' but my point is it must be fairly rare or it would be known about.

Regarding the admissions procedure: my son did not go to one of the so-called 'feeder' nurseries and he got a place immediately without being put on a waiting list. I thought at the time that he might not stand a chance as we would not have had the advantage of the 'inside knowledge' on what they were looking for and the possibility of special preparation by the nursery. As far as I know my son is the only person to go from his nursery to the school - certainly in his school year at least but possibly for many years before or since. I think he was the only one that applied though so that was a 100% success rate for the nursery. It is in the interests of certain nurseries to play heavily on their links with Thomas's to make them a more attractive choice for those parents considering the school. However, don't assume the school is biased - the whole set up has always seemed professional to me and they know what they are looking for. I am not sure that going to a particular nursery gives your child any advantage.

The school has a 'learning enrichment' department and supports children with various learning difficulties. My son is somewhere in the middle academically but like many children has one or two areas of weakness and I have found the school to be very supportive and will provide classroom support/interventions for children when needed.

I also think the school tries hard to enable all children to have their chance to shine. The same children do not get picked each time for the 'big' parts in school plays or other performances, positions of responsibility etc. They try hard to spread the opportunities around.

Regarding leavers destinations. I have always found this hard to get my head around for any of the schools. However, I have certainly not heard any talk of disappointing results in leavers destinations, rather that they are good results so I don't think the school is trying to hide anything.

The teaching at the school is very good in my experience and I feel confident that when the time comes for entrance exams to the next school my son will have had every opportunity he needs to develop to his full capability. Hence I don't worry about scrutinising the leavers destinations at this stage! I feel confident the school is doing everything it can to bring out the best in my son and he will go to a school that best suits him.

Re: Thomas's Clapham, Streatham and Clapham Prep offers

by papinian » Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:55 pm

dudette wrote:Thomas's tell us the parents exactly where the leavers are going.
That's of no use to those who are thinking of sending their child to Thomas's. It's prospective Thomas's parents rather than actual Thomas's parents who have the greatest interest in leavers destinations.
dudette wrote:Who's to say which secondary school is better than another?
If parents had that attitude they would hardly be looking at the independent sector to begin with, would they? They could send their children to Harris Academy Battersea or Southfields Academy!
dudette wrote:You're much better off making an appointment with the head and asking these questions directly

The head is hardly unbiased or objective, is he?
dudette wrote:rather than relying on rumours from a bunch of people who seem to have a bit of an anti-Thomas's axe to grind for whatever reason.
This seems to be a very English thing to do - anyone who says anything critical is dismissed on the basis that they have an "axe to grind". Nobody on this thread criticised Thomas's for "managing children out". They just said that, based on their anecdotal knowledge it seems to occur more frequently at Thomas's than at other comparable local prep schools.

Re: Thomas's Clapham, Streatham and Clapham Prep offers

by dudette » Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:53 am

There's an awful lot of speculation and rumour on this thread by people who don't seem to have any connection with Thomas's other than hearsay. I would suggest that anyone coming across this thread make their own enquiries to Thomas's rather than relying on this misinformation. Thomas's tell us the parents exactly where the leavers are going. I've no idea why they've removed it from the website but it's absolutely nothing to do with them having a 'poor year' - whatever that means. Who's to say which secondary school is better than another? People choose a school based on what's right for their child. Also all this stuff about 'managing out' - again we're only hearing this second hand and I would suggest you may not have heard the whole story from the parents whose kids have been allegedly 'managed out'. You're much better off making an appointment with the head and asking these questions directly rather than relying on rumours from a bunch of people who seem to have a bit of an anti-Thomas's axe to grind for whatever reason. Thomas's have a Twitter feed. If you want to get a good idea of the school it's worth following and a lot better than a lot of the nonsense on this thread!

Re: Thomas's Clapham, Streatham and Clapham Prep offers

by Flowermummy » Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:24 pm

Transparency would be nice, but I see papinian's point that (unfortunately) it doesn't make business sense... also T's have such a demand for places that they have no incentive to improve their image.
T's seems to get a lot of "bad press" on NVN and generally in parents conversations, I think this is largely due to how they handle admissions into reception. I feel that the getting into T's hysteria is being played up both by T's and the feeder nurseries, which makes the families that didn't get in very against T's but also makes families with offers annoyed at T's arrogance (come on, the cryptic leavers destination info only shows disdain for prospective parents)
I do think and hope that once you start there, it's actually a nice school ...

Re: Thomas's Clapham, Streatham and Clapham Prep offers

by papinian » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:19 pm

lolaloves wrote:I just think they should be open about this.

There is distinct lack of transparency is this and the school leaver situation!

I have no axe to grind, we got in from a non feeder nursery but I just think the whole process needs to be more honest.
The existing process works for the nurseries and it works for the pre-preps. These are businesses - transparency only makes sense if it suits their business model.

The preps don't want to be seen to limit their intake to the feeder nurseries. In that case a scandal at one feeder nursery that resulted in its closure could adversely affect their intake. What the preps want is to maximise the number of applicants while having the best possible chance to select those children who will perform best in the 11+ or 13+. The same applies to disclosure of where leavers go.

There is a lot more transparency among independent schools at secondary level. That's partly because there are common exams but also partly because there are industry level bodies like HMC that require schools to provide data in the same way.

Re: Thomas's Clapham, Streatham and Clapham Prep offers

by lolaloves » Wed Dec 07, 2016 5:27 pm

I just think they should be open about this.

They should say, the vast majority of the children we accept in reception come from the following 2 nurseries. Parents might chose to go to those nurseries if they are really keen on T?

Instead they make a big deal about it, in fact I only looked into because they mentioned it so many times on the visit (we don't have feeder nurseries despite the rumours etc).

There is distinct lack of transparency is this and the school leaver situation!

I have no axe to grind, we got in from a non feeder nursery but I just think the whole process needs to be more honest.

Re: Thomas's Clapham, Streatham and Clapham Prep offers

by Flowermummy » Wed Dec 07, 2016 2:02 pm

Wow! I must say I had heard of the 2 feeder nurseries for Thomas's, but thought it was anecdotal... of course, not a bad idea (especially observing the children during a normal day at nursery - sounds to me better than the "assessment"). But not great for the children coming from non-feeder nurseries!
I guess it's easier for Thomas's to take most children from feeder nurseries (while still taking some from non feeder nurseries, they need to show they are mixed! :D ) - as they can rely on the nurseries recommendation.
The way I see it, T's have no incentive to go out of their comfort zone because the demand BTC is so great.
But of course, it's not really meritocratic (and IMO no selection process at 3 can be meritocratic).

lolaloves - of course that the leavers destinations info published is not enough!!
My guess is that they had some very good top children (hence the scholarships), but also a lot of children going to not so great places, so overall results not great.

Re: Thomas's Clapham, Streatham and Clapham Prep offers

by papinian » Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:42 pm

Re the nurseries, I think this happens with all pre-preps. There's nothing really sinister about about it but it may make it a bit more difficult for those coming from "non-feeder" nurseries.

The nursery knows that if it recommends children who turn out not to be up to scratch, disruptive, etc. then it will lose any future chance of swaying the pre-prep. And the pre-prep knows this, so trusts the nursery's recommendations.

I see exactly the same system in place for extremely competitive post-grads. Almost every year my undergrad university department sends one person to a post-grad at the same Oxbridge college which only takes about six people a year for that postgrad. It's based on mutual trust built up over many years that the department will only recommend someone who is a good candidate and will perform well. (And for those who know that usually postgrad entry to Oxbridge is not college-based - this postgrad course is an exemption!)

Re: Thomas's Clapham, Streatham and Clapham Prep offers

by lolaloves » Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:30 pm

It does now list scholarships but personally I like to see how many offers have been made to acceptances at each school as the strongest candidates will have multiple offers so seeing offers alone is not that helpful.

All very odd.

On the nursery front I have this first hand, there is a strong relationship between one particular nursery which is well publicised. The other prides itself on the strong relationship it has with the school. Indeed T visits some nurseries to see the children in their daily environment, a very sensible idea in my view, but not great for the children at nurseries where this does not happen.

Battersea seems like a lovely school but it goes on there too. Tadpoles secured 8/9 boys places available in that year and is very open about the fact in can and does sway the lists. That is not to say that the children are not suited to the school but where there a re multiple suitable children, this can be an advantage.

Re: Thomas's Clapham, Streatham and Clapham Prep offers

by Flowermummy » Wed Dec 07, 2016 10:15 am

Also, I hadn't heard about nursery heads "lobbying" for "their" children, but even if it happens I am not convinced they have any real power in influencing Thomas's admission decisions. T is a proper big business and I am sure they have their own goals wrt admissions..

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