Choosing between schools

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Familycompleted
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Choosing between schools

Postby Familycompleted » Tue Jan 21, 2020 9:45 pm

Would love to have opinions from various parents out there about how they are finding Kings Wimbledon/Whitgift/Trinity/Emanuel and if they had any pros/cons for them? We are trying to make our own and would be really curious to know what we may have missed or not thought about. They are all very different but our son seems to like all of them which makes it difficult to choose. What swayed you towards/away from any of the above? 😬
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CorianderStreet
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Re: Choosing between schools

Postby CorianderStreet » Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:09 am

First of all, which is closest or has the easiest journey? Your son will be commuting there and back, in the morning rush hour, laden down with school bag/sports kit/musical instrument for 7 years so a quick journey without too many changes is better, especially when he’s a grumpy mid-teen who doesn’t want to get out of bed ...

Academically, King’s is the hardest to get into, followed by Whitgift and Trinity which are pretty much on a par (although Whitgift is much bigger so will make more offers), and then Emanuel. Both King’s and Whitgift offer the IB as well as A-levels which is a great option if your child is a bright all-rounder. Whitgift is the only one which is completely single sex all the way through and I can’t see that changing any time soon.

My son went to Whitgift and had friends at all the others - they all did well, although a few transferred out of their original school at sixth form. They’re all good schools, taking in brighter than average children, and charging their motivated parents eye-watering fees, so obviously they get good results.
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dudette
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Re: Choosing between schools

Postby dudette » Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:02 am

I think Emanuel is now pretty difficult to get into. Obviously being co-ed they have more applicants and their catchment area is growing fast. It’s no longer the safety net it used to be. King’s is much harder to get into than the others. Your son would be surrounded by extremely bright peers which could be a good thing in terms of pace of study, but also makes it harder to shine. I’m not that up to speed on Trinity and Whitgift but my impression is they are more socially diverse. So much of being happy or not at a school is down to the teachers they get and the child’s peer group and that is fairly random. I know of two boys who left Trinity after a year as they weren’t happy but equally know of a boy who is thriving there and loves it. Most people getting offers from all those schools would I think choose King’s as it’s seen as the ‘best’ school in terms of results. But my view is they do better because they cream off the best kids. They’re all good choices and your son would be very lucky to have the choice of all of them.
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themotherofdragons
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Re: Choosing between schools

Postby themotherofdragons » Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:06 am

There is a lot you don't say about your son but should be your major considerations - is he mainly academic or very sporty / musical / artistic? Is he shy or confident and boisterous? I know all these schools - either through personal experience or my close friends' direct personal experience - and they are all very different and suit different children. I think personality and values fit is a very important aspect while often ignored.

Kings is by far the most academic with great results but also very competitive and while I have a close friend whose chess loving child is thriving there, I also know someone whose boy struggled and ended up moving to another, less competitive school, after two years and he is very happy there. It was nothing to do with his lack of academic abilities but he mentally struggled with constant pressure.

Trinity's academic results have been amazing the last couple of years, with their new head. Check their recent GCSE and A level results. They overtook Alleyn's in GCSE results last year. It's a very different school from what it used to be several years ago. Much harder to get into now. Also very musical so perfect if you have a very musical child. It also has the reputation as being very nurturing and values driven. 

Whitgit is much bigger and great for sporty boisterous boys. Also, note that they have been planning to drop IB - if it's important for you (my friend with a boy at the school tells me) 

Emanuel is very ambitious these days and I've been hearing conflicting things... 

Good luck! My big recommendation would be - trust your gut instincts and choose the school that most suits his personality, don't look just at the results. 

 
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Mumof3Balham
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Re: Choosing between schools

Postby Mumof3Balham » Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:04 am

I would Echo what others have said in terms of understanding first your son and what he likes most - is he happy to travel or does he prefer to be local. Is he sporty, musical, general etc. What sports does he like. I have friends with children at all schools (some who have also gone onto University) and can give you the round up of views here. My son is at Whitgift but we considered all of the schools you mention and he got into Emmanual, Whitgift and Trinity.

Kings - a great school if you are academically very bright. For those who are really bright they thrive from the challenge and the peer group. If you don't get in easily it can be tough as kids can struggle to keep up. I loved the school when we went round and have several friends whose boys have been there - but the above is the general view - the bright ones thrive and those that got in closer to the margins are not the happiest as they actually feel thick - which of course they are not!

Whitgift - an all boys school with a reputation for being sporty - but we sent our very non-sporty, gentle son there and he is thriving. The school is labelled as sporty but is actually very well rounded with strong music & drama depts (taught by actors and west end producers!). It has more clubs than many schools and as mentioned previously is very divers. We have heard nothing about getting rid of the IB - in fact my son likely to do it - and they were the best all boys school in the IB last year so I would be surprised if this is true. They extole strong values - lots of kids are on scholarship so it is a less privileged environment than some of the other schools. If you asked my son what's the best thing about the school he will say "the teacher" - he feels they are really amazing. Second to that the facilities and clubs on offer.

Trinity - lots of friends with boys here all are thriving. The bias here is towards music where they are excellent but they also offer strong sports - arguably if your child is not as strong to start with on sport they get a greater chance to play - as Whitgift does attract strong sports people. Also diverse and rounded as Whitgift - with the added advantage of girls in the sixth form which is a plus. 

Emmanuel - less close experience of this school - but for boys watch out on sport - they are a classic Rugby/Cricket/Rowing school and very little opportunity for other sports like football and hockey. So if you son is a Rugby boy they are likely to be very happy -we were taken round by a boy who was not (as our son was not) and you could see how awkward he felt about being in the "non-squad" group for sport.

All in all speak to parents and try to understand the bias of the school and what would work for your son. Where do you see him fitting in best. They are all expensive and competitive to get into - don't follow the pack - choose from what feels right for you!
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mummy in cj
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Re: Choosing between schools

Postby mummy in cj » Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:37 pm

All really useful insights as we are also looking at secondary school choices. We have been to the Witgift, Emmanuel and Kings open days.

Few things to add from those visits:
- Emmanuel is introducing football to their main curriculum
- Witgift has a French section which teaches the French national curriculum in literature for bilingual children (at the time when other children are having their modern language lessons). There is an extra test to join this. I believe they may also do this in Spanish.
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Familycompleted
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Re: Choosing between schools

Postby Familycompleted » Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:28 pm

Oh my goodness thank you so much for the above all so very helpful. My son got offered whitgift, trinity and Emanuel and we are now in the amazing blessed position of having to choose between them. He is quite sporty but mainly likes hockey and swimming. He is interested in science, chess and maths. He also enjoys drama. He has a younger sister so whilst co-Ed is quite important for us, not an end in itself (but def a big draw) Just can’t decide if distance will be an issue (long day in school bus). He also has a younger sister.... but wouldn’t want to choose a place based on that as but fair on him. The conflicting messages about Emanuel isn’t very helpful but also heard mostly good changes since new head arriving. 🙈 such a tough decision!!!
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