Tiffin Girls' School bows to pressure to introduce postcode catchment areas

Surrey Comet: Tiffin Girls' School bows to pressure to introduce postcode catchment areas Tiffin Girls' School bows to pressure to introduce postcode catchment areas

Girls in Kingston could soon have a greater chance of getting into one of the best schools in the country.

Tiffin Girls’ School has revealed plans to introduce a catchment area for the first time, giving priority to applicants living in south west London and north Surrey, stretching between Ealing to Epsom and Walton to Mitcham.

According to the Richmond Road school’s draft admission arrangements, the proposals have arisen amid concern for out-of-borough students travelling long distances.

It reads: “We are delighted that the school is popular and thriving, however, we are increasingly concerned about the distances some girls are expected to travel each day to and from school.

“We believe that all our students should be able to participate fully in the life of the school, both in and outside lessons, and have time to enjoy their time outside school too.”

The school, rated top girls’ school in the national A-level league tables in 2010, has come under increasing pressure to admit more children from the borough.

In 2012, 1,879 pupils applied for just 150 places.

A campaign lead by the nearby Burton Road, Richmond Park Road and Gibbon Road residents’ association was set up to encourage residents to lobby the school to accept more Kingston pupils.

Last January  headteacher Vanessa Ward rejected pleas from nearby parents to adjust the admissions criteria to allow more children from the borough to attend.

However, 76 per cent of people who voted in this newspaper’s online poll supported more places for Kingston students at the Richmond Road grammar school.

Under the new proposals, applicants will still have to sit an admissions exam, but priority will be given to those who live in the catchment area, and who perform highly in the exams.

Councillor Andrea Craig said: “I am absolutely thrilled to hear about this proposal. We live in an area full of children academically capable of going to the school, and it is great to hear that this may be helping local students to get accepted.

"The school is very community minded anyway, and this properly embodies the philosophy.”

Zac Goldsmith, Richmond Park MP, said: “I am so pleased to see that the school is serious about providing more support for local children, and addressing the huge distance some girls are travelling to get there.

"It is a hugely impressive school, and this move can only strengthen it.”

The Admissions Code 2012 maintains that parents who live outside a school’s catchment area may still express an interest in the school, but Tiffin Girls’ said these pupils would be unlikely to get a place.

Parents are being asked to comment on the proposed arrangements in writing by noon on February 13.

The new catchment postcodes in full

KT1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 19

TW1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16

SW13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20 W4, 5, 7, 13

UB1, 2

SM4

CR4

To see the proposals in full visit tiffingirls.kingston.sch.uk

What do you think? Call the newsdesk on 020 8744 4264 or email hana.hausmeister@london.newsquest.co.uk

Comments (6)

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10:17am Wed 9 Jan 13

DB says...

If the above represents the NEW list of postcodes, what on earth did the OLD one look like?

Within London, surely there should be a 3-4 mile absolute maximum radius that pupils are expected to travel given the density of the population and the time taken to get anywhere.

Coming from somewhere as far away as Mitcham or Hammersmith takes far too long and this must do as much to harm a pupil's education as going to a great school does to further it in the first place.

The article seems to talk about 'children from the borough of Kingston' quite a lot, but there are a list of over 40 postcodes here and only a very small amount of those are actually local ones.

Apart from the question of funding, I don't see why priority should be limited to Kingston students; this school is right on the border of the Richmond borough, so it actually makes more sense to admit children from Ham than it does, say, Tolworth, but extending it more than one borough away just makes no sense at all.
If the above represents the NEW list of postcodes, what on earth did the OLD one look like? Within London, surely there should be a 3-4 mile absolute maximum radius that pupils are expected to travel given the density of the population and the time taken to get anywhere. Coming from somewhere as far away as Mitcham or Hammersmith takes far too long and this must do as much to harm a pupil's education as going to a great school does to further it in the first place. The article seems to talk about 'children from the borough of Kingston' quite a lot, but there are a list of over 40 postcodes here and only a very small amount of those are actually local ones. Apart from the question of funding, I don't see why priority should be limited to Kingston students; this school is right on the border of the Richmond borough, so it actually makes more sense to admit children from Ham than it does, say, Tolworth, but extending it more than one borough away just makes no sense at all. DB

10:42am Wed 9 Jan 13

Prince Philip of Greece says...

How is the Tiffin school financed? If it's funded by KiIngston Borough rate-payers, then the school should be for children in that Borough. This might be a small step in the right direction.

(Although ending elitist education - in favour of schools that promote social cohesion and mobility - would be a better move in the long run.)
How is the Tiffin school financed? If it's funded by KiIngston Borough rate-payers, then the school should be for children in that Borough. This might be a small step in the right direction. (Although ending elitist education - in favour of schools that promote social cohesion and mobility - would be a better move in the long run.) Prince Philip of Greece

1:04pm Wed 9 Jan 13

DB says...

Prince Philip of Greece wrote:
How is the Tiffin school financed? If it's funded by KiIngston Borough rate-payers, then the school should be for children in that Borough. This might be a small step in the right direction. (Although ending elitist education - in favour of schools that promote social cohesion and mobility - would be a better move in the long run.)
I agree, although I do think there could be a common sense approach around the edges of boroughs which would in general even-out as it would be reciprocated on other boundaries.

I do think that it is excellent that state schools can reach the level of excellence that Tiffin has, and it is nice that this has been acheved in the Kingston borough, but surely it dlies in the face of state education that parents are prepared to let their children travle endless miles to get there because the schools in their areas are so poor.

Why can we not get one school in every borough up to near this level? It would still encourage massive competition from local kids and get to an excellent standard, but without all the travel.
[quote][p][bold]Prince Philip of Greece[/bold] wrote: How is the Tiffin school financed? If it's funded by KiIngston Borough rate-payers, then the school should be for children in that Borough. This might be a small step in the right direction. (Although ending elitist education - in favour of schools that promote social cohesion and mobility - would be a better move in the long run.)[/p][/quote]I agree, although I do think there could be a common sense approach around the edges of boroughs which would in general even-out as it would be reciprocated on other boundaries. I do think that it is excellent that state schools can reach the level of excellence that Tiffin has, and it is nice that this has been acheved in the Kingston borough, but surely it dlies in the face of state education that parents are prepared to let their children travle endless miles to get there because the schools in their areas are so poor. Why can we not get one school in every borough up to near this level? It would still encourage massive competition from local kids and get to an excellent standard, but without all the travel. DB

1:14pm Wed 9 Jan 13

reesmf says...

Prince Philip of Greece wrote:
How is the Tiffin school financed? If it's funded by KiIngston Borough rate-payers, then the school should be for children in that Borough. This might be a small step in the right direction.

(Although ending elitist education - in favour of schools that promote social cohesion and mobility - would be a better move in the long run.)
The attraction of Tiffin Girls is its academic record which is so high because it attracts pupils from a wide area, and still will do so after these minimal changes.

If it became a Kingston-only school it would stop being "one of the best schools in the country" and would become like, say, Coombe Girls.

Personally I would prefer that. Coombe Girls is a good school but is hard to get in to from North Kingston etc. Ending selection would be a huge improvement in Kingston which suffers from a high proportion of selective, church and single sex schools.
[quote][p][bold]Prince Philip of Greece[/bold] wrote: How is the Tiffin school financed? If it's funded by KiIngston Borough rate-payers, then the school should be for children in that Borough. This might be a small step in the right direction. (Although ending elitist education - in favour of schools that promote social cohesion and mobility - would be a better move in the long run.)[/p][/quote]The attraction of Tiffin Girls is its academic record which is so high because it attracts pupils from a wide area, and still will do so after these minimal changes. If it became a Kingston-only school it would stop being "one of the best schools in the country" and would become like, say, Coombe Girls. Personally I would prefer that. Coombe Girls is a good school but is hard to get in to from North Kingston etc. Ending selection would be a huge improvement in Kingston which suffers from a high proportion of selective, church and single sex schools. reesmf

3:45pm Wed 9 Jan 13

DB says...

reesmf wrote:
Prince Philip of Greece wrote: How is the Tiffin school financed? If it's funded by KiIngston Borough rate-payers, then the school should be for children in that Borough. This might be a small step in the right direction. (Although ending elitist education - in favour of schools that promote social cohesion and mobility - would be a better move in the long run.)
The attraction of Tiffin Girls is its academic record which is so high because it attracts pupils from a wide area, and still will do so after these minimal changes. If it became a Kingston-only school it would stop being "one of the best schools in the country" and would become like, say, Coombe Girls. Personally I would prefer that. Coombe Girls is a good school but is hard to get in to from North Kingston etc. Ending selection would be a huge improvement in Kingston which suffers from a high proportion of selective, church and single sex schools.
I agree that Tiffin's success is bolstered by being able to select the best pupils from a massive catchment area, and that this slight reduction in the catchment area will do little to change things.

However, is stopping selection altogether really the way? Tiffin is effectively a regional 'super school' that only a tiny percentage of pupils from the local area can get into, but surely a traditional selective school that takes in and develops the top 25% of the local children is still a good idea.

These seem to work well in other areas where there is still selective schooling with tighter catchment areas. Sure, these schools do not enter the top 10 of the national league table, but I bet that the 'value add' that they give to their pupils is at the same type of level as Tiffin.

I am not sure why Tiffin was ever allowed to go off and do it's own thing in the first place.
[quote][p][bold]reesmf[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Prince Philip of Greece[/bold] wrote: How is the Tiffin school financed? If it's funded by KiIngston Borough rate-payers, then the school should be for children in that Borough. This might be a small step in the right direction. (Although ending elitist education - in favour of schools that promote social cohesion and mobility - would be a better move in the long run.)[/p][/quote]The attraction of Tiffin Girls is its academic record which is so high because it attracts pupils from a wide area, and still will do so after these minimal changes. If it became a Kingston-only school it would stop being "one of the best schools in the country" and would become like, say, Coombe Girls. Personally I would prefer that. Coombe Girls is a good school but is hard to get in to from North Kingston etc. Ending selection would be a huge improvement in Kingston which suffers from a high proportion of selective, church and single sex schools.[/p][/quote]I agree that Tiffin's success is bolstered by being able to select the best pupils from a massive catchment area, and that this slight reduction in the catchment area will do little to change things. However, is stopping selection altogether really the way? Tiffin is effectively a regional 'super school' that only a tiny percentage of pupils from the local area can get into, but surely a traditional selective school that takes in and develops the top 25% of the local children is still a good idea. These seem to work well in other areas where there is still selective schooling with tighter catchment areas. Sure, these schools do not enter the top 10 of the national league table, but I bet that the 'value add' that they give to their pupils is at the same type of level as Tiffin. I am not sure why Tiffin was ever allowed to go off and do it's own thing in the first place. DB

1:48pm Thu 10 Jan 13

kingstonpaul says...

About ten years ago, I recall a notable local councillor suggesting that Tiffin should be re-located to Chessington (handy for many of its pupils in the A3 corridor); while the Tiffin premises reverted to a local comprehensive serving the growing demand from the immediate Ham/North Kingston catchment. That felt like a pretty reasonable proposal to me, although I fear that too many powerful couldn't stomach the prospect of a Tiffin school in Chessington.
As much as I applaud the excellence of our local selective schools, they have severeley distorted the marketplace. There is no doubt that the profile overly represents affluent families who can afford tutoring (Kingston's fastest growth industry over the past 15 years).
It's about time that local schools, paid for by local residents are for the benefit of local kids.
About ten years ago, I recall a notable local councillor suggesting that Tiffin should be re-located to Chessington (handy for many of its pupils in the A3 corridor); while the Tiffin premises reverted to a local comprehensive serving the growing demand from the immediate Ham/North Kingston catchment. That felt like a pretty reasonable proposal to me, although I fear that too many powerful couldn't stomach the prospect of a Tiffin school in Chessington. As much as I applaud the excellence of our local selective schools, they have severeley distorted the marketplace. There is no doubt that the profile overly represents affluent families who can afford tutoring (Kingston's fastest growth industry over the past 15 years). It's about time that local schools, paid for by local residents are for the benefit of local kids. kingstonpaul

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