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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:07 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:51 am
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I don’t mean for this to sound controversial but I thought I’d put this on this table. It follows a conversation I was having with a couple of other parents over the weekend, one of which has a Dd taking the test this year.

This is not necessarily my personal opinion and I appreciate others views may differ.

Reading & Wokingham schools are stretched and a certain DA has maybe squeezed out a few places for Dcs that may have been able to attend a particular well-performing school some years ago. Reading has only one Girls Grammar school and one Boys Grammar school. Annual intake numbers are low and competition for these limited places is therefore very high.

Kendrick say having reached 109 in the entrance tests, your Dd is deemed suitable for a Grammar school education and they’d probably be more than happy to take on 96 girls if they just scored 109 and not higher. Yet, Kendrick insists on offering 96 places to highest scoring candidates. On the day performance means any Dd may miss out on a place be a mark or two!

I can see why Kendrick offers to the highest scoring candidates, it clearly works for them. However, the new catchment is far too large and open policy this has affected local children for years. Shouldn’t Kendrick (and Reading Boys) offer to girls that score 109 or over and rank them according to the closest proximity to the school?


Last edited by sonasona on Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 1:29 pm
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Location: Berkshire
Kendrick and Reading Grammars are no different to other grammars, offering to only the highest scoring candidates in their tests.

Unfortunately there are are only 164 grammar schools in this country. Supply and demand obviously playing a huge part in why the offers are made the way they are.

As parents we can do nothing but work within the system that is before us. Unless our pockets/priorities allow us the other choices out there.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:35 pm 
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It's an interesting suggestion. Personally (and I have no axe to grind, we are less than a mile from Kendrick as the crow flies) I think I'd rather see the DA reduced - I really can't imagine that it excluded any girls this year.

Although, I don't know, your idea is pretty appealing - I kind of have this grumpy feeling that if you will get into another outstanding school, you should just go there (e.g. a friend of mine decided last autumn not to put her son in for the Reading exam because they live very near Highdown - and that was where he wanted to go, so why not?) and leave the option of the grammar schools for those of us (like me in west Reading!) who really need them, lol! Fortunately I am not in charge of any education policy as I'm not sure this feeling is exactly fair ;-) So if it were done on distance, girls who e.g. live next door to Holt, would hopefully still end up in a great single sex school.

It's very difficult.

As for that particular well-performing school you mention - I think it's rested on its laurels for many many years. My dh went there 30 years ago, when it had an equally good reputation, and his dad always said, well, so it ****** well should, given its catchment area - huge numbers of university-staff families. Its GCSE and A levels results now aren't amazingly better than the other Wokingham schools - they're better than the nearest Reading schools (minus the grammars) though, that's for sure, and seeing as we have such weird boundaries drawn (and really badly-spaced out schools), I can see why it maintains its appeal.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:48 pm 
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Location: Reading
Catchment introduced for Kendrick this year. However, it does not stop those ooc taking the test, and if they get a good enough score moving. Reducing the catchment won't change that, just reduce the area they have to move to. Determined parents find a way.
There is also the danger that reducing catchment will in turn remove more of the higher achieving children from other Reading schools, having an impact on them. In fact RBC asked the schools to increase their catchment some years ago to address this problem.

I believe I live in the catchment of the school mentioned by Aliportico and Sonasona. While it is a good school, I believe it is over rated, having friends with children there. Nothing wrong with it. The whole catchment issue made us look at school choices and I'm glad it did.

This is a strange area to live education wise. In East Reading we have numerous primary schools, two private schools, a UTC (from September) and a university. The UTC will serve a 15 mile radius not unlike the GSs. Our nearest secondaries are both in Wokingham. Our nearest secondaries in RBC are both selective. We essentially have no non selective secondaries of our own. RBC has to educate a large portion of secondary school children outside of RBC, due to how boundaries were drawn up. My own Dd goes to a Wokingham primary school, basically because I can see it from my house. I am not in catchment for it though. She has as far to walk from the gate to her class as she does from our house to the gate. :roll:

Personally I'd like to see a method were more local children got places over those further away, but I know it will take them from other local schools. Reducing catchment doesn't really work, so reducing it a bit more won't do much either.

Difficult and I don't think there's a right answer.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:03 pm 
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Your replies are very interesting. It’s a shame Kendrick can’t just move and have a larger intake! Still, I like those small paths and lanes from building to building :D

Over rated it may be but that school still drives the house prices up, just ask those homeowners living on the trainline side of Wokingham Rd who overnight ended up in ME catchment area!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:11 pm 
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Location: Reading
I also do not know what the answer is but the current situation leaves a lot to be desired. When I bought my house 7.5 yrs ago it was in ME catchment (it was part of the buying decision and I certainly paid for it). At that point I knew of Kendrick but could not predict how my 3 yr old was going to develop and whether Kendrick would be an option for her - obviously.
As of the recent changes ME is still the school RBC say I should get but oversubscription means the cut off line doesn't even come close to us. Thankfully we have Kendrick but otherwise we would have paid for Abbey as I do not believe Bulmershe is the school for her. I appreciate that many simply do not have that option.
RBC needs to get its finger out and build an East Reading school to support its residents properly.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:25 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
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Location: Reading
This year's cutoff for ME

http://www.maidenerleghcatchment.co.uk/ ... 3-cut-off/

Bit more than last year. Will start shrinking gain from next year.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:37 pm 
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Location: Reading
wouldn't have gone far enough out for us. Luckily we are not looking to sell the house any time soon


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:43 pm 
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sonasona wrote:
Over rated it may be but that school still drives the house prices up, just ask those homeowners living on the trainline side of Wokingham Rd who overnight ended up in ME catchment area!


Oh well, at least some people ended up better off! The ones who lost out were pretty fed up about it.

Certainly don't want Kendrick to move, would be far less convenient for my dd ;-)

Tinkers, I'm guessing you must live extremely close to my inlaws, unless there's another school along a border that I've forgotten about.

I wonder if anyone did end up moving this year? I don't remember reading about anyone moving for Reading School in the years I've been here, and they've had a similar DA for ages. I do agree about more very local children getting in making the existing Reading schools less comprehensive though, you're right about that.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:26 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:42 pm
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I maybe a little biased here. Having benefitted from the larger catchment.

However, on the whole the issue is not catchment and it's effect on local schools. Everyone misses the point, the problem is overdevelopment in the South East and the lack of infrastructure built to accomodate the rapid growth.

When new housing is built, spinless local authorities do not put enough pressure on the developers to build schools, develop roads accordingly and thus you end up in a situation where "wealth" catchment becomes enforced.

Reducing the catchment of the outstanding schools will only affect the future prospects of people trying to get into these Grammar schools, by forcing the prices up and restricting those who cannot afford to live in the area out. Or creating a scenario where people are encouraged to sell for the extra wealth and again forced out.

Anyone, who is wealthy enough can easily move into the area and you have the same issue again, only this time wealth enforces it.

You want a solution. Force RBC etc to fund better schools if not more Grammars, ask yourself why Slough has more than 2, as is the case with Bucks.

There is a bigger picture.


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