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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 5:43 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:35 pm
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Hi, I am fairly new to this forum and to the English system in general. My eldest is still a long way from applying to the 11+, but we are already trying to assess what should be our long term options (whether we need to move houses, save for independent schools, etc..)

One question that came up, is that although we'd love our DS to go to Reading School (we are in the catchment area), how do families manage it logistically?

Driving in Reading at peak time is a nightmare, and we have a younger son who also needs to go to school. Do you therefore go with a ton of commute? Send them alone on trains and buses?
Or do you move near the school in Reading? But then, what happens if the sibling does not make it to the GS? It looks like comprehensives are rather average and quite far from Reading's centre (= more commute). Or do you then put the siblings in a private school? (seems a few of them in centre Reading).

I am trying to assess how viable it would be.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 6:07 pm 
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Location: Reading
By the age of 11 most of them are capable of a bit of a commute. There will be a steady stream of boys in suits and girls in red or green jumpers walking from the station to Reading/Kendrick/Abbey if you can get them onto a train.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 6:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
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Location: Reading
Most of DDs friends travel on buses or trains. DD has a relatively short journey on the bus, but some come from the other side of Wokingham and Bracknell.
You are right about travelling into Reading, best avoided.

Your DSs are still young and at the moment I guess you can't imagine them being old enough to catch buses and trains by themselves, but they will be fine.

If you are looking for decent secondary schools then the Wokingham area is worth looking at, there are numerous good schools, angling with good primaries. Just check carefully at the catchments and likelihood of getting places. Some are a bit strange and some you may not get places even if you live in catchment.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 9:53 am 
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Come secondary school age, most kids tend to make their own way either on foot or public transport. And for Reading School, the majority seem to use public transport (quite a lot are driven too apparently), not that many seem to live closer enough to walk. Likewise with Kendrick.

If you're looking to move, then take a look at RG6 or perhaps even the Woodley area. If you're in the Reading side of RG6, you could be within walking distance to RS and there is a new comp opening this Sep (lead by Maiden Erlegh head) as a possible backup choice. Or RG6 over the county border in Wokingham, you'll still be within a local bus ride and have more primary school choices in Lower Earley.

Bulmershe school in Woodley has a relative new head and has improved in their last Ofsted; Maiden Erlegh traditionally have a good reputation although they have gone down in their latest Ofsted. The stats for both these schools are very good IMO, better than national average but we looked at them a couple of years ago.

Which private schools are central? I guess they're all accessible from the town centre by bus, if you don't live right by them.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 10:36 am 
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BlueSmarties wrote:
Come secondary school age, most kids tend to make their own way either on foot or public transport. And for Reading School, the majority seem to use public transport (quite a lot are driven too apparently), not that many seem to live closer enough to walk. Likewise with Kendrick.

If you're looking to move, then take a look at RG6 or perhaps even the Woodley area. If you're in the Reading side of RG6, you could be within walking distance to RS and there is a new comp opening this Sep (lead by Maiden Erlegh head) as a possible backup choice. Or RG6 over the county border in Wokingham, you'll still be within a local bus ride and have more primary school choices in Lower Earley.

Bulmershe school in Woodley has a relative new head and has improved in their last Ofsted; Maiden Erlegh traditionally have a good reputation although they have gone down in their latest Ofsted. The stats for both these schools are very good IMO, better than national average but we looked at them a couple of years ago.

Which private schools are central? I guess they're all accessible from the town centre by bus, if you don't live right by them.


Thanks.
I am still struggling to believe that many 11 year old waste hours on trains and buses :(
Should my son get to RS, it would be a 30 minute drive from home with no traffic (as if this would happen in Reading). Using trains he would need to walk 15 minutes, get the train, change trains, and then take a bus from the station.
Bus also would require changing at the station.
Public transport looks like 1 hours minimum each way.

In short, it looks like unless you are relatively near, or have a straight public transport link to RS, it's a commute nightmare which you wouldn't normally want to put a kid through.

Had a look at the Early side of things, and whilst at first glance the local comp had decent results, upon investigation it turns out most of their good grades are on something called BTEC rather than A level, which seem to be strongly shunned by good universities. :(

The thought process continues.. if only one makes it to GS, how to make sure they don't spend their life in commuting and that the second still gets a decent academic school should he not get to RS.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 11:20 am 
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Location: Reading
Which comp were you looking at? I'm a bit confused. Bear in mind that the emphasis will change as league tables now treat btecs differently.
Both Maiden Erlegh (existing and new) and Bulmershe would be good schools to consider. DD has primary school friends at ME and Bulmershe. Both seem happy. I think Bulmershe have a better rep for dealing with SEN, which may be important to you. They also seem to deal with G&T children pretty well.
Further out Forest is a boys' school worth looking at (also near a train station) along with Emmbrook and St Crispins. One of DDs friends lives close to St Crispins but commutes by bus to Kendrick. (the Holt is a girls' school so no point looking at that one).
The the north of Wokingham there's Waingels and Piggot. Piggot is a church school.
There is also Oakbank, but as this is a relatively new school there are no results to be looked at yet.

Look on Reading Buses website for info on bus routes and timetables. Reading buses are about to take over the running of the 90 (so that may not feature yet) which runs from Bracknell, through Wokingham to Reading. It is the bus DDs friend uses.

Most Reading boys would walk from the train station to school I think.

If you drove in early enough and dropped off a little distance from the school, you could miss most of the traffic, depending on where you were heading off to after. We have only dropped off DD twice in two years, both because she had to be at school early for school trips.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 11:31 am 
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Location: Reading
Forgot private schools.

Near Reading you have Leighton Park. Not selective, but does deal with SEN well. St Joseph's, selective but not highly selective and Reading Blue coats, which is more selective. LP and St Joes are mixed. Reading BC is boys.

All have their own bus services as far as I know.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 1:32 pm 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
If you are east/northeast of Reading, Clare's Court (private) at Maidenhead has a great reputation.

I've known a couple of dozen kids who've gone there over the years, and no one has a bad word to say about it. I believe that they are also excellent at dealing with SEN.

They run their own buses from across quite a wide area.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 1:41 pm 
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I just looked at Maiden Erlegh' website, and whilst they were showing 55% A*/A in A levels, upon inspection, it appeared that half of their A* were on BTEC, which, as I understand it following a quick google search, most top universities tend to ignore or discount.
Hence, if we ignore all BTEC results, their A*/A result falls down to a very underwhelming 23% :( Which does not sound ideal in the pursuit of academic achievement.

Re Maidenhead: I'll have look, but the commute would seem insane. I am happy (not really :mrgreen: ) to have a silly commute myself, but I'd rather shield kids as much as possible for the soul crunching impact of commutes :p


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 2:11 pm 
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I think it's high time you stopped googling schools and unis and started googling hippos v tiger or shark v electric eel, with your boys on each knee. :lol:

Your boys are 5 and 7. There will most likely be a completely different pattern of results in ten years time when they are thinking about A levels.

A happy and affordable home is the most important thing, fit a decent school into that scenario, don't make yourself or your kids travel more than necessary and if possible have one of you turn up to see every awful music evening or freezing rugby game they participate in. The more time you are together, the more they will feel encouraged, the better they will do wherever they go to school.

Btw a school with nearly a quarter of its cohort achieving A/A* at A level is not failing academically!


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