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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 11:19 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 11:06 am
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Hi,

I am ahead of myself here as my daughter doesn't start secondary until Sept 17 (applications Oct 16) but I've got myself in a bit of a tizz and would appreciate some advice.

I live on the Earley side of Reading (MaidenE catchment, just outside of Bulmershe catchment) my daughters dad was living in Wokingham near to Holt but is now moving to Bracknell. She lives between our homes 50/50 so I was planning to give him the application pack and have him apply, noting Holt as first choice. However, there is now a spanner in the works.

I do intend for her to sit the exam for Kendrick but obviously want a plan B.

My questions are these:

1, what is MaidenE like now?
2, is it still very oversubscribed?
3, is there any point at all in putting Holt down as my first choice from where I am and crossing my fingers they are undersubscribed or not? (i'm guessing no!)

And as an aside - does anyone know how it is decided which parent gets the application pack where the child has split residence if they can't agree? (no court order, just a status quo arrangement)

Finally I suppose - if worse comes to worst - what are Bracknell schools like?? They will be in Jennets Park.

Thank you.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 12:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
Posts: 4024
Location: Reading
Hi and welcome to the forum.
Hopefully I can answer some of your questions.

First of all the residency part. You say she spends her time equally between both houses. Does she spend 4 nights at one and 3 at the other? Does this vary every week? Which parent gets child benefit? These might be things at decide.

It might be just worth ringing or emailing Wokingham, Bracknell and Reading admissions to see if they have a view on which one they see as her main residence. (I'm assuming you live in Reading and not WBC). Probably sooner rather than later if you don't know who will send the application pack, you might end up not getting one. It will probably be the LA that the primary school believe is her main residence.

As for questions about schools. Firstly if you live in catchment for ME you are also in catchment for Bulmershe, as its in part a shared catchment.
Currently Bulmershe is under subscribed and ME is over subscribed. You are not likely to get a place at ME unless you live within a mile of ME, despite the catchment being much bigger.
However Bulmershe is rapidly improving, has had a new head and £6million invested. Latest OFSTEDs for both were GOOD, with Bulmershe having some areas of outstanding.
So in short both are good schools. My DD has a friend from primary school at both, and both families are happy.

There's also the new ME (in Reading) which will open this Sept near Alfred Sutton primary school. The head of ME (in Wokingham) will be running it. They have a system of feeder schools in their admissions rather than catchment and were oversubscribed too, so,it depends on where your DD goes to primary school. (Feeder schools include, Alfred Sutton, Redlands, Newtown, St Johns, Early St Peter's etc), though there's a few places for those who don't attend.
You'd need to look at both to see which one you like. I thought ME was too big, but Bulmershe don't do German which was very important to us. (My DD is at Kendrick)

The Holt is oversubscribed and you definitely won't get a place from outside of catchment. Holt has a big shared catchment with Forest, Emmbrook and St Crispins. However you won't get into Holt unless you live quite close, (unlike ME, I don't know what the cutoff distance is off the top of my head).


Don't know much about Bracknell schools, except a colleague of mine has refused point blank to send his son to a Bracknell secondary school, claiming none of them are very good. They had been intending to send him to St crispins in Wokingham (just over the border), but that school has been over subscribed too for a couple of years and they had to rethink. They did put down St Crispins on the CAF but didn't get it. The DS will start a private school in sept.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
Posts: 4600
Location: Essex
I'm fairly certain that for our schools (Southend on Sea), where time is split 50:50 between parental residences, the address used is the one to which child benefit is paid (or now, would be payable, depending on your circumstances). I would assume that you would have made the claim initially, because of the 'home responsibilities' benefit it confers (unless you went back to work and your other half stayed at home at the time)?

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 4:40 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:21 am
Posts: 24
You mention 2017, so just as another option, how about the new Bohunt secondary school in Arborfield?

It's going to open in 2016 and the general view by most in the Wokingham area is that it will be really good - on a par with The Holt, if not better. The advantage for you is that it is unlikely to be at capacity only a year after opening, so your daughter should get a place there even if not in catchment.

The Bohunt school in Liphook was The Times School of the Year last year (and Secondary School of the Year too), the new Arborfield one is going to be a STEM school and also have a language immersion program (Bohunt are the only secondary team to offer this in the UK from what I can gather). Last year the French immersion program students took their French GCSE 2 years early, with 100% pass rate and 75% getting A's or A*s. So it sounds like it could be ideal for academic children, the existing Bohunt schools are supposedly among the best in the country, and of course all the facilities will be brand new.

My daughter is going for the Kendrick exam this year and starting secondary in 2016, and if she doesn't get in to Kendrick we're likely to put it as our first choice above The Holt, etc, despite being in catchment for them.

Hope that helps.


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