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 Post subject: Returning to the UK
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:48 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:35 am
Posts: 13
Fifteen years after leaving the UK, and two boys later, we are thinking of coming back to the UK - to our family home in Gerrards Cross (currently let). The timing is not necessarily under my control, being an employee. I am now grappling with the intricacies of Bucks schooling and am delighted to find this forum and the evident commitment of the moderators (and other contributors, of course). I suspect I am going to have lots of questions, but here are a few to start!

One son is 11 and has just started year 7, having attained Level 5 SATS; the other is 9. If we returned in the next year or two, one would be a "Late Transfer" and the other, potentially, a normal entry. We are within the catchment for DCGS, RGS and JHGS but, respectively, a distant 7.4, 9.9 and 10.1 miles.

The elder:

For DCGS, there are English & Maths exams, but also an "April in the preceding year" residence test, which effectively rules out any newcomers (not taht we are newcomers, of course) for a long time; in any case it seems that few, if any, places become available in year 8 or 9. DCGS therefore hardly seems worth considering - correct?

For RGS, It's English, Maths and a Language, and score matters, not distance from school. Also, you only have to be "living in" the catchment area. The questions are if anyone knows: WHEN you have to be "living in"; how many places become available in year 8 or 9 in practice; does it make any difference if the child boards (current school not great, so we are thinking of boarding him for a year or two prior to return); what are the test papers used. [I have tried getting a reply from RGS direct, but no response, so personal experience welcome!]

For JHS, it's under BCC, which I think means we have to be "living in" at the time of application under the Late Transfer procedure. The 12/13+ rules would apply. However the 2009 allocation profile for late entrants in 2009 show that places were only allocated in Year 8 to a catchment disrance of 3.5 miles (and none in year 9).

A grammar school place, of any kind, is thus looking a unlikely.

The younger.

To get him under the BCC normal allocation system, we would need to be resident back in GC by November 2011 for a start in September 2012. However, he would be unlikely to get into DCGS or RGS because of the distance rule, but could get into JHGS (at least based on the 2009 figures). Am I missing something? Having done that, I suppose our elder might have a better chance of getting in as a sibling (having passed 13+ or whatever).

So what would people do in our shoes? Give up? Sell and rent / buy closer to RGS / JHGS? Aim for Burnham Grammar, out of catchment but the closest of the lot and where all were offered in 2009?

Apologies for the length of this, and many thanks for any responses.


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 Post subject: Re: Returning to the UK
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:59 pm
Posts: 1268
I’m sure you’ll get lots of responses from people with the relevant personal experience, but I‘d just like to say that with regard to DCGS, that spaces do become available in Years 8 and 9 – not many, it’s true, but some. My DS was in Y9 last year and his class was not full all year. The school don’t advertise the fact, but it’s worth pushing if you felt strongly that DCGS would suit your DS the best. It would also help enormously if he was very, very good at cricket…


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 Post subject: Re: Returning to the UK
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:18 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:27 am
Posts: 645
Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi Markusha
For RGS - the school is full to bursting! This September's Y8 year group is already over PAN and they will not accept any more boys from the waiting list until the number falls below PAN - they need to lose 5 to allow late entrants. I don't know about this years Y7 intake but I would be surprised if it is very different :( . Boarding at RGS is slightly different - 10 of the 192 places are designated boarding, but for Septembers Y8's they "converted" a number of the boarding places into day places because they had fewer boaring applications and were significantly over-subscribed for day places - and they were still obliged to go over PAN!
Probably not the news you wanted to hear :(


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 Post subject: Re: Returning to the UK
PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:59 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8200
Location: Buckinghamshire
Hi markusha, and welcome!

Well done on doing such thorough research - you have really covered a lot of ground on the various options.

I have spent rather a lot of time thinking about your situation while washing up, hoovering, etc. (Tasks that require no brain power, so allow me to range free!)

I think that your best approach would be something along these lines:

1. Move. After 15 years away it is presumably not going to be a huge wrench socially?

2. Assuming that you wish to remain in south Bucks, consider the area I mention in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=12&t=14457 and look closely at catchment area maps when buying properties

3. That gives you an excellent Upper School (Chalfonts) for your DS1, plus the option of Amersham if Chalfont doesn't work out.

4. You are then able to access Challoners and Chesham Grammar for your younger son and you should be able to feel confident of a successful outcome it he qualifies in the 11+.

That is far as I have got at present. Given this framework, others may be able to offer more ideas.


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 Post subject: Re: Returning to the UK
PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 5:46 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:35 am
Posts: 13
Many thanks for the comments so far. If I am sounding well-informed, this web-site has a lot to do with it!

That sounds like a possible strategy: putting us much closer to DCGS, although with the 18 month rule, I am not sure that helps (we can't move by April 2011), with Chesham High School as the more likely and reasonably certain outcome - for both elder and younger. I will do some research on the latter.

However, it is the younger one who might not pass the 11+ - and we are already in the catchment for Chalfont. It is the elder I am a bit more concerned about: very talented at music (but never seen a cricket bat), he would excell at a good grammar. Being very close to the catchment of Burnham Grammar, as well, I wonder if that better to aim for as the fallback, rather than Chesham - and without having to move. I suppose that leaves the risk of him not getting into any grammar, if DCGS, JHG and RGS are all full.

Following the same idea, maybe we need to get in closer to High Wycombe, in the catchment for both RGS and JHG (Loudwater?), so there is a fallback grammar school. I will now have to look at the upper schools. Crikey, is this offered as a degree subject yet? Could this be my new career?


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 Post subject: Re: Returning to the UK
PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:27 am
Posts: 645
Location: Buckinghamshire
Be very careful in High Wycombe. Yes, you may get into the catchment for both grammar schools but all Upper schools are not equal :wink: and you may find you miss out on the more popular choices because you are just too far away.


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