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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:03 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:47 am
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I only found this remarkable forum on the day of the familiarisation test, when I was desperate to find any feedback I could on the new format - I wish I'd found it sooner! However, thankfully my son passed and we are now in the very fortunate position of having to choose between two excellent grammar schools.

I would really like some advice on Chesham v Aylesbury, as these are the two we are choosing between. We have been round both, and I was impressed in different ways. It seems to come down to whether we decide that single sex would be better, or co-ed, and I am really torn between the two.

DS is very good at maths and loves sport, and I've been advised that he'd stand a better chance of getting into teams at Chesham. Also that, as he is not a competitive, Alpha male boy but more of a shy, sensitive type, the less masculine vibe at Chesham would suit him better. I really liked Chesham, but I suppose I'm worried that he might be missing opportunities by not going to a specifically boy-oriented school. (I'd also love him to have the chance to study Classics, which I did at school and have stood me in amazingly good stead all my life - it's increasingly rare to find these subjects offered any more.)

I would really love to hear from parents of boys at both schools, as I'm finding it incredibly difficult to make this decision.

Thank you.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:00 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:30 am
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My DS is in his third year at AGS and i have nothing but praise for the school. The teaching and leadership is first rate, the opportunities varied and inclusive and most importantly my son is very happy there. Don't have direct experience of sports teams as my son is not particularly sporty but some of his friends are and have generally been successful in getting into school teams. My son is definitely not a competitive alpha male but the school suits him very well. Plenty of opportunity for socialising with girls too as AHS is just next door and they do joint drama productions, discos etc. Nor an e as sy decision for you but i am sure your son will be happy wherever he ends up. Good luck.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:13 am 
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May I suggest you also look at Sir Henry Floyd in Aylesbury? Is is mixed like Chesham and has a good maths department. If you look at the results on their website then over 100 pupils got A* in GCSE maths this year ...


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:51 am 
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Just to make it really difficult ..... My son went to Chesham, loved it! Has just left with excellent science A level results and enjoyed the opportunity to try cooking, textiles, art, drama, netball, yoga, etc along the way! He has a lovely mixed friendship group and we have seen the school improve year on year with new head.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:01 am 
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I also have a DS in Y9 at AGS, again not particularly sporty but still has managed Rugby C team and has just joined the new Basketball academy ( despite not being very good). So I don't think you have to be fantastic at a sport to get in teams.

He is thriving there and very happy, though he did take a term or two to settle in. We considered Chesham, AGS and Henry Floyd. Personally I really liked all of them but DS was dead set on AGS ( not thinking of girls then !) Having been to an all girls school I was keen on mixed education but I have to say, at least for my son, single sex has been definitely the best option as he can be as geeky as he likes and not worry about what the girls think.

Like you classics is a love of mine. They start Latin in Y8 and there have already been several trips, including one last summer to Naples ( which we needed a 2nd mortgage for ) but DS found amazing. The other trips are day trips, so not too expensive. In Y9 they start Greek club one lunchtime a week, where they learn ancient greek and history. Apparently the teacher is lovely and gives them cake every week !! Both latin and greek are GCSE options.

The only other thing I would say is consider distance from each school. Don't underestimate what a long day they have and then add the travelling, initially Ds was exhausted. Plus the fact you then have to drive them to friends miles away at weekends !!!

Chesham and SHF are both great schools and I really liked the atmosphere at both but ultimately I'm confident AGS is the right place for him because he's happy. That's the main thing, not results or gender.

Which school did your son prefer ?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:53 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:55 am
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I don't know much about Chesham or AGS specifically, other than that they are both good schools.

However what I would say is that personally I would always opt for a mixed school over a single sex one for my child. I went to an all boys Grammar school myself and while I did well academically, I've always felt it held back my personal and social development as a teenager. When I went away to University I was quite shy and awkward around girls unlike my friends who'd been to mixed schools who were far more confident and relaxed.

Back in Victorian times men went out to work, women stayed home, men socialised with men and women with women. Other than the unpleasant interaction necessary for the continuation of the species, there was very little interaction between the two :mrgreen: ! Thankfully these days its different and out in the real world men and women work, study and socialize together. So it seems a bit bizzarre to me that in this country we still have single sex schools which effectively cut kids off from members of the opposite sex during some of their most important years of growing up and forming social relationships.

Saying all that though, that's just my own personal experience and opinion. Everyone's different and the most important fact is where you child thinks they will be happiest.

(BTW in case anyone's worried I did finally get over my shyness and and have a wife and child to prove it! :D )


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:05 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:55 am
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Perhaps we are still living in Victorain times on this forum?

I've just noticed that the word "s€x" has been automatically replaced with "gender" in my post above! :lol:

Its not an offensive word! Its an accepted scientific term! :roll:


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:11 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:47 am
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Thank you all for your replies.

In terms of distance, Chesham is closer and the proximity of friends, as well as the travelling, is a consideration.

I really liked Chesham. I don't know why I'm dithering, really, but it's such a big decision ... Another issue I have is a DD who will be taking 11+ in two years' time, so - assuming she passes - would be heading in whichever direction DS has gone (ie Chesham or Aylesbury High). So I'm kind of making the decision for her, as well, as there's no way we could cope with two children travelling in totally different directions. So although this is primarily about DS, I am weighing up girls' options too.

As for DS himself, he doesn't feel strongly about either school - he 'quite liked' them both but didn't lean either way. He was quite overwhelmed by the size of both after his much smaller primary, and is really quite apprehensive about the change. He has one friend going to Aylesbury, but otherwise none of his contemporaries are going to grammars.

(And yes, my ref to single you-know-what schools was also edited to 'gender'. We are all grown-ups, I had thought ...)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:16 am 
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I would go with Chesham, then, it is a good school, close by (handy for meeting up with friends out of school) and suits your family situation (assuming your daughter is selected as well :D ).


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:40 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 8203
Location: Buckinghamshire
Proud_Dad wrote:
Perhaps we are still living in Victorain times on this forum?

I've just noticed that the word "s€x" has been automatically replaced with "gender" in my post above! :lol:

Its not an offensive word! Its an accepted scientific term! :roll:

It is also a word frequently associated with posts on internet forums made by spammers posting p o r nography ... Nothing remotely Victorian about it, I'm afraid!


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