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PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 4:24 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:36 am
Posts: 83
Hi All , need some info..
How would you rate Chesham Grammar (45 minutes away, with a tube+walk/bus journey) as compared to an outstanding comprehensive at the door step. I want to really make sure that I do decide rationally than just following the race with a general assumption that "if it has a GRAMMAR in it's name, it HAS TO be better than a local secondary".

Any data/suggestions/experience/feedback will be highly appreciated!


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 4:31 pm 
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Personally if you are sure of a place I would go for the outstanding Comp.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 5:27 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 5:27 pm
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Location: london
+1 Tolstoy. Would not even consider a grammar is there was an outstanding local comp available.

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Last edited by mad? on Sun Aug 10, 2014 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 5:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:59 am
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Look around both schools, ask parents about both schools, ask children, read their news letters which will be on their web pages.
For direct result comparison its trickier, as you will need to discover how many grammar school ability children attending the comp got 5 a-c etc not the total school percentage, look on raiseonline for some good data, where you can see the value added of high achieving students.

When you are surrounded by pages of information make a long rational list, most children at this stage will say things like, "I like the look of the canteen in a." "I like the astro turf in b" "I saw an amazing piece of art in a" "b had rubbish on the playground" (simply because the wind had blown the bin over that day) etc. Not a thought to the teaching and why it's never really a good idea to let a nine or ten year old make the final decision imo.

A big consideration is social life and after school clubs or sport. Do you really want to have an our and a half round trip or more at 5pm rush hour to collect your child from hockey if their travel card is off peak? Do you imagine your house full of happy, lazy teenagers all munching toast and chilling out together and kicking about in the local park? They will be dependent on public transport or lifts to see friends if they go to chesham, not so free and easy.

Chesham is great school, but another consideration is they currently have a great head and rgs are nabbing him, so it is a bit of an unknown entity too.

Good luck, you are a breath of fresh air on this forum, as you are researching and giving full consideration to your child's options not just jumping on the grammar bandwagon, which shows you are a caring, intelligent parent.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 6:43 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
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mad? wrote:
+1 Tplsto. Would not even consider a grammar is there was an outstanding local comp available.
Nor me. Easy decision. Grammars are just schools and a decent school on your doorstep trumps everything. Plus no exam to stress about. Lucky child!


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 7:10 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
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Location: Buckinghamshire
Although I rate CGS very highly, an outstanding comp on the doorstep would be a big draw.

I went to a GS an hour away from home, but only because the local comp was pretty poor. I think my parents would have sent me there if it had been top quality.

Otherwise, everything that sb3 says, really. Go take a look at both schools and make your own mind up as a parent as to which school is the best fit.

The only point I would add is that I am quite sure a strong candidate to replace the current Head of CGS will be found, with the school having been rated "Outstanding" recently.

There are issues with out-of-school socialisation at all the Bucks Grammars, but CGS is possibly better off than most because of the key transport artery of the Met Line for many pupils. Rural bus services in areas like Aylesbury & Wycombe really don't compare well!


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 7:51 pm 
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Quote:
There are issues with out-of-school socialisation at all the Bucks Grammars, but CGS is possibly better off than most because of the key transport artery of the Met Line for many pupils. Rural bus services in areas like Aylesbury & Wycombe really don't compare well!


Son number one and I have been having interesting conversations this week, as to whether it is better to walk long distances in the chilterns to reach appropriate bus stops, or to cycle and potentially be seen either going silly slow up long steep hills or even, perish the thought, push and risk being spotted doing so. He has opted for silly slow, against my nagging as both a parent and a driver who regularly gets caught behind the wallies who refuse to admit defeat.
He does love being able to cycle to his friends houses though, the freedom of a text message followed by jumping on his bike ten minutes later to meet up, is something he would hate to give up, even though lazy wotsit does not do it nearly enough for my liking.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:23 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:56 pm
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It is the dfe performance tables you can look at to see how children who entered with level 5s did at gcse. If you are happy to give us the comp name we can take a look and see if "on paper" it seems ok.

Have you met the head and can you tour the school on an ordinary day and peep through the door windows and get a feel as to the proportion of purposeful classes there are, number of children ejected outside classroom doors etc!

Ask the head what gcse results he / she would expect to get from a particular set of ks2 results and what they do to mitigate children becoming "coasters".

See if kids look happy on tour on an ordinary day. Try and observe school during a transition between lessons or at lunchtime. All easier said than done. Hopefully you know parents of the year 7 just finished. They may give you feel if school is caring as year 7 can be hard for some.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:12 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:36 am
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Thanks all for all the suggestions, and giving me the tools for the research, much much appreciate the effort !

The outstanding secondary in question here is no secret ;-) it's Nower Hill in harrow, if the specifics help the forum members to suggest me better. I am all out to provide the best possible education but trying to keep myself away from the mad race. I am not happy to put the DC for a long journey and more importantly missing out on small pleasures like walking to friends, hanging out in a local park or coffee lounge for a small differential in the school performance (in this case of Chesham vs nower hill, not even sure if that's the case!). I firmly believe that all these now trivial looking aspects have a great contribution in shaping up the child for an overall happy and "experienced" adult. I might be thinking too much, hence pouring out the thoughts on this forum as I know we have a wealth of knowledge and experience here, and sincerely request the members to give their candid feedback and advice.

I would do the same due diligence even in the case of independent schools too, not just grammar vs comprehensive.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:30 pm 
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Nower Hill has a great reputation. If you visit & like the feel of it I wouldn't have any hesitation. My DCs have suffered from not having many local friends, it's an important consideration.


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