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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:25 am 
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We have just been notified that we are high up on the waiting list for RGS. As we were unable to get into our closest grammar school (DCGS), we had put our son into private school and thought we would wait it out, but as this has come up I thought I would find out a bit more. I understand the head of Chesham Grammar is moving to RGS - we met him a few years ago and I was very impressed, but Chesham has a very different feel to RGS or DCGS (my son wants to go to a boys school). From everything I read RGS seems to be strict and sporty - nothing wrong with that necessarily but I don't really ever see any warm loving comments about it and wondered why. When I read the allocations, I find it interesting that DCGS has such a small catchment from where it has taken children (i.e. it is very popular), whereas RGS, which in my mind is very similar in nature to DCGS, has an extremely wide catchment.
Do you think it's because RGS's catchment is the sort of area where many children go to independent/ public school? I just find it a bit odd. But maybe my assumption of RGS and DCGS being similar is wrong. Any comments would be very helpful. Thank you.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:47 am 
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Hi

I have a DS at RGS and he is happy and enjoying it.

For me the positives are they are strict, they seem to instil discipline and hard work in the boys and I find it great that my DS does his homework because he doesn't want to get detention and does want to compete to do well in the year group and I never have to nag him to do it!

Negatives are that it is very competitive, not sure if it is the boys or the teachers who create this but they are regularly told where they are placed in tests for academic and sport.

It can feel as it is a hard school as has very high standards but on the positive side it does seem to produce some very confident charming young men.

Part of being in such an environment seems to create a great sense of togetherness amongst the boys and they have good friendship groups who I think support each other rather than support from the teachers.

I think for an average or confident boy it is fine, I would imagine if you are a very sensitive boy and dislike a competitive environment it is probably not for you.

I don't know why the catchment has spread so far as it wasn't like that years ago but that could be to do with the change to the 11+ and far more boys from OOC taking the test.


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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 9:05 pm 
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I'm not sure that RGS and DCGS are similar at all but we have only experience of RGS (friends at DCGS). Nor do I think RGS has a wide catchment because many in the immediate area go to independent school.
But to address your core question: why no warm or loving comments? Well because it is not that kind of school or place. It is very strict and the kind of institution where rules and regulations are enforced, rather than expectations set and the students motivated to meet those expectations. It places huge emphasis on CCF (Army Cadets) and of course rugby. You can fit in via a focus on music as it has a very strong department in that regard but otherwise it is not a tremendously creative place. I am sure that Philip Wayne will make huge differences there but he does have a lot of work to do if he is going to achieve anyway near what he has done at Chesham.
This is just my opinion - based on experience - and set out because you posed the question. I hope you get more replies to better inform your understanding.


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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 12:23 pm 
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Location: Bucks
My DS is in Year 8 in RGS. He is quite quiet and doesn't say a lot about school but has been very happy at RGS so far.

He's not really sporty at all, and doesn't join in many after school activities, although he has now plays a sport that he likes, and I was quite surprised about (not rugby). We haven't found his lack of interest in sport to be an issue.

He's our first in secondary school so I don't really have anything to compare it to but in the contact we have had with school (a couple of issues in Year 7), i felt things were handled very well. sensitively enough...

I could be going way out on a limb here but i had heard that the 11+ qualification rate in the High Wycombe primary schools was very low this year so it could be that there are not so many qualified boys in the immediate area and therefore RGS allocations go a greater distance. Also, they 'compete' with JH just up the road.
Edited to say: this is pure speculation on my part based in rumour so I hope i don't offend anybody with this if it is incorrect ...

It's a hard decision and I'm sure you will get your own impression from visiting the school. My preference was slightly for DCGS but my son preferred RGS and his friends were going there. We have not regretted it at all.

Best of luck!


Last edited by bgh on Mon May 11, 2015 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 12:47 pm 
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Hi.
My son is not interested in doing homework - he's in year 5 at the moment. Is this a boy thing? Presumably he'll have to knuckle down and do it in secondary school wherever he goes.
Also, would this be a problem if he had a place at RGS? He loves rugby which is why we're thinking of it.
Thank you!


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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 1:19 pm 
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Well, yes, of course it will be a problem if he doesn't do his homework, but presumably that would be the same at any secondary school. He is young & will soon learn at secondary school that he has to do it.


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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 1:41 pm 
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I've just read this thread to my DS, now in year 12 at RGS, and there is only one statement he's disagreed with. Though he didn't enjoy Year 7, he has enjoyed every year since, and has enormously benefited from the school. Comparing it with the GS my DD attended, it seems better organised, and with better teaching.

'They are regularly told where they are placed in tests for academic and sport.' This is the only thing he disagree with, which he says is not true for the most part.

Boys are very competitive, but not in a nasty way. You won't be singled out if you are not doing well.
'I think for an average or confident boy it is fine, I would imagine if you are a very sensitive boy and dislike a competitive environment it is probably not for you.' He agrees entirely. DS says it can be an intimidating school – most boys benefit from this, but it could be difficult for the sensitive.

'It is very strict and the kind of institution where rules and regulations are enforced, rather than expectations set and the students motivated to meet those expectations.' He agrees. He says it's not cold, but there is a very definite hierarchy, which melts as you go higher up the school and relationships develop with teachers. But you'd never be on first name terms with an RGS teacher – they are addressed as Sir or Ma'am.

'It places huge emphasis on CCF (Army Cadets) and of course rugby.' Whilst this is true, my DS did not join CCF (and was under no pressure to do so), and he played rugby very little, even when compulsory in the younger years. (There's a games 'rota' to rotate between sports.) There's a lot of tag rugby, and not a lot of full-contact in the first few years. However, when it comes to rugby, the teachers are not forgiving. Two unusual sports are well represented at RGS - fencing and fives, and there is a well-utilised indoor swimming pool.

'You can fit in via a focus on music as it has a very strong department in that regard but otherwise it is not a tremendously creative place.' DS agrees. Music is superb, and there are playing and singing groups for every conceivable level and interest. (Not so sure about GCSE teaching, though). He says there's no focus on art. (Eg he's never heard talk of competitions, days trips, etc, though to be fair, he has no interest in the area, so such talk may have passed him by). The only focus on drama is the annual productions (which are brilliant). He describes drama lessons from his younger years as 'sloppy' . However, DT seems to be well-taught here. It seemed intelligent and well thought out – my DD just seemed to come home from her GS with endless 'mood-boards' to create, without ever actually learning anything.

There's a lot of homework at RGS, particularly in the first term of Year 7. I had just about reached the point where I was going to complain about it when it slackened off. According to DS, 'creative' homework in the younger years just makes for more work than 'standard' homework.

DS reckons that the current head has little contact with the boys - it's the deputy who fills that role. Not sure what effect that will have on the new head's ability to make an early impact.


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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 2:21 pm 
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It sounds a terrifying place! :shock:


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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 2:28 pm 
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It does, doesn't it? But he genuinely loves the place, so clearly they are doing something right!

(He's been much happier there than my daughter was in her so-called 'caring' grammar school. And the school responded positively when I asked for him to be moved away from a teacher he didn't get on with)


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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 2:59 pm 
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Y wrote:
It does, doesn't it? But he genuinely loves the place, so clearly they are doing something right!

(He's been much happier there than my daughter was in her so-called 'caring' grammar school. And the school responded positively when I asked for him to be moved away from a teacher he didn't get on with)
Don't start me on 'caring' and 'non caring' grammar schools. I could write the book...but hadn't better on here! :D

Glad he's happy. And hope your daughter is now, too.


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