Hello. My son is in Y8 at RGS and I never looked at JH. The former head of Chesham GS (CGS) has been the head of RGS since last year, and we had met him at CGS a few years ago, and he made a great impression back then, although my son did not take to CGS, perhaps because it was mixed. I also came to this forum when applying to schools, and I didn't look at JH specifically because it was one hill too far for me to contemplate. There wasn't much info, although the post you probably read was the one I read, which was that RGS was stricter. I can't compare but it may well be as it has a very strong CCF (Combined Cadet Force?) group, if that is a judge of anything. This is what I can tell you:
- I feel that my son is getting a very balanced education, both academically and extracurricularly (is that a word?)
- Yes the traffic on the Amersham Road is not great but perhaps you can find a back route. Or your son can catch a bus or train quite safely. Commute is a real consideration, I feel, especially when thinking ahead to the exam years. I don't know where you are coming from but I was shocked to hear that there is a group of boys coming from HARROW! MILES away!
- I believe that RGS is considered a sporty school. However, I have met parents through my younger children who have had sons go to RGS, and they have said that their boys are not/ were not sporty, but that they loved school (one of them currently has a son at Cambridge!). This was confirmed to me by a non-sporty boy who is 19/20 who I met and when I said, You went to RGS? He said yes, then paused, then gave me a big grin and said, I loved it, without me even prompting or asking anything. Even the sixth former prefect who gave us a tour said to us unprompted that he wasn't sporty, that he was more of a computer nerd and did drama and was a member of the CCF, but loved school. So I believe that boys who choose to go there seem to be very happy, no matter what their interests are. And I like that for something like rugby, they have an A and B team of course, but I think it goes down to an E team ... basically, if you want to play, you will have an opportunity to play on a team, which I think is great.
- One thing, if football is important to your son, note that they do not play football there at all, which really surprised me given it's an all-boys school. It didn't affect my son too much, as he prefers rugby anyway.
- My son plays in the school wind band and the head of music really seems to get the boys interested in music and makes it fun for them. If it wasn't for him I think my son may have quit his instrument.
- Another thing I like is that the school seems to have a good balance of economic backgrounds. My friend whose son goes to Challoners told me that in her son's class of 30 there are only 4 boys who didn't go to private school (which may not necessarily be a sign of wealth or equal across the year). When I went to the first parents' coffee morning at RGS, I felt relaxed and at home with the other new parents, and another mother said just that. As a parent, I really like the school and all staff I have met seem very enthusiastic and thoughtful about the boys.
- Regarding strictness, I do believe it is fairly strict, but not disproportionately or unreasonably so.
- If I were to take the quality of school report as an indication of the quality of the school, I felt that in the year end report there was a lot of detail there and that the individual teachers seem to have got to know my son well as an individual and not just a name. Especially his English teacher, who very clearly chastised him (fairly) in her report.
Hope this helps. As I said, I never looked at JH so have no view on it. Good luck.