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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:40 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:18 pm
Posts: 72
Hi all,
Have been spending a lot of time lately looking up houses for sale in Chelmsford following DS's offer of a place at KEGS. At present we live quite a distance away and although we're happy for him to do the bus journey for a while, while we sort out moving, it's not something we want him to do for next 7 years! My dilemma is DS no. 2 (currently year 4). Ideally we would like him to join his brother but as were not sure whether it's going to be right for him, we'd like to keep options open and if possible make the most of the move with regards to Comprehensive catchment areas. I know nothing other than what I can find on the school websites and Ofsteds so would really welcome anyone's views on secondary schools in the area. I have been told that Boswells, Moulsham and Sandon are probably the best, if anyone can help shed some more light on this? I would be very grateful.

Also would you advise school visits before committing to house purchase? Is this normal form when moving house with children? Do I need to worry about being in a feeder primary, or is intake purely based on address, as I intend to leave him in his current primary till the move to secondary? Sorry for all the questions, there just seems to be so much to consider and what with the October '12 deadline and the second round of 11+ prep, it's becoming a mountain to climb.
Many thanks for reading.
- A very Bizziemum!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:15 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 8:38 pm
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Hi there

We live in Chelmsford so have a good take on the schools. My eldest goes to Moulsham. The single sex teaching is a positive and we rate the school pastorally. There is also a dynamic new head who has a very positve vision for the school and will shake things up for the better. I do know that some children perform very well there, so there is definitely opportunity to achieve. As with most schools, there are always certain downsides and I would be lying if I said we didn't have issues (would be happy to outline more in in pm) If you are looking at academic results, I believe Chelmer Valley has the edge at the moment. but this is an ever moving target, as a short while ago it was Boswells. Housing around both the Moulsham and Chelmer Valley areas provide good access (possibly walking) to KEGS so that might be a criteria for you. Sandon, being between Chelmsford and Danbury, is that much further out. Great Baddow is excellent for sport, I hear. We are fortunate in Chelmsford in that we have a selection of good comprehensives -- there is no "dump" comp, to be avoided at all costs, so I would say, pick where you want to live and chances are the nearest school will be absolutely fine.

Regarding feeder schools and catchment: my understanding is that is works on geography- there is no concept of feeder school. However Moulsham in particular is never oversubscribed and has I believe 80 out of catchment places each intake. These are awarded according to looked after, sibling already in school and finally geography (as the crow flies proximity to catchment boundary). It is my understanding that most people who choose Moulsham are able to get a place. I can't speak for other schools, so would urge you to make enquiries about that.

Hope this helps


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:27 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:07 pm
Posts: 111
Location: Essex
Hi Bizziemum

I have 2 children one of whom attends Boswells (yr 9) & another in a Springfield primary who will be sitting the 11+ this year. My ds is happy in Boswells, his only complaint being that 'all' (his words) the extra-curricular activities are either PA or sports related neither of which interest him. Pupils there are streamed in english, maths, science, languages & PE but this is introduced gradually starting with maths & (I think) science in yr 7. Following a change last Sept for the new intake spanish is taught but if an aptitude is shown a 2nd language is introduced in yr 8 this being either french or german depending on the tutor group. In my experience bullying is dealt with effectively. Each yr group has its own pastoral teacher. However the school isn't 'perfect' & my ds says there are behaviour issues in some of his classes but I suspect this will be found everywhere. Overall we are positive about the school & the education ds is receiving. He is in the top streams for all his subjects except PE and is in the process of choosing his GCSE options. Living in the Springfield area would give yr ds a straightforward walk/cycle/bus journey to KEGS.

I do know of children in both Boswells & a nearby junior school who live in the 'avenues' off Broomfield Rd but best to check with the school or ECC about the catchment.

I cannot comment on either of the other schools you mentioned but I did attend Moulsham myself! They still teach in single sex groups. I would mention that Sandon school is a little further out so if living in that area a bus to KEGS would be necessary but the bus station is only 5 mins from KEGS.

I would also suggest Chelmer Valley school as another option. Looking at the website they received 'outstanding' in their most recent Ofsted report & 79% A*-C GCSE results for 2010 with 99% A*-C at A level. Its location in relation to KEGS is excellent (a mile or so by direct route) & Newlands Spring primary, which also is an 'outstanding' school I believe, may well be within catchment. The Newland Springs area itself seems a pleasant place to live with an easy walk/cycle/bus to KEGS.

Interestingly there is an article in this weeks local paper regarding the nearby Kings Road Primary school on the Melbourne estate getting 4 pupils into KEGS & CCHS. It says the school funds an outside teacher to run a non-compulsory VR club.

With regards to primary schools apart from Newland Springs I believe that both Barnes Farm Junior in Chelmer Village & The Tyrells in Springfield also have 'outstanding' Ofsted reports.

Please ask if you need anything further.

Clarabelle

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:37 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:07 pm
Posts: 111
Location: Essex
Sorry should have said 'yes' a visit to all schools under consideration is perfectly acceptable. Since you said you have quite a distance to travel maybe spend a day or weekend here to tour about getting a feel for the place & areas you may be interested in? There are hotels here from the usual Premier Inn/Travelodge to something a little more expensive like Pontlands Park.

There are also a number of indie schools if you were considering moving your youngest prior to yr 7 entry. Let me know if you would like some suggestions.

Clarabelle

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:57 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:18 pm
Posts: 72
Many thanks Rastacat and Clarabelle, for your very helpful and informative posts. Will be endeavouring to spend more time in Chelmsford over the coming months, getting a feel for the area and so it feels, at least, a little familiar for DS by the time he starts at KEGS :) .


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