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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:35 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:18 am
Posts: 32
Hello,

(Like many others, I suspect), I have been 'stalking' this forum for a few weeks now - so, firstly, would just like to say thanks to all the people posting help & info over this time - it's certainly helped me, and I'm sure it's been a great help to all the other 'stalkers' out there as well . . .

We are still undecided on schools - DS has no clear preference, and we have so far only looked at WHSB & SHSB. With this in mind, I would love to know what other people's first choice for Essex grammar schools would be? (assuming distance, travelling time, scores achieved etc. were no object) - just looking for your 'perfect world' choices really . . .

Many Thanks!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:25 pm 
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I would be interested in any comments from parents with boys already at the school. We are in the fortunate position of having a score that will allow us to choose. For us Kegs is the most local school and both I and DS liked it, but I was a little concerned over whether there would be any support if a child was struggling and also as to how good the pastoral care is, as I have heard it is not great and my DS is a sensitive soul who has found primary school difficult socially. I have heard nothing but great things about CRGS but this adds 2 hours each day onto his journey, I wouldn't hesitate if it was nearer to place it first as we loved it when we looked at it. We also very much liked southend as my DS loves his sport and again I wasn't sure what that side of things is like at Kegs. Any comments/advice would be much appreciated!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:47 pm 
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CRGS is brill but if you are talking about a one way trip of over an hour then I wouldn't have asked any of my DCs to undertake it.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:43 am 
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It is very subjective and the key thing is to find one which is right for your DC. A lot of boys do travel from Chelmsford to CRGS and the bus journey becomes part of their day. It is a lot of time and only you and your DS will know if it is right for him.

There is a lot of grammar bashing out there and for some reason KEGS seems to attract more than its fair share. I am not convinced this comes from people who actually have real involvement, experience or knowledge of the school. I have friends whose boys go there and they have nothing but praise for it. There is no reason at all why any school would not be supportive of DCs who are struggling and I really do not think KEGS would achieve such brilliant results unless they provided appropriate support to all students.

We are much nearer to KEGS and chose CRGS, this does cost our son an extra 1hr 15mins a day. For what its worth he was certain CRGS was the school for him and so were we. He has never complained about the travel and when I suggested we look at KEGS for 6th form as it would save him time he was outraged I could even consider such a thing.

This probably doesn't help you much but why don't you go back to them both if you can and see if this helps make things clearer.

Very very good luck


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:07 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:37 pm
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Thank you that's what I'm going to do there is approx 40 mins difference in start time for the two buses and I know the travelling forms an enjoyable part of their day. I think you're right a lot of the stories probably do come about from people who have nothing to do with the school I just want to get it right for him!! I will keep looking and hope we come to the right decision!


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:58 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:11 am
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I think you go with what 'feels' like the right school for you, they are all Grammars, they are all excellent.

However, I wouldn't underestimate the impact the travelling may have. My DS is 5 weeks into year 7 at CRGS and we live 12 miles away, but the bus journey adds almost 2 hours to his school day. It is a big change going from walking to the local primary school at 8.45 in the morning to being on a bus by 7.30am. The school bag is laden with heavy books and they have to negotiate their way across the very busy Lexden road in rush hour.

Not getting in until 4.45pm is also hard going. Some days he is just exhausted.

I am dreading the clocks changing, he will leave and come home in the dark.

I know it's early days and he will get used to it all, but at age 11 it seems such a lot to cope with.

We are busy house hunting to try to move closer to Colchester.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:12 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:18 am
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Thanks for replying to this thread . . .

We are fairly close to both WHSB (4.9 miles) & SHSB (5.8 miles) and, previously, we had not really even considered any other schools (other than the local comps). However, when we saw from his results that potentially he could get into KEGS (15.7 miles away), he started suggesting that maybe he should think about going there. Colchester is just too far to realistically consider, but I think that purely having a choice has made us (and him) consider opportunities we wouldn't even have given a seconds' thought to previously.

The responses about travel time have really made me think though that we are better to concentrate our choice between Southend and Westcliff - DS is potentially going to be at this school for the next seven years, and we want him to enjoy his time there after all - otherwise what's the point of all this anyway? DS's mind set is slightly different however - because he thinks that, if distance was the deciding factor, then he may as well have just settled on his local comp in the first place! I suppose I just didn't want him to be held back by limitations that were ours and not his . . .

Would love to know what other parents think about the choice between Southend and Westcliff, especially those with sons at either - or both? I may be missing something but I just can't choose between them on the basis of results?? DS is not particularly sporty (in a swimming club & has tennis lessons - but pretty anti-football!) Loves science & techy type subjects, but is also a bookworm - hates any kind of performing arts with a vengeance, though would prob be happy to work on sound & lighting etc in any school productions. Really enjoys art & design too. Not really the most sensitive of boys, but still quite quiet and shy - especially in unfamiliar settings, with new people . . . I just don't know . . . any thoughts anyone?

Thanks again for the responses people have already posted . . . :)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:56 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:30 am
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Already looking at a trip of an hour for SHSB & WHSB and given my choice I would go for SHSB. But it's not me who is going and DS wants WHSB, purely on an academic basis. Colchester or Chelmsford may have higher CSSE scores required but I can't believe for a moment they are significantly different from Southend. As others have said, they are all good, so it's a question of fine tuning decision, if you have that choice.

I have canvassed Westcliff RFC as my eldest son's team mates go to one or other of the Southend Schools. No 'bad' responses for SHSB but some cautionary responses for WHSB with words like dismissive and elitist (aren't they all elitist?!) with caution being the operative word especially for those who may require pastoral care. Having a son who is both sporty and musical SHSB would seem right choice, but it's his decison ultimately and he has to live with it.

I should add that I considered King John as a possibility in the event DS didn't pass, but dismissed it as we have several relatives who now attend and it's not what it was. The school is effectively a super Comprehensive split into two and it has or will have to absorb the over-spill from schools like Furtherwick/Castle View on Canvey and more lately the potential Deanes closure. Not an ideal environment unless you enjoy swimming against the tide of other pupils although as I understand it, they do look after their gifted and talented.


Last edited by Flanker3105 on Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:54 am 
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Flanker3105 wrote:
I have canvassed Westcliff RFC as my eldest son's team mates go to one or other of the Southend Schools. No 'bad' responses for SHSB but some cautionary responses for WHSB with words like dismissive and elitist (aren't they all elitist?!) with caution being the operative word especially for those who may require pastoral care.

I have 2 DS at WHSB and have found it neither to be elitist or dismissive. The school has very traditional values and to start with can come across as quite tough. However, it is actually a very caring school with good pastoral care, just within a strict framework. My DS are both extremely happy and are flourishing at the school. They (and I) would make the same choice again. The one downside is that they seem to get quite a lot more homework than SHSB!!

abraham wrote:
DS is not particularly sporty (in a swimming club & has tennis lessons - but pretty anti-football!) Loves science & techy type subjects, but is also a bookworm - hates any kind of performing arts with a vengeance, though would prob be happy to work on sound & lighting etc in any school productions. Really enjoys art & design too. Not really the most sensitive of boys, but still quite quiet and shy - especially in unfamiliar settings, with new people

Are you sure that isn't my DS2 you're talking about?! He is in year 7 and 5 weeks in is loving it! He went there knowing nobody and has made some like-minded friends already. He has a bus journey of 40mins, which is leaving him a little tired at the moment, but I know from DS1 that he will get used to it very quickly.

Hope that helps. Personally, if we lived near to WHSB or SHSB I would be jumping for joy and wouldn't be considering a long journey to Chelmsford with 2 excellent schools on my doorstep.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:58 am 
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That's good to hear (re WHSB) mum of boys. I daresay some would call extra homework a pastoral problem!!! In fact one response did say if your child can't deal with this it might be an issue, but I think you can cut & paste this into all Grammars........


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