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PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:30 pm 
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Dear All - I am new to 11+ Forum and am considering entering my DD next year for the entrance exams. Pate's seems to be the most sought after grammar school within the county. Please excuse my ignorance - but what are the reasons for this? Are all grammar schools of not the same standard?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:28 am 
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Hi Inquisitive mum, not from Gloucs so no local knowledge I am afraid!

I suppose how "sought after" a GS is a buit circular - many people look at A level success.
looking at the BBC website, A levels points scores for a Grammar school can vary between 800 ish and 1300 + ish - depending on the school - people often aim for the highest scoring schools and hence they become more sought after, can be more selective and then get higher scores...


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:56 am 
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Thanks Hermanmunster. I agree with your assertion on the circular nature of the academic results / selection argument, but then the superior academic performance reflects the cohort not the school. Or have I missed something?

I guess I am trying to get insight into the specifics of why Pate's is more popular. Is there also anything beyond the academic criteria? I would be also very interested to hear from parents who have one kid at Pate's and a sibling at another GS.

In terms of preference for DD, the principal attraction currently seems to be that it is a mixed school, even though it is not the nearest school - hence my request for additional data.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:22 am 
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tricky isn't it?

I would be surprised if very much was down the co-ed factor, I suspect it is more related to good vibes etc and the Kudos (never ignore the influence of what other people think....!)

I think you really so need parents with kids at Pate's and elsewhere, to get the answers - surely some will pop up soon and help!


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 1:47 pm 
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
Pates is a superselective grammar school. It takes the children who have the highest scores regardless of geographical position. If you look in the league tables Pates appears very highly indeed. None of this implies better teachers or anything else, but the majority of the cohort will have passed the 11+ more highly than at any of the other GS in your local area. This does not make it best for your DD only your family can decide which school is best for you.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:26 pm 
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Hi Moved, I recognise that Pates is superselective with the highest scores but I am trying to get to the reasons why parents of very bright kids prefer Pates to other GS in Gloucestershire. Are these kids availing any special features/benefits academically or otherwise, that may not be available in other GS?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:36 pm 
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I suspect IM that the reason the parents like it for their bright kids is because they have been offered a place! the perceived wisdom with GS and SS GS is that they are the right school for the child because they have scored enough to be offered a place.... circular i am afraid.

When I was 11 ( :oops: a very long time ago) I lived in Solihull where there were 3 possible GS for girls, places , I think, offered on score (who knows .. not much was ever said... :wink: ).
There was a distinct "pecking order" - 1) Malvern Hall, 2) Tudor Grange, 3) Harold Cartwright... the majority of parents put them in that order and the girls who passed were given places which ultimately confirmed the order ie MH did better then TG which did better than HC.... rare for parents who had a kids capable of MH who decided to put HC first , would have felt they weren't doing the "right thing" ?? Maybe something similar is happening in people going for Pate's?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:45 pm 
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I don't have a child at Pate's and didn't in fact even look round it. However I know that those who did were very impressed - it's pastoral care is supposed to be excellent, as are the extra curricular activities on offer. I consider that we live too far away from Pate's (we are in Stroud) to make it a viable option, but I do know children from round here who will be going.

If you read their Ofsted report there is no doubt that it is an extremely good school - but it's important to balance this with the knowledge that it is the only co-ed grammar school in Gloucestershire and also the only grammar in Cheltenham which is home to many professional people looking for a grammar education for their kids. There is also much kudos attached to gaining a place at Pate's since they take only the very highest scorers.

There are definitely people on the forum with kids in both Pate's and the Gloucester Grammars who might be able to give you an indepth review.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:50 am 
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As a parent of DD in Yr7 at Pate's I thought I'd add our reasons for choosing it, most of which echo pixiequeen's suggestions.

Firstly, DD was in the very priviledged position of gaining a high enough score to be in the top 120 and therefore had qualified for all the Gloucestershire GS. However, Pate's is the only mixed GS in the county, which we considered as an important benefit for our DD, as her friends have always been a mixture of boys & girls.
Also, Pate's is the only GS in Cheltenham and therefore our local one - although she gets a bus across town (30 min journey) it does mean she doesn't have to travel to Gloucester (hour journey I believe).
At the open evenings we were very impressed with the whole feel of the school, and this has continued throughout DD's first term.
We obviously also considered all the other GS during that horrible limbo period before 11+ results - I know we certainly only had Pate's as a 'dream' option, not doubting DD's capabiltities, simply knowing there was so much competition for the limited places.

I think you have to remember that being superselective, offering ONLY 120 places and having a COUNTRY-wide catchment, does put an unfair spin on the general opinion held about Pate's. It makes it very difficult to compare the schools fairly and you'll find people's thoughts about Pate's really quite extreme.

Consider each GS for it's own merits, take note of your gut instincts when you visit them, and most of all, be confident in your choice whatever it may be - don't be swayed by opinion, you know your child best!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 1:28 pm 
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Our DS is in Y7 at Pates and I would agree with the previous comments regarding why it is so popular. The biggest factor of course is what is right for your DC, but from our perspective it was very much the impressions the school gave at the open evenings and subsequent visits. The mixed GS factor was also quite important for us when comparing to STRS (didn't apply to Crypt - too far). The travel time and cost is also a big factor (the 30 min bus ride is easy), especially with all the after school activities (and there are lots of those).

Another main reason for us was the impression given by the respective heads. Mr Fenton is clearly very motivated and proud of his school - and that can be seen right throughout. We didn't get quite the same feeling elsewhere, although it's very subjective I know.

The previous comment about country wide application is true, and really surprises me - previous threads on this forum have had heated debates over how far people are prepared to travel daily. The latest OFSTED reports 8:1 oversubscribed (but I'd say it's more like 9:1 or 10:1) - not sure if the other GSes face that level of application. Possibly due to league table positions (which is wrong I know).

DS has found after the first term that it's not a "hothouse" - pupils are expected to work hard and try their best, but the workload is not extreme.

Advice is as others have said - look at them all and try for those that give you (and DC) the best feeling.


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