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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:36 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:00 am
Posts: 45
DS didn't pass Glos test.
But did pass Kent ands so would be guaranteed a place in either of 2 GS close to where we live (and possibly others in Kent - we don't know his actual scores yet).

We have been planning to move to Glos for better quality of life for all of us but obviously there is the thought perhaps we should stay here for his school....

I have family & friends in Chelt/glos.
I know people who have had children go through Balcarras, at Pates, to the Gos GS and to private schools.
And I am told my choose Balcarras over all others (except Pates) because it is so good...

We can afford to move to Balcaras catchment - with a real intention of living there. And it would be nice to know DS was at a school where most kids are local.

He just might get in to a glos GS on appeal but I am told Balcarras is as good or perhaps better. And as we prefer to live in Chelt - Leckhampton or Chalton Kings then a local school would be good.

But will it be bad knowing he could have gone to GS here in Kent?
I would love to be reassured by some people who rejected GS & private shool for Balcarras.

Also to give you an idea, I wanted him to go to a smallish school where there is a culture of hard work and doing your homework. Where the students look smart when they come out of school at home time. And where there are high achievers and high expectations.
I want the teachers and other pupils to believe they can achieve anything - they can go to top universities and they can be Doctors & lawyers.
I guess you al want that too which is why you are reading!

Thanks...


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:46 am 
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Quote:
?...... school where there is a culture of hard work and doing your homework. Where the students look smart when they come out of school at home time. And where there are high achievers and high expectations.
I want the teachers and other pupils to believe they can achieve anything - they can go to top universities and they can be Doctors & lawyers.


Thanks for his comment. It's helping to crystalise my thinking on my predicament. Not knowing anything of the school you're talking about I woukd say that life is more than a child's education. A happy family living in a place where they feel happy and settled is more important. It also sounds as if you would have a great school too! One concern maybe can you qualify for that school if you're living in Kent?

Wishing you well,

MM


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:12 am 
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I have a friend whose family moved the Kent for a while and DS got into a GS on appeal. For various reasons the family then moved back to Gloucestershire and the same DS is happy and doing very well at Chosen Hill.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:39 am 
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Be very clear about what you mean by 'better quality of life'. Charlton Kings and Leckhampton are suburbs of a town. Balcarras is a school in a suburb, just off a very busy main road. Is this so very different from living in Kent? Lifestyle moves often make you think of London to West of Scotland, or Manchester to South of France. Kent to a suburb of Cheltenham is a less obvious one on the face of it. All I am saying is don't have huge expectations that your lifestyle would be dramatically different, if this, rather than proximity to loved ones, is the motivator.

Regarding schools, I have children at two of the GS round here and I can promise you that even in these hallowed places there are children who look a mess, don't do their homework, and don't want to be doctors or lawyers...not trying to spoil things but make sure those rose-tinted specs are off when you make this difficult decision.

Good luck.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:11 am 
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DebP wrote:
I would love to be reassured by some people who rejected GS & private shool for Balcarras.


DebP, there are very few DC in the Balcarras catchment area who would send their DC to one of the Gloucester Grammars. Balcarras is a very high achieving comprehensive. I live outside it's catchment and my DS has passed for STRS (which I really liked) but Balcarras will still be a higher choice on my CAF.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:33 am 
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Hi all

I just signed up to this forum (hello everyone!!) - remarkably to ask pretty much the same question!!

Our dilemma:

We live literally just outside the Balcarras catchment area. At open evening there we were advised that as there are fewer DCs on Gloucestershire's roll this year, we could be in with a chance to get in.

DD has also scored enough to apply for Ribston (217). We went there yesterday to the Open morning, and while it was clearly an absolutely lovely school, I didn't feel it was so different from Balcarras in terms of facilities, results or curriculum. (I'm sorry if this is sacriligious on a GS forum- all I'm trying to say is they are both great schools)

So now we're wondering - for a soon to be teenage DD would it be better to go local and be at a school where her friends live nearby, or is the 10 mile (plus) bus journey a tolerable demand to make of her? Also, I'm wondering from parents who already have kids in a GS, do you find you're constantly crossing the county to take DCs to see their friends as the catchment is so vast and people live so far away?

And if DD took part in after school activities at Ribston, do parents tend to organise car pools etc to share lift giving with others in the same area, or what tends to happen?


Also another question about the CAF - if we put Balcarras first and Ribston second, are we jeopardising our chance of Ribston if Balcarras stick closely to the catchment area boundaries, or does Ribston just become our effective first choice as we, in that scenario, would not be eligible for Balcarras?

So sorry to arrive and bombard with questions - but the knowledge on this forum is impressive and it was time to stop lurking!!

Many thanks in advance

Matty


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:54 am 
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:03 pm
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Location: Gloucestershire
matty1 wrote:
Hi all

I just signed up to this forum (hello everyone!!)

Welcome.
Quote:
(I'm sorry if this is sacriligious on a GS forum- all I'm trying to say is they are both great schools)

You are allowed to discuss pros & cons here - feel free.
Quote:
So now we're wondering - for a soon to be teenage DD would it be better to go local and be at a school where her friends live nearby, or is the 10 mile (plus) bus journey a tolerable demand to make of her? Also, I'm wondering from parents who already have kids in a GS, do you find you're constantly crossing the county to take DCs to see their friends as the catchment is so vast and people live so far away?

The first part only you and your daughter can answer. The second part - well, while we live within walking distance of our DD's school, their friends are fairly well distributed between local walking distance, the villages in the district and smaller market towns. None seem to be > 12 miles from school although there are children in their year who come much further. However, the same applies at all the local comps - they all have buses delivering pupils.
Quote:
And if DD took part in after school activities at Ribston, do parents tend to organise car pools etc to share lift giving with others in the same area, or what tends to happen?
For my DD's school that happens, in the same way as it does for the County Music Groups (GYWO/GYO). Unless you're antisocial - which we can be on occassion:sometimes it's nice just to use the car journey to chat to your own children without interruption of iPad/phone/laptop/TV/cooking dinner...
Quote:

Also another question about the CAF - if we put Balcarras first and Ribston second, are we jeopardising our chance of Ribston if Balcarras stick closely to the catchment area boundaries, or does Ribston just become our effective first choice as we, in that scenario, would not be eligible for Balcarras?

If you can't be offered your first choice, the second choice will automatically become your 'effective first choice' with the same weight as if you had actually put it first. It's actually quite a good system that seems to work in the vast majority of cases.

_________________
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:17 am 
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Being a mum who gets up at 6.20 to get things done, get DS to bus stop for GS, etc, I would have to say that if I lived in Balcarras catchment, I would have to think very seriously if it was worth the hassle of travelling there. If there isn't much to choose, then I think it's sensible to stay local because they will be closer to friends and you get a lie-in in the morning! I'm lucky that I can lift share with some other parents, but there's no guarantee that you would if you chose Charlton Kings area to settle, it is very much the wrong side of town for the grammars. Cheltenham is a nice place to live, but I certainly wouldn't move here just for quality of life. I wish you well with your decision.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:35 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
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Location: East Kent
Quote:
Regarding schools, I have children at two of the GS round here and I can promise you that even in these hallowed places there are children who look a mess, don't do their homework, and don't want to be doctors or lawyers.


as it ever was, I was one of those back in 1970!
:wink:

Cheltenham is a large busy town and Charlton Kings is, Amber says a suburb off the A 40, it's nice ( in parts) but it is far from a rural idyll.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:52 pm
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We faced this last year, and chose Balcarras - as in, we could have sent DS to a Gloucester grammar, and chose Balcarras above it with grammars as insurance places.

Bear in mind that a Kent GS is not the same as a Gloucestershire GS. Kent is a wholly / mainly GS county, and so the percentage of children who go to grammar school is much higher. Gloucestershire is mostly comprehensive, with a few grammars, and so the precentage attending grammars is much smaller.

Therefore, especially for a school like Balcarras, the children who would be at GS in Kent are in comprehensives in Gloucestershire. In many ways, Balcarras (being a good school in a nice leafy area, low percentage FSM, low percentage SEN etc) probably has an ability profile not totally unlike a GS in a fully GS system such as Kent.

The only thing I wouldn't say a wholehearted 'yes, Balcarras is like that' to is about homework - certainly so far homework has been done, and there is an expectation that it should be done, but it's very 'low level' stuff.

Last year, some non-siblings just outside Balcarras cathment got in (by the end of the summer holidays - not on admissions day), so I suspect that was as well as all kids in catchment and pretty much all siblings in and out of catchment.


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