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 Post subject: Harrogate... or Skipton
PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:08 pm 
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I seem to have a remarkably similar story to one of the old posts on here... a tale of moving to Harrogate, while negotiating the murky dealings of transfer into secondary school. The similar thread is over here.

However, we're coming from Surrey, with no local selection options - so no thought has been given to 11+ either by schools or parents. No practice, no tutoring, and no concrete idea whether she would pass either.

In fact, the existence of Skipton Girls & Ripon Grammar had passed me by - in the lists I was looking at, they were "hidden" amongst all the independents - so I didn't really realise they were options for us. We have been firmly aiming at being in-area for Harrogate Grammar instead (but only actually getting there in 2-3 months time).

Having found Nitram's post above, I'm now wondering whether we should consider one of the two selective schools. As far as I can make out, DD is probably just about there in academic terms - better at maths than literacy. But VR and NVR? No idea!

And would we like either area? I'm not sure - we've visited Harrogate, so know what to expect there (including, gulp, the prices), but the other two are foreign to us. As a young child, I used to live in Ilkley (my parents ran a newagents there), but I can barely recall anything!

Because we're moving into the area, the dates are manageable: NYCC say they will accept such a change (it is considered a "sufficiently good reason") until the end of January, although Surrey are a bit stick-in-the-mud, and won't accept a change of address after mid-December, even if NY will accept responsibility later than this!

However, we do have to fill in the CAF this week, and would then have to organise a late selection test afterwards (I guess).

Does anyone have any advice to offer? Or any ideas of the chances of taking the selection tests with no preparation?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:21 pm 
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Hi Mike W and welcome (back) to the north!!! I am glad you found Nitram's post and the saga of trying to find a place at a good school at this stage of the school career.

Harrogate Grammar, while not being a Grammar at all (like Otley and Ilkley) is very oversubscribed - need to live in very specific area or villages I think.

I am not sure of the number of spare places at Ripon (if any) this year - because of a quirk of a lower score to pass and a larger catchment there are rarely any places. However from what I gather there are 87 passers this year for 112 places at the girls school in Skipton.... happens from time to time and no doubt some places will be taken up by appeals and later testers. So deffo an option this year for her. The late test tends to be about April (?) but think they can do it before then.

To go to SGHS you can live in Skipton or an option would be Ilkley / Addingham. The road to Harrogate is thinly populated and unless you take over Bolton Abbey - not much in the way of houses. Snowdrops will tell you about Harrogate schools (and Ripon) - however she is getting married at the weekend so a bit occupied.... Suppose you could live in Harrogate - one of the teachers at EGS lives there but public transport limited and a bit of a 22 mile trek over high ground.

re VR and NVR - have to do some practice tests to see how she gets on - kids do come into the area on minimal practice (DS took it from a school far away from here with no similar schools around) .

reckon you need to come up and visit Ilkley Grammar (comprehensive), SGHS, RGS and some schools in Harrogate.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:13 pm 
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Ha! I'm here :lol: :lol: :lol: Taking a few minute's breather :D

Transport to Skipton isn't an option from what I've seen (although it can and does change - but I wouldn't hold my breath).

If you're not bound by your job where you live, you can opt to live in Ripon or any in catchment village then you only have to pas the exam for your dc to get in.

I live in Harrogate and we were extremely lucky to get a place (skin of the teeth job), but I do know there are others who live in Harrogate who go to RGS. In fact there are 3 girls who get off at DD's stop and walk further into town to get home so the last year (or two) have gone out further (but I also know DD's birth year was a high one, hence not getting in until coming off the waiting list).

Again, you could live in Skipton or surrounding in catchment villages to ensure a place at EGS or SGGS.

Just about any school in Harrogate is good (apart from one - but that was three years ago, and I'm not up to date with how Granby/Harrogate High/Academy (it changes name frequently) is doing at the moment.

The trick is to be within the VERY tight catchment area (at a cost as you know) to be in with a chance - or to be religious, and be able to prove it.

Your best bet is to take a few days off and visit the selective grammar schools I think, and see the towns/villages. They're all sleepy little market towns/villages and I'd personally be happy to live in any of them. Just don't know why I didn't think of it sooner!

........ and now I'm going again, but will check in again later.

Any questions, just shout :D

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:27 pm 
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Thanks for the welcome. I'm looking forward to the return, but it feels a bit daunting right now!

I think we're a little luckier than Nitram, as we can (just) get into the "normal" process, without having to leave everything to appeals & waiting lists. That's probably a blessing: DD doesn't know what she wants to do next week, never mind another decade - so I doubt if I could put together an appeal quite like the one Acme's thread discusses.

Like Nitram, we're putting school ahead of house-hunting (or rental-hunting), so we do have that flexibility.

We've already been to visit Harrogate Grammar and Rossett - it made for a busy week, interspersed with visits to 2 Surrey schools too. Even though the Grammar has obviously had more money spent on the buildings over time, both it & Rossett impressed us with the staff attitudes, and came out better with us than either of our current locals (which both get Ofsted-ranked as "good").

HGS, however, managed to do something different - they enthused DD in the open evening, which is unheard of at any of the other school visits we've done. It was something of a surprise to us when they took the children off separately, to give them a kids-only talk while we listened to the head. We were unsure of how she'd take that - especially as she already has an anti-move bias because she'll lose her friends - but it worked a treat.

But yes - we might need to come & visit SGHS and RGS too - but that can now only happen after we have to have the CAF back. It would have to be something of a punt for now...

I chatted to an NYCC admissions guy during the HGS open evening: The distances for HGS last year were 1.47 miles in-town and 5.99 miles rural. Those were 1st March figures; the in-town figure had increased to 1.8 miles after people got in through the waiting list. That compares with a worst case of 0.75 miles in 2008, under the old town/rural allocation rules. The cohort size also looked to be down this year too, by about 60 out of 700, but his figures on that were a bit out of date. So admission there is definitely tight - but our current aim is to make sure we're within it by Christmas-ish.

Rossett go out further - and seem to deliberately target OOA children from Leeds. I have a link to a presentation they did last year, where they predicted an ability to take OOA children. NYCC stats show a larger distance for both town & rural - so anywhere in HGS catchment is also within Rossett's catchment.

As for the "pass" marks and numbers - I can see on another thread that there are differences between Ripon and Skipton - 224 vs 206. Are they the same tests? If so, it is strange that there is such a wide difference in the pass mark - the high mark obviously isn't working for Skipton if they still only manage to 3/4 fill the school!

But I guess the thing I need is to try to correlate the "pass marks" against either her current ranking at school, or against some practice tests- but what does the 224 and 206 actually represent? Is it an "out-of" figure, or something age-adjusted, or fiddled to compare with the cohort?

Better pop out for some practice papers, quick...


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:41 pm 
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Ta Snowdrops! Hope all going OK!!??

of course you are right about Ripon - if Mike's DD was to take a late test and pass it AND they were living close enough then she would get a place even if the current numbers make it look oversubscribed... can't find the map of the are at present??? :?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:47 pm 
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MikeW wrote:

As for the "pass" marks and numbers - I can see on another thread that there are differences between Ripon and Skipton - 224 vs 206. Are they the same tests? If so, it is strange that there is such a wide difference in the pass mark - the high mark obviously isn't working for Skipton if they still only manage to 3/4 fill the school!

But I guess the thing I need is to try to correlate the "pass marks" against either her current ranking at school, or against some practice tests- but what does the 224 and 206 actually represent? Is it an "out-of" figure, or something age-adjusted, or fiddled to compare with the cohort?

Better pop out for some practice papers, quick...


Hi Mike

well done on getting all the info!! really needs some juggling now. Yes the exam is the same for Skipton and Ripon.

The cut off is ALWAYS 28% of the in catchment children, the reason why the numbers tend to be low is just some years there are not so many kids in catchment and that can make all the difference eg 2009 there were 179 girls in catchment 2010 there were 129.. hence 58 passing against 37... the OOC numbers tend to stay the same.

Why are the scores different for the 2 schools ???? who knows - maybe tutoring levels (don't think so), maybe brighter bunch of kids (??), maybe some of the less able in Skipton opt not to take it?? who knows...

oops SGHS kid home best go and make a cuppa - back later....

Edit: the 224 / 206 is the score reached by the top 28% of children in the cohort taking the test in catchment - so do you feel your DD falls into that group ?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:52 pm 
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HGS - you stand a better chance living either right next door to it, or living in one of the villages - either way it's going to cost.

Rossett historically has taken all those who can't get into HGS or one of the faith schools because they'd rather go there than Harrogate High/Academy/whatever it's called these days. It's a good school compared to most countrywide, but not comparable to HGS or the faith schools if academics are important to you. If you have an athletic/sporty child then Rossett would probably suit more.

WRT the selective grammars, it is the same test, believe it or not! The difference in pass marks is difficult to explain, even the AEO has difficulty with that one!

I can't remember how many options you have on the CAF (5?). I'd say you have to decide if you're going to live more Skipton way or more Harrogate/Ripon way. Once you decide that then it's the selective first followed by all the others.

It's difficult, but you have to jump one way or the other.

Look at the subjects offered in the schools you're interested in. For instance RGS (and I think Skippy too) offer Astronomy as a GCSE. I don't think any of the Harrogate schools do (unless they've changed recently of course). Look at the languages offered - any you think would be worth studying more than the others? I honestly think that's all you can go on as you're up against time.

Do know, they are ALL good schools. Be confident in your choice. It'll be fine :D

Oh yes, and welcome!

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:00 pm 
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Thinking about this .... if your DD really likes HGS then maybe you should go for it... you will have a couple of months to get yourself somewhere to rent in the area ??


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:25 pm 
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............ along with everyone else renting in that specific area with that specific point in mind!

If you do go HGS, remember, the villages get preference (mostly!) :D

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:33 pm 
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True :oops: :oops: which are the villages?


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