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 Post subject: Chesham Grammar
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:55 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:24 pm
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I'm interested in opinions on CGS from anyone who currently has DCs there or knows the school well.

How pressurised/ competitive is the environment? Are children expected to be gaining A grades at all times?

Does the fairly large geographical intake area (I know it reduced significantly this year) have a particularly negative effect on kids' friendships/ being able to meet up with friends outside school?

I believe homework is generally 1.5-2 hours a night, which seems like a lot to me, but am interested to know whether pupils cope with it OK and if there's support available if necessary.

At the most recent open evening much was made of the benefits of the vertical tutoring system in terms of mixing with others from all years & remaining in the same group year on year. Does this have a hugely positive impact on your DCs' school experience?

Most importantly, if you have DCs there, are they happy & would they recommend the school to others?

I've visited the school a couple of times now & read a few generally positive posts on here in the past about it, but am really interested in any up to date views from anyone with direct day to day experience!

Many thanks in advance.


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 Post subject: Re: Chesham Grammar
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:29 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 9235
Location: Buckinghamshire
Lyra wrote:
How pressurised/ competitive is the environment? Are children expected to be gaining A grades at all times?

It isn't particularly pressurised. Obviously A grades are considered to be desirable, but lower grades are not frowned upon if the pupils are working to the best of their ability in a subject. I would certainly not describe the school as a hothouse or pressure cooker environment.

Quote:
Does the fairly large geographical intake area (I know it reduced significantly this year) have a particularly negative effect on kids' friendships/ being able to meet up with friends outside school?

Although the geographic distance appears to be large, almost all the more distant pupils are either drawn from the Berko/Hemel direction or from areas on the Met Line, which makes it relatively easy for them to get together outside of school.

Quote:
I believe homework is generally 1.5-2 hours a night, which seems like a lot to me, but am interested to know whether pupils cope with it OK and if there's support available if necessary.

1.5 - 2 hours a night would be news to me, but that could explain quite a few things! :lol: I don't think you should assume that it is quite that much, other than for the more intensive subjects such as Art GCSE. In common with most schools, homework deadlines are usually at least 48 - 72 hours to allow for out of school activities.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "support", but the staff are always supportive of pupils who need help or advice.

Quote:
At the most recent open evening much was made of the benefits of the vertical tutoring system in terms of mixing with others from all years & remaining in the same group year on year. Does this have a hugely positive impact on your DCs' school experience?

The VTI was not popular (and that is putting it mildly) to start with, but I think it has now bedded in well, and I certainly don't hear complaints about it now.

Quote:
Most importantly, if you have DCs there, are they happy & would they recommend the school to others?

I can't think of any child I know who has been unhappy there, and the atmosphere has always seemed to be genuinely happy. I do know students who have transferred in from other schools at various points, and they have been happier at CGS than they were elsewhere.


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 Post subject: Re: Chesham Grammar
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:48 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:24 pm
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Thanks very much for this detailed reply, you've put my mind at rest on these queries ☺


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 Post subject: Re: Chesham Grammar
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:55 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2010 2:05 pm
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You've got some good questions there! I hope you don't mind if I take a couple of these and post it on my thread about JHGS and RGS?


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 Post subject: Re: Chesham Grammar
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:43 am 
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Quote:
The VTI was not popular (and that is putting it mildly) to start with, but I think it has now bedded in well, and I certainly don't hear complaints about it now.


Sally-Anne - why was it not popular? I was really attracted to the idea of vertical tutoring when we first went round CGS so I am interested to hear whether it is working well.


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 Post subject: Re: Chesham Grammar
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:41 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:45 pm
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Louey wrote:
Quote:
The VTI was not popular (and that is putting it mildly) to start with, but I think it has now bedded in well, and I certainly don't hear complaints about it now.


Sally-Anne - why was it not popular? I was really attracted to the idea of vertical tutoring when we first went round CGS so I am interested to hear whether it is working well.

No-one likes change. There was uproar at Burnham Grammar when they implemented it last year but it all seems to have settled down & is working well (as far as I can tell - I had one DS who loved it, and another who would prefer the old system).


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 Post subject: Re: Chesham Grammar
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:52 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:10 pm
Posts: 9235
Location: Buckinghamshire
Louey wrote:
Sally-Anne - why was it not popular? I was really attracted to the idea of vertical tutoring when we first went round CGS so I am interested to hear whether it is working well.

Before the VTI, the students were all just in the traditional class groups for registration, form tutor time, etc. Those groupings were broken up to an extent by the VTI, and there was a rather silly rebellion over it: lots of stuff on Facebook about being separated from friends, blah.

Totally exaggerated, but as scary says, it was just that they were all averse to change. The fact is that they still have plenty of time to spend with their year group but they now also have the advantage of the mentoring, role models, understanding, etc, that come from the mixed age groups created by the VTI.

There were some teething problems with it, and not all the staff were convinced about it either, but all of that got sorted out in the first couple of years.


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 Post subject: Re: Chesham Grammar
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:48 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:24 pm
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Blueberry - yes of course, feel free to copy & paste away!


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 Post subject: Re: Chesham Grammar
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:14 am
Posts: 115
I've asked Yr9 DS your questions...

He doesn't feel it's pressurised. They do have high aspirations but a lot of it is up to the student to put in the effort - support's there if needed.

We live the other side of Chiltern from all his mates - they're in Ley Hill/Chesham Bois with a couple in Berko. Every few weeks they go into Chesham after school, most of their communication out of school is on X-Box anyway! He doesn't feel it's been a problem - it's more a logistical issue for me for parties!

Homework varies but there's definitely support if students are falling behind - we've experienced this and the pastoral side was fantastic.

Ds thinks the vertical tutoring is a real asset - particularly for Yr7s and new starters. He's got a range of friends across the years which he says he'd never have had otherwise. The tutor system is very strong - whenever we've had any issues, because the form tutor knows him so well, they've been dealt with quickly and effectively. Every year there's a tutorial session where you are invited in to discuss your child's progress with their tutor - I've got far more out of them than parents evenings tbh.

CGS has really worked for DS. DCGS would never have suited him as it did his brother.


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 Post subject: Re: Chesham Grammar
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2010 2:05 pm
Posts: 1014
Lyra wrote:
Blueberry - yes of course, feel free to copy & paste away!

Thank you so much :)


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