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 Post subject: Which school?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 9:30 pm 
Well, we've looked around both girls grammar schools in Plymouth and now we have to make a decision - we've got a little over 2 weeks to put our application in. Anyone out there willing to state a preference and why?

We were really taken with PHS and the obviously caring attitude they display towards their pupils. We have formed the impression that DHS is more of an exam 'hot house'

These opinions may be way off base, it is difficult to form an accurate opinion after two hours. Perhaps other people have different views or experiences they will share in order to make the decision making process easier!

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:40 am 

Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:47 pm
Posts: 1348
Location: Berks,Bucks
Hi Nervous Nelly,

The Devon forum is ever so quite!
I don't know the schools you are interested in so I can only give you general ideas.
Have you looked at the Ofsted reports for both schools? If you haven't already done so, read them from top to bottom. They may (or may not) confirm your impressions of the schools.
There is also the 'Good Schools Guide'. Devonport High School for Girls has an entry in it. The book is expensive but many large libraries hold a copy.
Otherwise there is of course the league tables. The BBC website is a good source. It allows you to sort the results by GCSE pionts, Value Added or A level results.

If you have any question, go back to the school and ask. Most schools are quite happy to help. It is also an opportunity to have a second look at the school.

You can also find out how many hours is spend weekly per subject. Some schools spend more time on core subjects, others have more subjects with less time on each.

Schools have different policies for the 6th form admision.
Here's a quote from an interesting post:
KenR wrote:
Whilst I think it's ok to compare schools in terms of their GCSE performance, I think it's completely meaningless to use A levels as a fair comparision of school performance for the following reasons.

Most Grammars have very strict rules regarding GCSE targets that pupils have to achieve to stay on into the 6th Form. Usually this means if you don't get A grades in the subjects you want to study at AS/A level then you haven't a chance of staying on. 4 grade As at GCSE is normally the minimum requirement, 6 grade As is not uncommon.

Having culled year 11 - they then cream-off the best performing pupils form the Comprehensive or Independent Schools.

It's not usual for the top Grammars to demand at least 6 A*s at GCSE for external pupils who want to come in to the 6th form. There is no shortage of takers.

Most Grammar heads are very smart and know that league table performance is the main measure, but also that within the DfES ratings, A level performance gets a much higher weighting - hence the cull.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that the quality of teaching in Grammars isn't very good or excellent - but if you have weeded out all of your poorer performing pupils at GCSE and replaced them with outstanding pupils, from external Comprehensives or Independent Schools, then you are bound to get great results.

GCSE results are a much better measure of performance based on the original raw intake at year 7.

Strangely enough, a pupil from a moderate Comprehensive who gets 6+ A*s might actually do better to stay on at the Comprehensive. Bright kids who get excellent GCSEs and A levels from a Comprehensive will probably get much better offers from the top University's than pupils from top Grammars where 80%+ get grade As at A level.

And finally, a link to a thread about a similar quest:

This one could also be of interest:
starting with Tone's post

Hope this helps


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2006 9:37 am 
Hi Catherine

Many thanks for taking the trouble to post such a detailed and useful reply. I had already looked at the Ofsteds and the school sites but not at the BBC information, so thank you for that.

I would really welcome comments from anyone who has girls at either DHS or PHS or is considering either school and why are they considering that school in particualr.

The official information is useful, a personal view may be more enlightening!

thanks again

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 7:39 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 10:45 pm
Posts: 8
Dear Nervous Nelly

Our middle daugther has just completed 7 very happy years at PHS. years. Our eldest daughter now in her 3rd year at university was at PHS for years 9 to 11 and at DHS for years 12 and 13 (sixth form). Both schools are very good and your daughter will be happy at either school.

The differences? According to our eldest, there is maybe more consistent teaching of a high standard at DHS across all subjects. The range of ability of students at PHS tends to be wider then at DHS.

I would not say one school is better than the other, as I said earlier, both schools are very good. Which is the easiest school to get to? Perhaps this should have a bearing on which school your and your daughter choose.

Our yougest daughter has just started DHS, (her choice) but if she had chosen PHS we would have not tried to change her mind.

Up the Line

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 8:10 pm 
Up the Line

Thank you very much for your reply, comments like yours are so helpful and give a great insight into the two schools, which are surprisingly very diiferent.

We don't live in Plymouth so proximity is not a consideration since both are a bus ride away. My daughter has however stated a preference for one of the schools, after looking round them, which helps enormously.

We accept our daughter's decision, obviously, she has to go there every day after all! I was interested get a parental perspective though.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 1:24 pm 
We too got the impression that DHS had little time for the less able and driven, consequencly we have opted for PHS which we feel caters for a broader range of ability in a more relaxed atmosphere which we feel will suit our daughter better,whilst the exam results are better at DHS they do not do things like the bactivities week that PHS do, and we feel opportunities like these are equally educational and important.
Fingers crossed we have made the right decision

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