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 Post subject: Tommies or Crypt?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:21 am 
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Posts: 254
I know this question gets asked every year, but I'm interested in recent experiences, particularly now that Crypt is co-ed.
DS is in the Top 150 for both and we don't know which to pick.
Tommies: closer to home, more chance of other children who live in Cheltenham. Then again, they may not be the ones he makes friends with!
Harder to get into - he narrowly missed out in Pates so is Tommies the natural choice?
But..... all boys, heavy emphasis on sports? Seems very traditional. DS didn't like the formal assembly setting and prayers (but surely they all do that, we just don't get to see assembly usually?)
DS is not particularly sporty and is quite shy. He has a few very close friends (2 of whom are also choosing between Tommies and Crypt and I suspect they'll pick Tommies. But they wouldn't necessarily be in the same form even if they did all go to the same school).
DS likes puzzles and games rather than sports. Although he doesn't hate sports. He is passionate about science and good at maths, but also likes words.
Crypt: mixed, which I see as a positive. One of DS' best friends is a girl. He gets on well with both sexes. Easier to get into than Tommies - and it shouldn't be as it's mixed, so that means people perceive Tommies (and Denmark) to be more desirable. Further from home - friends could be anywhere! His sister is at Ribston so they'd get the bus together, which I see as a positive but they don't! He did a Taster Day at Crypt and liked it - he came out saying this was the school he wanted if he didn't get Pates.
So why am I confused? I think because I'm struggling with turning down a guaranteed place at a school which is generally perceived as more desirable and is considerably closer to home (although he'd still be getting the bus and would have to get up just as early as for Crypt) for one that's further away.
Academically, I'm sure both are very good. They are both Outstanding, but as STR's report was in 2007 and Crypt's in 2012, I'm not sure how relevant that is any more! I wanted DS in a school with other bright children where he'd be challenged and I'm happy both can provide that.
He is a sensitive child, very hard on himself if he doesn't do well (luckily he's taken not quite making it into Pates well), hates being centre of attention, never puts himself forward for things e.g. positions of responsibility - but very bright, very inquisitive and knowledgeable about things he's interested in (science, Minecraft etc!) and he's got a great sense of humor and is well- liked at school.
And he's worried about being the one to choose which school in case he gets it wrong. So we need to make the final decision by working out what's best for his needs.
We will go and visit both next week but if anyone has any insight to offer (particularly current year 7 or 8 parents at both schools) I'd be grateful.


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 Post subject: Re: Tommies or Crypt?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:56 am 
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Hello,
My son has just started in yr 8 at Tommies. He absolutely loves it. We are from Cheltenham too and about 20 of his class are also from Cheltenham. He also narrowly missed out on a place at Pates (he was in the 190’s and he ended up being 6th on waiting list) but Tommies was his first choice so we took him off the waiting list. He is very sporty and has completely embraced the rugby culture but there are plenty of boys who aren’t so sporty and that’s fine too. He’s strong at maths and science and Tommies is completely challenging him. He went with two other school friends (one is in his class and he gets the bus with the other) so he has maintained these friendships too.
I honestly haven’t got a negative thing to say about Tommies but I’m sure there are plenty of Crypt parents who will say the same thing (we know a few!) Go and have a look around both and that should give you a better idea of what school will fit your son better.
Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.


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 Post subject: Re: Tommies or Crypt?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:22 am 
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Re Tommies:
Don't be put off by the idea of a rugby culture. My son has never been huge on team sports, although he has discovered a love of running at Tommies.
One of the things which sold it to me was the boys who showed us round on an open morning. They were rugby a team players but spent most of the tour enthusing about the art department, house music and other very definitely non sport subjects. There is something about a boys school (or at least this boys school) which frees them up from gendering subjects and the whole need to be seen as matcho. My son is an introvert with a bunch of friends who are all inquisitive, geeky types. Some are very sporty and some are most definitely not. It really isn't the defining issue.
There are also plenty of female staff as well as sixth formers, so he is in some mixed lunchtime clubs. The friendships with girls from primary school have also continued. I was very dubious about all boys schools but have now had all my assumptions challenged.


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 Post subject: Re: Tommies or Crypt?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:30 am 
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DS is currently in year 7 at Tommies. He has settled in really well and it is a good fit for him, despite being similar your son (not sporty, sciency, shy). However, I would say it is quite strict and traditional. That suits him but it isn't for everyone.

If I remember last year we were invited to see Tommies in the week after results day, so it be worth doing that to help him decide. I wouldn't worry about perceived popularity of schools - your son will do best where he is happiest.


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 Post subject: Re: Tommies or Crypt?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:51 am 
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Hiya,
My DS is in year 7 at crypt and so far I've been really pleased. If I've had a concern and I send them an email they have sent me one right back the same day. I have had non stop information from them and they have really tried to encourage all the parents to get to know each other too which is really useful as my DS only knew one person when he started. They also seem to have really tried to get to know my son, so pastoral wise am quite happy.
The clubs in year 7 are great. They have board games, chess, story writing club, raspberry pi club, Harry potter club, lots of non sporting activities! My son is not sporty at all but has joined cross country club which he would never have done at primary because he thought he wasn't good enough. So they have clearly encouraged him to challenge his own perceptions of himself. Congrats to your child and I'm sure he will do great at Crypt or Tommies.


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 Post subject: Re: Tommies or Crypt?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:59 pm
Posts: 6722
tulips wrote:
Re Tommies:
Don't be put off by the idea of a rugby culture. My son has never been huge on team sports, although he has discovered a love of running at Tommies.
One of the things which sold it to me was the boys who showed us round on an open morning. They were rugby a team players but spent most of the tour enthusing about the art department, house music and other very definitely non sport subjects. There is something about a boys school (or at least this boys school) which frees them up from gendering subjects and the whole need to be seen as matcho. My son is an introvert with a bunch of friends who are all inquisitive, geeky types. Some are very sporty and some are most definitely not. It really isn't the defining issue.
There are also plenty of female staff as well as sixth formers, so he is in some mixed lunchtime clubs. The friendships with girls from primary school have also continued. I was very dubious about all boys schools but have now had all my assumptions challenged.


Lovely to hear that about Tommies....Having recently watched rugby at the Crypt, I have to be honest and say I was very disappointed with the uber over the top alpha attitude of the 1st team squad and more particularly their parents...they are a strong squad, spoiled by their attitude - for example, to see an entire school boy rugby team (and their supporters) whooping, cheering and applauding a yellow card (a failed interception, called a deliberate knock on, but no malice, no try thwarted etc, just to the letter of the laws) was very disappointing - celebrating a try scored yes, but celebrating where the other team makes errors, dropped balls etc at this level says a lot about the ethos behind the squad. I wonder if this is one of the reasons they have introduced the co-ed, to try and break up what appeared to be an entrenched stereotype?


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 Post subject: Re: Tommies or Crypt?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 4:28 pm 
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Our oldest went to Tommies and the pastoral care is fantastic, they still help him now and he’s almost 23!

He has always been Mathematical and they put on so many extra opportunities around that for him.

I can’t speak in terms of co-Ed and every child is different but we were not impressed with our 2nd son’s time at Crypt.

Travelling I feel helps set them up for life and good friends it doesn’t matter where the distance.

Best of luck in your difficult decision.


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 Post subject: Re: Tommies or Crypt?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 7:49 am 
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Have watched my son play rugby against Tommies and Crypt: Very little to choose between them when it comes to the behaviour of the teams or supporters: I felt like saying ‘FFS they are 11 and you aren’t in The Shed’ to some of the dads at both matches.
So don’t base your decision on a small number of rather vocal parents.


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 Post subject: Re: Tommies or Crypt?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:54 am 
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I do hear you! It was the behaviour of the Crypt players that was the most shocking - parents can be awful (and yes there are obviously many dads who believe they should have been selected for the Cherry and Whites!! And my response was pretty similar to yours!) but to see a team applauding and cheering when the opposition made handling errors, a yellow card, etc is very very unsportsmanlike - our head of rugby and head of school would likely be appalled with that behaviour (and where someone is unsportsmanlike or gets a red card, they are banned from playing by our school, as well as having to meet with our head for a dressing down) but this continued throughout the game, so is obviously accepted behaviour - watched and replicated by the younger teams. There is a difference between applauding your team winning a breakdown, or turnover, or scoring, but applauding another teams errors in school boy rugby is off putting. Sadly you can’t control parents but you can (and should) regulate how your players conduct themselves, is my point.


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 Post subject: Re: Tommies or Crypt?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:36 am 
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Thanks everyone - still interested in more responses if anyone has any, especially from those with DCs at Crypt. Despite all the strong recommendations for Tommies, my gut is still saying Crypt would be better for DS. The main factors are:

1) As a shy and introverted boy (who is nevertheless a lot of fun when you get to know him) I feel he might be more comfortable in a mixed environment. He's part of a close group of 4 at present, one of whom is a girl (they will sadly all go different ways at secondary school). He's into his games consoles (but prefers playing online with his friends to playing alone - he's not a loner) and enjoys puzzles. I find it hard to imagine him growing up without girls around him (although he does have a sister) - he is not outgoing so he's not likely to meet them in extra-curricular activities.

2) He's competitive academically and very hard on himself when he perceives he has failed. He's joint top in his class at school and likes that. The place he went for his 11+ tuition had him working on Year 7 maths because he got through the Year 6 maths so quickly, and he thrived on the challenge. Conversely, although he's patient when helping others, he also gets frustrated that not everyone is as clever as he is! He's been looking forward to being in a more academically challenging school environment (Year 6 is boring!). I think he would get that with both schools but.......

3) At Tommies he would be with a lot of other children of a similar standard (probably lots of others who were hoping for Pates). How would he feel if he were no longer close to the top? Although, who's to say he wouldn't be? We don't know his exact score but he was in the Top 150 for Tommies, Marling and Crypt (the latter being harder because it's mixed) and he only narrowly missed out on Pates at 235. We had that discussion when he was hoping for Pates, and he understood that everyone else would be very clever too. He wanted Pates enough because it was so convenient to get to for that to outweigh other considerations.

4) Conversely, at Crypt there will be more variation in ability - but everyone is still going to be good, otherwise they wouldn't have got in! At Crypt I would expect him to be nearer the top of the class, at least for some subjects, which he will like and will boost his confidence. They also have a gifted and talented program. I have no idea whether he would fall into this category but I like the idea that if he did, they would stretch him.

5) Convenience - it's the same bus stop for both and he can go with his sister, who's at Ribston. If he goes to Crypt it's the same bus but they are only minutes apart so it's not a major consideration. Crypt is further for us when we have to go but we already do it for our daughter.

6) Sports are not a big part of his life. He does like basketball, but has never put himself forward for team sports because he doesn't like to push himself out of his comfort zone. He hates the idea of rugby! I know rugby is a big thing at Tommies - and I know that not everyone plays but it does seem to be the default (based on what I've read here).

7) Tommies seems quite formal and old-fashioned. I picked up on Glos18's comment about it being strict. DS is very sensitive. If you tell him off or (God forbid!) shout at him, he retreats into himself. He may have a good reason for whatever he's been told off for, but he would never tell the teacher, he just takes it and goes quiet. To thrive, he needs an environment where teachers are patient and gentle with him. Telling him off is fine and necessary sometimes - but he doesn't have the thick skin that some other children have. He is definitely not an Alpha male! This is something I hope he will learn to cope better with as he gets older. But I've heard that Tommies are very good pastorally - what about Crypt? Fairypig's DS has obviously had a good experience.

8) Fairypig's post about her DS' experience of Year 7 in Crypt was really encouraging. If DS were to come out of his shell enough to sign up for a club, I can see board games, chess and raspberry pi in particular being right up his street! I also like the idea of the school challenging his own perceptions of himself. His self-confidence was a real problem right up to Year 5 (because he is so hard on himself) and his 11+ tutors worked hard to build him up. Once he started to believe in himself, he started to fly! This is what he needs from a school in general, I think - a lot of encouragement and not just academically.

I can't comment on the attitude of Crypt's rugby team although I take the point being made. Obviously I completely agree that this is unacceptable behaviour but I don't want to make my decision based on that!

We're going to the Open Day - it's a year since our last visit, although DS went in July for the taster day (which he liked so much that he said he wanted to go there if he didn't get into Pates). The last Open Day was very busy and hectic - so many people! I'm hoping we all get a good feeling from this one as I just want to know that I am doing the right thing by turning down a guaranteed place at Tommies for Crypt.


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