My son attends GFS and I have no hesitation in recommending the school to prospective parents and am happy to answer any queries anyone may have.
One of the main things that attracted me to the school was the fact that the school was so brand new, there are no boundaries or quotas already set for how many kids have to achieve certain grades, or shoes that had to be filled of previous students !
I felt that it really meant that my child would be free to achieve the best that he could. The only limiter would be himself, if he chose not to engage fully with their offer. The class sizes are smaller than any other non-fee paying in the local areas, even including the Grammar Schools at only 25 per class (100 per intake).
Don’t forget Grammars are looking to increase no's this year (Beth’s in particular); maybe your child may not suit the larger intake and may get swamped in masses?
The School offers a great mix of academic challenge and personal support, having signed partnerships with one of the top schools in the country (Dr Challoner's Grammar School), to help ensure that GFS delivers top-quality education for the pupils from the outset, they have also secured Access support from Balliol College, Oxford who will aim to support aspirational GFS pupils in getting into the universities of their choice, whether that be Oxford or somewhere else. Pupils with particular interests in subjects will be given the opportunity to pair up with students studying those subjects from Oxford.
All children study philosophy and follow the Guy Caxton building learning power model of developing independent learning from within, and the extended school day caters for homework to be done at school - helping have me from nagging a tired child at the end of the day when he wants to go out and meet his friends.
Every fortnight the children have a day when they will go off-site to learn or do all day projects - trips are already planned for London major educational venues etc.
Don’t be put off by what anyone may say about Free Schools and their ability to continue funding into the future. GFS has got the backing of both main political parties and Lord Adonis (ex-Labour Education Ministers) is a big fan of the school.
The school is actually an academy, therefore there is no difference to how it is run compared to any Grammar School or other Academy in the local area. The benefit as a parent is that your child's education budget goes straight to the school and cuts out paying for administrative support from the LEA - the school can then be more responsive to your child's own personal needs if you ever need to ask for anything specific to support them.
The whole staff group at the school are fantastic, nothing is too much trouble and they have invested time and effort getting to know both our child and family before school started making the transition to secondary school painless.
Plans for the new state of the art building are out for consultation at the moment and I can tell you the new build will give all the local BSF schools a run for their money!
I would suggest that people visit an open day and hear what the Head and Deputy have to say - we found them to be inspirational in their vision for our child’s future which is why we took the leap of faith to become part of their inaugural intake.
Good luck to you all during the tests today and tomorrow !