Best schools in Devon(58 Posts)
Hello All, We're relocating to the area - near Tavistock/ Plymouth and are trying to wade through the minefield that is schools - help please! Both kids are still little - 3 y.o boy, 1 y.o girl but thinking ahead for feeder schools to good secondary schools, where would you recommend? Probably prefer co-ed but I don't really mind.. Option of boarding may be nice when they are a lot older but Again not necessary - I would miss them too much!
Grateful thanks for any help!
Re MH - I would have thought this thread dead, but as its here, I didnt want to be the one to say I told you so. I am clearly not. Thanks Devonlass1
I'm going to Exeter Cathedral today for their school fete. The weather looks great for this. I'm going with my friend whose son (my godson) is a chorister there; lately there's been a problem with the school boarding, fortunately my godson is a dayboy . I don't know what exactly but two choristers had stepped down due to this boarding problems. So much pressure for my godson to perform and he is not even at the top of the choir. I'm going to give him support for today's Evensong. So, there's so much pressure just to get that discounted fees for prep school. Is it worth it?
Lets just wait and see shall we...
bet you feel a little silly now? MH is merging as it would have closed otherwise.....
Just been looking through this as I live in Exeter. In case anyone is interested St Margarets has an upper sixth this year - my friends daughter is there. There is no lower sixth as there wasn't enough take up initially.
Children are registering with other schools as fast as they can which will mean places at other schools will be tight this year until it all settles down. Parents are taking up free places in local primary schools and my ads attend Exeter Cathedral School - a really lovely school which hasn't been mentioned and I can't recommend highly enough - the 5 yr old has had 5 girls doing taster days this week and the 10yr old almost as many.
A little off topic here but as St. Margarets has been mentioned. Lets have a thought for the teachers in that school. Everyone probably sympathises with the pupils, especially year 10 who will find their GCSE to some extent disrupted, although at least three schools have offered to take them and Woodard has offered them Kings Taunton too. At least one of those schools will have a GCSE curriculum which matches their needs I know.
The teachers however will be redundant at the end of the year. I believe the timing of this is in no way accidental. I am not sure but I would imagine, like most independent schools, the teachers have to give one full terms notice. This means they will have to stay at the school until the bitter end. They cannot go and find other jobs, even though a number of posts are currently available (but they are all Easter start or sooner in common with state school rules of giving notice before half term).
Just a thought for those teachers who I feel for. I have been in a similar position several years ago when a school I was in closed. It was difficult times.
The pupils will all find somewhere no matter how temporarily upsetting the move may be. The teachers may well not.
It seems it is always nonsense if you dont know about it propatria. Well, lets wait and see shall we? I have it on very good authority that there are problems.
As someone else said, the picture regarding schools in Devon will be very different when the OP's DC reach school age.
The accounts for MH are easily available ,I suggest you read them and get someone to explain them to you before you spout nonsense.
Surprises me that so many do not seem to know what is under their noses and was widely spoken of in education circles. St Margarets was well known to be in trouble three or four years ago. Yes, Woodard have pulled the plug but they have supported the failing school for much longer than a year or so and there is a limit to the depth of the pot. Yes, the site is worth money and money Woodard could spend elsewhere to better effect.
There are more than a few schools after the pupils at St. Margarets too including one who has offered to take them lock and stock. However smug parents should beware, more than a few Exeter schools are sinking (you dont need a rumour machine - look at their accounts). Even the holy grail of Devon preps here, MH is sinking and has been for sometime (shock horror as someone says it).
I know what you mean in some aspects propatria with PC, swimming and Rugby, but their latest exam results etc are rather good, but like you said some of the others are just as good and free.
Narrie, Mordion, you're both wrong. They announced they were shutting the St Margaret's 6th form last year (with a term's notice) but then went back on the decision. The head has been sick/ sacked for quite some time and the deputy has been acting head. Last week they announced they would shut the entire school at the end of the summer term.
bit of prime St Leonards real estate
Topsy,if the op had asked for the best school for mermaids/mermen then Plymouth college would be a very strong candidate,but thats prob not what she needs.
PC has done what countless small not very well known schools(including one in Tavistock) have done over the years,find a small niche sport(or two),chuck money at that sport and individuals and then get the pr machine in overdrive,thats fine but the fundamentals of the school dont change,the academic results ( be vague about academics but if possible find a niche subject that very few schools bother with and get the pr machine out)are so so,the other(main) sport fixtures are ho hum,,avoid if possible giving results on the website,the grounds and facilities are not great ,slap bang in the middle of the city,my eldest once said playing rugby there was like playing on a roundabout,boarding relies very much on the overseas market etc
Not even sure its the best school in Plymouth,and the other candidates are free...
St M's. My old school. For quite a lot of my education anyway. My understanding is that there were issues after a change of head (I was there in the dim and distant pass, and was surprised to hear how low the numbers had fallen - it was larger when I started there, and grew a lot bigger in my time there).
Plymouth College fantastic school, just love working there
So closure eventually became a self-fulfilling prophesy? It just goes to show that OP shouldn't plan too far ahead with children of 3 and 1 because a lot can change in 8+ years.
every child is different so what is best for one person's child may not be for another .....
Woodard pulled the plug because they felt the school was no longer going in a direction compatable with thier ethos. That isnt being malicious or aresult of maliciousness. A lot of schools in the area have been assigned malicious rumour regarding their closure (not least of all in MN, as I have read such stories) -much of which was premature in most cases. Not in this one though
Narrie, you can beg to differ all you want. but the 6th form did not close 2 years ago. There is a year 13 right now. There were certainly rumors going round for more than the last 2 years - but many of them were malicious. The announcement about the sixth form was made last April, last September was the first year they didn't have a year 12. The was the point at which the die was cast, really. I know several teachers and parents at the school and it's terribly terribly sad.
I am sorry MordionAgenos, but I beg to differ. I was private tutoring a girl in St. Margarets sixth form over two years ago and she told me then that it was closing. In fact it was the fact it was closing that led to her getting private tuition. It was either do that and pass her exams or go elsewhere and got back to year 12 in another school. In fact her problems with her course could be said to reflect what was at the bottom of the issues even then. It was known within the school long before it became knowledge outside.
Anyway,lets not have an open debate about this. Think of the pupils and the reputation here.
@narrie they closed it last year. With ine term's notice. They didn't have any year 12 intake in September. There is still a year 13 right now.
Several parents are mounting a save our school campaign. Maybe it will work. It's the year 10s who need to be sorted, obviously. Although if I was a year 11 parent I wouldn't be delighted either, I suppose...
@MordionAgenos, St Margarets closed its sixth form two years ago. The writing has been on the wall for some time. I agree, I do feel sorry for the year 10 GCSE pupils. If I were a parent there I would be trying to get my DC out as quickly as possible to maintain some continuity.
St Margaret's wasn't really selective except in terms of pocket depth. You didn't need to be 'on the grapevine' to know that there were problems - they closed their 6th form, and sacked the head teacher. Ad the were issues with staff. Those aren't the actions of a thriving school. And the results they report are pretty unimpressive also. However - all the girls I have known who have gone there have been lovely. It has a great reputation for being a caring school, with a fabulous ethos - not snobby, not ruthless, nice in the best sense of the word. A lot of good community and charitable activities. So in that sense, it is a terrible shame. Especially for the poor kids in Y10 who will have to swap school halfway through GCSEs. In an ideal world I suppose they'd cross over the road to Exeter school but the obviously hasn't been any sort of facilitating deal put in place for that, or it would have been reported. It must be a terribly worrying time for the parents (the few that I know are devastated).
Falling rolls certainly but that isnt unique as I know another two schools in Exeter are in difficulties. I heard on the grapevine that there had been other problems as well. Of course when schools are trying to be selective they are chasing a very small pool of fish and that is affecting a number of schools. Its really a case of who goes first (and whether that relieves the pressure on the others if they can pick up the pupils).
I'm just curious because I used to live in Exeter and drive past St Margaret's on my way to work - why is it closing? Is it falling rolls?
In answer to my own question... The end of this academic year.
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