RGS Guildford or Hampton?

(28 Posts)
racingheart Sat 16-Feb-13 11:35:32

DS is in the very fortunate position of having offers from both schools.

We'd really love some feedback, positive or negative, from parents with boys at these schools, to help us decide.

Each school has massive strengths, and each has a few minor things that concern us.

In its favour, RGS is in a town, so as they grow older and want to go out for lunch or to meet people after school, the boys are not stranded and reliant on school buses. It seems less sealed off from the outside world than Hampton.

RGS seems scholarly and eccentric - which describes DS. But Hampton's theatre and boathouse and outdoor space to run around - these are things that interest DS hugely... RGS has nothing comparable.

Any feedback from parents of boys who are already there would be really appreciated. Thank you.

Aboleyn Sat 16-Feb-13 20:33:03

Not personal experience, and am obviously biased - but am very struck by the fact that I have never heard anything bad about RGS. Unusual when it comes to schools!!! I work with a number of parents with children there, and they have all been v happy. Music, art supposed to be superb as well as the obvious maths, science strengths. Sports fields supposed to be great too - shame we never get to see these as prospective parents!
Think you need to go and see both schools again and go with your gut instinct. Am sure it will be right (let's face it, two amazing schools, am sure your ds would thrive at both!)

FillyPutty Sat 16-Feb-13 21:33:46
FillyPutty Sat 16-Feb-13 21:36:33
grovel Sat 16-Feb-13 22:36:41

Nice choice, OP, so don't stress yourself out too much! You (and the schools) can't determine the friendships your DS will make at either school. That's in the lap of the Gods.

JetJungle Sun 17-Feb-13 09:48:45

OP I think I commented on most of those threads about Hampton.

My DS is currently in Y10.

Feel free to ask any questions you might have and I will do my best to answer.

Disclaimer: I know nothing about RGS

mummytime Belgium Sun 17-Feb-13 10:15:26

RGS boys do use their playing fields, quite big and they are bussed there, Stoke Park, and the Downs (especially for cross country). There is also a rowing club on the river, which RGS boys belong to.
They do quite a few performances with the girls schools.

However is your son sporty? Or more academic? Which school is more convenient for you?

Copthallresident Sun 17-Feb-13 10:59:44

racing I have DDs but know a lot of Hamptons and I am very impressed by their evident love of their school. They are quite a mixed bunch and the school seems to cater well for different levels of motivation and ability. The link with LEH works well with extensive extra curricular activities shared. The rowing facilities are amazing but it is serious stuff, 19 hours of training (on land as well as water) per week by the second year they row . It isn't really that isolated? suburban maybe, although I suppose if they are travelling in on the buses they don't really touch down in the surrounding area. Plenty go from the local area though.

Copthallresident Sun 17-Feb-13 11:03:09

I should add that means they do have a local social life, as used to be evident in Oceana on a Wednesday (student) night in the holidays........ Prom was in Wimbledon.

FillyPutty Sun 17-Feb-13 12:25:54

JetJungle, how do the buses work at Hampton. I understand they leave promptly at 4pm. Is there much going on after 4 o clock, meaning that these buses restrict your options, or is it dead after the buses go?

Just wondering if we should move somewhere with some public transport to the school....

Copthallresident Sun 17-Feb-13 13:01:25

They run later buses at 6pm, for those doing things after school, not sure if they run a later bus on all routes but certainly to focus points across the catchment.

FillyPutty Sun 17-Feb-13 13:47:31

Ok that's helpful. 4pm seems quite early to be finishing tbh, DS finishes prep school after 6pm sometimes.

JetJungle Sun 17-Feb-13 15:24:32

The buses leave just after 4 everyday and there is very little activity at the school after this time. They do this because some of the routes take the buses hours to complete. The school has therefore decided to not have any after school activities.

The clubs and sporting activities that would normally happen after school, take place in the extra long long break that the boys get everyday.

This system works very well and as a result the clubs and training attendance is very high. The boys are also able to plan their after school time well because they know exactly when they will be home everyday. This is important because they get a lot of homework and after school time needs to be carefully utilised.

They do have matches on Saturday mornings though.

JetJungle Sun 17-Feb-13 15:26:59

The boys are allowed to stay at school until 5pm everyday and use the library and computers for homework.

JetJungle Sun 17-Feb-13 15:30:22

There are R70 and 111 bus stops just outside the school and the school coaches have an amazingly wide network.

Happymum22 Sun 17-Feb-13 16:58:50

Know RGS very well as son went there- it is an absolutely fantastic school, the boys love it and have so much pride of it. Suits a wide range of 'types' of boys. Link with GHS is similarly strong as LEH-Hampton link. Just saw DD in the GHS fashion show which they do jointly with RGS boys- along with a lot of other events each year. DS always liked being able to go into town, meet up with GHS girls at lunchtimes in sixth form. Really were no bad points from his entire time there. If he needed support academically or pastorally, it was there. There were opportunities for music and DS particularly liked the wide range of sports, he wasn't into rugby/football but did shooting (school have a shooting range!).

DD knew some boys from Hampton, heard similarly great things!

I'd go on which is nearer and which your DS prefers.

FillyPutty Sun 17-Feb-13 17:37:58

Here are my thoughts.

Hampton is bigger than RGS, but it is on one site.

It is more expensive.

Hampton:
Fees: £15,255
Lunch: £756
Coaches: £975

Total: £16,986

RGS
Fees: £14,070
Lunch: £690
Season ticket from say Effingham: around £500 per year

Total: £15,260

Which is a little over 10% more.

Plus I get the impression Hampton put on more trips, which you may see as yet another unwanted expense, or a fabulous experience for your child.

My impression of Hampton was that it is more modern/forward-thinking, e.g., they seem to be more interested in the use of IT in education, and I believe RGS had no SENCO prior to 2 years ago, whereas Hampton have a dedicated department and a range of courses/screening:

www.hamptonschool.org.uk/The-School/Academic/Learning-Support/Extra-Page-(3).aspx
www.hamptonschool.org.uk/The-School/Academic/Learning-Support/Learining-Suppot-Doc.aspx

which they will happily add on to your bill! But it would appear better if your child has weaknesses that they IMO seem better able to address than RGS.

RGS seems to be relatively more singular about maths and science:

www.rgs-guildford.co.uk/page_viewer.asp?page=A2+Results+2012&pid=472
www.hamptonschool.org.uk/The-School/Academic/Exam-Results/Results-Table/A-Level-Results-2011-(1).aspx

whereas the second-most popular subject at Hampton for A Level is History.

I spent some time in conversation with the head of maths at Hampton and was very happy that they would stretch in this area, certainly their website supports this:

www.hamptonschool.org.uk/The-School/Academic/Academic-Departments-(1)/Maths.aspx

Hampton has improved out of proportion to wider grade inflation, e.g., in 1997 they got 53.5% A*/A at GCSE, at RGS Guildford in 1995, the figure was 73.4%, now both get ~90%.

RGS has a better record of Oxbridge entry, sending a quarter of the sixth form there each year, for many years: www.rgs-guildford.co.uk/page_viewer.asp?page=Leavers%27+Destinations&pid=405

Hampton School has never matched this, but this year sent 32 to Oxbridge,, which is close to 20%. The previous year, only 15 went to Oxbridge.

The Hampton head has said that with their now stellar results they have become more selective and expect to improve their Oxbridge stats.

You pays your money and takes your choice, DS preferred Hampton because they taking rock climbing seriously, which is very unusual - RGS do not.

Obviously I'm bitter and biased, DS having been rejected by RGS, btw.....

Copthallresident Sun 17-Feb-13 17:56:00

Jetjungle Are you sure because DDs have done joint after school activities with Hampton, music and drama, I've sat in the Hampton car park at 6pm and later many a time, and it is always full of parents picking up after the sporting activities too. Rowing definitely happens after school. LEH similarly has a rich lunchtime programme but there are also sports training and matches, CCF etc etc after school. I doubt they could run the late coaches just for LEH Lacrosse teams or whatever.

Copthallresident Sun 17-Feb-13 17:59:23

BTW I can certainly reinforce the comments about the support for those with SpLDs at Hampton. Brilliant drop in centre to provide support whenever boys need it and very well equipped with Kindles etc. Sadly not replicated next door........angry

FillyPutty Sun 17-Feb-13 18:06:27

Copthall I take it by next door you mean LEH, rather than Hampton Academy?

Could you elaborate on your angry?

Do you know any other 7-18 girls/mixed schools in the area. Thinking about transferring DD at age 8 from her current school, when her brother goes to Hampton, and then continue to a senior department, rather than staying on where she is till 11, or transferring twice so having three schools, 5-8, 8-11, and 11-18, which seems a bit disruptive....

Copthallresident Sun 17-Feb-13 18:25:22

I don't want to out myself but next door they do understand and support SpLDs, usually they end up with around 10% diagnosed which is as it should be since that is the proportion of the overall population, regardless of ability. However the girls with SpLDs do feel it is a not as supportive as it might be, certainly not as supportive as Hampton and other schools, and they have pointed that out (in addition to parents who think it is an issue) and it is still not acknowledged as an issue that the school feel needs addressing IYSWIM. Of course Hampton is quite a lot larger so can justify greater provision. I can't comment on the Junior School but I do know of DCs diagnosed whilst still at the Junior School, and that those diagnosed at the Junior School will form the majority of those diagnosed by 11 and therefore given extra time in the entrance exams (in itself an indication of a positive attitude on behalf of the school, Surbiton for all it trumpets it's support for those with SpLDs did not give extra time in their entrance exam )

Copthallresident Sun 17-Feb-13 18:32:24

Have you looked at Newlands in Twickenham? Lots of happy parents and a good record of getting DCs to good schools, though by all accounts the Head has no time for pushy parents, and will push for the right school, rather than the best.

Twickenham Prep is actually in Hampton, not quite so universally adored but also a steady stream to LEH (and Hampton)

Parents at LEH juniors also happy but it is most definitely what it says on the tin, a selective prep for able girls.

Copthallresident Sun 17-Feb-13 18:33:17

Sorry neither of those to 18, for that there really is only Surbiton.

JetJungle Sun 17-Feb-13 18:39:16

My DS thinks that the coaches only leave at 4:20. I have to be honest that he has never caught the coach as he rides to school, so he could be wrong.

He has very very rarely stayed at school beyond 4:00 ..... other than to mess about with his mates do his homework.

JetJungle Sun 17-Feb-13 18:50:07

Just to clarify, my DS does not do music at the school and would rather die than get up on a stage..... So we have no experience of that side of things.

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