Recommended mixed private North Devon Schools for ages 3-18(87 Posts)
Afternoon, we are thinking of moving down to North Devon and need a mixed school for our son who will be in Reception in September 2014 and our daughter who goes into Year 1 this September. Ideally we would like to be as close to the coast as possible, we have stayed in Woolacombe, but are not sure how practical that would be.
Thanks in advance.
I am new to mumsnet and the first topic I stumbled on was what school to enrol your child.
I would definitely have suggested West Buckland. It is a progressive school with strong leadership and the right balance of tradition. The facilities are excellent with a team of dedicated and approachable teaching staff.
The music department is second to none with an excellent director of music who is an inspiration to the students with her ability to motivate and her all round skill. Drama is another area where West Buckland bring out the best in a child. Not forgetting sport.
The school is forward thinking with outstanding GCSE and A level results throughout the years. See the tables for clarification on this point.
We looked at several schools for our son where he gained scholarships in each one of them but we finally decided on West Buckland and have never looked back.
Reception right through to final year in the upper sixth have been very productive including high academic achievement, music and drama not forgetting pastoral care.
Our son has never had a day when he has not wanted to go to school and that says a lot in West Bucklands favour.
I am sure you will have decided on a school for your child by now and hopefully it was West Buckland. If not you could always come along to one of the the senior school open days where you would be very welcome and your child would be accommodated for a day within one of the classes to give them an idea of the excellent activities that are on offer at the school.
Gatita- Which school did you opt for? We too are looking at Kingsley/ Shebbear for September 2014 entry. Would really appreciate your opinions on both.
Hope your move is going smoothly!
I have been reading your threads very interesting.
I too am looking to move out of the city to relocate in North Devon. I see there seems to be a lot of emphasis on state schools and was wondering if you have some ideas of the good state schools in North Devon. I have two girls a three year old and a five year old. I am aware that there is a Forest School in Clovelly (is it private). Any info would be much appreciated.
Yes, thanks, I think we have made a choice, now we need to work out where to live! How far away from a school would you live?
Visited West Buckland today and I have to say we were all quite impressed with it's facilities, let's see how Kingsley fares tomorrow :-)
We are seeing West Buckland on Monday and Kingsley on Tuesday
Some of my family are at West Buckland at the moment and seem really happy with it, has served several quite different siblings well.
Edgehill went co ed in 1991. I was in the first class with boys- all 3 of them!! I'm guessing I might know you can Jo as it sounds like you were there around the same time.
It's obviously changed a bit since then. I guess it depends what you're looking for but there are some great state schools that offer a wide range of extra curricular activities that would be worth looking at.
Have I over-looked anywhere?
I might try that next time, we have some things and places to see already, I will bear it in mind though, many thanks
I'd broaden your search. Bude and the surrounding areas are fantastic, as are Hartland and Westward Ho. Bude seems far better in winter than some North Devon areas. Shebbear College is the best independent school in the area, though not mentioned much here. Our daughter went there and was extremely happy. I'd definately give them a ring and visit there too. I think you'd see there is no better choice. Good luck..
shonas I have just set up a meeting at Kingsley for when we are down, so now I can compare them both and get the kid's first impressions!
We're in Instow - three miles from Bideford at the mouth of the Estuary. I didn't consider West Buckland purely because it is too far from us. Some children locally do take the bus - but it's a one hour school run each way which I just feel is too much. We could have moved inland to be closer to the school (because I have heard it's good) but wanted to live right by the sea! Also, I was happy with Kingsley - it ticks boxes for all of my children - and I feel, on balance, I'd rather they were rowing/surfing on the beach after school than sitting on a bus..
I was put off Kingsley slightly due to the very small size of it, but having read some of your messages, I will give it another look x
DH and his siblings went to West Buckland. They were all very happy and all went on to RG universities and are doing extremely well for themselves.
shonas could I ask what area you moved to and did you consider West Buckland as well?
Thank you for this, I tried to contact Kingsley to set up a meeting but got no response, West Buckland replied in hours and agreed to see us. I will try Kingsley again to try and get a more balanced view x
I have just seen this. I live in South Devon and my DC go to school there but I know North Devon. Can I put a word in for Kingsley School? Whilst West Buckland has a reputation as a better school (it is selective), you could do far worse than Kingsley. It will take you DC if needs be from prep to sixth form. Results are excellent.
The school was formed around 4 or 5 years ago from amerger between Grenville College which was opened in 1954 ( I think) as a boys school and Edge Hill which had been a girls school. However, both had been co educational for several years before the merger. Grenville was co educational from around 1994 when it merged with the old Stella Maris school ( a girls school founded in 1929 ). It was a while later when Edge Hill became co educational.
Edge Hill and Grenville were always in very close proximity . The back of Edge Hill being opposite Grenvilles site in Bideford. Grenville was a compact site which didnt allow expansion. Edge Hill had a good site. Edge Hill was on the edge of closure for many years one way or another.
Grenville was more stable but had a few accounting issues in the early 2000's ( or as someone at the time put it," The Bursar has up and left with the teachers pay". But they didnt go under. They were a Woodard School and a good one.
When they merged Grenville took its excellent teachers (and a special unit for dyslexia) and Edge Hill mostly gave them facilities. They became a Methodist affilated School ( which is what Edge Hill was). Its a good school. Most of the Governors are ex Grenville and that includes two ex heads.
The Grenville site is being developed for housing and money is being spent on facilities at Edge Hill. The current Head is due to retire soon but I wouldnt see that as a big problem.
I am biased, I went there. I would send my own DC there if I lived nearer. I will put the word in anyway.
Westward Ho! is actually part off Northam. It's quieter during the winter but there is still stuff to do, both here and in the surrounding towns.
Sorry, spelt your name wrong! Also meant to say that there are pockets around here that do close down in winter (I believe Westward Ho! being one) but many other areas that don't and are thriving communities with lots for families with young children to do. In particular, Northam (little village just outside Bideford and about a mile from the school) and then Appledore and Instow - both at the mouth of the estuary of the Torridge river and three miles from Bideford. Incredibly pretty villages with good primary schools and much going on all year..
Hi Gaita - bit late joining this thread but I have moved to the area in June (from Hampshire) and enrolled three of my children at Kingsley. It seems a fantastic school - very friendly and nurturing - with lovely parents and happy children. I wouldn't say it was a high pressured, competitive or particularly 'academic' private school - and it obviously depends on what your children are like and what you're looking for - but they have an amazing professional theatre, a dance studio, strong links to the rowing club and offer excellent opportunities in judo and gym (their other two strongest sports). Also a nationally recognised dyslexic unit and they are in the top five percent in the country for VA (value added). Hope that helps. Do get in touch if you want any further info!
I wanted to thank you all for helping, we are going back down later this month and have even managed to get the Headmaster of one of the schools I might consider to show us around whilst we are there!
Watch this space
teacherwith2kids I know what you mean, we are tied to school holidays and are away in the Oct half term, so maybe we will have to try the Feb half term and see if we can look at some of the schools at the same time. As lovely as Woolacombe is, the transport links are lacking and the roads are tiny, it may be that Braunton is a more practical idea with better access to larger roads.
We go from south Wales to ilfracombe in about 2 1/2 hours.
We often go down in winter for Xmas etc and although lots of places are shut down we always enjoy our stay but that is because we have lots of family and friends there eg MILs friends annual boxing day party etc etc. if we didn't know anyone there would be a lot less to do.
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