Cokethorpe School - Opinions Please?

(19 Posts)
bigboxofchocs Thu 08-May-14 21:04:42

Anyone out there with experience or opinions on Cokethorpe School in Witney please? Interested in academics, extracurricular and any personal experiences - thanks!

happygardening Thu 08-May-14 21:18:28

Friends have just moved all their DC's there they really like it. The pastoral care apparently is fab, lovely grounds etc but she did say not very academic, bright children apparently often leave at the end of year 6 and go to Abbingdon, MCS and SHSC etc.

TalkinPeace Thu 08-May-14 21:54:30

DH was there not long ago and liked it : LOTS of Russian kids though

1805 Thu 08-May-14 22:57:51

Heard mixed things personally, from parents currently there. If you want academics - have you looked at Abingdon?

nicespice Fri 09-May-14 08:43:07

I have DD at Cokethorpe and she is doing extremely well. We could have sent her to a number of academic schools but decided on Cokethorpe. I am not aware of any Russians and I don't think they have loose children at the end of year 6. I know that they attract a few children over from the so-called hothouse schools. Also I like the fact that they are inclusive right up to the sixth form rather than worrying about league positions. Great headmaster, wonderful teachers and the place feels welcoming and safe. Go and have a look. Lastly, I am yet to meet a parent who is not happy with Cokethorpe.

bigboxofchocs Fri 09-May-14 12:23:45

Thanks everyone for your responses. Nicespice - why did you decide to send your DD to Cokethorpe over more academic schools? Our DSs have an offer from a more academic school but we feel Cokethorpe might be a better fit for them (they are bright and sporty) but want to be sure they have academic opportunities open to them.

nicespice Fri 09-May-14 13:29:05

Yes! We can see that the GCSE results are very good and that the headmaster has plans to improve the A levels and Uni destinations. The work that DD brings home is pushing her and the contact with the teachers is excellent. I might be missing something here but I would say that Cokethorpe is a bit of a hidden gem. She loves it and has good friends. I also know of friends who are looking at Cokethorpe as a realistic option for their bright children. Hope this helps.

1805 Fri 09-May-14 14:58:01

bigbox - how old are your ds? Do you have a senior school in mind?

Cokethorpe's A level results are somewhat lacking compared to the more academic reputed schools. As far as I know the boys who move to Cokethorpe from the academic schools do so under advice from their schools - i.e. - you're not going to get into the senior school of Ab or MCS so better head off towards Cokethorpe.
I am sure Cokethorpe is a good fit for many many children, but if you want academic and sporty, I think there are other schools to consider as well. It depends how selective a school you want.

nice - I know parents who are not happy there. I think you'll get that everywhere though.

nicespice Fri 09-May-14 15:45:46

I not sure that I would want to send my child to a school that then decides to send them elsewhere. I do know that in my DC year group a few girls from a particularly selective school have made the move to Cokethorpe and are very pleased. You might be right about parents being happy but all I know is that I would not want my child to be anywhere else.

happygardening Fri 09-May-14 17:12:05

Another friend was telling me last autumn that entry for yr 7/9 is becoming increasingly competitive this year because so many applied and then failed to get into MCS and Abingdon and have Cokethorpe as their 2/3rd choice so the head is able to be more selective than he was a few years ago.
She was worried her charming but average DS wouldn't get in.

TalkinPeace Sat 10-May-14 15:15:08

For various reasons I have a recent copy of the Ocellus on my desk
Very well resourced. Academic gets less pages than sport.
Named kids become more cosmopolitan in lower year groups

bigboxofchocs Sun 11-May-14 14:23:15

Thanks everyone - appreciate all your feedback. At the end of the day it's all about finding the right fit.

Luckywagg Tue 13-May-14 22:19:24

I know that there has been much said already but I felt compelled to write and say that I attended the school's Open Evening (this evening) and was truly inspired by Cokethorpe. The children were well mannered and enthusiastic, the staff engaged and exciting and I have never been so impressed by a headmaster who spoke with passion and real interest about his pupils. Everyone I spoke with were equally impressed by him. We have three very bright DCs and we have been to numerous schools in our quest to find the right fit. We shall be looking no further and I would encourage anyone who thinks they know Cokethorpe to go and see it for themselves. I feel silly because up to this point in time, my husband and I have only considered the schools that everyone talks about (including prep head) and have disregarded Cokethorpe. As bigboxofchocs says, its about finding the right fit. We have!

westoxmum Mon 19-May-14 23:29:39

Went round a while back with a friend also considering it and also got a very positive impression - lovely environment and enthusiastic staff+pupils. (For our DD - sporty and bright, not brilliant). I was very disappointed by the GCSEs on offer - it seemed particularly weak in MFL and Computing, while some subjects with really not much academic or vocational use were supported. When we looked at the A level results on the web not only did they look weak, nearby comp Bartholomew had about 3 times the % of kids doing well in academic subjects. Cokethorpe felt more like a (rather expensive) specialist sports academy. Our friend got us the handbook with a staff list, and it's not hard to see where the fees are going - 6 PE teachers and 16 sports coaches. Not for us! DD now campaigning for SHSK as she's heard they get to use the Abingdon pool - she's a keen swimmer. SHSK subject profile looks better as well, and we also heard some Cokethorpe Juniors were heading that that way. In fact we'd be more likely to consider the Junior School, for our younger child - the issues we worried about at secondary level don't matter for younger kids and the grounds look like a great playground! Does anyone know the KS2 SATS results, esp at Level 5? I could not find them anywhere.

roguedad Wed 28-May-14 18:24:13

Y6 did not do exams during SATs week this year so they won't be reported formally. Ask the school if there is informal data from earlier years. The Junior School is excellent in many respects - setting for maths & spelling, G&T programmes, French and Latin taught well, pastorally outstanding. Fantastic location - over 140 acres in the countryside in sharp contrast to MCS Junior near dirty roundabout in the middle of a city. Pre-prep outstanding - reception kids go to a forest school where kids get muddy while doing some counting! Curriculum music and drama outstanding. Gremlins for younger kids include some resistance to instrumental music lessons until year 3 and a Dickensian lack of choice of food (Ordeal by Dry Lump of Gammon a favourite of the kitchen). Year 6 just came back from a mountain camping trip in Snowdonia which was a real adventure. The exploration of atmospheric discharge phenomena would have pleased Benjamin Franklin.

happygardening Wed 28-May-14 20:07:52

rouguedad MCS and Cokethorpe just aren't the same type of school so the comparison is pointless.
I'm no great fan on MCS but I doubt few would turn down a place there for a place at Cokethorpe!

1805 Wed 28-May-14 20:16:24

There appears to have been no recession around Oxford! All the well regarded fee paying schools have waiting lists I believe. I think Cokethorpe will benefit from the boys going-for-but-not-getting a place at Abingdon or MCS.
You said you were interested in academics - well MCS and Ab are the ones to look at for that.

westoxmum Tue 01-Jul-14 19:43:32

Belated thanks. I'll try to check out the Junior School properly at the next opportunity. We've asked around meantime and got positive views on it from parents interested in academic focus, despite similar concerns to ours on the Senior dept. I guess we need to think of it as two separate schools.

roguedad Sun 13-Jul-14 09:50:54

Senior part has poached Abingdon's Director of Studies to run academics, according to Lusk's end of term missive at the other place. Let's hope he is allowed to make the changes needed.

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