Farnham or Guildford?

(36 Posts)
Tabya876 Tue 30-Oct-12 06:36:33

A dilemma!

I am starting a new job in Farnham next week but my family, wife plus ds (15 months) and dd (3 and a half) are up North. We have a number of challenges:

In order to get our daughter into a state school next September we need to be residing in the catchment area by 15th January the latest. That means relocating with no guarantee that we would get our dd into the school of our choice. At present she is in a ok prep school that she loves although we have concerns abouther not being challenged there, it would be unattractive to take her out of that school and move to a new area only for her to sit at home for almost a year because the local nurseries are full at this time of year.

The 2 state schools we are considering are South Farnham in Lower Bourne and Holy Trinity Pewley Down in Guildford. Both schools admit at 4+. Local nurseries are full around Bourne and my wife does not drive so accessing other nurseries further away are inaccessible. We are still looking at options in Guildford but the situation appears similar.

Our dd is a very sociable and confident child that loves learning thus, we want a schol that stimulates and challenges her whilst ensuring that she is nurtured in a friendly way that builds upon her bubbly personality and happiness. We looked at Tormead but felt something was missing, although we cannot put our finger on what. Totally love South Farnham and Guildford High School. Our dd is going for the entry assessment at the latter next week. I have spoken with the head master at HTPD and was thoroughly impressed with his thinking.

In order of preference we love GHS and South Farnham almost equally. SF has advantages in that both our children could attend the school and of course, its closer to my new ofice and we would save money on fees. Disadvantages of SF include cost of moving to the area (renting rates are amazing) until we can find a house to buy. Additionally, the area is remote given my wife is not yet driving.

SF is an all girls school which is preferable and it's located in Guildford which is better for access to shops and services given that my wife is not yet driving. Disadvantages include cost and children having to attend different schools. HTPD is our fallback position.

Anyone in the same/ similar situation? Any thoughts from other parents please? Just for info, we looked at Rydes Hill which is really nice.

Happymum22 Wed 31-Oct-12 00:20:53

tabya876 glad to have helped, just message me with any questions!

mummytime- yes you are right I think about 1-3 girls leave GHS in year 6 normally. One tends to go to George abbot so i guess financial reasons then one or two to less academic schools. Some seem to think this is GHS being a 'results factory' and not caring but i think it is the opposite, they really consider every girl and if the academic environment is right for them. If my DD wasn't going to thrive at a school and they could see that, I'd want them to tell me and advise me where is best!!

know a fair bit about tormead, the new head is very different from the old and is changing the nature of the school. My guess is she is taking it to be a bit more up-market and improve academics slightly. I think she is trying to make it more of a competitor to guildford high but with a different atmosphere (perhaps more similar to st cats where she came from) and knowing her professional capabilities i think the school will really come up and thrive so its less of a second choice to GHS but a sought after school in its own right.

DD just walked in, she is at uni but home for reading week having left GHS a year and a bit ago. I asked her opinion, she reinforced what I said about the lifelong close friends made there and also said it has an amazing buzzing atmosphere, like a big family with a great sense of belonging and ambition. (Beginning to sound like a school prospectus!)

Best of luck to those with DDs sitting the 4+ soon!

Tabya876 Thu 01-Nov-12 07:57:06

Hi mummy time. I can't imagine how they screen out/ select but it will certainly be based upon subjective parameters. I suspect that perceived cohort synergy will feature to the extent that one girl could have selected one year and perhaps not have gotten in another year.

I'd like my daughter to get in as I truly believe she would thrive in a fast-paced and stimulating environment because she loves learning, asks many many questions and is both happy and confident. Of course I'm currently an outsider looking in. Two of my nieces attend North London Collegiate School and love it there. They think our daughter would also do well in a similar environment. Her current teachers think the same thing so taking all into consideration we can only apply and hope for the best.

I'll go to HT to take a look as I don't know what to think based on so many contrasting comments. Comments re GHS and Rydes Hill appear relatively consistent though.

I agree that boys do appear somewhat undeserved with many suiting more geek inclined boys perhaps. I don't think my son is like that. Both DS and DD angle towards being highly outgoing and socially oriented. Not sure about sports though. Dancing and singing - a huge yes.

mummytime Thu 01-Nov-12 08:14:50

The problem for boys was, but is improving, that once they reached 11/13 apart from RGS there weren't that many options, certainly compared to girls. If you exclude RGS, the options involve travel, boarding, or state, and some of the travel times/distances could be quite far. However some preps are now expanding into 11-16/18 and the Royal school is admitting boys on the Diamond model,which helps. However State school is quite an attractive option too.

Dededum Fri 02-Nov-12 17:36:24

I know about HT, my son has just left. Personally, I am not a fan. But saying that it is not a bad school. Think that they are just disorganised and careless. If you are interested please mail me.

Tabya876 Sun 04-Nov-12 14:17:52

Thanks mummytime. Would have responded earlier had I realised there was a Page 2 to this thread smile

Thanks Dededum. I will send you a PM.

Madasabox Thu 08-Nov-12 16:18:36

My DD is also sitting the assessment for GHS this week Tabya and we are in the catchment for SF. There are a number of good feeder infant schools that feed into SF if you couldnt be in the catchment for SF, although they are all rural so if your wife doesn't drive..... We didnt like HTPD much. The reason we are not going to SF is that we have just put our house on the market this week to move to Guildford to be closer to my husband's job (the other side of Dorking) so if you are looking for somewhere to live ;-)

Tabya876 Fri 09-Nov-12 20:17:58

So, our DD sat the first part of her assessment today. The good news is that she absolutely loved it. The not so good news is that she did what she often does when asked to demonstrate something - deny all knowledge of it smile. Asked to complete a puzzle she tells us she said that she did not know how to. She does puzzles all the time, albeit invariably on the iPad. Hmmmmn. Anyway, that she enjoyed her time at the school today is the most important thing. Part 2 tomorrow. smile

Thanks Madasabox. I've just signed an agreement to rent a property in Lower Bourne. Sorry.

Madasabox Sat 17-Nov-12 08:49:34

Tabya - I was kind of joking :-) If it's any help on the GHS admissions our daughter told us there was no puzzle, she just talked. It is so difficult at this age to get them to expand on what happened. Did your daughter enjoy the second bit? When did they say you would hear?

Tabya876 Sat 17-Nov-12 15:20:06

Hi Madasabox. Our DD loved the second part and made friends with a lovely little girl called Milly. She also completed a princess puzzle with her.

We were told very positive hings but having heard from other parents they were told exactly the same compliments smile

Our DD loved the assessment process and really wants to go to GHS. We've not even thought about any other Guildford options. We'll see. I think decisions will be revealed this week.

Madasabox Sun 18-Nov-12 07:45:03

Ooh that worries me now as my husband thinks they didnt say anything about my child. If you dont get into GHS Tabya will you go for one of the Farnham schools?

Tabya876 Sat 24-Nov-12 13:54:43

Madasabox. I really would not ready anything into it. Different parents spoke to different school staff and different times. All the best.

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