Winston Churchill, Woking & George Abbot, Guildford

(25 Posts)
artyjools Wed 14-Jul-10 13:22:13

Has anyone had any experience of either of these two schools please? I have seen the results tables and have read the Ofsted reports, but I would appreciate feedback from anyone who has children attending either school. Thanks

mummytime Thu 15-Jul-10 07:14:03

George Abbot is fab! But it is hard to get into, you need to live close, and it gets closer all the time (new houses being built). At least one of its major feeder primary schools has gone from a 60 intake to 90 this year.

The review in the good school Guide is fairly accurate (lurk in Waterstones if the library doesn't have the book).

MmeRedWhiteandBlueberry Thu 15-Jul-10 15:07:49

They are both good schools compared with other Surrey schools. Another good one is Guildford County.

artyjools Thu 15-Jul-10 17:30:02

Thank you for your comments. I have now visited both. George Abbot has slightly better facilities & has a sixth form, but not likely to get my 13 year old in, I fear!

artyjools Thu 15-Jul-10 17:35:15

Oh, meant to say that I really liked WC too. Modern & very clean (unlike some I have visited over the last few weeks). Kids nicely turned out and behaving themselves (skirts not so short they are barely skimming bottoms - quite shocked at how short some of them were at Guildford County and how much makeup some of the girls were wearing. No, I'm not a prude but I would prefer my sons to be concentrating on their lessons LOL). Lessons looked interesting and stimulating. Staff were very friendly.

mummytime Thu 15-Jul-10 17:42:24

Do find out how full they are. It does depend if you are looking at year 9/10 or year 8/9, the former was a big year. Another good school is Howard of Effingham, but they have an unusually big year 9/10 (don't know if them having an extra class in that year makes it more or less likely that people could get a place).

If you have good reasons to appeal you might get in (people do win appeals in Surrey).

Snowdropbooks Thu 15-Jul-10 19:32:01

Why not look at St Peters in Merrow, a good school and not all the students are catholic, a strong pastoral approach, but also academic results are brilliant.

hippipotamiHasLost92lbs Thu 15-Jul-10 21:25:05

Ds starts Y7 at Winston Churchill next year.

I have friends with dc in various years at Winston Churchill. They are all very happy with the school. My niece left there last year and she also enjoyed it and did very well. My nephew is just finishing year 10 and is also doing great and enjoying it.

I did a few seasons as exam invigilator there a few years ago and was very impressed with both the pupils (polite and helpful on the whole) and the staff (friendly)

Another good secondary school nearby is Woking High School, but even though I went to view it when deciding on a school for ds I don't know too much about it (other than apparently the girls wear more make up than at Winston) Seemed good, clean, nice facilities. Might be worth a look?

artyjools Thu 15-Jul-10 21:54:06

Thank you Mummytime - it is year 8/9 rather than 9/10 I'm after. I have e-mailed Surrey CC to find out what the waiting lists are like.

Snowdrop - we aren't even remotely religious, so stopped looking at Catholic schools a while back, especially after being told that even if we lived next door, my kids wouldn't get in. I know they get very good results though - and if you are catholic you don;t have to worry where you live!

Thanks Hippi. That's the sort of inside info I was after. It matches what I picked up about the school during my visit.

mummytime Thu 15-Jul-10 22:22:38

I would suggest that you get yourself put on the waiting list of all schools you like. (I have known parents phoning weekly to check, as the waiting lists are held differently after year 7.)

I would also think about special features which might make one of your chosen schools the preferable one for you. How to win your school appeal might help too. (My SIL appealed for her daughter's when they moved to Durham.)

popstar123 Fri 16-Jul-10 22:01:40

My son is just finshing Y10 at WCS and we have been very happy with it. He is challenged in the subjects he finds easy and well supported in the ones he struggles with. It is a big school but seems really friendly and kids from all years look out for each other. The Head is big on citizenship and it seems seems to show in the behaviour and attitude of the pupils.

I also helped out at the Y11 prom last year and was soooo impressed with how polite and well behaved all the 16 year old leavers were.

artyjools Tue 20-Jul-10 10:53:04

Thanks Mummytime. we are moving into the area and most schools won;t put you on a waiting list until you have exchanged contracts. Bit of a catch 22 in my opinion as why would you move into an area with no guarantee of a school place for your kids? I have three so its a BIG headache. I have looked at loads of schools and will try to get one which will suit all three.

Thanks Popstar. I must say, I thought the kids were very well behaved. I am a touch concerned about the last Ofsted report but I can see they are working hard to rectify the problems identified. A bad Ofsted report usually results in improvements!

hippipotamiHasLost92lbs Tue 20-Jul-10 15:38:25

Yes, the Ofsted Report.
If you read it, I understand it is purely due to an admin error. As far as I understand it there is usually an after-school, out-of-school football club which uses the WC facilities. The people running the club are CRB cleared for their club, but not CRB cleared for WC. Which, as the club is being run after school, is not normally a problem. As luck would have it (or rather not), there was a timetable issue due to building works and the football club met at WC during school hours. As bad luck would have it, the one and only time this happened was during the Ofsted inspection. And one Ofsted inspector, quite rightly, asked the football club person about CRB. Which they did have, but not for the school. Hence the bad Ofsted.
Nothing to do with teaching, pupils, behaviour or any of the educationally stuff.
A paperwork error. Shame, and a fair comment by Ofsted, but there you go.
And the head has promised tighter paperwork channels and has learnt his lesson.
So none of this made me want to not send ds to WC.

hippipotamiHasLost92lbs Tue 20-Jul-10 15:39:04

Well, that is the story from the mums whose dc are already at WC. I must admit, I did not fully read the report blush

artyjools Sat 24-Jul-10 07:54:30

Yes, I think they were hit by Ofsted pretty hard because their protective measures weren't up to scratch. I'm not worried about that as they have now sorted it all out. I think there was a teaching issue too, but they have a teacher monitoring scheme set up and are pushing for improvements.

I have heard good things about Woking High, but its stats aren't anywhere near as good as WC's stats. But to be honest, I'm starting to think that the stats / Ofsted reports etc have turned us all into quivering wrecks.

hippipotamiHasLost92lbs Mon 26-Jul-10 12:14:39

We looked around both Woking High and Winston last year and just preferred Winston. It was a 'gut feel'. The open evening at Woking was very polished, very professional. The teachers did the science presentations / experiments etc.
Only the star pupils and prefects were present to show us round.
At Winston none of the Y11 prefects were available as the evening clashed with a local A level college open evening. So the head teacher told ALL pupils they could attend. As a result the tours were a bit more 'warts and all'. Also, the pupils were doing the science demos and experiments - with unbridled enthusiasm (and nearly set the ceiling on fire at the same time). It was this slightly chaotic approach, with a school overrun with excited pupils who wanted to show their school off that created a real 'buzz' on the night. grin And we loved it.

thephoenix Mon 26-Jul-10 17:04:03

This thread is a trip down memory lane.
I went to St P (back in the day when it sounded much posher 'st peters and merrow grange') and we regularly met up with the
'gabbos' from GA at lunchtime.

OP, good luck getting your DC into your school of choice.

qumquat Tue 27-Jul-10 10:11:47

My Gran taught at George Abbot in the 50s! I also have good friends from when I was at Cambridge who went there, as well as to Guildford County, all of them spoke highly of their schools.

artyjools Tue 27-Jul-10 13:28:47

Thank you all - looks like I have found a school. Now - does anyone have a house in St Johns / Hook heath / Knaphill to sell to me???????? Where are all the houses that are supposed to be flooding the market?????

hippipotamiHasLost92lbs Tue 27-Jul-10 18:59:10

Which school have you gone for? [nosy]

I am just in the process of selling a house in Knaphill and buying one in St Johns. Hope you end up near me, we could meet smile

artyjools Sat 31-Jul-10 21:18:30

Hi Hippi - WC, but we need to find a house! I know there are a couple of places for my younger two (twins) at Knaphill Junior, if we can get our act together. Did your kids go there/ do they go there? If so, what do you think of it?

I know nothing about Knaphill a all, other than what I have found on the web. It looks like it has some sort of community though.

Definitely looking to make new friends when (and if) we manage to move smile

hippipotamiHasLost92lbs Tue 03-Aug-10 13:14:11

grin

Ds has just finished Y6 at Knaphill Junior School. He has done very very well there and been happy.
Dd is starting Y3 at Knaphill Junior School in Sept.
I work there as a Teaching Assistant.

I like the school. I would not say it is perfect because in my opinion there is no such thing. But it has dedicated staff, enthusiastic and helpful parents and for the main nice, polite pupils.

What year would your twins go into?

hippipotamiHasLost92lbs Tue 03-Aug-10 13:16:28

Knaphill is nice. Definately has a sense of community. More so now since the formation of the Knaphill Resident's Association. There are now band evenings for teens, a teen club/hangout on Monday nights, and recently a Village Fun Day on the green. (plant stalls, mini train rides etc)
Knaphill also has a very thriving and active Guides and Scouts movement who are also involved in village life.

Fingers crossed you move nearby smile

hippipotamiHasLost92lbs Tue 03-Aug-10 15:21:28

Hi arty, have withdrawn previous message as I gave a bit too much of myself away regarding dc's ages and school etc.

Suffice to say I know Knaphill School well and like it smile

artyjools Wed 04-Aug-10 16:30:09

Hi Hippi - am going to PM you

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