Recommendations for state secondary schools in Epsom,Cheam, Ewell etc area please....(10 Posts)
.....preferably co-ed as I have a boy and a girl and am not sure about single-sex schooling. Both children enjoy school and are very able. I am looking for a school that is a good all-rounder, good results, good community feel, lots of extra-curricular activities. We are moving house for secondary schools and have narrowed it down to this area-ish for transport reasons. Any ideas?
I only know them by reputation but as a rough guide: in Epsom and Ewell the most popular schools historically are both single sex schools. There are mixed schools too but in the past they have been seen as the less popular choices with parents (this can all change so quickly though and hopefully someone with children at the mixed schools can tell you more. My info on that is probably out of date).
In Cheam / Sutton there are Grammar Schools (all single sex and with no catchment making them highly competitive i.e there are many hundreds of applicants) and there is Cheam High which seems well thought of. The advantage of the highly competitive Grammars is that not many local children get a place so the local high schools still get a lot of very able students every year despite the proximity to the Grammars. Also nearby is Overton which again has a good reputation and there is another school which is partially selective and mixed but that's further into Sutton I think (easy journey though) - I don't remember that one's name. It starts with a G.
There are Grammars in Kingston Upon Thames too (Tiffins) which are single sex and have no catchment so pupils from your area can easily apply there.
Generally speaking though whichever school you live near is the school you get. The catchments are pretty tiny. I know Cheam High especially has a teeny catchment area from friends who applied this year. Also most schools in that area are big (the Grammars take about 150 and the high schools take 200 - 300 students per year). That is pretty normal for commuter towns I guess though.
That might give you some names to start with but hopefully someone who lives there now with children at any of the High Schools will be able to tell you more up-to-date information.
The Sutton one is called Greenshaw (just looked it up as it was driving me mad that I couldn't remember) and it takes 60 out of 254 children based on ability in tests set each year. It is mixed and again I know it is a popular one to apply to but don't know that school itself.
DS has three classmates who are going there in September (one with a sibling and the other two on ability). We looked at it and were very impressed. It was on DS's CAF list but as he got a super-selective we didn't get that far down our list!
Both of you thank you so much for taking the time to impart so much information. There are a couple of schools there that I had never even heard of! Definitely worth checking them out. Which are the super-selective schools that you mention? My DH is trying to sway me to single-sex ed so I'm also considering those too. Are there any schools in the area that are considered to be the ones to avoid?
Exempt - the Grammars are Sutton Grammar, Wilsons and Wallington (boys). These select purely on ability and people apply from all over London to go there. There is no catchment area - top score wins. It is best not to rely on the Grammars totally even if your children would pass the test as not all who pass the test get in (more pass than the schools have room for).
The girls' grammars are Wallington and Nonsuch. These schools (unlike the boys' ones) do have some places reserved for local girls but again loads apply so a lot of girls pass the 11+ but don't actually get a place so go to the local comps instead.
In Kingston Upon Thames there are the two Tiffin schools (one boys' and one girls'). They are also "super selective" - people from all over London apply, there is no preference given to local children and top score wins. These schools are all near very good transport links which is why they appeal to children living so far away.
I am less sure about the Kent Grammars - I know some of them are also super selective and take London children. I doubt that would be an option really though if you are in Cheam - I can't imagine it would be a feasible journey. I am also less sure about the schools to avoid except some people are nervous about being shipped out of borough to Merton or Croydon if it turns out they don't live close enough to a Cheam comp to get in. I don't know how common that is or which Merton / Croydon schools they are seeking to avoid though. Merton and Croydon are probably just as full anyway - that's the trouble with London and school places in general but knowing that, you can choose the school and then the house in advance.
The most popular schools in Epsom / Ewell are Rosebury for girls & Glyn for boys. Very small catchments & a couple of miles apart so you need to live in a handful of streets to get a girl in Rosebury & a boy in Glyn. Don't know about girls as I have boys but for 240 boys places in the last 2 years the catchment for glyn has been 1.5 miles & 1.2 miles previously, it is a sports & technology school. The mixed school is Blenheim, most people go there because they either want mixed or get it as 2nd + choice, I believe it is OK but would depend on your children & what suited them. I would much rather an outstanding single sex than a satisfactory mixed school myself.
The Sutton Borough schools seem to be well thought-of across the board, whether selective or comprehensive, although have heard better things about Greenshaw, Overton Grange and Glenthorne than Stanley Park and Carshalton Boys/Girls schools
In Merton definitely avoid Bishopsford (about to go into special measures), St Marks and Harris Academy - all Mitcham/Morden and IMO not worth bothering with!
I'd go for living in Cheam and applying to the grammars, which are brilliant in the Sutton area - chouce of Sutton, Wallington and Wilsons with Tiffin over in Kingston.
Have also heard Glyn is great for boys but was told by estate agents in Epsom not to buy there for secondaries unless going private as the local schools were poor! (Epsom & Ewell comp has a bad reputation locally. It may be an unfair one, but lots of parents avoid it.
Overton Grange mixed co-ed in Sutton is brilliant. My son goes there, now doing is A'levels. Can't really fault it
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