Pate's Grammar School, Cheltenham

(54 Posts)
RosaLappen Tue 25-Sep-12 10:41:00

Can anybody tell me more about the school? Loved the feel of it at the open evening but then hear people say it is too pressured, pastoral care not good enough...

Obviously I do appreciate that dd has only a slim chance of gaining a place, but I thought I could ask, anyway!

hanglider Tue 25-Sep-12 11:01:32

Lovely school. Complete tosh about it being pressurised. I have the laziest child ever and Pate's has motivated said child to actually do homework with enthusiasm. A miracle!! Pastoral care is fantastic - a friends child has had some personal problems and the school has been amazing, caring and sensible in its handling of said problems.

DC has been happy since day one. They seem to strike a great balance between fun and work. I would kill to get DC2 in but also appreciate DC2 has slim chance of gaining a place.sad

Have you found ? They have a forum for Gloucestershire and if you search for Pate's there are plenty of opinions. Negative ones are usually from people who failed to get a place

hanglider Tue 25-Sep-12 11:02:15

Good luck, by the way. Hope to see you and your DD next year smile

ByTheWay1 Tue 25-Sep-12 11:06:52

negative opinions may also be from people who have seen the burn outs....

Everyone has their own opinion, it is a very good school results wise - it should be, it is the most selective school in the county.

hanglider Tue 25-Sep-12 11:11:29

ByTheWay1 - absolutely. It is the most selective school in the county. Which is why it isn't particularly pressurised. The kids have an enormous advantage when they come in and the school take them on from there.

RosaLappen Tue 25-Sep-12 11:16:43

Really, the most selective in the country? I didn't know that! Were the burn outs caused by the school's attitude?

RosaLappen Tue 25-Sep-12 11:17:20

Oh county not country blush

hanglider Tue 25-Sep-12 11:18:25

Do we know of any burn outs? I genuinely would be interested?

Runs off to search though Glos Forum....

ByTheWay1 Tue 25-Sep-12 11:34:10

If your child is naturally clever, works to the top of their ability and has no anxiety issues I'm sure they will be fine.

As to burn outs - my best friend's daughter had a very public breakdown between Y9 and 10 due to pressures of school - the school were not very helpful, she moved to a local comp school and is thriving at the top tier.

ajandjjmum Tue 25-Sep-12 11:38:24

A friend's son was there - he was very happy, although he thrives on academic study.

Madmog Tue 25-Sep-12 11:42:45

My daughter's old headmaster told us Pates basically takes the elite from seven counties, so obviously a child will be a certain standard anyway. We decided against Pates as my daughter wasn't willing to practice any old papers and put the effort in - it was borderline if she got a place anyway.

Have to say, we were lucky though, we looked at our local comprehensive and were so impressed. Our daughter started there this month and is getting marks like A, G+ (which means just what they are looking for and extra effort applied), second from top of class so on so. There is quite a lot of homework coming out with the option of extension work if they are willing, so there is plenty of scope for working at a higher level and they are really encouraging the high and low achievers. Also, they have every after school club going, even things like geography, samba music, so if a child is particularly interested in a subject they can do more. My daugher plays violin and has the choice of two school clubs working in different ways with strings.

If Pates feel right go for it, but at the same time look at a couple of comprehensives - we did. Do ask the comprehensives about higher achievers, what clubs they have etc.

hanglider Tue 25-Sep-12 11:48:10

Yup. Hard as nails my DC1!! From that description I think you probably know her ByTheWay grin. Her only anxiety with Pate's is that they don't allow nail varnish!!

Maybe they have learned from that burnout and that is why they are now bending over backwards to help my friends DC...

OP I think the thing to remember is that we are very, very lucky in Gloucestershire to have many fabulous schools and you and your DD need to decide what feels right for you. I know that if my next DC doesn't get into Pate's (or hates it on seeing it) we can choose from another local grammar or two great comprehensives.

RosaLappen Tue 25-Sep-12 13:16:58

Do you think all the children who get in are Level 6?

ByTheWay1 Tue 25-Sep-12 14:12:15

I think the kids who get in are either level 6 naturally or tutored heavily to get through the grammar school test - the latter group are the ones who can suffer the pressures most.

hanglider I know a few who fit that description.... lol,

my eldest decided to go to a comp and is thriving - we are SOOOOOOOOOOO lucky where we live - we are (just) in the catchment of 3 very good state secondary schools, and I know mine will thrive at the top of the heap rather than in the middle - which, realistically, is where they would be in a grammar.

(this could "out" me as I think there are only 20 houses who are in all 3 catchments!)

teacherwith2kids Tue 25-Sep-12 14:37:10

Rosa, I would say that the Level 6 thing depends on what the Level 6 is in, because of the fact that the test for Pates is verbal reasoning only.

Therefore children who are level 6 for maths might not get in, whereas those who are that level in English might be more likely to, IYSWIM. Certainly lots of children who gain level 6 fail to get in.

From observation, there seem to be 3 groups of children who get in
a) Those who attend one of the 'specialist' private primaries in the area, who offer a very ... thorough .. preparation for the test, not only in terms of actual VR but also through general exam prep etc. Many of these are also tutored.
b) Oustandingly bright children, from a very wide area, who have done a reasonable amount of preparation at home or at a tutor.
c) Other children who are very heavily tutored.

I believe it to be a fabulous school for those children who get in 'relatively easily'. I would have more doubts for a 'borderline' child.

Remember that you lose nothing by putting Pates on your form as a school to share 11+ results with - if you gain a qualifying mark, that's great and you can put it on your main application form. If you don't, it doesn't get in the way of getting a place in another grammar or in a comprehensive. DS's application had a comprehensive first, with a grammar as an insurance place as we live on the edge of a catchment. He's started at the comprehensive and is having a ball.

[Bytheway we must be fairly near neighbours]

RosaLappen Tue 25-Sep-12 19:42:08

Unfortunately we are not quite so lucky when it comes to comprehensives we are in the catchment for.

EvilTwins Tue 25-Sep-12 21:35:05

I've never heard anything negative about Pate's , either professionally or as a parent. The High School for Girls in Gloucester is also pretty good AFAIK. Which are your catchment secondaries? PM if you would prefer.

animaltales Wed 26-Sep-12 15:08:06

Absolutely agree with hanglider.

Have had/still have DCs at Pate's. All love/loved it.

Any pressure comes from within the DCs themselves, NOT the school. Pastoral care VG.

Mine went there from normal state school (i.e one of the less desirable ones in Chelt)and weren't heavily tutored.

Agree that perhaps the heavily tutored are the ones who might find it hard, but remember they are only working to more or less the same syllabus as top sets in comps. They don't take extra HARD GCSEs that aren't available anywhere else, although there is opportunity to take Latin, Mandarin etc if you want. No-one is forced to do so, especially my lazy DCs.

Agree that most of the scare stories one hears about Pate's are from people whose children don't actually go there.

animaltales Wed 26-Sep-12 15:12:36

PS. They weren't 'professionally' tutored at all...... I went through practice papers with them, that's all. I think it is only fair to do that. They have examples of the papers on their website now so anyone can do that.

Clareyst Wed 26-Sep-12 19:52:34

We looked at Pate's and both DSs got in, but we live very near one of the other grammar schools so decided to send them there instead. Just didn't want them spending up to 2 hours a day on a bus, and wanted them to have really local friends and be part of the community. We were also swayed by the musical offerings of our local school. We're really happy with our school and would do the same again. We didn't tutor either - just did practice papers at home.

I haven't heard anything negative about Pate's at all - the results obviously are amazing, and all the children we know who go there are happy. Nothing at all wrong with putting all the grammar schools on your form and seeing what happens. I think they're all great, and if your child is motivated they will do well at any of them.

Is your DC doing the test this time? Good luck if so!

EllenJaneisnotmyname Thu 27-Sep-12 17:48:37

I'm in a less than popular catchment and my youngest DS will be taking the 11+ next week. <gulp> He hasn't been tutored, we've just done a few practice papers and, realistically, he's unlikely to get Pates. Maybe if he'd been heavily tutored, but he's likely to get a Gloucester Grammar place. TBH, I'd prefer one of the local comps as they are excellent, but we aren't in catchment for them.

It's worth practising as anyone who gets in will have practised. It's worth sharing results with Pates even if it's unlikely as you can take the test there with your friends, and also share with the Gloucester Grammars. My DS prefered the atmosphere at Tommies to the rather serious and worthy open day at Pates, but I'd prefer a co-ed in my town to a single sex school in the next town. smile In fact, I'd prefer a co-ed comp on my side of town!

My friend has 2 at Pates and one in Tommies. For her DD, Pates has been excellent, but for her DSs she prefers Tommies. I think her DS has found finding like minded friends a bit of a problem, his friends seem to live miles away in Bristol or Oxford.

APombearsPicnic Thu 27-Sep-12 18:02:43

My DD is in Year 9 at High School for Girls and she is very happy there. DD has been very ill over the last 2 years but the school have been very supportive and I would recommend a look around. When we looked around Pates, we did find it very pressurised but other may have different opinions!

wincy Thu 27-Sep-12 18:47:27

Rosa, most of the children who get in won't be L6 for English because there were only 7 in the whole of Gloucestershire in 2012 and similar low numbers in all surrounding counties! Most of these will, of course, not be going to Pates. The only one I know is happily going to her local comp.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Thu 27-Sep-12 21:51:04

Wincy, there's a difference between those who are working at a level 6 for English and those who were entered for the level 6 reading test by a small minority of Glos schools.

hanglider Sun 30-Sep-12 17:14:29

Yes - for some reason lots of primaries entered pupils for Maths at Level 6, but not English...

LouiseMarie1975 Sat 06-Oct-12 14:06:58

Hello there, Was wondering if anyone's children took the pates test today and if so did they find the first paper more challenging than the second? Also did they complete both papers in full. Thanks

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Sat 06-Oct-12 14:29:56

Hi Louise. Have a look at this forum

for a bit more detail. My DS found the first paper harder and struggled to finish it, with some guesses at the end. He also forgot to go to the loo at the break and had to leave the second test, so failed to complete that one, too, but generally it was considered easier.

LouiseMarie1975 Sat 06-Oct-12 15:12:46

Ellen Jane

Thank you very much and goodluck.

hanglider Mon 08-Oct-12 09:17:21

Good luck to those of you whose DC took the test at the weekend. I hope this week goes quickly for you!

HappyTurquoise Wed 10-Oct-12 13:38:44

I've just joined Mumsnet and joining in here a bit late...Pate's is a great school for those children who are very academically inclined, naturally well organised and who have good memories. Our daughter is very happy there 9though it isn't exactly true that every child there is happy, some have their problems, just as at any school.)

PhylisStein Sun 14-Oct-12 23:58:40

My twin DSs have passed the test and are into the top 120 at Pates (1hr each way by bus costing £2900 p.a) , but we live near Marling in Stroud (my car 15 mins) and we are totally conflicted about what to do next - help us decide oh wise and wonderful mumsnetters!

PhylisStein Mon 15-Oct-12 00:06:08


ByTheWay1 Mon 15-Oct-12 08:24:33

Phylis... it depends - do you want to be ferrying kids to and from Cheltenham and further every weekend - to meet up with friends? School is not just about the education side - but also about friendships made....

Remember, if they are "active" in the school community - choir/drama/sport that the school bus does not go AFTER clubs but before... (I believe this is the same for Pates)

distance can matter, so I think it is great you are thinking about it before making a decision, academic/kids preferences have to have a look in too , so - sorry I would be conflicted too.............

Clareyst Mon 15-Oct-12 08:45:27

Hi Phylis. Congratulations on your DSs' results. This was exactly our choice a few years ago, and we chose to stay local. We haven't regretted it at all. DS1 now in the sixth form and loves school - I don't believe he would have achieved any more by going to Pates. Both DSs are in various clubs and almost certainly wouldn't be able to do as much if we were reliant on a school bus from Pates, and we're pleased that their friends are nearly all local (although Marling boys also come from a pretty wide area).

I would say the main downsides are that our school looks a bit shabby in places, and the website is a bit cr*p (in terms of information). But both these things are currently being sorted out. The teaching is great, which to me is the most important thing.

Send me a message if you want to know anything more specific!

hanglider Mon 15-Oct-12 10:30:45

Phylis - go and look at both schools again this week. See which one feels right and which one the boys like best. There are lots of lift shares available from people who are in a similar situation to you. I regularly share with several others which makes the load easier. Both schools have children from a wide catchment. Several of DD's friends live within 5 miles of us. Lots of Pate's clubs are at lunchtimes.

We had the same choice - SHS or Pate's in our case. DD chose Pate's and we haven't regretted it. It hasn't been nearly as onerous as people said it would be or as we thought it might be.

I think we probably live in the same area btw smile that bus fare sounds familiar shock but we can pay monthly which makes it slightly less painful!

And try If you ask on their Glos forum there is bound to be someone who has a child at each school and can offer a balanced opinion.

Clareyst Mon 15-Oct-12 12:58:39

Yes, I should have added that our decision was skewed by the fact that we both work full-time, and in the opposite direction to Pate's, so we would never have been able to share lifts.

Good idea to visit both schools again - I think also interesting to visit schools on a normal day rather than on an official open day. I really believe in trusting your instincts, too, when it comes to the 'feel' of a school.

How do you feel about single sex v co-ed?

hanglider Mon 15-Oct-12 14:38:06

By sharing lifts I meant from after-school and evening events. The lot I share with are all pretty easy-going and accomodating re: working hours!

I was surprised that DD chose co-ed, I thought she couldn't wait to get away from the boys. I personally prefer it and hope that my other DC can go co-ed too. They seem to have a civilising influence on each other (having been to a girls school myself and DH having been to a boys school - albeit several decades ago!).

GreenShadow Mon 15-Oct-12 22:39:03

PhylisStein - We have 2 DSs, one of whom is still at Marling (and one now at University).

If they had the ability to get a place at Pates and wanted to go, I would have encouraged it. I have heard nothing but good about the school - as long as the child feels it is right for them and is well motivated. The cost of transport however, could be a deciding factor.

Marling though, has mixed feedback. We've not been particularly impressed by results - I think if the boys put the effort in, then they will achieve, but if they are lazy and need a bit of a push, then I'm not sure that the school is necessarily right for them.

I will say that both boys have been very happy there.

PhylisStein Thu 18-Oct-12 16:59:19

Thanks so much folks! I've been to see both schools again this week and I think I'm veering towards Pates. It just had a great feel about it.

hanglider Fri 19-Oct-12 09:38:50


hanglider Fri 19-Oct-12 09:40:39

My DD showed round twin boys...

Ouluckyduck Fri 16-Nov-12 14:52:02

Just saw that Pate's has been named the Sunday Times state secondary of the year.

Menyanthes Mon 19-Nov-12 13:00:10

It is a school which is highly selective therefore it would expected to get good results. I am not sure that makes it a good school. One of the only thing that it has going for it is that it is not single sex.Gloucestershire has the misfortune to still have a grammar school system and the education of the whole county's children suffer because of it. I would say to those who wish to send their children from outside of Gloucestershire that they should agree to take a place at a comprehensive in the county if they fail to get a place at Pates.

Ouluckyduck Mon 19-Nov-12 13:49:32

Menyanthes, do you have children at the school?

Menyanthes Mon 19-Nov-12 16:45:56

yes one

Ouluckyduck Mon 19-Nov-12 16:57:00

And you're not happy with it I take it?

Back when I went there it was a lovely school!

Fab teachers, loads of extra-curricular activities, a relaxed and friendly environment.

I wouldn't hesitate to send my dc there if they got in.

Menyanthes Mon 19-Nov-12 17:27:15

Disappointed, it promised so much. I have other child at other secondary school in the County and they have had a much better all round education. The Pastoral care has been far superior.

Ouluckyduck Mon 19-Nov-12 21:33:40

Is your child in year 7?

Menyanthes Tue 20-Nov-12 08:24:30

No, I won't say any more other than just be careful about choosing schools on league table position and their hype

Ouluckyduck Tue 20-Nov-12 09:10:17

Well I've heard lots of good things about the school - great extracurricular provision, good at communicating with parents, great facilities, and somebody I know who went through a family break up said the school were very helpful and caring.

andiu Tue 20-Nov-12 15:34:24

My son went to Pates. He travelled an hour there and back everyday for 7 years and loved every second. I can not say a bad word about the school. The pastoral care was very strong. They rang about the slightest worry they had with the children. They put very little pressure on the children. The children are bright so tend to put pressure on themselves and they helped the children cope with that. They were also very clever with pushy parents. I have three children. The other two I didn't feel were bright enough to get in so didn't sit the test and their educational experience has been totally lacking compared to their brother's. He adored the school and he and all his friends cried like babies when they had to leave.

Ouluckyduck Tue 20-Nov-12 22:10:36

Nice to hear positives.

flakjacket Wed 21-Nov-12 13:10:07

We love Pate's too and feel it has a lot going for it. Have never heard a bad word about it from any parent with a child there until now. I'm sorry you feel that way Menyanthes - we certainly didn't choose on league tables or hype, just general feel. Remember you can always move your child to the school that you think is don't have to stay at a school you feel is not serving your child as well as it should.

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