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Oxfordshire/Gloucestershire schools - what to choose

(23 Posts)
mummummummy Sun 13-Feb-11 14:37:39

We are moving from the "grim north" for dh to work in Oxford. Having always wanted to have a "cottage in the Cotswolds" we have our eye on a rather nice house in a village next to Burford.

So I have a few questions - my dd1 (12, year 7) is in a fab State Grammar that she got into from a small, not too pushy local Prep. She is into hockey, English and goes to a drama club. V bright but not massively into academic achievement - more of an all rounder.

Dd2 (9, year 5 at local prep), she is not so much clever as very concientious, always very neat and puts 110% effort in, however at a very academic school she would fall between the cracks I think. Was always going to send her to an all-girls semi-selective independent school for Senior.

Ds is 4 and at State nursery - v bright and mature for his age, acts like he's 5 or 6, but can get bored and be a bit of a challenge! Into sports and maths and reading.

So, I'm sorry for the massively over the top descriptions but I wanted to know if any of you wonderful ladies out there had any experience of schools in the Burford area. We need a Senior school and a Prep obviously, would look at State for my oldest but want to keep the two youngest in Independents for now.
Would also consider weekly boarding for my oldest if the school was right.

We've looked at Hatherop Castle, St Hughs, Kingham Hill and Cokethorpe for Preps and at some of the Gloucs County grammars for DD1 but not sure if year 8 transfer to another Grammar is a viable option especially from another County?? Has anyone got any experience with this??

Also, the Burford area in general, is it good for families?

Thanks so much and sorry for long post.

MusicalMummyJules Sun 13-Feb-11 21:25:23

Not much help really but I have heard very good things about Cokethorpe - hope you find a good school and you're move goes well!

StaceyShipman Sun 13-Feb-11 23:45:07

Hatherop - OK prep but oh my - weird parents!! Ask about their future plans as I think there is a programme of modernisation/development underway.

Burford School has a good rep in the area. One of the schools everyone seems keen to get their kids into. It also takes boarders.

Cokethorpe - have heard mixed views, never went to look at it due to local opinion.

St Hughs - lovely by all accounts. 1 from hatherop moved there.

Kingham - so so! My neighbours son boards (or did) there - her opinion is "better than the local comp but not as good as she hoped" - That was 5 years ago. It has had a new head in the last few years so may be better.

Windrush Valley School - an indy junior may be worth a look as well might Ferndale (Ferndale is a cognita school).

Good luck with your search.

Burford area is lovely for families.

StaceyShipman Sun 13-Feb-11 23:45:08

Hatherop - OK prep but oh my - weird parents!! Ask about their future plans as I think there is a programme of modernisation/development underway.

Burford School has a good rep in the area. One of the schools everyone seems keen to get their kids into. It also takes boarders.

Cokethorpe - have heard mixed views, never went to look at it due to local opinion.

St Hughs - lovely by all accounts. 1 from hatherop moved there.

Kingham - so so! My neighbours son boards (or did) there - her opinion is "better than the local comp but not as good as she hoped" - That was 5 years ago. It has had a new head in the last few years so may be better.

Windrush Valley School - an indy junior may be worth a look as well might Ferndale (Ferndale is a cognita school).

Good luck with your search.

Burford area is lovely for families.

soda1234 Mon 14-Feb-11 10:57:59

Headington sounds as if it would suit dd1, and she could weekly board, although there are probably school buses from Burford.
Would really recommend St. Hugh's, for your younger ones

mumof2girls2boys Mon 14-Feb-11 11:02:11

Burford area is great for families, especially if you want to get out and about exploring the countryside. Burford itself has great little shops for the afternoon spending the money you have left over from the private school fees

A friend of our went to St Hughs and loves it. My son plays rugby and soccer against Hatherop and he has commented on the strange parents (he is only 8 so they must be strange for him to pick up on). He has said the school itself is nice. My eldest 2 board at Wycliffe in Stonehouse, we went their as we have 4 ranging in age from 10-3 and needed somewhere that would support all their different characters. Its not accademically selective but does get good results from all the pupils.

I would get to as many open days as possible if you can, they all start after half term. We visited lots before finding the one school that we knew all 4 would be happy at.

Good luck with the move

FloreatEtonia Mon 14-Feb-11 13:23:49

If you are looking for a hockey school then Dean Close in Cheltenham are always in the National Finals most years. Very, very sporty, mixed ability but the academic sets are very academic. It goes from 3-18 so they could all go there. Their scholarships are more generous than most. Chelt College and Chelt Ladies are also in Cheltenham.

IWantAnotherBaby Mon 14-Feb-11 17:24:56

Hi. Burford school is excellent. My DNiece is there (family moved so she was in catchment) and thriving. She is very bright and top of her year (she's 14 - mine are at primary so I lose track of secondary years).

Privately I'm not convinced by Cokethorpe. A colleague of mine has just sent his 8y/o there, but the reputation is not great and exam performance unremarkable.

Can't help with the other local schools, sorry (we're North of Oxford), except to say that Headington girls is absolutely fantastic.

roadkillbunny Mon 14-Feb-11 18:07:46

I know more about the oxford, abingdon schools living in a small village near cumnor hill but one of the schools I do know a little about is copethorpe, was just talking to a friend about it last week, she used the nursery and loved it (nursery and prep at aston location) and really liked it, when she had problems getting her youngest in our very higly regarded state village primary she looked at the pre prep department, they offered a year of no fees, they are desperate to get really bright children to come to the school as it used to be a great school for children with sen and statements but they are now trying to break away from that going as far as offering free places to the children considered brightest in each local state primary. my friend and I were debating how sucsessful this is likely to be, there are so many good acidemic indi schools in the area they are going to have to work really hard and personaly I think they would do better sticking to sen specialist as there are not enough schools doing that. it is early days for copethorpe with the new asperations, it hasn't been long enough to see results yet.

freshmint Mon 14-Feb-11 18:11:51

If I were you I would move closer to Oxford and you'd get a better choice of schools
all the schools around burford are a bit odd and second rate

St Hughs is OK, perfectly OK but not brilliant and you'd be driving bloody miles from burford to get there. The rest aren't very good. Cokethorpe is still good for the dyslexic/SEN child and I wish they would play to their strengths instead of trying to compete with the other more academic schools around here. I have a daughter at headington and am more than happy with it

<<waves at roadkill who must live within 3 miles of me>>

roadkillbunny Mon 14-Feb-11 18:20:03

sorry, on my phone and posted to early, ment to say it is a lovely area and there are so many good schools both independent and state. as someone said it sounds like headington could be good for your oldest and I am almost sure they run a bus from burford. for your other dd at secondery level, or even your eldest now is wychwood school, they are great for bright girls why may need a little extra support, a friends dd started there last year, very bright girl with dyslexia, she is very happy and doing well there, they also do weekly and flexi boarding. good luck with it all!

diabolo Mon 14-Feb-11 19:09:10

Good luck with your hunt for a school - but why call where you are the "grim North"?

Some Northern people do know how to use computers and post on here. You may indeed be a "Northerner" yourself.

I don't understand why you would want to potentially alienate people with your OP. I'm from the North and live in the South-East but still find that type of description quite offensive to my home counties.

roadkillbunny Mon 14-Feb-11 21:58:22

waves back to freshmint howdy neighbour!

diabolo I am from Liverpool and take no offence from the 'grim north' comment, it was after all in quotation marks, this to me suggests an element is tongue in check and light hearted acknowledgement of the stereo types of the 'grim north' and 'posh south' I don't see the need for people to take offence or be rude about it.

mummummummy Tue 15-Feb-11 00:37:28

Hello all, thank you so much for the lovely replies, we are very much set on the location even though it seems a bit closer to Oxford might be slighty easier schoolwise, I think with buses etc it will be do-able. eldest now quite keen to board (flexi or weekly) so will be looking at south-east ish schools such as Dean Close you mentioned, also quite like the look of

Hatherop, Ferndale, Kingham, Cokethorpe and Windrush we've decided against, just not quite right for us we don't think. We've also figured that dd2 will only be at the same school as little brother for 2 years so keeping them together is not really that important - they aren't going to end up at the same school anyway, unless I find a 3-18 and i'm not sure if I'm keen on all-through schooling.

Does anyone have any experience with Rendcomb College or Kitebrook Prep?

Wychwood does look fab for dd2, she needs one on one support and the oppurtunity to play to her strengths - which arent necessarily brawn on the sports field/mind blowing Maths skills
Just think it's a bit far out...

And diabolo, oh yes I am a Lancashire girl born and bred, and I absolutely am proud of my homeland - it's lovely where I live and my kids are all proud to be Northern! I'm sorry you take offence at "grim north", it is in quotation marks because it's just a joke, it's not grim at all up here and we are quite sad to leave It's just playing to the stereotype as lots of friends/family members have when we told them we are moving "down south"

StaceyShipman Tue 15-Feb-11 08:41:30

If you are considering Cirencester direction (Rendcomb - not much personal knowledge - have never heard anything negative mind) you may wish to consider Ingleside as an indy junior.

We considerd Kitebrook, but it was a bit in the wrong direction for us. All I can recall is that it was a very small countryside girls school. Lovely family atmosphere. No idea of the academics.

FloreatEtonia Tue 15-Feb-11 09:49:15

I don't know anyone who is unhappy with Dean Close. Because of the grammar school competition it has to work hard to provide an outstanding education and exceptional pastoral care. The parents are also very friendly and down to earth which is not the case at its competitor school. wink

I have no vested interest in the school.

freshmint Tue 15-Feb-11 10:05:07

dean close an excellent school.
rendcomb very third rate. one for local farmers children although they are not bad with dyslexics (will I get flamed for this comment?)
kitebrook a good prep, part of a good group of schools all v well run and nice atmosphere.

freshmint Tue 15-Feb-11 10:06:24

I must say you really would be better off further south. how about woodstock? lovely town, similar feeling to burford but 15 mins into oxford and thus makes headington, st edwards, chandlings, dragon accessible

propatria Tue 15-Feb-11 12:48:59

Freshmint-I certainly got flamed for similar remarks about another school,just to be on the safe side you should add shopkeepers children to the list,light blue touch papersmile
You are of course spot on about Rendcomb,one of my godsons a rather Fotherington Thomas type-certainly liked the look of Dean Close and Ive heard good things about its pastoral care.

freshmint Tue 15-Feb-11 13:08:53

grin

youngjoly Tue 15-Feb-11 20:32:33

Don't know much about the private schools, but I am near Burford, although over the border in Glos.

For state schools, Burford is very good, although most parents round here seem to prefer Farmors (Fairford), It has a slightly better reputation from what I have heard. However, this would depend on where your village is in relation to Burford, if it were somewhere like Filkins say, then Farmor would be possible as several parents do that, but obviously not if you were the other side of Burford.

The grammar school that I have heard other parents mention round here is Pate's in Cheltenham.

I too have heard mixed reviews about Cokethorpe.

Sherperkie Fri 21-Mar-14 20:29:17

Kitebrook is seemly getting restarted with great new staff and prep schools are very good news as they feed into the 8-13 mind set. they have a lot of out door life and the really do climb the trees on their land.
Have you thought of going to Dormer House School on Moreton in Marsh, our son went there from a state primary half way through and they turned him round completely. Attentive teachers who have time to see to how the children learn. The classes are small and the children are so friendly, he was concerned about making new friends but he was instantly drawn in by the others in his class,. There is space to be your self and they really do search out the particular interests of the child, and make lots of it. There is not much space round the school but this is wholly compensated by the grounds of the fire colllege nearby where they do sport

JeanneL Mon 19-Jun-17 13:43:07

I realise this is an old thread but I sent my three children to Dormer House school thanks in part to this post and if anyone else is in the position I was in last year I wanted to add that I couldn't be happier with the school. It is very cosy and has been wonderful for all of my children even though they have very different personalities. Dormer has a great reputation locally which doesn't seem to extend much further which is a shame because it is a lovely school and incredibly cheap for what it offers!

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