Parts of the country with both grammar schools and decent comprehensives?(76 Posts)
Could anyone list any parts of the UK which have both grammar schools and reasonably good comprehensives? We are aware that we're going to need to move house at some point before dc hit secondary school, and want to give them the best chances - i.e., a stab at a grammar school, but failing that, a reasonable non-selective secondary within catchment.
We're happy to consider any areas really although we are not rich, so sadly, areas close to London are going to be off limits for us.
I would personally choose an LEA that has no grammar schools as the Comprehensives and therefore has good comprehensives but close to an LEA that has grammar schools, but bear in mind they would only take the very top and would be predominated by private school primary children or need heavy tutoring. Somewhere on the ouskirts of a big city. Solihull or Grappenhall Hayes, Cheshire are too examples for me with good comps.
Parts of Gloucestershire would seem to fit that specification, if you pay very careful attention to where you live in terms of catchment areas.
Lincolnshire still has grammars.......so the counties boardering Lincs. Very rural so maybe not much choice/lots of travelling. We have friends who say Rutland schools are good. Lots of other parents will have similar ideas so you will be buying a house in an expensive area.
Good comps are very selective, in that the top stream will be highly stretched and challenged, lower streams will get the support and learning speed that enables them to do best etc etc. Some are 'banded' to ensure that they take an equal number of children across different ability bands.
Grammars arguably take the top streams out from the comps and therefore affect the comps.
Though doubtless there will be occasional specific locations that offer good comps and grammars.
Dorset? Decent grammars and comps - also look at Devon which is cheaper, that have a couple of good grammars there.
North Wiltshire - specifically Chippenham, Malmesbury & Bradford on Avon all have good comps and no Grammars
I was going to say Gloucestershire too! Particularly the Cheltenham area, and Gloucester itself.
Parts of Essex. No, honestly. I'm thinking Chelmsford and Colchester, maybe Brentwood, Southend.
Another recommendation for Lincolnshire & Rutland. Great if you enjoy countryside & quietness.
I am a strong believer in the 'fact' that if there's a grammar, the other local secondaries cannot, by definition, be comprehensive.
I don't know if you'd call the Salisbury grammars 'super-selective' (certainly weren't when I went a thousand years ago!- though the girls does very well in the League Tables)- but if you placed yourself between Salisbury and Romsey, you would have the grammar possibility in Wilts or the Hampshire comps such as Romsey's Mountbatten. Thsi has a ctachment but, right now, DC from a fair distance out are getting places. I know the girls GS has no catchment as such, it's 'reasonable travelling distance', I understand, which, for the 'more ambitious parent' apparently means a 40 mile drive each way twice every day, I've heard tell....
Or you could move to near Winchester and get at least 2 very good Winch comps, or into Chandlers Ford (check your catchment carefully!) and get into Thornden which, in academic terms, is the top performing comp in Hants. You can get a nice 3 bedroom house in this catchment for £230k.
Bournemouth and Poole and nearby parts of Dorset have great comps and grammars.
I would look at the league tables and see where the very top Comprehensives are, and move in close to them. A top comprehensive can get a reasonable number to Oxbridge each year, maybe some to Overseas Universities, a fair number to other Universities, and also get a fair number into apprenticeships and other college courses.
If there are grammar schools around then it is unlikely that the "comprehensives" will have enough to have a top cohort who can aim for Oxbridge etc., which is a real problem for "late developers" or those who aren't all-rounders.
Wokingham has very good comprehensives, and is close to Reading, which has two top-performing grammars - Reading School for boys and Kendrick for girls. DS went to Reading School and did well there, DD didn't get in to Kendrick, but went to The Holt in Wokingham and did just as well there, in fact better than some of her friends who did get to the grammar - and even better at Farnborough Sixth form College, so there's a lot of options. Houses are very pricey in Wokingham though.
South MCR (Trafford borough/Altrincham/Sale) have good grammer and comps.
I would also suggest looking at online league tables and then rightmove to see if you can afford to move to those areas. Also consider how far away you would be willing to live from that school.
Just another note to add, I understand our local grammer school does the following for entry - all the children take an entrance exam, but for some reason those that live in the next borough have to achieve higher results than those nearer the school, to get a place IYSWIM
Bromley has two super selectives, and is quite close to Bexley with traditional grammars and Kent which has a mixture of traditionals and super selectives. There are also some very good comprehensives.
Lincolnshire again. Large parts of the county are not in catchment for the grammars, and many people choose not to do the grammar thing for the transport (you have certain designated transport schools for your address), so most of the comps (not all though!) are excellent. So we're currently awaiting grammar results for a "best of the rest outside catchment", and if she doesn't get into that one, we're going for an Outstanding CE comp that's not our designated (but is closer, go figure), which we should be all right to get in even at this distance because we're church-goers. The designated comp is all right though, at least if you're g&t or have special needs.
there are a few grammars in gloucestershire, but not enough fo rit to be a grammar system, so there are good comps too. The grammars are all slective on results, best get in regardless of where you live, there is no catchment at all.
The grammars are in gloucester, cheltenham and stroud
We live in swindon (very cheap good housing ). very good primaries, some of the best in the country. We are looking at stroud grammar, as it is 30 minutes on the train from swindon. There is also a very good comprehensive about 20 minutes bus away (not in swindon itself) We were very surprised at how easy it is to get to stroud which is a long way away.
There are buses to all the grammars form miles away, so depends how far you want to travel
Cambridgeshire doesn't have grammar schools but South Cambridgeshire in particular has good comprehensives (Village Colleges) that feed into sixth form colleges. One of the sixth form colleges (Hills Road) is selective and compares with the better grammar schools.
I don't think grammars and 'good' comprehensives are compatible! A 'comprehensive', by definition takes a comprehensive mix of children, not available in a grammar school area.
Non-grammar schools face an uphill struggle, with 30% of the more able, being 'creamed' off. They also usually have a less affluent intake, as many of the grammar school children will have been tutored for the 11+ and will continue to receive private tutoring throughout their secondary school education, bumping up the grammar school results even more.
If I had my time again, I'd move to a totally comprehensive area.
Alcofrolic makes a good point although Sutton has good grammars and comps.
Gloucestershire, as referred to upthread, has a few, very good, grammars, and quite a lot of very decent comps - because the grammars are so few, the numbers creamed off are very small from each school, and therefore there is a possibility of good comprehensives (more, say, in Cheltenham with only 1 grammar than Gloucester with its 4, but in general across the county there is scope for good comprehensives to thrive - some of whose results exceed some of the grammars)
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