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Buckinghamshire Schools - any recommendations? Really confused

(31 Posts)
mb008 Thu 08-Nov-12 14:49:28

Hopefully someone living in Bucks can throw some light on this problem for us.

We are going to move into Bucks next year from Beckenham, South London. The reason being there aren't any decent secondary schools around here and DS1 is going to be starting YR6 in September 2013. We're moving to Bucks to try for the 11+. He is currently at an independent and is doing well.

We also have a 4 year old (DS2), who has just started Reception in the same school. He will be moving into Year 1 in a new school in Bucks.

We went to William Borlase's Open Day in September and really liked it. We also hear good things about John Hampden, but haven't been to see it. It is likely that we will buy/rent in Marlow with an aim to getting into one of these schools.

Now the problem is finding an independent school for DS1 for Year 6 and for DS1, for year 1 onwards.

The only school I have visited is St Piran's, and I was amazed at their facilities (much more than they have here in London), but it was perhaps too big - maybe? Also, I know it's a Christian school, but could someone let me know how religious it really is.

Their current school has 126 pupils in total and all the children know each other in all years. I've looked at Herries, but not visited yet. I've read reviews and on paper it doesn't look great - but there seems to be some good parental feedback.

So - where else can they go that is commutable from Marlow?

I'm really sorry it's so long winded but hope you can advise if you know the area well.

difficultpickle Thu 08-Nov-12 15:17:05

Ridgeway which is in Maidenhead and part of Claires Court.

difficultpickle Thu 08-Nov-12 15:18:55

Ridgeway has 200 pupils and they all seem to know each other. Has similar facilities to St Pirans but bigger grounds and is boys only.

LAlady Thu 08-Nov-12 16:14:40

Visit Herries. It's now getting to the point of being oversubscribed. Both my children went there (we chose it it over the other independents in the area). One of my children is still there. The other passed his 11 + a year early and is at a grammar school.

Please message me directly but we are so pleased with Herries. The head has been there for over a year now (she came from St George's in Windsor).

difficultpickle Thu 08-Nov-12 19:17:40

How can Herries be 'oversubscribed'? I find that's really surprising if true. How can a school survive when you have some classes that have a total 8 pupils(it may actually be the year group). I know there are a lot more girls than boys though. Not sure what the ratio is this academic year as I know the head was trying to get more boys to join but last year it was 6.1 in one year group. Has a reputation as a nurturing school so would work well with a very sensitive boy. It can't offer much in the way of boys team sports though like rugby and football etc.

The head who came from St George's was director of studies there, not head.

LAlady Thu 08-Nov-12 21:43:07

A number of new starters and a very successful marketing drive in the last year.

Totally disagree with your "sensitive boy" comment! Couldn't be further from the truth (speaking from experience).

LAlady Thu 08-Nov-12 21:44:48

Sorry, should clarify. It deals with all types of boys (as my son, very successful member of his rugby team at his new school demonstrates!).

difficultpickle Thu 08-Nov-12 21:57:46

How do they manage to do team sports for boys?

difficultpickle Thu 08-Nov-12 21:59:20

What are the class/year sizes like now and the boy/girl ratio? I know someone who placed their ds there last year and he was the only boy in his class (maybe year, I'm not sure which).

LAlady Thu 08-Nov-12 22:09:57

Tomorrow they spend the afternoon at Bisham Abbey Sports Centre where it's hockey or football with Wycombe Wanderers. Tennis at Marlow Tennis Academy in the summer. Swimming at Court Garden. Cross country in Quarry Wood and around Cookham Dean. Weekly netball matches with other schools. Hockey matches start soon. Tag rugby.

I'm not sure on the exact figures - as I say a lot of new starters. One year (6) has more boys than girls. I'm struggling to keep up with the new faces !!

difficultpickle Thu 08-Nov-12 22:14:10

Do they now have enough boys in the year for team sports. I assume hockey and netball are for the girls. They sound as if they spend a lot of time on the school bus going to their activities. Do they play other local schools? I never come across them at all whereas most of the others schools all play each other.

weblette Thu 08-Nov-12 22:14:50

I live in another part of Bucks - not too far away though! I have boys at a very traditional prep so have some idea of that 'circuit'.
Of the schools nearest you St Piran's is probably the one I have most contact with. Boys confident, happy. Haven't heard anything negative about too much 'God stuff'. Ridgeway fine, results good.
Afraid I've never heard of Herries and anywhere that mentioned a 'very successful marketing drive' as a positive would have me running for the hills.
Marlow's a slightly tricky position, right on the Bucks boundary. The better known preps are more towards South Bucks - Beaconsfield/Gerrards Cross way.
Tbh it really depends what you want. If your ultimate aim is a grammar school education for your boys the state primaries can be really good too.

difficultpickle Thu 08-Nov-12 22:21:33

I live a short walk from Herries so I'm curious to know how they are doing. I know of one other boy who started there this term but other than that it seems to have a lot more girls than boys, hence no competitive boys matches only netball.

LAlady Thu 08-Nov-12 22:23:31

Well it's only 2 miles to Marlow. I often walk it. Takes about 10 mins on the coach and we collect from the venue at the end of the day.

Hockey is boys too (but it is at my daughter's U10 hockey team at her Hockey Club).

Yes, we play other teams. St George's wink, Maltman's Green, Pipers Corner, The Marist in netball recently. Hockey starts soon.

Football - other local teams including Ridgeway, Holy Trinity.

To be fair, they are lucky to use world class facilities at the National Sport Centre. They saw and met the England Hockey team prior to the Olympics and saw the Olympic torch event at Bisham.

difficultpickle Thu 08-Nov-12 22:30:12

I have never seen Herries on the list for football at Ridgeway. Is that a new thing? Ridgeway play rugby this term not football.

Maltman's Green and Piper Corner are girls schools. St George's is co-ed but there is no football fixture with Herries this term. The OP has boys so they won't be playing in the girls netball team!

Every school in the area saw the Olympic torch. The best thing about it, according to ds, was the free Coke they were handing out grin.

LAlady Thu 08-Nov-12 22:31:34

Perhaps I should clarify "marketing". I only found Herries via Internet searches. I hadn't heard of it before. I had heard of St Piran's and Ridgeway and visited them prior to choosing Herries. Now it is "known" more in the area and to a wider audience.

LAlady Thu 08-Nov-12 22:32:35

Bisjo, you seem determined to "knock" the school, which is a real shame as you apparently speak from hearsay.

difficultpickle Thu 08-Nov-12 22:38:34

I'm not knocking through 'hearsay', I'm just asking for info on the number of boys and the ability the school has to play team sports against other schools.

You have posted that they play team sports against Ridgeway and St George's. They don't, at least not for boys. It is misleading and incorrect to say that they do. That's all. The OP has boys and is interested in suitable schools for boys. If the OP's boys want to do what most boys do and play team sports they will be very disappointed if they went there. I can only go on the fixtures for Ridgeway and St George's as I have current first hand knowledge of those schools (for boys sports, I don't pay attention to the girls' fixtures at St G).

LAlady Thu 08-Nov-12 22:45:56

If you re-read my message I said those teams relate to netball.

I have watched football at Ridgeway. Clearly it's not on your fixture list now.

I can only re-iterate OP please message me direct.

difficultpickle Thu 08-Nov-12 23:00:46

Ok, just never seen Herries on the football fixture list ever (well not in the last 4 years anyway). It wouldn't be on the fixture list now as they don't play football this term.

LAlady Thu 08-Nov-12 23:07:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

alcofrolic Fri 09-Nov-12 21:11:49

Our Bucks state school plays rugby, netball and football in leagues and has enough boys and girls on the teams (and has more to choose from).


mb008 Thu 22-Nov-12 13:43:10

Thanks for the responses, didn't realise it would get so heated! Guess it's over before it started. I was lined up to go to the Open Day next week, but have just been told that Year 5 is made up of 15 girls only! Don't think that's going to work - funny, I hadn't even thought to ask what the girl/boy ratio was. Know for next time now.

Dreamingspires Thu 22-Nov-12 14:06:58

Hi OP. My DS currently goes to Ridgeway and is really happy there. It's a lovely school, with a really friendly vibe (not at all pretentious) and has great opportunities for sport, music etc. I really recommend a visit.

The current Reception boys (who your DS will be with next year) also seem like a really lovely bunch. There are currently two classes of c.15 boys so lots of friendship opportunities!

Inclusioneer Thu 22-Nov-12 20:06:47

Marlow is in a really tricky spot for independent schools. I have done quite a bit of local research as I live in Burnham and used to work in Bourne End (so had to factor in my work run). Bare in mind that because there are so few independents in striking distance it means the state schools are full of people who want grammar entry (and as such they are good at it).

I went to visit Ridgeway and was very taken with KS1. However, I think Bisjo will agree with me (hi bisjo, EBD here!) that KS2 is not quite the same beast and they will not be overly keen on 11+ prep because they need to encourage boys to stay in the Claire's Court family of schools.

How far are you prepared to drive for a school? Moulsford in Wallingford is lovely and the traffic wouldn't be too bad. The Dolphin in Twyford is worth a look (it's quite alternative though). The Beacon in Chesham Bois is fantastic- if I was in your position I think I'd live near there and go for Challoner's. Not as nice an area as Marlow though.

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