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Exeter school or Blundells / areas to live

(33 Posts)
gigglingsandunes2009 Tue 15-Oct-13 22:13:55

Hello, new to MN! We are relocating to / around Exeter next summer. We have two children (9 and 7) and looking at school options for them to start in September 2014. We have looked at both Blundells and Exeter School and really love both for different reasons ... Both children are good all rounders, love sport but also enjoy all aspects of learning.
Was hoping some mums on here or x/current students could give some inside info on the schools ... good or bad ..... would love a more rounded view than the wonderful but tailored sales patter!
If moving to Exeter for Exeter school we were looking at St Leonard's or Topsham, but would love to know of any other nice areas. Blundell's being much more rural seems to have a larger catchment but again, if anyone can recommend some areas to avoid or include on our list of villages to check that would be so helpful!
Thanks very much in advance for any help!

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 15-Oct-13 22:52:55

I know teachers and (lots of) kids at both schools. Good teachers (also nice), nice kids. Without exception, I think.... The facilities at Exeter are superb, especially the music block (that and the swimming pool are the bits I know best).

Where to live? Topsham and St Leonard's are both fine. Topsham is nicer but the traffic can be a bit of a bugger.

I'm assuming you've got boys though because if you've got girls and you want to pay for posh school then The Maynard is a much better school (academically) than Exeter (although interestingly the girls I know from there are not nearly as nice as the kids I know from Exeter school).

jillsgymkhana Thu 17-Oct-13 18:07:06

Hi gigglingsandunes (great name!). Blundell's is a lovely school. I have 2 children there now, one in the Prep and one in the Senior school. The older one got great GCSE results in the summer. Anything you'd particularly like to know?

somersethouse Sat 19-Oct-13 09:34:33

Both schools are great. Topsham is alLittle claustrophobic to live in after a while, everyone knows everyone elses business. It is beautiful though and has a fab butchers and surgery and ten pubs!. But if you want to go shopping for food your only have a tiny co-op.

If I had the choice I think I would go for Exeter school and live in St Leonards. But it is a lovely choice to have to be honest, you can't go far wrong!

Good luck, S Devon is fabulous.

gigglingsandunes2009 Sun 20-Oct-13 18:43:54

Hello everyone ... thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I wrote a lovely long response only for it not to load! Probably saved you all reading loads of waffle anyway!
Essentially though my main thoughts are not so much about the schools as both seem fabulous. Blundell's sold themselves better than Exeter school. Is the Exeter junior school head as good as I have read about her? Blundell's had more of a family feel - probably the cultivation of home from home in the boarding secondary side that has filtered down the school. Didn't feel that so much from Exeter and I was wondering if the general pastoral care is any good? I also wondered where people tend to live with children at Blundell's and how the after school children's relationships grow with such a huge catchment? One of our loves of Exeter school was the fact that hopefully friendships can be built on out of school especially once the children (boy who will be 9 and girl who will be 7 when they start in 2014) are in the senior school. What is very encouraging is we haven't heard a bad word about either school. Results are great and opportunities varied.
We loved Topsham being on the water ... (hmm and the pubs!) ... have a feeling if we do plump Exeter, we will rent in St Leonard's for a year till we are sure where we want to buy.

Xoanon Mon 21-Oct-13 14:06:16

Ultimately though with either Blundells or Exeter you have to accept that you aren't going to the best possible school in the area academically. If that's OK by you then both are probably much of a muchness.

MogwaiTheGremlin Mon 21-Oct-13 14:13:11

Russians I totally agree about The Maynard and I went there!!

MogwaiTheGremlin Mon 21-Oct-13 14:14:22

Oh and Exeter and Blundells are both fab. Am sure your dc will do well at either.

Xoanon Mon 21-Oct-13 14:26:58

Mogwai Obviously some of the girls who go there must be lovely. But still. I've witnessed some truly appalling behaviour from girls wearing Maynard uniform at multi-school events in the past. But I know people who teach there and I'm sure most of the kids are fine.

I think it is worth pointing out to the OP though that if her kids are academic she might also want to consider the grammar school which gets better results and is of course free (apart from the bus fare).

gigglingsandunes2009 Mon 21-Oct-13 14:32:31

Will take a look at Maynard too as silly to rule it out which I had done based purely on my children's great relationship with each other. I was also thinking logistics of being involved with the children's school lives / watching plays / games etc etc and that if they were both in the same school such things would be timetabled so I wouldn't miss anything! Worried that if they were at different schools I would have to make horrible choices of what I could see ;-(

MogwaiTheGremlin Mon 21-Oct-13 21:21:46

Xoanon I would have been one of those awful girls! Obviously can't blame the school entirely but I was hideously behaved right up until I was asked to leave changed school.
OP I wouldn't recommend The Maynard, even if your dd is very academic. But if you do visit, definitely don't mention my name (thank god it's an pseudonym!! grin)

legallyblond Sun 19-Jan-14 20:13:30

Hi there - I know this a few months old but your kids aren't starting until Sept 2014. I have experience of a few of these schools... (Also just moved to Exeter ourselves 18 months ago from London - I grew up here).

I went to Colyton Grammer then St Margaret's (less a ademic than Maynard, closed last year). At the time, Exeter was all boys apart from the 6th form and the St Margaret's / Exeter 6th forms were almost joint, with many subjects taught jointly (all my subjects were taught at Exeter in mixed groups). One of my brothers went to Exeter, the other to Blundells. I now have a school age daughter at Cathedral School. So....

Colyton Grammer - very "grammerish". I loathed it, as did my parents who took me out for year 10. I think at the time it was partly snobbery. They'd both been to v famous boarding schools and found Colyton basically too state! The education was, for me, not at all rounded and v pushy. I loved music and drama and wasn't really encouraged in that.

St Margaret's - irrelevant because its closed, but it was all girls (like Maynard) and I HATED that aspect.

Exeter School - I loved the subjects I did there and my brother also loved it. It is good pastorally (my bro was there relatively recently, under the current head, and a family crisis was dealt with v well) but I would say you need to be relatively robust and academic to really thrive.

Blundells - loved by my brother but v long days (he was flexi boarding, school bus from Exeter). I know he got v exhausted to begin with. But.... It's the school I plan for our kids once older. You need to be aware that it certainly was (my brother left 7 years ago) a boarding school and day pupils really don't get as much out as boarders. I would say you need to plan for at least flexi boarding from 11, or 13.

Cathedral School (not on your list I know!) - we love this! DD is thriving there. The beauty of it (for us) is we can choose secondary school at 13, when we've actually figured out what would suit her best. In the meantime, she can enjoy a not too pushy, very family orientated school that we can walk to. We find it excellent!!

Re areas, Topsham is indeed lovely but rather "twee". I would choose Lympstone instead, and you then have the option of the fab St Peters prep school. St Leonard's is nice. As for villages.... I don't know many well, but all the villages in the valley road from Exeter to Tiverton are lovely and are popular (Thorverton, Silverton and Bickleigh in particular). Chudleigh is very popular but is on the other side of Exeter, so no good for Blundells.

venturabay Sun 19-Jan-14 22:18:03

Did you engage at the Grammar? Surprised you repeatedly refer to it as 'grammer' smile

Dromedary Sun 19-Jan-14 22:35:36

We had a terrible experience at the Cathedral School - there are some awful staff there - and know of several pupils who left there early as not happy. If you are keen on music I'd recommend the Maynard or Exeter School, and Blundells good too though puts more emphasis on sport.
Blundells and Exeter School both nice and with great facilities. I'd say that Blundells is far less academic though - they are essentially non-selective. They take sport extremely seriously, which may or may not suit you. Not cheap. I wouldn't worry too much about it being a boarding school, as most children don't board, or do a bit of flexi-boarding. You could live in Tiverton, which is quite nice, or in one of the lovely villages around Tiverton.

Dromedary Sun 19-Jan-14 22:38:31

NB there's probably not much point taking into account experiences that posters had when they were children many years ago. I've heard plenty of good things about Colyton, but it is very highly selective.

legallyblond Mon 20-Jan-14 11:48:59

Re Grammer / grammar - I do all mn'ing one handed while breast feeding, so that's nothing for spelling mistakes! I've typed far crazier! Also my iPhone has a mind of its own, so that it was vaguely understandable is a plus!! blush

Totally agree that adults' (ie mine) childhood experiences aren't v current. Although to a certain extent ethoses of schools do prevail over many years. Also agree with Cathedral school comments. Does seem to be like marmite - love or hate! Suits our family to a T but I can imagine it not suiting others, particularly if v academic. Not that I'm anti academic (I ended up being v academic!), its just that I personally don't think any pushiness is needed on that front until 6th firm. Schools really are horses for courses!

OP, also consider St Peters and possibly Mount House of you go the Cornwall side of Devon. Tbh, Mount House is def the best prep in the county...

venturabay Mon 20-Jan-14 18:26:19

Slightly unconvincing explanation of three successive identical misspellings, especially if you're a lawyer as your nickname suggests ! It's just quite funny that's all, given that you were doing the grammar school down smile

I think things at grammars generally may have moved on in the past few years anyhow, especially the top grammars of which I think Colyton is one. On a separate note, the OP may well be looking for an independent for reasons of her own, or it may be that the DC are not showing signs of being especially suited to a superselective. Exeter would be my choice fwiw.

legallyblond Mon 20-Jan-14 20:32:45

Er, ok!

Tbh, I didn't exactly mean to do Colyton down. Yes my parents were I think a bit snobby about it because it was so different ti what they knew of school. My problem was that it was too academic and pushy for me - I.e. I was a bit of a dunce then! I am sure it's not like that now, but then my music and other interests were ignored.

To return to OP's qu, I would say Exeter and Blundells are both fab, with Exeter more academic and Blundells more boarding-ish and sporty. Depends on the children and how they turn out, hence maybe worth considering a non-attached prep so OP can wait and see how her two develop.

gigglingsandunes2009 Fri 24-Jan-14 17:43:14

Thanks everyone for your messages .... what was such a fog of choices a few months ago is now turning into a very exciting adventure!
legallyblond - really helpful thanks ever so much! (ps - I have made far worse typo's .... just wish I had the breastfeeding excuse still! ;-) )St Peters prep is firmly on our list since I first wrote the post and now actually our first choice ...... looks such a lovely school and then we can re-look at where they go next - Blundells or Exeter at 11 or even 13 .... it is all starting to be so exciting. The next few months are going to fly by!
Thank you all very much again .... ;-)

therunnawaybride Fri 24-Jan-14 18:01:52

A friends daughter recently did her a levels at Exeter and got fantastic marks and was accepted into every uni she applied to including oxford.
I have no experience of Blundells so can't help there I'm afraid.
Area wise I agree with previous poster who suggested lympstone, also the poster who mentioned silverton, bickleigh etc.. I myself am in crediton which is lovely house prices are more reasonable and it's smack in the middle of Exeter and Tiverton.

watchdog4 Fri 20-Jun-14 19:55:41

Regarding cathedral school, my godson goes there.He said the top senior choristers, will be going to some of the top public schools in the county.But recently there has been rumors of boarding problems, hence some pupils have left.

IndridCold Fri 20-Jun-14 20:07:02

Have heard very good things about Blundells recently. New head (last year I think) has had a very positive impact.

cressetmama Fri 20-Jun-14 21:10:37

Exeter was our first choice post CE but sadly has proved too far away so we have left. It is a terrific school, really without reservations, and we were pleased BUT it's more academic than we need. Friends have been delighted with the academic side of Blundells, some less so with the pastoral aspects.

bluebump Fri 20-Jun-14 21:32:18

The new Blundells head featured in this Telegraph article as one of the good schools guide's 10 heads to watch.

My friend taught at Blundells and I live in the same town but I don't have any experience of the school apart from the toddler group my son used to go to there.

manorhope Sun 24-Aug-14 20:12:07

Interesting comments about Exeter Cathedral School. Our daughter went there several years ago and she learnt very little. Also she was unhappy, as it seemed were several other children at the time. Many of the staff in pre prep appeared disinterested and the food was terrible. I hope its improved, because it really needed to.

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