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Where do boys living in Oxford go who don't get in/ aren't suited to magdalen college school?

(34 Posts)
Portlypenguin Tue 15-Jul-14 14:02:28

Well, the title says it really. This is all highly speculative as my DS hasn't started reception yet!!!

From the people I know with kids privately educated around Oxford, most of their boys have gone from their prep to magdalen college at 11/13. There are four independent girls secondaries in oxford, but seems to be a lack for boys. I guess some go to St Edwards but it virtually costs the same as boarding to be a day pupil so for us would not be doable.

Just wondering really....any insights welcome.

irregularegular Tue 15-Jul-14 14:07:09

Serious, helpful answer: Abingdon has a very good reputation. I have some good friends who have sent their son there very happily and it is the most popular boys school where we live (outside Oxford)

Unhelpful answer: I couldn't help but laugh at your slightly ridiculous title - strangely enough, 99% of boys who live in Oxford don't actually go to Magdalen!!

Portlypenguin Tue 15-Jul-14 14:56:13

Thanks. Of course you are right about the fact most don't go to independent schools!! I could have been a bit clearer! Stuck in bubble of consideration of independent sector at the moment. Our local state options are a bit unfortunate and I don't think would suit DS well, at least at primary level. We could of course move to another part of the city, but basically it is cheaper to pay for school!!

I thought Abingdon might be a bit of a journey away but I know it has a great reputation.

summerends Tue 15-Jul-14 15:26:39

Cokethorpe is the other alternative and has traditionally been less academic than Abingdon but cheaper than St Edwards. Leckford Place has fairly recently also become a secondary school but I don't know much about it.

roguedad Tue 15-Jul-14 18:03:33

At Junior level Abingdon Prep, Chandlings, Dragon, Cokethorpe Junior are all worth a look, as is Phil and Jims in state sector. Where are you geographically?

Portlypenguin Tue 15-Jul-14 19:18:37

We are in headington, oxford. DS will either be going to new college school (easier journey, great results but v small) or abingdon prep (journey an issue but longer term we could move). I initially had some reservations about the size of new college but various current parents i have chatted to are v satisfied. We decided dragon too costly in the end. Phil and jims would be great but would involve moving across the city and prob downsizing (when we need to upsize) due to house prices so not a goer. Plus v v oversubscribed.
State options are our catchment windmill which is ok but massively overcrowded and oversubscribed. Kids on our streets are actually getting wood farm which is not an option.

I just can't see my toddler being magdalen material at the moment and despite it basically being irrelevant currently was unsure what other people did. Basically it sounds like going out into the countryside is the way forward!!

Bit odd how there seems to be so much more provision for girls within the city!

Thanks for your ideas.

Lizziewarmington Tue 15-Jul-14 20:07:05

Cherwell is brilliant and allegedly the most difficult school to get into (state or private) IN Oxon ; 780 applicants for 280 places this year. The head is inspirational and guess what? ex-MCS. If not MCS try Cherwell.

1805 Tue 15-Jul-14 20:34:17

Big fan of Ab prep here. It's been fab for us. Pm me if you like. We live not far from you.

chickpeastew Tue 15-Jul-14 20:47:29

What is Christ Church cathedral school like for prep?

roguedad Tue 15-Jul-14 21:37:29

I can see there is a geography and house price issue here now. Paying fees could easily be a lot less expensive than a move to get into a good state catchment, given Oxford variations in property costs. Good luck with it - this whole business (in my case the junior to senior transition) has nearly driven me potty this last year.

Minim77 Tue 15-Jul-14 21:40:10


Curious...but how can you possibly tell if your toddler is unlikely to be "Magdalen material" at such a young age?

What does it take to be Magdalen material anyway?...just curious what your interpretation of that is and how that's determined...?

Minim77 Tue 15-Jul-14 21:42:19

Also curious as to what sort of boys suit Abingdon vs Magdalen vs St Edward's?

AmberTheCat Tue 15-Jul-14 21:50:34

If you look at Ofsted reports for Phil & Jim and Wood Farm, there's not actually much difference between them in terms of outcomes. Both are classed as good, and both enable their pupils to make similar progress:

1805 Tue 15-Jul-14 21:57:50

Amber, so which one would you send your child to - Phil and Jim, or Wood Farm?

1805 Tue 15-Jul-14 22:16:24

New college? Summer fields? CCCS? Ab prep? Cothill?
Co ed is dragon, chandlings, cokethorpe, our lady's,
Abingdon is very do-able from headington, Ab prep is a bit further, but school mini bus good from headington, or a 20min drive in good traffic. If you can get on the ring road before 8am, you can be at Ab prep by 8.15/8.20.
Wolvercote properties have priority for Cherwell state comp by the way.

roguedad Wed 16-Jul-14 06:36:21

Amber, you really need to look at level 5 stats for achievement in reading, writing and maths. P&J is 70%, Wood Farm is 13%. The stuff on dashboard tells you only if they have made the level 4 standard that the govt uses - if you take a look at the underlying detail you get a very different story. I only ever look at the L5 data for junior schools. Online Telegraph league tables highlight that data - P&J is highest ranked school within 20 miles of my home and Wood Farm is way down. The indies tend not to report this of course.

TightyMcTight Wed 16-Jul-14 07:01:57

Surely you could try for a place at Windmill or St Andrews and then go from there.

Woodfarm has a difficult catchment, I'll give you that.

Also, I disagree that's it's cheaper to do the school that the house. House is an investment and won't loose money in Oxford. Money for school you won't ever see again!

AmberTheCat Wed 16-Jul-14 08:30:02

I think progress data tells you more about how good a school is than attainment data. Of course P&J does well on attainment - their intake is largely middle class, well supported children. The progress data suggests that Wood Farm is enabling its children to make similar amounts of progress to P&J, though, which to me says it's a similarly good school.

Anyway, I'm being slightly mischievous - I know OP won't consider Wood Farm. I just think it's important that schools aren't automatically classed as good or bad due largely to their intakes, rather than how well they actually do by their pupils.

roguedad Wed 16-Jul-14 18:44:28

I entirely agree with you about progress and the results reflecting intake, and in no way do I think the quality of a school's teaching and teachers are properly reflected by those numbers. But that data does, nevertheless inform parents about the typical pace and expectations in classes. So I think it matters!

Portlypenguin Wed 16-Jul-14 21:16:54

Thanks everyone. I just have a gut feeling re ds! It could be wrong! He doesn't seem the quickest bean ( but he is cute and lovely).

I have visited so many schools. Wood farm is a no. Plus lots of my patients live in wood farm and i would see at the gates. Chance of st andrews virtually zero , windmill we might be lucky.

I think we will try for new college and abingdon prep. If he isn't suited to them will go state. Was put off christchurch by non academic things (lack of space, religious, incredibly musical, general rumour). Currently both my husband and i work in headington hospitals so commute to and from abingdon prep would be sad - we will prob have to move. Will therefore take ncs if offered. We can always rethink for 7.

Cherwell would be great. I think we will see what we do for primary and then reconsider housing situation!!!a friend has just spent £950,000 on 3 bed house in phil and jims catchment. We have nothing like that much cash. Would defo prefer a 4 bed in headington for life balance. I agree re money in housing is investment, thing is you need the incredible capital/ earning power to begin with to live in north oxford!

Its my understanding that
Mcs - super bright
Abingdon - bright and sporty
St edwards - v expensive, v sporty, mix of kids
Its mostly chatting to other parents. I admit we move in medical circles full of parents who all tell me how advanced their offspring are and know about indie schools.

Anyway, thanks for all your comments, most appreciated.

joanofarchitrave Wed 16-Jul-14 21:31:22

To the original question: lie around in the gutter I guess grin

Couple of other options:

For primary: don't forget to have a look at the Europa primary school in Culham (slightly south of Abingdon so the commute issue is still there but I think they have buses). It's a free school. It used to be the bilingual European School and is still bilingual (in several pairs of languages) but I believe now accepts children for language immersion, i.e. not bilingual from birth (I believe this but can't quite work it out from the website).

For secondary, have a look at Leckford Place which is a newish coeducational private school, very central. There's a couple of threads on here about it I think. My impression is that it's not all that selective and not all that cheap, but someone I know is v happy with their child's experience there.

I'm not mentioning other state primaries but it really doesn't have to be Phil and Jim's and 950000 to get a perfectly reasonable state option. PM me if you would like more on a few other state primaries and secondaries in Oxford.

TightyMcTight Wed 16-Jul-14 23:12:57

Couldn't you move out to a village outside of Headington? Ickford/Oakley kind of place. Nice village schools and not a long commute.

TightyMcTight Wed 16-Jul-14 23:13:51

Although the perfect answer to your actual question is clearly ...prison.

TortoiseUpATreeAgain Wed 16-Jul-14 23:20:45

Friends in Headington in a similar position emigrated to Australia. You might, admittedly, find that a little extreme...

Ericaequites Thu 17-Jul-14 02:21:16

Choose a school you like with an easy commute. I lived about thirty minutes southwest of my private school, and my friends all seemed to live in opposite directions. It makes play dates complicated.

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