Secondary Schools in Cumbria Area(15 Posts)
I'm new to mumsnet and currently living in Italy.
We are looking at relocating back to the UK next year, somewhere in the Cumbria area. We have a 14 year old daughter who has spent nearly all her school years in Italian schools and we now need to think about how to get her into a good UK school. Can anyone in the Cumbria area give me advice on any secondary schools, the good and the bad so that we can make a decision on areas. Our plan is to rent until we sell our house here in Italy so I'm hoping to make a choice on schools first and then find a house.
I'm not living there anymore so info could be well out of date but I did grow up in the system. If it's like it used to be the schools aren't full.
Kirkbie Kendal School - smaller of the town's two comps. Decent school. Good sports facilities due to being next door to leisure centre. Average results.
Queen Katherine School - bigger than KK and, despite being the old secondary modern to KK's old grammar school status, now generally the better regarded and better performing of the two. Very strong in music I think.
The Lakes School - not good, I don't think. Was in special measures a while ago.
Dallam School - quite small I think. Reasonable results. Hot on MFL (eg used to offer Russian)
Queen Elizabeth - popular choice I believe. Has Performing Arts Status. My mum was blown away by a show there a while back.
John Ruskin - very small for a secondary. Not sure it has the best reputation.
Sedbergh - only goes up to 16 and small but a decent school I think.
Queen Elizabeth - not a clue about this one.
Keswick School - I don't know it personally but I heard lots of things about selection by the back door and how everyone wants to go there.
To be honest, I don't think you're going to get a really badly performing school in Cumbria until you get towards the far North West of the county (some of the Carlisle and Whitehaven area is pretty grim) and I don't have a clue about any of those, I grew up in South Lakes.
Cockermouth School has a good local reputation and was awarded Good across the board in its last OFSTED report. It's a very pleasant market town.
Thank you, this is really helpful. It's great getting personal reviews and I really appreciate that you both took time to respond. I'll spend some time looking into the areas a bit more before we make any decisions.
I live up here at the moment and can add a couple to your list:
Kirkby Stephen Grammar School, right over in the east of the county - small ish (although none of the schools in rural Cumbria are exactly big) and seems fair.
Queen Elizabeth's in Penrith is a selective Grammar and tops the tables in the county from what I remember. Ullswater Community College is the other school in Penrith.
The secondary in Sedbergh is Settlebeck and has a good reputation. Sedburgh School is an entirely different beast ;)
There is a very good secondary at Wigton (between Penrith and Carlisle) very small but seems to get good results.
Hope this helps too.
Oops and forgot Appleby Grammar too - again, a fairly typical cumbrian secondary school.
Whilst you're planning on looking at the school first, it may help to have some idea of the type of area you want to be in (do you want town, very rural etc etc) as there are so many small schools with large catchment areas, that your other requirements - ie access to town, shops, life, and particularly a social life for your daughter - may have more of an impact that you'd initially think.
Queen Elizabeth penrith is a very good grammar school and a number of my friends kids go there. UCC school also penrith would be my first choose in that area.
Keswick school is also very good. Just won top school in north and west Cumbria too. Also can board there too.
If going private there is StBees. Austin friars. And of course Sedburgh.
Thanks everyone. We're hoping to choose a couple of schools and then try and find a house nearby. This has really helped to narrow down the areas.
She's 14 now -- so will she be going straight into the GCSE year? That's something you would need to discuss carefully with any potential school.
Does anyone have a view on Keswick school?
How easy is it to get in at later stage, even when child is academically high achieving?
It would be great to hear any views.
Just wondering what school you chose in the end.
I am moving up to Kendal in July time so face similar situation.
Wondering if really much difference between the two secondaries in Kendal.
Also wondering if Kendal is a nice place to live??
I went Cockermouth school and it was and still is I hear an excellent school, also the town is lovely.
Keswick school was always seen as good but like others have said a lot of people apply.
Cockermouth is a good school, it has a new enthusiastic head. They have a truly comprehensive intake and an excellent special needs provision.I know they have let students who have studied abroad drop a year to help catch up with a different curriculum and the general challenge of moving. It is well know for getting plenty students to Russell group every year and a handful to Oxbridge, it has been commended nationally in the past for this. It also has excellent music and sports provision, with pupils performing at national level. Keswick gets similar results but their intake is not as comprehensive iyswim.
That sounds like an advert, I don't even work there
Keswick is excellent too, people send their kids from far away and it is one of the few state boarding schools.
Just wondering which school you decided upon and how it is working out. After being back in the UK a year I am feeling a little disillusioned in the choice I made for secondary school!
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