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Barton Peveril or Peter Symonds

(27 Posts)
ArchibaldsDaddy Tue 24-Jan-17 16:22:28

Just after a spot of advice...re: sixth form choices in the Southampton/Winchester area.

My not so little one is soon to make choices about sixth form and is torn between Barton Peveril and Peter Symonds. I've heard good about both...and have got to a point of paralysis through analysis. Can anyone help?

Lemonsole Tue 24-Jan-17 18:29:18

Go to both taster days and decide then.

Top sports man/woman - PSC all the way.
Prefers smaller environment? BP.

RhodaBull Tue 24-Jan-17 18:32:05

Ds has just left PS. Liked it very much. And he is the least sporty boy ever!

TeenAndTween Tue 24-Jan-17 20:08:49

Friend's DC has been heard to complain that if you aren't in first thing to PS there is nowhere to work. Also hard to find places to sit at lunchtime as it is so crowded.

We thought BP seemed less of a step up from school. DD would have gone there if she had done A levels.

I agree with Lemon go to the taster days in July and decide then. Unless still in y10 in which case apply to both and go to the taster days in 2018.

Obviously, if doing something like History check the syllabus being offered at each place.

corythatwas Tue 24-Jan-17 22:06:26

Depends on the subject and the kind of person they are.

Peter Symonds have a reputation for being very academic and clearly want to live up to it. A couple of friends of dd who went there were managed out in the first semester if they couldn't keep up. But friends who were able to keep up enjoyed it very much.

Barton has an equally good academic track record, but is more arty, and from dc's experience more willing to retain and support pupils who find themselves struggling for one reason or another. It was the right fit for both mine. It is the college for drama and performance studies, which was relevant for us.

RhodaBull Wed 25-Jan-17 08:38:27

BP tour the schools and put on a much better show than PS. They sell themselves on the pastoral thing, but I know a boy who went there, was flunking a bit and wanted to leave. His dm told me she thought they'd speak to them, have a bit of an encouraging discussion etc etc, but they just called to ask her to come in and sign some release papers. No pastoral effort at all.

BP does seem a bit more like school, though. Because you can't really go anywhere at lunchtime, things are more inwardly focused. PS is more of a halfway house between school and university.

TalkinPeace Wed 25-Jan-17 09:21:31

Arts or Sciences ?

Its not quite that simple but not far off .

PSC is incredibly strong on sciences and maths (around 800 kids take Maths A level there each year)
BP has much better art, drama and creative facilities.
PSC has better rugby if you get on with the coach
BP is really strong on English and MFL
PSC has the specialist music course

BP is more modern in its feel
PSC is more traditional

both mine went the PSC route
DD did not even apply to anywhere else
DS looked at BP for about 20 minutes and then chose PSC

Also, do not rule out the other colleges
Brock used to do the IB and still has some really good courses
Itchen is the place for ultra competitive sports
Tauntons has a really good modern music course

RhodaBull Wed 25-Jan-17 09:53:42

Ds found all the Maths teaching excellent at PS. Much better than school. They were constantly checking that each student had "got it" and there was lots of pre-exam support. The college does very well at Maths - but, of course, you always have to think that results are somewhat a reflection of the type of students.

phantasmania Wed 25-Jan-17 10:01:03

I went to psc. It's great if very academically minded. I did maths and sciences and struggled. Also think about feeder schools and distance. It's hard to break into established friendship groups quickly if you're from further afield. They're very tough on absence and lateness- even if you're reliant on trains which are on strike. If you have friends going up with you and choose the right subjects it could be great. It is crowded! Good social life once you make friends, I got to know Winchesters 50odd pubs far too well! I moved in with bf parents in second year which made life Much better as the commuting was too much even in my own car at 17. It does have a good reputation which helps on the cv.

AtleastitsnotMonday Wed 25-Jan-17 10:37:23

How academic is your dd? I went to psc, did well, enjoyed it but can't say that the pastoral care was great.
My brother went there some years after me having done v well at gcse, took sciences and maths. He found the jump between gcse and a level huge and really struggled. He got very little support and left at the end of as because the help just wasn't there. He wasn't the only one. Psc has a bit of a reputation for managing out those who are likely to drag down their results.
I worry that psc is now too big.
Also look at the commute, the days are long and tiring add on a lot of traveling and it takes its toll.
But it's down to personal preference at the end of the day

TalkinPeace Wed 25-Jan-17 11:33:31

Its a big misunderstanding that everybody at PSC is academic.
They are not.
The kids doing hair and beauty and Btec sports and other vocational streams are part of the mix as well

The place has a LOT of very bright maths and science folks
but there are also hundreds of kids doing the usual random stuff - as kids from Winchester all go there regardless of academics

corythatwas Wed 25-Jan-17 13:59:54

Talkin, it is the case though that students who struggle to keep up are more likely to be encouraged to leave PC; has happened to several of dd's friend, not to a single one from BP.

RhodaBull Wed 25-Jan-17 14:32:11

We don't know whether ArchibaldsDaddy's dc - is it young Archibald?! - is clever or likely to struggle.

Fwiw ds said that most of the more academic dcs at his school chose to go to PS, but by no means all of them.

None of ds's friends dropped out of PS. They all did very well. I know one girl who left PS, but her brother dropped out of BP!

corythatwas Thu 26-Jan-17 10:04:38

Absolutely, Rhoda, and I should have added that most of dd's friends who did go to PC have been very happy there and have done well. From what I can see, it is a place where the majority of students thrive and are well prepared for adult life. If mine had been of a different type- more academic, less vulnerable, less arty- it would probably have been our first choice.

Draylon Fri 27-Jan-17 09:54:20

We had that choice as well. I know a lot of people with DC at PS and have heard all sorts about it. The A* brigade have loved it; others have DC who have been 'managed out'. BP gets quite an influx at the end of Y12!

Again, I think it depends what your DC wants to do, and how academic they are.

If my DC was clever, self-motivated, well-organised and was desperate to go to a RG uni, be highly likely to get the grades, and be prepared to stand in the rain for the next bus as the first was full all winter, and get home after 5 every day (which would be the reality for us, 8 miles away), I'd say PS.

If I lived in Winch and PS offered a hair-dressing course my DC wanted to do, I wouldn't necessarily bother sending them further afield, they'd go to PS.

If, however, your DC is 'middle of the road' academically but is capable of 3 solid, sensible A levels, thence onto a well regarded ex-Poly, and BP was 'as easy' to get to as PS, I'd choose BP as there'd be no advantage in going to PS. BP has a good record of getting DC into RG unis as well, and maybe has more to gain than PS in doing so.

I must say that on open days, BP has always impressed us more in that they have to work harder to attract the more academic DC; PS can rest on its laurels. The buildings at PS seem rather cramped and tired, and the place is always heaving! I, too, have heard concerns that it has become too big. Friends DC say finding a study space can be a hassle. And yes, it is dominated by large numbers of DC from a small handful of schools.

But it's horses for courses, really. Both are good schools, but one has 'a reputation'.

The one statement I'd disagree with is that PS is more of a half-way house to uni. They sit the same A levels as BP.

RhodaBull Fri 27-Jan-17 10:14:01

I meant the half-way house comment as more about freedom of movement. As BP is more isolated the students are trapped in there all day as opposed to wandering around Winchester/going home etc etc.

TeenAndTween Fri 27-Jan-17 10:17:58

Draylon re half way house to uni comment.

Obviously my DD ended up going to neither PS nor BP, but the impression I had was that PS was more of a sink or swim place whereas BP seemed to have more backups in place to support students struggling academically or pastorally. So the A levels would be the same but the support networks different.

But as I have learned to my cost, what a college says they do and what they actually do can be two different things. So maybe support at PS and BP are the same. (Need twins and send one to each place to do a controlled trial smile).

Draylon Fri 27-Jan-17 10:51:22

Yes, that's thing about these comparisons, isn't it? Without twins doing the same courses, and even then, needing to have essentially the same personalities, we'll never really know!

DS1 spent a year at BP, but A levels didn't work for him (and he didn't work for them! grin). But I have no gripe with BP, myself. Tho I would note that the students walk into Eastleigh all the time during frees (10 mins walk) and DS frequently cycled home during the day!

DS2 is heading there in Sept and hasn't looked at anywhere else tho of course he went to all the open days with us and DS1. He has, tho, dissuaded a school mate from going to PS, a boy who wasn't even going to consider BP, but his mum is a bit of a snob! grin

Interestingly, we get far less input/information/progress reporting from the Tech DS1 is now at! There are no parents evenings and the parent portal showing 'progress' and 'attitude' etc is still blank! However, I'm not concerned as there are only 8 people in his class there and we've been assured we'll be told if there are any issues, we have the lecturers emails; otherwise the students really do 'self-manage'. And crucially, DS1 is really liking his course there, and is even considering going on to uni!

TeenAndTween Fri 27-Jan-17 11:06:07

Glad to hear he is enjoying the course Draylon. We are counting down the weeks here ...

RhodaBull Fri 27-Jan-17 13:16:00

I think what we can draw from all the comments is that both places are good! No one has given any dire warnings about either of them. And it's true that unless exactly the same child has done exactly the same A Levels at both it's a bit difficult to compare. I know people who've had one child go to each (usually because child no. 2 is trying to be different) say there was no difference in outcome.

I don't think either one is friendlier: ds stuck with his same friends from school at PS and also remained friends with ones who went to BP. I have heard comments, however, that if you haven't arrived with a friendship group then it's quite difficult to break into one. I spoke to a woman out dog walking who said her dd was struggling to find friends at BP. Dh's dn didn't like PS because she was the only person who went there from her school. But, then again, that might have just been her.

TalkinPeace Fri 27-Jan-17 14:04:43

re the twins thing
I know of a set of twins where one went to BP and the other to PS
both thrived
both are at their choice uni
neither were scencey

DD went to PS with around 40 friends from her school
DS went with around 20
both made new friends

Draylon Fri 27-Jan-17 19:23:56

Which demonstrates that a clever, sociable DC will thrive at either.

TeenAndTween Fri 27-Jan-17 19:26:06

Brock has Ofsted next week. I wonder if it is like schools and they do a whole load in one area at a time?

Draylon Fri 27-Jan-17 19:49:21

I admit I completely ignore OFSTEDs for sixth form colleges!

DS1 was thinking about Brock as a) it did the actual BTEC he was interested in, and b) he might've finished an A level there; however, EC has changed to that self-same BTEC, and we now know Maths A grade A level is the only thing that would've 'furthered' DS's uni chances, and that isn't happening!

And Brock is 20 expensive miles away!

Wellitwouldbenice Fri 27-Jan-17 19:51:36

I taught at one and was offered a job at the other. Both are excellent. It really is just which you prefer.

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