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Secondary Schools

(12 Posts)
Bobbins43 Sat 23-Sep-17 11:57:01

Can anyone recommend any local secondary schools? We live in Watford. My daughter is keen on the Reach Free but I hear conflicting reports...

intimeandspace Sun 24-Sep-17 05:19:43

We're in Rickmansworth and I would recommend Rickmansworth school

Wigeon Sun 24-Sep-17 21:05:10

What year is your child in? How much do you know about admissions to schools in the area? All the good (state) schools are massively over subscribed, and some of them are semi-selective, on academic ability, sport and/ or music. More info here. Unless you live on the doorstep of most of the semi-selective schools you are unlikely to get a place.

It's also a very wide question to ask which schools people would recommend as you don't have an open choice at all - it really depends on exactly where you live and whether you think your DC will take the selective academic test, and whether he/ she is very sporty or very musical and might do well in that test. Or what matters to you in a school - eg large playing fields, single sex, strong academic results, larger size, smaller size, strong on pastoral support or SEN, decent travelling distance (eg if you are the Rickmansworth end of Watford then Parmiters is going to be a big of a schlep).

Academically, the best state schools are: Watford Boys, Watford Girls, Parmiter's and Clement Danes. Then Queens.

Can you give a bit more info on what your thoughts are?

Wigeon Sun 24-Sep-17 21:06:16

Should have said "unless you are on the doorstep of the semi-selective schools then you are unlikely to get a place unless your DC gets a place through the academic/sports/music tests, all of which are extremely competitive".

Bobbins43 Mon 25-Sep-17 08:50:22

Sorry, my daughter is in Year 6. We live in Watford. She’s in the top 5 or so of her class academically but is very into drama, music, art. She likes being creative. She’s very enthusiastic about most things though, willing to give things a go.

Priorities wise, I want her to be happy at school, to get an education but not have tons of academic pressure, if I am honest. I want her to do well. But not in a very competitive hot house environment. It wouldn’t be right for her.

Wigeon Mon 25-Sep-17 20:00:36

Ok, so she didn't sit the academic /music/sport test recently then? That rules out several Watford schools (assuming you don't live v close to one of the most popular schools, and she doesn't qualify for a place as a sibling, or because of being looked after or having SEN).

So you are left with schools where you will be looking for a place based on how far you live. You need to look here to see the maximum distance children lived from each individual school, and then work out how far you are from the schools using this, to see which schools you would have a realistic chance of getting a place at.

Given it sounds like your daughter didn't sit the tests, you probably won't be able to consider Queens, Parmiters, Watford Girls Grammar and Clement Danes (assuming you don't live near enough to get in on distance). So that leaves Bushey Meads, Bushey Academy, Croxley Danes, Westfield Academy and Francis Combe. I don't know about Reach Free.

You really need to be going on the open days for these schools, which seen happening right now. Bushey Meads was last week, Croxley Danes is tomorrow, the others are all imminent too.

I also assume you aren't looking at faith schools?

Bobbins43 Mon 25-Sep-17 20:21:27

She did the academic test and the technology test for Bushey Meads. No faith schools. I can’t make all the open evenings sadly. Have seen Westfield and did the Reach last year. I’ll check out the link, thanks. I suspect we’ll end up with Westfield or Francis Coombe but just wondered what everyone else thought. Most schools look good when you visit them.

Bobbins43 Mon 25-Sep-17 20:25:30

Looks like Westfield is our nearest school

Wigeon Wed 27-Sep-17 21:12:45

Westfield and Francis Combe don't have the best reputations...Bushey Meads seemed nice, Bushey Academy has very impressive new buildings. Just went to Croxley Danes' open evening and that was really impressive, although it's a brand new school (moving into new location next year). Is there any way you could visit during the day? Most of them let you visit during the school day as well as for the open evenings.

intimeandspace Fri 29-Sep-17 13:52:08

Agree with wigeon. Westfield has a really bad rep- I'd look at new Croxley Danes as it's an offshoot of the outstanding Clement Danes with their overall governance and their deputy head taking the headship. But new and untried, as you say.

Bobbins43 Fri 29-Sep-17 15:15:39

I was fairly impressed when I looked around Westfield. They seem to put a lot of effort into Y7 transition

Slightly put off by how much the head went on about how safe they were though...

ujerneyson Tue 10-Oct-17 08:39:36

I'd be incredibly reluctant to go for Westfield. They do have a lovely new building but it does suffer from not being the school of choice and there are some real issues with behaviour and expectations amongst the students. If she only did the test for bushey Meads I'd be putting every effort into trying to get her into there.

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