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Guildford High School or The Abbey School Reading

(18 Posts)
kittyv Tue 28-Jan-14 21:57:04

Hi, my DD (4+) got accepted by both of these two schools. I love GHS but we live outskirt of Reading! It will take 50 mins drive each way. Is it too much to ask for a 5 year old to travel these kind of distance?

Do you think The Abbey School Reading is as good? I found the facility in GHS (like swimming pool) is much back than Abbey.

DD is a bit shy but love sports, where you think I should send her to? Your opinion is much appreciated !

ghsmum Tue 28-Jan-14 23:01:08

No experience of The Abbey School, only GHS. It's 35 mins minimum & 50 mins max for us & I can only say it's totally worth it thus far. We listen to music after chatting and DD loves this down time.

DD was very shy, but has come out of shell since joining.

Eventually we will probably look to move closer but whilst I was anxious about the journey time before she started my worries were entirely unfounded.

However I would be thinking about your own day - is that going to be nearly 3.5 hours travelling a day for you (there and back x2) or do you work in Guildford / nearby? Also are you prepared to travel for parties and play dates? Would moving be an option at some point even if not for a few years e.g Camberley is roughly half way between Guildford and Reading?

sixlive Wed 29-Jan-14 11:37:27

I don't think that there will be many people with knowledge of both schools given the distance between them. As the girls go through GHS there are more after school clubs and matches and there can be a lot of driving around. Most people end up moving closer to the school in the end.
GHS is a very sporty school as well as academic. Have you done the journey at school run time?

DalmationDots Wed 29-Jan-14 13:43:27

DD was at GHS from 4-18 and it was overall fantastic. DD was fairly shy but that was never an issue, all girls were accepted for who they are both by their peers and teachers. We found there was encouragement of confidence rather than extroversion which I liked. The pushy rumours, for us anyway, were found to be myths, if anything the school was laid back and relaxed. DD is now 21 and very confident, on set for a great career, works hard and plays hard and still is very close to her GHS friends. I think you know all the positives/negatives and so won't go on about them!
Is there any chance you will move eventually nearer Guildford?
When DD started in reception we did a 45 minute drive and it was fine, but we did end up moving nearer. By the time she was Sixth form we were living in Guildford itself. Lots come from fair distances but as far as I know not many from Reading direction. It is probably fine as long as you are prepared to reciprocate play dates by taking them to the spectrum leisure centre or driving the friends DC back to Guildford at the end. Big ask to get them to come out to Reading. As others say, once they are KS2 sports fixtures kick in which adds more complications. It is do-able. Lots come from Farnham/Haslemere/Camberley which all can be nearly 45 min journeys in rush hour.
No experience of Abbey, sorry.

Dontletthemgetyoudown Wed 29-Jan-14 18:56:56

Dd is yr3 at abbey she only moved there for yr3 was at a c of e school before then. She loves it. She's made lots of friends, has come on really well in her reading and maths and seems much more excited by school.

So far it's the best decision I've made. School is good at communication and I never feel that I'm being a pain if I've got questions.

mummytime Wed 29-Jan-14 19:50:34

They are very different schools!

But if you live near Reading I wouldn't even look at a school in Guildford. For secondary age there are plenty of excellent schools in Reading eg. Kendrick or Leighton Park. Why not look at other school which are much more convenient?

kittyv Thu 30-Jan-14 21:33:31

Ghsmum, thanks for letting me know there are others traveling to GHS quite a distance too! Well we don't see us will be moving towards Guildford as the house prices are very expensive. My husband works in Kingston and myself in Maidenhead. My DD's auntie is willing to drive her to GHS but she recommends my DD stays with her house for 2 to 3 nights (she lives in Ash) during the week to avoid the long travel. I am struggle with the idea would the 5 year old understand the reason why she is not sleeping at home for couple of nights?

I heard GHS teaches Spanish or Mandarine, do you know which year they will start? Re sports, do they start learning swimming in Y1 or Y2? Do they have lots of homework? I presume if her auntie picks her up from school and arriving home at Reading will be at least 5pm. Would she able to have time to do her homework etc and wakes up at 6 the next morning?

Sixlive, you are right, it is hard to find anyone would know both of these two schools because they are in total different area. Yes tried the morning drive and it takes 50 to 60 mins! it is a lot of driving and bad traffic!

DalmationDots, you are right, there will be activities and birthday parties that way but DH and I are prepared the long drive. Like you said, your DD grew so great at GHS!

Dontletthemgetyoudown, it would be great if you can give me more insight of Abbey? Do they start French classes very young? What are the choices of sports in their Junior school? Do they start swimming in Y1 or Y2? What other after school activities available? Do you think the teachers are good? Is the fee is all inclusive except for school trips? Also what is it like to drop off in the morning? Do the girls walk to school on their own from the drop off point? Sorry so many questions! One of the area I am concerned about Abbey is the space, the school seems very small and not a lot of green for the girls to run around? I heard they sold a big piece of field to the neighbours Reading Boys?

mummytime, yes I know it is mad to look at Guildford way from Reading but I really want my DD to start at a good school .... thanks.

ghsmum Thu 30-Jan-14 23:25:16

I don't know how the house prices compare however do check this carefully e.g. Basingstoke brings the journey time down to a more manageable 45 mins.

Personally I couldn't bear to be parted from DD and she would most definately not love the school if it meant being away from her immediate family so if it came to that sort of choice I'd go with the closer school.

My DD really needs her sleep so a 6am start for her would need a 7pm bedtime - but that's quite unusual I think (based on how little some friends DC seem to sleep). However the girl's days are very busy and it can show. Sleeping in the car for example would not help my DD get an early enough night at all!

The girls do both Spanish and Mandarin from year 1. Swimming is not until year 3 although is offered as extra curricular from reception or year 1 I think. Extras also include French club, tennis, drama etc.

Homework starts with a reading and writing focus and maths games, so fun, little and often best - 10 mins to 15 mins then gradually increases going up through juniors.

Do PM (private message) me if you'd like smile

mummytime Fri 31-Jan-14 17:45:57

My 17 year old does the reverse commute and to be honest the fact he only has to do it for two years is part of what makes it bearable.

GHS is a good school, but not that good a school. GHS recruits at 11 from a wide range of schools, including state ones.

I don't know many children of 5 who travel that far. Do remember that her friends will live much closer to Guildford, so she will have to commute for parties etc. also how will you cope when she is ill etc?

If you look at house prices in Ash or similar areas they are not that expensive. Alternatively have you considered schools in Maidenhead?

Also on a bad day it could take more than 50 minutes to travel from Reading to Guildford, I also wonder how you could combine it with your commutes to work.

DalmationDots Fri 31-Jan-14 18:06:59

Sorry, having been so positive earlier, I agree with mummytime, having heard your plans for your DD to stay away from home and the logistical nightmare of her aunt having to drive her, GHS is very very good but not worth that much hassle and disruption.

Your DD may find it very difficult to cope with that much change and actually do better at the Abbey where life just wouldn't be so chaotic and such a long day. Starting school is tough and the added hassle of travelling to Guildford with such complex sleeping arrangements will more than likely cancel out the advantages of going to GHS, she will just be so exhausted! You could even just waiting until she is older for GHS. Or you could you wait until she is 7 then send her to LEH if your DH is going Kingston direction.

It would be different if it was 45 mins in the car with mum, leaving at say 7:30 and returning home by 4:15. Especially with plans to later move nearer so it is just a short term plan. But from Reading will likely be more than an hour in rush hour and staying away from home is very disruptive.

sixlive Fri 31-Jan-14 18:36:54

Loads of the class move to go to GHS. It is a school worth moving too, cheaper areas Camberley, Ash, Send, Ripley, Woking, Farnham (that's a bit far me though). If you can't move don't even think at GHS that commute would be unsustainable and very hard on a 4 year old.

niku Fri 31-Jan-14 20:08:12

My 6 year old DD has offers from both GHS and LEH. Whilst LEH is much closer to us, we are seriously considering GHS. We think it is THAT good a school to consider moving there in the future.

However, I also believe it all depends on your 5 year old DD and whether an hours travel each way would be appropriate. I would however draw a line if she had a stay elsewhere for part of the week to go to that school.

hippo123 Fri 31-Jan-14 20:54:35

Sorry but I don't think any school is worth being away from your 5 year old for 2/3 nights a week.

Ericaequites Sat 01-Feb-14 02:38:36

I had a long commute (35 minutes by car) to school from5-8, then from 12-17. I would choose the closer school, as it's much less stressful. Also, your daughter will have local friends, which will make play dates easier and carpools possible.

Longsuffering2 Wed 05-Feb-14 12:16:22

We have be at GHS for 2 years - DD is in Year 8. The school is brilliant on so many levels, I'm really impressed with them. However, we live 20 mins away by train. IMO - that is far enough either end of a busy day. We are up in our house at 6.30am and getting in at 4.50pm. That day is a long enough. Her friends are thankfully local which is great for car sharing, sleepovers etc. inevitably though I end up a good few times a term having to do ad-hoc runs into school for forgotten kit, illness, dentist, late trips think about this KittyV, It could be very very stressful for you and her being just that far out of reach.

Longsuffering2 Wed 05-Feb-14 12:26:26

Just a thought KittyV - if hubby works in Kingston and you in Maidenhead, why not consider relocation to Woking, Ripley, Cobham, Thames Ditton, Esher - there are loads of GHS girls out that way. I used to work in Maidenhead too for Johnson & Johnson years back - that drive for me was abs fine back then. You could always stay in Reading for now and reapply to GHS in a later year if you feel so impressed by the school. In know a mum who's daughter just entered at 10+. I wouldn't feel too desperate to grab your place so early.
Also - read the conversation on languages - I wouldn't get too excited by the Mandarin et al. - it's really just an interest class run in Year 7, I think - don't know too many girls doing A Level Mandarin!! GHS is a good school for everything.

LadyFlumpalot Wed 05-Feb-14 12:45:40

I went to the Abbey from Prep to Annex (then ended up at Bulmershe of all places). A good school academically, when I started at Bulmershe I was a year, if not two, ahead of other pupils.

However, I disliked the school enormously. It wasn't for me at all. I found there was loads of snobbery amongst my class mates.

LadyFlumpalot Wed 05-Feb-14 12:51:37

The swimming pool is enormous and we had weekly lessons. Other sports were good and the gym is (was) fantastic. Got all my Kitty Kat badges whilst there.

I started French in L1 (not sure how that translates to normal years but I was about 7).

We had IT lessons as well and had fantastic resources (I remember these little computer programmable bugs you put a marker pen in and they drew patterns on a sheet of paper on the floor).

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