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Is RGS Springfield too small?

(34 Posts)
PinkCarnation36 Wed 27-Aug-14 23:12:24

DS and DD are at RGS Springfield and each term kids, boys and girls, are leaving which is quite unsettling. Are DS and DD getting a raw deal being in a smaller school with less social opportunities and overworked teachers? I ask this because I am getting worried by all the undercurrents. New head brought in lots of clubs to compete with the bigger schools and the list is now OTT but not many free clubs aimed at boys interests like lego club, airfix or playstation, mechano or electronics. Brownie club at Springfield but no cubs for DS. Boys/girl ratio will be even worse with the St Mary's girls joining as not a very co-ed feel now and I know parents are a bit worried about it. Apparently 19 joining so this has made up some of the falling numbers with existing kids leaving as there was talk among some parents about it moving up to The Grange and buildings becoming part of senior school. Girls are very dominant in the school. I've the impression staff more used to girls from AO days and teaching methods from older staff are aimed at way girls learn. Maths teaching at the top of the school not good and there is lots of colouring. No facilities like science labs, fine for DD but not DS. Small numbers in classes mean friendship issues are intense and the nastiness in the playground is not always noticed or dealt with well probably because teachers don't have the time. Only one class per year. Anybody got any experience of bigger schools in the area?

CMOTDibbler Thu 28-Aug-14 18:44:25

We chose not to send ds to Springfield because of it being smaller, and when he'd have gone, very, very girl heavy. He's at KH, and though its not perfect, we are happy with it, and I think its a sensible size.

PinkCarnation36 Thu 28-Aug-14 21:16:12

Thank you CMOTDibbler. What at the KH strengths? Do you know how KSA compares with KH? I know KH have inherited some of Springfield children and others gone to The Grange. DD good at drama. What is that like at either of the Kings schools? Any information would be useful.

LeBearPolar Thu 28-Aug-14 21:28:57

DS went to the Grange and loved it. The head is fantastic - loads of energy and passion for the school and his job. DS really thrived - lots of choice of activities and his year group had three forms which were mixed around each year. He was stretched in Maths too: in the top set in Yr 6 they were doing some GCSE work. Science, ICT, DT, Art, Music all on the curriculum, and the sport is good too. Plenty of opportunity for drama over the year as well.

Honestly, I could not have asked for a better primary school for DS. Absolutely perfect for him smile

PinkCarnation36 Thu 28-Aug-14 21:35:58

Thanks. Quite a number of RGS Springfield transferring to the Grange so I was wondering what the attraction is. Sounds like there are many more opportunities up there and even when they get more girls from St Mary's they won't be swamped like RGS Springfield will be for the boys. Do they have science labs at the Grange as DS totally mad about science and DD loves drama, dancing and music.

NerfHerder Thu 28-Aug-14 21:37:24

Which side are you coming from? Is Bromsgrove too far?

CMOTDibbler Thu 28-Aug-14 21:41:42

I think KH really excels in music, sport, and using its outdoor space. Drama is good I think, and for the facilities the performances are fab - and everyone takes part, same with the dance showcase.
Some people have said to me that they feel KSA is more academically stringent, but its hard to tell I think - all KH children passed the senior school exam certainly.

stealthsquiggle Thu 28-Aug-14 21:52:10

I wouldn't even have considered Springfield unless I lived in easy walking distance of it, for the reasons you have outlined (small, girl dominated, geared to girls, lack of space/facilities). KSA vs KH I would say depends on your location again, obviously KSA for choristers and those who can walk to it, probably KH for very keen sporty. The Grange I have heard good stuff about too, but again it depends on where you are coming from - that side of Worcester would have been a PITA for us so we didn't look that closely. I got the impression that KSA positions itself as being more academic than KH but as someone else said that doesn't seem to show in senior school entrance much

Since we actually live a fair way west of Worcester, we didn't go for either but my DS has played sport against KH and, more often, The Grange and both have seemed very nice both in terms of facilities and in the behaviour of the teams, staff and parents when they are the visitors (you would think that went without saying, but there a a couple of schools that I wouldn't touch with a barge pole based on the behaviour of both boys and parents at matches).

LeBearPolar Thu 28-Aug-14 21:56:57

Music is very strong at the Grange: their choir performs strongly in local competitions. This is one of their performances.

I don't know to what extent the science rooms are labs but DS certainly seemed to do plenty of practical work in science: experiments and writing up observations and so on.

PinkCarnation36 Thu 28-Aug-14 22:08:45

Thanks. You have all been really helpful. We are a short walk away from Springfield but we could walk to KSA or drive further afield. Bromsgrove would not be too far. What is that like? I think I read that they have a new head in the senior school.

stealthsquiggle Thu 28-Aug-14 22:13:08

In that case I would definitely look at KSA, KH and The Grange - no bad option amongst them, just a matter of which one is the best fit for your DC.

Good Luck.

PinkCarnation36 Thu 28-Aug-14 22:37:28

Thanks for that. I am sure we can get better value for money. I know some other parents with very young boys are looking at KH after all the thought of yet more girls arriving. I've heard from parents that boys get picked on for just doing what boys do. Tendency to think boys and girls the same or want to get boys to be more like girls. I can see KH might be better for boys with outdoor activities or the Grange with the sport.

Our DD has been unhappy by the dominant girls who got too big for their boots some time ago and seem to rule the roost in almost all the classes not helped by quite a few staff kids who get preferential treatment. Music teacher's boys used to always get lead roles but not noticed it recently. Someone said KSA have choristers. Is it more musical than KH?

PinkCarnation36 Thu 28-Aug-14 22:43:01

Thanks LeBearPolar for the clip. It is a very good standard. Can all kids join this choir?

stealthsquiggle Thu 28-Aug-14 22:43:47

KSA is the choir school for the cathedral. Their music school is lovely, but I haven't seen KH's or the Grange's, so I don't know how they compare. KSA struck us as a lovely school slightly crammed onto it's site, but it was actually mainly the logistics of getting into and out of the city centre which decided us against it in the end.

NerfHerder Thu 28-Aug-14 22:47:13

We know someone through music that has been at Bromsgrove, and enjoyed it thoroughly, but he didn't do pre-prep, as due to middle school system, he didn't transfer until Y5 (I think).
He's done incredibly well though. Their music seems fantastic.

PinkCarnation36 Thu 28-Aug-14 22:54:09

I know lots of kids come in on the train. We can walk but driving can be difficult, I know. I will certainly look at KSA as I have not heard a bad word about it from anyone I know. The same goes for The Grange and KH. Everyone seems happy. DS is into science not sport. DD likes sport, music drama etc but want to keep them together for logistical reasons, so a good all round school would tick all the boxes. Has KSA had a new head recently? Don't recognise Head's name from when I was looking for nursery a while ago.

PinkCarnation36 Thu 28-Aug-14 22:57:47

A music teacher told me that Bromsgrove music was very good. They do boarding there as well don't they? Had wondered if that might be a good fall back option if we ever had to go away, not now, but when kids older. Not thought of boarding before as we did not go to boarding school.

NerfHerder Thu 28-Aug-14 23:01:37

He's a day pupil, so I couldn't comment on that, I'm afraid! smile

I understand the wanting them in the same school thing- it was a major consideration for us, too.

LeBearPolar Fri 29-Aug-14 17:19:49

There are two levels of choir - the junior and senior choirs which anyone who wants to sing can go along to. Then there's the chamber choir which pupils are invited to join if they show a particular talent for singing.

wigornian Fri 29-Aug-14 18:38:50

Interesting thread.

I am a Springfield parent too. We are very happy with the school, and much prefer it to the Grange. I must say whilst there will be an "influx" of girls next week in DC's class, there are new boys too, including one from KSA and a former pupil returning - overall there will still be more boys than girls in his class.

A variety of opinions and experiences, of course, which is to be expected. Good luck all for the new term. <hunts for missing Schooltogs bag with shorts in>. grin

PinkCarnation36 Fri 29-Aug-14 19:36:09

Depends what Springfield year group your DC is in. Bottom of the school is probably better but lots of kids leave at the end of nursery. Nursery is good value for money and much cheaper than child minding. Reception was tiny last year as the nursery girls all left and many went into state sector. We were happy with Springfield Sparkles and then nursery but as the kids get older the limitations of the school (facilities, social side, lack of young staff and male role models etc) more noticeable. A group of Springfield mums are going to visit KH, Grange, KSA and Bromsgrove soon to see for ourselves and will report back.

Willdoitinaminute Fri 29-Aug-14 20:04:41

Google Kings Hawford Yellow and I'm the King of the swingers to see the standard of this years choir. The choir and orchestra were awarded Honours at Worcester music festival. Over 80% of the children have individual music lessons and all children learn recorder and violin. Singing is taught from Kindergarten and this shows. The Deputy head is passionate about music and the children respond.
DC has thrived in the environment they provide. Tend to find most of the grumbles are from pfb parents. They rarely move schools though. It's a great school for children who just want to be children.

Willdoitinaminute Fri 29-Aug-14 20:11:37

Re male roll models KH has a good ratio of male to female teachers in both pre prep and prep, and a number of male TAs who work in both classroom and as sports teachers.

goodevening20 Fri 29-Aug-14 20:47:21

Just joining thread. Quite interesting. Am another dissatisfied Springfield parent for similar reasons. DC was doing better in state sector. Thought small school meant kids had better chances and we wanted to do that bit better. Bit naïve. Fed up with politician responses when you point out that your DC might not be doing well at a subject because of the way it is taught (lots of staff set in their ways). We've seen them churn out same things year after year which is odd when Springfield teachers are the most qualified in Worcester. Lots are highly acclaimed Neuroscientists! So suppose they are going to try to examine kid's brain before thinking about how they teach, aren't they? From the postings it sounds like other schools just get it right. May join your Mum's support group at pick-up and drop-off please.

CMOTDibbler Fri 29-Aug-14 20:48:13

I def agree on the male role models - having the young male TAs is particularly good for the boys.
If you need childcare, then I am delighted with the quality of the holiday club provision, and wrap around is 7.45 to 6.
Hopefully the sports hall will go ahead this year which will help greatly imo

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