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Schools in Timperley/Altrincham/Trafford - any experience?

(53 Posts)
LintRoller Tue 04-Aug-15 19:51:37

I've tried posting on MN Local but it's tumbleweed over there... There have been threads on this before but they're several years out of date, so would really appreciate opinions.

Does anyone have experience with schools in the Timperley/Altrincham area? Our options are likely to be:

- St Hugh's Catholic School (we are Catholic and attend the linked church) - pretty much definitely in based on our location/category
- Tyntesfield Primary School - state primary, excellent results - probably 50/50 chance based on past few years
- Private: Forest School in Timperley, Forest Park School in Sale, and Altrincham Prep School (we have a place at APS but not sure about it)

The state options are both Ofsted Outstanding and within half a mile of home, which is very tempting - I like the idea of local friends and a short commute. But the private options offer smaller class sizes and better preparation for grammar entrance exams (if DS turns out to be that way inclined) - I don't know how many from the state schools end up at grammars. I would like it to be at least an option though of course there are no guarantees.

We have looked around all of them and I still haven't got a clue. I don't know what I'm looking for! They all had friendly and polite staff, decent facilities and happy looking children confused but surely all schools put on a good front for visitors?

(Money is not a problem as we aren't having more children and the school fees are half what we already pay for nursery...)

Would be very grateful for any thoughts.

Emochild Thu 06-Aug-15 09:22:18

Don't know the specific schools but I do know the Trafford grammar school system

There are a lot of parents that do the independent primary followed by state grammar option but there are also lots of tutors specifically for 11+

It's amazing how much the process in Trafford has changed -I went to a Trafford grammar, there was no tutoring and if you passed the 11+ you went to your local grammar
and i'm not THAT old

I wonder how many children now get in without paying for either tutoring or private primary

Meandyouandyouandme Thu 06-Aug-15 09:39:59

My eldest went to Tyntesfield, yes it's one of the better primary schools in that area. I know someone who sends their only DC to the Forest school in Timperley which she thinks is amazing, and will probably be the reason that the child will easily get a place at a grammar school.
I also went to a grammar in Trafford, I had no idea I was even taking the 11+ on the day I sat it. My DP just thought if I passed, I passed, if not then nevermind. Nowadays, kids are tutored from year 3 and 4, and I know at the private schools they start even earlier.
So you may want to look at which your secondary is your preferred choice, and work your way back from there.
St Ambrose grammar is easier to get into if you have gone to St Hughes, as its one of their feeder schools.

Meandyouandyouandme Thu 06-Aug-15 09:41:15

I might be older than Emochild grin

Emochild Thu 06-Aug-15 09:45:37

Judging by your user name, probably only slightly older grin

Meandyouandyouandme Thu 06-Aug-15 10:20:36

I loved that programme! Though my name is from ages ago, my friend and I were in a cafe aged about 14 arranging something, and we were deciding who was going, so she said, "Well, there's me and you", and I said, "And you and me". So since then when we discuss who's going to some party or event, we always say "me and you and you and me" and have a laugh. Known each other for over 30 years smile

Emochild Thu 06-Aug-15 10:27:24

My older sister used to watch it -I have a very vague recollection but not really grin

Meandyouandyouandme Thu 06-Aug-15 10:59:19

I believe you wink

mandy214 Thu 06-Aug-15 12:02:38

Don't know TPS but I have friends with children at St Hugh's and at Forest (all very happy). Also know lots of boys (through DS' sporting activities) that go to APS.

If you look at St Ambrose admission, you would be higher up the over subscription criteria if your DS attended a catholic school (although having said that, as long as your DS was christened / confirmed catholic you still have a very good chance of getting in I think).

I think the private schools will push the academic side - certainly at APS there is an expectation that they will pass for Alty Boys (although not all do - they certainly do much more prep in school that state schools are allowed to do). I wouldn't have liked my DS to attend an all boys school but that is just a personal preference.

Also a former Trafford Grammar attendee - I wonder if I went to school with the other posters grin! And yes, it is MASSIVELY different that when I took the 11+.

In terms of numbers passing, I think it generally varies on year but I think it is much tougher to get a place. And for what its worth, all the boys I know at APS in my DS' football team are having tutors as well!!

LintRoller Thu 06-Aug-15 14:24:54

Thanks so so much everyone - that's all incredibly helpful.

We got a bit put off APS by the distance from home (30 mins each way in traffic, in the opposite direction to our work). Also a few other reasons which I'm happy to share if anyone is considering it.

I think we're deciding between one of the Forests and St Hughs. Given the choice, would you:

1. Go for St Hughs and hope to go on to St Ambrose is DS does well enough (sounds like a good chance)

2. Go private at Forest (prob Timperley), and hope for Altrincham Grammar (better results than St Ambrose but competition seems much more fierce)?

3.Something else?

LintRoller Thu 06-Aug-15 14:29:45

Also DS is settled and v happy at a private nursery. Is it better to keep him there until Reception (he will be 4.5) or start him in a linked preschool? This will also affect our school choice as St Hughs only does half day preschool which will be impossible with work, so if it's really important for friendships etc to attend a linked preschool we might veer towards Forest.

mandy214 Thu 06-Aug-15 14:49:08

I've just had a look at the results for the Forest Schools and its very difficult to interpret. Forest Timperley only gives the % of pupils who took it that passed (so they don't include those that didn't sit the entrance exams), obviously in contrast to state schools which say (for example) 50% passed (and they mean 50% of the year group as a whole) and Forest Sale gives the % of pupils that secured a "grammar school education" but include North Cestrian. Its called a grammar school but it isn't really.

So its difficult to say how much or if their results are any better than a state school - I think you have to go with your gut feel. Smaller classes are a big advantage....

mandy214 Thu 06-Aug-15 14:50:43

X post - I don't think pre-school makes any difference. There are an awful lot of parents (working parents) for whom half day pre-school is simply unworkable.

LintRoller Thu 06-Aug-15 20:03:19

Thanks Mandy that's really helpful. By the way, you helped me to choose a nursery for DS a couple of years ago (I was posting under a different name) and you were lovely then too smile

I do wish schools were just upfront about things like leavers' destinations, class sizes, category of last child to be admitted etc - just put it all on your websites and save us all some time!

So is St Ambrose secondary considered good then?

(It does make me sad to hear about tutoring becoming the norm for the highly competitive grammars - there was none of that in my day...)

mandy214 Fri 07-Aug-15 11:10:36

Ooh, the responsibility grin of nursery and school. I have a DS about to do the exams sad so have done all the school open days of late. It is very impressive, the sports facilities are super (swimming pool, rugby, football, full size gym) but it gets very good results too.

Itscurtainsforyou Fri 07-Aug-15 11:31:15

I can't get too excited about primary schools. Many in that area are outstanding and as pps have said there's a booming business in tutoring if they're grammar school-inclined.

I've heard good things about both the state schools that the op mentioned. Just be prepared for tough competition & to provide 3 sets of ID to prove your address ��

Inkymess Fri 07-Aug-15 20:32:27

There was a brilliant thread a while back about Trafford Grammars and trying to work out what percent got to where. The consensus is that almost all children in Trafford who want grammar are tutored outside of school - from year 5 if not 4 or 3. The private DC are often too, if borderline. The head at APS will tell you that all parents care about is entrance to Alty boys grammar. Is go to StH and keep options open

LintRoller Fri 07-Aug-15 22:40:05

Thanks Inkymess I read that thread recently - was eye-opening for sure! I was surprised that only 65% of APS boys got into Altrincham Grammar last year (according to the head when we visited) which was lower than I thought. It is easy to lose sight of all the other important aspects of school though. Ultimately we want somewhere where DS will be happy, with local friends and short commutes, as well as just academics and outcomes.

Mandy you are like my personal childcare/education advisor and much appreciated it is too grin Thanks for the feedback on St Ambrose, that sounds good.

Itscurtains good point, we do live where we say we do honest grin but are mostly paperless these days - better make sure I keep hold of a few council tax bills etc next year.

flowers for all of you for helping me.

Twowrongsdontmakearight Fri 07-Aug-15 23:15:24

Don't know anything about St Hugh's but I hear Tyntesfield has an excellent reputation.

In this area I really don't think there's any need to go private. I have DC at both Alti Grammars and both went to a local state school. Both were tutored in Y5 - at £25 a week for about 40 weeks it costs considerably less than going private. By the time it was DD's turn her school did early morning exam classes anyway.

In DD's year c.50% went to one of the Grammars (Alti / Sale / Ambrose / Loretto). The same % went from the local school I worked in.

If your DS is Grammar-school inclined then he'll get there from Tyntesfield or one of the other local schools.

MrsHathaway Fri 07-Aug-15 23:48:14

Alty Grammar is on our radar. We live a train ride away but know from experience that the half-seven-ish train is full of children going to the grammars.

Tutoring from Y3?! Seriously? Saints preserve us. Because we're so far out I'm aware that DS1 would pretty much need to score 100% to get in, but even so. Ouch.

MrsHathaway Fri 07-Aug-15 23:54:33

From AGSB:

"GL Assessment will standardise the scores taking into account the boy’s date of birth."

I did not know they did this. That's good news for summer-born DS1...

<slaps self> He's only just seven!

Sparkyduchess Sat 08-Aug-15 00:01:48

DS went to St Hugh's, and has just finished year 11 at St ambrose.

We've been delighted with both schools, if you have the option to send your DS to St Hughes I'd jump at it. Of DSs primary school cohort (90ish boys), around 12 went to St ambrose, about the same went to alty boys, and a handful went to places like sale or urmston grammar.

DS wasn't tutored for the St ambrose entrance exam, and didn't take the alty boys exam (I profoundly dislike the school and DS would have gone to BTH if he hadn't passed the exam). He was unusual though, most of the kids started tuition in year 5.

I really cant say enough good things about St Hugh's, it was brilliant both academically and in terms of pastoral care.

Lagoonablue Sat 08-Aug-15 05:10:47

Your child hasn't even started school yet. I would stop worrying about grammar school. Most Trafford schools are good and that includes secondaries. Anyway you know all that as you can see their Ofsteds.

I personally think the grammar school system is unfair and antiquated. Unless you can spend a fortune tutoring your child they won't get in. So unless you have cash to spare you are penalised.

I live in Trafford and refuse to buy in to the grammar hysteria here.. There are perfectly good secondary schools which offer a broader scope of education and have good results.

I know this rant probably doesn't help you but I just think the Trafford system isn't fair.

LintRoller Sat 08-Aug-15 09:37:49

Twowrongs thanks - that's my sort of feeling to - private feels unnecessary when there are such good state schools in the area. Those numbers are reassuring.

MrsHathaway that's interesting on the standardising of scores to date of birth, good on them. My DS is only 2 so I am double slapping myself grin I'm also conscious that schools can change a lot over a few years so what's good now might not be so when DS gets to secondary age, and vice versa.

Sparky thanks that's really helpful - so glad you had a good experience with St Hughs and Ambrose. I have to say St Hugh's is the option I feel most comfortable with, but that might be because we know the church and some other people etc. I'd love to hear more about the school - can I possibly PM you?

(Also intrigued to know why you don't like Altrincham Boys grin )

Lagoona I respect your opinion and actually agree with you on the unfairness of who is and isn't able to afford tutoring. You are right that there are very good non-grammar secondaries which we are lucky to have. The reason we are thinking about this now at a stupidly early stage is because it does affect our choice of primary school, which is a decision we have to make imminently (unfortunately...)

Inkymess Sat 08-Aug-15 10:50:31

You are right to be thinking long and hard now. Choices you make now will influence friend pool, social stuff, your commute, school environment et c

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