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Godstowe or Eagle House??

(33 Posts)
qiuyifan2000 Sun 09-Aug-15 21:38:13

We are relocating to Reading area as DH works there. We are looking for a school for DD to start Reception this September.

At the moment, we prefer Co-ed Secondary school but OK with either co-ed or Girls only at Junior level. But of course we never know which type (girls or co-ed) would DD choose when she grows to that age. We just assume it for now.

Godstowe currently has place in Reception class so DD can go all the way up until 13 smoothly. But it is a bit far aways from where DH works and he seems not like that.

Another concern is friendship. Godstowe does not feed into a particular secondary school and more girls go to girls only secondary later, which means if DD chooses to go to a co-ed secondary (which we prefer) she will almost have no friend going to the same school. In contrast, most pupils in Eagle House will progress to Wellington College, which means she is more likely to maintain her already established friendship.

But Eagle House is full at the moment, so we will have to find DD another school (currently thinking of Bearwood college) for now, and wait until a place becomes available in Eagle House and move her then. It is probably about 1-2 years wait? DH seems prefer this way as we can find a house close to both the school and his workplace easily, and Wellington College seems good enough to him.

So which path should we choose? Godstowe for best education for girls from Reception but accept the uncertainty of DD's future destination (plus DH's daily commute), or Eagle House for "secured" entry to Wellington College and ease of life?

Last concern: is Eagle House more posh comparing to Godstowe? Which school have more the super-rich? Which school has a more nurturing environment?

Any comments and advice will be very appreciated, especially from those having personal experience from either school!

PS: we are planning to have another child soon. So the unknown SEX of the second one is worth thinking too?

Molliepolly Mon 10-Aug-15 11:40:51

Are you referring to Godstowe in High Wycombe? It is a long way from Reading?

qiuyifan2000 Mon 10-Aug-15 11:45:04

Yes, Godstowe in High Wycombe. It is normally about 40 mins to where DH works but not sure how long it takes in the busy morning? DH thinks it's too far cos he will be the one doing the daily commute.

sugar21 Mon 10-Aug-15 11:46:08

I used to live near Eagle House and it is a long way from Reading but I think they take boarders.

bronya Mon 10-Aug-15 13:27:39

Godstowe has a high number of children who come from overseas with no English. They progress more slowly in the Lodge for that reason, then push them more in the main school. They have just implemented an unbelievably boring Maths curriculum in the Lodge. Most girls seem happy though.

Molliepolly Mon 10-Aug-15 13:53:02

Unless your child is going to board, I would think a commute from Reading to High Wycombe every day would be too far

Millymollymama Mon 10-Aug-15 16:21:03

Godstowe is posh. If you are not posh, you sit the Bucks 11 plus. If you are posh, you go to a senior boarding school - and most do. There are some extremely clever girls from overseas there. Godstowe girls get lots of scholarships. Their list is on their web site. They go to the best girls senior shools in large numbers.

I am not currently up to date with their curriculum, but the new National Curriculum has been introduced in state schools and Godstowe probably follows it. It is more challenging. As Godstowe has boarding available, it naturally attracts overseas children. Lots of schools have to do this to keep the numbers up. It is the way of boarding schools. Bright children progress very quickly in Lodge and I really would not be concerned about the notion of being held back. Scholarships and places at Wycombe Abbey and CLC matter to them, so why would any child be held back? Boys leave Godstowe after Lodge, so places become available then, so you could go more local first. Some people go to a local infant school and then transfer to Godstowe when the girls are 7.

Often children at senior school do not stay with established friends. They grow up and find other pupils they have more in common with. Commuting to Godstowe from Reading would be a nightmare. Commuting from Marlow or even Henley is possible. I know lots who did this.

qiuyifan2000 Mon 10-Aug-15 20:28:15

Thanks for all your comments above!! We will probably find a house in Marlow, if choose Godstowe, so to make both commute to Reading and High Wycombe more doable?

But after reading all these comments I am wondering if it is worth doing all that? Will it be a better idea to wait for a place becoming available at Eagle House or Lambrook? How would you compare the education received at Godstowe, Eagle House, and Lambrook?

Millymollymama Tue 11-Aug-15 10:00:53

I don't know because I have not had children at all three.

I think you can look at destinations of the children, the sport, music, drama and extras available. I know Godstowe had an extensive after school programme. Most people choose a prep school depending upon where they intend to send their children after prep school. If it is the local non selective independent school, then any prep school will probably do. If you want Cheltenham Ladies, Wycombe Abbey or any other top class boarding school, then you need a school that gets lots of children into those types of schools. Godstowe is non selective - I don't now about the others, but this might be a factor for you to consider. Many Godstowe girls go on to girls' senior boarding schools, less to co-ed. Most leave at 13 not 11.

I have driven past Lambrook a lot. It has super facilities. I would expect them to have stellar destinations too. You need to think about the senior school for your child. Do you want to aim for a top school, a day school or just a local school or the local grammar school? Then have a look round the schools and choose the one where you feel comfortable. Don't be put off by rich parents. Not everyone is super-rich, but most, obviously, have enough money to send their children boarding, until the age of 18, so no-one is short of money to say the least. I think the teaching in the schools will not vary hugely. They all need to have an eye on their destinations so cannot afford to let standards slip.

qiuyifan2000 Tue 11-Aug-15 11:47:45

Both Eagle House and Lambrook require assessment at 7+ entry with waiting list. While Godstowe is non-selective through out.

We aim for top boarding schools for DD and prefer co-ed than girls only, as we want her to have some boy friends in her school life. The problem with Godstowe is that we will have to value her own opinion on school choice by that age, and she might end up going to girls only secondary as most of other girls do. If so there is a great possibility that she will be educated in all girls environment from 7 till 18 with no male friends at all.

The good thing with the other two school is that she will have a wider range of classmates (both male and female) to establish friends with until 13 years old. The it is up to her to choose what type of secondary school to go. And Lambrook provides more choices than Eagle House.

However, the problem is there is no place for the 2 co-ed school at the moment, and will probably have to wait until 7+ entry with assessment required. There will be no guarantee of place even if we pass the exams as we might not be in a good position in the waiting list. There will be a small chance that DD will end up in her "temporary" pre-prep school until 11+ or 13+? By that time, we could see a big gap if she have attended Godstowe at 4?

So it is difficult for us to choose really. Godstowe means secured academic success but risk on male friends issues. And if our second child turns out to be a boy, it will be another problem. But if we go down the Pre-prep + Lambrook/Eagle, we might end up getting into NON of the schools.

CharlesRyder Tue 11-Aug-15 17:39:55

If your second child is a boy and you go for HW you will really struggle IMO. I did not like Davenies at all. It is really slim pickings for boys north of the M4.

The Beacon has had a great rep (not sure now as there is a new Head) but a school run to Godstowe and Beacon would be tricky.

Caldicott is amazing but the compulsory boarding at 11 put me off.

qiuyifan2000 Tue 11-Aug-15 18:27:16

CharlesRyder, you are right. HW is only good for girls. And if I have a boy, I will register him at Lambrook straightaway. So by looking at all of these facts, Godstowe is indeed not a very wise choice?

I think we may choose Reddam House Bearwood for now, and remain on the waiting lists of the others. The school should be alright, as it is their first step stone into the European market and they could not afford to fail that. Another bonous is that DD will have an almost guaranteed place into its senior school, if she turns out to be not very academic?

Millymollymama Wed 12-Aug-15 12:35:08

Believe me, there are plenty of boys in the lives of girls at Girls' Schools! Honestly, you are not cut off! Lots of girls have brothers and there is a social scene, unless you choose not to be part of it. Boys from boys schools get into their lives! It just happens. They are not nuns! Lots of boys go to Godstowe then Caldicott. Most people do not find this is a problem. At least you know you will get in to Godstowe and you will only have to move a boy, which you do not yet have. Why choose a school based around a child you do not yet have? Also girls from Godstowe do go to Rugby, Stowe, Oundle, Haileybury etc. so you could look at these schools if boys are the most important element of education for you.

qiuyifan2000 Wed 12-Aug-15 14:23:28

Hi Millymollymama, being girls only is just one of the concerns. The major problem is still about how long it will take to drive between Marlow and Reading at rush hours? Will be too much if it is more than an hour each way.

qiuyifan2000 Wed 12-Aug-15 14:27:56

DH's office is just by the junction of M4/A33. So the route is A404-M4-A33. It is normally half an hour drive but not sure about at rush hours.

Molliepolly Wed 12-Aug-15 17:17:10

A404 and Reading itself can be highly congested at peak times

Millymollymama Wed 12-Aug-15 18:36:56

Everywhere is congested at peak times!!! You just have to work around it or walk down the road to a local school!

grovel Wed 12-Aug-15 18:48:15

My DS went to Meadowbrook Montessori (Warfield) to Lambrook (to Eton). It worked for us. The commute to Reading from Warfield/Winkfield is less than 30 minutes.

grovel Wed 12-Aug-15 18:49:54

And Lambrook sends loads of boys/girls to Wellington.

qiuyifan2000 Wed 12-Aug-15 19:54:27

Hi grovel, what are the differences between a Montessori school and a main stream prep school? When did you move your DS out of Meadowbrook? Do you think a Montessori school works better?

Molliepolly Wed 12-Aug-15 22:30:59

MMM yes but some areas are worse than others and the A404 and Reading are two of those. I speak from experience

Millymollymama Thu 13-Aug-15 09:43:02

Yes I know they are very congested areas! That is why you either have to be committed to travelling to a particular school or live nearby. Lots of people I know did a local Bucks village infant school and then moved to a private school for Y3 when travelling was easier for the child. I think it also depends who is dropping the child off at school and whether this has to tie in with work commitments. Lots of working people have nannies that do the school run. If you have an office to get to and do the school run, then life is trickier and a nearer school is obviously advantageous.

CharlesRyder Thu 13-Aug-15 10:03:51

Milly from the start the OP was saying that she planned to choose a school and then buy a house near it- it has only really been you suggesting that wasn't necessary as so many people commute to school.

I think the OP needs to stick to that plan! Obviously buying a house is quite a difficult thing to undo, hence I think she needs to plan for as many eventualities as she can i.e. the availability of co-ed or boys schools which are just as good and convenient. To me this suggests the Ascot area rather than Marlow.

Our run to DS's independent school is now 10 minutes on a clear country lane and shortly (due to a move) he will be able to walk to school. It is bliss- an I say this as somebody who was thoroughly prepared to travel for a school. Walking to school does not necessarily = local state.

qiuyifan2000 Thu 13-Aug-15 11:39:39

CharlesRyder, you got my point. I also see Milly's point. It is all down to personal choice in the end. There are parents there willing to sacrifice everything in exchange for the "best" for their kids, while also many will choose a "good enough" school to make balance. Milly should be one of the former I believe.

It is indeed hard to say "no" to a top performing school you know you DD will get the best possible education and a bright future. And it is why I am so struggling with. If Godstowe were just a "good" but not "best" school, I would not have even thought about it.

Molliepolly Thu 13-Aug-15 11:41:59

MMM - you know how congested these areas are. It is clear that the OP doesn't as she was asking a direct question:

- how long it will take to drive between Marlow and Reading at rush hours?

That is why I gave my thoughts....

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