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Gateway School - Great missenden Experinces Please

(28 Posts)
gg234 Fri 15-Apr-16 11:47:01


We have moved to amersham and finding primary school place in state school seems to be very difficult and i am looking at private schools.

Can you please post your experiences with gateway school in great missenden.

How is the school and settling children coming from state school is easy or not?

Thanks for your help

bojorojo Fri 15-Apr-16 14:10:52

I know quite a few children who have been here. All were wanting a grammar school place. There was a lot of pressure to get to a grammar school and very many did. If you have a girl, I think Godstowe at High Wycombe offer a better all-round educational experience and if you have a boy, I think The Beacon is better. It depends what you want, though. The Gateway has rather cramped accommodation and little sport is available on site. When we visited, and considered it for my DD, I was stunned at the high quality craft work on show. It turned out it was done by parents.

How far away have you looked at primary schools? Are you being very choosy?

gg234 Fri 15-Apr-16 15:33:38

@bojorojo - Thanks for your feedback on this school.

The reason we have moved to amersham is for kids education and better quality of life compared to london.We have checked nearly 1.5 miles (My wife didn't drive for school drop and pick ups) where we live for state primary all of them are in waiting list.

We have 2 kids boy and girl so i am trying to send them to same school which is easy to manage

Zodlebud Fri 15-Apr-16 21:54:32

Chesham Prep has a school bus service with multiple Amersham pick up stops. Nice co-ed school with good reputation for 11+. I would pick this school over The Gateway - not that there's anything wrong with the latter - I just think Chesham has a far better feel.

sky44 Fri 15-Apr-16 21:58:16

Surely the council have to offer you a school place? And if the school they offer is too far to walk (over 2 miles) then they supply transport? It may be you didn't like the school offered? Anyway I only know Gateway through using their nursery but it seems a lovely, nurturing school. I get the feeling through talking to parents and reading the newsletter that they give a lot of individual attention to children and push them accordingly, they don't have playing fields but a lot of sport happens somehow still. The after school clubs look good also

sky44 Fri 15-Apr-16 22:00:24

PS - a number of children come from state schools mid way through the year, I doubt it is that different in terms of what is studied, they follow the national curriculum as far as I know. Yes the classes are smaller and it's a private school, but it's still a primary school

bojorojo Sun 17-Apr-16 21:08:15

There is a shortage of school spaces - finding a school for 2 children might be challenging. The few with places might not be the ones you want. I would pick Chesham prep over The Gateway. I don't think any of the private schools in this area are particularly nurturing! The 11 plus is king here!

What schools have the LA offered? Out of interest. There has been serious over subscription at one or two Amersham schools for years and years. Probably the ones you wanted.

gg234 Mon 18-Apr-16 06:46:41


LA offered us Chalfont Valley E-ACT Primary Academy and we went there to visit the school which is not great visit for us.We didn't get the proper answers we want for head or teacher.Which is big concern.

We are looking at surrounding areas

gg234 Mon 18-Apr-16 06:50:36

The main reason we are moving also 11+ so which school is better gateway or chesham prep for preparing 11+

Thanks for your help

bojorojo Mon 18-Apr-16 10:37:45

The Chalfont Valley School is the old Bell Lane School and has had very many problems down the years. I would be surprised if many children ever went to the grammar schools from there. The catchment is challenging. I am a little surprised you did not do a bit of homework on schools with vacancies before you moved.

You also need to know that NO state school prepares for the 11 plus. If you ask what coaching any state school does, the answer will always be none! As a school governor, it is never reported to us how many children "pass" each year. As the teaching is not to this particular test, it is seen as less important in many schools, because SATS and progress of the children are what a school is judged on. Parents do, of course, see things differently and the coaching industry is huge. Schools teach the national curriculum but not how to pass the 11 plus tests.

I think you need to look round Chesham Prep and ask how many take the Bucks 11 plus and what work they do regarding preparation. This could be an after-school club because I doubt if it is in normal teaching time. Independent schools largely teach the national curriculum. At our independent school, the 11 plus group formed a club after school and it was a paid for activity on top of fees. I know Chesham Prep children who have gone to Berkhamsted School so not all go to grammar schools from there. You could also look at Heatherton House for girls and The Beacon for boys which is literally just around the corner. They are Amersham/Chesham Bois borders. You could consider a taxi if these schools are to far to walk.

You do need to be aware that not all children get the 11 plus from independent schools. They tend to have more of the "likely" children because many of the parents are professional and well educated themselves and heavily invested into education. The teaching is not necessarily superior to that in the state schools.

bojorojo Mon 18-Apr-16 10:53:51

Bucks C C have a Primary Schools Vacancies list that was updated on 15 April. What year groups do you want? Are you looking for September? It is on their web site.

gg234 Mon 18-Apr-16 12:24:22

@bojorojo Thank you so much for your information.

We have one girl and a boy.Girl is in year 2 and boy is in reception.I have checked that list so there seems to be no in year places for both of them.

The reason for our move also motivated by 11+ so we are already sending my children to private tutors for maths and english.I know we have to invest some time and money for 11+.I think i am going to have tough time to get in year admission which is giving me sleep less nights.

bojorojo Mon 18-Apr-16 14:21:22

From the list, updated on Friday, Chalfont St Giles Infant school has places in Reception and Y2. So does Robertswood in Chalfont St Peter and Chalfont St Peter Infant School. None of these are far away. Jordans School near Beaconsfield is further and also has spaces. Can you not pay for transport to any of these?

gg234 Mon 18-Apr-16 16:32:59

Thank you so much both schools seems to be 15min drive we definitely overlooked these schools.I can apply now and i can pay for transport if needed.I am expecting to pass driving test this month which will give us more flexibility.

BlackbirdSingsInTheDeadOfNight Mon 18-Apr-16 17:41:15

Chalfont St Giles infants is a lovely school. We moved away from the area but my children were there for a couple of years. It's definitely worth looking at.

Maladicta Mon 18-Apr-16 17:46:00

Just a little caveat... Bar Robertswood, all those schools are Infant so you will have to apply again for a Junior school place. Unless you live in CSP or CSG and are regularly church-going, places are impossible to obtain.

CSG is a hard federation of infant and junior - you still have to apply. It also takes children from Coleshill and Jordans as well as the village itself. I don't know of many pupils coming from Amersham but there can sometimes be places.

Maladicta Mon 18-Apr-16 17:47:16

Sorry, a line of typing disappeared!
places at the CSP Academy

Maladicta Mon 18-Apr-16 17:49:05

I really should stop posting from my phone.. The missing phrase is from the first paragraph!

BlackbirdSingsInTheDeadOfNight Mon 18-Apr-16 17:49:44

Although - just adding to my above post - if your elder DC is in Year 2 now then you'd also need to apply for Year 3 separately if you're looking at CSG, CSP or Jordan's and hope they have spaces available. Jordan's doesn't have a junior school for Y3 and upwards so quite a few of those children go to CSG Juniors or CSP Juniors. Robertswood goes all the way from age 4-11 but, certainly up to a couple of years ago, didn't have a great reputation for getting children through the 11+. CSP Juniors had by far the best reputation of the schools mentioned above, though did have a larger intake per year group.

With regard to the Gateway, a friend of mine had her DDs there for just a year (no reflection on the school, the family is in the armed forces and moved elsewhere). The younger daughter was in Reception and absolutely loved it from day 1. The elder daughter took longer to settle because she struggled a bit with the lack of outdoor space, having come from a very spacious and outdoors-y prep. Overall they were very happy though.

BlackbirdSingsInTheDeadOfNight Mon 18-Apr-16 17:50:48

Ah - cross posted with Maladicta. I'm posting from my phone too!

bojorojo Mon 18-Apr-16 21:15:33

May I reiterate that schools do not "get children through the 11 plus". They do absolutely nothing. The differences are down to the numbers of likely grammar school children that live in the catchment area. For example, Little Chalfont was always way ahead of Bell Lane but is a fairly short distance away. It is all about type of family and who lives where. What you need is good teaching and enough bright children to work with. Your child needs to be challenged but no school will coach children. Parents and tutors do that.

I would not write off Robertswood without looking at it. It was always the poorer relation to the other schools in Chalfont St Peter and I do know of the problems in transferring from infant to junior when you are out of catchment. Robertswood has the advantage of being combined. Has your local junior (Woodside?) got a y3 space in September? I think you need to start talking to all the schools mentioned, including the independent ones, to see where you stand. It is a minefield!

BlackbirdSingsInTheDeadOfNight Tue 19-Apr-16 07:40:45

Ok, I shouldn't have used the phrase "get children through the 11+" because I can see that it comes across as misleading. However it is a fact that some families in the area go to one village school for infants and then apply to a different village's school for juniors (whilst still living in the same house) because they believe that their children are more likely to pass the 11+ in that environment. It's a fact that this happens regularly.

gg234 Wed 20-Apr-16 17:55:44

Thanks for your valuable comments and surprisingly Chalfont Valley E-ACT Primary Academy becomes good school with the latest ofsted report

bojorojo Thu 21-Apr-16 09:48:40

Chalfont Valley is an academy. That is fairly rare among Bucks primary schools. The original school, Bell Lane, had had problems for years, and years, and years! The catchment area is fairly unique for that part of the world. That does not mean to say that it cannot be a good school. It means that the SLT and teaching is good and everything is in place for the children to do well and the children make good progress as a result. Lots of schools are good or outstsanding that are situated in less affluent areas. I would look at the f s m data, PP data and how well the children have achieved before they enter the school. Then comare all of that with Chestnut Lane or Little Chalfont schools which are not very far away.

I am not saying there is not movement between schools. Children can only transfer into another school for Y3 if there are places. Some village schools are infants only anyway so they have to transfer and the junior/combined schools have places for them. It is normal to seek a transfer if you are unhappy about teaching but if parents believe that sitting next to Nellie (who is guaranteed to pass the 11 plus) or believe that they receive superior lessons allied to passing the 11 plus, I am very sorry, but they are wrong. It is more likely a case of wanting to be educated along side children "like them". Ie. a bigger cohort of bright children than exist in the village school.

Having looked at the school vacancies around Amersham, there are very few so I do not know where these empty village schools are that have lost lots of chidren to a neighbouring school that miraculously has lots of vacancies in Y3. Most schools are full, as the OP has found.

BlackbirdSingsInTheDeadOfNight Thu 21-Apr-16 15:20:21

Not sure why you feel the need to be so sarcastic, bojo.

The schools I am talking about are all separate infant/junior and therefore all families have to re-apply in Y2 for a place at whichever Y3 school they want, whether they wish to stay in the same village or move to a school in a different village. I did refer to 'infants' and 'juniors', meaning separate schools with separate admissions processes.

It's really good to hear that Chalfont Valley is improving.

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