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RGS Guildford - any advice?

(17 Posts)
realitychick Mon 04-Oct-10 11:20:06

Saw this school at its open day and was impressed. It's moved up to the top of our list of possibles.

I'd love to hear other mumsnetters opinions on it, good or bad, especially if your boys attend the school.

i wasn't sure about the English department, and noticed all the Oxbridge candidates seem to be for sciences. One of my boys is definitely more arty. The art dept took my breath away - fantastic! but English seemed a bit low key.

Also - can anyone recommend good tutors for 11+ who are experienced in getting boys into RGS?

realitychick Tue 05-Oct-10 09:02:36



pagwatch Tue 05-Oct-10 09:17:55

Yes, I can tell you loads
It is a fabulous school. Very, very high academic standards so I personally would only send a boy who got straight in.
The weight os towards maths science but that is because lots of the boys eer towards those subjects with most of them doing maths early.
Arts are well supported and well respected. DS1 is going for English at Oxford having won art prize so it is not ignored at all and the teaching in those areas is very strong.
Sport is also strong.

My criticisms would be that even really really bright boys start to feel average when surrounded by really gifted kids. DS1 got 6 A*s and 3As at GCSE and was considered to have not done as well as he should. You don't even get acknowledged on prize day with a cert unless you get 8a*s and i think about 40 boys got that last year.

Having to reassure DS1 that he isn't middling is weird frankly.

Also the influx of children from local preps can lead to cliques ( although this is the fault of the parents mostly IMO) DS1 had to get to know boys having no peers from his previous school. I think , if I were doing it again I would get more involved in that.

Should add that whilst I know nothing of any individual support for boys with special issues , the school has always been incredibly supportive of DS1 whos brothers issues can affect school at times.
DS1 chose it and, whilst it isn't perfect, we are pretty pleased with it

maddylou Tue 05-Oct-10 09:18:00

Very good--yes have experience of it but personal experience will be a bit dated now

pagwatch Tue 05-Oct-10 09:18:44

BTW - you will have seen DS1s art on your tour. he is bloody good grin

pagwatch Tue 05-Oct-10 09:33:20

don't use a tutor. It will put them right off.
They are looking for boys who have potential. Not boys who are prepped. Ask the school about the exam format and get their advice

The school has an express policy to seek more children from a mixture of schools and with no prep school feeder policy.

realitychick Tue 05-Oct-10 12:11:33

Pagwatch - Thank You!!! That is such helpful advice. It was the art that sucked me in. How exciting that I've seen your son's work. It was all brilliant. Knocked spots off Slade and RCA final shows I've seen in recent years - those boys knew how to apply paint - it was so exciting to see! My DS2 who loves art was fixated, as he was by the English displays. Very encouraged to hear your DS1 is going for English at Oxford. That's what I did and would want my artier son to be encouraged in that direction rather than towards science, if that's where his interest lies.

Good to know that you don't think tutoring/prep school is necessary. That said - I just looked at some 11+ papers and saw a typical Eng crit was Shakespeare or Dickens. There's no way their current state primary will be covering those authors by the end of Yr5, so I do feel inclined to prep them a bit, even if just at home. They are very clever but they don't have that prep school veneer.

Maddylou - thanks for another positive vote. yet to hear abad word about the place.

Pag, it must be very odd to be consoling a kid for getting straight A* and As at GCSE, but rather that than consoling him on a bunch of Cs because working hard wasn't cool amongst his peer group.

pagwatch Tue 05-Oct-10 13:13:01

smile glad it was helpful.

They are also a nice bunch of young men , if that helps. Although DS1 thinks the intake has gone downhill and that the new boys are too lippy ..arf grin

If you need anything just give me a shout - you can send me a PM if you would rather

mummytime Tue 05-Oct-10 17:45:15

About 7 boys a year get in from my DCs state primary. And the headmaster of RGS rates it highly. It isn't a pushy primary either.

realitychick Tue 05-Oct-10 21:23:54

Wow mummytime. That's impressive. Same can't be said for the boys at our primary (also most definitely not pushy) but the occasional child gets in.

Thanks Pagwatch. I might. Not on PM system here yet but should get round to it. Dying to ask which pics were your son's. My son loved the green door, the Mr Kipling, George Bush, all the Banksy-alikes and lots of the smaller ones like the aboriginal art and Warhol faces. Was it any of those?

I love the new boys being too lippy. Chiz.

mummytime Wed 06-Oct-10 05:26:20

Most primary schools locally don't have a cohort of parents aiming for private, but DCs does. (It helps as the head does really know which private options will suit which children, even if parents don't always like his advice.) The children are definetly not coached for th private exams, although quite a few do the bond books at home.
I think the interview is where they do well, as they come across as confident.
But a friend who used to teacher there used to feel sorry for those who had just "scrapped" in, as they felt "thick" which is very relative.
The boys who used to help at my youngest's after school club were lovely boys btw.

realitychick Wed 06-Oct-10 08:47:46

Mummytime thanks. Interesting about the ones who scraped in feeling 'thick', as you echo what Pagwatch said. It's the third highest achieving boys' school in the country, so uh, yes, very relative indeed. I'd hate my sons to end up feeling like failures because they got As not A*s. So difficult to find the balance. It seemed a happy school, and a place where they played hard as well as work hard, and wasn't socially elitist. All those are values we're looking for in a school and seem harder to come by than you'd think.

LadyPeterWimsey Thu 07-Oct-10 10:55:57

Just posted on your other thread: DS1 goes to RGS, and is probably one of those being too lippy to pag's DS. grin

We did not tutor DS to get in, although we did some papers with him ourselves to give him exam practice and we talked him through interview questions.

He is an all-rounder, and has really enjoyed English, and despite absolutely not being arty he loves art lessons too, and has put lots of effort in. I'm pretty impressed with the art department for this!

DS is probably in the top 3 in his class for almost all subjects so he doesn't feel 'thick' but I can understand that less confident children might struggle with this. I think the boys are generally very supportive of each other, and a friend who teaches there says what a great atmosphere there is of mutual support.

Feel free to ask more.

basildonbond Thu 07-Oct-10 12:44:45

ds1 not at RGS but just to reassure you he got into an academically selective secondary which also had Dickens as comprehension for the English paper - ds was absolutely fine with this because he'd read so widely for the whole of primary. He went to a 'bog-standard', not particularly high-achieving primary and didn't get any tutoring and only looked at one practice paper and we didn't do any specific interview prep either.

I think the key for that type of English paper is reading, reading, reading and then some more reading grin helps if they enjoy it though ...wink

realitychick Thu 07-Oct-10 13:51:23

LPW, thank you for yet another recommendation. Must be careful not to get my or more importantly, their hearts set on one school, but it feels right. It's great that your boys are so academic and still really enjoy subjects like art. that's one of the things I loved most about the school. Although it excels, it hadn't the whiff of joyless crammer about it. Which I did get a bit with other schools we've looked at.

Basildon, you're right. One thing I forget is how they come on in leaps - they still have two years before . They both love reading and choose to read Macbeth and MSND, original text, in Manga comic form, so they're not completely green about language before 20th C, but I think I need to start introducing it more regularly.

It's also good to know that doing Bond papers from home, and just general all round enthusiasm for learning should help see them through if they are bright enough to make it in the first place!

Happymum22 Sun 21-Nov-10 14:15:53

my son has now finished at RGS but on the day he left said it was the most fantastic 7 years, he loved the school and couldn't have had a better education or time there.
i think, like any other school, there are the cliques and, like pagwatch said your son does become surrounded by extremely intelligent gifted children and although your son is extremely bright to be there, there is the academic atmosphere.
As a parent I have been hugesly satisfied with the school, there definately is the arts as well as sciences, they put great concerts and plays. Lots of links with GHS girls especially in sixth form and younger years with discos.
Couldn't reccomend more!

thekidsmom Sun 21-Nov-10 18:05:25

Happy to add my support - agree with Pagwatch and Happymum

My DS is now at Uni and had the best time of his life at RGS. He is very science based himself but also musical - you should not overlook the strength of the music and drama depts at RGS too. You're right that the Art is out of this world - my DD had some of her art lessons there (she's up the road at a girls school) and I think the art at RGS is in a league of its own.

My DS was not in the least bit sporty, and that is a major theme to the school, but never felt like he wasnt a valued part of the school community.

Subject wise, of his close friends the majority are scientists, tbh, but of his closest 10 friends, say, one is doing History and one music.

Cliques were not an issue at all for us but I can see how they can come about - most state school boys join at 11 and form their friendship groups and then most prep school boys join at 13 and form their friendship groups - for that first year (the 3rd form) they dont mix across form groups (or they didnt in my son's year - might be different under Dr C.)

If you have the opportunity to send your boy to RGS I would highly recommend it

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