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Views on South Wilts Grammar school

(40 Posts)
mrsrat Thu 07-Jul-11 09:05:17

We are able to move to either Gloucestershire or Salisbury and would like our daughter to go to grammar school in 2012 if possible. There are far more options in Gloucestershire and only one is Wilts. She has a good friend applying for SWGS. Havent done any visits yet but the facilities at the Gloucestershire schools and the general sourroundings seem much better than at SWGS. Any comments would be much appreciated.

overthemill Mon 11-Jul-11 20:04:25

my views are very old cos I was a pupil there 1969 - 1976 and i liked the kids and teachers, mainly, but hated the head at the time. i always look at its results and it does quite well. people from salisbury i know still seem to send their girls there and the other schools in the city def suffer as a result. i think it looks (when i drive past as my dad still in city) like it needs some investment. but i do like all girls' schools as a result, loved the freedom and positive vibes about what we could achieve

dont spose that really helped, sorry

have 2 girls of a freind at/left Cheltenham ladies college and if we did the boarding thing i would send my dd there

erebus Tue 12-Jul-11 10:38:54

I also went there, 1973-80!

I think it's a very different beast to the one attended: for example, in my class of 30, one came from a private prep; the rest of us were from village primaries. Now I gather it's Prep Central. There's a reason why Salisbury is full of prep schools all offering 11+ preparation! And why there isn't a middle-of-the-road non religious denominational private secondary there! (So I'm excluding up-scale Godolphin and another which was the amalgamation of the girls convent, La Retraite and a boys prep called The Swan. No idea what it's called or what it's like now!).

The other issue is of course that, being a grammar area, the non-grammars are secondary moderns. I gather the girls one, St Edmunds, is good but I believe that's about it! I have no idea how strong academically your DD is but I'd say unless she's very, very clever (and obv. schooled up in NVR type tests!) she'd need to be in a private prep NOW to give her a chance of passing the 11+, for 2012 entry.

Personally, I had a good time at SWGS, though of course, being a GS, my reasonable intellect was distinctly average compared to many of the girls! The buildings were a bit grotty back then (and teh school was big- 1100 of us, loads of demountable classrooms which I believe are all gone now!). I recall Miss M the HM who was Mrs Thatcher's twin. Scary woman but I never had cause to cross her path! We had some exceptionally good teachers but of course many would've been taken to pieces in an inner city comp!

mrsrat Tue 12-Jul-11 13:32:33

Thanks for your comments. DD is currently home schooled as we took her out of private prep at Easter when we thought we were going to move and it didnt happen. My intention is to home school through the 11+. She is bright but we have been doing the tests and it is scary how much she differs day to day. One day she got 92% the next 64% . You are right about St Edmunds being the only alternative. Thinking Gloucestershire has more opportunity and only the VR tests as opposed to the English, Maths and VR at SWGS.
Private school now not an option so we really need to try and get into one if possible.

hels71 Tue 12-Jul-11 14:18:55

I have several friends whose daughters recently attended/attend SWGS. They are all very happy with it and the girls all went to state primaries near Salisbury.My DD has yet to start primary but going on what I have heard around here it would be my top choice for secondary for her if it stays as it is (and she seems suited academically of course!!)

overthemill Tue 12-Jul-11 14:53:51

ah miss matthews - those were the days...

my sister was at st edmunds and loathed it. i expect its all different now but as the only competition locally is the private girls schools you are right that it is fiercely competitive
good luck

erebus Wed 13-Jul-11 08:13:29

But St Eddie's was the only SM that got girls into SWGS 6th form, weren't they? Most of the other SMs were so dire...! Though my best friend's bro got into BWGS 6th from was it Westfield? West something!

erebus Wed 13-Jul-11 08:13:59

Westwood St Thomas! Just came to me!

saltyseadog Wed 13-Jul-11 08:17:37

Pates in Cheltenham is excellent. Many of the comps in Glos are excellent too: Balcarras in Cheltenham, Farmors in Fairford. Plus Kings School in Glos and grammar school in Stroud (can you tell I have a glos bias wink?).

erebus Wed 13-Jul-11 15:24:34

hels I'd have no doubt the parents of the girls who got into SWGS (assuming they weren't tutored to such a mad degree they were out of their academic depth when they got there...) would be delighted! The Prep School crowd have saved themselves £10k p.a for their DDs secondary ed, haven't they? Cos the sort of parents who prep to make as damn sure as possible their DD gets in to a GS aren't the sort who then accepts a SM as the alternative, are they?

And another factor is that the GS has no catchment so DDs do get driven for an hour from miles around to get there, so, where I live (30 miles from Salisbury but a)in Hants and b) in the catchment for an 'outstanding' comp) DCs do still 'try for the GS' with a solid Plan B in place.

erebus Wed 13-Jul-11 15:33:05

Sorry, hels, that came across as strident (GS ed for you wink). I think the point I'm making is that of course those on the inside of a selective system, whether they got in via being very clever and/or being prepped would be pleased, especially if you had spent ££ on prep school. You'd be thinking 'ReSULT', wouldn't you? But I think one needs to at least be aware that for every DC who gets in, there will be up to 9 who didn't (accepting that the 11+ is voluntary), so, unless you were happy with a SM (and I have heard St Edmunds is OK) you need a viable Plan B which for many is private, and for others is living faaaar away in the catchment of better comps.

hels71 Wed 13-Jul-11 18:18:34

Just to make it clear.....all the girls I know there went to state primary schools NOT prep schools (one of the primaries was in special measures even) They had a tutor for one term as that is all they could afford and they concentrated on the verbal reasoning mainly. All the girls are excelling has just left with top A level grades. My point being it is possible to get in without going to a prep school........

And if they hadn't got in their only option was the state comps as private was way out of the budget

sunithanjali Sat 28-Mar-15 07:05:02

Hi I live in Eastleigh in Hampshire and my DD has got admission in South Wilts. It will be a long journey for the child if we choose to go there. Also a bit confused whether the child will struggle among the very confident and bright students who would already know each other. DD got admission without tutoring, but with the support of couple of websites. Any advise please

Amy89 Tue 31-Mar-15 10:23:16

Its a highly competitive environment that while good for some has VERY negative MH issues for others.

Approach with care.

TeenAndTween Tue 31-Mar-15 11:39:41



sunit My advice would be put your name on the waiting lists for Thornden, the 3 Winchester schools and the 2 Romsey ones. As far as I understand it the Eastleigh ones are OK too. All that time and money spent commuting could be spent on tutors for specific subjects if felt necessary later on.

smokepole Tue 31-Mar-15 11:45:24

Don't Know the school 'But Mental Health Issues ' !.

Surely its only a good Grammar School not a Prison using 'Waterboarding' on its inmates.....

amy89 Tue 31-Mar-15 12:41:29

Big issues with it. Seriously.

kitnkaboodle Tue 31-Mar-15 13:32:43

Amy - then please tell us! I have a friend with a DD starting there in September. Delighted to get a place as she was quite far out of catchment. You can't just drop a bombshell like that ...

rebby Tue 31-Mar-15 20:32:51

Yes, I'd be interested to hear what issues Amy89 is referring to. I toured it and loved it - the girls seemed far more well rounded than many of the private all girls schools - less entitled and privileged I guess. What are the negatives?

Draylon Fri 03-Apr-15 09:13:51

rebby - cut'n'pasted this from the other SWGS thread you started!:

I have no first hand experience but my mother's neighbours have DDs there. Apparently it's considered academically excellent but rather hot-house, with lots of purist, driven pupils- which I guess is what you'd expect at a relatively super-selective girls grammar, hey?

One did say that it 'irritated' her a bit the way in which some Y7 parents were constantly up at the school, demanding individual teachers' time and attention and requesting weekly reports (!); but it was because these parents had been indie to 11+ (about 25% of the girls in her DD's class were ex-private) and therefore had different expectations to the state primary parents- I guess possibly inevitable if someone regards a state grammar school as being just like an indie- but free!

I don't think I would recognise the school I went to in 1973 any more! grin

Draylon Fri 03-Apr-15 09:18:36

sunit- well done your DD but I am actually amazed she got in to SWGS from Eastleigh! That's 25 miles, isn't it? A friend of mine who lives 19 miles away was advised that the previous year, the furthest (successful!) out was 13 miles away; and was also politely 'warned' that 19 miles might be considered to be 'unreasonable' as a journey.

Don't worry too much about her not knowing anyone, the DDs come from all sorts of different schools, being a GS.

sunithanjali Tue 05-May-15 17:11:21

Draylon- Thanks for the response. I think they had more seats this time.

bellababy Sun 20-Sep-15 22:23:23

My DD will sit the test for SWGS on Saturday. We are in Romsey so it will involves a train journey plus a walk from the station to school. I understand that Romsey students generally get in due to the the increased intake to 150. We have paid for her to be tutored but only because her Primary school haven't covered exam technique or VR and having sat several group mock exam its been well worth the money. We do have a back up plan should she not pass though. I'd love to hear from current parents with girls there now to find out what its like now.

lindsey077 Sun 20-Sep-15 23:03:22

Bellababy- if you don't mind me asking where is your second choice? My daughter is also sitting the swgs exam on Saturday but I'm really struggling for an alternative, our local school is trafalgar at downton which I wasn't bowled over with when we toured.

bellababy Mon 21-Sep-15 10:09:24

lindsey077 - DD will either go to Mountbatten or Romsey School. More likely Mountbatten and they teach a Grammer syllabus which is a plus. They have another open morning tomorrow I believe.

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