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Best state schools in Gloucestershire (Apart from Grammars)

(24 Posts)
mrsrat Mon 25-Jul-11 12:20:11

We are moving to Gloucestershire to try and get DD into a grammar but in case we dont, does anyone have any suggestions about good state schools in the county as we are flexible with location. I started working down the list of schools with Ofsted reports etc but I really need comments from people at the schools. Cirencester deer park school looks good on paper !

EllenJaneisnotmyname Mon 25-Jul-11 16:26:22

Where abouts? Cheltenham has lots of good comprehensives, which aren't compromised by too many grammar schools. Balcarras gets the best results but it's generally accepted that's only due to the pressurising of parents of children with special needs to 'look elsewhere.' Both Bournside and Cleeve are really good comprehensives. Pittville does less well and the new Academy, All Saints, is an unknown quantity, but isn't in a particularly good location. Winchcombe is small but friendly, but no sixth form. Chosen Hill is also good. Most of the comprehensives in Gloucester suffer badly from the grammar school system creaming off the top 30 - 40%. St Peters Catholic school in Gloucester is also good. Stroud has the same grammar school problem. Cotswold School in Bourton is also very good. HTH

mrsrat Mon 25-Jul-11 16:56:19

Thanks. I looked at Balcarras and it looked great. The problem is we cant move before January next year and we have to submit application for a place by 31st October this year. Winchcombe could be good as we hope to be able to do private for 6th form. We can more or less look for a house near any of them but arent guaranteed a place as we will be out of catchement at the application date. Thanks for the tip about the new academy. Will look at the other schools you recommended

EvilTwins Mon 25-Jul-11 17:03:49

Balcarras is good, but you practically have to live (in an overpriced and ugly house) on the doorstep to get in. Bournside also has a good reputation. I think you'll have to make a decision about where you want to live first, tbh. Deer Park is a good school, and I'd agree about Chosen Hill (in Churchdown but kids from the Hatherley area of Cheltenham go there) Other academies will be opening in the next few terms, so there will be lots of changes. I'd go for finding somewhere you want to live before looking at schools.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Mon 25-Jul-11 17:46:50

All the good ones are oversubscribed, TBH. Cotswold School seem to be the most flexible as they are a country school with lots of tiny village schools as their feeders and have quite a variation of intake from year to year. In a busy year they happily add an extra class. But for most if you aren't in catchment (ie really close to the school) by 31st Oct you'd only get a place in most on appeal, not guaranteed.

mrsrat Mon 25-Jul-11 19:23:53

OMG this is such a minefield. Am going to speak to school admissions tomorrow to find out when they actually decide places as maybe able to move by December. Hopefully that might giver us more flexibility. Thanks for posts and advice

EllenJaneisnotmyname Mon 25-Jul-11 19:42:10

After 31st Oct I think you're classed as an in-year application. Might be worth starting another thread to get someone like 'admissions' or similar to answer you on moving into an LA after Oct. They are usually really good with general advice on this sort of thing. Or pass the grammar tests, they don't care where you live.

mrsrat Mon 25-Jul-11 20:14:47

Yes passing grammar would solve all the problems. At least there are 4 to choose from !!!!!

jgbmum Mon 25-Jul-11 21:51:15

Just over the border in North Wiltshire you have Malmesbury school. Well worth considering.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Mon 25-Jul-11 22:46:04

Tick all 4 on the application form for the grammar test, to be handed in in September; one test and they'll share your results. Look on the Gloucestershire local page of the elevenplus forum website for lots of info on the grammar schools, which ones are harder to get into etc. Pates is the only co-ed but the hardest to get into. Good luck.

lbubbly Mon 01-Aug-11 17:14:32

I had recently read in the local news that Balcarras and Pittville have joined forces and shall be working together from Sept 2011 ,so might be a very interesting and positive outcome.I`ve also heard that the people who are refused Balcarras are now happily taking up places in Pittville because of the new system that will be in place from Sept.

Greenshadow Wed 10-Aug-11 23:00:41

Can recommend the Stroud schools. Thomas Keble in particular is well regarded.

depob Tue 23-Aug-11 23:41:59

The Cotswold is pretty good. Pates don't bother trying unless your child is very bright indeed or - if you live outside Cheltenham boundary in which case they will need to be genius level.

mottledcat Wed 24-Aug-11 10:11:12

Doesn't make any difference where you live for Pate's!

They take top 120 scorers regardless of distance (within reason of course, although some come as far as 30 miles away...).

therailwaychildren Fri 26-Aug-11 22:17:36

Not sure how it is these days but I went to Chipping Campden and it was a good solid comprehensive. Admittedly that was nearly 20 years ago but the results still look good to me. Not cheap to buy nearby, though.

peggyblackett Fri 26-Aug-11 22:23:38

The Cirencester schools are all good. Do look at Farmors in Fairford - lovely school and IIRC Ofsted Grade 1.

depob Sat 27-Aug-11 00:26:15

mottledcatYes that's what they say. I don't believe them. I know lots of kids there - out-of-towners need to be super bright.

Mowlem Sat 27-Aug-11 21:48:36

I second Peggy's recommendation of Cirencester schools and Farmors. Excellent schools, and we moved into catchment to get our DDs into one of these schools. My DDs are only at primary level, but all the mums seem very happy with our catchment secondary, thank God!

Gumps Sat 27-Aug-11 22:44:00

Taught at the Cotswold school for 3 years and I thought it was fantastic. Because of dh job we have moved a bit so I have taught in a few schools. It has an excellent ofsted and the relationship between staff and pupils is just fantastic. Dh is a self proclaimed snob, having been to public school, and he was so impressed by the behaviour and nauture of the pupils. Cleeve is also a great school, as is Balcarras.
I would avoid Pitville (bad rep and catchment) and Bournside. I did some supply there and while it is not a bad school as such it is so huge that pupils have a tendency to get 'lost'.
Also agree with another poster about Farmours being a good school too.

Schoolzone Wed 28-Sep-11 09:23:03

As a governor at Balcarras I can assure you that SEN children are most certainly NOT encouraged to look elsewhere. We have invested a huge amount in supporting our SEN children and are in the process of building a new facility for these students.

Balcarras succeeds because it takes care of its students and encourages each to perform to the best of its ability.

mizu Wed 28-Sep-11 20:53:07

From what I have heard Balcarras is a fab school and yes Bourneside is good but HUGE. I live in an area which covers both schools. I would much prefer my dc to go to Balcarras but will have to move to get in there. We rent and have never bought and probably will not be able to afford a house near enough to the school to guarantee a place.

Clareyst Sat 08-Oct-11 09:10:33

Hi mrsrat. We live nr Stroud and both of our dc go to the Stroud grammars. Of the other schools we looked at, Thomas Keble really stood out. We have a few friends who have sent children there and they have all done very well indeed. Also hear excellent things about Deer Park. Also, don't assume all the best state schools are oversubscribed - this has not always been the case in the last few years.

Re: the grammars, I would advise you to contact any grammars you are thinking of applying to direct about their admissions procedures, because I believe any schools which have fast-tracked recently to Academy status are quite entitled to change the way they manage admissions and testing at 11+ (although if your DD is currently yr6, you're probably safe from any changes!)

Another note re: the Stroud grammars - many people choose Pates because it's co-ed, (as well as it being excellent, top of the league tables etc.). Because the Stroud grammars are next door to each other, they do have a mixed orchestra, plays etc. and my children have both made an equal number of boy and girl friends through school. We didn't especially want to send ours to a single sex school but now (in yrs 8 and 11) I feel our fears about this were unfounded.

Good luck with it all!

mrsrat Sat 08-Oct-11 09:56:04

Thank you for all your comments and advice. It really is very helpful. DD sitting 11+ at this very moment. ( got everything crossed )

Bledkr Sat 08-Oct-11 10:13:02

You would really only get a place in Balcarras if you live very close its a smallish school and areas where people who used to get in are not as charlton Kings is getting bigger by the day.
Imo as a proffessional and a parent it succeeds due to the affluent catchment area and the fact that they exclude very quickly anyone who does not conform to their expectations.This can only get worse now they have academy status.

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