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We need a secondary school commutable to Sunbury on Thames - for late Yr 7 entry.

(17 Posts)
Dinglebert Tue 09-Oct-12 10:44:13

We have a very academic, quiet but sociable, sensitive boy (who doesn't like sport much) and need to find a nurturing secondary school that would suit. Unfortunately he has already started Yr 7 in a new school (this is due to unexpected job relocation) , so we would need to get him into a school as a late Yr 7 entry.

I have no idea how to go about this and don't know the schools in the area - can anyone help?

Many thanks.

Copthallresident Tue 09-Oct-12 17:20:56

State or private?

I cannot advise on your most local state schools, you will need to talk to your local authority about where has spare capacity. Around here parents care about education and good schools tend to be oversubscribed and may also have waiting lists, though you can be lucky. Not everyone wants to move DC mid term. If there are spaces there may be a reason, so you will need to loook at OFSTED, academic results etc. Twickenham Academy, up the A316 (and actually on the A316, a fairly quick drive even in the rush hour) has spare capacity. It was Whitton School and has had a lot of money pumped into it as an academy by it's Scandinavian sponsor, including a rebuild that is on it's way to completion. It's sponsor has introduced it's own educational methods. There was a lot of (secret) cynicism from the teachers there but so far parents in younger year groups are positive about their experience of the changes at the school (both feedback from grandparents I know and there is a thread on here). However there is a problem with discipline in older age groups. It is judged by Ofsted as making satisfactory progress in improving to a good rating but the latest set of GCSE results weren't as dramatically improved as the results at other local improving schools. I doubt though that many pupils will come from as far afield as Sunbury, that drive may be fine at 9am but at 9pm when DS has a social life?

Tiffin Boys is your only local state selective, plenty of threads on here to show the parental desperation to get in, I can't imagine any chance of a late entry.

The private schools that are most popular will have had more applicants than they could cope with as well. Kingston Grammar School and Hampton ( has a Sunbury bus ) would be long shots but you also have Claremont Fan, St, James's and Reeds that have a less competitive entry and may have places. The first two have a non mainstream religious backdrop that you may wish to research (threads on here) A very good friend has a boy in Year 7 who is loving St James's and their move to the lovely buildings of what was formerly St Davids in Ashford must be beneficial.

I hope this helps, moves into the unknown are always difficult.

Dinglebert Tue 09-Oct-12 20:41:59

Thanks so much Copthallresident - that is very helpful. It is a very distressing situation as we have worked really hard to get them into outstanding schools where we are now (incl DS who has just settled in senior school) only to have this job move pushed on us.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Tue 09-Oct-12 20:56:34

I wouldn't touch St James with a ten-foot pole tbh. The cult they are backed by are seriously weird: www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2149044/The-cult-stole-childhood-She-grew-outwardly-normal-suburban-home-But-closed-doors-Lauras-life-ruled-tyrannical-guru.html

Claremont is Christian Science, but I am not clear how that affects the way they do things.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Tue 09-Oct-12 21:06:30

Reed's I believe is likely to be your best nurturing private option.

Also there is RGS Guildford mentioned recently here as a school for the non-sporty boy, but must be very bright and not much explicit nurturing. Half-an-hour by train from Hersham/Walton-on-thames station.

Kings College School is another possibility in the private sector with direct trains to Raynes Park & Wimbledon from Sunbury. I have heard it has nurturing qualities. It is very selective I believe.

Hall School, Wimbledon is between Raynes Park and Wimbledon and is non-selective and apparently nurturing.

Knowsabitabouteducation Tue 09-Oct-12 21:28:55

The closest independent boys' school to Sunbury is Halliford, just along the river in Shepperton. This is a non-selective school and may have places. The other independent schools nearby will undoubtably be full for Y7 but always worth a quick phone call.

As for state schools, Bishop Wand in Sunbury is probably about the best, but nothing to get excited about. St Paul's Catholic is also fine. Sunbury Manor and Feltham Community Schools don't have great reputations, and Thomas Knyvett is best avoided.

Dinglebert Tue 09-Oct-12 22:15:36

Thanks all, very, very helpful.

Reed's is literally twice the price of very good independents where we are now.

springrain Tue 09-Oct-12 22:21:48

DB take a look at Thomas Knyvett too. This year is the first year of results under their new management team and they became one of the most improved schools in the country when their GCSE results were published. My DC go to the school they are partnered with which is outstanding and they are working to do the same there - which is essentially what their 2012 OFSTED report says too.

Dinglebert Tue 09-Oct-12 22:27:39

Thanks Springrain, will do.

bettys Tue 09-Oct-12 22:31:09

Don't know where you are right now but Reed's is on a par price-wise with other Independents in the area. Their fees also have breakfast, lunch and other extras built in. Ds goes there and I can confirm it is a lovely, nurturing school.

Copthallresident Tue 09-Oct-12 23:48:15

Dinglebert I realise I may have misread your OP. If you are prepared to live in the catchment area of an outstanding school commutable to Sunbury on Thames (as opposed to a school commutable from S on T) it is a slightly different proposition. There are OFSTED outstanding schools in Twickenham (Orleans Park) and Teddington. They will have waiting lists but you would rise up those the nearer you were to the school, and spaces do seem to come up. You would need to contact London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames to find out the situation but they are very helpful to parents and will advise you where you would need to live. Housing is expensive though but as outer London living goes I think it is as good as it gets!

However I am sure there are outstanding schools further out that you could move near too, and housing in general gets better value the further out you go. I would say from friends who have moved into the area that generally schools dictate houses rather than the other way around.

At least the A316/ M3 provides you with a bigger accessible area.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Wed 10-Oct-12 00:45:25

Reed's are expensive to be fair - £16.3k for Y7 and Y8 but then £20.4k for Y9-Y13.

St George's are £13.5k and then £15.5k, Hampton £15k with lunches, Kingston £15k. RGS are £14k.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Wed 10-Oct-12 00:58:19

Oh and yes if you want to commute to Sunbury, then it makes sense to live further out than Sunbury.

Somewhere like Addlestone is a straightforward journey with relatively affordable housing.

Gordon's School, in West End, is close to the M3 for easy access to Sunbury, they do (state) boarding here, I wouldn't have thought you'd get a place but maybe you could persuade them of a need for boarding, or go on the waiting list or something.

One option you might consider is to go for a prep school, these are cheaper than senior schools (£13k is pretty much standard), you shouldn't have too much difficulty finding a place.

You'd then have two options:

* give notice at Easter, to move on in Y8, hoping for a place to come up at your chosen catchment waiting list school, and if it doesn't then hope they would allow your child to continue into Y8 (it's likely but not assured)
or
* don't give notice, and then if you get a place for Y8 just pay the term's fees in lieu (so about £4k - not a big deal compared with the cost of private education to 18)

Prep schools are for 3-13 or 5-13 or 7-13, so you are in what should be a more sensitive, sheltered environment than a senior school.

Copthallresident Wed 10-Oct-12 07:27:06

Thanks Skippy, I was trying to remember the name of the school my friend sent her slightly wayward daughter to from Camberley/ Bagshot. It was Gordons. It has a military history and values it's traditions and ceremony. The structure and rigour worked very well for my friend's daughter who ended up in the band etc and ultimately a RG university.

Annelongditton Wed 10-Oct-12 12:17:59

Dinglebert, don't write off Halliford just because its results are not as good as the selective schools around. They have a pretty open admissions policy, if you take that into account their results are impressive. They also have small class sizes, a good reputation for nurturing and for providing one to one attention when it is needed. All this is known to those who live locally, but I'm worried that you'll just look at the results and dismiss it, it is definitely a school you should visit. Denmead send quite a few to Halliford, and the parents rave about it.

Dinglebert Wed 10-Oct-12 16:47:21

Thanks so much everyone.

florenceuk Wed 10-Oct-12 17:14:29

We have also heard nice things about St Johns but its fees are probably on a par with Reeds (co-ed though). We liked Reeds when we looked round, great facilities, no-nonsense sensible headmaster and nice pupils who coped with DS's peculiar questions very well.

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