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Can you please recommend a good secondary school near to Marlow?

(23 Posts)
Dinglebert Tue 09-Oct-12 11:04:42

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. (PS: (This is similar to another post I have, but looking near Sunbury - pls don't think it is the same one)

blondefriend Tue 09-Oct-12 20:55:57

If he's very academic then you might want to have a look at the grammar schools (Borlase in Marlow or John Hampden, Royal Grammar in High Wycombe) but none of them will have spaces at this late stage. Occasionally they might be able to take an individual in Year 8 so you can only ask. Your other choice is to send him to another school for a couple of years and apply for the Year 9 intake. There is Desborough Comprehensive in Maidenhead or Great Marlow (state) or some lovely little independents (Claire's Court for example). Good luck.

difficultpickle Tue 09-Oct-12 21:48:39

Other independents worth considering are Shiplake (up to 18), Davenies and Caldicott (both up to 13), Reading Blue Coats (11-18) (definitely has a bus from Cookham which is near Marlow).

From the description of your son it would be worth looking at Blue Coats if you are considering independent.

difficultpickle Tue 09-Oct-12 21:52:37

Forget Caldicott, it has compulsory boarding from year 7.

Dinglebert Tue 09-Oct-12 22:18:56

Thanks for all those - that's helpful. RGS were helpful when I spoke to them and they allocate on exam results. It's so hard to evaluate just how academic he is compared to the grammar school standards. He got scholarships to local good independents here, but that may mean nothing.

Blondefriend - what are Desborough and Great Marlow like?

difficultpickle Tue 09-Oct-12 22:26:25

GM used to have a very poor reputation but not sure whether that has changed in the last couple of years. Desborough has just become an Academy and has a link to Radley College. According to this it appears to have lots of spare places, unless I have misunderstood the allocation. Not a school I would choose either.

I know boys who passed the entrance exam to Bluecoats but failed the 11+. I think the current best grammar school appears to be John Hampden, although it is boys only. Borlase has a reputation of poor pastoral care and insistence on external tutoring. We are in catchment but I wouldn't send ds there.

Dinglebert Tue 09-Oct-12 22:28:53

Thanks Bisjo. This is depressing!

difficultpickle Tue 09-Oct-12 22:36:21

I think the first thing you need to do is decide which area you are looking in. I can't imagine anything worse than having dcs settled at new schools and having to uproot them. Is it not possible to keep them where they are until space at your chosen school becomes available, ie the person with the job moves to the area and the other person and children stay behind and seeing them at weekends. Not ideal but may be better than just taking the first school that has space.

HappyTurquoise Wed 10-Oct-12 13:28:31

My husband turned down Eton to go to Desborough (he did alright, went to Cambridge!) However, he says Desborough has really gone downhill and wouldn't want to send a child there. From what I can tell from family and friends in the area, there is a wide gap between state schools and grammar schools in the area.

We have a niece at Sir William Borlase (actually, my dad went there, and his uncle before that) which is a great school, and if you can get your son in there, I'd recommend it. My niece had a pastoral issue there which was dealt with very well. It is tough to get in, the entrance exam is hard, but your son sounds as though he would fit in, if he passes the exam.

Sympathique Wed 10-Oct-12 16:41:21

and I've heard good things about Reading Bluecoats too. So hard for you, all the best

fait Wed 10-Oct-12 17:02:15

My son moved (from the Bedford thread schools being discussed) to Borlase. I am delighted with the Pastoral care so far. I have twice been contacted by the head of KS3 to discuss two incidents where she thought my son may have been bullied (he wasn't - just boy type accidents). I would never have thought of contactingthe school about these, and was impressed at the speed they wanted to nip things in the bud.

At the moment I don't feel the need for external tutoring but of course this may well change as you go up through the school. There is a lot of extra curricular sport as well as clubs for a whole host of different activities - so not much time for extra tutoring!

I am delighted with the school in the few weeks he has been there, and he loves the place. The 11+ is the same exam at the moment for ALL the GS in Bucks - so it is no harder for Borlase than anywhere else.

I do know that 3 or 4 children did not take up their places at the last minute - assume that the waiting list children were informed, although some may have decided that they were happy where they were. No harm in approaching the schools to find out.

Dinglebert Wed 10-Oct-12 23:07:20

Thanks. Such a shame that we didn't know about this a year ago as will have missed the boat on grammar schools where DS needs to be.

difficultpickle Wed 10-Oct-12 23:10:47

Borlase has the reputation of having a quiet but firm word with parents re the requirement for extra tutoring. I have heard it from a number of unrelated sources (all parents at the school). I've not heard the same about John Hampden (which would be my choice if ds did the 11+). No idea if that is because dcs are tutored to get in and then can't keep up or whether it is because Borlase are keen to maintain their place in the league tables.

I see Desborough boys every morning and on the whole they seem a scruffy bunch but no idea what the teaching is like. I also wonder if it will improve now it has become an academy.

I know people with dcs at Furze Platt who seem happy.

fraktion Wed 10-Oct-12 23:14:22

Borlase has just had an almighty kick up the backside on pastoral care. It remains to see whether it will last, but it used to be shocking. Definitely a culture of tutoring though and the agency run by a teacher from there makes a pretty penny from it.

Great Marlow is improving but I wouldn't send a quiet/sensitive/academic type there.

It's worth contacting all the schools in the area to see if they have space. If you're moving in someone may well be moving out for another reason.

Gillets in Henley was a good school pastorally but not brilliantly hot academically.

fait Thu 11-Oct-12 10:33:36

I can only speak about what I have seen so far, and the pastoral care has been way above what I had expected from a state school. If they have had a kick and put new processes in place, then good for them - certainly not something for which they should be criticised!

I am not keen on Great Marlow - the children from both GM and SWBGS
schools walk past my house each day ...

I think it would be helpful to find where may have spaces and work on it from there perhaps?

daisydoodoo Thu 11-Oct-12 10:38:44

ds2 will be attending Blue coats unless he passes his 11+ which would then be Reading Boys. xh will be paying as ds2 is bright and academic, it seemed a very good school on our visit and am secretly hoping he doesnt pass the 11+ so that he can attend the school.
We live close by though so transport wouldn't be an issue.
Will you be living in Marlow? As there are lots of surrounding areas that are good too and a lot more for your money.

Dinglebert Thu 11-Oct-12 14:56:58

We don't have anywhere definite to live yet Daisy - just having a look at local areas but have always loved Marlow and surrounding area.

Fait - I have written to the council but will have to wait 10 days for a reply.

fraktion Thu 11-Oct-12 15:28:56

If that was to me fait I wasn't criticising. Just saying that it is very true that it used to be awful and there has been a big change recently. That said it's worth bearing in mind that it takes more than just policies and the effort on the part of a few teachers to see whether the culture of the school/staff as a whole will change.

fraktion Thu 11-Oct-12 15:35:29

If that was to me fait I wasn't criticising. Just saying that it is very true that it used to be awful and there has been a big change recently. That said it's worth bearing in mind that it takes more than just policies and the effort on the part of a few teachers to see whether the culture of the school/staff as a whole will change.

Honestyisbest Thu 11-Oct-12 15:42:14

Hi Dinglebert, our son passed the Bucks 11 plus, but we decided to go indie and he is thriving at Magdalen College School, Oxford. There are buses from various places not too far from Marlow. Also if you want flex boarding, Abingdon is a fab school.

difficultpickle Thu 11-Oct-12 20:43:46

Dingle have you tried calling the schools you are interested in? When I was made redundant last year and had to have a think about school fees I called our local schools to check whether they had space or expected to have space soon. All the school secretaries I spoke to were very helpful.

daisy Bluecoats had an entrance exam that is supposed to be very competitive.

daisydoodoo Fri 12-Oct-12 09:42:10

yes, ds has sat the entrance exam. we do have other schools on the list, but its the non fee grammar, followed by blue coats (he has several friends going as well), leighton park and then to forrest which is an all boys local comp, but with good results. ds2 is more than capable of acheiving fantastic results and thrives well when being pushed to work harder. He has a tendancy to be laid back if not pushed so want somewhere that will push and not accept the minimum effort.

Dinglebert- good luck with the move.

Spinderella42 Wed 24-Oct-12 14:47:33

Just a note about Borlase, I have two boys there one of whom went to a Bucks primary and I have never had any contact with Borlase about coaching for the 11+ or otherwise. In fact Borlase is one of the local grammars dropping out of the current 11+ test because it is coachable. They want a test where coaching will have little effect. My son is in the bottom set for maths and it has never been suggested to me that I need to pay for a tutor. The school is always very popular but you may get a place in Yr 9 when they take 20-25 extra. This will involve a late entry exam.

As for pastoral care, I have been a parent there for 5 years and have been happy with the way any issues have been dealt with. 10 years ago this might have been different but I have always found it to be a caring, nurturing school and my child is not a top student!

But you would need an address first and then contact Bucks CC. Unfortunately there are no guarantees. Good luck with any decision you make.

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