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Help!!! Need advice on Good secondary or independent school in Chelmsford!!(15 Posts)
There is a possibility of me and my soon to be 12 year old son to chelmsford due to work, this summer and I urgently need to find a placement for him in a good state or private school in the area. He is currently in a small independent prep school in Oxfordshire. A smaller school with good pastoral care will be great for him I think. I've already ruled out the local grammar school for him and looking at other available options.. Also, moving as a single parent to a new area so any advice on where is best to live, etc in Chelmsford will be appreciated please. I would prefer to live somewhere where I don't feel isolated and am able to walk to town etc.. But also thinking that it will have to be in a catchment area to a good state school... Oh, the stress . Please help! Any advice will be greatly appreciated!! Thanks
The main secondary private schools I know are Felsted (v.expensive, long days, and apparently good pastoral care and good with children who need extra support), New Hall (I understand it has good pastoral care, has become quite popular, beautiful setting) and Brentwood (large private school around 20/30 mins away from Chelmsford, raising its academic profile, very sporty). I don't know the state secondaries in Chelmsford just in Brentwood - a problem in Chelmsford/Essex is that the grammar schools do tend to cream off the more academic children and so the ordinary state schools can suffer. As well as KEGs (the grammar in Chelmsford) there are two other grammars Westcliffe and Southend who have become more popular lately but I don't know what openings/waiting list they have.
Just wondering what it is about KEGS that means you have ruled it out for your DS as that might give us more of an idea of where to suggest. It's 15 years since I went to school in Chelmsford but KEGS is still a good school.
State schools that I know of in Chelmsford are Moulsham High School, The Sandon School, Chelmer Valley, St John Payne (Catholic), Boswells, Great Baddow. Think most are pretty good but not sure how many will have spaces.
If you can look a bit further afield there is a new Free School in Brentwood - Becket Keys which is small - current year 7 at around 130 (first cohort), and they definitely would have room.
Private options as posters above have said; New Hall, Brentwood School, Felsted. Grammars are not easy to get into as require certain 11+ scores, but not sure how it works for year 8+ entry.
In terms of where to live, I don't know Chelmsford very well, but lots of nice areas and villages nearby plus Brentwood, Ingatestone, Billericay all very easy in terms of commuting.
Thank you so much for your replies!! Trazzletoes, the KEGS sounds wonderful but I don't think it will suit my son in terms of his academic abilities. Our current school is highly academic and he is doing well, on an average level for the school performance and above average nationally. However, he finds it very stressful and although I want him to achieve, I don't want him to lose confidence. Thats my main concern. Plus, I don't think we will get in, not with the long waiting list and the stringent selection process..
Thanks booksteensandmagazines! I will definitely look into Felsted and Brentwood!
Any views on Boswells and Moulsham schools? I've noticed the Boswells is rated good by ofsted but it looks like a very large school. Anyone has a first hand experiences with their kids in these schools?
I know a child at Beckett Keys in Brentwood - just started this year so only got the current year 7 class - very strong pastorally but it is very much a Church school and there is no history. Have heard good things about it though.
Stock is a lovely village - pubs, cricket, football, etc. I know children there who attend New Hall. No train line though. Ingatestone very nice and with amenities and train. There is Anglo European School in Ingatestone but varied comments about it - its an IB school.
Only know Moulsham and Boswell from sports matches so of no use to you!
My nieces and nephews attend(ed) Boswells. They think it is a great school and have been very happy there. Niece did not take the 11 plus, however she got 6 A* and 3A and a B at GCSE, then 2A and 2B at Alevel at Boswells.
Sandon is a great school too. I was very impressed when I looked round. Great Baddow had a great set of results this year too. Chelmer Valley is a top comp too and excellent if you are in Broomfield, the Waltham etc.
I have lived in Chelmsford for 20 years, and have children at local schools and teach locally too. Feel free to private message me if you want further advice.
I don't think there is a bad school (state or independent) in Chelmsford
Wow, thank you everyone!! Breward I might take you up on your offer and send you a private message if everything works out with the job!!
Never actually visited Chelmsford, still doing google research. Looks like the rental properties are quite affordable, more so than here in Oxfordshire. My interview is at the end of June so will look around then. What is it like to live there? I've spent the last 18 months in the village location but felt isolated. I much prefer the city life, or at least a town with lots to do. Thinking of living close to centre so I could get out more often and make friends. I like the fact that it is so easy to get to London as I have friends there. Although dont think I will be going there every weekend. Looks like Boswells is also close to the centre?
Chelmsford is definitely not a city (even though it officially is!) It feels like the county town that it is.
Boswells is probably one of the most highly-rated comps but to be fair they are all reasonable. It is a 10 min drive or so from town. The grammars are the only secondary schools that are near the town (although Moulsham is not far).
Old Moulsham is a very nice area if you are looking for somewhere in walking distance of town. I believe there you would be in the catchment area for Moulsham High School which is a good school.
The best school in Chelmsford if your DS is bright and you want a strong all round education, is New Hall School, which is the only independent senior school in Chelmsford. Hugely popular and top performing, with good reason. Check out the website and go and take a look. You will be blown away. Generous scholarships and bursaries too, if the fees are an issue. As a single parent, if you are looking to make new friends, you won't find a friendlier, livelier or more supportive group of parents, teachers and students anywhere. Fabulous parents association (my best friend and neighbour are members), running great social and charitable events all year round. Also, the school runs a wonderful voluntary service programme, which is a charity the school set up over 30 years ago. Top performing sports teams in the region and one of the best schools for performing arts too.
My DD is at Brentwood Ind and I cannot praise it more highly. She started there in year 10 having come from a smaller independent school in Billericay (by the way- don't be tempted-it's beyond awful) and has done so well. The pastoral care is wonderful. Sports and performing arts are amazing and they get great results. They also do the IB in the VI form.
I have heard mixed reviews about New Hall- one parent I know thought it was wonderful for all the reasons stated above but I have heard of a few parents who moved their DCs from there due to poor pastoral care/ bullying . Also you need to be aware it is a catholic school- you don't need to be catholic to get in but I know they have a strong catholic ethos.
I have hear good things about Great Baddow High school if grammar is not an option- it's a sports college and gets good results.
Another to consider might be the Anglo European school in Ingatestone (on the outskirts of Chelmsford.)
Billericay has two good state schools- Loads of DDs friends go to the Mayflower High which gets good results and they are good at catering for bright DCs. Billericay High is also highly thought of but results not quite so good as the Mayflower.
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