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RGS Guildford and Reading Grammar

(37 Posts)
Indy5 Tue 29-Oct-13 10:46:11

I am trying to distinguish the appreciable differences between these two ...i know there is an older thread from last year and I've looked through it but want to refresh the opinions visits were brief and from those and websites as far as I can glean:

RGS Guildford (from 11 or 13)

hear it's like a very good state grammar but private
15k a year fees
25% Oxbridge success
Very strong in maths and sciences - big plus
Sporty but no green fields on actual premises (a downside) - facilities less impressive than other indies at least onsite (not sure if redevelopment program is also affecting facilities from a noise standpoint?) and seems more cramped than Reading Boys
Pain to get to if DS has to stay late, otherwise he can take the train but less local so probably less likely to socialize with friends outside of school

Reading Grammar (from 11)

absolutely free
16% Oxbridge (not sure what subjects though - can't see from website)
not sure how sporty or all rounded it is - very limited info on website
nice green space on premises
I did wonder what they did if much after school re clubs etc.
a bit more local so more likely to have local friends from school

DS would like to have a decent shot at Oxbridge, and RGS look like they haver a nice number getting into Cambridge for Maths and Natural Sciences which is a BIG draw though but saving of fees at Reading boys would pay for some lovely summer science or activity camps overseas which is also something to think about.

Anyone else with the same quandary between good grammar and good indy who chose one way or the other ? Be interested in insight into how all rounded a boy can be at either school and what is relative mix of intake of state to private school boys.

Biggest question though I am asking myself, is the difference between the two appreciable enough to be worth 105k (more by the time he goes there) which is what it would cost taking into account another 7 years private school fees. I can't help thinking that that could be a nice deposit on a flat for DS in a few years time.

surreygoldfish Wed 30-Oct-13 19:23:48

I agree with racing heart, DS 1 at RGS and has a very quirky sense of humour and is definitely not a conformist. It suits him perfectly, much more so than his prep school did as his personality isn't squashed. He's also enjoyed sport MUCH more - it's very inclusive and open to all those that want to join in. Travelling to the sports ground hasn't bothered him at all - although I do think it's a shame they don't have more on site. He's naturally very laid back and works reasonably hard but it's no hot house for those that are bright. The boys do need to have 'some get up and go', there's lots extra on offer but it's very much left to them as to whether they take full advantage of it all.

He gets the train and loves the freedom and social element to it - we talked about moving to Guildford but he doesn't want to !

Sorry, don't know anything about Reading Grammar so can't compare.

DalmationDots Wed 30-Oct-13 21:55:20

Agree with the above, RGS is far from conformist and very accepting of the quirkier, quieter, less 'ladish' types (as well as the conformist, loud, ladish types!) It really does suit most boys as long as they are the right academic level.
What I found great is in my DS' year, as I said before, every boy found his group of friends who he was really comfortable with and who were his 'type' of people. But despite that, there was great acceptance and celebration amongst the boys of all the different characters in the year group. They didn't have to be a sporty type or very musical or very academic, they can be all or none of those things and still fit in. There are so many opportunities there to suit all types which IMO reflects their view that every boy deserves an array of opportunities and they aren't all expected to want to do rugby/play in the orchestra they can be into shooting or theatre or comedy or model railway and there will still be a society for them!

summerends Thu 31-Oct-13 05:37:11

Perhaps Tanith means more conformist teaching. I know of very sporty boys enjoying Reading. I imagine with both these schools the boys have to want to participate rather than needing a push to. The boarders at Reading do get more of a push. The advantage of these day schools is that it allows more flexibility for the very sporty (or very musical) to participate in county etc programmes. Reading have Saturday matches.

Tanith Thu 31-Oct-13 08:25:20

Oh dear! I'm sorry - I certainly didn't mean to insult your DS's! thanks

I think it was the teaching style that was meant. We were recommended to try Winchester instead and, I have to say, they were spot on. DS couldn't be happier. I don't think he would have fitted in as well at RGS.

DalmationDots Thu 31-Oct-13 09:17:18

I agree on the conformist teaching, but not a conformist whole school. Whinchester is probably less conformist on the teaching side as well as the activities on offer and atmosphere. No worries Tanith, you are bringing up a good point smile

Indy5 Thu 31-Oct-13 12:57:34

This is good feedback on DS is a bit of a non-conformist with quirky sense of humour and likes to question (not authority as such but ideas) I would hate to have him strait jacketed...but it sounds like that won't be an issue (though I did wonder to about Tanith's view), and there is plenty on offer music and sport wise, aside from the obvious focus on academics.

I did wonder if some go to state grammar til GCSEs then switch to Indy at sixth form (not because they do badly at GCSE but where they do well with say six As or more) as that could be another option.

Indy5 Thu 31-Oct-13 13:14:43


Glad to know your DS is happy there but curious to know why you think he wouldn't have been happy at somewhere like RGS...I mean Oxbridge looks for passion in subjects over and above A level curriculum and RGS must manage to aid that or presumably wouldn't succeed in getting so many in. I think RGS's results are really impressive and when you compare selection in the first place and questions like value add ...Winchester takes from so far afield and overseas so have a bigger pool to pick from (and likely a more arduous entrance test) being a well known boarding school whereas RGS is really drawing from local talent. Do you think Winchester would turn out a different "product" as a boy at 18 even though so many end up at the same uni and probably same courses as those from somewhere like RGS? (I am genuinely curious not being facetious here- so much of this personal decision for me and my DS is separating the mystique or my own subjective notions of a place from what might be the reality). I've been to Oxbridge so at least I know from the inside the reality that that offers (as far as my own subjective experience allowed that is!)

summerends Fri 01-Nov-13 13:19:29

Indy, I have DC both at a standard superselective day school and at Winchester. Not sure if Winchester has on average brighter children and the boys there may well (on average) achieve no more grades wise than children at schools such as Reading and Guildford. However they have much more fun exploring in their learning on the way guided by the type of teaching. They cover necessary material but a major amount of time is spent off curriculum either in div or in the other subjects. That sort of education would not be worth it for a child who did not like learning for its own sake. A self motivated, child with a passion for a subject would not need it to get to a competitive university course but would very much enjoy it.

racingheart Fri 01-Nov-13 18:24:06

Summer, I got the impression the same was true of the teaching at RGS. They teach what they find interesting and then top up with relevant curricular stuff for exams. That's what several teachers have told us. And my DC have learned utterly different things in Yr 7. There's clearly no formal outline as to how information should be taught or what materials should be used to teach it.

DH and I are both Oxbridge and it's the only school we walked into that felt like being back at university. There was an energy at RGS, you could feel the engagement and love of learning and the quick wit. My DC come home with so many tales of funny things other boys said. It is a particular sense of humour - very dry and offbeat, learned and quirky. You can see how Monty Python grew from an RGS mind.

DalmationDots Fri 01-Nov-13 22:16:13

I agree racingheart, but I believe Winchester is even more going away from the curriculum.

Agree about the atmosphere, there is really different feel there and such an atmosphere of striving to do well and following your interests. The boys humor is very distinct.
My DD is two years younger than DS and when she reached sixth form and groups of boys started appearing at our house for various social occasions, I could tell in an instant whether it was an RGS boy or not. Their sense of humour is so unique and I found (may just be the boys my DC socialised with) were incredibly polite and generally very caring.
DS had a party when he was 18 and at the time my DD was recovering from an operation upstairs, the boys came and asked me if the music was too loud for her trying to sleep and the next morning the house was cleared of bottles/mess without any prompting, thank you's were expressed and they were gone without any hassle. Having anticipated a night of having to be the embarrassing mother telling them to shh, I was gobsmacked at their courtesy.

Tanith Wed 06-Nov-13 07:45:32

Indy, I have to say we didn't even look at RGS.

DS's headmaster had recommended Winchester and given his opinion that RGS wouldn't suit him.

I might have gone to see RGS anyway (nearer, no boarding) if I hadn't also known two members of their staff, both of whom said RGS wasn't the school for him. I don't mean to offend those whose children are thriving there, but the reasons we were given by one of the staff were that it was too rigidly conventional for him. There was a lot of emphasis on curriculum and exam results, talking at the boys during lessons and quite passive learning styles promoted. I'm sorry - it's what one of them said and I knew DS wouldn't be happy.

DS is gifted with a real love of learning for learning's sake. He would probably have done well at RGS, as he would have done at any academic school, but it seems as though he belongs at Winchester and he is so happy there.

Indy5 Wed 06-Nov-13 11:37:48

That is interesting Tanith...I guess you have to find the right school for your child's personality and I know Heads have their own views...and I am not sure to be honest what would suit my DS who is the non-conformist questioning type (not in a bad way), I think I will keep an open mind and ask more questions nearer the time ...but at least seems to be very well thought of from the parents with DSs there who have replied so that is reassuring.

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