Oxfordshire Secondary Schools(24 Posts)
Hello I have a dilemma about secondary schools. My daughter is transferring from an independent school to a state school for Year 9 and has been offered a place at The Marlborough CE school in Woodstock, I appealed and subsequently she was offered a place at Matthew Arnold school in Botley. My other daughter currently in year 6 will be starting in one of these schools as well in September. I am relatively newish to Oxford and am keen on academic standards and school results so always want to carefully pick the right schools. Which of these schools is better suited to a very academic child, we live in Kidlington and so even though Matthew Arnold is further (6.4 miles) it will cost us £112 less per term to commute there than to The Marlborough which though it is closer at 3.8 miles will cost more to commute to. I do not want the transport costs to be the deciding factor.
Out of those two, probably Matthew Arnold. Not sure about the other one, I know someone who lives in Woodstock and choses to send her kids to a different school (Bartholomew I think).
Cherwell will probably be best for an academic child. Don't know much about Gosford Hill in Kidlington, but it might be worth a look too.
The best schools are most likely overdubscribed and hard to get into if you're not in catchment.
My friend put both of her children through Marlborough who have both done extremely well but as with pp another friends daughter decided to go to Bartholomew. She has done very well but in no way would i say it is a very academic school
and certainly has it's problems, however her eldest had gone right the way through at Headington, and the second eldest decided to move from Headington to Barts in mid Y9. Can't say much about Matthew Arnold as I don't know anyone who has personally sent their children there but if i'm correct it is highly sought after over subscribed every year so they must be doing something right!
Matthew Arnold seems to be second choice after Cherwell for those in catchment for both. I don't know anyone who would choose bartholomew over Matthew Arnold although I'm sure there are some. Can't comment in Woodstock schools as I'm nearer Abingdon.
I don't know either school well, but by reputation Matthew Arnold is strong academically, and Marlborough is praised for offering very good pastoral care. I think both are good schools, and will have sufficient numbers of bright kids for your dds to have plenty of like-minded peers.
Cherwell is virtually impossible to get into from outside of catchment, unless your child has a statement. I think Matthew Arnolds' results are pretty similar to Cherwell's anyway.
Rupert friend went to Marlborough! It worked for him...
Seriously though everyone where I live wants Marlborough or Gosford, is there something wrong with either of those that is making you look elsewhere??
If your daughter is already in year 6 haven't you already applied for September, if not you need to get an application in asap, but I think you need to be realistic about how much of a choice you have. As she will have a sibling at MA that may help her get in there, but as you have already missed the first round of allocations she may miss out. Don't bother trying to get in Cherwell as she has no chance of a place even if you had applied on time.
My very academic DS is at Matthew Arnold and loves it. He's doing very well there. We preferred MA to Cherwell when we looked round all the schools.
I have 1 ds in yr12 and 1 in yr9 at Marlborough and dd will follow in a few years. Generally happy ds1 did better than predicted (he has a statement) but will be interesting to see how ds2 does currently l7 l8 in most subjects. Both are very happy there which counts for a lot.
Don't know much about Cherwell but a friend visited recently with a view to her ds going into y7 and thought it really chaotic and noisy. They decided to stick with the Marlborough.
There will be a new principal/head teacher in September as the current one is retiring not sure what impact that will have.
The journey from Kidlington to Botley on a week day morning is horrendous. You might want to bare that in mind unless MA is considerably better than Gosford or Marlborough.
MA and The Marlborough are better than Gosford. I originally applied for the The Marlborough for both DD's in Year 6 and Year 8 and a place was offered. I then changed my mind and applied for MA and was refused a place. I appealed and the appeal was upheld for the DD in Year 8 my DD in Year 6 will have to wait till June for her appeal to be held as she starts in September. My DD in Year 8 seems to be keen on The Marlborough but the transport costs considering that my DD in Year 6 will also be going there will be £410 per term and to keep the children in the same geographical location, I will move my dd in year 1 to the Woodstock CE school so will then be paying £615 per term for them to commute to school. The parent organised bus that takes 15 minutes to get to the Marlborough from Kidlington refuses to take my dd in year 1 as they only pick secondary school children, this means that the children will have to use the public bus to commute which I am told takes an hour plus.
If they go to Matthew Arnold the termly fee for my DD's in years 6 and 8 will be £186 per term as against above and will mean that my DD in Year 1 can remain in St Aloysius School in Oxford. I need to weigh this against the need for an academic, stimulating and very challenging environment to suit my DD in Year 8. The chances are also that if we accept the Matthew Arnold place for my DD in Year 8 the the DD in Year 6 may not be successful in the appeal and will have to be on the continued interest list (though high up I am told as she will have a sibling in the school) so will have to go the Marlborough whilst we wait for a place to come through.
Sorry for the long story but it is driving me crazy and I am so scared of making the wrong decision especially as my DD in Year 8 has come from Oxford High school and is sold on The Marlborough from looking through their website. We will be viewing both schools tomorrow and doing a practice run on the public transport to Woodstock to see how long it will take.
The thing about Cherwell and probably Matthew Arnold is that they have more kids come and go due to the transient nature of Oxford - with the University and all that. So you might have a higher chance of getting a place if you apply mid year.
Not sure if Marlborough is so much better than Gosford that it justifies the long trip, but then again, I don't know much about them.
Yes the long trip is a downer. I was impressed with Matthew Arnold's 2013 6th form destinations
To add to the confusion Woodstock CE school almost opposite the Marlborough is fantastic
Would def recommend the primary school mine have all thrived there.
Are you able to drive to Woodstock rather than use public transport? There is a breakfast club at the primary school.
I cant drive there as I have to leave for work in Reading
Would you consider moving closer to Matthew Arnold in the near future? Location-wise it will be better for driving to Reading.
A childminder in Woodstock for early drop off could be an option
Hi Merry I travel in and out of Oxford for work and school run, it may be worth trying the journey on a Monday morning term time, my half hour journey frequently takes an hour. That may help inform your decision.
How does your dd feel about leaving OHS?
Suprisingly my DD is ok about leaving OHS, I think she decided to spin it around and do her best to stand out in whatever school she ends up in. I think it toughened her and made her resolve to achieve what she would have achieved in OHS if her mum had the money in any other school. So I pray and will watch and see
Personal experience of Marlborough is not good. Currently in process of moving children out of the school, wish I had sent them to Bartholomew's in Eynsham or Matthew Arnold. In my view it needs an Ofsted inspection as last report refers to the previous leadership team and is not reflective of the current situation.
I have all 3 DC at Gosford Hill. Head has been on post just over a year.
My DC frequently come home saying they had supply teachers for certain lessons. They also report a lot of pupil behaviour issues which seems to be ongoing and gives me the impression that it isn't stamped on. In fact my own DS had a penknife pulled out on him in Year 7. School never kept us informed of outcome, lad left the school but not sure whether he was expelled or left out of choice.
Turnover of staff seems high but tbh I have nothing to compare that to. Hard teaching in Oxfordshire as house prices are so high. Most teachers at Gosford seem to do their NQT year there then move on.
I know a few members of staff socially, one has a child at the school and she tells me that when her DC is old enough for 6th form she is moving her DC to Cherwell. Doesn't fill me with lots of confidence for the school.
My DD who is due to go into Y11 in September wants to leave Gosford and go to Sixth Form elsewhere as she is so fed up with behaviour issues at the school. However I have pointed out that "the grass isn't always greener"... so not really sure any other school is really any better.
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