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Harrogate Secondary Schools Please Spill!

(43 Posts)
victorianhomedreamer Mon 08-Dec-14 16:54:52

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victorianhomedreamer Mon 08-Dec-14 17:16:44

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Greengrow Mon 08-Dec-14 17:58:42

Our relative who lives there sends the children here - They love it.

victorianhomedreamer Mon 08-Dec-14 17:59:26

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MochaMeltdown Mon 08-Dec-14 18:09:58

I went to St Aidan's smile so I heartily approve! Ok it was 20 years ago but as far as I can tell it's reputation has only got better and better. However there are several secondary schools in Harrogate (at least 5 state schools), so if you really want either Aidan's or Fisher's I'd recommend living fairly close (eg) Hookstone, Oatlands, Wheatlands Road areas to increase your chances. Harrogate Grammar has also got a good reputation.

Harrogate is a lovely town - I love it because it's reasonably safe, accessible by road and rail, the town centre is walking distance from most residential areas and there's lots to do. It's the dream for us - we're in Leeds at the moment!

cathpip Mon 08-Dec-14 18:12:55

Harrogate is lovely, there is a lot of wealth about though, but everyone is still nice and I have found mainly that it's not snobby, but there is the odd exception to the rule smile. Apart from harrogate high school (although I do believe this is vastly improving) all the secondaries are very good. I know children at Aidens, Rossett and the Grammer who have all done/doing very well. I moved from Wiltshire up here about 10 years ago and love it, so much so that I don't miss where I grew up at all.

Poisonwoodlife Mon 08-Dec-14 19:04:27

I would study the admissions criteria very hard, they are both very oversubscribed and I think there may be a split between different Parishes, so living close isn't necessarily going to secure a place. In the outer villages there are families desperately looking to amass the necessary points at the right churches, for entry for years before. The LA should be able to advise on what chances you would have of getting in.

Apparentlychilled Mon 08-Dec-14 19:09:14

I'm in ilkley and love it. Harrogate is a bigger town but the train to Leeds is slow, so I understand. The Leeds-ilkley train is better, I think. Schools around here are great (ilkley Grammar plus other state options in Skipton) or Gsal or bgs if private if your thing. Both are great towns.

victorianhomedreamer Tue 09-Dec-14 09:38:04

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foxyterrier197 Tue 09-Dec-14 09:48:00

Watching with interest, as hoping to make the same move next year. Would need to find a place for my eldest DD starting in Year 9 next September... which is worrying. Was hoping for Ilkley Grammar, but seeming unlikely. Rosiest have been encouraging and helpful though!

foxyterrier197 Tue 09-Dec-14 09:49:38


Poisonwoodlife Tue 09-Dec-14 12:24:10

St. John Fisher also to my knowledge gives priority to children not just attending the churches but also coming from the Catholic Primary Schools serving the outlying villages. I really would talk to the Council before getting your hopes up. I do know local people who have planned their strategy for getting places for years.

If you think your children are likely to be bright enough there is Ripon Grammar School, a selective entry state grammar but obviously entry is according to the 11+ racket and increasingly parents are tutoring for it. I don't think anyone has mentioned Ashgrove, a not particularly selective private school. Parents are happy but if your child is academic you will tend to go to GSAL or BGS.

I know lots of people who grew up in Harrogate and the outlying areas, and didn't have the problems you mention but it would be naive to think that just because it is relatively affluent (not entirely, there are some areas of relative deprivation) no teen is going to go off the rails / develop problems. They do. It has a lot to do with personality, and parenting, and the crowd they get in. There are opportunities everywhere as your family found out.

As with everywhere these days there is a lack of places to go until 18, so social life is parties, supervised to varying extents hmm then there are some clubs as well as pubs, the conferance centre supports a lot of the town's nightlife. Someone died after an assault in a Harrogate pub recently but the shock within the community probably reflects how unusual it is compared to the bigger cities (which are of course just a train ride away).

I hope I am not coming over as negative, harrogate is a lovely town to grow up in, and I would have liked my DDs to grow up there, mainly to keep them grounded from the materialism and exclusive behaviour they encountered in private schools in London. However it is a northern town and therefore you will not escape the problems you find in other towns, difficulty in school admissions, especially for those moving in, the normal problems teens now encounter etc.

victorianhomedreamer Tue 09-Dec-14 12:32:57

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Poisonwoodlife Tue 09-Dec-14 14:11:25

Victorian I have no idea. I completely agree that the behaviour of these alpha groups in these private schools make your toes curl but as you must know as a teacher there are alpha exclusive groups in all schools, which manifests itself in whatever attention seeking ways prevail there. My DDs attended one of those schools but thought that the ones that behaved like that were stupid attention seekers and had no time for them (though one had problems as a result of being targeted by a particularly dysfunctional bunch), and made lovely friends. I suspect that if you have bought your children up to be grounded and that is part of their identity then they will be equipped to resist those pressures, unless they have a personality that makes them vulnerable.

I do though think that in Harrogate you would have had fewer pupils from those very affluent dysfunctional families and now both my DDs are at uni, at very different ends of the country (but not the ones favoured by the rah set) they are enjoying being with people from different backgrounds with like values. However they are from all over the country, including London. And my DDs school friends have been from different cultures and countries to a much greater extent than they would have been in Harrogate, which has in itself been a great experience (the best three years of their education were three years overseas).

I would just beware of thinking moving will be the answer to your prayers, when perhaps the answer lies at home, wherever that is.

Perhaps you should be thinking more about how nice to live in a lovely town in one of the most beautiful parts of the country smile

Greengrow Tue 09-Dec-14 14:37:28

Harrogate is lovely. I don't think my relative finds the Leeds Grammar - (private) snobby or anything like described (and nor are the very academic private schools near London my children went to/go to like the description above). I believe that school has a coach from Harrogate to Leeds but I am sure there are good state schools too in the area as people are saying. It sounds like you want a good state schools and I bet Harrogate has more choices than some poorer areas and it is a really lovely town. They certainly looked very careful into where to send the children. The A levels are pretty good too, may be better than the state schools.

I doubt as someone else said above you get anything like the racial mixing you get in London private schools but that just reflects the area and is neither here nor there - children are children everywhere.

I bet it's hard to generalise over community though as some people everywhere will be snobbish and some make links with community and others don't. I think it must be fairly easy to fit in particularly once you are connected to a school.
I always enjoy visits there.

fruitpastille Tue 09-Dec-14 14:52:45

I went to ilkley grammar and there were none of the issues you are concerned about but it was a long time ago! I know someone who works as a teaching assistant there who I might be able to quiz...she seems pretty positive about it. Nightlife for teenagers would be better in Harrogate I should think.

trice Tue 09-Dec-14 15:03:46

St Aidens is a lovely school. The pastoral care is excellent and the community spirit is great. Harrogate Grammar gets good results academically and Rosset has been a great fit for my friends dcs with a warm and supportive atmosphere. Harrogate high is being rebuilt and will soon be a multi million pound purpose built school. You can't go wrong in Harrogate really.

victorianhomedreamer Tue 09-Dec-14 19:05:46

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trice Tue 09-Dec-14 20:47:59

My dn go to Prince Henry's in Otley. Not really impressed by their use of "isolation" for minor uniform transgressions actually. Dn had some blonde highlights in her hair last summer and had to spend a whole day in a cubicle on her own on her return to school as it wasn't "natural". For a well behaved and lovely straight a student it was a shock.

fruitpastille Tue 09-Dec-14 22:54:50

I believe St Mary's is pretty good and popular, think prince Henrys OK too. Harrogate schools are maybe more sought after and, dare I say, posher? House prices are massively higher there so it is selection by post code. A friend of mine reckoned it was cheaper to live outside Harrogate and pay to go private rather than have a bigger mortgage.

victorianhomedreamer Wed 10-Dec-14 11:18:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Apparentlychilled Wed 10-Dec-14 18:50:40

victorian - apologies for radio silence. My DC are all little still so no info on Ilkley Grammar, I'm afraid. Sorry.

TooHasty Fri 12-Dec-14 15:58:30

Has anyone mentioned Ripon Grammar.Easier to get in to than the Skipton Selectives but better results in recent years.
I have a friend who lives in Wormald Green (between Ripon and Harrogate) the villages round there have the best of both worlds-in catchment for Ripon Grammar, but also get in to St Aideans , St John Fisher, King James , Boroughbridge all decent schools.
Harrogate Grammar/St Aidans Ok for middle class children who 'fit the mold' not so great for quirky, underconfident, SEN kids who I have heard feel a bit marginalised

victorianhomedreamer Fri 12-Dec-14 17:22:15

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HildaHarrogate Fri 12-Dec-14 18:03:52

(A quick name change as a bit outing)
My dcs attend one of the middle class Harrogate comps mentioned earlier and are very happy. My dcs don't quite fit the standard white MC mold so I am quite conscious that for better or worse they are part of extremely small minority within their school. I do think that they both benefit and enjoy being part of a relatively high achieving cohort (many of their friends are ambitious and hardworking) and they do have friends from a wide range of backgrounds.

Just to add a comment - yes, the schools here are very good but despite all schools excellent, not all are equally popular. The requirements to get a dc into one of the church based school can almost take a full time commitment of church activities and volunteering. Postcodes getting into Harrogate Grammar do the London price hike thing and there is the usual unseemly scrabble to get dcs into the schools viewed as 'better'. The real grammars (Ripon etc) have all the competitive coaching and tutor rackets to get dcs through the entrance tests. So choose your new postcode carefully or start praying hard (literally)!

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