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6th Form : Esher College vs Hinchley Wood

(16 Posts)
khk710725 Wed 25-Feb-15 23:52:50

Hello. I have a son at a private in SW London and looking at moving him to a state 6th form in the area. (due to budget downsizing) I am looking for a state comprehensive 6th form that has some "reasonable" academic records (capable of sending some to Oxbridge level). Excluding grammars, I found these two seem quite okay in terms of test results although I must say gap btw grammars(and academic privates) and these seem still huge. (I realize there is very little middle grounds in English school system....)

Could anyone please share hands-on experiences/views on them? Esher seems to be very big so self-motivation might be extremely important and Hichley wood has very impressive A level result last year with about 35% A*/A.

Also, almost all of his current GCSE courses are Edexcel iGCSE. Doing A levels from different boards are not big problems?

Thank you very much in advance for any inputs!

OP’s posts: |
titchy Thu 26-Feb-15 10:30:59

Assume he's in year 10 now?

Suggest you look at the prospectuses of both and go for a visit. They are about as far apart in almost every way possible, except for location.

A Levels from iGCSE should not be a problem.

Neither is hugely selective, unlike private and grammar, so the gap will be noticeable obviously.

Waitingandhoping2015 Thu 26-Feb-15 10:34:44

We're currently in a similar position with DS1 finishing GCSEs this year and at an independent. He will be going to Esher College, we have made the decision already - and he wants to go there also. I think he needs to move on and get greater exposure to the real world from the spoon fed environment. We looked at Hinchley Wood and Tiffin also, but the courses they do didn't match what he wanted to do (can't remember which).

I guess the risk is that he goes off the rails to some degree, doesnt find the self-motivation needed etc. We've considered this and been to the school several times and our fears are allayed - though there is always some risk. Had the odd conversation with other people too including a current student there who was adamant that those sitting the type of subjects that DS is taking (Maths, Physics etc) were keen and focused and we shouldn't worry. We're not ones to not be involved and we keep on top him and his work so I'm happy with the move.

Don't think (not 100%) multi-board qualifications are of any concern - current GCSEs seem to be a mixture of iGCSE and AQA and others etc.

mummytime Thu 26-Feb-15 11:10:47

Go and visit!
Then he can apply and hold offers from both, not having to finally choose until the August he gets his results.
I would also look at other possibilities. Lots of people hold more than one offer, and Surrey LA does provide some help with transport costs in Surrey and some border areas (discount cards for train and bus).
Why are you discounting the Grammars?

cakeisalwaystheanswer Thu 26-Feb-15 11:22:55

Quite a few leave DS's very selective SW London boys school for Esher College and we are going to take him to look, but DS is not very organised and I'm not sure its for him. We are also going to look at HW,as their A level options probably work for DS and it would mean a much shorter school day than current school. We are not actually bothered about the school fees and if he wants to stay he can, but IMO you can't really justify the school fees against the alternatives.

We have dismissed Tiffin although it is pretty easy to get into for 6th form, we just think HW and Esher look much better and are full of nice local children.

Having said all this he will probably stay put, but if money were a factor he would be out like a shot and I wouldn't think he was being disadvantaged in any way.

Waitingandhoping2015 Thu 26-Feb-15 11:52:42

Second that on visiting. They (EC) certainly did a great job on allaying any of our fears and we are very happy that he is going to go there, and he wants to - we left the decision up to him.

khk710725 Thu 26-Feb-15 11:54:33

I am not discounting grammars. Just thought it would be difficult for my son to get in. He is overall A/lots of Bs/C level not A*/A type yet. He knows he must improve and I think he still needs some direction and push. So guessing HW might be better with much smaller setting. Both schools can be quite pushing in terms of academic standard? (not spoon feeding though)

OP’s posts: |
titchy Thu 26-Feb-15 11:56:54

cake if he isn't organised send him to a college - he needs to learn to be organised before he goes to university.

Can I just point out - it should be blindingly obvious from the prospectuses of both, but HW sixth form is tiny - 30 kids per year. Esher is far larger - an intake of around 700 per year. I have nothing against HW at all - don't know it particularly well (main school has a good rep), but the majority of their year 11s go to EC rather than stay on, presumably because of the size.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Thu 26-Feb-15 12:06:15

He wouldn't last a week titchy, he's growing out of it and I am confident he will, but he was slow to start maturing and still has a long way to go. Anyway, he will decide himself.

I think Esher does incredibly well particularly for it's size, no-one seems to fall between the cracks. I know loads leave Surbiton and the other girls schools to go there so is it girl heavy?

trader21c Thu 26-Feb-15 20:15:45

I think very few girls are going to EC from Surbiton - DD knows of five - obviously may be some she doesn't know about

Indiana50 Fri 27-Feb-15 18:40:44

HW has good reputation, and 140 places for A level from Sep 2015. I hear that the sixth form students have to be very focussed to thrive at Esher College. If your son is, he'll be fine.

Mine came home from HW in the first term of Year 10 saying "I love Physics, it's so logical" - that suggests that the teaching of that subject, at least, is good.

khk710725 Tue 03-Mar-15 12:49:29

Indiana 50

V glad to finally see someone with hands-on experience on HW. is your son still there? I guess the fact that HW set their 6th form subject entry requirements as B GCSE instead of C shows they are aiming quite high. Does school actually drive (or "motivate" in nicer way) academic excellence? If it does, I think it will be v good for my son. Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
Indiana50 Tue 03-Mar-15 20:18:08

Yes, year 11. And they require 7 x A-C to stay for sixth form. They can be selective, and they are.
They do their best to motivate the pupils, but I'm learning that you can lead a horse to water ... My experience of the teachers is they're interested in all the children performing to the best of their ability. My son, however, does the bare minimum and if I had 30 of him in a class, I'd not be happy.

surreyparent1 Wed 08-Jan-20 18:16:00

It was probably better as a school, years ago and has gone down since. Personally I am alarmed by the appointment in 2019 of the previous head of Wapping High School (closed by Ofsted in 2011 due to "serious breaches in applying safeguarding procedures") as a director of the new Esher College Academy. Possibly they remain highly-regarded because any negative reviews are removed immediately. Who knows?

titchy Wed 08-Jan-20 19:32:29


GolfForBrains Wed 08-Jan-20 20:04:45

Well it was, but has been a college since 1977 so not sure that's really relevant!

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