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Caterham school

(26 Posts)
piupiu Wed 04-Mar-15 16:27:34

Excuse me if this has been posted elsewhere in the past but I'm looking for some advice on Caterham school from parents whose children go there.
What type of child does the place suit best? Looking round they had a great art department, but do artistic kids thrive there or does creative pursuits play second fiddle to all the academic stuff?
And what about the sports department? Seems they do very well with the team sports such as netball and rugby, but what if a child is more into sports such as athletics, swimming or gymnastics?
And how difficult are the entrance exams at Year 7 compared to other independent schools such as Reigate Grammar? Is it possible to get past papers to look at?
All advice on the school would be great.

FireGiraffe Wed 04-Mar-15 17:58:20

No personal experience but I do know the head is off to wellington and the deputy to priors field so there are likely to be changes in the next few years as the two key figures will be new and probably wanting to make a stamp.
It has an excellent reputation though.

piupiu Wed 04-Mar-15 18:18:27

Are they really leaving? The deputy said he'd only been there18months and the head is new too from what I understood

piupiu Wed 04-Mar-15 18:28:38

What a numpty - I just googled it and yes the head is leaving!
I suppose a successor won't be announced til the summer?

Leeds2 Wed 04-Mar-15 19:24:06

The present head was, I think, in his second year at the school when my now Sixth Form DD applied. So he has been there a while.

LIZS Wed 04-Mar-15 19:58:07

There are a number of deputies/senior management team but yes head and one deputy leave this summer. New head formerly taught there and has recently been at Tonbridge.

merlottime Wed 04-Mar-15 20:06:00

I know someone whose DD is in Year 7, and really enjoying it. She is academic and reasonably sporty. When I looked round this year for my Dd I was really put off - the atmosphere of the school seemed very alpha-male, it didn't feel like a co-ed school. I found it strange that boys could play hockey, but girls couldn't. It wasn't for us; I know 3 other family's with DDs who had the same reaction this year and chose not to apply after open day, so maybe the school didn't actually show itself off to its best on the day. It is a great school though, but we could tell pretty quickly it wasn't a good fit.

ChocolateWombat Wed 04-Mar-15 20:57:27

In terms of getting in, it would be comparable to Reigate Grammar. Both schools have similar GCSE and A Level results (in an individual year, one will out perform the other, but it is marginal). Many children apply to both and will get offers from both.
Depends if you want a Boarding or totally Day school and which feels right, but in terms of the actual qualifications received at the end, they are very similar.

Seeline Thu 05-Mar-15 08:24:24

We had a similar experience to merlot. It felt like a boys school, despite having been co-ed for nearly 20 years. It didn't feel right for our DD either. We were also reluctant to choose a school where we didn't know who the Head was going to be, but obviously that has now been resolved.

LIZS Thu 05-Mar-15 08:40:44

Know kids at both and C is definitely not a boys' school with girls, - it came about by merging with a local girls' school. There are wide range of opportunities for all , if complaints that there is not enough time in the day to take them all up! RGS has rather outgrown its site, is buying a plot from the council for a sixth form centre and has its playing fields off site. At the time we were looking RGS was significantly cheaper but is now very similar to C. They have raised the profile of bursaries and are specifically targeting state school pupils so one might wonder if the full fee payers are subsiding them and funding the expansion. Bear in mind that RGS has recently introduced a pretest for 13+ so anyone considering it might need to register earlier than in the past.

CaterhamParent Thu 05-Mar-15 15:04:21

Am surprised at the boys school comments as girls sport seems to be more dominant. As a boarding school it is open 24/7, with staff living on site, which gives it quite a buzz. Very much work hard, play hard during termtime This week on top of "usual" weekly clubs and practices, there is House Art, House drama, Junior Spelling Bee, a brass competition, Book week (including a photography competition), CCF bushcraft day, an army field day and the Boarders talent Show as well as auditions for next term's Shakespeare play. Plus midweek and weekend sports fixtures including a swimming gala against RGS.

Holidays are bliss - no work (though I suspect it will not be the case at 6th form!).

Setting seems to mainly happen from year 9. Top sets do very well indeed, children in middle sets get mainly As and A*s. Where it falls in league tables seems entirely dependent on how many lower ability children are admitted each year, but the lower sets are full of happy busy pupils who don't seem too stressed. The school allows internal candidates with B grades through to 6th form where, once they are doing their 3 or 4 preferred subjects, they seem to shine. This is possibly the key difference against other local schools who have stricter criteria. But Caterham seems to treat the pupils as individuals not a herd, and is looking for pupils to be successful longterm, knowing that progress isn't always in a straight line. They do reward both effort and attainment.

Don't think it is particularly harder or easier than other local schools at 11+. Maths paper is 7-8 problems to solve (no easy warm up questions), English is straightforward, and reasoning is time-pressured.

Don't know anything about Prior's Field but they're getting a gem of a head teacher (from a parent's perspective).

But as all threads on all schools end up: do take travel into account! We're local so it is a no brainer.

shank2 Fri 06-Mar-15 20:40:13

Caterham Parent - I take it you are very happy with present Deputy who is leaving - why is she is gem?

LIZS Sat 07-Mar-15 08:36:12

I think CP means she is lovely and popular with parents and pupils alike!

Godblessyou123 Wed 11-Mar-15 15:05:14

My DD got an offer from Caterham, but I heard this is a very academic school. One of my friend's DD couldn't move to six form and kicked out by the school because of slightly bad performance.

LIZS Wed 11-Mar-15 15:08:32

Internal students need 6 Bs at Gcse to continue in 6th form. RGS is similar.

LIZS Wed 11-Mar-15 15:13:39

Checked and for comparison RGS is now minimum 4As and 4Bs with none below C.

Ladymuck Wed 11-Mar-15 15:21:19

Reigate has just changed their internal admissions for 6th form:

"As determined by the Governors, for entry to the Sixth Form from September 2015, the school expects internal and external applicants for the Sixth Form to achieve an A grade or higher in the subjects they wish to continue in the Sixth Form and an overall grade profile of at least 4 A grades, 4 B grades and no other grades lower than a C at GCSE. They should also have demonstrated an excellent attitude to work, and a willingness to contribute to the life of the school."

Anyone not passing through to Caterham 6th form internally would have no hope at RGS. That said Caterham is an academically selective school - I imagine very few pupils do not get at least 6 Bs at GCSE. I am aware that they have also made exceptions where students have been ill and missed a lot of school in 4th or 5th year. I have heard that they don't simply apply blanket policies to everyone, but consider the situation of each student on a case by case basis where appropriate.

Not only will the deputy be missed, but there is a degree of consternation as to what will happen to Hercules, her 3 legged cat, who is often seen wandering around school.

Bearleigh Wed 11-Mar-15 20:48:34

LIZS fyi the sixth form centre at RGS is being paid for by a one-off donation, so is not being subsidised by fees. The building work starts very soon.

As regards bursaries being subsidised by fees I expect that is the case with most private schools as they are all under pressure from the Charity Commission and HMRC to meet their charitable obligations or risk losing charitable status.

LIZS Wed 11-Mar-15 20:55:58

Bursary funding I've come across is usually derived from a separate charitable foundation , donations and investments. RGS has certainly become more generous in recent years.

LIZS Wed 11-Mar-15 21:02:03

It looks from the website as if there is significant fundraising to enable demand for bursaries to be met

Godblessyou123 Thu 12-Mar-15 08:02:09


LIZS Thu 12-Mar-15 08:21:59

Reigate Grammar, the nearest comparable co-ed independent day school -similar fees, selective criteria and results.

mini290h Sat 14-Mar-15 00:41:26

I have a son at Caterham but am surprised by the comments about it being boy dominant. The girls do very well there and certainly have lots to do sports wise and in the many clubs available. The drama dept is very good. It is though increasingly academic and my DS does feel that whatever he does he will never be up with the best of them. He does really like all the teachers and there never seems to be any tales of bullying or poor behaviour from the students. If your child is bright it is a good choice of school.

Anyoneouthere Mon 02-Jan-17 08:39:33

Hello there. Looking at year 9 entry for Caterham. Does anyone with children there have any feedback on how school has "bedded in" under new head. Interested in it all really, but particularly pastoral care - do they encourage children to get stuck in, provide proactive, straightforward feedback to parents etc. Also heard (at least in sixth form), they are "really, really working us harder - it's all about the work" . I know it's an academic school and the kids do work pretty hard anyway - but wonders if new head had set the scene for even higher aspirations. Any feedback much appreciated all.

LIZS Mon 02-Jan-17 09:10:56

Caterham is all rounded, academics are the focus but there are plenty of cocurricular opportunities even in 6th form. Sport is also high on the agenda and academic criteria can be more relaxed for those who are high level team players. Integrating at y 9 isn't always easy wherever but most manage to find a niche. There is a strong senior management team including one specifically for pastoral care.

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