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Magdalen College School/ Oxford High GDST Sixth Forms

(69 Posts)
Molio Sun 03-Jan-16 10:22:56

I'd be very grateful for any informed views on either or both of these schools. The student in question is a Y10 girl, good socially with both girls and boys but has been at a co-ed state school hitherto. She's an extremely high achiever, predicted ten top grades but very unstressy and relaxed. I've been asked for advice but am naturally disinclined towards single sex girls' schools. Parent is single, not well off but wouldn't qualify for a bursary and is able and willing to release equity to pay for two years of fees. The mother and daughter don't currently live in Oxford so socially the girl would have to start all over again.

Thanks to anyone who can help.

sendsummer Sun 03-Jan-16 15:06:02

Both obviously very good sixth forms for all subjects with Oxford High being less expensive. Although joining with a new girl intake would seem a positive for MCS in fact most girls will know at least a group anyway and may have a tendency to remain in their comfort zone with friends initially in a new environment. It is worth being aware thaf at least until recently the MCS boys have already started their AS / A level courses post GCSEs so there is some catching up to do for new pupils when starting sixth form.
She can't go wrong if she goes with her preference from visiting but OHS should n't be dismissed without visiting. The head of MCS will be new but that is unlikely to change things in the near future.

Molio Sun 03-Jan-16 15:26:13

Thanks very much for your reply sendsummer. This girl would be joining from a distance so wouldn't know anyone at all though I tend to think that easing into a co-ed sixth form might be easier than at an all-girls. But I am very prejudiced, on the basis of hunch more than anything else, although I did go to a GDST myself (decades ago, obv!).

Do you mean that at MCS the boys come back to school for a month after GCSEs or have they been doing AS/A level work alongside their GCSEs through Y11?

Is there a new head starting at MCS next September, or is the current head (the one on the website) a new incumbent. If the former, could you tell me the name of the new head and the new head's previous school? Very interested to google!

Do you know anything about the 'types' of student at each place, and the sorts of grades required to get a sixth form place? Top predictions don't always translate into top grades, but I really don't know how high the grades would need to be for an offer, especially at MCS.

I think the mum doesn't want to do too much visiting (and therefore unsettling) until she herself has an initial picture of each, broader than simply the websites. She hasn't even broached the subject of a move yet, because there may be slight resistance. I suggested those two schools because I knew their names but not much about them. Are there any other really good schools in the area? Is Headington good? I know it's state, but again don't know much about it.

HocusCrocus Sun 03-Jan-16 15:57:45

Molio, No informed view of the schools I am afraid but I believe the HM on the website would not be there from Sept 2016. I shall now bow out having told you everything I can smile.

Molio Sun 03-Jan-16 16:42:26

Thanks Hocus. That's obviously annoying for MCS smile

(And Happy New Year!).

sendsummer Sun 03-Jan-16 16:46:29

Molio just to add to HocusCrocus a news link to the new head for MCS I think it will be a positive change for the school. The head at OHS is really liked. The boys at MCS are delightful and a mix, if you would go for stereotypes they would be more Wyekahmist types. The girls who enter the sixth form are all singing and dancing if you see what I mean to get a place there so tend to be fairly confident. I think OHS girls who stay in the sixth form like the continuity and I think it is probably more nurturing than MCS for a newcomer but still very academic. Both schools but particularly MCS would be looking for new entrants with Oxbridge level potential and in MCS's case some other extracurricular contribution. Headington girls is actually private with a broader range of academic ability but does very with all pupils and has a choice of IB or A levels and much more extracurricular opportunities than OHS and probably MCS. It is less intense than the other two but the bright girls still do extremely well.
MCS boys come back after GCSEs to start their syllabus, or at least used to until very recently. They are quite far ahead as well in Y11 but so would the
OHS girls be and probably your friend's DD..
BTW commuting within Oxford is always an issue in Oxford so that may be a factor as well.
Otherwise the best known sixth form comprehensive is Cherwell which is ok but probably is n't as good as it used to be although somebody else may come along and correct me on that.

BeBesideTheSea Sun 03-Jan-16 16:49:44

Headington Girls is not a state school.

sendsummer Sun 03-Jan-16 16:51:52

Of course should be Wykehamist

sendsummer Sun 03-Jan-16 17:06:24

Having just checked, I am told that the boys at MCS don't come back after GCSEs so must just be further ahead pre GCSEs.

Molio Sun 03-Jan-16 17:10:07

Oops sorry to all Headington parents I really thought it was state.

That's all incredibly useful information so thank you very much. Very interesting about the new female HT. I guess there's no reason why the mum couldn't make an appointment to look around by herself, without the DD. It looks to be very evenly balanced, but the DD has clear Oxbridge potential for the moment unless something goes wrong in the next couple of years, so those two schools do seem the best fit. I wonder how many applicants there are for how many sixth form places at each?

The mum was thinking of living a little way out, to save on house prices or rent - from what you say sendsummer that might be a bad idea? I don't think she'd want to make like difficult for the DD. I'm guessing most kids live in the city itself then and don't commute in?

Molio Sun 03-Jan-16 17:12:09

Thanks for the AS update too. I don't think that in itself will be an issue then, if she carries on as she is.

Molio Sun 03-Jan-16 17:15:14

to make life difficult!

sendsummer Sun 03-Jan-16 17:18:58

No quite a lot bus in so worth checking the bus route. However getting into Oxford is always slow.
The information which I had for MCS about significant AS acceleration before GCSEis particularly for those wanting to do further maths. Again better for the mother to clarify directly with the school if relevant.

BeBesideTheSea Sun 03-Jan-16 17:23:02

The key to living outside the city is to live on the correct side for school - so in Wheatley for MCS or Kiddlington for Oxford High.

sendsummer Sun 03-Jan-16 17:47:00

I know this sounds a bit out of the box but I know some families who live inbetween Oxford and Cheltenham and send their DCs to Pate's grammar in Cheltenham which is an excellent co-ed grammar with a large intake in the sixth form. That does mean a significant commute in both directions but would save a considerable amount of money in fees, particularly compared to MCS.

GoMilou Sun 03-Jan-16 17:47:18

A few kids bus in from around my area of South Oxfordshire. Approx. 5-7 miles.

Molio Sun 03-Jan-16 17:59:17

It's not completely out of the box sendsummer in that my first suggestion was Pate's smile But I think she wants to be in or very close to Oxford for reasons of her own.

roguedad Sun 03-Jan-16 18:03:39

I'd also question whether a move is needed at all. If she is high achieving at her state comp what is the reason for considering a move at all? Are there problems (like no 6th form??). It might be the case that she is top of her year right now but only average at MCS/OHS, so that might come as a shock, and universities will have high expectations of kids at both of those schools compared to someone at a comp. Requiring a move, and establishing new friendships need consideration. I think both schools are outstanding in fact, but they are not necessarily the best option for everybody. More money could be saved on house prices by also considering SHSK in Abingdon, which has close links with Abingdon boys if you are worried about single sex.

Molio Sun 03-Jan-16 18:04:23

The tips on knowing where to live are very useful too. My favourite roads in Oxford - although withing walking distance of both schools - aren't going to work (a minimum of £2.5m short!). I don't know the nearby villages at all well, other than Woodstock which must also be pricey.

Molio Sun 03-Jan-16 18:11:38

She's high achieving at a top grammar roguedad but there are domestic reasons for considering a move so the school thing flows from that. To be fair, if she achieves her predictions of 10A*s out of 10A*s, I doubt she'd be an academic poor relation in any school, although her home might be smaller than most at either of the Oxford schools! In other domestic circumstances I don't think the mum would be considering a move.

Molio Sun 03-Jan-16 18:13:16

What is SHSK in Abingdon though roguedad? - all suggestions are welcome.

GoMilou Sun 03-Jan-16 18:15:20

St. Helen and St. Katharine. A very good school indeed.

bojorojo Mon 04-Jan-16 19:35:45

This may be a contentious suggestion, but there is a state grammar school in Buckingham, The Royal Latin School, where children regularly go to Oxbridge. It is a highly successful school with a new science block. I would check with the school whether they would take pupils who live in Oxfordshire but living in, say, Marsh Gibbon would work. I know that is not Oxford but it would save on fees.

Molio Mon 04-Jan-16 20:32:14

Thanks bojorojo. For some reason I can't get on to the Royal Latin website but I'll keep trying.

SHSK is pretty impressive roguedad/ GoMilou (100% A* in Drama!), so thanks for that too.

Abraid2 Tue 05-Jan-16 07:27:09

SHSK is very good academically and my daughter has enjoyed her years there. She does a lot of drama with Abingdon, which is fun, and has spent quite a lot of time hanging out with the boys there, so has had the best of both worlds.

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