Cambridge area Sixth forms(9 Posts)
We will be relocating to the Cambridge area to coincide with DD's Sixth form years (Sept 2017) and need to start thinking about a suitable school.
At this point we are considering everything- state, private, 11-18 school, 6th form college with no preconceived ideas and would be interested in any experiences and opinions.
DD is currently at a smallish UK state school, is academic but not very confident (i.e. won't speak up in class) but loves drama and singing. She is predicted top GCSE grades at the moment so all options are theoretically possible.
She will probably to study English/ History/ Languages or similar at A level. At the moment she aspires to do an academic Arts degree (probably English)at Oxbridge or Edinburgh (she's a youngest child so already has experience of visiting siblings/ cousins at various Unis).
We've no experience of private education but wonder whether she might settle more quickly (as we're moving from far away) or that it might give her the edge. On the other hand would she then be penalised by unis who would then expect much more from her?
We've heard of Hills Road, Perse, Long Road, Stephen Perse and I've looked at the websites but where is my DD most likely to fit in, have the opportunity to excel and enjoy herself without too much hot-housing to bring on her confidence? We are happy to look outside Cambridge itself as well.
My friends and I split pretty equally between Hills and Long Road - a while back now
Long Rd said to be less academic, more focused on arts and culture. Hills Rd more academic but certainly more rigid.
I got v high GCSEs but added freedom of long road suited me. I didn't need pushing, I was happy to push myself!
The Perse, obviously v academic.
All of them are good and friends from both went to Oxbridge.
By the way, settling at Hills or Long would probably be easier than the Perse. Large student body from all across Cambs and Herts.
Southernlassie thanks for the info, good to hear both might suit.
Motleyii- excuse my ignorance, which school is BGS?
For Hills Road and Long Road won't you actually need to be already living in the catchments when you apply rather than by the September when she is due to start. Hills Road generally require better grades at GCSE than Long Road.
Therefore to guarantee a place (provided her GCSE grades are high enough which I assume they will be if she is on course for Oxbridge) then an independent might be your best option of getting a decent place. Last year The Perse had 47 take up Oxbridge places.
PS> Assume you know that The Perse and Stephen Perse are different schools.
Many thanks HereIAm20. My OH will have already been working and living there for some time by the time we move so I think DD will be considered under the "moving into the area" category for state schools. Is Long Road oversubscribed? I know Hills Road is but high GCSE scores can help I believe? Are there any other good state alternatives for academic arts/ humanities types e.g. 11-18 schools with sixth forms?
As we've no previous experience of the private sector or in fact any schooling in the South East, I can't decide whether the 47 Oxbridge places (which is of course amazing) is evidence of lots of opportunities and talented self-motivated children or evidence of lots of pressure.
DD is already pretty motivated so I'm after opportunities for her with at least some like-minded friendly teens rather than large numbers of super-confident children who will probably overawe her. It's so difficult to know what will suit her and give her the best shot at achieving her ambitions. I'm keen to get it right as we're already disrupting her education for OH's job. Our choices for our DC at 11 were pretty straightforward so this is my first experience of school-related stress!
Any other thoughts anyone?
You might look at the Leys. Independent, but with Methodist origions, so not trad public schooly at all. There is a certain amount of flux at sixth form as some move to the very good state sixth forms and others join from overseas, so there should not be a problem with a new child settling in. Good children do well, but it might be a gentler environment than some of the more selective sixth forms.
Hills Road - very good but it has a very large cohort, so if your DD is worried about going into a college atmosphere rather than school, she might find it intimidating at first. Very oversubscribed.
Perse - yes it is academic, but no more than Hills Road. DS left a looo...ng time ago, so can't confirm what it is like now, but it didn't have a hothouse atmosphere in the past. Still, more boys than girls there. I think that there are a lot of joiners for sixth form, so DD shouldn't be too worried about settling in
Stephen Perse - does it just do the IB? It had a hothouse reputation when it was Perse Girls, but the whole structure of the school has changed since then. Should also be able to settle in there as there would be plenty of other new students.
Long Road - personally wouldn't touch it with a barge pole (but again based on DS's friends several years ago who generally significantly underperformed there) unless your DD wants to do Art.
Other Sixth Forms to consider: Parkside (IB); Comberton (if living out that way); Impington (also IB - but a possibility if you lived on north side of Cambridge.
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