The Downs School in Compton.(13 Posts)
Anyone have experience here? We are considering it for 6th form. ds very academic (will do sciences for A levels).
Localish to me, I don't know it personally but hear it's a excellent school and fantastic 6th form, I have a lot of friends who's children attended in the last few years or will be going next year
I have a dc in year 12 - what would you like to know?
I was wondering what the general behaviour is like, and if the children get their heads down and work.
Also, do the 6th formers play sport?
Would you consider that the school prepares them well for uni entry academically? Do they have discussions on moral/news/problem solving etc?
Also, I was wondering how many hours they get per week in each A level subject?
Sorry if that is too many questions! I went to the open morning, but it would be brilliant to get an actual parents view of the school.
I'm a teacher in West Berks area. Downs has always had a good reputation for both GCSE and 6th form. Very good behavior and work ethic. Although it has grown over the past few years it has more of a rural, smaller school feel than some of the other large, town schools in West Berks. Don't know the detail re: teaching and Uni I'm afraid. There are other excellent, academic 6th forms available in West Berks too.
Thank you Woodlands.
Sadly we are out of the catchment for Reading Grammar, but we might apply anyway, just in case a miracle happens.
What other 6th forms would you recommend? (We are South Oxfordshire.)
more of a rural, smaller school
This basically! Dc has been at the school since year 7 and seen a change of head teacher that has expanded the 6th form & made it slicker but at heart it is still a village school. It is extremely non diverse - pretty much exclusively white middle class children. If you are coming from a more mixed area that can be a shock!
Behaviour is very good - rebellion is pretty much limited to trying to get away with wearing earrings or rolling your skirt up. Dc hasn’t experienced/witnessed any bullying & disruption in lessons isn’t an issue.
Work ethic - they all seem to be working in their free periods and are all very serious about results & going to a good university. Doing well is good.
Sport - they can if the want to. They are pretty traditional in sports on offer. I’m not sure how much they do tbh - dc is non sporty but I know there was some big 6th form rugby match last thing today. They were all out watching.
Hours a week - 4 hours teaching plus an hour directed learning per subject (except further maths which is on a fortnightly timetable & only gets 7.5 hours rather than 8).
University - academic results are very good (dc is one of the high achievers & I don’t feel is disadvantaged there compared to the Reading grammars or private schools). They get a handful to Oxford/Cambridge/Medicine every year & the majority (three quarters or so ?) of university applicants go to “good” universities.
They offer EPQ to anyone who wants to do it - in either year 12 or 13 & have various other enrichments but not as wide choice has the big 6th form colleges. The students have to be proactive, they won’t be chased to do stuff. Dc is doing four A levels & EPQ so doesn’t have time for much else atm. Most students do three (or three plus further maths).
I’m not sure how much uni preparation they do - early days for dc. So far dc’s had an interview & application day & a biology lecture trip. They have lots of Rutherford lab talks & various tech open days (not sure about the humanities side). PDP sessions are an hour a week & so far have been uni or apprentice related they also have daily tutor time & weekly topic assemblies.
The English department is very strong & I feel that there is a humanities bias overall - history, English, philosophy, politics (& maths) are most popular this year. Dc is doing all sciences though & the facilities are excellent, nearly brand new labs & small classes.
We considered the Reading grammar(s) & Henley College but dc didn’t want to move & we were happy with it too.
(Excuse typos am on phone)
St Barts & Willink both got very good results this year too. Don’t know much about Willink but St Bart’s is definitely worth looking at - it is quite a lot bigger than the Downs & in town so has a very different feel.
St Barts is excellent 6th form, particularly for the very academic. Very 'townie' feel but this prevails in lower school rather than 6th form. Teaching 5 hours per fortnight with extra support available in all subjects. Very sporty and University application process is full on from end of year 12.
Maybe a trek from South Oxfordshire - I can see why you have considered Compton. King Alfred's in Wantage a possibility? I only know its well thought of for GCSE, no information on sixth form.
Westberks - thanks for that. my ds sounds similar to yours. we are looking at 4 A levels too. Probably Maths, Physics, Chemistry and either History or Spanish if possible. Glad to see that it is do-able.
So all sounds pretty good at The Downs.
All this being said, he has come home for half term feeling much happier with his current school!!! Argh! Decision decisions !!
Thanks to Woodlands for posting too. Glad it is 9 hours and not 5 hours per fortnight!!
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