St Bedes is very hard to get into but highly sort after. Howard of Effingham is a good school. If I was moving to get children into a school I would go for Howard as if you live in the right area (even better if you can get them into a feeder Primary) you have a good chance of getting them in. For St Bedes as it's a faith school things can be trickier.
Thank you both. I understand that St Bedes is over subscribed and that it scores well in the league tables but I can't get a sense of whether it's a nice school to be at, how they support their children given the size, how do they handle bullying, disruption etc. How has good feedback on many of those areas.
Discipline seems pretty tight. Staff and kids seem pretty happy. Although it is large each year group is divided in half for timetabling, so it becomes less daunting. However unless you are religious or live on the doorstep getting a place can be tricky.
My children attend St Bede's; they are both very happy there. My eldest went from a local primary where she was only one of 4 attending. We worried about the transition but she very quickly made friends and blossomed during the first year - a different child from primary where she suffered from being pigeon-holed. The majority of her teachers have been fantastic and she is on target to do very well in her GCSE's. My son has had an equally good experience although he did move up with a number of friends from his junior school. We find communication from the school is excellent, the year heads are very quick to resolve any issues - though I have only had to make contact twice in the past four years.
They both love school. I've been impressed with the pastoral care. They have great relationships with their teachers and the way they split the year group in half helps them to get to know their peers. Though they stick with their tutor group throughout their time at St B they mix the teaching groups each year; they're set for maths, English and science by year 9 and in year 10 it changes again when they start gcse's. My dd has made new friends each year because of this system.
Sorry, I didn't really answer your question! No; the size hasn't bothered them. Each year 7 tutor group has a sixth former buddy. At the beginning of year 7 my ds commented on how lovely the older students were with helping him when he was lost. They very quickly find their way around the school; my ds said it didn't feel much busier than his old school it was just getting used to 'adult sized' children which was different. Lunch time can be a pressure point in the canteen - there are plans to extend it - but there are numerous clubs and most of the tutors are happy for their class to return to their room to eat. In terms of classes itself; disruption seems to be rare and the setting system works well - my dd has worked her way down and back up the sets in maths, she's middle of the road academically but she has had plenty of opportunities to represent the school and her hard work doesn't go un-noticed.