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Chalfont Independent Grammar School

(45 Posts)
KZED Tue 13-Mar-18 12:13:49

We are looking into applying to Chalfont Independent Gramma for our son. He will be starting Grade 6 (MYP)
For the parents who's children are in the school could you kindly give me the feedback please.
My son has been in the IB program for the last seven years (KG1 to Grade 5)
Your comments will be extremely helpful 😀

Jabeen32 Thu 26-Apr-18 05:43:14

Hello I also needs some Information regarding the Chalfont grammar school

BubblesBuddy Thu 26-Apr-18 09:58:47

When inspected in January 2017, by ISI, (not Ofsted) it had 31 pupils on roll. Some of the comments contained in the inspection report would raise concern for me, and possibly would have done with Ofsted. It’s a light weight inspection.

Clearly with this number of students, you can forget about competitive sport, good collaborative music and drama that require higher numbers of children for excellence.

I just don’t understand why anyone would pay for, what is essentially, a less than rounded education. There are no GCSE results yet and the school has not been benchmarking itself against other schools so I’m not sure you really know what you are getting. I would take the word “Grammar” with a pinch of salt. It hardly resembles Dr Challoners. The report says parents are supportive though but usually parents who pay are not going to complain about what they are paying for. It makes them look rather silly!

MHelberg Fri 18-May-18 11:26:45

As someone with a child who attends The Chalfonts Independent Grammar School, the facts stated above are incorrect.

The school was inspected by Ofsted (not ISI) in November 2016 and the report that I read confirmed that this is a 'Good' school.

The school is an IB World School offering the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme and will soon be offering the IB Diploma Programme. To be allowed to offer these programmes, the school had to go through authorisation processes. The school management, facilities, finances, teaching quality and parent support were assessed and the school passed the first authorisation in February 2017. Check this out for more information: www.ibo.org/programmes/middle-years-programme/

In my experience, the curriculum at The Chalfonts is more well-rounded than GCSE. My child came home excited to tell me recently about a visitor who came to speak to the students about his personal project for which he put a balloon into the stratosphere. Parents were given an update in the fortnightly Newsletter. This former student, we learned, was on his way back from an interview at Imperial College to study engineering having studied the IB MYP and DP Programmes!

The Harkness method and the maximum class-size of 14 are huge plus points to the teaching at this school. This really makes a difference to the learning environment. I've sat at the tables when visiting the school and can see how it makes sense and it is far more discussion-friendly, like a working environment which I think sets them up well for their working life. I know my child has gained in confidence since being in the school.

Regarding the arts programme; the students have recently won 7 out of 9 possible prizes in a regional competition to redesign Chiltern Railways timetables. They put on fabulous play productions. They encourage all students to take part in some way and they vary the lead roles to give different students a chance to shine. I attended their latest production this week and it was absolutely tremendous. The performances were a credit to the students and teachers. There was a music concert at Christmas which in which very talented instrumentalists and singers performed. My child told me many distinctions were gained in their LAMDA exams.

For sports and extra-curricular education; the school has a fabulous PE teacher who coaches at national level for netball. The students play football, hockey, badminton and tennis in PE and in clubs. They also have athletics, rounders and cross-country running (one student in my child's year has reached the finals at Crystal Palace for Biathlon). They also have debating, photography club, tech club, Maths in Motion, singing and peripatetic lessons for many different instruments. The school is also a Duke of Edinburgh Centre and takes students from other local grammar schools into the programme as they have one of the most experienced DofE leaders in the country, who is also their chemistry teacher!

I would recommend that you check out the school website www.thechalfontsgrammar.co.uk or better yet visit the school to see why we love it. It is upsetting to read misinformation and uninformed opinion.

user1471450935 Fri 18-May-18 14:41:15

Not a parent of the school or user of private schools, but I agree with BubblesBuddy Ofsted say only 31 pupils enrolled at school at time of inspection, there are more in my son's form at stat school.
It also says the leadership don't always know how their pupils are progressing, and there are no benchmarks used, either against fellow privates or national figures, also there are weaknesses in mathematics and it's teaching. Plus there where poor teaching and class delivery in other areas too.
It was a very light Ofsted to prove it could continue to operate as an Independent school, for the DfE.
I have seen state schools get similar comments and their leadership gets defined as requires improvement, our Yorkshire state comp, leadership is classed as RI, for similar reasons, so why is this school's leadership classed as "good".
Sounds like different standards, to me, which is unfair, to state schools, and worst still misleading to prospective parents.

Final worry for me was on your website there is no link to the full Ofsted report, with these more worrying comments, just a marketing/promotional piece of rubbish, produced by the school, once again state schools can't do this, they link to official report. To me what is totally misleading and lying to future parents.

Like I said not bias, we live in Yorkshire, could never afford £14000/year, but those would be red flags to me, if your so good why hide the bad bits? Finally our next 2 closest comps in our County, get the same Ofsted reports as this school, and are free and undersubscribed, so like Bubbles says why fork out £14000?

GracieMouse1969 Fri 25-May-18 12:20:25

Hello. When asking for advice about a particular school, I think it's probably best to listen to those that are actually "in the know" first off. I'm pleased to see a current parent of the school has commented on this thread and I shall be the second one to.

To BubblesBuddy.
You're right, the school "hardly resembles" Dr Challoners. I can speak from experience as I have two daughters one at Challoners and one at Chalfont Independent. My eldest will be sitting her A Levels at Dr Challoners in less than two weeks and yes, the school is a million times different to that of her younger sibling's school. Firstly, the eldest has been taught to the curriculum for her GCSEs and her A Levels. Nothing more nothing less. They teach what the girls need to know to then retain in their heads for years, to then spill out in a series of big exams at the end of it all. My eldest is on course for some brilliant results but it's been quite a relentless process. It has at times felt very hot-housey and I've sometimes felt that some teachers there have hearts of stone. It's very much results driven. Works for some but if I'd sent my youngest there, she'd have been eaten by lions.

In contrast, The Chalfonts Grammar doesn't just teach to the test. It thinks out of the box and it teaches children about other things that might do them well to know in life or in the workplace. It's not all about passing a test - it's much more rounded than that. The biggest plus is that it cares about it's children. It nurtures them and because it's small each child is known by each of the teachers and they work to get the best out of them.

What I'm saying is please don't compare The Chalfonts to DCHS. They're light years away from each other as to what each can offer but it doesn't make one lesser of a school than the other. What's right for one child isn't right for the other - hence why we have a child in each "camp" so to speak.
Regarding your point as to "parents are not going to complain about what they're paying for". I think that's rubbish. Believe me, we DO complain (when it's needed) and because we're paying for it, I feel I do more so! I've worked in two private schools locally and like me, parents DO complain.

To User1471450935
That's a long comment from someone who lives all the way up in Yorkshire. Thank you for giving your time on your opinion though. I hope the people who asked the original questions at the top of this thread read what CURRENT parents like me and the lady above have to say first. For starters we have about 50 children on roll now, not 31 so it's not always right to just take as gospel what you read.

........

Moving my youngest to the Chalfonts was the best decision we took 16 months ago.The Middle Years/IB system of learning works for her. For the first time she's enthused with her learning and she tells us things that she's learnt at school that confirm to us that we made the right choice. The leadership is good and if I send the Head an email at the weekend he responds within an hour or so. The teachers are great and the SENCO particularly is outstanding. My daughter has lots of friends and enjoys her little class of 14 students who are all taught facing each other so no one can "hide"

So, going back to the beginning...it's not your average Grammar and I'm blooming glad that it's not. It's a school that's refreshing and it's innovative - and if my girl is happy there, then so are we. I think people get too het up with exam results nowadays but as it stands my youngest is going to be leaving school when she's 18, as a thoroughly decent, kind, switched on, confident, independent, and happy young woman who will have lots to offer this world.

Mum2twoandafrenchie Fri 25-May-18 20:25:31

My youngest daughter attends Chalfont Grammar and we are thrilled with it.

With the IB she is learning skills that will serve her well in whatever career she goes into. (This is not the case with my other daughter who is at a Bucks Grammar-- Becky High -- she learns what is on the test and that is it. She endures school but doesn't enjoy it.)

The teachers are very caring and supportive of the students -- they really take an interest in each child and it shows. Although it is a small school that doesn't stop them from achieving great things -- I am thinking of the recent production of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.

My child is getting a fabulous education at Chalfonts Independent Grammar and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a small school that provides a wonderful, well-rounded education.

BubblesBuddy Sat 26-May-18 10:58:52

As I said originally, no parent is going to spend money and come on a thread saying they are an idiot to do so! It’s not a grammar. It had a very superficial Ofsted that should have put it in RI and it has huge elements of a top class curriculum missing. No results yet so no one has a clue how well the children are doing in comparison to elsewhere.

As for Beaconsfield High - it’s fsntastic.

WinnersClub Sat 26-May-18 11:12:57

Not a parent at either school but a fee paying parent. Bubbles Has it not occurred to you that fee paying parents will complain EVEN MORE precisely, because they are paying for that service? I’m rather stumped at your logic.

GracieMouse1969 Sat 26-May-18 15:45:32

Totally agree Winnersclub. As much as it’s my daughters school and I’m very happy with it - I’m much more likely to say when I’m not happy about something as opposed to when my daughter was in the state system. They’re providing a service at the end of the day.

BubblesBuddy Sat 26-May-18 16:40:38

No, they don’t. Many fee paying parents accept all sorts of poor teaching from independent schools because they are in a poor position to compare them with other schools. In poor performing independent school, parents have often chosen a school to be with like minded parents, a haven for their child, or just a nice little school. They are hardly comparing outcomes or high quality extra curricular. Therefore they are highly invested because they have chosen a non mainstream school and need it to work, so will support it through thick and thin. This is logical but it’s not objective. The Ofsted report is objective because they have compared it with other schools. It’s also hardly a roaring success with so few pupils.

Lo9999 Sat 26-May-18 17:16:38

It's sad to see how people can have such opinions on a school they haven't visited or experienced, they should attend one of the open days/evenings before commenting and trying to put people off, and look at the research on IB schools. There won't be a direct comparison of results to the state Grammar's because they don't do GCSE's or A-levels it's a completely different education system which prospective parents need to educate themselves on before making a decision.
I have a son at CIG and previous to that he was at Gayhurst Independent in Gerrards Cross which we unfortunately had issues with; they were unable to deal with bullying effectively, teachers who had their own children in the school favouring them over others, inability to support those with learning difficulties sufficiently and the way they taught just didn't fit right for my son (however there are some good teachers there and facilities are excellent and I know a lot of people who have been very happy). So yes, those of us that pay, discuss issues and seek out solutions with the school as much as those who don't pay for their child’s education, and I do on some level feel frustrated having paid all that money for a lesser experience for my son, but it was the smaller class sizes and sport that made things easier for him.
I myself have lived in the area my whole life and went to Dr. Challoners High which I found an academic sausage factory with no pastoral care, and in those days there was little encouragement for the arts and creative subjects, much like now. Many ex-students I meet and my year group from the time, sadly have the same opinions.
My daughter now currently in Year 9 is at Chesham Grammar, and has been an excellent choice, we believe in co-education, the school supports and encourages the children across the board in all subjects, they have a great vertical tutoring system and she is very happy.
Both my kids are county athletes and in both schools have enough opportunities to compete and have access to various sports and after school clubs, I'm also an avid believer that children should not be pigeon holed into one sport for the whole of their young life and be allowed time to rest and play when they do so much sport.
CIG has so far been amazing for my son. He is engaged in all subjects (hooray and relief!), manages to retain information more effectively than he used to, loves that each subject allows for creativity and being able to present his work in whichever format works for him, and he particularly appreciates the smaller class sizes and round tables (something so little, makes a massive difference), and the exams they do involve a lot more coursework compared to the new GCSE's.
The assessment methods used by the school are comprehensive and thorough, I've never seen anything like it, and gives me a really good picture of how my son performs in school, how his learning style is being catered for and where he can improve. Its not just about a percentage at the end of year test. This week they were also awarded official IB status for 6th form years after rigorous testing and lots of hard work which is testament to the teachers and leadership team at the school.
I want both my children to grow up to be empathetic, well rounded, kind, strong willed and thoughtful human beings who see themselves as part of the bigger picture in the world. I want them to have enjoyed their school years because they knew they were being supported no matter what, even if they make mistakes or struggle to not understand a subject fully.
I believe that being able to be creative in everything you do puts you on a different level, helps you to stand out because the way you think is out of the box and therefore have a belief in yourself that helps you to achieve things more effectively. So I'm very fortunate and lucky to be able to say that both my kids are in the best environment for them that covers all of the above.
The school is small, yes of course, its only a few years old, but everything has to start somewhere to grow, and a part of that is accepting there'll be naysayers and their negative opinions. The supportive parents believe in the system because the children are so happy learning so much more than how to do exams.

WinnersClub Sat 26-May-18 19:07:46

No, they don’t.
Yes, they do. We have been fee paying parents for 7yrs now and believe me when I say fee paying parents are very vociferous when it comes to getting what they want. There are enough threads on MN alone that shows fee paying parents do complain about their schools.

Many fee paying parents accept all sorts of poor teaching from independent schools bIn poor performing independent school, parents have often chosen a school to be with like minded parents, a haven for their child, or just a nice little schoolecause they are in a poor position to compare them with other schools.

This doesn’t make any sense. Parents have chosen a poor school to be with like minded parents? Really ? The rest of what you’ve written here is an incoherent ramble.

I’m thinking what you are trying to say is some parents choose a school with good pastoral care over high academics. Nothing wrong with that at all and does not make the school a poor school and if they are getting what they have paid for, then what is there to complain about? I’m sure they are not choosing good pastoral care plus bugger all GCSEs.

In poor performing independent school, parents have often chosen a ...a haven for their child, or just a nice little school. They are hardly comparing outcomes or high quality extra curricular.

How on earth would you know why a particular group of parents have chosen a particular school? You seem very judgemental and opinionated over something that really you don’t have the full facts for.

Therefore they are highly invested because they have chosen a non mainstream school and need it to work, so will support it through thick and thin.

They don’t need it to work, they can vote with their feet and usually do.
Being supportive and committed to a school is a very different position to needing it to work. One is strong and confident whilst the other is desperate and with no other choice.

I’m not even going to bother with the logical and objective comments except nothing you’ve said is logical or objective.

As for Chalfont grammar being a roaring success or not, like I said I’m not a parent there, so can’t comment. But I see no reason, why parents who are actually at the school will come on to say it’s a good school if in fact it’s as awful as you say. Surely they could just keep schtum and lick their wounds in private, they didn’t have to post, but they did. Think about it.

BubblesBuddy Sat 26-May-18 20:34:57

You are protesting way too much!! Of course choice of school says something about a parent! Do you not think there is a difference between parents at Eton and The Amersham School then?

As for incoherent rambling! Look at how much you have written!

BubblesBuddy Sat 26-May-18 20:37:07

What was poor was the Ofsted. The comments would have been RI elsewhere.

Of course the parents post. They are supportive of their choice. This proves exactly what I said. It doesn’t make it a great school though.

WinnersClub Sat 26-May-18 20:52:05

Based on your last post I’m beginning to wonder wether English is your first language because of the way in which you are expressing yourself. Your points seem to be all over the place and making less and less sense.

OP, If i were you I would be more inclined to listen to feedback from parents actually at the school, including the Ofsted reports but not either one in isolation. Also, visit the schools if you haven’t already.

Lo9999 Sat 26-May-18 20:56:55

This thread is going off topic and a distraction to the real words shown here by real parents at the school about the school, so please, unless you have a genuine experience of the school and the independent / IB system, or have genuine questions about it, go and troll elsewhere...
If anyone is interested in the IB system for their children and CIG, I would encourage you to come and see for yourself, have your child attend one of the taster days, and let them tell you how inspired and enthused they were. It may not be right the right environment, but at least it will be a box ticked in the search for what you hope will be the right secondary school choice for your child.

GracieMouse1969 Sat 26-May-18 21:27:38

BubblesBuddy. I know you say we are “protesting way too much” but I think for a person who knows nothing about the school YOU are contributing way too much! The original top two posters asked genuine questions about the school so perhaps it’s time to spend your Saturday evening doing something more fun instead of commenting on a achool that you know very little about.

People at the top of this thread, come and visit our school. Go on your gut. It doesn’t suit everyone but there’re lots of families that it does suit and where children are extremely happy and doing very well acedemically. Ignore people who’re are nayslayers and read what REAL parents of the school actually say.

MarchingFrogs Sun 27-May-18 11:03:14

With only fifty students on roll in the entire school, I'd wonder about financial viability as much (If not more than) the quality of the teaching. A 3 - 16 school local to us, with similar class sizes went bust a few years back. The parents were told on the last day of the summer term that the school had closed. .

FFarrell11 Sun 27-May-18 12:36:10

I am a parent of a child at Chalfonts Grammar School. My son is just completing his second year and goes in to MYP3 (Year 9) in September. I can only speak as I find and I strongly advise others to do the same. There is a right school for every child and that entirely depends on the child and has nothing to do with whether the school is fee paying, exam results or what others say. I chose this school because it best fitted the way my son learns and because it will help him to become a responsible citizen. IB is an entirely different ethos and many grammar schools are now adopting this instead of A Levels. My son is happy, he is enthusiastic about school and has an awareness of others and the world around him and his impact on that world. I am sure he could have received this elsewhere also. The school has a strong pastoral care which is important for me. It was not possible to see exam results when he joined as the school had been going less than one year. The first students sat their exams this year so we will start to see results but this always takes time when a new school is set up. The school currently has 53 pupils and only had 31 when the Ofsted inspection was completed as it was only around 15 months after the school was set up. Class sizes are limited to 14 pupils, it was never intended to become a massive school - even with two classes in the future for each year group it is not planned that the school will ever have more than 200 pupils. I believe this will be the first year that there will be a two class intake and the school is growing in the way in which it was intended. The school is part of a larger group of schools and the owner of the group has another 12+ schools to his name. It isn’t for everyone but for us it’s just perfect. We saw many different schools and were offered places at 4 others but selected this one. Happy to provide specific information on my experience and to answer any further questions. Good luck in choosing the right school.

Furrycushion Sun 27-May-18 12:46:49

I think the word "Grammar" in an area that has grammar schools probably makes people feel prickly. It's like it's a kind of cheat, hoping people will think it's a grammar school.

FFarrell11 Sun 27-May-18 16:12:38

I don’t think there is any cheating going on here, I don’t believe you could confuse a fee paying school with a state grammar school. I would like to think that the naming of the school is less relevant than the education it can provide. I certainly didn’t select on the name - the name was chosen after we selected the school.

BubblesBuddy Sun 27-May-18 16:37:38

You are extremely rude, Winners. Do you say that people are foreign if you don’t like what they are saying because it makes you feel superior?

Yes, Furry. It is all about the name and it certainly cannot be financially viable as a school. The other schools must be subsidising it. Parents are, of course welcome to choose whatever school thry want, but the head in the sand attitude from parents here is staggering and certainly proves my point that some fee paying parents will pay to be with people like themselves! They are all contributing essays to this thread!

Do you understand that, Winners? Or is my English still incomprehensible to you?

GracieMouse1969 Sun 27-May-18 17:51:05

Oh my days.... Bubbles, of course some of us (actual parents of the achool) might “contribute essays to this thread” It’s because we care about our school and our children are happy there and doing well. Equally though, you seem to spending a lot of time yourself on this thread and you’re not even a parent of the school. Why do you keep popping up to say your two pennies worth/negative things? Its a bank holiday weekend and where I live it’s warm and sunny so let’s all enjoy it now. Like Lo9999 said earlier perhaps it’s time to leave this thread to people who have genuine experience of The Chalfonts.

CatkinToadflax Wed 30-May-18 09:19:04

I'd be genuinely interested to know how the pupils are kept safe on site. The school is on an absolutely enormous sprawling site, much of which is rather derelict. The company I work for hired the residential facilities and communal spaces for an event a few months ago, and the school pupils didn't seem to have any obvious protection on site from random members of the public coming and going. This was when the pupils were wandering around the site rather than in the actual school building. I may be wrong of course.

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