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Stowe School - any current parents please?

(19 Posts)
CaraCruise Sun 15-Mar-20 21:51:23

Hi we are looking at Stowe for 6th Form for sporty DS, I know about the past reputation of Stowe but just wondering if there are any current parents or friends of parents on here who could give me an insight. Thanks.

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Motorcyclemptiness Tue 17-Mar-20 15:32:55

Pm ed you OP

123reviewer2020 Sun 21-Jun-20 01:34:14

Dear Cara, I posted this comment on another feed but thought it might be handy for you too.

As someone who worked at Stowe in recent years I urge you....look at other schools. The grounds will easily sell you, a good deal of the kids are fantastic but dig deeper, because sadly those fantastic kids are let down, and that isn't even mentioning those not so fantastic ones.

I advise you ask what student retention rate is like (In term 1). Ask what staff retention is like after 2 years. Ask what true Y12 predicted grades are like (not those that go on UCAS, because then you would never hear lower than a C). Ask why they offer BTEC courses. Ask how many students see the counselor and how many of their parents know when there is a real issue like self harm. And if the honest answers come out (the won't) then ask yourself how much are you willing to sacrifice for the very pretty setting. But fter all that, finally ask what happens to students identified as weak or those who they feel might be more successful or happier in other schools after GCSE, and how school finance can effect that answer.
Some kids thrive at Stowe and are amazing! So are some parents and some teachers. But I would encourage you to read between the lines of the points above before being sold on the grand setting.

Shimy Mon 22-Jun-20 09:35:51

Ask what true Y12 predicted grades are like (not those that go on UCAS, because then you would never hear lower than a C)

I’m confused a bout this point. Surely the predicted grades that go to UCAS are the ones that matter. Unless you’re saying the predicted grades that go to UCAS are false but on purpose to raise student hopes. To what end could that possibly serve?

finally ask what happens to students identified as weak
Stowe has never been known for its high flying academics, infact it’s key selling point has been that it takes weaker students that other schools sometimes wouldn’t but has strong teaching and patient teachers who manage to turn this around so i find the above
comment a bit out of sync with that.

123reviewer2020 Mon 22-Jun-20 20:46:13

Well you get honest predicted grades, and optimistic ones (same in every school) optimistic normally get put into UCAS to give students the best chance of an offer, but this is normal. However, even students getting well below C grades in mocks and are agreed will almost certainly not get them they are submitted as C grades to UCAS anyway. Who does this benefit, no one really, though it does for those who might get unconditional offer at lower rate unis, or so you dont have to have the hard conversation of why a student is potentially going to achieve DEE for alevel after years of paying fees. Does it make sense, no.

I will re-phrase the second point, but you missed the key part about finance. All schools try and keep students at A level they are businesses. But when students are kept not because it's best for them but because the school can't financially afford to loose them that is an issue. But yes you are right Stowe will take pretty much anyone who will pay the fees.

I hope that clears it up. I'm just trying to offer some onsite to a school that I certainly wouldn't send my own children.

Shimy Mon 22-Jun-20 23:42:50

There is a bit of game playing with UCAS and I think everyone is aware of that and results day throws up all kinds of surprising. Not everyone wants to go to highly selective university and that's their choice.

I'm aware of the key part of finance. However, if schools are simply keeping students on because of the fees and this how the schools run from year to year , I'm surprised there hasn't been an outcry before now. That's just my opinion. Years ago we looked at Stowe for ds and didn't feel it was the right fit but know some friends dc from his school who have gone there and they all seem happy. They particular dc weren't the most academic but have ended up at UCL, Sheffield etc so I will say it had done well by them.

123reviewer2020 Tue 23-Jun-20 14:44:28

I was not saying some don't do very well there, differnt schools for different kids. Simply offering an insite of an ex member of staff because no school highlights its shortcomings. Take from it what you will.

Shimy Tue 23-Jun-20 17:36:14

To be honest you're coming across as a bit defensive as well as patronising. I don't know what your relationship with the school was/is or whether you're who you say you are, this is the internet!. Most parents I know do not decide on a school purely based on the grounds. Some of the questions you are telling prospective parents to ask don't make sense e.g How many students are seeing a counsellor? and how many of their parents know there are problems such as self-harm? hmm why would any school tell you that? surely that information is confidential. Why do they offer BTECs??? for obvious reasons perhaps.
If you want to share your experience of the school you're free to do so but you sound quite militant about warning people off. Bottom line is some will like it and some won't.

123reviewer2020 Tue 23-Jun-20 19:38:52

Sorry you feel like that, as someone who worked at Stowe in recent years I thought I'd offer a view that few get. Most of the questions are rhetorical but there is a reason I highlighted them. As you say some will like it some will not, but if asking the question Cara did I'd be grateful for insite. All the best.

Stilllookingfor Tue 23-Jun-20 23:05:29

Sounds like you have an axe to grind? I don't know the school, but then I don't know your story either. Were you teaching staff?

Motorcyclemptiness Thu 25-Jun-20 16:47:23

Thanks 123, it's really made my day to read your taking the time to inform all of Mumsnet that my DC are at a school that takes anyone that will pay the fees! Not a nice attitude to the DC whom you were paid to teach. Do tell me where your own DC are being schooled and I may be able to denigrate every kid who goes to that school? Whatever axe you have to grind with Stowe, having a pop at all the pupils isn't nice. And you can now come back and have a go at me, since I am one of the parents upon whom you also pour scorn. By the way, I do hope you are not an English teacher, if your own grammatical usage is anything to go by? Well said, Stilllookingfor, by the way.

Mumto2two Thu 25-Jun-20 17:27:00

I am always wary of people who try to grind a public does nothing to sway my own instincts towards any choice we make. We were warned off my both my daughter’s schools...and both turned out to be perfect..for them! And again on here there have been axes grinding for the next school we have chosen...yet we know they stem from personal gripes, and are not always the red flags they want you to see.
For what it’s worth, we know one child who went to Stowe. Now quite successful in business...every child will have their own story.

searching4schools Thu 25-Jun-20 20:56:22

@Motorcyclemptiness Would you consider Stowe to be an option for ASD/Anxiety? What are the class sizes like, please?

Motorcyclemptiness Thu 25-Jun-20 23:08:47

searching4schools, i have pm'ed you?

TattingerFizzer Sun 28-Jun-20 02:18:56

All schools have their flaws and no school is going to own up to them, to expect them to would be naive. I know a lot of kids and parents at Stowe and they are all very happy and sing it’s praises. It is an excellent all rounder school.

Clonakilty Sun 28-Jun-20 04:22:44


I was not saying some don't do very well there, differnt schools for different kids. Simply offering an insite of an ex member of staff because no school highlights its shortcomings. Take from it what you will.

It’s insight, btw.
You’re coming across as condescending and a little bit arrogant. Clearly you have an axe to grind.

CaraCruise Sun 28-Jun-20 19:30:26

Well 123reviewer2020 thank you for your 'informed' insight into life at Stowe, the best piece of information i gained from your poisoned pen is that you are no longer a member of staff there.
As a parent who has had children in the private/boarding system for over 10 years my eyes are fully open. Children have counselling for all sorts of reasons and this does not reflect on the school, in fact, in my opinion quite to the contrary, it shows that the school has a robust system in place to support children in such a fast paced, demanding world and I am thrilled you have hilighted that for me.
Stowe is no different from any of the other top public schools in terms of it's problems and no school can afford to sweep these problems under the table. I have heard first hand about various incidents and they are no different from the current public school we are currently at, both schools have dealt with their problems impeccably and I have full confidence that when my DC joins Stowe in September that he will be joining a school of caring professionals who have already shown their interest in him by sending online learning to help him to integrate.
Stowe may be impressive in it's appearance but remember - it is not the buildings that teach the children, it is the people in them and thankfully you no longer are!
Stowe will be a perfect fit my DC and he is looking forward to the opportunity.

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volpemum Mon 29-Jun-20 10:52:41

Sorry I hope this doesn’t sound rude because I am not!

But OP it strikes me like a bit of an aggressive response. If you are posting on mumsnet asking for feedback then you have to be prepared to hear the good and the bad! If you want affirmation that you have made the right choice then don’t ask for feedback! There is no perfect school. All schools will have pros and cons and part of the decision is hearing both sides and then making a decision.

I only read this thread because my godson goes to Stowe and clearly have heard lots about the school from my best friend. The good and the bad!

Don’t expect honest feedback if it’s going to be met with “thankfully you no longer teach there!”

CaraCruise Mon 29-Jun-20 21:10:06

Thank you volpemum for your contribution, when I first asked the question back in March we were undecided but i have been fortunate to receive a fair few pm's from current parents who have given me a good insight, like you say 'the good and the bad' so we are going with our eyes wide open.

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