Thornden School Chandlers Ford. Is it really 'outstanding'
Sigh, we've reached that battle for secondary school places stage- almost. DS1 is in Yr 4 but decisions have to be made. We rent thus can possibly move into a 'better' catchment. I'd 'discounted' Thornden though it is only 3 miles away (there are seven closer schools, most of which I wouldn't grace with a bargepole!). My thoughts are that it's hyper academic (its catchment is VERY middle class!) but DS1, whilst capable of the golden mean of the 5 GCSEs, I believe, may not be about to devise space programs in his spare time... DOES anyone out there have experience of Thornden, or the Winchester Comps? We're catchmented to Mountbatten, Romsey which is 'ok' but has- how can I put this?- recently had a sizeable influx of DCs from the rougher end of Southampton. Thanks
Gosh I think the "sizeable influx of DCs from the rougher end of Southampton" may include my DN whose parents took her out of a school in Southampton and sent her to Mountbatten. They were trying to send her somewhere where she wouldn't be bullied and where she would have a good education.
I was going to add to my first post (but didn't due to space and waffle restraints!) that I guess the fact that parents had chosen to remove children (esp boys) from the failing schools in So'ton showed commendable concern in NOT sending DCs to those schools (bearing in mind that the level of concern in one instance only went as far as a headteacher of one So'ton primary telling yr 6 parents "DO NOT send your child to the local comp under any circumstances, put down M'b instead!")- BUT a very good friend of mine is a teacher at M'B and tells somewhat hair raising tales about the place. I mean, it's all relative- we're talking nice, small market town Romsey here and what is considered shocking in Romsey might not rate a mention in other schools.
Thornden's a nice school but I wouldn't call it 'hyper academic' by any means. It is miles better than most of the other Soton comps but probably no better than kings, westgate or henry b's in Winchester. I'd go for Thornden above them anyway. Plus lots go on from Thornden to Peter Symonds in Winchester for A levels which is an excellent 6th form college whether you are academic or not. Then again, if it came down to moving, I think I wouldn't bother - Mountbatten's not bad, I know good teachers in Soton who send their kids there.
My dcs are set for Thornden. I don't think it's mega-academic by any means - it is a comprehensive after all. What I think is good is that the children who go there seem to be quite decent and well-behaved (from what I have seen of them coming out of school, anyway!).
We lived in Southampton before and I couldn't believe that large numbers of the secondary school kids were all smoking, spitting and snogging right outside the school gate.
I would say about Thornden, though, that they are quite tough on catchment. Last year several people just one road outside the official boundary failed to get their dcs a place.
I am bumping this now- 3 months down the track to see if anyone else is around with an opinion?
I will be looking at 5 (FIVE!!) schools:
Mountbatten (our catchment school)
Romsey Community (DS's school's catchment)
-both of which we could get into whilst living here.
Thornden, Chandlers Ford
-just about no chance if out of catchment
-a reasonable chance at it has a rural catchment and the admissions officer told me recently they're offering a DC from our village a place in second round offers who 'possibly didn't put Kings down as her first preference'
Right now my first choice in Westgate but sadly I'm not sure I should subject the family to the tiny little house we could afford to rent in that catchment for 950 quid a month, and whether our DS would be seriously financially 'outclassed' by his classmates there...
Dh went there in the 70s! But I don't think his information will be that relevant to you!
The area is very middle class.
It wasn't 'hyper accademic' when dh went there, but dh did get to Oxford
Sorry, MB when you say 'there' which one do you mean? Westgate? Someone local told me it used to be the old Winchester grammar and Kings is an amalgamation of 2 not-very-good secondary moderns- all of historical interest, not of relevance at all anymore, I'd agree!
What I'm looking for in a school is exactly the 'middle class values' that Chris Parry expounded when he threw 'the cat in amongst the pigeons' last weekend (in the papers) regarding 'Why private schools are better than state' more or less..(notice how I've cleverly hidden this remark in the midst of another OP so it doesn't 'catch fire'!). I want a school where the mass of DCs come from good, caring homes that value education, teach respect for others, motivate and encourage DCs- because that makes for way less disruption in class, less bullying and a common ethos within the school. IMO! Doesn't matter if those families are wealthy or haven't got a brass razoo, but the harsh reality in our increasingly fractionated society is that we're far more likely to find those 'values' in a middle class, well-to-do area.
Or a state grammar which DS MIGHT scrape into IF we could privately prep him along with 70% of the other applicants for our nearest....
Actually, rereading I think you mean Thornden, don't you? Cos I was the one talking 'hyper academic' about it! So sorry if I misunderstood!
He went to thornden when it was very new....they didn't have amy playing fields, and lots of mud insted!
I was going to suggest St Anne's........ then I realised that your opening post clearly stated DS!! (It's a girls comprehensive for those who are wondering what I'm rabbiting on about!!) I've heard good things about the school and we are currently considering it but it won't be much help to you! Sorry.
fyi Thornden have an open evening on July 2 for parents of current year 5 children (ie want to go in Sep 2009).
There has been quite a bit of argy-bargy recently over people renting flats in Chandlers Ford to get their kids into Thornden, or claiming they live with grandparents, etc.
Really, fircone? that's interesting. I must say we are considering moving into catchment but it'd be an actual legitimate move (albeit rental cos that's what we do!). Are the school clamping down or is it still at the 'school gate talk' stage?
Personally I've always believed that if a DC gets into a school on 'catchment grounds' they should have to relinquish that place at the end of a school year if the family then moves out of catchment. That'd stop a lot of this behaviour!
Thorden is a good school, but I wouldn't say hyper academic. And as you say it is also a good feeder for Peter Symonds, which has an excellent reputation (my father is on their board of govenors).
Miljee, Peter Symonds used to be the grammar school in Winchester, and the secondary modern was the forerunner of Kings, separate boys and girls schools on the same site called Danemark and Montgomery of Alamein.
In my days in Winchester schooling, Montgomery and Danemark were well rough sub-optimal, so it always makes me snigger a bit at them now being called "Kings" and being all aspirational. A good lesson in how schools can change completely.
My mum used to teach in the area and I know she rates Thornden (I went to St Anne's as my parents are Catholic).
This is probably not very useful because my experience of schools in that area is a long long time ago but back then Thornden had a good reputation afik. I went to Romsey School which was fine and I think Mountbatten was considered pretty good. I understand these things change but I can't imagine any of the schools you've mentioned being bad. Romsey's even more middle class now than it was when I grew up.
Trouble is, re the OP- Romsey and Mountbatten's intakes now include much of certain areas of northern Southampton where many schools are dire, dangerous and failing, big time, thus there has definitely been an increase in behavioural problems at both the Romsey comprehensives; therefore a lot of Romsey parents are looking further afield- clever kids as far as the Salisbury grammars, and others towards Chandlers Ford and Winchester. Sad but true. It's also an indication of how 'good schools' can go downhill and 'bad' schools can become desirable!
Anchovy, was Westgate an old Winchester grammar too? Just curious!
GOD I CANT BELIEVE THAT THE LENGTHS US PARENTS NOW HAVE TO GO TO , TO ENSURE OUR KIDS GET A DECENT EDUCATION. WHAT HAS HAPPENED? PEOPLE TELL ME ITS THE INFLUX OF PEOPLE COMING TO THE UK TO SETTLE, OTHER SAY THE SCHOOLS IN SOUTHAMPTON ARE FAILING HENCE THE REASON FOR MERGING, NO WONDER PARENTS WANT TO LOOK ELSEWHERE OUT OF CATCHMENT.
TEN YEARS AGO MAYBE MORE, THIS PROBLEM WASNT AROUND, PARENTS COULD HAVE THE CHOICE WHERE TO SEND THEIR CHILDREN AND THERE WERENT ANY WAITING LISTS OR THE STUPID CATCHMENT RULES THAT HAVE BEEN BROUGHT INTO PLACE. !!!
MY SON IS JUST ABOUT TO JOIN MOUNTBATTEN WHICH IS A FEEDER SCHOOL FOR HIS CURRENT ONE.
WE ARE NOT CATCHMENT TO MOUNTBATTEN BUT I HAVE MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT THE PLACEMENT TOO.
HAVING READ SOME OF THE ABOVE POSTS ABOUT THORNDEN (CHANDLERS FORD) AND ITS CATCHMENT RULES, IT DID CROSS MY MIND HOW 3 BOYS FROM SOUTHAMPTON IN THE TOWN CENTRE WERE ABLE TO GET IN THERE CONSIDERING THEY WERE OUT OF CATCHMENT - COULD IT HAVE BEEN THE FACT THAT THEIR FATHER HAD AN INFLUENCE BEING IN THE FORCES ? IT DOES MAKE YOU WONDER HOW THEY GOT PRIORITY ?
ANOTHER THING THAT REALLY IRRITATES ME IS THE COST OF SCHOOL TRANSPORT !!! MP'S READING THIS - SCHOOL TRANSPORT SHOULD BE FREE - IN LONDON EVERY SCHOOL CHILD UNDER 16 GETS TO TRAVEL FREE ON SCHOOL BUSES, IT WOULD ENSURE THE SAFETY TOO OF SOME KIDS AND CUT DOWN ON EXTRA CARS ON ROADS DURING SCHOOLS RUNS !!
To be fair, I think there have always been 'catchment' rules! The difference was (and I can only speak for 20 years ago) EVERYONE went to their catchmented school! Thus if you lived in a 'nice' area, your local schools had 'nice' children in them, BUT if you lived in a dire area, lord help you!
Re you problem, Tizer, I really don't know why the So'ton comps (SOME of them!) are in such trouble! I mean, my boss at work used a dodgy address to get his sons into a particular school at year 7 which is now considered one of the worst in Southampton! WHAT went wrong?
Re Mountbatten, actually I consider it a perfectly adequate school, really. Which catchment should your DS be in?
As for school transport, I have to say, I will pay whatever is necessary to get DS1 to the school that suits him best...IF we can get him in! It has been my impression that school transport, within reason IS free IF you send your DC to their catchmented school but it is a certain distance away. IF for whatever reason you don't do that, your choice means you pay! Not unreasonable.
Major bump, here, as I've just visited Thornden! And Mountbatten, Kings and am due to visit Romsey next week.
I have been surprised in that Mountbatten was considerably better than I thought it would be; Thornden was more 'comprehensive' and less 'we REALLY wanna be a grammar school' than I expected, and Kings felt like a grammar!
What do you now think about M'batten, Tizer? Hope it's going well for you. They have a new headteacher and I gather from a Y11 pupil whose views I respect that she's making a big difference. Apparently she expelled 19 pupils in her first term- many of whom had languished, unrepentant on their Final Warning for over a year!
I am leaving Zürich and moving to Hants in December. My son will start High School in 1 and a half years time and am wondering about Thornden, Mountbatten, Romsey!!! He is fluent in German and wondering if any of these schools have a good way with languages.
Oi Anchovy! Who are you calling sub-optimal? That is my school you are dishing there!
Actually, Danemark in the mid 70s was by far and away the superior secondary school for girls in Winchester. The alternative was Westgate which was the old County High (grammar) school which my sister went to. It was abominable when she was at it, but even worse when it went comprehensive and all the good teachers abandoned it to teach at Peter Symonds. Danemark was the state school for girls.
The fact that it failed me utterly, I shall not mention. Oops.
...this is interesting.
I am in catchment for Romsey Community and DS is in year 5.. so curious as to the opinions and views
However.. i live very very close to Romsey Community, so if you do go there,
PLEASE DO NOT PARK ACROSS MY DRIVE!!!!!!
.....is happens on a daily basis by parents picking up and DRIVES ME NUTS.
(..adn I feel better for that)
I believe now that it is Kings and the property prices in Winchester have skyrocketed and the town is full of aspirational sorts, it is a very highly commended school.
Good luck with the decision. Round here, we only have one option (fortunately not a bad school) and the thought of having to decide between several good schools fills me with dread.
Eve- DH went to the Romsey Open Evening earlier this week. He wasn't THAT impressed, to be absolutely honest. But I am going on an open morning next week so I can make some comparisons with Mountbatten.
DH said the school seemed a bit chaotic (with no DCs in it!). A few of the classrooms looked quite small and a lot of were crowded out with material. The facilities looked a bit threadbare in places and while they were trying to brighten up the place with murals, overall he didnt get the impression that they had a lot of money available for improvements. Some things were impressive the ICT facilities were good and the email/website access they give to students and parents looked very smart (lots of online access to homework and opportunities to interact with teachers). They do have actual bus route into Shirley as many of their DCs come from that way, now.
It's SO hard though, isn't it? Frankly I expect both Romsey and M'batten are broadly similar schools (though to the lady from Zurich, M'batten is a Language College!). I will be very interested to see what 'improvements' the new head at M'batten brings on.
But I have to say that currently my heart belongs to either Thornden or Kings, given the choice!
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