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Buckinghamshire grammar schools
43

Diddlesquatter · 15/05/2022 17:56

I’m moving to Oxfordshire/Bucks border for work. I expect that my children might end up qualifying for grammar school entry.

I was wondering if there is a difference in feeling/attitude/reputation between the grammars in Aylesbury vs High Wycombe.

Any advice would be warmly received.

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LenseToonCauterize · 15/05/2022 18:37

Endless discussions about John Hampden and RGS and which might suit are to be found online (have you looked at the elevenplusforum?) Often these centre on football and rugby. Ditto the single sex grammars in Aylesbury v The Floyd, especially AGS which has an overtly trad set-up compared to SHF who market themselves very differently. Historically WHS was seen as very pushy with questionable attitudes to mental health, this may be different now.
Depending upon the exact location on the Bucks/Oxon border you might consider Lord William's School instead.

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TizerorFizz · 16/05/2022 09:03

I’m assuming you are talking about Thame and a bit further south. Too far down the border and you wouldn’t get Wycombe or Aylesbury grammars.

You can get into Aylesbury grammars from Thame but you would need to look at distance admitted and this might change from year to year. It’s always safest to live in Bucks.

I don’t think WHS is overly pushy. Some parents might be but that can happen everywhere. There are high achieving parents who expect their DC will be the same. The parents I know whose DDs went to AHS were a mixed bag too. Some very pushy and some laid back. I would say it’s a different vibe at SHF in Aylesbury and unless you are thinking of the Royal Latin School in Buckingham, it’s the only co-Ed school.

If you are deciding where to live, I don’t think there is much negative about any of the schools. They are not inspected very often and I think they are all outstanding. I know many DC who enjoyed the Aylesbury grammars: we are catchment for all three. It’s more about what suits your DC. When my DD was at primary, 28 in her year got the 11 plus and only one went to SHF. That was quite a while ago but there was always a pecking order in Aylesbury. It very much depends on whether the single sex schools are perceived by parents as being more upwardly mobile!

I would also look at RLS Buckingham if you don’t mind living in Bucks but nearer to Bicester. Waddesdon is THE choice for secondary. Live near there if DC don’t look on track for grammar. It has a small catchment.

Lord Williams in Thame is popular. However just a mile away, it’s Bucks and you can get into a grammar.

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SoulAuntie · 16/05/2022 09:34

LWS definitely worth considering if you are actually going to be in Thame itself, allowing DC to walk to school. There is very little leakage from Thame to the grammars and they have top sets in Maths, Science, English and Languages in KS4 and setting from day one in Maths and PE. Very wide Sixth Form offer.

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Diddlesquatter · 16/05/2022 11:48

Thank you all. That’s helpful. The forum recommendation is great too.


It sounds like they are all good schools and that there would be good options wherever we end up. I’ll concentrate on finding a house somewhere lovely and make sure it’s in the catchment of one of the schools we’d be happy with.


I’m not sure about Lord Williams vs grammars. I’d imagine they’d do better at a grammar (being aware this is an idea based on little info) so we’ll go and have a look round the school to get a feel because Thame seems like a lovely place to live.

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TizerorFizz · 16/05/2022 14:27

@Diddlesquatter

A bright child won’t necessarily do better in a grammar when compared to Lord Williams. Lord Williams has a big catchment and it’s mostly leafy. It’s also a very big school. There is quite a long journey from Thame to Aylesbury to factor in. The grammars obviously have selected out the brighter DC but that doesn’t mean they all achieve very highly. They don’t. Bucks grammars are not super selective and there are DC at the secondary moderns in Bucks that get good results too, eg Waddesdon.

You will need to look at what primary schools actually have places. You might need to consider private primary.

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TizerorFizz · 16/05/2022 18:52

I should add that some Bucks grammars do have impressive added value results.

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ittakes2 · 19/05/2022 00:42

Wycombe high is an exam sweat shop in our opinion we pulled our daughter out after the first year. If you want a great grammar school Sir William Borlase is a good option unique in that it’s a smaller Co-Ed local village school.

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TizerorFizz · 19/05/2022 19:24

@ittakes2

Horses for courses. I know DDs who really liked it there. Some parents pressurise regarding exams though. If DC are over tutored and not the brightest there can be issues too, as several of my neighbours discovered.

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ittakes2 · 21/05/2022 07:34

Trevorfizz - I know that which is why I said in our opinion. But I have twins - one who went to Wycombe High and one who went to Sir Borlase and the difference between the two grammar schools in terms of the pressure on the kids is shocking. Wycombe high (in our opinion) puts much more pressure on the girls. That’s why there are mixed opinions about Wycombe high in the community. Yes some girls love it and are fine with the pressure. But there are lots of girls who are struggling with their mental health because of it. When I pulled my daughter out I had the parents from five children in her class of 31/32 who said they were also not happy with the school and their daughters wanted to leave but they didn’t like their local comp school as an alternative and they couldn’t afford private.

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TizerorFizz · 21/05/2022 09:42

Well other local schools are not comps are they? So of course they don’t like them.

SWB rarely has places. You won’t have any chance of getting in there unless you live on the doorstep. So Bucks/Oxon border might be ok but not necessarily.

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ittakes2 · 27/05/2022 22:29

TizerorFizz - in my son’s year group swbgs took in over 36 children in a three year period into his year group. For 11 plus kids need to be in catchment but catchment is further than you think and includes Cookham in Berkshire. After year 7 you can live anywhere - I know of my daughter’s friend who joined year 9 and was living in great missenden at the time. I had also assumed it was hard to get into after year 7 but not as hard as you think.

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TizerorFizz · 28/05/2022 09:12

Only if other DC leave. They don’t make an extra class for joiners. They might be happy to go well over 30 x 4. However anytime going there from Gt Missenden is mad. So many nearer schools.

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jayab · 03/06/2022 08:32

Grammar school/ girls schools in Bromley

Hi All, we are looking to relocate to Bromley (from India) in July.

Looking for some good girls schools/ grammar school in this area..please suggest. Also advise on places to live ( safety, parks, accessibility to schools - being a priority).

Is there a deadline before when we have to register for entrance exams to schools if any?

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Pianofish · 03/06/2022 08:38

Living in Bucks is a high risk strategy. We also hope our DD will qualify for grammar - but if she doesn't, the schools that are left as choices are not appealing with the top 30% aspirational students stripped out and all the behavioural problems left behind.

If you can afford Waddesdon and either are Christian or can tolerate a CofE school, that would be a good choice.

If I had my time again I'd consider moving to Tring where you can still (for now!) access the Aylesbury grammars but have a decent comp system to fall back on.

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LIZS · 03/06/2022 08:40

jayab

Grammar school/ girls schools in Bromley

Hi All, we are looking to relocate to Bromley (from India) in July.

Looking for some good girls schools/ grammar school in this area..please suggest. Also advise on places to live ( safety, parks, accessibility to schools - being a priority).

Is there a deadline before when we have to register for entrance exams to schools if any?

@jayab you will get more responses by starting a separate thread for Bromley schools. Some selective schools require registration now, or may have closed, for 11+ entry in September 2023. However if your dc is not currently year 5 (turning 10 before end of August) you may need to speak to Local Authority as to the application process and vacancies.

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TizerorFizz · 03/06/2022 10:06

@Pianofish
So Tring School is fully comprehensive, yet DC from Tring go to the Aylesbury Grammar schools? You do know that doesn’t make much sense. Yes it’s better than Aylesbury Secondary moderns but it’s performance data is pretty similar to The Misbourne in Great Missenden. Thinking comps are always better than Bucks secondaries is not accurate. Waddesdon is the best and is better than Tring. However you have to live near to get in or find God.

I don’t see the best non grammar secondary schools in Bucks having loads of behaviour issues either. The less good ones can do but parents are savvy about where they live.

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Littlemissprosecco · 03/06/2022 10:25

Dear op, grammars really are not the be all and end all of education. The most important thing is that your children are happy and healthy. I had three in the grammar system, all ok, until GCSEs, then the pressures really piled on!! They were all told they bight they can cope, well some of them can’t! Pastoral care is poor, they do it all well on paper but in reality it’s non existent. And these schools are apparently outstanding! My kids left for sixth form and thrived in the local comprehensive.
if I had my time again I’d move further into Oxfordshire and look at somewhere like Cherwell
Dont get me wrong, the grammars are really good schools if your child is a good fit, and you want an exam factory. But if your child doesn’t fit for whatever reason then I’m afraid they’re really really poor

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Pianofish · 03/06/2022 10:36

TizerorFizz

@Pianofish
So Tring School is fully comprehensive, yet DC from Tring go to the Aylesbury Grammar schools? You do know that doesn’t make much sense. Yes it’s better than Aylesbury Secondary moderns but it’s performance data is pretty similar to The Misbourne in Great Missenden. Thinking comps are always better than Bucks secondaries is not accurate. Waddesdon is the best and is better than Tring. However you have to live near to get in or find God.

I don’t see the best non grammar secondary schools in Bucks having loads of behaviour issues either. The less good ones can do but parents are savvy about where they live.

Not enough children from Tring attempt the 11+ to make it statistically significant on the local comp. Whereas every child in Bucks sits it unless they are withdrawn by their parents.

And if you're talking the Oxford side of Bucks you may well be looking at the AVA... which wouldn't necessarily be many parents' first choice.

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TizerorFizz · 03/06/2022 11:49

I’m very well aware of the schools DC can get into . If Tring has a full range of ability, I would expect better results. It’s not as good as Waddesdon and similar to The Misbourne. They don’t have the grammar stream at all. The west of Aylesbury DC typically go to Mandeville. I was clear that the Aylesbury secondaries are avoided by many but it takes more money to avoid them in terms of buying a house. John Colet in Wendover also has a good reputation and supportive parents. Lots of Wendover DC do not go a few miles up the road to Tring because it’s perceived as superior. JC is very well supported by local DC and many do very well.

@Littlemissprosecco
There are NO comps in Bucks. Secondary moderns might well take DC who got 11 plus but didn’t want a grammar but generally the grammar stream is missing. Therefore they cannot be comps but say they cater for all abilities. That’s true but the top academic DC are largely missing. Plenty of DC are well served in the grammars. I know plenty who have thrived snd excelled. However over tutoring is the big issue. Parents push DC too much and then they cannot cope with pace or exams. If they need a slower pace, accept that and don’t choose a grammar. You can opt out. Generally most people love the grammars but parents need to think what’s best before GCSEs start.

Cherwell is very hard to get into. Lord Williams,Thame, is a better bet.

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Littlemissprosecco · 03/06/2022 11:58

I’m sorry if I was unclear, I moved my kids out of bucks grammars into an Oxfordshire comprehensive for 6th form.

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Littlemissprosecco · 03/06/2022 12:03

If you dig beneath the glossy surface I think you’ll find many that aren’t as happy as you think. However moving them out before 6th form is a extremely difficult

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TizerorFizz · 03/06/2022 13:10

As the grammars lose so few at 6th form, I would say most are happy. Square pegs in round holes can happen but I cannot think of any issues other than with a couple ludicrously over tutored DC who got in at 12 (in one case 13). Never ever should have gone. But parents are utter snobs. The grammar school was all about them. Not needs of DC. Who failed miserably!

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Littlemissprosecco · 03/06/2022 13:17

I totally disagree! I know many who have left unhappy kids in the 6th form, just because they’re Grammars!
A good friends daughter wanted to move, but her father simply said “you’re staying, it’s a grammar school”I think there’s a lot of that going on, but it’s all papered over, after all they are the elusive grammar schools!

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thing47 · 03/06/2022 14:12

Not in Bucks, they don't. A handful every year, and most of them are swapping one grammar school for another (ie some girls go to the boys Challoner's school because it's very strong on maths and science), but it's very few. You may well be right @Littlemissprosecco that not all DCs are as happy as it is made out, but that doesn't manifest in them actually leaving.

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desertislanddisco · 03/06/2022 14:12

My children have been in different single sex Bucks grammars since Year 7. They have excelled academically, have had a wide range of extra curricular and have made many strong friendships. I appreciate that my view will have been coloured by our own experience but it has all been positive and I can't see how they would have been happier elsewhere. Definitely not over-pressurised academically and they had lots of spare time to pursue other interests. I have seen a few struggle and some leave before sixth form but it tended to be the ones who were over-tutored, shouldn't really have been there in the first place and couldn't keep up. I can't understand anyone wanting to put their DC in that stressful position.

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