Comberton Village College

(57 Posts)
PippaFawcett Wed 16-Mar-16 13:59:02

We want to move (like so many other people) to the catchment of Comberton VC. Our budget is £325k so isn't huge for that area. We have two DC, one about to start reception in September and one who will be in Year 3 in September so we would need primary places for them. Are the primaries all going to be full and a nightmare to get into? In-year moving seems awful to get our heads around for school places and I know the primary places are about to be announced. We like Coton, Barton, Little Eversden from our drive around but so does everyone else and there is nothing in our price range at the moment and possibly ever. Is Comberton a nice place to make friends (me and the kids) as we would be leaving our lovely village community and I am apprehensive! We have ruled out Cambourne.

PippaFawcett Wed 16-Mar-16 14:14:37

Also I see that Meridan Primary School was given a 'requires improvement' classification from Ofsted recently. I would be interested to hear from parents there to see if they are generally happy with the school.

ihatethecold Wed 16-Mar-16 14:38:28

Meridian doesn't have a good reputation locally.
Have you thought about Bourn primary school. It's a fantastic place.
My kids loved it there.
They are now both at cvc.
Cvc is a good school but it's a machine.
There is absolutely no flexibility when it comes to the school rules over uniform/ absence/ homework.
It feels relentless and pointless at times.
Any questions feel free to ask.

Tingalingle Wed 16-Mar-16 14:48:09

Any particular reason why Comberton rather than any of the other schools?
Don't get me wrong, I very much like Comberton, but we've had children in three of the local Village Colleges by now, and different schools do suit different children.

Why rule out Cambourne VC? As a school, it's essentially Comberton-moved-west, given that it is/was headed by ex-Comberton staff. By the time your DD gets to that age, it will have grown to full size.

I'm interested that you found Comberton very inflexible, Ihate. For DS (who has some special needs), they bent over backwards to help him to an education despite his efforts to avoid it. Their pastoral care was superb.

PippaFawcett Wed 16-Mar-16 14:56:52

Lots of reasons for wanting CVC - the results it gets and the location to the West of Cambridge as that is the side of the city that will link both DH and I to work as we had off in opposite directions. I think Cambourne would be a last resort for us, I know it is run by Comberton but Cambourne itself just didn't appeal to me. Ideally I would love a village location (we are in a village now) but there is literally nothing on the market that fits our criteria at the moment so we will have to watch and wait. The recent Meridian Ofsted was not good but our current school was rated inadequate when DD started and it is now 'good' so I know things can turn around.

doctorgeek Wed 16-Mar-16 14:57:39

How about other schools in the COmberton trust? This now includes Melbourn VC - IIRC last year their results were very good. It's smaller than Comberton VC as well.

We aren't too far from there and our primary has just had an RI from Ofsted under the new framework (anything post Sept 2015). I'm a primary govenor and having seen what has happened since we had our RI I wouldn't be overly concerned about just an RI - the extra support we have had from County and the effort the teachers have put in since really is astounding (and makes me wonder why the blinking flip it took an Ofsted for them to make the changes...). Was the previous Osfted Good? To put things into perspective, of the 17 primary Ofsteds since September in Cambridgeshire, 11 have resulted in schools being downgraded...

PippaFawcett Wed 16-Mar-16 15:22:28

Thanks DoctorGeek, that is reassuring. Melbourn VC is a possibility, in fact we looked (on right move) at this house this morning:

Ideally we would be a bit closer to Cambridge than that though as I was hoping to have a really short commute (mine can be 1.5 hours to Cambridge currently and at least 1 hour on a good day).

The previous Ofsted for the Meridan was good, and I know the gradings aren't everything hence asking for real life experiences.

ihatethecold Wed 16-Mar-16 15:29:34

I think my issue with with CVC apart from what I said above is that there is no nurturing of the younger ones and after primary school it's a bit of a shock.
It's all about the results with cvc.

PippaFawcett Wed 16-Mar-16 15:34:04

Thanks ihate. Are schools normally flexible over uniform/homework etc? Genuine question, my secondary school certainly wasn't. I will have a look at Bourn now, I have been there once in autumn and it was beautiful.

ihatethecold Wed 16-Mar-16 15:42:50

I get your point about flexibility but they will have an idea, run with it, then realise it was a terrible idea but never back down. Causing grief.
They won't change the sets your children are in.
My Dd has been placed in set 1 for maths because she did well in her sats.
It's way above her ability but will they listen??
Problem is I have a good friend who works there so I hear it from the other side!

As I said. It's like a machine.

Tingalingle Wed 16-Mar-16 15:48:42

I can imagine that going from primary school to a vast school like CVC would be a shock, yes. Don't they have standard visits and so forth set up to ease them in, though? (Genuine question - DS bypassed all of the usual procedures and had his introductions separately.)

PippaFawcett Wed 16-Mar-16 15:52:18

ihate, it is interesting to hear the viewpoint of a parent. I am surprised they won't alter the sets as that is surely in the best interests of the school too? Is DD happy there? Friendship wise.

Tingalingle Wed 16-Mar-16 15:58:40

Hmm, are you finding they won't alter sets at all, or won't alter them mid-year?

PippaFawcett Wed 16-Mar-16 17:36:13

And what is Hardwick like? I haven't been there but I hear it isn't particularly pretty but I assume it has a lot of young families?

ihatethecold Wed 16-Mar-16 19:17:00

Hard wick isn't pretty but there isn't anything wrong with it.
It can be pricey because it's quite close to Cambridge.
My Dd has lots of friends at cvc but at primary school because it's small they are individuals pupils. At cvc it's a conveyor belt of education.
When I explained that she is in a maths set that is too high and why they said we won't move her because she did well in her sats.
She was tutored to death at her primary school in preparation for the sats last year.

ihatethecold Wed 16-Mar-16 19:17:53

Sorry for the lack of punctuation. blush

ihatethecold Wed 16-Mar-16 19:21:04

I think for your budget you will struggle to get somewhere in the cvc catchment unless you are happy to get ex local authority or a 2 bed place.
We live in a 3 bed semi that's now worth £400,000 and we aren't in the centre of a village.

PippaFawcett Wed 16-Mar-16 19:53:48

ihate, I think you are right. The prices are insane! We have grown despondent today as we are in a small three bed house where we are and for at least £100k more we would be lucky to find a house the size and condition of ours. It isn't exactly filling us with glee as the price hike will mean no holidays etc. sad

Lovewalking Wed 16-Mar-16 23:01:54

What about Linton or Sawston catchments instead? Your money might go further. Both good village colleges - I think performance was very close to Comerton last year if not better for SVC. It's also a relatively long time until your DCs reach secondary and things change especially at the moment with the GCSE overhaul...

PippaFawcett Thu 17-Mar-16 09:21:18

I would be open to either of those schools and I have heard very good things about Swavesey too but Comberton is the best location for me and DH to get to our jobs. You are right about schools changing all the time - one worry is that we pay over the odds for a house which then goes down in value if CVC slips down the Ofsted gradings.

Tingalingle Thu 17-Mar-16 10:10:44

Shouldn't think it'll slip far. It's been consistently good for a long time now, and is the 'flagship' for a lot of educational policies. (I have absolutely no axe to grind here, as I've also had kids at Linton and Sawston!)

If you need to get into Cambridge daily, would you be best to get on a guided bus route/trainline/decent cycle path, and at least have some non-car options?

Tingalingle Thu 17-Mar-16 10:14:57

Foxton, for instance?

PippaFawcett Thu 17-Mar-16 10:15:57

Originally we wanted to live in Coton, Tingalingle so I could bike from there and DH could drive off in the opposite direction. But lack of supply and prices there are probably going to make that an unlikely dream. My work is based in West Cambridge so Comberton seems to make the most sense logistically. I don't fancy contending with the A14 or even the GB.

PippaFawcett Thu 17-Mar-16 10:19:24

I looked at that house yesterday (online, not in person). Traffic around Foxton is bloody awful, have you ever been stuck when the trains are going through? I think DH, who will have to drive as he roams everywhere for his job, won't fancy that. Also, it still isn't very close to Cambridge to give me my under half an hour commute that I am dreaming of. Thanks for the suggestions though, I am more open to suggestions than I am coming across!

PippaFawcett Thu 17-Mar-16 10:21:14

DH went to look at this one the other day:

We didn't know if the vendor would be open to low offers (we would have had no cash for the renovation initially so thought we could live in it and do it up gradually) but DH says it is uninhabitable and needs at least £100k spending on it. And someone had put a cash offer of £450k on the table when he was looking around!

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