Local Talk

boy's school places

(50 Posts)
sikorsky Wed 30-Jan-13 19:51:43

Can't see DS2 getting into school of choice. Maths homework particularly traumatic this evening! Trouble is, there aren't enough places for boys in the independent schools in cambs. Don't want him boarding just down the road, and not keen on traipsing to Ely every day. Is St Mary's EVER going to start taking boys? His Godmother's daughter loves it there.

kinvorbud Wed 30-Jan-13 20:03:42

Yes, seems very unfair that all the girls seem to be getting 2 or 3 offers to pick and choose from and any boy who isn't A* GCSE material already by Year 8 has to go 15 miles out of Cambridge. St Mary's would be a wonderful co-ed school, I reckon. Never heard anything but positive things about its pastoral care and homely feel.

chintonroad Fri 01-Feb-13 13:01:48

Kinvorbud, the whole USP of St Mary's is that it is the only school in Cam to be girls only right through to 6th form... Perse used to be boys only until they started taking girls throughout in 2012 - so if anything it's a case of asking them why they added girls to a boys' school and meant fewer places for the lads wink

kinvorbud Fri 01-Feb-13 21:49:23

I take your point, chintonroad, but I do think that the future for Cambridge is co-ed. Having a gender imbalance of this magnitude in the schools within one area can only mean problems for the girls' schools, which are now competing with the Perse, so in the long run they will probably have to cast the net wider to fill their quotas.
Rumour has it that St John's pupils have just nabbed half of the Y9 places available at the Perse next year. Sought-after co-ed feeding into sought-after co-ed. Says it all, if you ask me...

chintonroad Sun 03-Feb-13 18:03:22

Not sure I see your point? Unless you're expecting the girls in yr8 at St Mary's or Stephen Perse to transfer out in order to get co-ed education? If that was the case surely they would do it at yr7 when Perse begins rather than disrupt halway through. I'd say the best thing your rumour says is that St John's is a very good springboard, Not sure it says much more though.

St Mary's will always appeal to families who want single sex education for girls for religious reasons, and Stephen Perse gets such outstanding results it will always have a market.

besty27 Wed 06-Feb-13 19:01:15

Not sure how far you are prepared to travel, but there is a small co-ed Prep school in Willingham (3 to 8 years and rising), run by the teaching team that used to be at St Colette's. My DS loves it there in Year 3 (smallest class sizes ever so almost 1:1 teaching and he has excelled as a result) and we have a number of our children (mainly boys!) coming out of Cambridge City every day using our teacher escorted bus journey. Some of our parents have moved their DS's from other schools to come to The Phoenix School Cambridge, so there must be something special going on. If you need to know more, see their website or come along to their Open Days, 8th, 22nd & 23rd Feb.

MarronGlace Wed 06-Feb-13 20:31:26

Why is the Phoenix School always promoted on this sort of thread? I'm sure it's a lovely school but I'm a bit sick of reading the same post by the same person saying the same things.
And it's in Willingham, not in Cambridge!
Anyway, rant over. OP I agree with you. I'm worried already about my DSs in case they're not good enough for the Perse. The Leys would be too expensive and just as hard to get in anyway I'm told. There aren't many other options for boys unless you are prepared to travel out of Cambridge. Getting in the Perse at 13 y is going to be very tough.sad

JennyWren1234 Wed 06-Feb-13 20:51:13

I'm interested to hear any views on Sancton Wood or Heritage School. With a son who really wouldn't be suited to The Perse (and probably wouldn't get in), and again The Leys too expensive, I'm wondering about these smaller schools?

mynameisnt Thu 07-Feb-13 13:35:55

It used to be the other way around though. Perse was two schools, st faiths was boys only, as was the Leys. Wasn't St Johns boys only as well??

rhinospanner Thu 07-Feb-13 18:43:58

Sancton Wood has an Open Morning on Feb 22nd. It is a lovely school, very nurturing and has a real family feel.

JennyWren1234 Thu 07-Feb-13 19:06:13

Thanks rhino! I'll go along to that. I drove past Heritage yesterday and realised that they had an open morning last week which I missed which is a bit annoying.

rhinospanner Thu 07-Feb-13 19:38:33

I'm sure if you ring you could go along for a visit. That will be a different sort of visit though. My understanding is that Heritage is very Christian in its teachings and ethos which Sancton Wood isn't.

JennyWren1234 Thu 07-Feb-13 20:15:19

Yes, I would prefer to go along to an open morning first though, as you say it will be a different type of visit. I think the Heritage also limits it use of technology (no interactive whiteboards for instance) in favour of a more traditional teaching style, which I'm not sure about. I think I need to go and see them both. Thanks again for your thoughts.

sikorsky Sun 10-Feb-13 14:45:35

If DS2 were at what used to be Perse Girls junior, would he need to find another school when he left, or would PGs start taking boys? Heard rumours of change, but no guarantees. Maybe just wishful thinking

JennyWren1234 Sun 10-Feb-13 16:17:13

sikorsky, I'm not sure I understand. Perse Girls Junior hasn't changed and is Girls only. They are changing the name from September to Stephen Perse Foundation Junior School and the uniform is changing. This certainly isn't just rumours though, you can see on the Principal's Newsletter - junior.stephenperse.com/resource.aspx?id=3892 No mention of admitting boys though. What year is your DS2 in currently?

greatauntbulgaria Tue 12-Feb-13 12:21:23

Stephen Perse currently takes boys in the pre-prep (up to age 7) and then in the sixth form. Is that what you mean silorsky ? The pre prep is absolutely amazing and they all go on to one of the top four private preps.

mynameisnt St John's has always taken girls (at least as far back as when my brothers went there 30 - odd years ago!) but used to teach them separately in Byron House, which is now the pre prep.

kinvorbud Fri 15-Feb-13 14:47:49

So what happens if you start your DS off in Stephen Perse and have to move him out at 7 in the hope that there will be somewhere for him until he is 16 and can go back to Stephen Perse for Sixth Form? Presumably, he will only get back into the SP for A-Levels with straight A*s at GCSE and, with the best will in the world, that can't be guaranteed anywhere. Can't afford to do 9 years of home schooling! Who's going to step in and offer more boys' places, at least between Y9 and Y11? Cambridge is crying out for it!

MarronGlace Fri 15-Feb-13 19:49:53

Yep. Bloody right.
I suppose Sancton Wood and Heritage are the only options for y9-11 if you want to give them a private education and they don't get in The Perse. Trouble is, SW and Heritage have long waiting lists and not nearly enough spaces. TBH it kind of annoys me that SW keep advertising and doing Open Days only to be told they're absolutely full. What is the point? Should make it clear from the start that your DSs have no chance of getting in so that you don't waste time visiting. I didn't even like the school very much if I'm honest but I'm so desperate to get them into a private school for GCSEs that I don't care that the rooms are tiny and their facilities non existent.

greatauntbulgaria Tue 19-Feb-13 09:57:38

kinvorbud I agree it is a problem! I suppose it's been my experience and observation that if you start the boys off at a private pre-prep at 3 or 4 they'll be very well prepared for the 7+ entrance tests. With girls there is obviously more leeway to go state for a bit.

I am not sure why you would want them to go private for GCSE though if you don't particularly like the school MarronGlace Some children that age travel to Ely for King's. Both Comberton and one of the other village colleges (can't remember which) get great write-ups in the GSG and tbh many of the local secondaries are just fine.

But yes, it is a real issue for those of us with boys.

Noyoben Tue 19-Feb-13 23:38:28

Just putting something back in the mix- sorry MarronGlace....Moving our son to the Phoenix School Cambridge/ Willingham is the best choice that we have made for our son... We love the individual attention our son gets in the small class with good framework for academic and personal development. The Phoenix is very cleverly organised and run that the children are happy, relaxed and excited to learn. There is a strong academic focus with individual achievement targets and a personal touch to learning. We are commuting from the centre of Cambridge, which turned out to be an easy commute even for someone that does not enjoy driving- it is against the traffic all the way....  If you like academic nurturing and individualised- go and have a look. We have another son at the Perse- extremely happy there- it is a very good school for a child who strives to do the very similar thing as 74 other children- in a well thought out curriculum- well taught.... Indeed it is very difficult to find a good school for a lateral thinking BOY. We are just happy parents that speak our mind!

JennyWren1234 Wed 20-Feb-13 08:00:19

Noyoben IIRC Phoenix School takes children up to end of Primary age. Where do Phoenix DCs go after that?

It's at Secondary age that there's a real lack of places for boys.

sikorsky Wed 20-Feb-13 17:46:27

Precisely JennyWren1234. That's what I'm really concerned about. 11+ or 13+ places for boyd are seriously lacking in the city. Anyone want to set up one of Gove's free schools??!

JennyWren1234 Wed 20-Feb-13 18:10:24

Interesting that the number of independent school places as a boy+girl total hasn't changed though, even though the split of co-ed and single-sex has. State of the economy not made any impact then?

WilderRose Wed 20-Feb-13 18:39:46

I am guessing 'State' out of the question for all of you then!!

BikeRider33 Wed 20-Feb-13 21:45:41

Saw a poster today advertising that St Edmunds outside Ware run a bus service from Cambridge. I have friends who sent their dc and were very pleased with the school. Might be an option for those looking for 11 and 13 places.

JennyWren1234 Thu 21-Feb-13 10:00:45

WinderRose - State definitely not out of the question for us, but it would be nice to have a choice. State secondary schools in the Cambridge area seem to be very good, would be panicking if not!

BikeRider33 - Just had a look and it's a 45 min drive from Cambridge, coupled with a 15 min journey from house to Cambridge to get the bus. An hour each way is too far for us. Perhaps might be interesting to those south of Cambridge though.

Noyoben Thu 21-Feb-13 19:55:44

There is also a lovely school called Stoke College (Stoke by Clare) on the other side of Haverhill and they pick up on the South side of the City (Cherry Hinton) just before 8am. It is a lovely nurturing school and we are thinking of sending our son there after the Phoenix... They had some children going on to Hills Road.

Noyoben Thu 21-Feb-13 20:07:09

If you are North of Cambridge... have heard very good things about Kimbolton- haven't heard about pick-up in Cambridge but a lot of the schools do. Not been to the School myself, but have two sets of friends with children of varying ages that are very happy there. Will go and see it before we have to leave Phoenix.

sikorsky Thu 21-Feb-13 21:01:33

Bikerider33: thanks! Hadn't thought of there. Is it not a bit far? What about Bishop's Stortford College? Does anyone know anything about that? Never hear of anyone at DSs' school going down there. Why...?

BikeRider33 Fri 22-Feb-13 08:00:10

I know lots of children at Bishops Stortford college. But they are more local.

I think the problem you have is that people are prepared to commute over an hour for the Perse (my dc did for a while and friends still do that door to door) but are not so sure about the value of the other schools. BS also has longer school days and Saturday school (which is why our dc weren't keen), but does offer flexi boarding so could reduce commute on some days. The results are going up and it is quite sporty. Might be worth a look. It is a brisk walk or quick cycle from BS station or a 45 minute drive. Guess if you are London commuters you could drop ds at school then get the London train from BS.

greatauntbulgaria Fri 22-Feb-13 18:08:54

The Friends School in Saffron Walden run a Cambridge bus iirc

Noyoben Fri 22-Feb-13 23:41:45

Have been to look at the Friends School Saffron Walden, seemed a nice place (looked for a place for 7+ entry). It had a quite 'serious' feel about it- but again I hear good things. It took me the same amount of time to drive there as to Stoke by Clare (although further but less traffic)- driving into Saffron Walden directions was difficult before 9am. Stoke has nice atmosphere- quite a few children from Linton and closer to Cambridge commute there. They seem very happy and is a well rounded experience- they do lots of fun extracurricular activities and has flexi boarding (very few places)

kinvorbud Sat 23-Feb-13 09:39:33

Am starting to think that the length of this thread indicates that there is a real market for either a new boys' school or for one of the girl's schools to go co-ed. Let's hope that someone out there picks up the ball and runs with it within the next couple of years!

Oots Tue 26-Feb-13 13:47:56

How old is your boy? You could try St.Andrew's College in Cambridge from the age of 14. It is often perceived as an international school but actually I know several British students there, who have had a really positive experience. The classes are small I believe and its size means that students, who for various reasons may not feel comfortable in a large college, feel less intimidated. Would save having to travel to Ely, as it has its main building on Regent Street.

MarronGlace Tue 26-Feb-13 19:31:52

Anyone been to Sancton Wood's open day? Did they say they had spaces?

JennyWren1234 Tue 26-Feb-13 19:53:03

Yes, I went. No spaces in DS's year and a few on the waiting list too. I hadn't really appreciated that they didn't take extra pupils at year 7, so if the year is full in the junior school, then you are just waiting for someone to leave.

MarronGlace Tue 26-Feb-13 20:44:06

Exactly Jenny. My DS is on that list too, for Y7!

JennyWren1234 Tue 26-Feb-13 22:17:35

Sorry, might not have been clear. Mine on year 7 list for next year Sept 2014. He's in year 5 at the moment. Is your's year 6 at the moment?

MarronGlace Wed 27-Feb-13 06:49:18

I've got one in YR5 and one in YR6 at the moment and they're both on the list for Sept. 2013 or later if there are no spaces this September. I think they can't take more than 16 per year group because the rooms just aren't big enough. Have you see how crammed they are?
I did like the Head's speech (I didn't go to this open day but I did go to one in October last year). Wasn't so keen on the Admissions Secretary though. She didn't give me a lot of confidence that they'll pick on a first come first served basis.
what did you think?
Perhaps we should meet up and have a moan about this over coffee!

JennyWren1234 Wed 27-Feb-13 08:25:24

Marron Yes, some of the classrooms a tad cosy! They certainly might not pick 1st come 1st served if there is too much of an uneven balance between boys and girls in a year. The admissions secretary told me that and I think that's a good thing. They also have a maximum number of children for whom English isn't their first language and a maximum number of children with additional needs I think (looking at their prospectus). Will PM you about coffee!

MarronGlace Fri 01-Mar-13 18:33:32

Hi everyone. Me and JennyWren have decided that it'd be more fun to talk about boys' school places over coffee in Cambridge and we're thinking for to meet-up Monday 18th. If anyone else is interested please PM!

Coffeenut6 Mon 11-Mar-13 21:37:48

Visited Sancton Wood at recent Open Day. Liked what I heard. Hopeful that spaces will become available.

JennyWren1234 Mon 11-Mar-13 22:26:23

Coffee I wonder if I saw you there! As Marron says we are meeting up for coffee next Monday. PM one of us if you are interested (your name suggests you might be smile).

Coffeenut6 Tue 12-Mar-13 18:36:29

Hi. Love coffee but lack the time. Really appreciate the offer though. Enjoy your chat on Monday and good luck with the applications.

JennyWren1234 Tue 12-Mar-13 19:05:12

Thanks Coffee. Do you have DCs on the waiting list at SW, following the Open Day?

kinvorbud Wed 13-Mar-13 07:09:56

Thanks for the offer of coffee! Sadly, with the bump doing what it's doing at the moment and ejecting the contents of my stomach three times an hour, not sure coffee and cake would be wise! Will let you know when the All Day Morning Sickness subsides... Roll on August. Speaking of which, does anyone know of anything herbal that can slow down pregnancy and keep the blighter in there till September? Don't want to be caught up in all this August baby hassle if I can avoid it. Or do I just cross my legs and hope?!!

JennyWren1234 Tue 14-May-13 09:51:41

This may interest some of you. Unfortunately not soon enough for us - www.cambridge-news.co.uk/News/Girls-school-that-inspired-St-Trinians-to-let-boys-in-20130514000100.htm

Irony Tue 21-May-13 00:00:04

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

cebcam Wed 03-Jul-13 22:38:43

Heritage is a nice, nurturing school but has some heavy behavioural issues going on in some classes

orchardy Wed 04-Sep-13 23:14:25

Don't know why I am revisiting this thread because private school not an option for my boys... but have just seen an ad on Trumpington Road saying that a daily bus is now running from Cambridge to Culford, in Bury. Seems a very long way to go for me, but thought I would post anyway...

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