Anyone have dc's at Didcot Girls School?

(10 Posts)
CookieDoughKid Wed 07-Oct-15 20:17:53

What's it like? Do they REALLY stretch the more able child? And how's bullying delt with generally? Does the school take it seriously?

I'm looking at secondaries for my dd and I'm also looking at private schools too. DGS seems to have decent results (73% grade A-C incl English and Maths) and a small cluster maybe 10% if straight A students. I really want to hear from folks who know this school well to give me a more honest picture of what it's really like. My dd is top 5% of her year group at Primary and very able mathematically and musically too. Thank you.

HPFA Wed 25-Nov-15 12:58:25

Don't know if this reply is too late to be useful but here goes. Daughter is in Year 7 so hasn't been there long but we are very happy so far. She is far more enthusiastic about work than she was at primary. Standards expected seem high - she has had some good marks so far but always with suggestions for how she can improve yet more. We don't live in Didcot but chose the school because we knew quite a few parents and one member of staff who all raved about it, also were very impressed with the facilities.
As to your specific queries, my daughter is able but not in the superhigh bracket! If the school is challenging and enthusing her I would think it unlikely that it won't do the same for the even more able. She has not mentioned bullying to me at all so unable to help there.
Assuming you are looking at private schools round Oxford and Abingdon I personally can't see that Our Ladys offers anything that DGS doesn't but obviously OHS and St Helens do specialise in the most able. I have heard reports of lots of pressure but that could possibly be from girls who were pushed too hard to get in in the first place!
You are welcome to PM me with any queries, but you may have made the decision already, of course!! All the best to your daughter in any case

CookieDoughKid Thu 03-Dec-15 23:04:51

HPFA - Thank you so much for your reply. It sounds really positive. If you don't mind, I would like to keep in touch as I'm sure I'll have more questions later on. My daughter is in year 4 so plenty of time yet. Good luck for your daughter btw.

HPFA Wed 23-Dec-15 18:57:09

The school has now had a superb OFSTED report: www.didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk/86/news/article/528/didcot-girls-school-is-an-outstanding-school.

DD continues to enjoy the school and says "you learn so much here". Feel free to PM with questions any time.

eaudesjardin Wed 06-Jan-16 00:12:03

DGS is a lovely state school, however in my opinion it doesn't compare to private, the benefits of sending your child to a private school definitely is the quality of education.

I attended DGS briefly in between private schools (my family moved back to south ox and they had heard how great the school was) unfortunately it is the same as most other state schools, the classes are too big, the teachers are not given enough freedom within the syllabus leaving lessons un-engaging, and not enough is done to safeguard kids against bullying.

In terms of private schools in the area

St Helens; very pushy, results driven, great if your child thrives under pressure. Most of the girls are lovely and go on to attend decent universities. Runs a very efficient school bus service.

OHS; Results driven, not as pushy, a real city school which is nice if you live in or near oxford, not so great if your a bit further out as getting in and out might be a hassle.

St. Edwards; Fully rounded, welcoming school (starts at 13 which might be a problem) co-ed, great if boarding, avoid if you're only looking for day as the day pupils start at 9am and finish at 9pm.

Leckford Place; Feeder school for D'overbrooks sixth form, small classes, excellent teaching, still a relatively new school, co-ed. Still the same problems with it being in oxford, but this school encourages independence meaning most children get themselves home, i believe there is also a bus service.

Headington; Very sporty, good drama dept, girls that I've known go through Headington have gone to some mediate to good universities. Recommend this as a day school as the boarding is sub-par.

Hope this helps.

HPFA Wed 06-Jan-16 14:04:04

Can't comment on the bullying but have to say my own DD has not found the lessons to be un-engaging - very much the opposite.

CookieDoughKid Fri 29-Jan-16 00:48:37

eaudesjardin Thank you for your detailed reply. Very useful and will definitely have a good think. If I wanted my dd to start private school at 13+ entry (from state), would that be a decent route?I'm thinking St.Helens as the obvious contender and to save on a few years of fees! What age did you start private secondary after DGS?

Glad to see the outstanding school report by Ofsted. Given that it is a free school, I think it does really well with the resources it has.

HPFA Mon 22-Feb-16 13:56:36

St Helen's does have 13+ entry but it might be worth finding out from the school how many actually do this- if it was only a small number there might be an issue integrating into established friendship groups. I must admit, I don't know anyone who has done this, I had assumed it was an 11+ entry school only.
It might also be worth starting a thread on the main Mumsnet site about 13+ entry in a dual entry school - there must be people whose kids have done this.

Also sending a link about the Advance Learners programme at DGS www.didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk/64/advanced-learners. If you will be going to an Open Day next year might be worth e-mailing the responsible teacher to see if you can have a chat at some point?

RoxanaB Tue 18-Oct-16 10:38:53

Hello, I am looking for thoughts re DGS, at the moment we are debating if our daughter should go to DGS or John Mason Abingdon. We are in the catchment area for John Mason but have been really impressed by DGS and she really liked it. At the same time she liked John Mason and it is a 5 mins walk from our house comparing to DGS which is 1 hrs away via school bus. We believe DGS is more suited for our daughter and are looking for some honest opinions to help us decide. Is your daughter happy at DGS? Is she thriving?

HPFA Tue 18-Oct-16 15:42:58

Have replied to you by PM.

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