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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:28 am 
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I would be very grateful for any feedback on these 3 schools. In particular I'm wondering about the following

The balance between academics and music, drama, art, food tech, extra curricular?
I saw that STRS do 10 GCSEs instead of the more usual 9 and they don't offer Food Tech at GCSE and so I was wondering if they put a lot of emphasis on academics? Obviously academics are very important but I'm really hoping for a school with a good balance.

Pastoral care? I've searched previous posts on here and STRS was mentioned as having excellent pastoral care. Has that been most peoples experience with them? Do Marling and Crypt also have strong support?

Music - any have a particularly strong music department?

DS was very keen on Tommies until he saw their rule about hair length. How strict are they on the "hair no longer than collar length" rule? I saw that Marling just says long hair should be tied up neatly. Does Crypt have a rule?

I know none offer Mandarin but do any of them have Mandarin language clubs?

For those with children at STRS or Marling (particularly those who have strong friendships with girls) how has your son found the all boys environment? Any regrets about not being in co-ed?

Sport - do any do year round cross country? Do any do Trampolining? DS does XC and recess time flag football (which is no contact American football) but isn't very sporty and has never played cricket, rugby, soccer. For those of you with boys who aren't very sporty has it been an issue?

After school clubs, sports, rehearsals
I know lots of clubs run during lunchtime but how much goes on after school? I know it will depend on the individual child and what they want to participate in but I'm trying to get an idea of how often a late pick up would be needed or how much a child misses if they can't stay late because of transport.

Sorry for the jumble of questions and thank you in advance for any feedback.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 8:03 am 
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Hi Lizzie

I can answer some of your questions about strs. It's a fantastic school and ds is very happy there.

The boys take 10 1/2 GCSEs as they take short course RS in year 10. If they opt to take full course RS it's 10 GCSEs. However they are very flexible and relaxed with options. Say if your child has a problem with languages they don't have to take one, or if they will struggle with 10 GCSEs they can take less and have free study periods. They can also opt for combined science instead of triple. If you take full course RS this frees up lessons for study periods in year 10. I came away from options evening with ds feeling they really care for each individual child and their needs.

Pastoral care seems really good. Ds is very well looked after.

Ds has longish hair which grows below the collar and he's never been pulled up on it. I've noticed a few have longer hair than him.

I don't think there is a Mandarin club.

All boys has been fine for my ds. More friends to choose from. They are with girls on the bus.

Ds is not sporty. This has never been an issue. He's not been forced to play too much rugby. In fact a lot of the time he and his non-sporty mates can choose to do something else like gym. Currently he chooses to play tennis over cricket. They have swimming lessons too.

If you look at the calendar you can see all the club timings.

Hope this helps!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:12 pm 
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Thanks for the feedback Flash!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:09 am 
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That is a lot of questions and I will answer what I can re: Marling but I only have the perspective of an end of year 7 parent. My advice would be to pick the school closest to where you live because proximity to friendship groups is important, particularly if you are moving here from overseas and don't have a strong local network.

I guess they all put a lot of emphasis on academics. However, I understand that food tech is a popular option for Marling at GCSE. There do seem to be a lot of options, but we are still reasonably far from that journey ourselves so I can't speak with authority.

We haven't had a massive need for pastoral care but, anecdotally, it seems that the team are pretty much on top of things at Marling.

I can't compare music departments but Marling do have a strong orchestra. I guess they probably all do.

There is all types of hair at Marling.

No Mandarin language club in so far as I know.

Marling's campus overlaps with that of SHS. My son seems to know a surprising number of the girls. As has been mentioned, they also mix on the bus.

Marling do cross country in the winter and are fairly strong in that area, but I am pretty sure there is no x country club in the summer. The school do athletics instead. There are a huge number of clubs and an opportunity to do lots of different sports/activities but rugby is their main sport. There are plenty of boys who aren't sporty there but, alas, my son is not one of them which involves a lot of me picking him up late after clubs and matches because the bus is long gone and we haven't quite got to grips with public transport yet. Plenty of the boys are picking up particular sports for the first time in year 7 so not having done them before is not a problem.

There are lunchtime clubs there but playing sport for the school invariably involves a late pick up. Rugby, football (at least) are after school.

Hope this helps. Please do carefully consider your own sanity, especially as it seems you have 2 children. Feel free to message me if you have any particular queries.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:56 am 
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onthefence,

Thank you so much for all the info on Marling it is really helpful!

"My advice would be to pick the school closest to where you live because proximity to friendship groups is important, particularly if you are moving here from overseas and don't have a strong local network."


I know this is really sound advice but dh's job gives us quite a lot of flexibility on where we rent, which is great but means that I don't have that pin in the map to work from. Just for fun we have a third (younger) child to consider too :lol:

Of course, the obvious thing would have been to go with a good comprehensive, so all 3 were together, but with a US address we couldn't get places and now they are all oversubscribed.

Thank you again for all the info it really helps and the invite to pm if I get other questions.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:14 pm 
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Pick your primary school first. I say pick, but really you will have very little choice. All the good ones in Gloucester and Cheltenham are full. Look at Herefordshire or other surrounding counties too.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:44 pm 
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I’ll say now this is probably a biased opinion but two boys at strs and I couldn’t be happier with the school. My eldest has just left and has had great support during his A levels. Pastoral care is excellent.

My youngest isn’t sporty at all, and it’s never been a problem. In games they have several groups so he’s generally managed to avoid rugby! My more social boy wishes we lived in Cheltenham (Gloucester side) as thats where all the social activities tend to be. Neither have missed the co-ed and I was very apprehensive about single sex schooling but they have thrived. And when it comes to the teenaged years, where there’s a will there’s a way...

Lots of the extra-curricular activities are at lunchtimes so I rarely have a late pick up but being on a regular bus route is helpful. If your unsure about travel options give the school a ring, they’d know all the options.

Music wise we don’t have a great deal of experience, but I’d also look at Brookfield music group which is a non school group that meets on a Saturday am. They have a range of orchestras and music groups. There’s a similar set up at Stroud but sadly the standard hasn’t been so good in recent years.

The staff are excellent, there have been blips by they’ve always been sorted out. We’ve had great teaching in Art, Politics and sciences in particular. They also run a GCSE geology group in yr 9 that both my boys did, enjoyed and got a good grade.

If you’ve got any questions drop me a message, we also had a few years in the States when the children were younger and have experience of both school systems.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:47 pm 
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Lizzie wrote:




I know this is really sound advice but dh's job gives us quite a lot of flexibility on where we rent, which is great but means that I don't have that pin in the map to work from. Just for fun we have a third (younger) child to consider too :lol:

Of course, the obvious thing would have been to go with a good comprehensive, so all 3 were together, but with a US address we couldn't get places and now they are all oversubscribed.


Lizzie, you do realise that to get into any of the Grammar schools that there is an entrance test to pass first and that there could be a waiting list for places at any of these schools too? The schools are generally full and there is often a waiting list - we've certainly found that if someone moves then the place is filled pretty quickly ! (SHS )
Clubs at SHS are mostly held during lunch times, though if they get onto teams then there will be matches out of school hours. They don't tend to run many after school clubs because of the issue with transport for the many that come from out of the area.

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 1:58 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2015 2:49 pm
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Icanthinkofagoodone,

Thanks for the reply. Location will definitely be Gloucestershire and, due to our children's ages, the Secondary schools will dictate which area of Glos. but hopefully more of a village location.

Redvelvet,

Thank you so much for all the info on STRS it's really helpful. Good to hear that the "all boys" has been a good experience. Also thank you for the Brookfield Music recommendation, I took a look at the website and it looks really good!

Clarcats, thanks for the info about school clubs and after school sport matches. Also for the heads up about entrance exams, both children have done the exam and qualified for all but Pates. DS has a space allocated that I am second guessing for various reasons including trying to be realistic about having children in schools not close geographically.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to help. I really appreciate hearing all the info/feedback etc.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:51 am 
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:03 pm
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Location: Gloucestershire
Lizzie wrote:
Music - any have a particularly strong music department?
For those with children at STRS or Marling (particularly those who have strong friendships with girls) how has your son found the all boys environment? Any regrets about not being in co-ed?

After school clubs, sports, rehearsals
I know lots of clubs run during lunchtime but how much goes on after school? I know it will depend on the individual child and what they want to participate in but I'm trying to get an idea of how often a late pick up would be needed or how much a child misses if they can't stay late because of transport.

I was a Stroud High parent, and know a little about Marling.

Music is quite strong there - certainly, my music teacher moved from my Grammar in Surrey to teach at Marling (but that was back in the '70's). There are good peri's who teach at both the schools. Although the Junior orchestras are single-sex, once the child is good enough they can join Senior orchestra which draws pupils from both schools and is conducted by the inspirational Jon Trim. It's an after-school club, and will play at both schools concerts. Jon also conducts Senior Strings.

There is also Downfielders Barn Dance band - another after-school club for both schools - with the big advantage of getting paid to play gigs once old enough (normally around Y10, but I have known younger ones get gigs).

Marling has a superb Big Band - very occasionally SHS girls are invited to join. I think that many of the groups run at lunchtime.

If your child is into music, then they will meet with girls through the joint music events.

If you're near Stroud, then check out Five Valleys Music Centre - similar to Brookfield - another of Gloucestershire Music's Saturday morning schools. There's also (the private) Gloucester Academy of Music in Gloucester. Children from all of these work their way up to the county-level groups - Wind Orchestra, Strings, Jazz & Big Bands - and they also run groups for Adults from Learn-as-you-Play up to Glos Symphonic Wind Orchestra.

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