Hertford Secondary Schools

Clubs and societies, neighbourhood and social issues
KatyBusby
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun 19 Jan, 2014 10:32 am

Hertford Secondary Schools

Post by KatyBusby » Sun 19 Jan, 2014 1:31 pm

Hi Hertford Mums and Dads,

I'm going to be moving to Hertford this summer from North London, and know the area reasonably well but not the schools! I gather Simon Balle is excellent but oversubscribed, and have heard good things about Sele too. Do you have experience of the secondary schools in Hertford, and if so, which would you recommend and why?

I have a nearly 8 year old boy and a nearly 10 year old girl, so single sex schools are not an option, and to be honest I would prefer that they were happy in a nurturing environment than ended up at Oxbridge (although my daughter is a smartie pants so who knows?) My priority though is a school that is encouraging and concentrates more on inclusion and individuality than test scores, as my son is quite quirky!

Not really a major deal but they are also extremely short for their ages, so a school that tackles bullying well is a must.

Look at me being one of those Mums who panics!

Thanks so much for any experiences you can share with me. I'm very excited but also very nervous about it all!

Katy
User avatar
gemipicorn
Posts: 58
Joined: Sun 01 Dec, 2013 6:04 pm

Re: Hertford Secondary Schools

Post by gemipicorn » Sun 19 Jan, 2014 7:06 pm

Hi Katy

Brace yourself, this could be a long reply! :D

Firstly welcome to Hertford.

On a general note I should say that we are very lucky with the secondary schools we have here, it's more a case of which school would suit your children rather than getting them into a good school, they are all good.

Your two sound very like our two, our daughter is very academic and our son is very quirky too (he has been diagnosed with Aspergers, whilst it hasn't effected him too much it has given him a lot of "character").

Both of them suffered with extensive bullying at their primary school and so I was very concerned about them going to secondary school but as it's turned out the decision we took could not have worked out better. We were not sold on the idea of single sex schools either and to be honest we were concerned about the size of Simone Balle, we felt the our two would get 'lost in the system'.

Both our children have gone to Sele School, my daughter is in the middle of her A levels whilst my son is in year 8. The aspects you have mentioned that you would like from a school described Sele exactly. They concentrate much more on getting each child to do their best rather than overall scores and they really do treat each child as an individual and do their very best to support each child's strengths and weaknesses whatever they may be. The fact that Sele is a small school is also a big plus, all the staff know all of the pupils, whether they have taught them or not which makes for a very supportive environment. All of the staff are incredibly dedicated and the communication between staff, children and parents is excellent. If they have any concerns at all they will contact you, similarly if they are particularly pleased with anything.

They are very strong on respect in all aspects of the school but of course there are incidents of bullying as there is in all schools, however as soon as the school is aware of any situation it is dealt with resolved immediately. Again their communication on this is great.

There is no doubt that there are a lot of misconceptions about Sele but I have yet to find anyone who actually has children there have anything but praise for the school and I can honestly say that send our two to Sele was the best thing we could have done for them.

Good luck with your choice when you come to make it, you can guess what my recommendation would be :D
Kateg28
Posts: 254
Joined: Tue 03 Dec, 2013 9:53 am

Re: Hertford Secondary Schools

Post by Kateg28 » Sun 19 Jan, 2014 10:59 pm

One thing you will find out about Hertford schools is just how privileged we are in this area to have extremely good schools that between them cater for all different children and they thrive.

Sele probably has the poorest reputation but that is all it is, reputation and is actually based on outdated information. The school does amazing things and is definitely recommended. (My son does not attend there so am not biased towards it).

You will not regret the choice to send them there.
jackanapes
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon 02 Dec, 2013 11:21 am

Re: Hertford Secondary Schools

Post by jackanapes » Mon 20 Jan, 2014 10:37 am

My daughter just started year 7 at Presdales (girls school), technically not Hertford, but Hertford is in the primary catchment area (I think), we're very happy and our daughter is thriving at it, an excellent school imo, though the homework could be harder, again imo - although I'm pretty sure things will ramp up

I also visited Simon Balle on the last two parents open evenings and I was very, very impressed too, infact I think I preferred it to Presdales seemed to have a fantastic atmosphere, kids seemed very happy and very proud of the school though I'm aware the "ambassadors" on these open evenings are a self selecting set. The facilities are so much better than they were in my own school in the eighties too.

I have had the chance to encounter the head of Sele at a few local "schools things" and every time I have been very impressed, the dramatic improvement in the reputation and results of Sele are largely attributable to him.

To echo the points made above we're very, very lucky in Hertford, there seem to be no bad schools, so choose at your ease, to answer one of your direct points
My priority though is a school that is encouraging and concentrates more on inclusion and individuality than test scores, as my son is quite quirky!

Not really a major deal but they are also extremely short for their ages, so a school that tackles bullying well is a must.
I think all of the local schools should tick all these boxes, I also would not dismiss the idea of a single sex school, I know many local families with boys at RH and girls at Presdales, and others with one child at SB and others at either of the single sex schools, choose the best school, in your and their opinion, for the child rather than being locked into the idea that they must go to the same school
us6
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon 20 Jan, 2014 10:28 am

Re: Hertford Secondary Schools

Post by us6 » Mon 20 Jan, 2014 1:08 pm

Hi, I have two children at two local schools and would be really happy to tell you my experience of it. I would prefer not to go into details as it might identify them so please feel free to private message me and I can give you the details. Suffice to say I know that schools are good for some and bad for others but we have had a slightly different experience and would be happy to share.
User avatar
admin
Site Admin
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue 05 Nov, 2013 11:37 pm

Re: Hertford Secondary Schools

Post by admin » Mon 20 Jan, 2014 2:07 pm

us6 wrote:Hi, I have two children at two local schools and would be really happy to tell you my experience of it. I would prefer not to go into details as it might identify them so please feel free to private message me and I can give you the details. Suffice to say I know that schools are good for some and bad for others but we have had a slightly different experience and would be happy to share.
In common with other forums (fora?), new users do not have access to the PM system. Sorry.
KatyBusby
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun 19 Jan, 2014 10:32 am

Re: Hertford Secondary Schools

Post by KatyBusby » Mon 20 Jan, 2014 3:56 pm

Thank you so much everybody. This is really useful information and very reassuring too! I'm sorry I can't sends any PMs. I wonder if I am able to receive them instead though?

I'm particularly glad to hear such good things about Sele and the single sex schools, as so far I had only been looking for property in the "popular SG13 catchment" but would love to be able to look in SG14 with confidence too. I can't think of anything worse than buying a house over-budget on the grounds of Simon Balle and either not getting a place or not being happy with it! The funny thing is, I'm actually moving away from the direct catchment of a school that is Ofsted-rated "exceptional". That's all well and good apart from the fact that most of the students there take drugs.

Who here remembers the good old days of sharing a beer and twosing a cigarette in the playground rather than going to illegal raves? :shock:
Marilyn
Posts: 206
Joined: Sun 01 Dec, 2013 11:09 am

Re: Hertford Secondary Schools

Post by Marilyn » Mon 20 Jan, 2014 4:20 pm

Don't think you have to worry about SG13 or SG14 the dividing line is down the middle of Gascoyne Way so right in the centre of town! Pupils for all areas go to all schools....................
codek2
Posts: 362
Joined: Tue 12 Nov, 2013 4:32 pm

Re: Hertford Secondary Schools

Post by codek2 » Mon 20 Jan, 2014 4:51 pm

be careful about the whole sg13/sg14 thing - there's a website where you can put in your actual address and it'll tell you if you would have got in or not.

It seems pretty crazy, but I get the impression that just sg13 is no guarantee of getting in. There's this whole priority area thing too.
User avatar
gemipicorn
Posts: 58
Joined: Sun 01 Dec, 2013 6:04 pm

Re: Hertford Secondary Schools

Post by gemipicorn » Mon 20 Jan, 2014 5:52 pm

KatyBusby wrote: The funny thing is, I'm actually moving away from the direct catchment of a school that is Ofsted-rated "exceptional". That's all well and good apart from the fact that most of the students there take drugs.
IMHO the Ofsted reports and league tables do not tell the whole story.

Most schools are made aware of Ofsted visits before hand and so can prepare, I don't see how they can get a true reflection of a school unless they arrive unannounced.

The league tables only show the end result, not how pupils progress through the school. As you may know all pupils are given expected ratings at the end of primary based on their sats (I think). It's very easy to assume that if a school produces a higher number of A grade students it is a better school than one which has more B grade students. But if the A grade students were expected to get A whereas the B grade students were expected to get Cs then you could argue that the B grade students did much better as they got higher than expected (if that makes sense). It's all a matter of context and looking at the whole picture, if you see what I mean.

The best advice I can give is to have a good look around with your children and see which you (and they) think they would be happiest at, if a child is happy and settled at their school they will always do better. By the way when it comes to looking around schools it is also a good idea to have a look around a year early as well, when they are in year 5, the first time they go into a secondary school can be quite daunting for them so to have a extra visit the year before is really useful.
Post Reply