b'STATE BOARDING SCHOOLSMust be lots of lab talk at homehis wifethe annual school musicals post-Covid. Unusually Michelle is a chemistry teacher. They have threethese focus on year 7s and sixth form, though other children, two who went through the sixth formBecause boarding is sixth form only,years are allowed to dip in. Drama is only offered in recent years. Describes himself as an enthusi- boarders are afforded plenty ofas extracurricular but nevertheless popular, and astic sportsman if not a very accomplished one,it crops up in other subjects tooa classics play with football and racket sports topping the bill.independence and have guidelineswas being prepared when we visited, and theres a Music also a big part of his life. rather than rules French play every year, which is open to the public.Spacious and light art block where average Entrance: Highly competitive September 11+work sits side-by-side the obvious greatshurrah exam, made up of English (including verbal rea- not have looked out of place in Waterstones. Weto that. If Im honest, art is not my sons strongest soning) and maths papers. Around 450 apply,also heard of a generational project that gotsubject, but he still wanted to do it for GCSE and with 128 places available and awarded in rankyounger ones spending time with old folk andhes been encouraged at every turnthe school order, of which 12 are set as priority places formaking books of their memories. understands that the benets of art arent just for pupil premium. No catchment, so pupils dontTeachers are praised for their commitmentthose who are brilliant at it, remarked a parent. have to live in Essex (many dont). to keeping every student intellectually stretchedAround 20 do art GCSE art; ditto for A levelthe Co-ed sixth formour agshipeven moreand on track to meet their targets. They providebenet of a large sixth form. During lockdown, popular, with around 500 applying for the 80-oddextra support and revision clubs as necessary, asone student set up a virtual walk-through art gal-external places (around a third are girls). Thesewell as being available out-of-hours via email.lery wit the aim of publicising local artists but it applicants, along with pupils already at theTheres lots of talk about where you should bewas so popular that she wound up with artists school, need 38 points in their top ve GCSEsat and how to achieve it, said a student. Thenfrom overseas too. DT rooms also spacious, and and grade 7s in the subjects to be studied. Buttheres the sheer quality of teaching. They keepclearly well-used and loved.because places are awarded in rank order, in real- it imaginative, fresh and innovative at all times.Debating is huge, with lots of wins in public ity theyll need a lot of 9-8s, says the head. Theyre not afraid to throw the textbooks aside.speaking competitions including on the interna-Boarding in sixth form onlycandidatesNot a single inattentive expression spotted duringtional stage. You should see them in action! said must meet the academic requirements rst andour visit. Parents say its made clear that its oka parent. CRGS are also current national champi-foremost, then its down to boarding need (tooto failthats how you learnand that teachingons of the French spelling bee. Masses of academic far to travel or eg mental health) and for over- is relevant, always brought back to how it ts insocieties, many student ledgets them used to on seas boarders a British passport or relevant visa.the real world. Its more than about getting thesethe spot question and answer sessions and really About half the boarders come from the UK, theyoungsters to pass examsits about where thisprepares them for the future, says head. And even rest from abroad, with 50 per cent of those fromlearning is going to take them in life. with our unstoppable note taking, we couldnt Hong Kong and others from all over including akeep up with the long list of competitions. Clubs growing number of expats from Dubai. Learning support and SEN: Mainly ASD and a fewfeature sports and music, plus everything from dyslexic. With our son, they have taken a dif- BBC Young Reporters Club to Swedish club and Exit: Over 90 per cent stay on for sixth formThecult autistic boy and grown him into a wonderfuleven a colouring club. Trips range from cultural ve or so boys who leave usually do so becauseyoung mancoping with his complexities anddays out in London to a year 7s bonding trip to we arent offering the courses they want, saysoutbursts in their stride and celebrating everythe cinema, as well as eg classics trip to Italy and head. Vast majority to university, three-quartersminor success. The staff should be getting ansports tours all over. Plenty of charity work, includ-to Russell Group. The Telegraph ranks CRGS asOBE in my opinion, one parent told us. Some stu- ing an award-winning mental health charity, Time the top performing grammar in the country forAcademic standards are right at thedents have physical disabilities, including visualto Talk, which was set up by students themselves.Oxbridge21 went in 2021. Imperial and Bathtop end for the state sector, withimpairments. Lots of EAL students but few need also feature regularly. Most popular coursesanything more than a bit of support on the side,Sport: Cricket and rugby rule, with regular x-include medicine (11 in 2021), economics, maths,the school having long enjoyed thewhich school is happy to cater for. tures against state and independent schools and sciences, engineering and classics. Small numbersnumber one spot in the governmentsome representation at national level. Increasing overseasincluding to Berkeley and ColumbiaThe arts and extracurricular: Head calls music thefocus on athleticsone semi-professional sixth in 2021. School supports students heading off toleague tables soul of the school, and parents say it is just that.former trains for an afternoon a week; head says music conservatories and to do degree apprentice- Located in its own converted three-storey house,he always tries to support such students and shipsmost recently to Dyson, which is a reallythere are plenty of practice and performancewont be restrictive in terms of time off, citing impressive apprenticeship so Im hoping we getspaces, with 200 learning an instrument (manyanother student who is in a national fencing team. more students on to this, says head. are donated by old boys) and theres live music inSignicant improvement in sixth form girls sport every assembly, along with the usual orchestra,in recent years, with netball and rugby top of the Latest results: In 2021, 87 per cent 9-7 at GCSE; 83ensembles and choirs. Up to 90 attend the annualpops. But its not all about the top players, parents per cent A*/A at A level (96 per cent A*-B). In 2019music tours, with opportunities to eg perform inassured ussport here is inclusive. Extensive (the last year when exams took place), 83 per centthe squares of Barcelona. Our son is musical, butplaying elds (including cricket pitches with trad 9-7 at GCSE; 69 per cent A*/A at A level (91 perI didnt know what to expect with this schoolpavilion and scoring board that students love sit-cent A*-B). because its better known for the academia, butting in) ve minutes walk away, while school has the opportunities for learning and performingits own tarmacked area and heated outdoor pool Teaching and learning: Academic standards arehave massively impressed us, said one parent. on sitethe latter also used by the local commu-right at the top end for the state sector, with theBeauty and the Beast rehearsals were in fullnity. More niche opportunities include sailing and school having long enjoyed the number one spotswing during our last reviewa welcome return toweight-training.1303'