September 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm #5955
We’re moving to East Devon next month (yippee!) and need to apply to secondary school for our eldest pretty much immediately. The house is in the catchment for Honiton Community College, but is actually nearer to Axe Valley College. Does anyone have any experience/opinion on either of these two fine institutions? I realise neither are going to give Colyton Grammar a run for its money, but we don’t want to find out (too late) that we’ve applied to the one that all the locals avoid!
Thanks for any advice.September 11, 2013 at 4:15 pm #5958
Congratulations on your intended move to East Devon. It’s a wonderful part of the county to bring up a family.
I am afraid I have no personal experience with either of the colleges and am replying to let you know that I am a HomeFinder.
You may already be suited but if you require any assistance with any aspect related to your home move then do please get in touch.
Philip Warner http://www.devonhomefinder.net 01392 832634.September 18, 2013 at 3:58 pm #6015
Hi, Both my daughters go to Axe Valley, my eldest is doing A Levels and had great GCSE results! I’m more than happy with the school, it does however have a stigma attached as it was,years and years ago, an awful school but it has changed beyond belief! I know people that live near Honiton that send their children to Axe Valley rather than Honiton Community College. Hope this helps a bit!September 18, 2013 at 4:15 pm #6016
Thanks Colleen, that’s incredibly useful and reassuring. From the website and recent results alone I thought Axe Valley sounded great, but I’ve had mixed responses from people I’ve mentioned it to when I was last down – but they are people with no recent experience of it, so perhaps going on old reputation rather than current performance. What’s the reason for the turnaround at Axe Valley, is it the new head? And what is the general feeling around Honiton College – dodgy or OK?
Thanks again. I was dispairing that noone would reply!September 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm #6017
The previous Head at Axe Valley was the one to turn it around, she was really good, Mr Smith, the now headmaster is good but not as strong! The teachers themselves I have found to be really helpful and supportive. My eldest daughter left to do A levels at Exeter college but has had a few problems, her head of year from Axe Valley actually rang her and has asked her to go and see him to help her, this has resulted in her wanting to go back as she can see that the help is there for her. The general feeling of Honiton is not good but I don’t know enough to really have an opinion. Where are u moving to? Your first post said u were just out of catchment for Axe Valley. We were living in Shute and the side we were on was in Honiton catchment but because Axe Valley was closer they still let us have free transport, the girls were already in Axe Valley when we moved there so whether it was because of that I’m not sure.September 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm #6018
We’re up in Heathstock, just south of Stockland. The boundary between Honiton and Axe Valley catchments is literally a hundred yards or so further down the lane! Is Axe Valley usually over or under-subscribed do you know? I’m wondering if we would even get in being out of catchment?September 18, 2013 at 5:48 pm #6019
That’s virtually where we were, along the “7 mile straight!” Not sure whether over subscribed or not. I know that if you give the school a ring and asked to have a look around they’d do it as this is what we did. Let me know how you get on, please. Good luck with the move xSeptember 18, 2013 at 10:12 pm #6024
My eldest goes to Honiton Community College, and apart from the shock of going from a small primary school (Offwell) to a large college, he has had a good time there. They focus on science and he is doing OK despite that not being his core skill. We had some reservations initially, as we weren’t kept as informed by HCC as Offwell did, but that’s purely down to scale. Our youngest will go there too but our first choice for her is actually Woodroffe in Lyme Regis. This is purely based on her ability at art and their ability to nurture that aspect of her learning.
I know nothing about Axminster school I’m afraid but I can see that Colleen has given you some great feedback. Basically, I wouldn’t hesitate to send any child of mine to Honiton Community College, even if it isn’t your first choice. In my opinion Honiton, as a town though, has more going for it than Axminster… but I do live in there! Good luck.September 19, 2013 at 11:04 am #6031
Hi Gareth – I live in Axminster and have two going to Axe Valley – one in sixth form, one in year 11 and they both like the school very much. as with most large secondary schools there is room for improvement, and I’d agree with Colleen take on recent years. From speaking with friends my feeling is that Axe Valley is better than Honiton, but that both have improved in recent years considerably.
And unlike my colleague Matt (above), I’d say Axminster has a great deal going for it and gaining a real sense of its future at the moment!September 20, 2013 at 8:18 am #6036
Thanks very much everyone, you’ve all been incredibly helpful and given us a bit more info to work with. I think we’re going to come down a week on Monday to have a look around the primary school (Stockland) and at least one of the secondary schools. A feat in itself with four little ones to juggle! Thanks again. If you think of anything else that might be useful to know, please share!
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