Local Talk

Sancton Wood, St. Faith's Cambridge and other independent schools

(15 Posts)
DknyQueen Sat 29-Sep-12 16:03:30

Hi everyone,
I have name changed for this to avoid being recognised!
DS1 is in Yr 6 attending a primary school in one of the villages around Cambridge. He's working slightly above average for his year group but he is very lazy and I fear the school has not taught him the meaning of working hard. We have discussed the possibility of applying to a private school with him and he seems keen to give it a try but not so much to put in the extra work needed for him to pass the exam! Because of the way he is, my DH and I agree that he would benefit from attending an independent school but one that is not too competitive at least to start with. For this reason we have ruled out The Leys and The Perse, apart from the fact that he would probably not pass the exam anyway!
We would like him to attend a more "nurturing" kind of school where he can be gently taught to work hard and take pride in his achievements, ideally one that has small classes and that is academically focused. We are considering Sancton Wood, St. Faith's and the King's School in Ely although the latter would be our least favourite because we don't fancy moving to Ely!
Can someone recommend either of these schools and tell me what the ethos is like and whether you think a bright but lazy 11-year old would thrive in such environment? Have we got any other options?
We are open to all suggestions and comments. Please fire away!
TIA

Lilymaid Sat 29-Sep-12 21:19:44

The Perse is very academic, though I wouldn't describe it as competitive (though it may have changed since my DS was there). I wouldn't send a child there unless he/she was at Level 5 in all SATs in Y5 (if SATs still exist!). Classes are not significantly smaller than those in the state sector.
The Leys is far less academic, has a public school/boarding school ethos (Perse definitely not a public school) but gets good results by putting a lot of effort into getting the pupils to that level. I think that classes are smaller than state schools. It is significantly more expensive than the Perse and attracts more moneyed families (Perse families are generally dual income professionals/academics).
Sancton Wood only has 80 pupils in the senior school - so an average of 16 per year group. I don't know anyone who has been there though was under the impression it was good for children who had problems...
Kings School Ely is similar to the Leys - both will have Saturday school and longer school days than day schools such as Perse and the village colleges.

tobemory Fri 05-Oct-12 15:06:05

I know some parents with children at Sancton Wood who say it is excellent and very caring and nurturing - not so competitive as some of the other schools. Results are very good too.

SouthCambsGirl Fri 12-Oct-12 12:03:32

We spent ages looking at all the independent schools in the area and on a friends recommendation had a looked at The Friends School in Saffron Walden. I can confirm that it fits your description of "a more "nurturing" kind of school where he can be gently taught to work hard and take pride in his achievements, ideally one that has small classes and that is academically focused".
We have started our DC in the junior school there (in a class of 8!) and are absolutely delighted with our decision so far.

IMO it would certainly be worth your while arranging to go and have a look around and see what you think.

lilackaty Fri 12-Oct-12 23:11:49

Sancton Wood is a very nurturing school - it is small but gets excellent results. Year 7 is always full though so it would be worth getting in touch asap.
From your criteria, I would say that Sancton Wood is the one that fits best. It is very good for children with problems but not exclusively and there are lots of children who don't have problems too.

lilackaty Fri 12-Oct-12 23:16:30

Sorry, just to add, now is the time when they all have Open Mornings. Sancton Wood's is next Sat (20th).

DknyQueen Wed 17-Oct-12 19:54:23

Thank you for your suggestions!
We've been to St faith's open day a couple of weeks ago and were very impressed. The problem is that it only goes up to 13 so we would have the same problem in two years' time.
We are going to Sancton Wood open day on Saturday but there's a long waiting list already and no point of entry in yr 7 so seems very unlikely.
I'm setting my heart on moving to Ely as the Kings seems like out best bet.'

jicky Thu 18-Oct-12 18:39:55

I've got boys at the Perse who at primary I would have described as bright but lazy. They both seem to be thriving and I think it does have lots of opportunities for giving things a go even if you won't be the best.

The younger one (in year 7) is very much an all rounder (average at everything) but has put himself forward for everything going and enjoys taking part. I've almost wanted to discourage him from putting himself forward for some things as I know the standard he is at.

I didn't want them in an environment where they could get away with coasting, but year 7 is actually fairly light for homework (less than friends at state school) and it ramps up as they get older. Gives them a chance to do all the other things on offer.

It might be worth giving it a look, but your ds would have to put in some work for the exam as I think it covers stuff in maths that my ds didn't do until after the test in his year 6 class.

aquietone Fri 19-Oct-12 13:14:41

Hello, my ds is at Heritage School in Brookside. It's a small new independent school. It's well worth a look round. It has a Christian ethos and is a kind and welcoming community to all (I am not a practicing Christian myself). We are especially enjoying the emphasis on nature connection, cultural visits every week, and a warm supportive school atmosphere with small class sizes. The teachers know the children very well so are able to give a well aimed 'push' to a child that tends to be lazy:-)

frazzled09 Fri 19-Oct-12 15:14:17

Aquietone can you tell me more about Heritage? We were seriously considering it for our DS but we were put off by the Bible Study, staff having to be practicing Christians, and the owner of the company being an evangelist. My husband exercised his veto, as an aetheist.
Do the religious aspects impact on the curriculum? If not I will have another look round. Though the half days until Yr 2 are a bit of a bind when you are working.

I did like the nurturing atmosphere. Hope you don't mind me asking your opinion, I've not managed to find anyone with a child there to ask before.

cebcam Wed 03-Jul-13 22:32:55

The bible study is not enough to impact study time and although I heard 'cult' type references before my children went there - this is not the case. However the behaviour issues in some years really do impact the curriculum and the ability of some of the teachers to teach effectively as they are having to spend time keeping control of some of the children. If your child needs nurturing then there seems to be a concentration in bringing the less well able up - but if your child is bright, you run the risk that they will be left to their own devices in favour of controling the disruptive ones - my child slipped backwards.

MarronGlace Thu 04-Jul-13 17:06:07

Cebcam what year are your children in? It sounds very unusual for a small school with very small classes to have such serious behavioural issues.
I went to their open day and what I didn't like was the lack of equipment and how bare the whole school is.
The head got a real grilling about religion and I can't help to think that people are just worried over nothing but of course I can't tell for sure because my children don't go there

MarronGlace Thu 04-Jul-13 17:06:07

Cebcam what year are your children in? It sounds very unusual for a small school with very small classes to have such serious behavioural issues.
I went to their open day and what I didn't like was the lack of equipment and how bare the whole school is.
The head got a real grilling about religion and I can't help to think that people are just worried over nothing but of course I can't tell for sure because my children don't go there

cebcam Mon 16-Sep-13 22:28:09

I don't want to write which classes as it makes my children easy to identify. You have to remember this has been a growing school, trying to establish itself and so every penny has counted so far - therefore entrance and behavioural policies were not fully established in the first years. There are some great things like enrichment afternoons which are Friday afternoons dedicated to trips and eduational fun activities but in terms of learning behaviour has been an issue. Kids who need help seem to do OK, but the brighter ones don't seem to get pushed in favour of maintaining control. Honestly I dont think the lack of equipment is too dramatic for young children - they certainly have all of the basics.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstoodinCamb Fri 11-Oct-13 22:11:53

DKNY did you choose anywhere?
My boys have just moved to Kings.. if you have any questions am happy to chat

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