Dame Bradbury's(29 Posts)
Hello, We are moving to Cambridge this summer and I am trying to find a good school for my two children, who will be in Year 1 and Reception. I am, especially, interested in getting information about Dame Bradbury's and I am wondering if it is commutable from Cambridge? Thank you!
Saffron Walden is a fair way from Cambridge for a 4-5 year old. It is now part of the Stephen Perse Foundation which has pre-prep schools in Cambridge.
Yes, I am aware of the connection between Stephen Perse and Dame Bradbury's, but Stephen Perse is full in the year groups that we require. Therefore, we started to consider Dame Bradbury's and it appears to be a lovely school. Actually, part of what I like about the school is the more 'country/village-y' feel of the school's ethos. Does anyone have a first or second hand experience of the school? Also, do others agree that Saffron Walden is a difficult commute from Cambridge? Thank you!
I don't know anything about the school but it is a bit far from Cambridge, the traffic is horrendous everywhere until after 9am. Could you either live in SW or consider other indie schools in Cambridge?
Most of the schools that I have looked at are full for September (independent and state). It appears to be v difficult to get a place for both children at a good school in Cambridge. Also, Dame Bradbury's will, apparently, have a mini bus service from somewhere in Cambridge (i.e. Train station, park and ride) that will collect and return children each day. Another option would be to move to Saffron Walden and I could commute to Cambridge. All comments are welcome, as I am trying to get ideas about this school/location issue.
I think it would make a huge difference which side of Cambridge you lived. For example, my dd goes to SPF in Cambridge and we live in a village south east of Cambridge. I just looked at Google maps which says that Dame B's would take 21 mins to get to from here and SPF takes 20 mins. Of course, the traffic (presumably) wouldn't be nearly as bad either. On the other hand, if you lived north of Cambridge I would imagine it would be a nightmare in the mornings. I would also find out more about the mini-bus service too. We use that in the mornings from one of the park and ride sites, we are lucky that there is a bus that goes from the one that's (fairly) near our house.
Are you on a waiting list for the places you need at the Cambridge Junior School? I would imagine there to be a certain amount of movement in pupils as lots of families move around due to work etc.
If you lived in one of the villages to the south of Cambridge you could get to Dame Bradbury's fairly easily - e.g Duxford, Gt Chesterford, Whittlesford, the Abingtons, Linton - probably only a 15 to 20 minute drive.
It partly depends on where in Cambridge you work and live. Cambridge traffic is truly awful.
I can confirm what Cant has said.
I rather fear that the caring / community ethos at DBs that you describe is gradually being leached away as the SPF ethos and bureaucracy takes over (merger was just under two years ago). New head has only been there a term, so I'm reserving judgement on what mark she will make on the school. (I have a DC at DBs).
You might also want to think ahead to secondary schools.
If you live in SW, then there is the County High, a state school with good reputation. (Oversubscribed, so I gather you don't have to live far outside of SW to risk not getting a place). But the choice of independent secondary schools is not so great.
On the other hand, if you live somewhere that your child can get the bus or train into Cambridge once they are 11 (many do), then there are good independent secondary school choices, but state might be more of a headache.
Thank you everyone! All of these comments are helpful. We would like to live in Cambridge for a year or so and then move to a village. This is, simply, to give us an idea about Cambridge and some time to decide where we would like to live. As a few of you mentioned we are looking on the south-side of Cambridge for now to allow for the commute to SW to be more feasible.
As for DB, I really don't want a 'pushy' school for the children as they are so young. I will visit the DB next week, so all of my information has been from phone conversations and the website. @Thegoodthedad... Have you found the DB's culture to have shifted greatly? Also, what are the other parents like- welcoming? Friendly?
Thank you, again! It is much appreciated!
@Jenny, we are not on the waiting list, yet. I did inquire, but, we would have been no. 11 on waiting list for year 1 and no. 7 for reception. I will visit schools next year and then, act accordingly. Are you happy with SPF? Did you look at the other schools? From the website, I very much liked SPF and the location would have been perfect for us. But, I do worry about schools being 'too pushy' with young children. Do you find that to be the case at SPF or does it provide a range of experiences with a range of expectations?
Dame bs is fantastic and has much better facilities than spf
Do ask any questions
We are extremely pleased with SPF and our dd loves it there. She wasn't at the Junior School (joined in year 7) so I don't have first hand experience of that, but have only heard good things about it from other parents. We did look at other schools (lots and lots!) and decided that SPF was right for our daughter. We certainly haven't found it at all pushy in the Senior school (and I would imagine the same applies in the Junior School). Any (minor) issues we have had, have been quickly and efficiently resolved.
I don't know Dame B's at all, but obviously since it has become part of SPF, I've seen photos/articles in newsletters etc and it certainly appears to be a lovely school.
Wonderful news @Truffle40!! How would you describe the school? ie. Sporty, artsy, music, ect? Are they welcoming towards parents? Are the other parents warm and friendly? I would be happy to make the long-ish commute, if the school is worth it! Thanks!
@jenny SPF does seem to be a fantastic school and markets itself as not being push, but rather innovative! It is early days for us and our life in Cambridge, but I think we would look towards SPF for senior school- seeing as we can't get in now. If dame B's is a good fit, I would like to keep the children in this school for the next few years at least.
Has the culture at DB shifted greatly? I wouldn't have say greatly and it still has a lot of friendly caring staff. After the merger, quite a few experienced staff left including the head, and I clearly sensed some of that was unhappiness at the way "head office" was imposing on DB ways of doing things. The new head is viewed positively, so time will tell if the school emerges stronger and better.
There are plenty of friendly parents, although I'm not the best judge as I'm rarely at the school gate and I'm not very sociable. I suppose I might contrast the Perse in Cambridge (the former boys school, not connected to SPF), where parents are generally focussed on academic achievement, and DBs where are some have that focus but you get the feeling that some parents are very well off and more concerned about getting the right sort of education where one socialises with the right sort of people.
Dame Bs is rural and predominantlyvwhite British so not very diverse but is friendly. It is non selective but the very academic are pushed. There is good support for those who need help. It is big on giving the children cultural experiences. It is also quite outdoorsy with forest school and gardening and the year 5 and 6 residentials. These are not city children and being outside a lot is normal to them. Good science provision. New music teacher is putting on concertscwhere all the children are involved. Also choirs and orchestras. Good sport but probably not as good as eg Kings prep or St faiths. Many chikdren are sent there because the village schools are disappointing It only goes up to 11. A lot of children go on to the local good Comprehensive but lots go to Perse, leys. Spf, felsted, kings Ely etc. A few go to boarding schools.
also really excellent art and lots of drama
Several male form teachers which is good if you have boys
Mine started later than nursery and reception but they seem lovely
I'd agree with a lot of what Truffle says. I think the one glaring weakness at the moment is Maths in Y5 & Y6, where there's been a couple of staff changes and I'm not entirely confident that it's as good as it used to be.
Thank you for this information- it is v helpful! I am looking for a school that provides a well-rounded education. The drop in Maths instruction is concerning, but hopefully this will be addressed!! I am looking forward to my visit next week, but I am pleased to have the experiences of other parents at the school. Thank you, everyone!!!
You may also be interested in the development plans that SPF have just announced. www.stephenperse.com/about/our-site-development-plans looks really exciting. I wish my DD was a bit younger as she will miss most of the changes!
Jenny is it true there will be no outside space though except for the rooftop runny g track? And is it true that the children will have to take exams in a marquee during the building work?
Truffle, that's definitely not the case re: outside space. I hadn't heard anything re: exams in marquees.
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