Prep schools in and around the Hindhead area, opinions please!(11 Posts)
This is my first post to please bear with me!
My Ds is three and due to start prep school in September 2018, so far we have looked around The Royal School, Amesbury, St. Edmunds and Churchers junior school which all look lovely and we're totally torn!
Since Ds is so young we just want an 'all round' not too much of a hot house but still quite an accademic school. It is very important to me that children are given an excellent cultural and moral understanding of the society in which we live and DH is avery strong sportsman.
So far I have liked all the schools we have seen, especially the facilities at St Edmunds, however based on the IsI reports Churchers and Amesbury are coming out top but I am slightly concerned that Churchers has a new head..
I have heard good things about a highfield and Brookham but not keen to the mandatory Saturday school for such young pupils. We are also considering Barfield or Edgeborough.
Does anyone have children in or have experience of any of the aforementioned schools or other local preps? If so I would really appreciate your thoughts!!
I have friends who have had children in The Royal and in St Eds. Both say the same thing - absolutely great if your child is a bright upper middle class neurotypical child . Useless if there are any hints of additional needs.
One school was described as petty, rigid and inflexible - and encouraged the parent that if they didn't like the way things were done they should move the child to state school. (child had dyslexia and dyspraxia.)
The other school found the child "too difficult" and again suggested a state school. (The child had diagnosed ADHD.)
I chose St. Ed's for both my son and daughter and they are genuinely both so happy there. The ethos of the school suited us as a family, more than Amesbury and Brookham. Hardworking, connected with the real world type of parents, and happy, confident and individual personalities amongst the children. St. Ed's do not try and produce the cardboard cut out. They promote individuality and a sense of giving every opportunity a go. Both the pastoral and academic provision is excellent. I could not recommend St. Ed's more highly.
St Ives in Haslemere is a fantastic school, my Ds is in pre-prep having gone for nursery too and loves it. It has a great vibe, good for all abilities, concentrates on the whole person, while developing confident and articulate children. Consistently fields girls to schools like Guildford High School, St Catherines, Tormead and Priorsfield at 11+. Great forest school in Nursery and Pre-prep, and good for sports/extra curricular. St Ives goes pre-prep from Sept 17 which will be great for the school too. No regrets here, my Ds has totally come out of her shell since going to St Ives for Nursery. Lots of open morning Saturdays coming up, check out their facebook page for more info. Haslemere's hidden gem I'd say, and we looked at ALL the others mentioned in posts above too. I also felt it was a great school for normal working parents too (good technology for communicating with teachers, great for morning and after school care too. )
DS1 goes to Churcher's Junior, and we love it. It's not your 'traditional' type prep school (grand old buildings and acres of land are notably absent), however it more than makes up for it in what they have to offer. Lots of extra curricular sport and music, and plenty of ways for children to get involved in charity work.
The school is very nurturing and caring, as well as academic. They encourage pupils to reach their full potential in all areas of life.
What we find a distinct advantage is that they feed into Churcher's Senior school, one of only a few co-ed day schools in the area, with a great reputation.
Don't be too concerned about a change of Head... we've actually found the new one to be more proactive than the last, and has already implemented some much-needed safeguarding protocol since arriving in September. Plus she's a very nice person and lovely with the children (stands outside most mornings on duty and says hello). In contrast to a few Heads we met when looking around (notably St Eds and Amesbury), she is very personable and down to earth.
My ds2 has just started nursery there (only opened in January), which is proving to be a great start to his school life (he will be going into Reception in 2018 too!). They've had a few teething problems with part of the building not being finished, but it doesn't impact on how well the children are looked after.
One thing to be aware of, it's a junior (rather than prep) school, so the age range is from 4-11; in case you were thinking of sending your DC to an independent senior school that starts at 13. Just something to think about.
Anyway, hope that helps, and good luck with your choice!
whoops- meant to say St Ives goes 'Co-ed' for pre-prep from Sept 2017..hence the reason for posting about St Ives in reply to you post about Ds.. you're probably wondering why I bothered posting a reply..there was a reason!
Our DS went through St Eds, and I have nothing but praise for educating my confident, outgoing, compassionate and thoroughly likeable DS. (I'm not biased, am I??)
The headmaster has done great things with St Eds, and we always found the school to be very approachable. DS has dyslexia, which was 'discovered' by the school, and DS has appropriate teaching for most of his time there...
When we originally went to see St Eds, we asked the (then) headmaster what he would look for in a school. He replied that one could argue about the inside vs the outside swimming pools, the art block vs the craft block etc, etc, but it had to be somewhere that you felt comfortable in. If you felt comfortable, your child probably would, too.
And that happy children learn more than unhappy ones.
We went off and saw all the others you mentioned, and came back to St Eds!
Hi everyone, thank you for the replies.
At the moment we really like Churchers I just love the caring, warm and nurturing ethos. I get the feeling that it encourages children to have empathy and understanding of those less fortunate than themselves, it just seems very down to earth. The new nursery is also particularly exemplary. However, the location (we would ideally prefer a Hindhead school) and the fact that it is not a true prep school casts some doubt in my mind.
Laulou10 Whereabouts do you live? Have you found that most of the children in Churchers come from around Haslemere/ Grayshott or Petersfield? We live in Grayshott and would like DS to have friends close by.
Does anyone strongly feel that St. Edmunds or Amesbury also offer what I liked about Churchers?
Although I really liked St. Eds and was overwhelmed by the extra curricular opportunities it offered, I couldn't help but worry that it conveyed a 'them and us' type messaged and could create an over privileged egotistical child. Amesbury seemed a little cold, please correct me if I'm wrong and pushy.
Also, although I understand that all three schools have a high success rate on first choice of senior school, I have no idea about what they are like results wise. Which is better academically? I have heard that ST. Ed's may fall behind in terms of academia and uses it's impressive extra curricular programme to make up for it.
Have you taken a look at Aldro in Shackleford? 10 minutes up the A3 from Hindhead, and is a lovely caring school, which is a true prep - preparing boys for day or boarding senior schools.
Thanks Evalina, I have heard great things about Aldro but I'm pretty sure they only taken boys from seven. My son is three at the moment but it's one we will definitely bear in mind.
Ah yes of course. Quite a few boys at Aldro go to St Hilary's in Godalming for pre-prep. Ours went to a local state infant school, of which there are quite a few great ones around.
The Royal School Nursery and pre-prep also supposed to be good.
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