HELP! Choosing b/w quainton Hall,Reddiford,St martins and b/w N harrow,Pinner for residence

(43 Posts)

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tumpa Wed 11-May-11 07:48:01

I have shortlisted down to these 3 schools (Quainton Hall,Reddiford,St Martins) and now confused. I have 2 ds , one in Yr 1 and one in Yr 4. we hope them to get into Merchant Taylors /Habs for senior school,hence hunt for the right prep
1. St martins is top feeder to MT as per reviews but most expensive too
2. QH seems balanced and it goes up to13+
3. Reddiford is also in same range as QH , good review but only goes up to 11+ and also I saw in forum that they really don't prepare for 11+?
4. Also, is it better to prepare for 11+ or 13+ exams for senior school?
5. Lastly, overall how better is Pinner area than N Harrow for living stds?
Hence, if I have a choice of QH/Reddiford ,

severalyearsdowntheline Wed 11-May-11 09:24:48

Firstly I'd dispute that you need a prep in order to get into Habs and MT's as both schools take a large number of boys from state primaries so if money is an issue at this point then if your eldest is working towards the equivalent of a level 5 in SATS the good Pinner state primaries such as West Lodge or Cannon Lane plus an experienced tutor will probably be just as good to get into either school. Habs only take a few at 13 so if that's your favourite then you need to be preparing for 11+. I know MT's have a bigger intake at 13 but plenty go at 11 too so that would be my personal preference.

If your budget allows you to I'd go for Pinner over North Harrow any day as IMO it's a much nicer area but it is more expensive.

after8itsbliss Wed 11-May-11 17:52:05

I agree with severalyearsdowntheline. Newton Farm is on par with most prep schools and Canon lane and West lodge very good too, so going to a good state school is certainly no bar to going to MTs. .
Personally, I would never send my child to a school that goes to 13+(like St Martins), unless I was considering a public school.
With regards to 11+ preparation, I don't really know how QH & Reddiflord compare, but I doubt whether there is much to choose between the two. Reddiford is a very academic school, so I will certainly be surprised if QH has better 11+ preparation.
Have you gone and seen the schools? Maybe even asked where their year 6 children are going to this year? Your sons can spend a day at both schools and see which one they prefer.
As for areas-there are lovely bits of North Harrow and lovely bits of Pinner, you just need to see what you can afford in your budget.

stikmatix Thu 12-May-11 10:56:36

agree with the 2 previous posters.

You have to bear in mind that with the schools that go to 13+ like St Martins(fine school though it is), you are not allowed to sit your DS for MTs at 11+.

My DS is at Reddiford in Year 1. He joined there this year. As far as I can see, the school has excellent academic standards, the list of school offers for its Year 6 leavers is impressive. Loads get in Habs and MTs, and they have a few scholarship offers as well, their 11+ preparation seems to be extremely thorough. DS is happy there, the other kids in his class seem really nice and he integrated quickly. Don't be put off by the fact that it doesn't have loads of facilities on site. They go to John Lyon for swimming for example, and have a decent PE department too, so I don't think it limits the kids in any way.

Just now after Easter a new boy joined DS's class - the boy's previous school was Quainton Hall. There is new girl in Year 2 who also used to go to Quainton Hall. The parents were dissatisfied with the school so changed them - I don't know the full story, so you must check it out for yourself. However, a number of families have left Quainton Hall so do your research.

I may not be the best person to ask, as although my DS is doing fine academically, I can already see that he would NEVER be suited to Habs or MTs, and I already have in mind that a school like Aldenham would be ideal for him. I think if you have the option for excellent primaries (we don't), then that could definitely be an option, a prep is not necessary if your primaries are good.

If you are fixed on prep, you could do a lot worse than Reddiford though!

tumpa Tue 31-May-11 16:53:32

Thanks StikMatix and others. My problem is I am moving down from manchester and none of the good state primaries (Newton Farm, west Lodge, Marlborough, Eastbury Farm,Longfield) have any vacancy for either Yr 1 or Yr 4 (for my 2 DS). Hence hunt for a good prep as failsafe. Am looking for Pinner area to buy house eventually over North Harrow.
I have been to Quainton hall , plan to see Reddiford.
My worry for older DS is : does he have enough time to get ready for 11+ if he shifts to new school. or does he stand better chance for 13+ in the long run?
QH does not stop you from appearing for 11+, but neither do they help you specifically.
Stikmatix: My Yr 4 DS is perhaps more like yours hence wondering if I should take your approach.Also it would be great to get a view from someone who has been to both schools as you mentioned. Besides, if I get in reddiford my younger DS may be in some year as yours:-)

mamadash Tue 31-May-11 18:59:07

A couple of other schools for you to conside are St John's and Northwood Prep that also feed into MTS

tumpa Wed 01-Jun-11 21:34:07

@mamadash I have checked St Johns and Northwood - none of them have vacancies at current year 4

stikmatix Thu 02-Jun-11 14:45:15

Would never recommend Northwood Prep sadly, used to be lovely many years back as my cousin went there. But now it is a different case.

Reddiford really is your best bet. Your DS1 would be fine joining in Y4 I reckon, enough time to prepare for 11+. I've come to te conclusion that although a lot of parents there do hope for Habs or MTS, it also doesn't matter if your child is less academic, or you simply want something different for secondary. There are kids who go on to comps afterwards too (not be ause they're not intelligent but outof choice or circs). The kids at Reddiford are really nice in Y1 and the parents are decent normal people too.

Most live locally so friends wouldve nearby, I'd get on to it soon though as I think Y 1 must be nearly fullby now.

tumpa Fri 03-Jun-11 20:39:09

Stikmatix ...Many thanks. Will be checking out Reddiford after the half-term break. MY ds1 is currently Y4, hence would join Y5 from Sep. Hence the worry for short time left...about 15 odd months from the exams?
Current Y1 is getting full there is only one place left...

BerylOfLaughs Sat 04-Jun-11 10:46:44

Pinner is definitely a nicer place to live than NH, but pricier too.
I looked at Reddiford but as the school is pretty much entirely asian (as is St Martins) I decided not to take the risk that my child might feel 'odd' there. The state school in pinner and surrounds are very mixed, which I think is great and is why we ended up choosing state. The top state primaries in harrow are great and with a bit of help at home a bright child should be able to get into a good private secondary. Having said that, Nower Hill is doing remarkably well now.

stikmatix Sat 04-Jun-11 20:06:07

Hmm, no idea about joining in Yr5, you'd have to see what they say, but doubt it would be a prob.

Reddiford or at least Ds's Yr 1 class certainly isn't entirely Asian. Of 20 kids, there are 7 or 8 non-Asian, so yes, 2/3 are Asian, but I think the balance is 'enough'. Sure, diversity is wonderful (we are white in case anyone is wondering), but you have to bear in mind the number of private school applicants in the area from Asian backgrounds is high, perhaps the majority ethnic group represented, so go figure how it will pan out in the classes. IMHO I don't see what the difference is, but then we've lived abroad, including the Philippines where the kids were part of a v small number of white kids in the school, and they never once felt odd.

Yes, Nower Hill does seem to have a good rep now, and the kids seem nice, as I see them when I'm waiting for DS.

tumpa Tue 07-Jun-11 23:17:13

Berryl ,Stikmatix
I am visiting Reddiford Thursday.will let you know how it goes. My DS1 is improving and had a good report/mock SAT this year in school.So hoping joining Yr 5 will still be ok in terms of time to prepare for 11+.
BerylOfLaughs, wonder which state schools you had in mind around Pinner and which one you chose. In Pinner I have looked at WestLodge, cannon Lane - both are full and seems to have a LOOONG waitlist
lastly, i am not too worried about ethnic mix one way or long the kids are well behaved,from decent background ...

BerylOfLaughs Wed 08-Jun-11 09:14:48

If you look at the harrow list of primary schools and see which ones get the best results there are a few more you could move near. G r i m s d y k e and another one that always gets ridiculously good results, can't remember the name. The way the waiting list works is not first come first served, it is to do with how close to the school you live. For the good ones you do have to live very close.

stikmatix Wed 08-Jun-11 11:51:45

What time are you going on Thurs? I ask because the Year 1s have swimming in the morning which they go to John Lyon School for, so they won't be there, which will be a shame seeing as one of your DS is Year 1 (sometimes it's nice to see the potential year group, you know). Although the Year 1 kids do seem really nice, my DS has settled in easily there, they are well-behaved, and good behaviour is expected there. On the off chance that you go on the afternoon when the Year 1s are there, then you will spot my DS really easily, he is in Mrs Davies class and is blond with blue eyes (he's the only blond boy in the class so you'll see him a mile off, actually I think the only blond boy in the Pre-Prep, lol!).

Agree with Beryl that Grimsdyke has a good rep too form what I hear (I'm not in Borough of Harrow so not hugely in touch). Grimsdyke is in Hatch End. You could theoretcially get near to the top of a waiting list by moving in really close to the school as Beryl says, but how much movement there is I don't know.

Enjoy the visit and let us know what you thought!

moonbells Wed 08-Jun-11 14:15:24

stikmatix why don't you like Northwood prep? Just wondering... seemed like a very good and fairly competitive school when I looked (and it's the only one - amongst St John's, St Martin's - that teaches German which DS is bilingual in!)

stikmatix Wed 08-Jun-11 18:17:56

It's not a question of me not liking it, I didn't consider it as we preferred a co-ed (DH was unhappy in a boys' school and preferred DS to go co-ed although he is happy for the girls to go to all girls, lol), and we wanted a school to 11 not 13, plus we moved back from abroad and had to go where the spaces were. I'm not one to listen to idle gossip, but I know quite a few sensible and logical people who were very unhappy with NP. The common theme seems to be unpleasant attitude and atmosphere. My Mum knows a lady who pulled her son from NP a while back due to bullying (the boy in question is bilingual with a German father incidentally, perhaps that's why they too chose it in the first place).

I suppose my point is that you always hear idle stories and random unpleasant events happening at every school, be it state or private, but I was surprised to hear a number of similar substantiated experiences of NP that have been poor.

However, it could just be one of those schools that people either love or hate IYSWIM. I will see a couple of ladies who have first-hand experiences of NP tomorrow at pick-up, so I'll ask them for some more concrete comments and post them here for you.

tumpa Thu 09-Jun-11 06:55:30

Stikmatix. Thanks. I am going in at the normal visiting hrs 9:30 morning.Already on my way from Manchester!! Will have a lookout for your DS1 may be next time, when we come for assessment:-). Wonder what were your reasons for not choosing 13+. Is it to keep options open for grammar schools at 11+?
BerylOfLaughs,have checked at almost all schools in harrow (West lodge, newton farm, grimsdyke, Marlborough,cannon lane),eastbury farm...all full at Y1. Will still plan to move close by to one of these initially.

MY confusion now is choosing b/w Quainton and reddiford. Reddiford sounds more like 1st choice given location etc. Biggest worry is for my DS joining in Y5 this Sep. This gives him about circa 15 months before the 11+ exams. Not sure if it is enough to settle in new school, then catch up and get ready. He is achieving around L4 SAT equivalents in current school. Any thoughts again on this?

Quainton offers a longer haul till 13+. But then it does not really encourage on 11+ exams. Perhaps I can look at reddiford for now with QH as fall back for Yr 7 in case nothing works out then?

moonbells Fri 10-Jun-11 12:31:34

Any luck speaking with the other mums, Stikmatix? We're only definitely headed for NP nursery at the moment, together with some of DS's friends from his current nursery. Not too late to change before reception...

stikmatix Fri 10-Jun-11 13:10:58

Hi moonbells, I have had a few words, but somehow our conversations never get finished before they open the gate to collect the kids!

The common messages I seem to be getting are that they expect "perfection" (well, as near as) in academic work and behaviour and are extremely unpleasant to those who cannot meet the standards. An overly heavy homework load has been cited (20 pieces of homework per week in Yrs 6, 7 & 8), as have overly superior staff attitudes, a lack of focus on the individual (you have to conform), as well as the lady that my Mum knows who pulled her son for bullying (but this was a few years back).

One of the Reddiford mothers has an older DS at MTs who went to NP and although he did well and got a scholarship, she disliked it enough not to send her younger son there (there is a big age gap between the 2 so there was no overlap).

Of course, none of these comments or experiences mean it is a bad school. I find it really random to run into so many people who have had negative experiences of one school, but how many hundred other parents are there at the school that love it and none of us know.

I can only report facts, but it is really strange that all the mothers I've spoken with kids at Reddiford, St Martin's and St John's have been happy with the schools!

No school is perfect, and it is probably pretty sensible to get your own insider view when your DS is in the nursery and then you can make a properly informed longer-term decision about what you want to do. Oh and I would love to hear more positive experiences of NP, because I remember how lovely it was for my disabled cousin and what a fantastic Head, teachers and children were there at the time (80s/early 90s)!

stikmatix Fri 10-Jun-11 13:14:34

tumpa - no. we're not aiming for grammar, mainly because I doubt DS would get in, and also because we're not in admissions area for Watford Grammar, nor the Bucks grammars (where it's so hard to get an out of area place).

There are always kids at the schools going up to 13 that go to grammar at 11+ regardless, as it's only certain schools eg MTs that they prohibit you from applying to at 11+.

We just a) wanted to have a free choice of schools at 11+ and b) we somehow like Year 7 better as a Year to change - no particular logic just our feelings!

superdollyfragilistic Fri 10-Jun-11 13:21:40

Hi, noone has mentioned Orley Farm, I guess it might be full as in my son's day, 5 years ago, it was always very sought afterm new head now so that may have changed. It is co-ed, and my son was blissfully happy there, going on to MTs

stikmatix Fri 10-Jun-11 17:13:10

Yes, I was going to add that on as a post-script. I have always heard that it has a good rep too...

moonbells Fri 10-Jun-11 22:39:31

mmm sounds like a Tiger Mother place!


tumpa Mon 27-Jun-11 22:25:41

Folks, a big thanks for all the inputs... I went into reddiford assessment today and also took some time to look around the area, houses to rent temporarily... I think reddifiord will confirm in affirmative tomorrow.
i am still planning a rental in catchment of either Cannon lane or west lodge if possible - to keep options for my younger DS (Yr 1). saves some cash for at least couple of years !!
Any idea how long it takes normally in cannon lane waiting list to get confirmed? Perhaps I should post this as a separate question....

stikmatix Tue 28-Jun-11 09:09:56

Did you take your Year 1 DS for assessment? Which class was he in for the assessment day? My DS never said anything (but then he wouldn't he never gives me any details about his school day, lol!), and I am curious to know if they met!

I can't answer your question on Cannon Lane/West Lodge waiting lists as I have no experience. However, you could possibly jump to the top of the list if you rented close enough (I would expect more places to come up for Year 3 than Year 2 but you never know). I wonder if you called up Borough of Harrow whether they might tell you the distance away from the school that the top person on the waiting list is (although other factors could keep them ahead of you like if they were a sibling or had special needs), you would have an idea of how close you would need to be to stand a chance of getting a place....

tumpa Thu 07-Jul-11 07:36:36

@stikmatix: have now completed assessments at both school and both have them got places in both Reddiford and QH. They went to Reddiford on 27th June, Monday. They were there for whole day while we were looking for rentals. My older DS did very well apparently, while younger one struggled slightly but was given a place. My younger DS could have been easily spotted with a different school uniform when he was at reddiford.
I have checked on West Lodge with harrow council, the no 1 in waitlinst is .5 miles away. So i am good (for now) taking rentals around .22 - .27 miles away for a no 1 waitlist slot. But not sure if it really means anything. Also if places for Yr 2 are not available there is no point shifting my younger DS just for a year or two (since i want him to be back in a proper independent school from at least yr 4)

stikmatix Thu 14-Jul-11 14:20:18

tumpa - that's a great update. Did you make a decision yet between the two schools? If it's any consolation, my DS totally struggled on the assessment day because he hadn't covered the work (maths and writing, his reading was fine) due to being abroad in a different school system. They finished the school year yesterday and he brought home a good report, positive, making lots of progress and putting in the effort. I looked at his books and the difference between when he joined in Feb and now is amazing. There are a couple of ex-QH parents at Reddiford, but at the end of the day you have to go with which one you think best for your kids, no school is ever perfect!

The state schools situation in Pinner looks crazy - when I'm taking DS to school I see kids who obviously live near Pinnerwood going to West Lodge and kids who live near West Lodge going to Pinnerwood.....

Are you looking forward to moving?

tumpa Thu 22-Sep-11 00:25:57 DS has now started in Reddiford Year 2. Maybe we can catch up? Please pm

stikmatix Thu 22-Sep-11 09:27:48

PM sent. Looking forward to meeting you!

happyandworried Mon 05-Dec-11 17:10:02

we saw reddiford, NP, St Martins and StJohns last year as we were looking to move into the area. for me NP and Reddiford stood out the best as the kids looked happy. Although it has many asians, i think the overall grades were fantastic and the number of scholarships awarded were much higher than others. Habs, QE, MTs has a larger numbers of asians in anycase now.Not too happy with St Martin as they were more interested to interview me and my hubby rather than our son! My son managed to get into Habs nursery and we moved into the area.

DRMSA Thu 08-Dec-11 21:33:43

My son has an interview at habs in a few months. Any ideas of what they are looking for in the Year 1 entrance?

Any help would be appreciated!


swaaati Sun 15-Jan-12 16:34:21

Hi Tumpa,

I found your research very useful. I am considering Reddiford, QH, Alpha, Buxlow, OF. I was under the impression that Reddiford prepared for 11+ by looking at the grammer school entries. From your post it appears that they dont. I am wondering whether all the parents prepare the children privately for the 11+.

Also wondering whether you got any feedback on Alpha or Buxlow.

tumpa Sun 15-Jan-12 23:00:47

HI Swaati
Glad to be of help. They don't prepare specifically for 11+ at Reddiford, but I am very pleased with the school. They do prepare for all the usual schools entrance though i.e. hab, MT etc. They have given a big list of schools including the grammars and will give us a first view in a parent meet in Feb before starting focussed preparation

swaaati Fri 20-Jan-12 10:31:12

That is very reassuring. I am wondering about the extra curricular activities at Yr 5 and what is included in curriculum and what is at additional cost. Also does Reddiford use mock test and interview etc to prepare children at 11+.

What happens to those children who dont get placed. I could not find any info on % passes.

My DS is at Quainton hall nursery currently. He is very happy there. For the benefit of other parents it is perhaps true that some parents took their children away. The ones I know of complained about lack of structured teaching in the early years. Quainton follows the EYFS which prescribes learning through play. They focus on creating in interest in learning. At one point I was a bit worried as well and tried to teach at home. He was simply not interested which was exactly what the head had told me. Few months later though he wanted to write words and alphabets. Within 2 weeks of that he learnt to write all the alphabets and is now wanting to read. I think Quainton was successful with my DS and if they were 11+, they would have been our first choice.

after8itsbliss Sat 21-Jan-12 12:51:31

Hi swaaati - I would just go for the school that feels right for your child.
The fact of the matter is that none of the schools you mentioned prepare for the 11+. How they differ from state schools is that there will be more testing during the school year(tests throughout the year and exams at the end of the year) and some work on verbal and non-verbal reasoning.
However, in terms of teaching it is then up to you(or a tutor) to work with your child to get them to the required level for entry, particularly for grammar schools in the London area.
If you are happy with QH, my opinion is to stick with that. Or else looks at things like whether the school provides meals, class size, extra-curricular activites, leadership of the head and pastoral care, everything else will be much the same in these schools.

swaaati Sun 22-Jan-12 11:24:57

Hi after8itsbliss,

Thank you so much for your post. It would make a lot of sense to get my ds to continue with Quainton. Apart from my ds being very happy there and us agreeing with their ethos and methods, the Quainton nursery was very good to us. I have been late number of times to pick DS up due to unavoidable work reasons and have never had a complaint. In fact the head has always reassured me that ds will be fine. On couple of occassions I forgot his lunch bag at home, the head prepared sandwich for him on these occasions, also offered snacks during breaks. She also prepared sandwiches for ds when he refused to have the soup that I gave on few occassions.

So there is a lot of emotional attachment for us with the school. I am sure many other parents have similar experiences as well.

But here is my dilemma. One of my neighbours chose a 13+ independent and by the time the child was in Year 6, she was a lot unsure whether she had made the right decision in chosing 13+ school for her son. Her feedback when her DS was in Year 4 was totally different. Schools like Buxlow finish their year 6 syllabus in Year 5 so they can focus on preparation and tests. During the first term of year 6, they only prepare for the test and any new topics or catch up with the curriculum happens in the latter half of the year. A 13+ prep school will not do that so a child taking 11+ will need to keep up with the new topics taught in first term and prepare at home for 11+ exam in addition to it. Also a lack of competition while preparing is lack of motivation.

While there are many reasons for us to continue with Quainton, I cant but take into consideration my neighbours experience. We need to give him the option of Grammer as it could his best chance in getting a really good education.

after8itsbliss Sun 22-Jan-12 12:04:41

Hi swaaati - Didn't realise QH went up to 13. I agree if you want your son to do the 11+, then a 13+ school isn't good. Mainly I think this is because the school will not want your son to leave at year 6 and you are working against the school in that case, which just adds to the stress.
I don't know anything about Buxlow. Buckingham prep is good in that the discipline is good and they have things like an orchestra, which Reddiford doesn't have. It also has hot meals and swimming right up to year 6. However, it is only a boys school and has just one class per year(don't know if this is a plus or not).
With Reddiford, it is mixed and I think a slightly bigger school than Alpha Prep. No hot meals and swimming only in year 1 and 2. Extra-curricular activities are not great, but it has a strong football team for the boys, so if your son is into that it's good.
Like I said, you will have to work with your child to prepare them for the 11+ whether they go to Buckingham, Reddiford or Alpha, so in that case just go with what suits you best - location, late club facilities etc.

swaaati Sun 22-Jan-12 13:31:12

Hi after8itsbliss,

I have had some negative feedback about BCP about academic standards and history of bullying. But this might have been in the past. Too much discipline worries me a bit though as it often has a reverse effect.

It will be great to hear from parents of current students or ex students to verify the feedback. It is only for this reason we have not considered BCP as real option.

tumpa Sun 22-Jan-12 23:30:22

I did similar evaluation when I put my DS in reddiford. My DS came from a state primary up north and got thru both QH and Reddiford exams. finally chose RF, as wasn't sure if I will go private only roue with 13+ transfer. besides, if DS doesn't get 11+ choice of school, he can always go to QH till 13+.
However now my views are changing and I am wondering if it might be worth going to indy route even if DS gets into grammar even if it is Challoners as an example! I have another post on this and you can see how opinions can vary.
If that is the case with you, you may just stick to QH which does a decent job of 13+ transfer to good indies. Besides kids are slightly more mature at 13+ to understand and it is less stressful as parents than in 11+, trust me!!!

AnuRai Tue 31-Jan-12 23:48:28

My DS has just been offered a reception (4+ entry) place at St. Martin's, Northwood and Northwood Prep and I am really struggling picking one of the two. I would highly appreciate if anyone has any views or suggestions for me to help me make this decision.

moonbells Thu 02-Feb-12 06:25:57

Anu please check your inbox!

rasb123 Tue 05-Mar-13 10:01:32

My Ds has been offered a place in Reddiford and St martins, and i really need to decide,,,on 2..ASAP..Reddiford seems to be very academic ,,but lack of space....very conjusted,,,,St martin seems to be Perfect school -Playgrounds, auditoriums Music,,,infrastructure,,,,but it goes till 13 + and i am not sure how academic kids are.....Is it worth spending more money there???Please suggest if somebody has any experience of both the schools...........We have recently moved to Pinner area so dont know much about these schools......Please if you will share any suggestions/expereinces it will be very helpful.

Loveulots Wed 04-Sep-13 15:01:33

Hi swaaati/ rasb123,
where did you finally end up?
i have started a thread for Reddiford and is after any views about this school. any opinion is highly appreciated.
Moonbells, Tumpa , stikmatix - please can i have your opinions about Reddiford please? TIA.

IsabellaMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 12-Dec-13 11:00:08

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