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 other...as 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!

thanks...

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....

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