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Maple Walk School(5 Posts)
We are thinking of sending our DS to Maple Walk School. Could current and former parents please help us out by telling us about the positive and negative aspects of the school?
Our child is currently at a state primary but we are thinking about going private - does MWS offer good value for money? If we go down the private route then we want to feel that what we are getting is a lot better than at his state primary. We are attracted by the smaller class size of course, but not hugely impressed by the facilities we have seen. The school feels very cramped, small rooms but mainly very little open space for the kids at playtime, especially compared to local state primaries including our DS current school. we understand MWS is about to take on pupils from the Stephenson School. How will this affect the school and why did Stephenson fail? Is there any danger that MWS will also fail? Our understanding is that the school was created before the Free School movement but one former parent we met said that Free School primaries will make MWS redundant. I understand that the fees are pegged to the normal state pupil spend. My question about "value for money" is partly because we would be willing to pay double for a prep school if we are getting double (or more) the value.
How is the quality of teaching? Is it Prep school standard? The last 11+ cohort did reasonably well, as I understand it. with one child getting into Latymer Upper and another to Highgate. However, the results don't really impress when compared to West London preps - though I appreciate they can hardly be expected to, given the lower fees and I presume lower salaries. However, the school does seem to spend a lot of time prepping for 11plus. How has this year gone for 11+ transfer? Our former parent friend says they did a lot of Bond papers, which frankly we can do with our DC ourselves. What kind of relationship does the school have with secondary private schools? We know that one reason that prep schools deliver is because of Headteacher relationships.
How inclusive is the school? Do the same children always get the prizes or do the "spread the love"?
How is sport at the school? I understand that this happens offsite.
How is the school with a boisterous boy who loves football? Again, we we told by a former parent that the school is not quite strict at playtimes about ball games due to the size of the playground.
How is the school with special needs? How is the pastoral care? We certainly got a sense that the parents were heavily involved in the school which seemed really positive - is this true?
Apparently there is quite a large turnover of children. how does this affect things? We have been told that a lot of the founding parents left the school before their kids reached Year 6. Why was that?
What is the boy/girl split? There seemed to be a lot of girls compared to boys and we worry that our DS will not have enough mates - I am afraid he is very much a boy boy and barely knows the names of the girls in his class!
Any other thoughts and observations would be hugely appreciated. My questions may appear quite negative but it is a big decision and we are wary of making a mistake by going for a relatively untested school compared to well established prep school alternatives.
I am posting this on the Primary Education and the Education topics as I am not sure which is most appropriate. Thank you.
Sorry - meant to write "the school is quite strict at playtimes about ball games due to the size of the playground. Not "not quite strict"!
I think the results look pretty good. My guess is that there are parents who have chosen state secondary due to cost hence the numbers of state places. I would probably have expected to see a few more children going to City of London / NLCS / Habs but the numbers getting into South Hampstead and Notting Hill suggest good standards and also more girls than boys. At the end of the day you need to decide what's important. You won't get the same at a £2k a term school as you will at a £4k a term school, something will be compromised and in this case it seems to be facilities. I doubt that they pay the teachers less. It's a no frills private school which seems to give the children a good traditional grounding and gets good results but it isn't comparable to a West Londin prep school. Tbh places like Westminster and St Paul's may well not be on parents radars, cost alone may make them prohibitive as they are significantly more expensive than many other day schools especially GDST ones such as SHHS
We know some parents who took their kid out of the school. I am afraid they had experience of the very things that concern you. Mainly, they thought it was a school that was incredibly anxious to prove itself able to get good transfers - and that years 5 and 6 seemed to be all about pushing the able to get into decent private secondaries. Average kids were ignored and if you look at how much prep the kids had to do rather unimaginatively (bond papers etc) then frankly the actual results were poor. Girls/boys who were bright enough to get to colet court or SPGS ending up at 2nd tier schools and worse. Anyway. I am sorry to say this is what our friends have told us - we are in South London so have no personal experience. I think you would be better keeping your kids in a good state and getting a tutor to get them into a private secondary. Class sizes of 20 are not so much better than 30 at school plus one to one tutoring at home...
Why pay extra for something not a lot better than what you already have - or pay 12k and get an education which really is different.
Also - apparently it was always the same children getting the prizes - as you feared - Again the very bright kids being constantly boosted. The DS who was there felt there were school favorites, and also a real preference given to founding parents or those heavily involved in the PTA. Although perhaps you might think that is fair enough... If you have any questions post them and I will get my friend to reply.
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