Berkhamsted School

(7 Posts)
winkywinkola Sun 27-Nov-16 19:12:00

It's possible dd will go here from Year 7. She's currently in Year 5.

I've not had a chance to visit the school yet but wondered if there was anyone with experience of it?

Zodlebud Mon 28-Nov-16 16:55:55

I think you either love it or hate it.

I have many friends with children there who are extremely happy. Amazing trips abroad, great sporting facilities, good academically.

For others it feels too "London", total money pit (everything is an extra and added to your bill), very competitive between both pupils and parents, and a rather ruthless approach to culling children who don't make the grade.

If money is no object, your daughter thrives on competition and is reasonably bright then it is an excellent choice of school.

I think you can tell the moment you walk through the door as to whether or not it's the right fit for you and your child.

winkywinkola Tue 29-Nov-16 10:20:13

Gosh. It sound horrendous!

winkywinkola Tue 29-Nov-16 12:58:08

I will have to visit though. Thanks for the insight. Much appreciated.

Zodlebud Tue 29-Nov-16 13:39:15

It is honestly not horrendous - it is highly oversubscribed in some year groups and offers children an awful lot. I live in the town and have seven friends who all send their children there and they love it.

It's just not my cup of tea (if you haven't guessed). I was put off by the large number of trips to support the curriculum and whilst they are optional, most children end up going on them. You need to factor another £2-£4K per annum in, particularly in the later years. Activities include learning how to scuba dive in the pool with an optional dive trip to the Red Sea....... Whilst children do very well there academically, if you measure success in terms of Oxbridge places then the local comp actually sent more children last year. Like I said previously they do also cull pupils not making the grade and not just at 13+ and 16+. It just doesn't lie well with me.

I wasn't shown any drama or music on the open day - two areas of specific interest to my daughter. Music was an amazing cellist in the atrium with the head of music standing nearby. I had the windows to the music rooms pointed out to me. Drama was the head of department standing next to a notice board in the atrium. Whilst I was talking to him a parent of a child currently in the Prep school interrupted me to tell him her child was now attending Sylvia Young classes. Maybe I just had a bad experience on the tour, but similar things cropped up when I was touring the Prep a few years ago.

Like I said, for a great number of people the school is amazing and is exactly what they are after. I chose to send my children to another local independent school which feels more "us". I guess it's like buying houses - your gut reaction is always the right one!!

The new head is making changes and I believe things are changing for the better. I think you'll find rather a lot of marmite opinion on the school though. Go and see it. It's very impressive and I can see why so many parents choose it for their children.

winkywinkola Tue 29-Nov-16 15:41:12

Thank you very much.

Karoleann Tue 29-Nov-16 23:15:21

Apart from the fact that the children are allowed their phones all day, I honestly though the school was great.
We've seen a lot of secondary schools in the area and the children seemed confident (without being arrogant) and happy - and we've seen plenty of schools where they haven't been.
Good facilities too and not too big a school either.
Academics are good and they get great results even though they are not completely selective.
We have many neighbours who send their children there. They have great bus routes, you can board occasionally if your child has a late club - all good.

DS1 though has chosen our local Grammar after passing his 11+, although DS2 seems keener on Berkhamstead.

As the OP above said its either your thing or not and it is completely mine.

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