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The Mall School, Twickenham

(30 Posts)
whatalife Tue 21-Oct-08 11:47:13

Hi. Does anyone know anything about The Mall School on Hampton Road in Twickenham? If anyone has/had boys there I'd love to hear any comments. I am thinking of sending my sons there and would love to get an inside view before coughing up the hefty committal fee!

Thanks

Amey Tue 21-Oct-08 16:26:33

Whatalife,

Are you looking at reception or year 3 entry and have you looked around the school - they have very good open days and tours? I know several people who are very happy with it. It's got an academic rep, but the newish headmaster is introducing a more nurturing focus. The downside to us was the limited outside space - but they have an excellent swimming pool. It really depends on your sons and if you're looking at reception entry how can you tell how academic they will turn out??

My ds went to a little pre-prep and sat for a 7+'selective' place at another prep. But we wouldn't have wanted him to attend somewhere that he couldn't have passed the 7+ entrance (plenty would disagree with that approach).

Hope that helps.

whatalife Tue 21-Oct-08 19:43:07

Thanks Amey.

We're looking at reception entry. We have visited the school and agree on the lack of grounds, but amazing pool. The French classes in progress were outstandingly impressive.

Good question about how academic they will turn out! But how much of that is down to what they are exposed to and taught at school?!!! I would love to compare my son after 3 years at a school like The Mall, and 3 years in a good local state school (both from ages 4-7). If they are taught more in a private syllabus then wouldn't it follow that they would do better in a 7+ exam? Or does school not matter and it is just down to the natural brightness of the child?! That seems to be the million-dollar question!

How did your DS fare in the exam? And what would you have done if he could not have passed the selective placing at any school?

Amey Tue 21-Oct-08 20:57:56

Whatalife,

I was also very impressed by lessons and teachers at the Mall.

I think the early years are very important. For some children the smaller class sizes in a private school will make a real difference. To me, at this age, its about getting the basics right - reading, writing and early maths. And giving the child self- confidence and nurturing a love of learning.

However, it may not follow that they will automatically fair well in a very academic prep school.

Any good pre-prep (not tied to a prep) will prepare them for 7+ exams and should give good feedback on appropriate schools for each child. There are a few preps in the area which are less academic than the Mall and are non selective at 7+.

Interesting snippet - I heard that boys entering the Mall in at 7+ would have to be in the top half of their (Mall) years ability level to pass the entrance test.

My DS was very well prepared at his pre-prep, got into a selective prep and is in the top sets (glowing maternal pride ....) But quite honestly at aged 5, I wouldn't have had a clue of his academic potential.

Amey

whatalife Tue 21-Oct-08 21:22:38

Thanks Amey - very helpful to read about your experience. Can you tell me what the other preps are in the area? I have been in touch with Newland House (full) and Twickenham Prep School (full) which were in the Good Schools Guide. I heard something about Denmead, which I will now look up...

whatalife Mon 03-Nov-08 12:56:03

bump

Amey Mon 03-Nov-08 19:09:08

Sorry Whatalife - Was away for half term. Denmead is worth a look. Better grounds, though not so academic as the Mall. But, their more able boys go directly into Hampton school at 11 !!

If you're looking for next September it sounds like you have less choice. But you could also try: Surbiton Prep, Kings House in Richmond (might be 7+), Rokeby (Kingston)and Athelstan House (Hampton).

IMO the Mall is a good school - hopefully someone with more direct experience will post!

MrsGhoulofGhostbourne Mon 03-Nov-08 20:40:20

Just a word of caution! Have heard that Kings House school is not so great as prep fine @ pre-prep. DS has several friends there, and they seem to haemorrhage out to other prep schools over KS2, hence leaving a vaccuum for other boys to join from the local state schools - bit of a revolving door. Our next door neighbour pulled his son out at 11 because he feared his son's chances would be restricted at 13 if he remained. Worth asking detailed questions about exactly who goes where, when.

whatalife Tue 04-Nov-08 11:43:57

Thanks Amey.

So what does it take for a school to get into the 'Good Schools Guide'?! Denmead does not seem to be there - is that because it's less academic?

Concerning 7+ entry, The Mall has said 'A boy is assessed by a teacher who compares his performance in English and Maths to those of current pupils of that age - we do not deliberately try to fill the gaps and have in some years turned boys down, even though there are several places available.'

That's very disconcerting! Could it just be to scare parents into starting boys off in reception and not risk this 7+ lottery?!

MrsGhost that is interesting re King's House. Richmond seems to have a very mobile population with lots of people from overseas, so I wonder if that's why so many leave? The Vineyard state school certainly experiences the same demographic forces.

Hampton School didn't seem to think there is any difference between entry at 11+ or 13+...

Amey Tue 04-Nov-08 21:31:52

Whatalife,

I didn't use the Good Schools Guide so can't comment on that.

Also, I haven't visited Denmead, but I do know a few parents of its pupils and they are happy with it. It feeds into Hampton School(check their Websites). Able Denmead boys seem to be guaranteed a place at Hampton, which is great if you want your sons to go to Hampton, maybe limiting if you don't.

Hampton take about 60% at 11+ (mainly state and Denmead) and the rest at 13+.

gjf2000 Thu 06-Nov-08 22:50:03

Hi
I have 2 boys at the Mall, 1 more joining next yr! Recommend ++.

kb101 Fri 07-Nov-08 10:42:41

hi gf - thanks for posting. that's a great sign that you're about to send your 3rd boy there! we are thinking about sending DS1 there for reception next year.

i need to do a test run in the car but can you tell me about parking there? i have heard that it's really quite bad?!

also, when did your boys join? i am finding it hard to get a definitive answer on boys joining at 7+. it sounds like it might be a bit risky if they don't perform in the tests.

if you have any general thoughts on what you like/don't like quite so much it would be fab to hear them. if you'd rather email me directly then that is fine too. thanks.

gjf2000 Fri 07-Nov-08 10:56:28

Hello,

Parking is not great, but manageable - I guess it's probably the same with most schools in the area though.
My boys all joined in reception. In my older son's year, they had 2 new boys entering at 7+, and 2 boys now at 8+. They are tested a lot, but looking for potential rather than evidence of cramming I think.
Good things: teaching quality, teachers all v good. Boys seem to develop into confident polite children as they progress through the school which I like.
Less good things: can't really think of anything major off hand.

Good luck!!

kb101 Fri 07-Nov-08 13:24:49

Thanks!

And I felt the boys were all so lovely when we visited, so I agree with you there.

What is the workload and homework load like? Are there lots of tests etc?

And also, with all the boys coming from near and far (compared to a local state primary where everyone is within a mile or so of the school), has that presented any challenges in terms of seeing friends and having playdates etc?

Thanks again!

goingslowlyroundthebend Fri 07-Nov-08 13:34:48

Have heard that the Mall is good, have just been on the phone talking to them about 7+ entry! Denmead isn't a guareenteed route to Hampton, they will test and possibly let you know. Newland House lovely, you could get entry at 7+ and go to Athelstan House for pre-prep. If you look at going over the river slightly you have Weston Green, Milbourne Lodge Junior, Emberhust, Surbiton Prep...

kb101 Fri 07-Nov-08 14:00:38

roundthebend - what did they say about 7+?! i felt they were clearly steering me towards starting off in reception, offering no guarantees that boys get in at 7+, that they don't HAVE to fill spaces etc etc.

and a friend found the head terrifying, as he said that boys are turfed out if underperforming etc. i found, however, the head very warm and not at all scary, so it's weird that there are such conflicting views!

i have not looked at newland house but have heard good things. I also heard that there were something like 77 applicants for 11 places at 7+, which is terrifying! i have not verified that though.

gjf2000 Fri 07-Nov-08 14:38:11

Hello again,
Homework is not too bad:
Reception - reading folder twice a week, occasional worksheet/ colouring at weekend.
Y1: reading every night, weekly spellings test - boys split into groups, handwriting practicce at weekend.
Y4 - 2x 20min homeworks each night (but not wednesdays), in practice it doesn't usually take that long though.
School tests/ exams start in Y2, but really very low key, school talks them down a lot with the younger boys. Am waiting to see how hardcore it is in Y4 though!!
Re: play dates, most parents are local -Twickenham, St margarets, Teddington. A big subset come from the Osterley area as well. So not a problem really.

Only other issue i forgot to mention is different finishing times - 3pm for reception and Y1, 3.30pm for years 2 and 3, then 4pm for the seniors, which is a slight pain if you have more than one boy in the school, but there is an after school child care club which the boys enjoy.

Hope that helps!

goingslowlyroundthebend Fri 07-Nov-08 14:38:39

Well we are seeing The Mall in dec for 7+ entry in september, they are testing again in jan. Apparently This is a low birth year and they have space - they must have to be able to run a second test! All very laid back it seems. Sitting entrance for Newland tomorrow, was laid back now terrified! I was under the impression that two classes come up from the pre prep then there is a whole extra class (approx 16-20) added for year three.

What is really interesting and I believe it is credit crunch related, we are ringing round now, it is last min for 7+ entry for sept 09 but all schools bar one are talking to/ seeing us

goingslowlyroundthebend Fri 07-Nov-08 14:41:24

By the way, Hampton owns Denmead, hence the link

gjf2000 Fri 07-Nov-08 15:02:00

Dear goingslowly,
You are right, the current year 2 , will be yr 3 in september, is v small classes - about 12 or 13 I think, so I expect they'll be v keen to let your boy in!

goingslowlyroundthebend Fri 07-Nov-08 15:06:50

Ohh gif, that is good news, we have left it all a bit late and it is very very scary!

singersgirl Fri 07-Nov-08 16:36:24

Friend of ours went to Newland House this year into Y3 - sat the exam late last year because they still hadn't filled all their places. According to his mum the class is still not full and they have a couple of places in that year group. So don't be too frightened by the number of applicants - most children sit for 2 or 3 schools and I guess the best performing get offers at all of them, and then the offers trickle down the waiting lists.

castlesintheair Sun 09-Nov-08 09:38:56

My friend's DS got into The Mall in the 2nd half of the summer term in year 1 (now year 2). He didn't have to sit an exam. They are really pleased with it. Their DS has HFA and it suits him perfectly: really small class esp. She said the other parents are really relaxed unlike many at the Richmond state primary where her son was before.

Amey Tue 11-Nov-08 10:47:39

Hi,

Goingslowly...How did it go at Newland House? Were there 76 dc's sitting? My dd was due to sit but we changed our mind. Interesting that some schools are telling us its a low birth rate year whilst other's (NH) are claiming to be swamped!!!

saffrone Tue 11-Nov-08 16:58:31

Hi,

I think that quite a few people may have changed their minds, as I didn't see any more than 30? But I could well be mistaken; maybe they took some children into other rooms....we got a place (proud mama) but thinking very carefully vs The Mall which we also like v much and can go for in Jan, and also thinking again about the commitment to fees longterm.

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