Confused! Priory preparatory school, kingswood house, Claremont fan court schools

(19 Posts)
mandy2013 Sun 09-Feb-14 21:48:45

Dear mums
Can anyone help me making a decision on choosing the best school for my boy.
We are looking for independent schools near Catarham, Epsom, Banstead, Redhill, and Oxted.
So far seen Priory preparatory school, kingswood house, and Claremont fan court schools. Not sure about which is the best. Priory school was not recommended so highly by our friends? Any thoughts please?
I welcome any advice or suggestions? Thank you in anticipation

Gatorade Sun 09-Feb-14 21:57:19

Have you looked at Aberdour? I have girls so only looked at co-ed so I can't comment on Priory from personal experience although friends seem happy enough with it.

How old is your son? What are your priorities when looking at schools for him?

Gatorade Sun 09-Feb-14 21:58:04

Sorry, should say I only looked at girls only and co-ed schools

mandy2013 Mon 10-Feb-14 10:47:02

Hi Gatorade, my son is 2.5 years old. I prefer school that can have children from 3 untill 18-19 years old. I meanly look for outstanding schools on Ofsted and Independent Schhol Inspector reports.

Gatorade Mon 10-Feb-14 11:37:56

I think all the schools you mentioned are prep only so will only take your son to 13, there aren't many boys schools in the area that would take them from 3 through to 18 (I actually like the fact that my DDs get to move school after prep as I can the find a secondary school suited to them once I have a clearer picture of their abilities and passions - although I appreciate this is a personal choice and can see the benefits of staying with one school throughout).

Also, although finding a good school (via school reports etc) is important it is also very important to think about how you feel about each school, would it suit your sons personality for example, is it easy to travel to in morning and afternoon traffic etc.

Goodluck, it's not easy!

Kingswood123 Mon 17-Feb-14 18:34:04

Hi Gatorade - we are considering aberdour. Would appreciate your thoughts. Priory prep does look v good. Also considering chinthurst.

Gatorade Mon 17-Feb-14 19:44:59

Hi kingswood - DD1 has only just started at Aberdour but from what I have seen so far I am very happy with it. The head teacher seems to be fantastic, innovative and has made a really positive impact on the school since joining (this I have heard from many parents who have had a number of children going through the school). The 'high level' reasons I chose Aberdour were (some are trivial, but I've included them to give a full picture):
- The school felt 'right' for my DD's and our family
- I like the fact it's co-ed, especially as I am not sure we have finished having children and is like them to go to the same prep (happy for them to go to whichever secondary suits them individually though), my DD's may also go to a single sex secondary so co-ed at prep was appealing
- Good school facilities (forest land, especially used by nursery and pre-prep, swimming pool, good size gymnasium)
- Good results and good record of getting children into good secondary schools
- I liked the staff in pre-prep
- extra-curricular after school activities, really good mix, now including Mandarin Chinese. Both my DH and I work in the city and I wanted a school where a lot of the 'out of school' clubs were on site, Aberdour more than ticked this box and will make our life easier as won't have to ferry children around to sports clubs and music classes etc
- parents cafe on site
- good mix of students
- the 'leavers' destinations were in line with where I could see DD's going in the future (obviously subject to change as they grow up), the school seems to work hard to identify the right secondary school for each individual pupil and I really like the Personalised Achievement Learning system the school has.
- convenient location and decent parking for drop off/pick ups

I really think that it depends on the feel you get when you visit the school and how you think it would suit your child/children.

I did consider Chinhurst, from what I have heard it is 'on the up' but the ratio of boys to girls concerned me (I understand going forward they are working hard to achieve 50:50, at the minute it is, as one would expect from a recently converted to co-ed school very much dominated by boys), also, from a bit of research and local hear-say I was worried about its financial position. It is however considered to be a decent school but didn't feel right for our family.

I don't know a huge amount about the Priory given it is boys only, do you have sons only? How do you feel about children going to different prep schools (if you have a daughter or may have more children?)

Sorry that is so long! I understand its rather Aberdour centric but that is where I know best. Have you visited the schools?

Kingswood123 Mon 17-Feb-14 21:43:12

That is amazingly helpful Gatorade. Thank you. We will be visiting at the next open day. Having done some research it looks like a lovely school but great to hear first hand from a mum. We only have a son and don't plan to have any more. We would really prefer co-ed but thought we should at least consider all boys if it is an amazing school. But sure it is any better than aberdour based on research and what you have said. Only thing worried us was the senior schools. The prospective parents handbook online only lists a handful of kids each year ... Surely more in a year so not clear where they all go!

Thanks again for taking the time to message. Much appreciated.

Kingswood123 Mon 17-Feb-14 21:47:59

*not sure it is

Gatorade Mon 17-Feb-14 21:51:27

Have a chat with the staff on the open day about leavers destinations, if I remember correctly I think that the ISC report from a few years ago mentioned that most pupils got into their secondary school of choice. It was something I looked into quite a lot as well and ended up being happy with what information I could find and what the school told me. I think there is a booklet called 'what's next' or 'next steps' or something like that (I haven't got it to hand) which the school produces to outline what the school does to help prepare for secondary school entry and lists potential schools.

At the minute I think I would quite like the girls to go to Carerham and but they are not really old enough for me to know where might be best for them!

Gatorade Mon 17-Feb-14 21:55:13
Gatorade Mon 17-Feb-14 22:00:12

If you havent already got a senior school in mind, you might want to consider City of London Freemans, it is co-ed, but starts at 7 so you would need a pre-prep school before hand. My neighbours DDs to go CLFS and really rate it.

Kingswood123 Mon 17-Feb-14 22:33:40

Thanks again Gatorade - weirdly hubby and I both really like Caterham but prefer something closer to home whilst son is still small. Not sure whether worth the trek to get a foot in the door at Caterham or links good enough between the schools. Looks like good prep for exams.

Separately you are right. V hard to tell what sort of senior school will suit son - v hard to predict now.

chickydoo Mon 17-Feb-14 22:38:21

Claremont fan court is in Esher. Ages 2.5-18 yrs. Co-Ed
It is one hell of a journey from Oxtead/caterham area.
Great school though, know many boys & girls who have done well there.

chattyone Sun 02-Mar-14 19:55:11

Forget Chinthurst - there are other threads on Mumsnet that say they sold the school to property developers - the poster says they checked the land registry and it got sold last December. If so then the school is about to close. If it's a windup then check their accounts - they have been failing for a few years and in December 2012 they applied for a debenture from their bank to prop them up. Maybe this December (2013) things were no better, so they had to sell?

jrsmum3 Tue 04-Mar-14 09:10:31

Please ignore threads about Chinthurst closing. It is thriving and is a truly excellent school. Parents got a letter from the Governors warning them about malicious posts on this forum. It is a true gem and you should go and see it for yourself. Good luck!

TwoBoysItsNoisey Tue 04-Mar-14 16:15:35

I would echo what jrsmum3 said. I started a post asking for info about Chinthurst and Chattyone has been very malicious about the school. I even got sent personal messages to my inbox under a different name (which I am assuming was her - as the info she had was exactly the same). She seems intent on spreading rumors all of which are untrue

Anyway on a positive note I have looked round Chinthurst and loved it. I have had in depth conversations with the governors about it future and it is stable hands and has big plans. As such my children will both be starting there this year. I agree with you that it is difficult to think about what senior school will suit - all I would say is that I have gone for a school that I think will suit them now. My youngest is very sporty so Chinthurst was a great fit. An my eldest if quite sensitive hence the family ethos appealed. If you haven't looked at Chinthurst yet I would highly recommend it. The parents rave about it and I for one can see why - it is totally different from other private schools I have visited.

lillies0000 Tue 04-Mar-14 21:09:48

I would always encourage you to visit as many schools as possible as its a very personal choice, everyone will have their favourites, but it a personal sense based on a individual family needs. I have been impressed with Aberdour, Kingswood House and Chinthurst, but all for different reasons, very nurturing schools and good Heads too, but I've now chosen Chinthurst just because it felt right and I liked the boys and girls I met on my open day experience.
Good luck and happy parentingsmile

happylady22 Tue 04-Mar-14 21:36:39

My goodness! this 'Chattyone' obviously has a chip on her shoulder as they are jumping around the chats and forums just saying the same thing...get a life!

I have friends at each of the schools in the area, all very happy, its not one against the other, their just different, I have children at Kingswood House, which is wonderful, but my best friend goes to Chinthurst, which she is very happy about too, in fact we go to each others events and have great fun.

You will choose right just go with your heart on what feels right.

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