Altrincham Prep School and Bowdon Prep

(17 Posts)
musbury Tue 08-Jan-13 13:30:41

Anyone sending their boys to Altrincham Prep School in Bowdon, Manchester? We were initially going to move to Cheadle but now we have decided on Altrincham,Hale or Bowdon. I have enquired at APS and they have a place in Reception start Sep 2013 for my 4 year old boy. Can any mums advise on what this school is like? I met the head teacher although he sounded a bit eccentric but I liked the school in general. I have reserved a place in Bowdon Prep for my daughter to start in 2014. Any information on Bowdon Prep will also be highly beneficial. Thanks a lot.

retropops Tue 08-Jan-13 17:01:11

We looked at Alty Prep but felt our LO wouldn't fit in as they seemed really pushy and concentrating on SATS and exam results - we settled on a prep school in Sale, Have you looked at Forest in Timperley they are a mixed school

musbury Wed 09-Jan-13 14:36:44

retropops havent looked at timperley at all. Will have a look thanks for your information. Can I ask why you felt Alti Prep pushy?

musbury Thu 10-Jan-13 09:52:03

Bump?

happypeople Thu 10-Jan-13 11:09:39

Hi musbury. I have a son at APS and a daughter at BPS. I know exactly what you mean about the APS headmaster - I found him very strange at our initial meeting to the extent where I considered alternative schools. But I think it is just an odd personality quirk which doesn't really impact on the kids or school at all. I have found the school to be good overall but the high turnover of pupils is concerning (many now leave to go to the new Manchester Grammar Junior Section because of their guaranteed admission to its secondary grammar school). Other points to consider is how you will manage pick-ups and drop offs as the school. This is because with very little notice they expect you to drop off at the town swimming pool at a very specific time in the morning or pick up from the local cricket club after school. This gets especially difficult if you have other children or rely on childminders etc. Having said that the school is good, the boys are very well behaved and polite and the teachers are encouraging. I wouldn't say it was pushy at all (in a way I think I would prefer it if they pushed the boys a bit harder). Bowdon Girls Prep is definitely a lot pushier and academically orientated but somehow maintains a family atmosphere. I am lucky that my DD seems to respond and thrive in that environment, perhaps it is just a difference between girls and boys. I hope that hasn't confused even more. Good luck whatever you decide!

musbury Fri 11-Jan-13 14:06:04

Thanks happypeople. Would you say aps is academically driven? I think very highly of Manchester grammar and would be over the moon if my ds got in there for secondary. I wouldn't change him at year 3 for mgs, I want him to have friends where we live and I'm hoping that the pastoral care would be better at a prep school for younger boys. The question is does alti prep prepare the boys well enough to face the mgs entrance? Secondary school entrance seems very competitive for any grammar and want to make sure that he's in the right place to start. Stockport grammar is great, it's mixed, has the right bag if academia pushy ness to it but the head teacher told me the children won't be encouraged to write other grammar school entrance exams and its often frowned upon, but why would they? and that's exactly why I want him to attend a prep so he's encouraged and prepared to sit for MGS, Alti Grammar or Stockport entrance exams. Will APS prepare him academically? How are they performing? Please comment. Your opinion matters or of any other mums who send their boys to aps. Thanks heaps smile

happypeople Fri 11-Jan-13 19:33:45

I think your plans re local prep and MGS are very wise. I used to worry that APS wasn't academically driven as it places emphasis on music and sport, but I think that may have been sour grapes because DS is interested in neither. I understand in the more senior years (year 5 especially) they do focus on the entrance exams of the various grammars, inluding AGG and MGG ( not sure about Stockport). My personal opinion is that they favour MGG but they certainly would not frown upon any choice (they do not have a direct relationship with any). Until last year, APS used to publish their exam results on its website but it has been removed - I hope that does not reflect a recent poor performance. The head will provide that info and also the final secondary destination of the most recent year.

musbury Tue 29-Jan-13 23:00:28

Thankyou happypeople you have been very helpful. We have now paid the deposit to secure the place (no going back) hope we have made the right decision. We are attending the open morning at APS in March, it would be nice to see the school again. I'm looking forward to it smile

orangebowl Wed 06-Feb-13 20:44:00

Just wanted to add - my DS is in the nursery at ApS and will be moving into reception in September. He Absolutely LOVES it! They are academic (100% pass rate into the selective schools) but also seem to turn out really well rounded boys.

It's the best decision we have made. See you at the school gates in September!

musbury Fri 08-Feb-13 10:30:18

Thankyou Schooldilemas! thats very reassuring! glad to know that your DS is enjoying his time in APS. I cant wait for DS to start, dont know what he'll be like he hates change! keeping my fingers crossed! Its going to be new for all of us, we are moving to Hale. I hope we get the house sorted soon. Will look out for you in Sep, I'll pm you nearer the time, hope you wont mind smile

orangebowl Fri 08-Feb-13 12:30:53

No don't mind at all! Definitely pm me. The mums are all friendly (I was worried before it would be snobby but it isn't in the slightest) and when they started nursery someone organised and circulated a sheet with all the boys and parents names, boys birthdays and where everyone lives - sure we will do the same again when the new boys join in reception. smile

Good luck with the house! Give me a shout any time if you have any questions about the school or area.

X

Rcmum Thu 16-May-13 23:01:35

Hi my boy is starting in reception at alt prep in sep2013. A bit worried as we are moving into the area and therefore pulling him out of a mixed exceptional school. Our son is quite a sparky child but we hope that alt prep does not suck the life out of him. I think we are just looking at the fact the school has a good rep and is near our new home. Our girl will start with Bowden prep in 2015 we had such a good feel there .... Just need some help as our boy is happy where he is but is 20 mins away and doing that journey 4 times a day is going to be hard. Just need a bit of advice on alt prep. In addition totally understand about the headmaster .... Some of the things he mentioned scared us.
Would you guys keep him where he is or move to a school in the area where he can have local friends?

happypeople Wed 22-May-13 09:33:01

I don't know if this helps any decisions about Altrincham Preparatory School - the pass rate of the latest APS boys sitting the Altrincham Grammar entrance exam was 80%. I think this is very low - one fifth of boys who are supposed to be being "prepared" could be viewed as being let down by the school. Maybe that is why the school no longer publishes the results on the website....The headmaster apparantly slants this to say the school prepares the boys to thrive in which ever school they are "suitable" for, which is a bit of a cop-out and deflects the "blame" away from the school onto the kids. Bowdon Prep has a near 100% pass rate from what I have heard, not sure about how it compares to the other preps. I am getting worried - suddenly MGS junior section seems much more attractive. Hmmmm...

Kit30 Mon 01-Jul-13 13:59:35

Goodness, the poor APS head appears to be getting some stick! I've never found him to be "odd" or quirky or even mildly eccentric ! Lovely man and genuinely proud of his lads. Hugely academically-minded , yes, also very switched on to current teaching methods and keenly aware of how children's minds work. And ,yes, 'old-fashioned', but insisting on good manners and conduct isn't a bad thing is it? If the boys vote for extra playtime with him as a reward for good behaviour, doesn't that tell you how attuned he is to them? [I do know of one miscreant ds threatened with being sent to the head's study, who reacted very cheerfully and said he'd like to go please ...not even thinking it could be a punishment. On his return he reported that they'd had "a very nice chat"]

As to APS entry rates for grammar schools, please remember that the school isn't selective at entry level. They work with the material they've got. I write as someone happy with the ds progress there but not confident that he's 'MGS material'. I know lots of parents (ok, most) see grammar school entry as the holy grail but really it isn't the thing for all children. We're lucky to have lots of very well regarded secondary schools in the area and I'd investigate them and see which would actually suit you.

The only way you can guarantee entry to eg. MGS is to circumvent the exams in Year 6 and that means paying, and continuing to pay to 18. (That's the price of a small street in some not too distant places). It may or may not mean that your ds is in the magic top third of MGS achievers. It's up to your child's performance on the exam/ assessment day and it's sad that it comes down to that, but there it is.

RCmum have you thought of asking for a breakdown of the entry figures or where the non-grammar boys went or why? Just a thought but 80% (that's 32/40 boys, remember) seems a high percentage to me
Just try to remember that the most important thing is for your ds to enjoy his education not feel under constant pressure to achieve some unattainable standard.

happypeople Wed 10-Jul-13 10:01:33

Kit30 - That was a strong defence of the school – (I assume you are a genuinely impartial parent with no links to the school) and I am glad that you and your DS have faith in it. My wariness of the headmaster is not that he I thought he was old fashioned but that he comes across rather false, as if putting on an “upper-class” exterior which ends up appearing rather slimy. Your anecdote about the misbehaving boy who wasn’t perturbed about his punishment reinforces the head’s attitude that “boys will be boys” and my opinion that the school focuses and rewards the loud sport types at the detriment of the quieter boys. As far as I know, none of the local preps are selective at entry but don’t use that fact to excuse their exam results or blame their “material they have to work with” i.e. the students they are paid to prepare to pass the exam. By definition, that is what a prep school is supposed to do and I think it is rather wrong to say parents expectations of adequate preparation to pass may be trying to reach an unrealistic “holy grail”. This very same worrying attitude is portrayed by APS – they concentrate on deflecting blame rather than working to help the boys.

Mamahas2 Sun 10-Nov-13 17:41:37

I think APS is a great school. I have my girl at Bowdon Prep year 4 and my son at APS since nursery now year 2. I find APS to be well organised and I've never found the headmaster to be "odd" or quirky or even mildly eccentric ! Lovely man and genuinely proud of his lads exactly would be my words copying from previous comment and truly helpful if you have any issue. On the contrary Bowdon Prep although a good school I find it very strange starting from some of the Parents to some staff. It's not very open to some extra classes offered and I find some staff a bit rude and yes very pushy with extra home work everyday for children that other parents even complain. But they are both good schools so much still depend on parents to keep up as regard to the Grammar school unfortunately.

Cheshie12 Sat 14-Dec-13 21:26:45

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