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.