Best primary schools in Cambridge??(86 Posts)
We'll be moving to Cambridge next fall and are trying to find out which primary schools are best. Any tips on the best areas to live in or schools for our children?
Are you moving to Cambridge city centre or further out? St. Paul's Primary school off Hills Rd is fantastic, vibrant, diverse, fun to work at, excellent parent/teacher relationships, brilliant bright and buzzy children...miss it so much!I am completely biased of course as i used to teach there!
Also, just to say that tehre is so much to do in Cambridge, always something going on, loads of parks and green spaces, thriving shopping centre, tons of lovely restaurants, river walks, museums and of course the colleges to wander... enjoy!
sorry fot typos watching masterchef!
james that's not what I heard of St. Pauls! At least not since they appointed the new head.
Morley has a good reputation as does Queen Ediths (although has a more diverse catchment area - well for Cambridge). Milton road also is well thought of.
Really! tell me more...! I don't know the new head.
well apparantly it has become very religious (and not in a good way, in a slightly scary way)
The tihng about Cambridge is that most of the primary schools are good, with the exception of a handful.
The village schools also have very good reputations.
Can you elaborate further? When i was there we used to do all the usual stuff, collective worship, assemblies, vicar would visit etc. nothing scary at all.
Well james all I know is what a friend of mine who's dc go there has complained to me about, she just siad the new head was too ott on the whole religious side of things, and focussing on things like insisting all children bow their heads and say amen, emphasising what the parent thought where thw wrong bits of religion to focus on at the school, those sorts of things. And my friend also thought the new head and other staff weren't very approachable by the parents.
I only have second hand info to go on though, so I'd recommend the OP just visits the schools herself and makes her own mind up.
What a shame for your friend, each head is so different in their approach. Ditto shame for her feeling staff unapproachable, all i can say is that i worked with the most brilliant and inspiring people but that was about four years ago.
Yep i agree, lots of visits and see what feels right for you and your children.
yep the heads make such a difference don't they! The old head at my ds's school used to regularly reduce the parents to tears . Thankfully the new head is lovely!
james I will pass on your positive comments to my firend!
How horrible! We are actually going to visit schools next week for our dd who is due to start next september. So scary how quickly they grow up and all you want is for them to be happy.
Please do pass on my experience to your friend but i know dynamics can change with staff changes. I was voted 'most approachable teacher' by parents when there was a school survey, i was very [embarrassed] and of course !
Sorry for slight hijack of your thread 4cookies! Good luck with your search!
well james maybe it's because you're not there any more that my friend found the staff unapproachable!
Are you still in cambridge or looking elsewhere for schools for your DD? <nosy>
Yep that's it!
No, sadly we don't live in Cambridge anymore, we're near Ely now so will be looking at our two local schools plus one a bit further away. Really looking forward to nosying around myself!
Good luck, I quite enjoyed looking round different schools (I'm a teacher too) for a good old nosey.
I have no experience of the fenland schools round Ely...
Thank you all for your comments! We are moving to Cambridge from the States, so all the advice we can get is helpful and appreciated.
We'll keep in mind about the new head at St. Paul's, but will put it on our list of schools to visit.
We're planning on living in City Centre... Any other schools besides St. Paul, Morley, Queen Ediths that we should put on our list to visit?
James, since you are a teacher, do you know how I could get a copy of the specific curriculum for Year 1? Should I call a school directly? The US starts children in school a year later than in the UK, so we're having to prep our daughter to begin Year 1 rather than Reception. Overwhelming but we have plenty of time.
If you are looking for a year 1 place it may be worth finding out how over-subscribed the schools are, as you may not necessarily be able to get into the one you like best. I would ring the education authority to see where the likely spaces are, then start your search from there. Good luck.
4cookies have you checked out the Cambridge county council education website yet? All the info you need about primary schools in cambridge is there.
You have already missed the deadline for sept 2010 admissions, so you may not have much choice as to where your DD goes.
Cambridge have quite rigid boundaries on the catchments for their primary schools, the good ones in the city entre are heavily oversubscribed and you would have more chance of her getting a place at a big school like Milton Road, St. Pauls and St. Matthews then at a small school like Park Street (probably the most centrally located school and certainly the smallest one, I think it only has about 100 kids) but it is a very good school so worth checking out.
Cambridge is a wonderful place to bring up children, I wish you all the best with the move, you will love it here.
My eldest, now 20, went to St Paul's and it was lovely then, have also heard it's not quite so good now. My son who's 10 is at Morley and we're hoping dd will go in September. It is good, in a slightly 'alternative' way I feel, but the new head is fabulous. Ones to avoid, for me personally are: Ridgefield, Shirley and possibly Abbey Meadows. That is just my experience of working with families who send their children there.
A close friend has her DD's at Ridgefield and has been very pleased with them...I think the school has changed a lot particularly since becoming part of the Parkside Federation.
Sounds like your best bet would be to contact schools to arrange visits, pop along to their open days/summer fairs etc to get an overall feel, request a prospsectus, check out their websites that sort of thing and of course they should be able to give you a curriculum overview. All the best.
which leads to the Perse which gets some of the best A level results in the country.
Do you know what Xenia, perhaps you should just butt out. The op hasn't said she is interested in private, in fact by using the term primary schools I think it is implicit she's talking state. I'm from Cambridge and perse boys and, even more so, perse girls has always had amazing results, in part because they are super-selective, but that is not everything that matters, especially when you refer to A levels and the op is talking about a child that is 5.
Your continual belief that best school is synonymous with most As at A level is tedious and to most people's minds erroneous. It is also very offensive to harp on about private being the best when the average UK salary wouldn't even cover the basic costs of a couple of kids.
I don't know why I'm even giving your opinions any response. I should do the sensible thing and ignore them, which is what other posters have clearly done.
Not to mention that the Perse gets those high results with a notoriously hothousing pressured atmosphere, and there's an incredibly high rate of neurosis, burn out and eating disorders among their graduates. Just another example of why A level results don't equal education.
The best primary school in Cambridge in the Perse. The poster sounded American and probably doesn't know that much about schools in the area. Why on earth should she not be allowed to be told the best school? I know children there. They are very happy. Just because they are clever doesn't mean they can't be happy.
There are just as many children with problems in staet schools and we all know 7% of children go to private schools and yet make up most of the successful adults in the UK in work and earnings terms anyway - look at the boards of companies, judges, Government even... the school is often one of the most important things so if the mother can work full time even if her pay only just covers the fees at the Perse it's arguably the best thing she can do for the child. And it's not a nasty hothouseed school. Plenty of children are very very happy there.
What a hilarious presumption that 'perse' automatically equals 'clever'. I know a lot of people who went there who are actually not very 'clever' at all.
And it really is a terrible thought that some of these 'clever' people are running the country
Actually I think Hills Road has better results at A level than the Perse, and, deep breaths, 'State School' children go there
I love you Polly
But the piont is an American needs to know that in the UK there may be more of a divide between state and fee paying schools than may be in the US and that it is an option, if they can afford it and there are other advantages to private schools too which we won't go into here.
Also if there is huge competition for a place (not sure of how many compete for each place at the Pelican or Perse Prep) and none in another school you are bound to get brighter children and they can work at their own level with other bright children so the class tends to do better. Anyway I was just giving my view. She can certainly choose a state school if she wants to.
But it would be wrong to find it very funny to say children at the Perse are clever. Of course they are and any selective school including the state grammars in Kent and Bucks etc has similar clever children. that is what selection is about whereas state primaries are comprehensive, average UK IQ is 100 and many above and below average will be in state primaries.
But does 'best' always mean best academiacally? Perhaps other things are necessary - such as pastoral care, the needs of the child and, erm, possibly...money? It's a shame that it is automatically assumed that to be a good school you have to be so academically competetive and, yes, 'hothoused' is a good expression. My middle son is never going to be brilliant but is exceptionally sporty, so at the moment he is ideally suited to his state primary. We are considering, when he's 13, dependant on lots of factors of course, entering him for a sporting scholarship at the Kings Ely - not a particularly very very academic school, but one that may well suit him better than the local comprehensives. Hopefully the OP will define 'best' as she means it and we can be more helpful!
Actually, I think you could make a decent argument that since the late eighties or so when the Perse fees became so far out of reach for the academic families who were traditionally the mainstay of its constituency, you're more likely to find high concentrations of really bright, super academic kids at the state schools in Cambridge.
And in my experience they go on to do much better at university, too - less likely to end up gibbering wrecks once they're on their own without the relentless pressure support they're used to at school. The statistic that is really instructive is final degree results; look at the number of Perse kids who get coached within an inch of their life to get their A*s and their Oxbridge place who end up with mediocre 2:2s, versus the Hills Road/Long Road kids who are used to being able to work independently and go on to flourish in a university environment where being able to think for yourself is what counts.
I would agree. It even shows in some of the state primaries - lots of trendy mums at Morley who would very likely have sent their dc to st faiths or the perse prep a few years back...I'm not one by the way honest!! And the vast majority of last years year 6's went to Coleridge which would have been unheard of a while back!
The OP is interested in primary schools not secondary at the moment - but it is useful to know what secondary school the primary school feeds into as, for example, there is a big difference between the Manor School and Parkside.
Yes Xenia, the Perse is very good - [proud ex-Persean mum emoticon]) - and Hills Road is probably even more selective for entry than the Perse and has a significant percentage of ex-independent school pupils.
I just think the original poster should know that's all and then make a choice depending on what she earns and her political views about paying for schools etc etc. And there are parents who think primary private schools are even more worth the money than post 11 actually but I'm obviously biased as my siblings and I never went to a state school and nor do the 9 cousins who are our progeny etc. The Perse prep has bursaries for very clever children whose parents don't earn much money.
I've 5 children (and I don't live in Cambridge) and 3 are now at university etc stage but I am glad we went for the private school route and also the idea that it's may be easier to get them into these very competitive entry schools at age 4 or 5 than at 11 as it takes the pressure off later and you tend to get nicer grounds, lakes, parents' choirs, better demographic, nicer accent although may be not in Cambridge where perhaps state school achieves its unfairness simply by house price rather than choice to pay which is arguably morally even worse. My local comp gets 34% A-C at GCSE and that's up from 22%. My daughter's old school North London Collegiate gets 99% A and A* never mind A- C. Of course it's selective but it's better for the chidlren to be in a selective environment anyway if they're bright and even in these selective schools they set in subjects. My other daughter at Habs was in set 5 of 5 for maths and still got an A.
I love you too Coolma. Was going to say something about Hills Road, but you and Obaa have done it all for me...
Thank you all for your opinions. It give us much to consider. Since we know very little about the educational system in the UK and Cambridge in particular, it's a great help to hear about the differences between private vs. State schools. Obviously you all are very passionate about the topic!
My confusion is this...
In the U.S., children go to the public (i.e. State) school they live closest to. So when choosing where to live, Americans with children generally try to live in a district (catchment) with the best schools. By "best" I mean consistently high test scores, good parent reviews, good class sizes and student/teacher ratio, happy children, loving/supportive/well-trained teachers, and extra curricular offerings like a foreign language and music.
If you happen to NOT live in a good school district, (and unfortunately, this tends to be the case more often than not because of educational funding cuts), parents then may opt to send their children to a private school and pay the high fees associated with them in order to provide their children with a better education. This is a huge source of debate and anger with many parents here because many feel a good education should be provided to every student regardless of how much money their parents have... And good public school districts are more plentiful in more expensive, wealthier living areas further compounding the issue.
With all this said, I'm assuming through the research I've done through the County Council website that in Cambridge it doesn't matter where you live--that you are admitted to state schools based on whether they have a spot available. Am I understanding this correctly?? Does it matter if you live close to a preferred school?
Since my dd will be in Year 1 and joining a school in the January term, we'll only be able to apply 6 six weeks in advance. I think b/c of our situation we may have to be happy to just be admitted, but it helps to at least be able to have some idea of what schools we should try to visit and put down on our application. It sounds like there are many wonderful schools in Cambridge so I'm not too worried.
Thank you all for your opinions and advice on this topic! If there is anything else you think we should know, please tell us. We're beyond excited for this move to the UK and for the fantastic experience it will provide for our children getting to live in such a beautiful country.
"Actually, I think you could make a decent argument that since the late eighties or so when the Perse fees became so far out of reach for the academic families who were traditionally the mainstay of its constituency, you're more likely to find high concentrations of really bright, super academic kids at the state schools in Cambridge."
Our experience of the Perse was that the school was full of the children of academics/medics/scientists from biotech firms etc and there were very few parents who didn't work in a learned/research/professional environment. But we have also found plenty of academics etc whose children were at DS2's village college - such are the demographics of the Cambridge area.
4cookies - yes in the UK and Cambridge location matters in the state system for both primary and secondary schools. You won't get into a good school on the other side of Cambridge to where you live unless you can show very good reasons - so choose where you live carefully so that your DC can go to a primary and secondary school that you will be happy with.
Thank you for clarifying, Lilymaid! That's important to know and will help us with the house hunting.
4cookies go to www.aboutmyplace.co.uk (or it could be com) type in the area you're interested in - cambridge. Then on the left menu you'll see an option saying 'primary schools' hit this and little green spots come up showing you all the primary schools in the area (not including private). Hit a green dot and you'll see more details on that school in the left menu and a link to the Ofsted (government school inspection body) report. You want to find a school with a grade 1 (outstanding) or at least grade 2 (good) report. The resport covers all manner of things and should give you a very good idea about a school. Once you've done this and identified the schools you're interested in, you need to get in touch with Cambridge Country Council and ask about catchment areas. They change each year depending on number of applicants, but can give you last years catchment which will give you a good idea.
Hope that helps.
ps. I know two kids who recently left the Perse (pelican) and went to the local primary (thanks to recession and fees becoming too much). They were very happy at the Perse, and knew no different before. Now they're even happier. Both were rather beta-males, and are enjoying a school that's a little less pushy. I guess what works for one family mayn't work for the next - all depends on you're approach to education. Is it all about results, or enjoying school, or if you're really lucky you'll find a way they can have both.
Park Street C of E, without a shadow of a doubt. A small school based on Christian values but not pushy about them. Largely middle-class, concerned and very friendly parents who will introduce themselves at the gate and go out of their way to make you welcome. Fantastic pastoral support. I'm neither C/E nor middle class but was made very welcome, as were my DCs. Also a very enthusiastic PTA, the parents really care about the school, the kids, the community and education.
Great academic results, a mix of children, some locals, some from academic families on placement, which helps as although it's a very desirable school there are often mid-year places as people move on from the area. Some international parents (one of DD2s friends had an American Mum and Japanese dad, for example), but neither racism or OTT PC attitudes. Old-fashioned headmistress (reminded me of my own Miss - and very much a MISS - at my own Grammar school!). Staff know all the DC and families by name and personalities.
The only down-side is that the playground is so small that the DC use the local public space, Jesus Green, for breaks, thus there are passers by all the time but the DC are supervised of course and have strict boundaries to adhere to. Sadly there are a few undesirables there and needles have been found on the Green, which I wasn't happy with when my DC attended as my younger DD is an odd child with some problems and of the pick things up off the ground mentality and was only 5 when she went there (I didn't know about the needle problem when I enrolled them). However, I was content that my elder DD, 18 months her sister's senior, was able to adhere to the rules and safe... it was just DD2 who made me decide to move them from Park Street. Had it not been for her particular problems I would never have wanted them to leave!
Park St do a lot for and in the community and have good connections with local organisations and the Uni. Teaching staff are mostly older and with huge experience, patient, kind and knowledgable.
Two examples - I was diagnosed with cancer soon after my DDs started there. The school secretary, who even by then knew us well, reassured me... "You look after yourself dear, we will look after the girls". And they did! Parents I didn't even know came up to hug me and offer to have the girls for tea, help with the school run etc.
Also, when my DD (then 5) spoke to another girl the little one got upset and burst into tears. Instead of assuming my DD had done something wrong, the child's Mum immediately invited her to tea in order that the DC could get to know each other. My DD and hers became great friends.
I really, really, can't recommend it enough.
Other good ones were St Pauls (although the old head, Cindi Fiddy, has left, and I don't know what the new one is like, someone here has reservations) and Milton Road, largely very oversubscribed, good reputation and excellent academic results but comparitively big.
Hope this helps. There is one school in Cambridge I would suggest you avoid like the plague. The web will no doubt show you which, suffice to say that it's not in the centre but on the outskirts of the city boundary.
All the best!
Xenia - we don't even know if the OP can afford Perse fees. Clearly they have posted to gather a variety of view points so they can make a more informed decision.
Thank you, Vallhala! It's so nice to get honest, personal recommendations and hearing about your experience with a particular school--the good and the bad. We'll definitely visit Park Street. Your hint at a school to avoid like the plague has me stumped--obviously b/c I'm so unfamiliar with the area. But we'll stick with looking into recommended schools and Ofsted reports, and hopefully avoid it altogether.
Cjn27b, thanks for the website... I needed that straightforward direction! I went directly to it and realized it's going to help us immensely in our house and school search. You are wonderful--thank you!
As far as Perse goes... It certainly looks like a lovely school. But it's hard for us to justify spending the money it would take to send our kids to Perse if there are several great state schools nearby. Now, if we can't get admitted to any of these state schools b/c of arriving mid-year, then we might have to look at it again. But Perse probably has a waiting list too, I imagine.
As long as we're talking about independent schools...Has anyone had any experience with St. Collette's?
We just want our children (ages 3 and 6) to feel accepted in their new school, to be challenged/encouraged academically, and for the school to have a loving, supportive atmosphere.
So far, I've had these recommendations... St. Pauls, Park St, Milton Road, Morley, and Queen Edith. Also, read good things abut The Spinney school in Cherry Hinton and Cottenham primary, although those are further out. Does this about sum up the state primaries?
St Colettes is lovely, about the education and happiness of kids not the image of the school, have just registered my DS
let me know if you need more info, i'm not going to get involved in a debate
Thanks, Mrs. TM! We requested a prospectus from St. Colette's just to know what all of our options are... Would love more info from you, particularly what helped you to decide on St. Colette's, if you don't mind.
Sorry to drag this back from the depths... does anyone have any experience of St Philip's Primary? It's the nearest to us and the one dd would be automatically eligible for, but as far as I can see it's the only primary in Cambridge to get a 3 on its most recent OFSTED rather than a 2 like all the others. Does anyone have a child/children there who can say what it's actually like?
In the early 1980s I was at Park Street for two years. Have very fond memories of it compared to the other primary schools (in other places) that I intended.
However, this is 20 years ago and it might have changed!
We played on Jesus Green, didn't have a uniform and just had great fun. The memories still stick with me.
However, we were mostly bright, middle-class children of academics!
Sorry for bumping up an old thread, I kind of found this by accident but I had to say to James79 that I have a child at St Paul's and we remember you well! You were the most inspirational, supportive, warm-hearted teacher ever and we still talk about and miss you! And yes, I am 99.9% certain it is you. COME BACK!!!
I totally agree with previous comments about the school. I used to like it's slightly off-beat and relaxed attitude and do feel it has disappeared with the new Head. A lot of the old traditions, in terms of celebrations, assemblies and fund-raising have been replaced by some serious messaged, religious toned items and it not only heavy in terms of the message but also on the wallet! I do hope it is just teething problems and he will relax a bit in due course. I don't want to bash him too much on a public forum as he is also a very well meaning, kind person, I think it's his first position as a Head Teacher in the UK and he needs some time to adjust. The school does has some really hard working, dedicated teachers who make the school worth sticking with but it does seem to have lost some of the sparkle it used to have(probably because James79 left!). I also think the input from the University and the parents themselves is also a real plus point
In terms of schools in Cambridge in general, catchment is the real issue. I believe from talking to other mums that St Paul's, St Matthew's and Park Street were only really able to offer places to those in catchment this year.
Re. The Perse, I think the beauty of Cambridge is that the standard of state schooling is so high that private education is not an issue ( certainly for us) we are certain our child gets a fantastic education in the state schooling here and are grateful that we don't have to fork out £10k+ a year in school fees, although the house prices to live in catchment more than make up for that!
Hello Cambridge1! Yes I think you know who I am, oooh how strange! I've never crossed cyberlife/real life before! Thank you so much for your kind comments, I really welled up. I loved my time at St. Paul's, I felt so fortunate to have trained and taught in such a supportive environment, the parents were totally involved and energetic, the children were just inspirational themselves, it was hard work and I just loved every minute. I miss working with all the children very much and when I bump into families it's just so wonderful to see how they all are. I particulary miss my co-worker MJ who was just fantastic in every sense. We had such fun and I just hope every child enjoyed it too. I will never forget the memories I have, especially the laugh out loud ones, I have to say that becoming a parent myself has enabled me to see things from such a different perspective, how much trust you put in us to encourage and chrish your children. I was truely blessed-thank you! I would come back in a heart beat if I could persuade MJ to go back to full time and of course if I could afford the house prices in catchment!! Best wishes to you and your child. Ok gush over
I am a parent with my child attending St Colette's. I cannot praise it enough. He is just 4 years old (last month) and is already reading and writing beautifully. He loves school, and literally would go every day given the choice.
The teachers are wonderful and the level of pastoral care is so high that i feel i am leaving my son with a relative rather than a teacher!
The company that own St Colette's prep school have just announced that it will be closing at the end of this academic year, but a parent body is setting up a "new" school in its place which will be run as a charity and will be opening in september. This we hope will continue to grow into a full prep school (ie to take children through to year 6/ age 11)
If you are interested in more details, please contact me and i will send you all the details.
The fees are set to be one of the lowest in the entire of Cambridge and having two children in state schools and 1 in St Colette's i can honestly say that the value for money is exceptional! I would never now consider the fees to be an issue (we aren't rich but just perhaps have different priorities to other people?)
The classes are so much smaller, the teacher is approachable, he has one on one tuition every day, the lunches are fabulous, the facilities are great.... i could go on and on.
Anyway, please just let me know if you'd like more information about the school. I promise that for once in life the value of theservice you receive will far outweigh the cost!
Very Happy Parent
'Best' school is such an unintelligent definition.
A-level results are really only a reflection of the intelligence of their intake. The same child (unless easily lead and of weak character) will achieve the same in most schools.
I am sure that I would have got the same A-level results if I'd been to The Perse that I got at my comp.; e.g. all As. And I can see that my girls are doing as well (or better) at their 'poor' state school as they would be doing at a local prep. 'Poor' because it has some difficult children who bring down sats averages, but it doesn't effect what my children learn, or how intelligent or motivated they are.
The poorest teaching I ever experienced was at the 'best' university' in the UK.
Does anybody know anything about Newnman Croft school?
I agree that some children seem to flourish in state system (maybe because they have such a limited curriculum base at state schools, whereas public schools teach in far more exspanse and depth and also because some children are able to remain at the top of the class throughout and work hard to maitain that position) however these children are the exceptions, rather than the rule. I have children in both state and public schools I can see the benefit of paying for the education far outweighs its cost. At my eldest son's school (state) there is one teacher to 30 pupils, at my youngest's school (public) there is one teacher to every 10 pupils.My youngest son has learnt to read at 4 years and 1 month in just two weeks. There can be no comparrison.
Oh, and the "best" quote was from the telegraph, builde.
I think there can be a comparison. My DD learned to read in about 4 weeks aged 4 years and 3 months at a state school. And we could never afford private education.
Would also say that I achieved more in state education than DH in private education.
But of course those are only two examples. Would need a slightly larger sample size to compare properly .
Sorry, was just annoyed by the suggestion that state schools places where children "seem to flourish".
We are also moving to Cambridge from Norwich. I have a son in Reception and a daughter in Nursery. We will move to Cherry Hinton area and the closest schools I have found there are Cherry Hinton C of E Infant School and Colville Primary School. Could anyone advise me on these schools? For me it is very important that the school is clean and the children are taking care and then only the academic progress.
We are moving from New York City to Cambridge. I wonder if anybody can advise about Newnham Croft school, since it is the school that was recommended to us. We have no friends in the area, so I really look for some feedback about this school.
What about The Spinney? It is not in the city but regarded as a very good primary school. Or is it not anymore?
Probably worth mentioning that Perse primary fees are about three and a half thousand pounds per term!
And the poncey purple/black/white stripy blazer costs £104 for a 7 year old.
Could anyone give more comments on Ridgefield Primary school? Thanks
My kids had a spell in Newnham Croft a few years ago when my dh was in Cambridge on Sabbatical. At that point, I found it good - it had a new IT room and good for arts. It is 'international' due to its location near various graduate colleges, many pupils would have English as a second language. The staff were able to deal with it, standards of academic work were high (probably also partly due to the fact that a lot of kids had academic parents). It also seemed quite laid back about SATS compared to the experiences of schools attended by my nephews. (And the local shop is fabulous).
Does anyone have any recent information about St Paul's school? Thanks
Skip Newnham Croft. If you are looking for academics, then this school is not the place.
I don't think you need to pay for good A level results in Cam when there's Hills Road for free!
I grew up in the villages, went to Hauxton CPS, which was very good, but that was a couple of decades ago! I have a friend who taught at Milton Road which seemed a very good school.
We're in London now though...
No-one's mentioned St.Matthews? I've worked as a playworker and TA in several Cambs schools now, and St.Matts seems like a great school to me, really open, helpful community and great staff. Tony Davies is a fantastic, friendly, energetic head.
Very oversubscribed tho, you'd have to live in the (tiny) catchment area.
Where in the states are you moving from?
A bit late to this thread, but sishnayzjhz was asking for more on Ridgefield. It's not had the best reputation, and I was a little concerned as it's our catchment school and my DD4 wasn't likely to get into any schools outside catchment.
We visited it and really liked it. It has a really nice atmosphere, and the teachers seem to do well with the kids. DD now goes there and enjoys it, and we're impressed with what we've seen.
I understand it's not had strong leadership for the past few years, but a new head started in September, and is doing a lot. I can't say first hand what the school was like before, but from what I've heard from people whose kids have been going there a few years the head has had a great effect.
I hope this helps. I found the ofsted reports pretty depressing reading, so all I can say is go and see the schools.
Belatedly re: St Philips in response to JumpJockey. It's a mixed catchment, community C of E school. The head is well liked by staff, pupils and parents and was hired from a London school. In spite of a slight tendency for religious zeal, she heads up a school where pupils are happy, creative, encouraged to achieve and are supportive of their peers. Links with the community are excellent and it is a school which truly refelcts the diversity of the surrrounding community. Recent years' intakes have witnessed an increase in the St Phil's school gate`yummy mummy' - testament to the slow gentrification of Romsey and the fact that this could be the area's hidden secret.
Biased? Of course I am! I have 2 children at the school who are happy, have fantastic, dedicated teachers and who are in no way underachieving. Why fork out 10K per annum when this is on your doorstep? Ultimately, an OFSTED report is just a snapshot.
Good luck to everyone deciding on schools. Go and visit them. It is such a personal choice.
Skip Newnham Croft. They can't keep a headteacher.
Resurrecting this thread as I am also moving to Cambridge from the US and DS aged 4 will be starting reception mid-year.(October)
I have lived in Cambridge before many yrs ago so have an idea about the areas etc.
From all I have read and seen online it seems that most state schools in Cambridge are good to v good in Ofsted reports. I would prefer to go with state anyhow.
I have 2 questions:
1. We are thinking of living in one of the southern villages. Any suggestions re primary schools there? Little/Great Shelford? Is Harston nice?
2. Mentioned above is "one school to avoid like the plague" --- it's not named but can you give me a hint so I can strike it off my list?
Hi - its really dependant on where you are living which school you go to in general -most people in the villages go to the local school unless there is a good reason -and really its best as then DC has friends near by - and if you need school pick off/drop that is easier - I am sure the school mentioned will NOT be in one of the south villages - and it may be out of date anyway
ring the local authority - cambridge county council - and find out which schools have places in the areas you are interesting in living - you can't apply until you have a signed tenancey agreement
have a look at the ofsted reports
and have a look at the cambridge local mumsnet section there are some thread on schools theretoo
I can tell you about the Primary school in Swavesey Village up north west from Cambridge along the A14. The school is good and gets good scores from ofsted and the kids score good on tests. My impression is that the kids are bit noisy/ rowdy and the teachers strict. The English system seems to be focussed more on learning math/ English in a formal way, while in other countries learning-through-play gets more emphasis. Each primary school is very different because it are the teachers and students together who make up up the school. I'd very much appreciate if people describe here the schools they know.
Does anyone have any experience of the Spinney or Queen Ediths? We have been to see them both and they are very different schools. Are there any advantages/disadvantages of a bigger school? I'm not sure the Ofsted reports are that important, it looks like they transcribe a lot of the previous reports.
Somebody asked about Little/Great Shelford - it is supposed to be a good school and Little/Great Shelford are pretty affluent villages. It is a C of E school and their admissions criteria takes into account whether the parents are regular worshippers.
This is the link for Cambridge admissions and if you look at the First Steps pdf it indicates how oversubscribed each school was last year.
I wouldn't bother looking at Newnham croft - there are about 5 staff members leaving all at once!!!! that should tell you something and i know for a fact that parents are really unhappy with all the changes and are taking their children out. not to mention their satisfactory OFSTED report, all in all it seems that the school is going downhill fast!!!!!!!!
Great and little shelford school is lovely, as is the village. V difficult to guarantee a place there due to high demand. Going to church will bump you up the list though! May I recommend stapleford despite its bad last ofsted (not a true representation in many ways) as after that there are lots of positive changes being made which I think will make it a fab school. Stapleford is also a lovely community.
Hello. my husband has just got a job in Cambridge and my DD starts school in September. To be in with a chance of getting into the first round of school applications I need to e-mail the council in the next 2 days. We will be living somewhere near Addenbrooke's hospital. I need ideas for the top 3 schools closest to home. So far we have Morley Memorial and Ridgeway as possibles.
Morley is lovely - dd is there at the moment and ds left two years ago. Pastoral care is great, teaching is good and there are lots of diffenrent nationalities - some very transient though as there is an academic community who come and go sort of thing. No uniform and a little 'champagne leftie' but on the whole a nice school.
We live on the other side of town but I think Morley sounds lovely.
We live right next door to Addenbrooke's and dc goes to Queen Edith.
I'd look at either Queen Edith or Queen Emma as possibilities.
OK, after a little more webwading we've got: 1) Morley Memorial, 2) Queen Edith. Then we're stuck. Anyone know anything about Fawcett?
Not recently, but I think it's fine
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