Priors Field School, Surrey(18 Posts)
Due to family circumstances my DD 12 has the option of very disrupted education, moving a lot, or a boarding school.
She has settled well at a new secondary girls' school and gained a lot of confidence quickly. She loves the idea of boarding.
We saw an advert for Priors field promoting weekly boarding and know the school reasonably well (a few friends have girls there and we live quite nearby). I was hoping for a less biased view though?
DD is very academic (currently at one of the Guildford 'powerhouses', hate that phrase sorry!) but thrives when she is top of the class rather than middle as she is there. I do worry about how much she would be pushed though?
Any opinions? We are looking at a few other boarding schools too- any reccomendations?
Hi there, my daughter has just left Prior's Field to study Theology at Exeter No4 in the country for this subject and in top 10 nationally) and exceeded the requirement considerably. She's extremely intelligent but has a level of dsylexia which a few years ago made me think that it I'd have been grateful if she got to just any university. The fact that she's got to one of the very best is testament to the outstanding quality of teaching and the teachers knowing how far, how to and when to push my daughter. It comes down to the teachers knowing their pupils which is one of the great things about a school of this size. The school has changed hugely in the past five years under Mrs Roseblade. Check out Tatler's Good Schools guide and you'll see why it's the only girls school in Surrey to have made it into the listings. The school does take girls from GHS, St Cats, Tormead and highly selective London day schools which I know are really quite pushy. I can assure you that the girls are pushed according to their individual ability. The school's got a robust Oxbridge programme as well as many school trips and activities which to my knowledge, parents don't seem to complain about. If you're concerned but interested in the school, why don't you meet the Head and also ask if its possible to meet one or two of the girls who are aiming for Oxbridge. I know you want an unbiased comment, but that's what this is.
My experience of it is as a teacher in a Prep school in the area, it is where the less academic girls at our school go if their parents want a girls-only education. I'm sure that they can cater for the more able too, but I know that they will accept children who would otherwise 'fail' other 11+ entrance tests.
Thank you for your replies. CelticStorm, that is fantastic to hear, any more info on boarding in particular? did you DD board all the way through? can PM if that is easier.
Hi there, I think Trinity0097 is somewhat out of date with her info. This was certainly the case a few years ago - it was the school where "nice" girls went. An awful lot has changed since Mrs Roseblade became head. I know of parents whose daughters were offered places at very selective schools but want the best of both worlds - good results but happy girls who do lots of other things. There is an Open Day on the 6th and I would really urge you to go along to it, see what you think and then arrange a meeting with the Head. I am pretty sure that the school is over-subscribed and there is a wait-list but again do check that out.
Re boarding - my daughter was a weekly boarder all the way through her seven years. I'd say around a third of the girls board either on a fulltime or weekly basis though you might need to check this. There is the junior house which is within the main building for first-fifth formers. Each year has its own common room and pantry. The sixth form house is run almost as the step between school and university. The head of sixth (who is also the head of boarding is fantastic - she was originally junior head of boarding so knows boarding inside out). There's a really good weekend programme for the full boarders - my daughter stayed in on numerous occasions to go on the trips.
Hope this helps!
My daughter has recently left PF having achieved excellent results. She came to the school in the second year having had an awful experience with an independent school in Fleet. The staff nurtured her, challenged her and helped re-build her shattered self confidence. It took PF to make her realise that she was actually quite clever! She was encouraged to take full part in a huge range of activities and enabled to achieve widely across a broad, balanced curriculum. In my opinion the school particularly excels in developing the individual in order that she can achieve her fullest potential. There is no sense of the Stepford Wives syndrome at PF. Check out their excellent last inspection results. My daughter truly loved her school and continues to be very vocal when recommending it to parents of younger children! I'm sure that a visit and a chance to chat with some of the staff and girls would be the best way for you to decide for yourself.
I'm not out of date, out of our girl leavers last summer at the end of year 6, the two weakest went to priorsfield, one of them specifically because she would never pass an entrance test to anywhere else. Another girl got offered an academic scholarship, she didn't take it up as she chose to go to a more academic school. You can't say I'm out of date when I'm basing on recent facts!!
It is true that they take less academic girls but they are also now taking girls who have turned down the girl powerhouses in Guildford. The girls are very happy and have less pressure than the other schools - it is a changing school and each year is becoming more academic. However it will never have the high % grades examination results of the others simply because they are taking a far wider range of abilities - what is important is that the academic girls do get results needed.
My daughter has just started her second year. She joined PF from the state system and the initial transition was very hard - she literally knew NO-ONE when she started and really struggled to settle. The school's pastoral care for her was faultless and by the first October Half Term I had one very happy bunny. She is a very academic child and is well challenged (with extension homeworks and high expectations etc) but not pushed or put under undue pressure. She still has time to enjoy the heaps of activities on offer. I hardly ever see her, but not because she's chained to the desk - she's playing in a band or at drama rehearsals. I know we've not compromised her GCSE/A Level potentials by sending her to PF instead of a Guildford Hothouse - she's engaged and passionate about her lessons and the quality of teaching I've witnessed/observed via marking comments etc is superb. Her thirst for learning isn't getting crushed by the mega pressures you get at other schools. The quality of teaching at PF means that academic girls will excel and less academic girls will be encouraged to achieve their best. A mixed ability school makes for a much richer learning environment and PF makes a point of celebrating non academic achievements. Can't comment on boarding, as we are day! A year in, we are exceptionally happy with what PF has given our DD so far
Just picking up on this slightly old thread. We have a daughter who's just started in Y7 at St Catherine's Bramley - a more selective school than PF. We've been told that our younger daughter, now Y5, is at a standard where she can follow her sister, but I'm still seriously considering PF for her. For a number of reasons, DD2 needs more nurturing than DD1 and I think PF may be a better environment for her. So if anyone has anything else to add, I'd love to hear it.
I actually applied to both ST Catherine's and Prior's field as I work abroad. I found the application for St Catherine's a little messy and not efficient. On the other hand Prior's field was a model of efficiency.
I chose Prior's field as I feel the school will provide the right atmosphere for my daughter to learn and enjoy her learning. I am so happy that there are so many positive comments about the school. Thank you all for putting my mind at rest.
There is no substitute for visiting the school yourself and talking to staff and students. From the website and prospectus we were sure it would be the school for our for our daughter, but upon visiting quickly realised that this was not the case! You can get a bit of an idea of what a school will be like from their marketing material, but visiting is the only way to get a feeling for it.
Good luck in your decision.
This year there are girls who got into St Catherine's and Tormead but decided to go to Prior's Field for other reasons - very supportive school - suits a wide range of girls academically . The Open Days show the school as it is - if you like a polished,sterile school then this is not the school for you. The school is full of girls who are happy and full of energy but are also learning .
Hi,,,Are there any parents with kids in Prior's field school who can tell me when do we buy the school uniforms for our daughter.
I will also welcome any information about the school good or bad. My daughter will be entering year 7 2013...
Schoolblazer( online )and secondhand sale at the school first Friday in each month at 3.45pm and in June
Know the school very well from friend who teaches there and friends with girls there. It is a completely different type of school from Guildford High or Tormead.
PF is boarding and day so a much more traditional boarding school atmosphere but also very up to date with technology and what the teenage generation engage with.
The school is highly supportive of all girls whether they are struggling or very bright. There is no pressure but very careful monitoring and help is there before you know it if anything isn't going as it should.
The facilities are lovely, new building being built. Lots of great drama, fashion show, music and art. Lots of sport but not like GHS/St Cats so winning isn't everything - more about the opportunity.
Lots leave for sixth form because of the very good Godalming college and co-ed private schools nearby. But this does leave a lovely smaller group who all bond and most board so bridges the gap to uni.
Results are as you expect for a non-selective when there are a few big v selective schools in the area, good value added but mixed. Girls get lots of support in examination period, with staff running workshops and breakfast clubs etc.
Put on great events, amazing catering and lots of cross curricular days which I've heard parents rave about.
The girls generally thrive, many are the type which at a more pressured selective school would fade into the background or not get the very specialised individual help they need. Pastoral side is outstanding.
They seem to have good social lives judging by how often i see friends DD in town with boys from local boys schools!
Very happy girls who find their place and voice. Sixth form is very good at creating confident, polished girls ready for the world.
From what I have heard from other parents it has an excellent reputation for catering for a different market to the other girls schools but is also considered highly amongst it's competitors - st Teresa's, King edwards, notre dame etc.
Thank you for the information it has really put my mind at ease. I have looked up a lot of stats and info about the school. It seems to be really good and with the positive comments here I'm sure my daughter will gain a good education but will also have a good time.
O btw...do the girls get access to free wifi when out of school and before lights out. I would hope she can skype me....If not are they allowed to use 4G phones?
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