St Catherine's Bramley. 2013 entry

(16 Posts)
WhatWouldCaitlinDo Thu 15-Aug-13 16:44:19

Very interested to see this thread as we have just moved to the Guildford area from SW London and are going to look at St Catherine's.

What is the prep school like? What does the admission morning test involve - does anyone know what it involves, beyond what's on the website?

Also, has anyone heard what the A levels results are like yet for 2013? A lot of the schools in SW London seem to have them up online already. Just curious as obviously our daughter is years away from her A Levels! wink

Happymum22 Fri 12-Jul-13 20:08:37


I know all 3 of the schools mentioned well- all 3 very good but very different once you know them well, so I hope I can be of help.

St Cats- The most academic of the 3 you mentioned. St Cats girls mix with Eton at socials and it is the most 'public boarding school' of the 3. Academics are brilliant, so if that is important to you, I would say definitely go for this option. Lots of redevelopment- I'm sure you sure the amazing new building. Your DD has to be keen to join in everything, there can be some very over powering types (but same can be said for all schools I guess). I know from a friend that there is a lot of staff unhappiness, staff are divided as to whether they like the way the school is run. Many leave very quickly, but there are lots of staff who have been there 20 years +. I think your DD has to be a conformist to go here, will do better if she is already confident, rather than become confident here ifyswim.

Priors Field- Lovely, very in-tune with teenage girls but still traditional. Amazing catering (DD was nearly sold on moving to priors field just on the food!), academics are much broader- girls still do well but there isn't the academic atmosphere like at St Cats and possibly Tormead. Really nurturing, if girls aren't confident they will probably be happier here. Smaller and so each girl becomes really well known. Brilliant head who really knows the girls. Lots of great staff and 'extras' like clubs, booster sessions, events. Less impressive grounds (but new building I've heard). Best for if your DD will thrive being near the top of the year group without a pressuring atmosphere.

Tormead- town location unlike the other two. Girls do lots with RGS boys and once older can walk into town so a lot more independence and better transport links! New head a few years ago who has started a renovation project. Academics-wise it is between St Cats and Priors Field. Probably suits a girl who would have suited GHS but doesn't want the intense academic atmosphere. Great school, great results. I have heard moans that the new head is much stricter, but I think that was needed! Hopefully someone who knows more about TOrmead will come along as I only know it via reputation.

victoriaplum123 Wed 10-Jul-13 08:12:38

Thanks so much for your response. We have had a couple of visits to each, received all the marketing bumpf, listened to presentations (all very slick), etc. It's good to hear information that "gets under the glossy skin" of the organisation. Pleased to hear that you know of girls who are happy at each one. Thanks once again. Victoriaplum.

mummytime Tue 09-Jul-13 13:28:20

Victoria - they are all good schools. Do you have a place at all 3? have you visited? Have you looked at extra-curricula activities etc.
I know happy girls at all three.

victoriaplum123 Tue 09-Jul-13 10:38:16

New to Guildford area and torn between St. Cat's, Prior's Field & Tormead for DD. All insights/pearls of wisdom and staff, pupils, social environment, morale are most welcome!

jensun Sat 11-May-13 17:15:23

It is a good school with great results. My neighbours daughter goes there and she loves it. Wish I had sent my dd there.

TreeLuLa Fri 10-May-13 06:55:26

Again, I am a very 'old' St Cats girl - left years and years ago and as others have said I am sure it has changed beyond recognition since I was there.

I was horribly bullied by both teachers and students and my parents told I was 'too stupid to educate' by the Head. I was moved at age 13 to another school where I thrived, had loads of friends, got all A-s in my GCSE's and have ended up with both a degree and a PhD from a very good Uni.

I am glad that the school has changed as other posters have said, as there were many unhappy girls there.

mummytime Fri 10-May-13 06:49:45

Well the most obvious thing is that about 9 years ago they stopped having "automatic" entry from the Prep school to the senior school.

Other things involve lots of changes of staff in 15 years (as well as new buildings).

chukamchun Fri 10-May-13 00:18:02

Mummytime - could you tell me what had been changed about St Catz?

mummytime Thu 09-May-13 22:50:24

Pusspuss1 - you seem to have an agenda as you are commenting on quite old threads.

I also happen to know that St Catz has changed a lot since you were there. (And I don't have any connection to the school.)

Pusspuss1 Wed 08-May-13 17:09:00

I went to St Catherines - admittedly I left about 15 years ago. The staff were generally great, it's fairly academic and they're good on extracurricular activities (music, art, sport, swimming pool etc). However, I wasn't happy there socially at all, because there was a very bitchy culture amongst the girls, especially if you were academically successful. Lots of bullying and lots of anorexia. No idea if things have changed (although with 500 teenage girls cooped up together, I doubt it), but if I had a daughter, I'm afraid I wouldn't consider sending her there.

nutterbox Thu 25-Apr-13 21:38:24

HI Issy
what are the practicalities for a Y3 girl to use the coach? Apart from the concerns of a long day are there any other reasons that I shoud keep in mind?I am new to this mumsnet , trying to private message you but says"Site is offfline". Will try later.

Issy Mon 28-Jan-13 11:34:00

Hi Schoolcircles: We have a daughter in Y7 at St Catherine's so please feel free to PM me if you'd like to know anything.

We're very happy with the school. Yes, some of the girls who attend the school come from wealthy Surrey families (aga, swimming pool, pony and holidays in St Lucia), but lots don't and, most importantly, the ethos of the school itself is very down-to-earth. I generally like the fact that it's out of town, as I think it encourages the girls to stick around for extra-curricular activities, but I am concerned about the lack of opportunity to meet boys. In Y8 we'll be giving DD1 a hard push towards the very active, well-attended and fun St Xavier's youth group (church in the centre of Guildford) where she can get to know pre-teens from all the local state and private schools.

Schoolcircles Sun 27-Jan-13 15:58:30

Thanks Labro we are going to accept the place. It seems a wonderful school, offers so much extracurricular, and we are so impressed with its ethos and pastoral care. It's the right fit for our family we feel.

Labro Fri 25-Jan-13 20:05:29

I have friends with girls at St Catherines, they are really lovely well rounded youngsters, not sure about how much involvement parents have, friends seem to spend a lot of time dropping off and picking up as public bus service can go a bit strange at times. I don't know about the mixing with boys, we're on the 'rural' side of Bramley rather than the Guildford side so the girls I know seem to be more into horses etc. Its about 15 minutes out of Guildford, public bus every half an hour, don't know if they organise trips etc. It doesn't have a reputation for a high turnover of teachers so presume they must like working there.

Schoolcircles Thu 24-Jan-13 16:45:29

My DD has been offered a place here and we all like the look of it.

As we are moving to the area from North London I would appreciate some comments regarding the school culture and the achievement and happiness of the girls who go there.

It seems to offer so much in terms of extracurricular activities and it looks like it offers a lot of opportunities for parents to get involved, which would be great for out-of-towners like us. I also like the idea of flexi-boarding for DD (and so does she). Its academics are great.

I'd welcome all general comments, and I particularly wonder the following:

Do the girls themselves feel they miss out being away from town? Are they nice to each other? Are the parents friendly and involved? Is staff morale high? And do the girls get to mix with boys regularly when older?


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