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Best private schools in Cornwall & Devon?

(169 Posts)
agp Tue 14-Sep-10 13:46:07

Hi there

My husband and I are considering moving to the north coast of cornwall and need to get to grips with the private schools in the area. Can anyone help? We've got three little girls (6 to 1yrs old) and would ideally like them to go to co-ed schools, with the flexibility to board or day (well I'm hoping they go day whilst at prep school!) It's hard to find out which ones are reckoned to be the best... Thanks in advance for any help/ opinions!


Ariesgirl Tue 14-Sep-10 19:14:52

Truro High School
Truro High School for Girls
Treliske Prep School (Truro)

To be honest, many of the State primary schools in North Cornwall are excellent. I would save your money for the secondary period.

scaryteacher Tue 14-Sep-10 22:34:15

Mount House Tavistock. Co-ed, excellent prep, feeds good senior schools including Eton, Cheltenham Ladies, Canford etc.

Lovely grounds, great staff, good food. My one regret was taking ds away when we moved abroad. In hindsight I should have tried him on boarding. It was worth every penny.

It is not snobbish, and you can pick up much of the uniform second hand. It also has a nursery/pre-prep, but I am not sure how young they accept pupils as boarders.

The Head, Jim Massey is fab. Go and have a look.

ShakesPear Tue 14-Sep-10 22:52:57

Kelly College which goes all the way through and excellent facilities.

scaryteacher Wed 15-Sep-10 07:50:59

They've stopped the Kelly science block sliding down the hill then?

It was interesting that a former head of Kelly sent his boys to Mount House for prep not so long back.

propatria Wed 15-Sep-10 11:51:21

Simple -In Cornwall there is one real prep school,Polwhele,Devon-Mount House.
Senior level-Truro High for Girls ,wouldnt bother with Truro school,in Devon -Blundells
Kelly-not often you see the words Kelly and excellent in the same sentence.

ShakesPear Wed 15-Sep-10 14:17:07

What I meant about Kelly was that for the younger years it's a good option because the kids get to use the senior school facilities.

FWIW I wouldn't consider for mine as DS is off to Eton. [smug emoticon]

agp Wed 15-Sep-10 16:07:24

Thankyou all! This is my first experience with mumsnet - brilliant!

Kelly obviously isn't too hot then!

Ariesgirl: do you have any names of state primaries in the Wadebridge area I could check out? And any further thoughts on the 3 schools you've mentioned?

Propatria: I'm interested you wouldn't bother with Truro School - can you give me any other thoughts on why? Just not good enough reputation or something more specific?

Thanks again!

propatria Wed 15-Sep-10 17:30:52

Truro,To be blunt it has no reputation,It was set up to give an education to local Methodist farmers and shopkeepers and it still does,its a private school,nothing more, second rate facilities,its the type of private school I just dont get,why would people pay good money for a very second rate education.It now suffers at sixth form level from the Excellent Truro college.
If you have girls then Truro High is good,doesnt have a national reputation or social standing but it turns out good ,solid(if you know what I mean) girls,excellent value for money.

agp Wed 15-Sep-10 18:19:23

Hi Propatria.

Very interesting. Husband spoke to the head of Polwhele today who says 2/3rds of his pupils go on to Truro - surprising given what you're saying about it. I know what you mean about paying private fees for second rate education. So Truro High is the only place you'd send a daughter in Cornwall. Blundells being the nearest co-ed you'd recommend? 2 hours away - not great for watching matches! Do you have a daughter/ live in Cornwall? What do people you know do?

Thanks again..

propatria Wed 15-Sep-10 18:35:06

Truro High is indeed the only place I would send a girl.
Polwhele is the only prep in Cornwall ,there is one attached to Truro but it stops at 11 and isnt interested in any other school,so I dont consider it a true prep.
Polwhele is fine,but it has historically been more boy orientated ,some girls I know have transferred to Truro prep,but they were going to attend Truro anyway.If you have musical children Polwhele is excellent
Polwhele is pretty good academically but again I know a couple of boys that have gone to Mount House at 11 to make sure they got the scholarships they needed at 13.
You have to remember for private education there is little choice in Cornwall so its not suprising 2/3rds of Polwhele go to Truro,if they dont want to board(or cant) ,they havent got a choice.(Well there is a Gems school in Penzance but that makes Truro look like Winchester)
Blundells is the only school I would consider in Devon/Cornwall for Boarding,next stop Sherborne(sep schools for girls and boys but very close links)

scaryteacher Thu 16-Sep-10 08:00:41

Had ds remained at Mount House I would have hoped that he would have got into Canford.

Kelly College (as opposed to the prep) has changed as it recently had a new Head who I am informed is very good. However, even when I was offered a large discount on Kelly fees for prep, I still sent ds to Mount House.

One school that hasn't been mentioned is St Josephs at Launceston, which is all girls except for prep.

I cannot recommend Mount House highly enough; please go and have a look.

agp Thu 16-Sep-10 19:30:46

Hi Scaryteacher. Does St.Josepeh's have a good reputation? I thought it was just prep? Mount House is a long way from Wadebridge area, where we're thinking of. This is the problem we're facing!

Thankyou Propatria for all your thoughts and advice.

scaryteacher Thu 16-Sep-10 22:26:02

Don't know much about St Joe's apart from the fact it is there, as we sent ds to Mount House.

I have to say that Launceston seems a nice place to live and you have easy access to the coast and to the A30 from there. I did the Launceston-Mount House run twice a day for 4 years and it normally took about 25 minutes allowing for tractors, could do it faster if the roads clear.

Mount House also does flexi boarding I think, so that could be an option as well, and I know that they've dropped Saturday school much to ds's disgust as he went every Saturday bar exeats and holidays.

If you look at the website, then you'll see St Joe's is expanding. It has always taken girls all the way through, now it is taking boys as well. The results look good, but I taught at the rival establishment in Launceston for 4 years so was more concerned with getting my students through, than what St Joe's were doing. It looks like Wadebridge is on the St Joe's bus route as well, but it may be pricy.

JeffVadar Fri 17-Sep-10 11:18:52

OK I'm biased 'cos DS goes, but I have to second scary's recommendation of Mount House. None of the other schools come close IMO.

Two of DSs classmates live near Boscastle, on the North coast, and they come in daily - although it is a long journey

scaryteacher Fri 17-Sep-10 14:37:44

What year is your ds in Jeff? Ds left in 2006 when he had just finished in Banny's form. He was disappointed not to stay long enough to get into long trousers!

JeffVadar Fri 17-Sep-10 15:08:26

@ scary - He's is the 5th form. Can't believe the time's gone so fast; seems like only last year he was a firstie in shorts covering his knees!

I have to say that I don't like the relinquishing of Saturday school, but I guess times are changing.

DH was at MH back in the 70s, he loved it there, but is very envious of DS who just has so much fun there grin.

Rosefairy Fri 17-Sep-10 20:00:27

Sorry to butt in but 3 schools that are the closest to Wadebridge to look at would be St Breoke Primary, Wadebridge Community Primary School and also quite a few travel to the nearby St Minver Primary School these all have their own websites worth a look for more information.

scaryteacher Sat 18-Sep-10 09:32:19

I think ds must have been jut going into 4th form (so Year 6) when we moved abroad.

I did think about leaving him to board, but Mr Hartley was leaving and I wasn't too sure how ds would cope with the new team there. He would have been fine with Mr Hartley, who was on his wavelength.

It was bliss in the summer coming back and staying with Mum in Tavi; I miss it.

Popzmum Mon 20-Sep-10 15:21:00

Hope your relocation to Cornwall goes well - it's a brilliant place to bring up children. As for education for girls, I highly recommend you take a good look at Truro High School for Girls. Yes, single-sex but the students seem fabulous - ambitious yet grounded, confident yet not arrogant. And they have boarding too - certainly from age 7 and I believe you can flexi board (useful if you have children doing different things on different evenings or you just fancy a bit of solo surfing on a sunny evening..)Truro High comes out on top regularly and is run by an ex-Olympic rower so it's not at all just exams and prissy-girl atmosphere. Good luck anyway.

TruroMum Tue 28-Sep-10 09:06:40

A little late to join the discussion but as the mother of a daughter at Truro School I feel I have to contradict a few of the comments above. I am not sure where Propatria gets her ideas from but I certainly would not spend good hard-earned money on a "mediocre" school. Truro School's facilities are excellent, my daughter makes the most of nearly all of them, and she is aspiring to the fact that over 50% of the A level grades were A* or A grades - a great example set by the years above that hard work can be mixed with sport, D of E etc. I know they do flexi-boarding - my daughter hasn't used it but she does nag me to do so "as it is so much fun". I certainly would recommend taking a look at the school rather than take the word of somebody who seems rather "out of touch". It may have been set up by the Methodists for "farmers and shop keepers" but I have no problem with that - I would rather she went to a school where the children come from families who know the value of money and how it is earned!

propatria Tue 28-Sep-10 10:04:40

TruroMum,no one outside Cornwall has heard of the school,it has no reputation outside the county,it is what it is,a small private school,of a type to be found all over the country
The facilities are not "excellent" ,unless of course you know nothing about the facilities other private schools have,if the facilities were "excellent" then there would be no need for the massive building plans the school has, perhaps at the end of the schools 10 year plan they might resemle something decent ,but chances are by then other schools will have moved on even further,look at the schools your teams play,local comps and a couple of minor schools in Devon,you clearly dont get invited to cricket/rugby festivals of any merit etc,sorry ,stand by every word.
AAs for boarding,its not really a boarding school is it?somewhere around 40 or 50 boarders with a high percentage from overseas-that tells you all you need to know.
I actualy know several people with children at the school,in all cases they are only there because the parents didnt want them to board,if there was a viable alternative none of them would be at the school.
You are of course free to spend your money as you like and Im pleased to hear you are delighted with the school.

mebaasmum Tue 28-Sep-10 13:34:48

What about West Buckland?? depends where you are in Cornwall

propatria Tue 28-Sep-10 14:25:12

West buckland-rather similar to Truro in many ways.

Ariesgirl Tue 28-Sep-10 14:43:02

Sorry - have only just seen this a couple of weeks later. I was a teacher in a state primary in Cornwall and I am therefore biased in favour of state schools at primary level. I firmly believe that nothing grounds your children in the same way - if they can read and write and are numerate and love learning by the time they get to 11, then they have had the best start. And by sending them to a state school until this age, then they will have learned to rub shoulders with all sorts of children. At secondary, they can then start getting serious. Teachers in primary schools in Cornwall have had a huge amount of investment and training in the last decade or so and many of the schools are excellent. Here's a link to the North Cornwall primary schools

Just send your primary age children to the local village school and stimulate them and educate them at home too. What's wrong with that?

I used to live opposite Truro School and we used to walk through the grounds after hours. The facilities looked excellent to me and if I had the money I would send my kids there. Certain other schools give children a too rarified atmosphere which does them no favours.

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