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Saffron Walden Schools and in particular Dame Bradbury.

(14 Posts)
desnatada Tue 20-Sep-11 13:10:00

Hi there. I am looking for some feedback on the Dame Bradbury school in Saffron Walden. We are returning to the UK and interested in moving to this area and this school. I am particularly interested to hear from parents about where they have sent their children after the school i.e. secondary schools whether state or independent. We are not from this area so are not that familiar with the schools in the surrounding area. Is Dame Bradbury a feeder school for any particular secondary schools?
Many thanks in advance.

anonymousbird Tue 20-Sep-11 19:26:12

Hi there. Both my children are at Dame Bradbury's. They are young so we have not really ventured into the senior school side of things. However, the leavers go on to a wide range of the local (excellent) state schools as well as all the Cambridge Private Day schools and other private schools.

The school is absolutely fantastic in our view, I really have very little I can say against it. Educationally and pastorally it seems excellent so far. Small classes, very good facilities and clubs/music/art/performing arts/external school visits/in school cultural and discovery events are all very strong. Sport is improving, they've made concerted efforts to recruit sports coaches and improve emphasis on the team sports.

They have recently had a brilliant School Inspection (see the school website).

Can't recommend it enough to be honest!


desnatada Wed 21-Sep-11 02:37:18

It's very nice to hear your positive comments on the school anonymousbird. Thank you for that. I suppose that not knowing which secondary school they will go to, I need to be mindful of where we buy a place to live to keep within certain state school catchment areas. I have moved house 12 times in the past 14 years so when we buy, I would really like to stay put smile I do really like what I have read about the school and hope to visit there soon. Thanks again, it's very helpful to hear reviews.

happychappy Wed 21-Sep-11 04:08:51

Hi, my charge is enrolled in Dame Bradbury, starting next year. There is an open day at the end of this month if your interested.
It does have an excellent reputation, Are you coming from Italy?

desnatada Wed 21-Sep-11 05:30:54

Hi happychappy. I am unable to attend the open day unfortunately as we live in Singapore and are not due for a visit for a while. I have been in contact with the school and hope to visit over the next few months. My children wouldn't be starting for at least a year, but I need all this lead time to sort out a lot of things as we have lived abroad for so long and are total beginners when it comes to schooling and buying a house in the UK. Are there any other independent schools in the area? I know about Friends and I have just heard about Barnadiston. Are there any others, or any feedback on Barnardiston? However, I must say that so far I am impressed with DB's. Thank you for your feedback.

happychappy Wed 21-Sep-11 14:31:24

There is the Friends, which looks really nice. There is also Felsted and in Bishops Stortford there is an Anglo European school as a secondary school. There a lot of other in Cambridge. As we are so near London and between Oxford and Cambridge and near Stansted Airport, there are just a lot of them. However having spoken to the staff a few times at Dame Bradbury it does seem a really nice school. I will be going to the open day I'll let you my impressions when I have been.

Are you fixed on Saffron Walden?

desnatada Thu 22-Sep-11 01:57:56

SW and it's surrounding villages seem to tick a lot of boxes. My husband needs to get to Liverpool Street Station and doesn't want to change trains. We want to be north of London and I need to be near a decent town/ city to find work too. Our parents and my brother are nearby. I think it is very different to the life I have been leading in crowded Singapore and HK, but that is why we are returning to the UK to be honest.

happychappy - aside from the schools, how do you find Saffron Walden? What do you think of it in terms of things to do, crime, friendliness of the people?

Sorry to ask so many questions.

anonymousbird Thu 22-Sep-11 16:18:57

We love Saffron Walden, live about five miles outside, but in the town all the time, obviously, due to school but for everything else too. It's a really nice town. Like anywhere, there is some petty crime, but you only have to read the local paper to know that it really is pretty petty! Anything serious is rare in my view.

It's very friendly and very "local" with a really vibrant range of local things that go on. People who live there seem very proud of their town (rightly so - it's got so much history) and as such, work very hard to promote the importance of making the most of what we have here.

My DH does the commute to Liverpool Street, has done for many years. Obviously there are the occasionaly hiccups in the service, but actually it is fairly reliable overall. The advantage of getting on at Audley End/Newport etc is that you always get a seat!!!

Good luck. What age are your DC, just out of interest?

happychappy Fri 23-Sep-11 07:03:35

SW is great, it's a really nice little English town. Though I must say my DD goes to Newport which is just outside (and also really nice; although a bit more expensive). We don't live in Walden we live about 7 miles away in a little village Duton Hill; I love this place. My kids can still play out till dark with the other kids. My kids here are growing up like I did. I think this is now a difficult thing to find.
It feels like proper country but is only a few miles from Stansted and stations to London. This is great for us.
This area has lots of great villages and towns and always so much going on.
Back to schools, my son goes to the local school. The teachers are excellent and the school is well funded. I am really happy with this school. It got an outstanding ofsted review; but many of the primary schools got this status. This is good for you simply because it means the private schools have to be so much better in order to attract parents at the primary school level.

desnatada Fri 23-Sep-11 08:37:07

anonymousbird and happychappy that is all really great to hear and I hope when I get to visit over the next few months that I get a great gut feel that this is the place for us. I am hoping that I take to living in the country after living in small places with loads of noise for the past 14 years. Last night I was lying down with my toddler in his bed as he was upset at my husband being away and as we lay there all I could hear was car horns beeping, buses pulling out, people yacking on their phone as they walked past and dogs barking. It's no wonder my kids don't sleep well. As I lay there I thought fondly of living in SW and a bit of peace and quiet ;)

anonymousbird, my kids are 2 and 6 (yesterday). If and when we return it won't be for at least another year. However, as you can see, I am keen to get the ball rolling ;)

happychappy Fri 23-Sep-11 09:11:31

I've lived in the country, having lived in London for 25 year, for about 12 years. The country isn't that quiet, its all a myth. Tractor, birds or invade you tranquillity but if it's quiet enough yo can walk the dogs in your pajamas!

anonymousbird Fri 23-Sep-11 09:28:46

desnatada - you are so right to get things moving now. I know that the Nursery at Dame B's (your child can start in the academic year they are turning 4) is heavily subscribed ahead of time, so get their names down at least. DD's year (year 1) had 6 new joiners this term, so there does seem to be quite a bit of demand for the school (which is obviously good news for the school). It is also financially very stable, unlike some independent schools which have suffered over the past few years. It is also very well equipped so they are not in the position where they need to spend loads doing it up or getting more equipment etc. And as numbers are on the up again slightly that bodes really well to continue that trend.

BTW, the headmistress is one of the most impressive people you will ever meet! And utterly charming.

I was a complete city girl until DH persuaded me to move back to his roots. I've never looked back! And yes, it is very noisy with birds, tractors, dogs and chickens or whatever....

desnatada Fri 23-Sep-11 10:28:33

I'm laughing as I write. I can't wait to get a dog and walk it in my pajamas smile
Thanks, you guys have been be really very helpful. I hope we get into the school ;)

happychappy Fri 23-Sep-11 18:32:47

You haven't tasted freedom until you have walked your dogs in your wellies, pajamas and dressing gown. All of this obviously nightwear!

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