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Pre-preps/preps for girls round Twyford/Windsor/Marlow area of Berks/Bucks

(31 Posts)
DiffedAgainDachs Sat 10-Dec-11 10:32:12

Have just discovered we are having a little girl and have been trying to research schools. There's Godstowe in Wycombe, but are there any other schools you'd recommend for girls?

EBDteacher Sat 10-Dec-11 13:28:23

Can't help much as I've done all my research for DS. I thought Upton House looked nice though, perhaps if you wanted somewhere smaller than Godstowe.

There is Highfield in Maidenhead. Used to have a good academic reputation- not sure how things are there at the moment, there have been some rumbles about the new Head.

EBDteacher Sat 10-Dec-11 13:28:56

Oh, and congratulations on the DD smile

EBDteacher Sat 10-Dec-11 14:06:23

Oh yes, and Eton End PNEU worth a look too! Thought the nursery was good there.

DiffedAgainDachs Sat 10-Dec-11 14:25:19

Thanks! I'll have a look. I'd considered Highfield but the academics there don't look as great as they used to. It seems to be more difficult to find exit stats for girls schools than boys though smile I'd be sorted for boys as there are loads of preps for them (we'd probably use Papplewick or Caldicott) but it seems to be a lot harder for girls! smile

We want somewhere that will enable her to achieve highly if she is clever (and before anyone flames me I'm not necessarily assuming that she will be highly gifted but there's no particular reason to suppose she won't either smile ), but somewhere she can have fun too.

What is St George's Windsor like for girls? I know they have had Eton scholarships in the past but there's not a lot of detail on their site about where the girls end up... I'd probably avoid it anyway now Elton John's son is going there because there will probably be a lot of people jumping on the sleb bandwagon. Shame though, it looks quite nice on paper.

EBDteacher Sat 10-Dec-11 16:50:42

Yes Caldicott is fabulous. I had 'decided' on Ridgeway/ Caldicott but I am now seriously considering Lambrook (see other thread). Have you had a look at their website? I'm liking the thought of the 'country prep school' feel and the plans for new performing arts centre and swimming pool look amazing.

amerryscot Sat 10-Dec-11 16:52:07

You are looking at a massive area for pre-preps. Can you narrow it down a little?

DiffedAgainDachs Sat 10-Dec-11 16:57:13

well we currently live near Twyford but there aren't (as far as I know) and great girls preps near here so we want to move to somewhere appropriate but not too far away from either Reading or Windsor. We already know a couple of people in Marlow. So it's a large area because we can be relatively flexible about where we move to.

amerryscot Sat 10-Dec-11 17:11:01

Girls' schools in Windsor are Upton House, Brigidine, and St George's Windsor Castle. These schools are all mixed for foundation stage, and SGWC mixed up to Y8. I honestly wouldn't travel any further with little ones.

Between those three schools, you should find the atmosphere and ethos you are looking for.

EBDteacher Sat 10-Dec-11 18:22:40

If you're prepared to go Reading way (I assumed you were looking East of Twyford) maybe The Abbey is what you are looking for. 3-18 schools are great for continuity- definitely a big plus.

amerryscot at this early stage the OP has the luxury of considering everywhere and anywhere! Maybe she is enjoying a bit of school shopping- it's one of my favorite hobbies!

amerryscot Sat 10-Dec-11 18:44:44

I never really see the attraction of the Abbey for those living in the Windsor area. The thought of that drive through horrible traffic.... the school bus takes an hour+ from Windsor. It makes for a very long day.

For senior girls living in Windsor, they should be looking east! SWPS, St George's Weybridge, LEH (hothouse), or stick local and choose Brigidine or St George's Ascot.

But for little ones, it is even more important to be local. A 2.5 hour school day should not be lengthened by a 45 minute each way commute.

DiffedAgainDachs Sat 10-Dec-11 18:57:45

Thanks for the advice. We hadn't considered schools in Reading, but I've had a look at the Abbey and it does seem a good fit. We know more people East of Twyford, so I had assumed we'd head East rather than to Reading, but given that Reading has a much better commute into London and we'd certainly get a better house there than Windsor it's definitely something to consider.

EBD I am indeed enjoying school shopping, although it's a lot harder than I thought it would be! smile

amerryscot I assumed we'd be near Windsor, but as I say we are looking to move, so can move to wherever we need to be for the right school.

I'm looking now as some of them you need to register v early, so we want a pretty good idea of our shortlist when the baby arrives so we can get her on the appropriate lists as soon as we can. Probably less important with some of the schools than others, but it never hurts to be prepared smile

DiffedAgainDachs Sat 10-Dec-11 18:59:23

I'm still looking at all of them though. It's fun! smile Also slightly scary to think that we need to start making decisions for our baby that will affect her future! <gulp>

amerryscot Sat 10-Dec-11 19:16:04

You do not need to register early. That is a myth. Just contact the school in the year before entering.

ooosabeauta Sat 10-Dec-11 19:27:50

I'd recommend registering early - we registered ds for his pre-prep place (in a different area from yours) when he was 5 months, and still only got a place through cancellation as he's a summer baby, and all the non-sibling/alumni places had been allocated to children older in the year who had registered before he was even born! Although you've got more options around you, which could lessen the demand, you've also got a denser population, so I can see it being a similar situation.

ooosabeauta Sat 10-Dec-11 19:29:45

reduce the demand - thought that sounded odd!

amerryscot Sat 10-Dec-11 19:32:29

This is bollocks, oosa. All you need to do is sign up, ie pay your deposit, in the year before entry. There, honestly, are no schools within the OP's catchment, that prioritise by birth/early entry date. This would be madness from a business point of view.

What is typical in the prep school market is to register for multiple schools. Obviously all but one school is going to be disappointed. They simply cannot reserve places for early registrees. They need hard cash which only materialises a few months before entry.

ooosabeauta Sat 10-Dec-11 19:38:58

Ok a merryscot. But I know that nobody who registered after us got a place at my son's pre-prep (it's only one nursery class entry, so we all know each other now), and that was two and a half years before entry. I know a couple of families who did apply after then, and I'm sure there would have been more who applied the year before entry of course, as it's a prominent school in our area. Maybe it's different in Bucks, then.

EBDteacher Sat 10-Dec-11 20:03:26

That is not true amerryscot. Caldicott is first come first served and you need to be on the list 3 years before entry to realistically bank on getting in- because the list is that long. Don't know if anywhere else in the home counties is like that but there are definitely still 'register at birth or it's too late' type places in London.

Anyway- OP a) is super flexible because she thinks she might move and b) is just enjoying stuff you can do while you're pregnant like imagining which school you might use. Why so negative? Just let be.

amerryscot Sat 10-Dec-11 20:17:41

The OP is expecting a girl. I thought Caldicott was boys only, even in early years.

Seriously, it is better and more useful to use specific knowledge of the candidate schools, rather the peculiarities of schools that are not even in the running.

EBDteacher Sat 10-Dec-11 21:04:08

Yes Caldicott is all boys and 7-13. I was countering your sweeping, negatively made 'I know everything and my way is best' statement because your general tone to the OP has got my back up.

Need me to be any more specific?

DiffedAgainDachs Sat 10-Dec-11 21:32:12

I didn't realise this would be so controversial. I just wanted to get some opinions on where I should be looking.

The constructive advice has been very welcome, thank you. smile

VillaEphrussi Sun 11-Dec-11 10:46:01

Um, seriously a merryscot, did you not just give some pretty strong advice about not bothering with early registry without knowing the OP's specific candidate schools (since she's still looking around)? hmm

amerryscot Sun 11-Dec-11 13:46:57

In that part of Berkshire, there is no shortage of independent school places for girls.

Some schools may like to give that impression - that they only have a 'waiting list', but it is nothing more than marketing.

Lizcat Sun 11-Dec-11 19:50:29

West and Central Berks no shortage of girls school places. Latest I have been aware of someone registering and getting a place was the afternoon before school started the next morning! East Berks maybe different never looked over there.
If you are thinking of moving West there is also St Gabriel's in Newbury also 3-18 and in last 5 years results have really improved and is now getting GCSE and A-level results to match the Abbey and Downe House, though generally felt to be less 'high pressure'. Newbury still good London commute and still nice market town.
At the end of the day there is a lot of personnel choice in the decision some you may decided you dislike on opening the prospectus. I wrote and got all the contenders prospectuses early on.

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