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Sunningdale/ Horris Hill/ Abberley Hall/ Dragon / Summer Fields Prep

(36 Posts)
MrsMarmot Sat 07-Jan-12 15:44:47

Considering preps for DS, now in Yr 2. I liked Sunningdale's family like atmosphere but slightly disappointed with the lack of facilities (not a major issue). Would love to hear from anyone with feedback on any of the above. Tx!

honisoit Sat 07-Jan-12 15:45:35

Sunningdale is lovely

Colleger Sat 07-Jan-12 15:54:16

Do you have a senior school in mind? I loved Sunningdale too. If you want facilities then Summerfields (urgh) is the way to go, and always a safe bet getting into certain schools from there. Location seems to be more important now too. Although there are always a good number of London parents going to all these schools, some tend to only come from certain areas so friends in the holidays can be tricky.

MrsMarmot Sat 07-Jan-12 15:54:54

Honisoit, thanks. What did you like about Sunningdale? DS there?

MrsMarmot Sat 07-Jan-12 15:59:12

Colleger, thank you! Keeping an open mind. Not restricted by area. But I'm v keen on preps with big emphasis on manners!

honisoit Sat 07-Jan-12 16:06:40

I don't have a DS there, but my DSs have played in lots of matches there.

The manners are good. The facilities are fine - beautiful parkland where boys can be boys (climb trees, make dens).

Facilites, imo and ime, are over-rated.

Colleger Sat 07-Jan-12 16:57:01

HH would be top for manners then.

Victorialucas Sat 07-Jan-12 17:37:01

What's the 'urgh' for colleger? (no vested interest btw)

Colleger Sat 07-Jan-12 18:36:57

Ghastly parents, odd choice of headmaster. Sunningdale and HH for manners and blissful Enid Blyton style childhood.

Cothill has the Sauveterre programme but I'd say HH and Sunningdale boys nicer.

honisoit Sat 07-Jan-12 18:39:40

I've followed lots of your posts, Collager, and I am often totally bewildered. Where do you get your information from on such a diverse range of independent schools (both academically and geographically)?

I can share information but it is on very limited personal experience (which I think is greater than average, but not a patch on your experience, Collager).

Colleger Sat 07-Jan-12 18:45:14

It comes from having more than one child, none of which have gone to the same schools and they have changed a few times. Also, the schools you mention were the only ones on my radar for most of my kids so I researched, visited, either had sons there, or know many parents with kids there.

We spent a long time deciding on two schools. I do think facilities can be important if fees are comparable. Although ethos would probably win over facilities but many schools have a similar ethos.

honisoit Sat 07-Jan-12 19:12:32


I have five children in independent schools, plus I am, and have been, a teacher in 6 independent schools (including preps to 1st XV schools). I know about 1% of what you do. Hmmm indeed.

Colleger Sat 07-Jan-12 19:15:33

Why Hmmmm? I'm just more knowledgable in this area that's all. I'm sure you're more knowledgable in many, many other things!

honisoit Sat 07-Jan-12 19:17:43

I guess it is the knowledge that you are sharing that makes me go 'hmm'.

Colleger Sat 07-Jan-12 19:31:40

So you weren't asking a genuine question but trying to be critical?

honisoit Sat 07-Jan-12 20:22:54

The question was genuine, for sure.

Happygardening Sun 08-Jan-12 00:14:07

I work very close to Dragon and hear mixed things about it.
"Ghastly parents" are just the nature of the beast the majority at my DS old prep were absolutely monstrous.
I know its no where near those you mentioned but have you considered Wyndlesham? Friends of our who moved their DS a few times eventually settled there and were very pleased with it. Lots of boarders I understand and a very caring atmosphere.

goinggetstough Sun 08-Jan-12 08:23:36

I would second Windlesham House in West Sussex Happy. A previous thread described it well
It is full boarding with day children. A number of overseas expat, FCO and military boarders with more local boarders (London). It has a varied academic range. Annually the school wins a number academic, music and sports scholarships to senior schools which has included the top King's Scholarship to Eton. I couldn't find a current list of last years scholarships but I believe they included Marlborough, Oundle and Downe House. Academics apart the pastoral care was excellent. My DCs left a few years ago now but we still have friends there who are very happy with the school and so are their DC!

MrsMarmot Sun 08-Jan-12 14:33:55

Goinggetstough, happygardenin, colleger & honisoit....thank you! Yes! Been reading about Windlesham of late and it does sound great. Good review by the Good School Guide too.

vixsatis Mon 09-Jan-12 09:02:03

Am a ghastly Summer Fields parent. There are a few; but most seem very nice to me. We like Summer Fields. The staff are very kind and there is a good community feeling. The teaching is mostly very good and they do well for a really wide range of abilities- the scholarship class is full of brilliant boys; the bottom stream has boys with all sorts of difficulties. They work hard but have enormous fun- lots of messing about in the woods. Food could be better. Boys' manners are absolutely lovely and they are kind to one another. Head is an unusual choice but seems to be turning out well- boys love him.

Never heard of Abberley Hall; but the others are all good schools. I think that The Dragon is as pushy as a Lonson prep and far far too big- SF has a number of refugees who were just lost in the middle at the Dragon- and that Sunningdale is perhaps a little too small. HH is charming but just wasn't a good geographical match for us.

Colleger Mon 09-Jan-12 09:22:31

In fairness, I do know one lovely SF mum. It's the dads that are worse! ;) I think SF and Cothill have the best extra curric and are the best value for money in terms of facilities, extra curric, and SF offers more of a guarantee of entering top schools. I would send a son there, if I had another one, as it does tick all the boxes even if I'm not keen on the parents.

vixsatis Mon 09-Jan-12 10:09:46

Colleger If only there were such a guarantee!

Colleger Mon 09-Jan-12 12:26:17

Vixsatis, I know what you mean! sad Anyway, I am generalising about SF. I probably just had a bad day...

vixsatis Mon 09-Jan-12 14:11:49

Colleger Worry not! We all do it; and there are a few real shockers. I think that you described an SF father once before and I have a funny feeling that I recognised him.......

MrsMarmot Mon 09-Jan-12 14:50:11

Thank you vixsatis. Still debating whether to put DS and DD in the same prep or split them up. Does anyone know any good girls prep around Oxford or Berkshire ish or even slightly further out?

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