Thornton College or Akeley Wood Junior (near Buckingham)(16 Posts)
We had a very poor experience at Akeley Junior and moved swiftly onto Thornton with our daughter. There are just too few girls at the school and girls seem to struggle to settle with such a limited set of potential friends. This is reflected in the high turnover of girls in the junior school. The school is set up around boys / the majority. The particular disappointment was the disorganised start they give kids. Poor/no buddying system, poor guidance to parents about the extra clubs that girls do. It just doesn't deliver on the promises of the open day. The buses to get to school lack proper supervision that can be intimidating for younger children as the bigger kids can be badly behaved. I would recommend Thornton College with an exciting new head teacher or Swanbourne House if you are looking for co-ed.
My children are currently at Akeley Wood Senior having had excellent experiences at both the two lower schools (Wicken & Tile House Mansion). The Senior School has been another matter though when it comes to exam support and results to the extent that we may not put them back in this autumn.
While they are trying to spin good A-Level results the table actually is showing at 19% decrease in A*-B pass rates since 2014.
AS results, especially in maths was absolutely atrocious with unbelievable levels of students receiving U or E grades (e.g. failures). Not surprisingly they didn't even mention results for these exams. Many students are looking at retakes and even leaving the school to repeat L6 elsewhere. With a son about to start GCSEs I'm eagerly awaiting how the school has performed at this level.
So if you are needing a school to take them beyond Yr 8 you may wish to reconsider.
My son started at Akeley Wood Junior School a little while ago and within weeks we noticed a huge difference to his overall character, from the quiet little boy who started there we saw him develop into a confident and engaged child. He looks forward to school and has made lots of friends across the year groups easily and now is progressing very well academically. As a parent of the school I have only ever heard of the minor expect fall outs in the playground at this age, as opposed to 'bullying'. But everyone's interpretation is different. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Akeley Wood School and we are looking forward to our son staying there throughout his school education.
Have just stumbled across this conversation and thought that anyone else reading at a later date may be interested to know how great we have found Thornton College.
My DD passed her 11+ very well, but we decided against sending her to Grammar school as we had discovered Thornton College during our search for a 'back up plan' should she have failed. We have not been disappointed! The school caters superbly for girls of all abilities and we are thrilled with the way our DD has been stretched and challenged. She is now in Year 10 and we cannot fault the school. Do not go just by league tables. The school is non selective but the girls achieve outstandingly well against their potential. Our DD is doing just as well academically as she would have done at Grammar school. Thornton is a warm, caring environment and we have been so impressed by the way our DD has grown in confidence and independence and there are no flies on her! It is a convent, but this is not forced upon the children. The religious side encourages the loving ethos, but it is in no way imposed upon anyone. There is a real diversity of faith (or none) throughout the school. We have been so happy, that we have pulled our youngest out of her primary school and put her into Thornton now too.....and so the success story continues!
I would avoid Akeley Wood Junior School. We had to take our child out as the behaviour problems there are not managed at all. Despite numerous meetings the school failed to do anything about it, these include physical attacks on my 8 year old. There is a huge turnover of staff throughout the 3 sites and the replacement are often NQTs. My child's work fell behind because of this disruptive behaviour, thankfully now they are back to where they should be.
I am so sorry to read that Akeley Wood School has not met your expectations. We like it very much and can't think of a better place for our DD. She has been bullied at school since she was in year 2. In her time at Akeley Wood Senior School she has thrived and flourished. We have found the pastoral care and the education to be outstanding.
DD has mentioned that a couple of the boys in her year can be a little disruptive, but having also spent some time in a state high school, she says that this in no way compares with the disruptive behaviour she encountered there.
Everyone is looking for something different in their choice of school. Choice of school should reflect the needs and aspirations of your children and family. I couldn't recommend Akeley Wood School highly enough, but it may not be for everyone.
We had v poor experience of Akeley - one of our children was badly bullied and have heard of plenty more serious incidents. They do have dyslexia specialism but at the junior school the more experienced teachers seemed to be being replaced by newly qualified teachers so this specialism was in danger of being lost.
The difficulty with it being Cognita owned is that if you do have issues the school is not resolving and you have asked Cognita head office to help, there is nowhere else to turn, they are not part of any of the usual Independent Schools Associations like ISA or Headteachers Association, don't have Governors etc. Apart from 3 year Ofsted inspection, it means they are largely unregulated...
Don't know much about Thornton but we considered Akeley for secondary and have been to the junior school for sports fixtures. It has a friendly atmosphere and I haven't heard any bad reports, we always seemed to lose the fixtures so I think they are quite sporty!
A long time away but most of the more academic types leave for the Royal Latin grammar school at secondary age. They seem quite a 'normal' set of families and kids, very welcoming for tours and open days which is a good sign, Winchester House is very much more upper crust. Again based on sports fixtures I always found Beachborough very friendly with nice well behaved kids if you're near there.
One thing that did worry me about Akeley is that they are owned by Cognita but whether that's an issue or gives them a better financial footing I don't know.
If you're close to MK there is the Prep and the Grove, also the Webber school (was Bury Lawn), it used to have a bad reputation a few years back but not sure about it now.
I would recommend MK Prep too.
I hear Akeley has brilliant support for dyslexic children. No experience with Thornton
Have you looked at Beachborough? I have moved mine from Akeley to 3 separate schools after bad experiences with each child. It's a case of looking for the best school for your child and what suits one won't necessarily suit another. Also seriously consider the long term goal of private education. I know this is late to your post but for sept 2013 you still have time!
Best of luck I know the pressure of getting it right for our little loves!
Aykeley has a poor reputation among some independent parents. I think this is probably largely underserved, it seems like a perfectly decent school to me. There is apparently some poor behaviour in the senior school but then they're teenagers aren't they! As independent schools go, it's cheap.
Thornton college is a very 'sweet little school', as I've heard it described. I know one teacher there and she enjoys it and says the girls are lovely. It's excellent for non academic, gentle girls who struggle in many school environments. Only goes to 16 if that's a problem.
Personally, if you have younger children, I would look at Swanbourne House, Winchester House and Milton Keynes Prep over Aykeley and Thornton.
Hi, I tried posting on primary education but no responses so far, I was wondering if anyone have any experience of either Thornton College or Akeley Wood Junior (near Buckingham)?
Would appreciate any opinions/experience.
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