Ascot fee paying school advice, please(30 Posts)
Hi, I'm new to posting on here but often read through discussions as there always seems to be a lot of good and varied opinions.
My DH and I are currently looking at schools for our DD currently year five but looking to find a school to take her from year six through to (hopefully) year twelve.
We don't really want to send her to Charters so are looking at LVS, The Marist etc and any opinions / advice / personal experiences would be appreciated.
There are lots of schools for girls in this area, though the normal route would be to move at the end of yr 6 via 11+ style entry. (not sure if thats what you meant?)
Marist - have known a lot of girls move tokendrick (reading girls grammar) for better teaching.
LVS - rumours of bullying but best to go and look round.
Then it depends which direction you want to go in, the Guildford schools are easy to reach, GHS and Tormead, or Leighton Park is supposed to be excellent if looking in the Reading direction. Open days are coming up so well worth going to a few, plus check the registration dates for entry
Think you probably want her to stay til year 13 ! In my daughters year 7 class at Charters there are 6 ex-Marist girks - make of that what you will. LVS seems to be Charters with fees, but I know people who are very happy there. Marist gets good results and again I know lots of lovely girls who enjoy it. There's also St Georges which is a very pretty school but think it hss a lot of very wealthy parents. Quite a few kids get the school bus to the Abbey in Reading and also to St Wlliam Perkins in Chertsey. Kendrick worth a punt if don't mind the journey and have a v bright dd. However, I'm a bit of a Charters fan having had 5 kids go through or currently still there and they've loved it. Any specific questions about tge schools ? I've worked in a lot if them.
Thanks - what a great start, much appreciated and yes, mumsneedwine, I did mean year 13.
Also, I wanted her to move at year 6 so she would get to know the school and the people and make her senior move less daunting.
I have looked at both LVS and Marist, liked both but heard rumours of behaviour issues at LVS. Some comments on here not too favourable about the attitude of Marist girls, superior etc so wasn't sure, am having another look in a few weeks.
Its so tricky as we won't know if we made the right decision for years and if we get it wrong it has such a knock on effect - so much easier when I was her age, one primary school and one secondary school - no choice!
I hadn't thought of SWP in Chertsey so will have a look and wouldn't mind considering Reading but am conscious of her journey times and local friends.
Many thanks for all the help, I will def be using this forum a lot more.
I know 8 kids who have just started the Abbey from Ascot. Bus picks up in high street and they get home about 4.45. The school puts them in tutor groups with girls who live near them so they can make local friends easier.
Marist seems to produce confident girls, who can be a bit snooty. However, so can any girls and I know loads there who are lovely (my dds dance there).
Dont stress too much - you can't get it too wrong, and being able to afford private means you have the choice of moving if not happy.
Go to open days and go to charters too, just to compare what you are paying for (its in a few weeks). My kids have played various sports for school and been to pretty much every local private school for matches, and they have made many friends. All local schools are good !! If you are a church goer there's also Ranelagh. Amazing place run like a private school but free.
Enjoy choosing !!
Oh and don't worry too much about transition to senior school. Schools are very good at making it less daunting - its usually worse for parents !! Speak from lots of experience
mumsneedwine, thanks, I have booked onto the open day at Abbey tomorrow, many thanks
Have visited some of these schools for my DD at least once recently so have opinions on all! It really depends on what your child is like and also where you will feel comfortable too! I honestly believe in the right school for the right child.
Here is my take on them;
Marist - cheap and cheerful, packing them in. Nice atmosphere though and good sports facilities. Nearly fell asleep talking to the science teacher and was concerned when the IT lady told me that all girls get a typing qualification! Reputation at the moment isn't particularly good but also know lots of people that have girls that are very happy. Get good results but feel private schools need to offer more than that.
St Georges - Nice school and good grounds but some terribly posh people (but not all) Long day but again know some people with happy kids there.
LVS - I have a son here but still not too sure about it! We moved him in year 5 (currently in yr8) Settled well and moving to the Senior school was hassle free as a result. Again they are packing them in. Good ish facilities (astro pitch to be built next summer) No facilities though for children to store sports equipment/clothing which means having to lug around everyday which is a PITA. Lots going on extra-curricular wise. Moving with the times constantly. IMO could do with a bit more parent/teacher contact. Get good results despite being non-selective. Suits my DS as he struggles academically. local to us and he is home at a reasonable time which he likes. In my opinion it is on a par with a really good state school just with (slightly) smaller classes. I've heard of no problems of bullying despite reading constantly here about it!
SWPS is a lovely school - great results, very good facilities, great head teacher. Really good school to consider if your child is fairly bright. Bit of a PITA to get to from Ascot as no bus. (or change at V Water on the train) Fairly cheap and always one of the top schools results wise. Children mostly very normal and down to earth! Interestingly a lot of girls leave the Marist juniors to go here. They take in girls from a very wide area though.
There is also Luckley Oakfield (now Luckley House) in Wokingham - tiny year sizes though (and a lot of those are chinese boarders) Hardly enough girls to make two teams sports wise. Head was very dull but I believe she has left since I visited.
Leighton Park - Loved the head but that is all!!
Wellington College - FAB school at the moment under Dr Seldon's guidance. Very expensive and highly competitive to get in to but in a completely different league to all those mentioned above.
You really just have to visit (ideally during a working school day where you can get to observe classes. (Do children look engaged and happy etc., is behaviour good) I can't be doing with all these Saturday morning tours with lots of activities set up to try and make the school look exciting!! Also visit again if you were disappointed the first time. I think the child chosen to show you round can make or break your opinion of a school!
Sorry turned out very long!!
I love visiting Wellington, its so beautiful. But doesn't start til year 9. Enjoy the Abbey, my friends are very pleased with it and the kids love the diving boards !!
I know a few of these - personal experience of Abbey and will suit v confident girls, but not great for quieter shy girls.
Agree with the comments re st George's, also v expensive compared to others and I am not sure what you get for the extra money iykwim
Luckley has a new head, much more dynamic than the old one and numbers are up. Has a great buzz about it. Not many Chinese boarders left now, mostly local girls.
Leighton park seems to have v low numbers, particularly of girls.
Thanks everyone, I will visit and re-visit LVS, Marist and Abbey. St Georges is a little too pricey for me and as others have said, not sure what you get for the extra.
Many thanks for sharing your personal experiences and educated opinions.
St George's Ascot is terribly posh. It's hard to fit in if you are someone who might struggle with fees.
Marist - just no. If you want non-selective, nominally catholic, head over to Brigidine in Windsor.
For selective, it has to be SWPS. Excellent school which really does tick all the boxes. Unfortunately, the head is leaving at the end of this year, but they should have the resources and skills to recruit an equally good one.
I did hear Brigidine had a tiny year 7 entry this year. Five or six girls? I could be wrong as that is word of mouth
I went to look at Brigidine for my DS (they now have boys in the juniors). I was shocked at the poor quality of what I saw going on in the classrooms on my walkround.
SWPS is really good
which has nothing to do with DH being a senior member of staff . They will get a good Head and the school is in good shape to be passed on smoothly.
My DDs are at SWPS. We really like it. I do like the current head (she really does appear to know all the girls - she has the handle on my Y7 DD after only three weeks) but am confident that the next one will also be good, given that the governors and SMT seem robust. At least we will get some new jokes (having heard the last lot three times).
Interested to know why you decided against Charters.
Around here, (a few miles out of catchment),there was quite a flurry of house moves during year 5 to get in there.
I worked for a year there. It was a well managed school (under the former headmistress), but was horribly over-crowded. They had divided many classrooms in two, so one class would have to walk through the other. As a teacher, you couldn't walk between desks, as 30+ were crammed into the space for 15.
Resources were also a problem, such as 10-12 text books for a class of over 30.
They received an Ofsted outstanding in every category when I was there, but they asked quite a few troublesome pupils to stay at home and also had some supply teachers in to support weaker teachers.
Coldfusion, I suppose everyone just chases the GCSEs and OFSTED scores, though how you can call a school outstanding when there is barely room to sit down beats me.
Having said that our local school which DS attends (recently rated Good by OFSTED) is physically overcrowded too.
But at least it is getting harder to pull the wool over inpectors eyes. For example, my DS and several of his friends in different classes were asked if this was a typical lesson, and whether any pupils were missing on the day.
My experience of that particular inspection was that the inspectors were tied up with SMT going over paperwork. They had very little interaction with lessons and students. When they talk to students they are supposed to ask if their experience was typical, but they can only do this if they actually go I to lessons.
The system is a joke, tbh.
ColdFusion - you are absolutely right - Ofsted is a total joke. Our local primary was recently done, and in the report they praised the school for running particular clubs - according to year 6 pupils those clubs weren't even running. The Ofsted grade can make or break a school and is no reflection on the value added of the school. A secondary school in a middle class area will get good results, but may not be stretching the pupils, and will do well with Ofsted. A secondary school on a sink estate which is bringing kids up to a D who would get a G or F grade at GCSE elsewhere will do badly with Ofsted. Makes the whole system complete nonsense.
I would suggest going to have another look at Charters as a lot of it has been updated in recent years. Plans to build a new maths block are in the pipeline, but it is a very busy school. It is a comprehensive so has some kids who try and cause trouble, and I know the naughtiest kid in my sons year was there for the last Inspection as he was sent out the class with the teacher being observed ! However, its results are great and the kids love it there, becoming rounded, kind adults and I wouldn't send my lot anywhere else.
My friend moved to Sunninghill to get into the Charters catchment area. First son was horribly bullied with school doing nothing (she had to give up work to deal with the fallout); second son was happy enough but came out with mediocre grades; third son went to Ranelagh.
Thats a shame as I know of instances of bullying that have been dealt with very well. Surprised if they went to church that they didn't send them all to Ranelagh. Anyway, can only speak from the experience of 5 kids at school. If we had issues they have been addresed immediately and very well. It's just as well some people go elsewhere as otherwise it would be even more over subscribed.
Old thread I know but to add my two penneth worth for anyone else looking at schools in the area.
I live in Ascot and my two girls attend Sir William Perkins in Chertsey. Getting there entails two trains, they leave Ascot on the 7:29am and change at Virginia Water (15 minute wait) to go the one stop on to Chertsey getting to school in good time for 8:25am registration. Coming home they finish at 3:30pm and are back at Ascot station by 4:12pm. It's a pain but well worth it as the school is fantastic and both have had great results. (But then it is selective) New Head has been appointed, Mr Muller, who is coming from the existing Senior Management Team, my daughters are thrilled that he will be their New Head Teacher, and I'm hopefully he will be as good as the current Head who is brill.
My son attends LVS and is very happy there, I certainly haven't been aware of any bullying issues. However I am looking to move him to either Charters (where we have a conditional offer) or Ranelagh (interview soon) for 6th form. The teaching at LVS is very variable with some teachers downright poor. There seems to be quite a high turnover of staff as well.
The Head changed when my son was in Year 8 and the consensus seems to be that the school has gone downhill since. Certainly the one time I requested a meeting with her, two weeks before the Easter holidays last year, I was told she was 'too busy' to see me until after the Easter holidays and was fobbed off with the Head of Year. Not what I expect as I had a real concern and had never asked to see a member of the SMT before. My son is, I admit, basically lazy but I don't think the school have pushed him much and I am left disappointed with the school considering the not insubstantial fees.
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