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Should we take dd with us on tours of prep school?

(21 Posts)
olivefan Fri 14-Feb-14 20:24:09

we'll be looking around 3 prep schools for dd, the headmistress will be giving my husband and I a tour. I am wondering whether to take dd(4) with us?

On the one hand, when she is well behaved she is delightful, but I'm not sure if she may get rather bored walking from classroom to classroom and play up. Do you think the headmistress would think it was strange if we didn't bring her?

We'll be applying for bursaries for all the preps, so in that case, I don't want to be remembered for all the wrong reasons!

Any advice welcome...

trinity0097 Sat 15-Feb-14 08:04:29

Most of the first visits are without a child, unless it's an open morning. However our head and registrar can accommodate children, it just often makes the tour slower as little people take longer to walk and are prone to wandering off!

senua Sat 15-Feb-14 08:59:53

I always looked at a school on my own first. Only once I had assured myself that I liked it was a DC given a chance to look at it!

Journeytolight Sat 15-Feb-14 09:11:15

I would say it's best not to take her in case she gets too bored. When you do go there, put yourself into her shoes, would she like the school?

Noggie Sat 15-Feb-14 09:23:19

Go and look at them all without her then once you've decided take her round- it can be quite unsettling for kids and she may well like something random about one that you don't take to! From experience this could mean chocolate being offered/pretty art work etc which are all nice but not deal makers or breakers for adults! Good luck!

UKsounding Sat 15-Feb-14 14:14:28

We took our DD to look at a new school opening in the area when she was about 4. Normally we would not have brought her but we had no child-care and the open-house visit was a spur of the moment decision. The visit itself was fine, but DH and I decided that we didn't like it enough to move her from her current school.

All was well until we discovered a few days later that she had been going around telling EVERYONE that she was going to go to a new 'fantasy' school. Most people were just curious about what a fantasy school was (unicorns? Taught by fairys?). The teacher and HT at her current school were much less impressed by the situation though and it created a very, very awkward moment.

Kingswood123 Sat 15-Feb-14 20:55:12

We are looking to go to some open days - son is 18 months. Would you still recommend going without him?

beanandspud Sat 15-Feb-14 21:41:04

I looked round the school on my own first. I wanted to see the school during a 'normal' day rather than an open day. When I was happy that it was the right school for DS we went to an Open Day just to be familiar with the school.

It worked for us, we told the school that whilst we had paid the deposit etc. we would still like to come for the Open Day and they were fine with it.

Kingswood123 Sat 15-Feb-14 21:48:09

Just wondering how far in advance you looked at the school? Is 18 months too late? Someone suggested already in waiting list territory. Based in Surrey.

Dunwhingin Sun 16-Feb-14 08:51:23

We did this when dd was 3.
we looked first and the two we liked the most then had her for a 'try' morning in the nursery to see how she liked it. The school we chose was the one that she didn't want to leave on that first morning, she was prised out of the nursery only because she was promised a walk around the school by the head master to see where the big children had their lessons. it could not have been clearer.

my gut instinct was with the school that she chose anyway, but we needed her to find out a little.
you should have a private tour by the head/deputy then take your child, open days are great but they are all puff and posturing and I don't think they help much other than an overview of what they have built.

Chewbecca Sun 16-Feb-14 09:01:36

We took DS when he was about 2, it was fine, he seemed very at home!

In our school, prospective parents are sometimes shown around on Friday mornings when parents can stay for coffee and a chat in the refectory after watching assembly so we see some of the 'tourers'. (I think the head must be proud of us!). I would estimate that about 65% of the parents have no children with them, and of those that do, they tend to be under 3 /babes in arms.

Clavinova Sun 16-Feb-14 10:05:31

Some of the nurseries attached to prep schools in Surrey might have waiting lists already Kingswood123; they are often not much more expensive than stand alone nurseries/pre schools and can offer better facilities/longer hours etc. Government funding makes them more affordable even for parents not considering private education. However there will be children leaving at age 4 and you should get a place for reception.

Kingswood123 Sun 16-Feb-14 10:53:03

Thanks Clavinova. We are considering aberdour, chinthurst perhaps priory prep. Any views on them? The last two appear to have availability on websites but can't get any gauge of how full aberdour might be ...
Closed for half term so can't call to check.

Clavinova Sun 16-Feb-14 12:52:35

I know 1 or 2 children at each of the schools and all the parents seem happy with their choice. I don't think any of them select academically and so the ability range is quite wide at each. I've only visited for matches - they all seem quite 'down-to-earth' and friendly. Priory is obviously boys only, Chinthurst only went co-ed recently and the grounds at Aberdour were my favourite! Which senior schools are you considering for the future?

lunar1 Sun 16-Feb-14 13:34:54

We took ds1 when he was 2. At one school the kg teacher said he could stay In Her class with the other children while we looked around. To be honest this really sold it to us, we came back after an hour to find him eating lunch with the other children at the table. This is the school we chose.

Kingswood123 Sun 16-Feb-14 17:18:25

Thanks Clavinova. Definitely prefer co-ed but v worried as don't know if aberdour is already full. No idea about senior schools yet. Do these schools naturally feed into certain senior schools?

Kingswood123 Sun 16-Feb-14 17:28:23

If you'd recommend any others in the area would appreciate your views.

olivefan Sun 16-Feb-14 20:31:05

Thanks so much for all the responses. I think we won't take her when we have our tour. I also feel I won't be able to fully concentrate on what the headmistress is saying as I'll constantly be checking to see she hasn't run off etc...

On another note, has anyone had any luck applying for a bursary from a prep school? They seem to be few and far between....

Clavinova Sun 16-Feb-14 20:54:56

Not feeder schools as such but each prep school head will have established better loyalties/favours with some senior schools more than others. Believe me, it's the demand for private senior schools that will cause you the most angst in years to come! The preps themselves are all pretty much the same although you could cast your net a little wider and look at St Christopher's in Epsom (for City of London Freemans at age 7), Downsend, Micklefield, Reigate St Mary's, Caterham Prep.

Karoleann Sun 16-Feb-14 21:24:19

A lot of private schools only have bursaries available for prep (so 7+), rather than pre-prep, even then they only cover a percentage of the fees.

basildonbond Mon 17-Feb-14 06:46:17

There are very few prep schools with bursaries and the ones I know of don't start until year 3 or 4

If you are not going to be able to afford it comfortably now then I'd think very hard about starting her in the private sector in the first place. School fees only go in one direction (steeply upwards) and what happens if you have another child?

It's easy to get 'locked' into private education as the thought of taking your child out of that kind of experience and putting them into schools which often have larger classes, fewer staff and not such great facilities - but it does depend on what your state alternatives are.

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