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Guildford - recommendations for nursery and advice on 4+

(15 Posts)
JoMcT Wed 04-Jun-14 21:35:02


I've posted this on the local board but wasn't sure if it would be better to post here too..

We're moving to Guildford (Burpham area) early September at the same time I go back to work. So at pretty short notice, we need to find a nursery for a 1 and 3 year old. I would be grateful for any recommendations...

Also, we were originally going to send our 3 year old DD to a local private school so I was looking at schools in Guildford and was fairly shocked to see that the local schools have a 4+ exam (ie GHS and Tormead) which my DD would need to take this November. (I realise I was probably a bit naïve on this because where we currently live in an area where they are grateful for anyone who is prepared to pay the fees!). I can't say we've tried to coach our DD and I'm worried that the standard may already be too high. Could anyone let me know how high the standard actually is? Also, her birthday is May and I can't imagine that she could match girls born earlier in the year.

Thank you for any help!


JammieMummy Wed 04-Jun-14 23:33:27

Hi Jo,

To be honest the standard at GHS, Tormead and (to a slightly lesser extent) St Cats is really very high. Last year GHS had 5 applicants per space in reception and a friend of mines daughter didn't get in. That being said they do take into account when a child is born and a lot of their assessment is on personality, willingness and how the group will gel together. It is not all academics.

I have to say I found reading about GHS assessment quite scary and refused for DD to take it just on the principle that no 3 year old (youngest in the year) should be put through that and therefore my parenting and approach probably doesn't match their teaching style.

However, if your DD doesn't get into one of those or you prefer a non selective environment then Guildford have a lot of those schools too. A quick list is Hoe Bridge, Ripley Court, Rydes Hill, St Theresa's and more... It really does depend on your DD, there is a school for just about any type of girl! Boys, however, are an entirely different story!!

RolloRollo Thu 05-Jun-14 12:14:08

Try Drayton House, Fitzsimmons (although wrong side of guildford depending where you work), Castle nurseries.

As for the assessment, if you do gentle prep with her over time and then think of it that if she gets in it is right for her, if not then it is simply not the right school. Your DD will probably be reasonably oblivious to the whole thing and see it as visiting a school to see what it is like if that is how you set it up. I agree it can seem a bit OTT but if you set it up right and are relaxed personally, then it will be a lot easier and more pleasant!
From experience girls tend to either suit GHS or Tormead. My DD hated Tormead and we found the 4+ pushy and unfriendly there compared to GHS but common perception is the opposite.
Good luck!

Auroborea Thu 05-Jun-14 22:49:16

For nursery this side of town, Christopher Robin (Merrow) is excellent and lovely. Their Burpham branch is meant to be good too, but I have no personal experience with it so can't comment. I was worried about the 4+ assessments, but DD loved them, especially the second GHS one, where they did lots of arts and crafts stuff. Both GHS and Tormead are good in so far as they do a day prior to the assessment when girls can come along to the school and play for a bit (there are lots of different activities for them to try), so that they get to know the schools before they go in to be assessed. I think the competition numbers tend to be exaggerated, or at least vary from year to year - I know this year they were nowhere near as high as 5 per place at GHS.

mummytime Fri 06-Jun-14 07:17:07

It is not an exam at 4/3.
Lots of girls will be assessed at more than one of the local schools.
You could think about Rydes Hill too? Although that is the wrong side of Guildford for you. However I would look at the state options too. I have known boys go from Burpham to RGS, and even from George Abbot (secondary) to Charterhouse. And George Abbot sends about 13 to Oxbridge every year, plus lots of Medics.
There are quite a few nurseries around other than those already mentioned, and some great CM's who provide home based day care (some running effectively mini-nurseries).

JoMcT Fri 06-Jun-14 19:08:20

Thanks so much for the feedback - it makes the move seem slightly less daunting...

Rollorollo/Auroborea - can l ask what you did in terms of gentle prep? Dd doesn't listen to me at all, although she is a little better at nursery so other than reading books together l'm not hopeful l will be able to do much.

Will also look into the other schools and try and take the view, that it will work out for the best!

Thanks again.

dietcokefan Sat 07-Jun-14 09:21:18

4+ assessments in N London include things like holding a pen, colouring neatly, being able to do things like "look at the picture of this dog and make the other picture the same" (e.g. one dog has two eyes and ears the other only has one so the child has to add the second), playing games with other children, sequencing (finishing a pattern square/circle/square/circle or more complicated ones), counting, using scissors, co-operating with other children in games, jigsaw puzzles, spot the difference, walking along a line. Also hopping, skipping - boys schools tend to do more of the physical stuff.

dietcokefan Sat 07-Jun-14 14:22:40

Also drawing a picture

RolloRollo Sat 07-Jun-14 18:32:13

DD did the assessment 18 years ago (she is now at university) and so I doubt my advise is useful in terms of specifics!
dietcokefan's advice sounds good. My DD quite liked doing things like drawing and writing and puzzles and so prep felt quite low key. What I meant by 'gentle' was don't force it upon her, make it a game and relaxed - do it when she is in the right mood!
We were more worried about the talking side of things but the school seemed to recognise some girls are quieter and less confident than others and they want a mixture of personalities.

Auroborea Sat 07-Jun-14 22:07:29

We were lucky in so far as DD picked up a lot of stuff naturally from older DB, so we didn't really do extra preparation. I would say work on social confidence, make sure she recognises basic phonics and numbers, can do basic counting of objects, add one and take one away, recognise and write her name, that sort of things. Also fine motor skills - lots of play dough, drawing, cutting with scissors, sticking, arts and crafts of various kinds. Also reasoning games like mazes, spot the difference, odd one out, sequencing, jigsaws... So mostly the stuff that happens anyway and similar list to that of dietcokefan. DD could read but I don't think they test that - mind you I couldn't really get much out of DD about the first assessment.

RolloRollo Sun 08-Jun-14 10:49:45

...but also note reading is not necessary!! (don't want OP to frantically start trying to teach reading)

Auroborea Sun 08-Jun-14 13:36:38

No, I don't think it is - that's what I was trying to say.

RolloRollo Sun 08-Jun-14 15:33:13

Sorry didn't mean to seem rude!! Just wanted to be clear for OP smile smile

Auroborea Sun 08-Jun-14 23:15:35

That's all right, I didn't at all think you were, RolloRollo! I typed the other message whilst very tired, and it wasn't that clear. smile

dietcokefan Mon 09-Jun-14 00:17:33

Also, fidgeting is deeply frowned upon (talking about N London again) and was, I think, largely the reason for my daughter's lack of success at the 4+ !!

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