St Teresa's Effingham(7 Posts)
I love everthing about St Teresa's, but worry that it will not be academic enough for my very bright but very unconfident dd.
Hi, do you mean the prep or seniors?, my experience is seniors.
My DD has been at St Ts for several years since yr 7. She has been well taught and challenged for her ability in year groups and, mostly, sets for a wide range of subjects. She has learned to study and not just answer exam questions with spoon fed answers. She has had space to become herself and find her own interests - along with an excellent set of GCSEs.
We chose St Ts because of its overall size, the small classes, the clubs, drama, music, the wide range of girls from both the UK and overseas, and the lovely setting - though the snow has proved a challenge once or twice.
Her teachers know her and she has not got 'lost' as we worried she might in some of the more obvious and larger Guildford/Surrey schools.
Nowhere is perfect, and I'm sure others will not have had such a positive experience, but I have not regretted our choice. The arrival of Mr Farmer at the school has had a positive effect on the school and he is very approachable about any matter.
I hope that is helpful.
Manor House is great for less confident girls.
Having said that, my DD was at Guildford High and really lacked confidence naturally but did well there. She was very happy and supported. She had a very secure and lovely friendship group of like-minded girls. She was encouraged to try new things but not pushed an excessive amount. I remember her saying in sixth form she felt everyone was very accepting of one another. DD liked the environment that everyone tried their best and worked hard - we were always very quick to remind her she was among 99 bright girls and just being at the school meant she was more than good enough to try and ease any academic pressure. The school always promoted a very similar outlook with lots of down-to-earth teachers.
St Ts does look like it is really improving and an exciting place to be. The reverse argument could be that she may thrive and gain confidence from being one of the highest achievers in her year group at ST Ts. Depends on her personality. Some will rise to the challenge, others will sink to fit in..
I wouldn't link a school being academic to not being caring or being the wrong place for a shy girl. I think with the high academic levels came many more quieter types so DD never drowned among lots of very confident girls.
I think if you choose a school for an academic child that is non academically selective you have to focus on what else the school has to offer your child. What activities do you think would help her gain confidence? Does the school not only offer them, but encourage less confident girls to take part?
St T's academic usp seems to be value adding - getting the C to a B. I'll be honest this made me concerned that my academic dd would just be left to get on with it ! If your dd is sporty (mine isn't) or loves art/textiles (mine doesn't !) these seem to be key strengths. Maybe I didn't have the right tour guide and EBee could set me straight, but I was seriously underwhelmed by ICT provision.
I agree with Zebra that unless your dd has a lack of self esteem in her academic ability and needs the reassurance of being consistently 'at the top', an academic environment wouldn't impede her from growing in confidence.
If she feels less confident in groups of more confident girls, really they exist in every school, confidence is not an automatic by product of academic ability !! Sometimes as well, the bigger the school, the more chance of making like minded friends and ability to distance from the 'alpha' groups ...
I agree with groundhogmummy that what else a school offers is very important and that was part of the appeal of St Ts for us - lots of inclusive drama, sport, music, extra curricular clubs that were, at the time, more or less compulsory, as well as the regular academic subjects - lots of languages - French, Spanish, German, Latin, and Japanese in the first couple of years, and the chance to make friends with girls from Europe and East Asia.
My DD is distinctly unsporty and not at all arty/dramatic but at least she has had the chance to try everything and has not been excluded for a lack of talent from taking part. She had the ability to hide/disappear in a group of 3 or 4 when she was small and that has not happened at St Ts (try as she might!)
In terms of added value I think the school has the capacity to add value at any level and in our experience this has been the case. The academics have not been neglected, my DD has been pushed to do the best that she can and not left to get on with it, the use of setting has made sure that she has been stretched and pushed to get excellent results and not allowed to coast. I don't know about the ICT provision I'm afraid. The school was looking for an IT manager recently so I hope it's being addressed.
We met with the then Head before deciding on St T and found it helpful in reaching a decision.
Any new opinions on St Ts? We're considering the prep school for our eldest dd.
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