Reddam House Bearwood vs. Godstowe Prep?(27 Posts)
Hi. DH works in Green Park Reading so we are in a relocating process. DD is to start Reception this September, but we have not found her a school yet. We will get a house close to school and let DH do the daily commute.
After busy tours into nearby schools, we now narrow them down to Reddam House (Bearwood College) and Godstowe Prep.
Reddam House is under new management. Great facility, large woodland and green fields, creative teaching, all-through education, and a full list of enrichment options. It is close to where DH works and Wokingham is a very nice town. BUT as it is complete new, we don't know if they can turn these "big promises" into reality successfully.
Godstowe has a very good reputation in getting girls to top secondary schools and facilities are very good there. We won't need to worry her education if DD gets into Godstowe and I am indeed very impressed by their students' artworks. BUT High Wycombe is rated one if the country's worst town for living, and it is far away from where DH works.
So in summary, the weakness of one school is the advantage of the other, thus makes it difficult to choose. If we pick Reddam House, we choose an easier life but take the risk on DD's education. And if we pick Godstowe, we will have to accept a lower quality of living in exchange for more predictable education outcome.
So which school should we choose?
You could put her in Reddam House for Reception but apply for a place at Lambrook. When a place comes up at Lambrook you could decide whether Reddam was working out and, if not, move her.
So CharlesRyder, you rate Lambrook higher than Godstowe?
I have a DS so I didn't look at Godstowe. We would have sent him to Lambrook if we'd stayed in the area- I think it's great.
Wokingham/ the area south of the M4 is MUCH nicer than High Wycombe though! I wouldn't live there for Godstowe.
Plenty of parents commute from Marlow, Henley and Mainenhead areas for Godstowe. Hardly any Godstowe children actually live in High Wycome!!! The parents have way too much money for that. It is not a bad area to live in if you go to one of the fantastic villages nearby. Godstowe girls mostly stay to Y8. They also mostly go on to top boarding schools or Wycombe Abbey nearby. This is why children come to Godstowe from far and wide. It also has boarding available for older girls. Is Reddam similar because, for girls, there are not many as good as Godstowe and virtually none better. You just don't live in High Wycome.
Hi Millymollymama, if we live in Marlowe or beaconsfield, the commute would be at least half an hour each way during peak time, which might be a bit too much for DD at this age. Do you think it might be a better idea if we put DD in Reddam House for now then sign her up for Godstowe from Year 3 upwards (when she gets older, she can travel longer)? Though I don't know how long the waiting list is to be for that year entry?
Hi CharlesRyder, how would you compare Eagle House and Lambrook? I am thinking putting DD's name down for these school in case Reddam House is not suitable later. I know Eagle House will send most of their pupils to Wellington College at 13+ which we quite like, but it seems there are mixed views about the school in this forum. Lambrook seems receive more positive views and they send children's to a wider range of schools later.
Personally I would go for Lambrook. DH used to work at Wellington (quite a while ago) and Eagle House had a bit of a strange reputation. Lambrook has much better facilities too.
I am biased though because, as I say, we had chosen Lambrook for DS. I don't know your DD so you may make a very different assessment of the schools based on her personality.
Lambrook is very good, but it co ed all the way through I think. My DD started at Godstowe in y3 but I have no idea what the entry lists look like now. Lots of children travelled 30 minutes plus to Godstowe because no other girls' school is comparable. It's the best in that geographic area. Lambrook is at Ascot so not very close to Marlow either. Everywhere is busy for the morning commute! I would ask Godstowe what chance there is of getting in for Y3. Reasonably good probably because all the boys have left and gone to their prep schools. Marlow to Godstowe is doable.
Hi, Millymollymama. Glad to see a parent of Godstowe girl! Is your DD happy there? What is the general background of the parents, i.e. Professionals or super-rich? As DH thinks of Eagle House (we are ok with co-ed), I want to see the difference between them.
Do you know how busy the junction M4/A404 gets in the morning? How long will it take to drive from Marlow to school in the peak time?
My DD left a few years ago by the way. Neither did I come from the Marlow area. However plenty did, and further than that! Just like any commute, leave earlier than you think. I used to take 30 plus minutes from my home because the traffic going into HW was heavy. From Marlow, the queues are approaching Handy Cross M40 junction and then into HW centre. I used to aim to get her there at 8.15 am for school start at 8.25. Usually parking at the school was not an issue. Hope this helps. Re super rich - yes there are some. Many parents choose girls boarding schools after Godstowe so very few are scraping the fees together. It is possible that the parents of the girls who leave at 11 to go to the grammar schools don't want, or cannot afford, to pay senior school fees. I think the destinations of the children at the prep schools really tell you what the financial position of the parents is! If they are mostly going to £30,000 plus a year schools, they can afford it and some have many children too.
The traffic is pretty bad in the mornings so I think you are wise to want to live near the school you choose (although agree with Milly that many don't).
We lived north of the M4 and DS went to pre-school round the corner from Lambrook (at a Montessori called Meadowbrook which goes to 11 so maybe another option if you want to wait for a space at a big name prep). The drive in the morning could easily take 45mins- I thought it would be fine but in reality it was too much for DS. The A404 is pretty vile at both rush hours.
I'm going to be blunt and say I wouldn't recommend Eagle House. It was generally considered to be a bit odd and not a very nurturing environment.
Thanks for all your comments. The traffic seems even worse than I thought. So we shouldn't really think of Godstowe at all.
I have heard quite a few of you saying Eagle House is "odd". What do you mean by that? School Ethos, way of teaching, pastoral care, or school environment, etc?
So apart from Lambrook, is there any other equivalent? St. Andrew’s Pangbourne? Any other?
Have you looked into Cheam? West Berkshire is gorgeous (we have lived there too)!
St Andrew's is just gorgeous- proper country prep school. However, it is not hugely academic which you seem to want?
So St Andrew's is not as academic as Lambrook? But by looking at its Leaver's Destination, it us still pretty good. Is this the school Kate used to attend? She managed to get into Marlborough later.
Holme Grange feels good too but seems not as academic as these big names? As the staff there said one of their most intelligent boy moved to Ludgrove in preparation for getting into Eton, and the reason for the move is that their current school just has not good enough resource to achieve that?
Marlborough is also not very academic! In the scheme of things neither is Wellington. It depends what you mean by academic. Your DD will not fail at any of these schools, especially with interested parents.
Do not be fooled by websites that give 'Eton, Harrow, Winchester, Wycombe Abbey' as leavers destinations without clarification- it might be one child in 2007.
I think the most important thing is to pick somewhere you feel a connection with that you strongly feel is a place your DD could be happy. A miserable child in a hot house is more likely to fail than a happy child in a more inclusive school IMO (am a teacher).
For what it's worth I did some peripatetic work in St Andrew's some years ago and would have chewed my right arm off to work there. It is idyllic.
CharlesRyder, I agree with you that the best school for a child will be the one she is happy to go. But apparently we can't tell as she is still a bit too yong. She visited all the schools (apart from Eagle House, Lambrook and St Andrew's) with me, and her fist choice was Waverley followed by Godstowe. Her reason for Waverley is they have a toy baby there, and reason for dislike Reddam House is their most remarkable staircase feels spooky to her. So what could I say??
Re academic, we are not expecting the top-class academic schools (as most of them are girls only) but need to be relatively good enough to get into at least Russle Group universities. Wellington and Marlborough are good enough to us, as they are quite near the top list of co-ed secondary schools.
I will definitely arrange a visit to St Andrew's and put DD's name down. They are again full at the moment, so we will have to wait. I hope in the coming 3 years, at least one of the school should be able to offer a place?
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My daughter will be starting at Reddam House in the senior school this September because I have gone with my instinct . This is a tried and tested formula, so I strongly believe they know what they are doing. So far the information I have received has been everything I need and more. The facilities are going to be incredible and already being installed. The technology will be the most updated and again is already being installed. The school building looks wonderful but obviously this is not important in comparison to the education the children will receive. Looking at the list of teachers , I am again convinced that Reddam House are serious about the success of this school. Where transport is concerned, if you are not nearby, they have their own buses . My daughter is very much looking forward to starting at the school and loved the lessons she took on her induction day. It is not really a step into an unknown, because the founders have been running successful schools for sometime.
DS went to Bearwood college in year 1 and 2 and we loved the school. we decided to leave the school as the class size was too small and he was not challenged enough. We then moved to Holme Grange. Its not a bad school but definitely not a school for academically gifted children. I had huge issues with how DS was treated. He was way ahead than his peer but never got the right advises and there was always an element of favourtism. They were more focussed on upgrading the school to GCSE level. We had to take initiative and he sat for exams at Eton, Harrow and Westminster. After he got a conditional place from both Eton and Westminster, we were advised to move out as HG did not have the resources to prepare him for Eton. We then moved to Papplewick and we are so happy we made that move. After DS left HG, yet another boy moved out as he too wanted to prepare for Eton and did not want to take the risk.
Agree with CharlesRyder, don't go by the leaver's destination on the school website if there is no statistics to support it. HG too mentions Westminster and Eton as leaver's destination on the basis DS getting a place there but we have already left and he is the only one in school's history to have got a place in these two schools. The other boy who moved out is sitting the Eton exam this year. Waverly in Wokingham is a very good school and we loved it when we went to see that school. You can also go and see Papplewick and Lambrook. Both of them very good schools
That does not sound too good Smartyboys mum, but I do know of people with high IQ ds who is happy with hg. I am sure my friend's ds will stay on. I cannot imagine they try very hard for Eton though, does not seem like a feeder school really. Papplewick are great for 13+ prep and good results, was not keen on Lambrrook when we went there.waverley is good for children with needs, but not really highly selective like Pappelwick, they have very generous scholarship offer though and their fees are really cheap if that is important. Now we are in Secondary we are happy with our choice but I agree Bearwood was really small! I would be interested to hear which one you choose for your ds, Eton or Westiminster seems like a very tough choice. Where are you leaning to? Will ds get an opportunity to visit and have a try to see which he likes best?are the conditions of the offers very different or much the same?
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