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Cambridge independent secondary schools- help please!

(13 Posts)
BoogleMcGroogle Wed 17-Feb-16 14:32:29

We are planning to move to Saffron Walden soonish and, as well as schools in the town are looking a bit further afield for my daughter who will be entering year 7 (she's year 4 now).

I'd appreciate any thoughts/ views on the independent secondary schools in Cambridge. Our first thought is The Perse, as she's reasonably academic (at the moment). She's at a Montessori Primary at the moment, so a very different environment, but has just started having some tutoring to prepare for entrance exams when they come.

I was wondering which other schools we might consider. I know that The Leys and Stephen Perse are both good, but know nothing else about them, apart from what is written on their websites. If course we will attend open days when they come around, but any personal experiences or ideas about where might be good for her would be appreciated.

Butkin Wed 17-Feb-16 16:15:57

Can't really help as we've gone further East for DD's school but work colleagues are very happy with their children at The Leys (which seems to get good academic results) and Stephen Perse. Just a thought though - have you considered Felsted if you're going to live in Saffron Walden?

BoogleMcGroogle Wed 17-Feb-16 16:23:28

Thanks Butkin we did consider Felsted and quickly dismissed it. Being totally un-PC it seemed full of sporty farmers sons, and I'm not sure we'd fit in at all. We have a couple of friends who have sent their children to the prep, but all have left after a couple of years, which also concerned me. I think that I have a preference for a selective day school as that's what I experienced. I think we will certainly look into The Leys a little more. My other concern is how the heck I'd get her into the school, as Cambridge is a nightmare to drive into, I work (albeit flexibly) and DS would be in a school more local to us.

Butkin Wed 17-Feb-16 16:35:31

All my colleagues and friends send their children into Cambridge by train. One of them lives nr Elmswell - to the East of Bury - and it seems to be a popular route as lots of children going into Cambridge schools get on at Newmarket.

We don't know Felsted at all except that DD plays lots of matches there and they host all the regional sporting tournaments - looks a marvellous place from the outside!

Butkin Wed 17-Feb-16 16:38:59

One of my best friends sent her daughter to Friends School in SW. Lovely girl but she is very dyslexic and I think went there as it catered for her well. Have you considered it?

BoogleMcGroogle Wed 17-Feb-16 17:00:26

We are looking at Friends school for DS, who has SEN. It seems a wonderful, nurturing environment and just what he needs. It's one of the main reasons for moving to SW. I think we'd be looking at somewhere more academic for DD, if that's what she needs by then. If not, certainly Friends school will be on the list.

It's good to know that others go in on the train, it just seems so young to be sending them in on the train, and of course there isn't actually a station in SW, so she's be getting off at Wendens Ambo. I've already begun contemplating a 'gap year' when we move, to get them (and me) settled into new schools etc.

JennyWreny Thu 18-Feb-16 08:31:15

The schools you've mentioned run school mini buses from the Park and Ride sites in the mornings. DD is at SPF and has used the mini bus from year 7. This year they have introduced a mini bus returning to P&R at the end of the school day which is great as saves the evening drive into Cambridge (unless she has after school activities). Lots of her friends come in on the train (and did from year 7). We are very happy with SPF. There are big changes with new sports hall (and more) to the senior school site and changing to co-ed in the senior school, so definitely go to the open mornings to get a better idea of what's happening. Obviously The Leys is partly boarding, so that might be something to consider.

Excited101 Thu 18-Feb-16 08:52:58

I'm not sure the Leys is, we, as academic as you might like... I have an old friend who's a teacher there and he often used to despair a bit of the standards of quite a few of the students.

I had a friend who went to the Perse and I was always very jealous (state school all the way) so perhaps if your DD is very academic that might be more suitable.

Saffron Walden's school has always has an incredibly good reputation, don't discount it for your DD, if she'll do well, chances are she'll do well anywhere.

Excited101 Thu 18-Feb-16 08:55:32


BoogleMcGroogle Thu 18-Feb-16 11:39:13

Thanks excited, I did wonder that about The Leys. I have heard excellent things about the Community High School in SW, two of my colleagues' children are very happy there, so we will make sure we move into the catchment. The trouble is that we would need to move in year 5, to ensure that we are in catchment for admissions in year 6, which would mean a year of a long commute to their current school (doable, but tiring I think) or a year at another school.

Lilymaid Thu 18-Feb-16 11:55:47

If your child is academic, the Cambridge choice is between the Perse (which used to be boys only up to 16 and is now mixed) and Stephen Perse (which used to be Perse Girls and which is also mixed). The Leys isn't ranked nearly as highly academically and most of the DC I know who went as day pupils moved on to Hills Road or other schools for sixth form.
Dame Bradbury's prep in SW is now part of the Stephen Perse foundation.
And don't dismiss SWCH for secondary - excellent results (and there aren't many schools with a top notch concert hall on site).

Truffle40 Fri 19-Feb-16 11:10:06

Hi Boogle. I have a child at Perse Upper and know a bit about SPF. They are really the very academic choice. But Leys and St Marys get pretty good results.mHave a look at the exam results on their websites. Perse Upper is big - about 1100 and fully co ed now. Spf about half the size and currently only has boys in years 3 and 4 in the prep but will take boys in year 7 and up from 2017. Perse Upper has a huge site and great facilities but is quite pressured and there is not much creative stuff. SPF in the city is constrained by its site but is expanding upwards and has sports facilites on edge of town. Don't worry about the train - there are about 40 kids going to Cambridge schools on the 7.37 alone from Wendens Ambo and more on the later train.
Perse Upper has about 2.5 applicants per place. Don't know about SPF. Do ask any questions

Truffle40 Fri 19-Feb-16 11:14:02

And don't forget Leys is a traditional boarding school and had Saturday school. The Two Perses are day only.

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