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Queen Anne's, Pipers Corner, any others I should consider?

(16 Posts)
Katelocks Sat 05-Nov-16 08:25:02

My daughter is reasonably bright (upper quartile) and athletic but very sensitive. I was originally thinking of Wycombe High for her, but I don't think she would thrive in such a large school. I've heard good things about The Abbey, but again not sure that this would suit her as it seems very competitive academically and also quite a large school.

I liked QAS and Pipers but would have preferred a school that was slightly more academic. Does anyone have any other suggestions around Berkshire/Buckinghamshire/Oxfordshire (we are happy to move within these areas or others close by) please? I've mostly discounted Headington, OHS and Royal Masonic. What about St Helen and St Katharine for a sensitive girl?

Thanks for your help.

CookieDoughKid Sat 05-Nov-16 12:55:15

I think you need to be a very confident girl to go to St.Helens. It very very selective and they would be wanting straight As. Why have you discounted OHS out of interest? Have you looked into Cranford Girls school near Wallingford as its very nurturing so I hear. There are lots of mixed state options too.

Zodlebud Sat 05-Nov-16 13:06:10

Have a look at Berkhamsted School. Has high standards and great sports (especially lacrosse).

Katelocks Sat 05-Nov-16 13:09:09

Thanks for your thoughts. I thought OHS would be very competitive too and I just don't think my daughter could handle the stress.

I haven't heard of Cranford so I will definitely look into it.

My preference is for all girls at the moment.

Katelocks Sat 05-Nov-16 13:09:41

Berkhamsted is a good idea too, thank you.

bojorojo Sat 05-Nov-16 14:27:08

Don't forget that St Anne's and Pipers are operating in close proximity of Grammar schools. Personally I think you are wrong about Wycombe High School. Just because a school is large, it does not mean it cannot have good pastoral care for more sensitive children. Plenty of sensitive children who have poorer parents thrive there.

I think both Pipers and St Anne's do well with the children they get. It is usually a fact that high academics (for a larger cohort of children) does have an element of stress with it. I would have no doubt that Pipers would do well for a child in the top 25% of an average y6 class and it is a selective school. There are plenty of girls who go there that go on to good universities. I think they are also strong on drama which I firmly believe helps children with confidence and maturity.

The other school I would look at is Heathfield at Ascot. This is a very small school with a new Headteacher and does very well for the girls with extremely strong pastoral care. Great sports facilities. Maybe not the most academic school but again, there is plenty of competition in the area. It now offers day places.

Katelocks Sat 05-Nov-16 15:15:50

Thanks Bojo. I'd read on another thread a comment from a teacher that said you had to be quite tough to cope at Wycombe High. That had me quite worried (I know it's only one person's opinion though).

I thought Heathfield was still mainly boarding? I'm not convinced about being a day girl in a 90%+ boarding school. Don't you miss out on some of the experiences and friendships? However, I agree that it's supposed to be very supportive from what I've heard. Just hadn't considered because I thought of it as a boarding school.

Zodlebud Sat 05-Nov-16 18:11:34

Heathfield is introducing weekly boarding. My girls are hopefully going to Pipers. I spent a lot of time thinking about the academics side as you have been. I did a bit of research and have been reassured that an academic girl would do very well there. Bear in mind that a decent proportion of the girls haven't met the grade for 11+ and so the entrance tests are looking for girls with average ability and above. The academic results are great if you compare the lower starting base. I am also a big fan of the thought of my eldest being towards the top of the class in a school like that than the bottom of an academic school. I also like the way they don't produce clones - every girl is different and is encouraged to be.

Takes a while to get your head around though!!!

bojorojo Sat 05-Nov-16 22:00:02

I think there is a common mistake that says that if you are average you will suddenly become brilliant by sitting next to the cleverest children. You won't. What matters is quality of teaching, confidence and being comfortable at the school and enjoying education and activities as much as possible. There are some pupils who are pretty bright that go to Pipers these days.

I don't agree with the toughness comments about Wycombe High. I know a couple of teachers there and they are full of praise for the girls. I know girls who have gone there that a perfectly normal! just don't see what could possibly be wrong with the girls there that means you must be tough to get the most out of it. Why does that not apply to Beaconsfield High or Aylesbury High? I wondered if it was a covert comment about the ethnic minorities at the school.

Heathfield announced they were having day girls. I will check to see if they have changed their minds now the new Head is there. My experience has been that day girls do just as well as boarders as long as they are not a tiny minority when fitting in might be a problem.

bojorojo Sat 05-Nov-16 22:04:26

Heathfield has day girls. It is a flexible day. It is not weekly boarding. Have a look at their web site for details.

Zodlebud Sun 06-Nov-16 00:16:46

Heathfield is definitely introducing weekly boarding from September 2017 - it is in all their printed literature but I cannot see anything on their website yet.

HPFA Sun 06-Nov-16 07:04:12

Agree with *CookieDough" about St Helens and Cranford - I know someone whose DD is at Cranford and she says it is very nurturing. St Helens seems to have a great range of extra-curricula but a reputation for being very competitive.
Have you looked at Our Lady's in Abingdon - for me it doesn't have enough over a good state school for the investment but I know a few happy kids there and it seems to have a good balance between academics and pastoral care

morningtoncrescent62 Mon 07-Nov-16 13:54:41

My nieces went to Pipers and did better than my sister had hoped for when they were 11 if that makes sense - they were very different girls, so they didn't emerge with identical academic results, but they all did well, they all loved their time at school, and were well-prepared and qualified for what they wanted to do next. Plus they emerged as confident, grounded, compassionate young women with a zest for life. I don't live in the area myself so I can't comment on any of the other schools.

Katelocks Mon 07-Nov-16 14:32:35

This is all very encouraging, especially about Pipers. Thanks for your help.

I've heard that Our Lady's in Abingdon is a lovely school and my DD is RC so it is a possibility but I'm currently set on all-girls.

I suppose my remaining concern is that my daughter will muck around a bit if she's not in a more academic school but on the other hand, I know that you need to be happy and feel supported to do well.

It's a difficult choice but I appreciate all the comments. They have been very helpful.

Katelocks Mon 07-Nov-16 14:39:38

Also should have added that I hope the comment about Wycombe High and being a tough environment was nothing to do with ethnic minorities. My daughter is mixed race but that obviously has nothing to do with personality.

I did the 12+, as it was, and got a place at Wycombe High but my parents ended up moving so I went to another similar all girls large grammar school. You did have to be tough though because unless you stood out academically, sporting ability or for bad behaviour (!), you were just a number and lost in the sea of pupils. I think that's why the previous tough comment resonated with me as I could believe it from my own experience.

bojorojo Tue 08-Nov-16 14:11:17

I do not equate needing to be 'tough' as what you need to be if you are not particularly sporty or very very bright. Obviously at a large school, this is the majority of pupils who gain a lot from the school and are not also rans in the midst of sporting or academic genius. This view is simply unjustified. Wycombe High is pretty benign and really does not need 'tough' pupils at all. I do think delicate flower type children whose parents have money can avoid larger schools with larger classes but, academics-wise, Pipers is not Wycombe High. Personally I think there is benefit in being resilient.

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