If anyone can give me some honest opinions on this school id be so grateful! Our options for our two are very small single sex, good local state, or St John's. St. John's would mean a 40/45 min round trip, but the advantages seem to outweigh the travel...co ed, great results for SATs and GCSEs (although not A levels it seems?).
On the flip side, I've heard some less than positive
Yes. One possible plan is to go with palmers green high school, or even our local state school, and work towards transferring into a "better" school like Highgate later on.
What appeals about St. John's is its not massively far (15 mins on a good run) and yet has grounds, facilities, and sport and music opportunities most of the preps closer don't have. Together with pretty solid sat and GCSEs teaching it seems like a pretty good rounded option at least until 11+?
I LOVE the look of Stormont and Manor Lodge but they're just a bit too far. An hour round trip twice a day is just too much for primary.
We have PGHS and Keble close by so would probably go for single sex if St. John's isn't an option, as we didn't get a great feel for Salcombe.
Belmont is a bit nearer than Stormont and manor lodge. And to the east, forest school is another (I hear very vey good) option but again a bit too far for now I think. Perhaps for later down the line...
If you want more selective and can deal with a very rude head there’s always Annemount but you do have to steal yourself. Channing for a girl? Might be worth the trek. I loved the head at Keble for a boy but again nonselective and I’m not sure how much value added is there. What negatives have you heard about Vita? I’d only heard positives and was considering it.
Whilst I'm not specifically aiming for a rude head if put up with it if the school felt worth it. I think possibly Annemount is too far, especially given that it's on a busier route and also it only goes up to 7.
Vita et pax sounded great for us too, in theory, but I've heard nothing but negative things about class size and pupil attainment. People mention a total lack of the value added (as you mentioned-so important). A friend has tutored children from there recently and has found their level of attainment comparable (not favourably) to a state school.
The children she tutored have been removed by their parents and placed in other local preps.
My daughter is attending St. John’s, she is 4.5. We’ve found the environment very nurturing and loving. She loves being there, the communication from the school is excellent. Her reading and her maths is developing so quickly because of all of the one to one time they receive. Her favourite class I think so far is gym. I really can’t fault it. I think the head is refreshingly honest. Hope that helps.
I work as a teacher in the area. I don’t have any direct experience of the place but have met a couple of teachers who used to work there and what I have heard isn’t terribly positive. I’ve heard nice things about PGHS.
Looks like you have been drinking the kool aid. The staff ratio in early years there is the same as it is in any state non fee paying school. The sales pitch is great however. I would be more concerned as to the qualifications of said staff- have they specific eyes training/any teaching qualification at all??
If your children are there (feel incredibly sorry for them) then why don't you try and ask for a copy of the termly/weekly food menu? This is a given at any private school, see if you can see what the healthy choices are for the children?
Deciding which school to send my girl to was very difficult for a variety of reasons. Am sure others go through similar difficulties. It was a great relief to find the right school for us, St. John’s, after viewing a number of others. I accept differing opinions and that’s definitely important however there is no need to be rude or unkind. It’s a hard thing to go through for many of us, I thought Mumsnet was about support.
I'm an ex-teacher of St John's. It's a fabulous school. Yes, it takes some getting used to for some but, once you understand what it is about, you will not regret sending a child there. It is genuinely refreshing to find a Headteacher who is not interested in the glib, standardised marketing which goes on in so many schools today. The school's focus is the child.