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Esher/Elmbridge primary schools ind and state, dish the dirt please

(37 Posts)
eshermummy Thu 12-Feb-09 20:20:00

Inspired by the Reigate/Berkhamstead threads are there any mnetters with knowledge of the following schools:
Esher Church School
Claygate Primary
Rowan School
Claremont (pre-prep and prep part)
or others in vicinity ?

DD1 is due to start reception this coming Sept. We have applied to ECS as first choice but are not religious so not sure of our chances on proximity only.....sooooooo, if we get offered Claygate or Hinchley Wood Primaries should we go for these over the local ind options? We have visited Rowan and I loved it but DH not sure it's worth paying for private when the state options here are so good. (We moved out of central Lon 18 mths ago partly to escape dire state options and the need to go private.)

I know all of these schools are rated "good/outstanding" so not really "worried" about DD being at any of them. Would just love some inside info as to each school's "personality" - attitudes of head & teachers and parents.

Have heard ECS criticised as being too SATS focussed/ hot-housey. True ?

Am not exactly a "regular" but have namechanged as worried combination of details in previous posts and location makes me a bit too recognisable.


CarGirl Thu 12-Feb-09 20:21:34

eek I just read in the paper that Elmbridge is 100 places short for reception in Sept shock

eshermummy Thu 12-Feb-09 20:41:40

Do you know where you read that Cargirl?
EEk really worried about our state allocation now.
Doesn't surprise me though as at DD's nursery there are quite a few DC who are sibling no. 3 or 4 and who apparently will go state despite siblings 1-3 having gone private all the way - credit crunch biting I guess.

Are you in Elmbridge too then ? grin

CarGirl Thu 12-Feb-09 20:45:38

I live in runnymede it was in the freebie paper - elmbridge guardian.

shortfall of 108 for Sept, rising to 158 in Sep 2010 & 203 the year after!

Surrey tried to shut a school near us last year despite the growing birth rate.

snorkle Thu 12-Feb-09 22:45:47

Hah! I know loads about all those schools but my info is nearly 40 years out of date. Sorry!

willali Fri 13-Feb-09 12:32:24

We looked at Claremont and thought it very strange and horrid. If you are going private you could look further afield - loads of prep schools in Cobham, Leatherhaed, Ashted etc

eshermummy Fri 13-Feb-09 13:41:11

Willali - could you elaborate on the strange/horrid aspects of Claremont? Was it the Christian Science angle? We have only viewed it on one of their Sat open days last year when there were no children present hmm in the lower school classes! Wondering whether it is worth going back to see it on a normal school day or to write it off as a def "no" as I too had a funny feeling about it.

I am really keen to be able to walk my children to school which is why I haven't really bothered with further afield, although if I was to widen the search I'd probably include Daneshill (Oxshott) and Notre Dame (Cobham). Ashstead/Leatherhead would be a 40-60 min round trip each way - there's no way I'd even consider that for primary school.

C'mon, I can't believe I'm the only mnetter in Esher.....or am I?

willali Fri 13-Feb-09 17:24:32

Claremont: dirty, scruffy, deeply unimpressive teaching staff, no provision after school to cater for working parents (and no apparent realisation that this is a requirement), facilities old and scruffy, students mono syllabic (senior school), main building crumbling / draughty. Nothing to do with CS aspect.

overweightnoverdrawn Fri 13-Feb-09 17:40:08

but arnt the grounds fantastic

rolledhedgehog Fri 13-Feb-09 18:32:16

Not at all surpsrised that Elmbridge is so short of primary places. This happended two years ago too. They had to ask at least two very popular schools to add an extra class each.

CarGirl Fri 13-Feb-09 19:00:21

Have you looked at William Perks in Chertsey?

eshermummy Sat 14-Feb-09 15:08:44

Isn't William Perks a secondary?
Am bumping this to see if anyone else around.
Does noone have anything to say about Esher Church of England Primary, Claygate Primary or the Rowan ?
Some quite useful info on the indy options on the Cobham school thread - although am amazed at the distances people are prepared to drive (and it would be driving because there's little or no public transport to some of these schools) for reception age children. Maybe it's just me as I HATE driving full stop grin.

CarGirl Sat 14-Feb-09 15:31:00

Actually WP is isn't it! Notre Dame always look lovely when I go past and when I've spoken to past pupils and current Mum's. There are a few smaller inde schools the Walton end of Weybridge - worth a look?

Could you train it to somewhere?

SouthernMeerkat Sun 15-Feb-09 21:31:53

My boss has his children at ECS and is very impressed - he can't speak highly enough about it.

No ideas about the others - we briefly looked at moving to Claygate, but as we couldn't be sure we'd get close enough to ECS, and in any case would be living in a matchbox to achieve it, moved to Kent instead!!

scienceteacher Mon 16-Feb-09 08:45:26

SWPS is a senior school, with no feeder prep.

Notre Dame is 3 - 18.

eshermami Mon 16-Feb-09 18:26:08

My dd goes to Rowan in Claygate. We're very happy with it so far. What in particular would you like to know?

eshermummy Mon 16-Feb-09 19:56:06

Eshermami - how long has your dd been at Rowan? I also think Rowan looked like a lovely, lovely school and I do not think we would be at all disappointed if we sent the dd's (dd2 is 2). We would just be a lot poorer grin. And therein lies my dilemma really.
If (but am getting less hopeful that this will be the case now as we haven't played the religious game and apparently it's hideously oversubscribed this year) we get a place at ECS, where a fair proportion (half I think?) of the dc's go on to private schools at 11 is paying for primary in this area really worth it? We are totally sold on private from 11 but from reception?
What do you think you get from Rowan that you wouldn't get at say ECS or Claygate Primary? Did you consider state as an option and then discount it? (Fair enough if you didn't consider it at all, plenty of people don't I know, but I am interested to talk to someone who was faced with the same particular state and private options as us a few years ago and understand what was the deciding factor in their particular decision iykwim.)
One other thing, dd1 may require some additional support at school due to mild SN. Do you think Rowan would be accomodating? Are you aware of any other children with SN at the school? I know it is non-selective at 4+ entry but do you think it has a genuine range of abilities or is it quite competitive/pushy further up the school?

eshermami Mon 16-Feb-09 22:00:18

Our dd joined Rowan during Y1 as we moved to the area mid-year and could not get a place at ECS (also doesn't help that we don't go to Church...). From our experience so far, there is a genuine mix of abilitis at Rowan and one girl in dd's class is dyslexic and gets one-on-one help. It is a lovely, warm, caring environment and really suits our quite shy, introverted dd - she is thriving and loves going to school smile.

eshermummy Mon 16-Feb-09 22:33:11 if there had been a place at ECS do you think would have taken it ?
I think I'll have to see if we get an ECS place (find out in 2 weeks so the end is in sight thank god) and then take it from there.
Incidentally, how many are there in your dd's class ? I think class size is a big reason to go for Rowan, esp if dd does turn out to need more help. I am glad to hear it is really warm and caring - that's definitely the impression I had from visiting it but nice to hear it borne out.
How much homework does your dd get a night too?

Sorry, hope you don't mind the additional Q's. blush

Also, one last rather nosey one - do you have any younger dc coming up to school age and do you know what your first choice for them would be ?

Nice to chat to a local, albeit incognito grin

eshermami Tue 17-Feb-09 11:22:15

To be honest, as we knew we had no chance of getting a place at ECS, I can't tell you whether we would have taken it.... we probably would have been drawn to the smaller class sizes at Rowan as our dd was (and is) quite shy and introverted and benefits from being in a more 'gentle' environment. But this depends a lot on the individual child. Some children, especially outgoing ones, thrive in larger classes and do well. However, other children and/or those that need additional help will benefit from a smaller school with small class sizes. There are currently 16 girls in my dd's class, and the range seems to 13-20 girls per class. My dd also enjoys the extracurricular classes on offer (chess, tennis, choir etc).

If you are lucky enough to have a choice, look at both schools and you will probably have a 'gut' feeling at which one you think she'll be happier. Both are excellent schools, so whatever choice you make, it will be a good one smile.

Yes, I do have a younger ds who has just started reception at another local independent boys (well, mainly boys) school.

Yes, nice to 'meet' you too grin.

nayarani Tue 03-Mar-09 13:23:42

Very surprised at coments about Claremont.
Have 2 children there, both love it. Children doing very well A1 in many subjects, teachers charming. Children encouraged to be individuals, mine and their friends speak well are very polite, and have great fun doing the many after school activities. Results from Claremont are excellent and the ofstead report rated it outstanding in most areas.
The christian science element is almost non existant...don't be put off it is a fantastic school

Claygate Tue 03-Mar-09 16:12:47

Esher church primary will almost certainly not consider you if you do not regularly go to a local church, so do what the rest do and pretend to believe, join the Alhpa Course now. All the primary schools here are good, esher performs better than claygate though probably because of the type of people who attend or claim to attend c of e churches. Claygate primary is a good school in that the parent and wider community is nice. Because they seem to take a mix of ability, not all wealthy middle class educated church goers the level of education is not as high as esher church. I'm sure the private schools will always be better because the children come from wealthier parents and you pay for better resources and smaller class sizes. If you put the effort in and dont expect school to do everything for your child then claygate primary is a good school.It has early and late clubs an excellent head master but
secondary school is your big problem, kids can get through primary easily with your help but you should consider setting up for a secondary school. It is hell near claygate esher and hinchley wood.

eshermummy Tue 03-Mar-09 19:51:50

Claygate - thanks for your post. A bit late for the Alpha Course as we got our allocation letter last weekend. Anyway we made the decision a long time ago that we would not lie about our churchgoing.
We have been offered Claygate so we now have to decide between state and private options. I realise secondary is where it gets difficult but tbh we had already decided that we would go private at that point. The dilemma now is whether to go down the state route and then tutor like crazy in the later years or pay the money from reception with the hope that she will be well prepared for private at 11.
I do not disagree with you about the wider and far nicer parent and community mix at Claygate compared to ECS (I see the ECS mums at close quarters every day and some are truly hideous individuals, believe me). It is just incredibly galling to have to drive to Claygate given how VERY close we are to ECS. In any other year other than this one we would apparently have got in as this year there were 44 siblings sad

Claygate Wed 04-Mar-09 09:46:52

Really claygate primary suits claygate parents and some from chessington, it is a good school but i have no experience of people from esher trying to get into claygate, it is usually oversubscribed with claygate parents.

I have also heard terrible things about esher primary parents...but thats what you get with CofE schools, i assume catholic schools are largely full of catholics with a broader class base. I went to catholic schools....and from my experience they were safe places to grow up but they did nothing remarkable about my religious upbringing....i think church is the place for religion, school is for education.

I think those who can will go private because all the claygate parents failed to get Hinchley wood or esher church high, many have been allocated epsom and ewell.....many claygate homes will be up for sale very soon so that should stimulate the housing market. Oh crap, even chessington community college is looking good now. Still if a poor school is suddenly flooded with other children outside the catchment area maybe the quality will improve.

I must say I'm saddened that mumsnet appears to be populated only by people considering private or church education. Hoped there would be a broader discussion about schooling.

But i love talking about childrens opportunities.

WhistlersMother Sat 07-Mar-09 16:01:28

I have had to join mumsnet just to respond to these comments about Esher Church School. I'm very sad that eshermummy has had bad experiences with some ECS mums; I assume this relates to the terrible parking problems near the school.
As a parent there myself, I have to say that the mothers I have met have mostly been lovely people . A lot of us are even genuine church-goers! I have the highest regard for the staff, head teacher and governors and I know that they are very upset about this year's shortage of places. Not even every sibling has been found a place.
I realise that this is now academic for eshermummy who has not got a place, but I felt I had to support ECS.

The secondary school situation is, however, diabolical. Eshermummy, living near ECS, you would have been offered a place at Esher High School this year, regardless of what choice you put on your form. If this suits then fine, otherwise save your money to pay for secondary school. If necessary, supplement with a tutor in Year 5.

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