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Looking for school for my boys for Yr7(17 Posts)
I have been looking around several schools for my older boy. I have looked at Stephen Perse, The Perse, Heritage and Kings in Ely. He enjoys Maths, art and sports. Does anybody have any idea?
Each of the schools you mention has a fairly different feel/ethos to it - it's hard to advise as what is great for one child might not suit another.
Not sure where you live but if you're in Cambridge don't forget to factor in cost/time for travel to Kings Ely for example. If he likes maths, art and sports your son sounds like a fairly decent 'all rounder' so it may be best to go with what you/he likes the most. Some things to consider in weighing them up though might include:
- size of classes/year group especially in yr 7 and 8 if you're looking at say Leys vs Perse Upper (I know you haven't mentioned Leys, have you looked at it or already discounted it)
- mix of boys vs girls - could be a factor especially when considering Stephen Perse - they are only mixed at secondary level from September 2017, no idea what the split of boys/girls will be for those early years or if it would matter to you
- cost over the long term - are the fees broadly similar and do they stay the same from Yr 7-11 some hike for Yr 9-11
Which year are you looking at entry for?
The Stephen Perse is just in the process of going mixed - so likely to be still girl-heavy in your DS's year. The Perse has been about 60% boys, though may become a bit more evenly balanced once the Stephen Perse starts taking boys. Both are large day schools with good sports and academic in focus - lots of sport/music etc but very much as extra cirricular activities. The Perse has a bit more space about it - less central, less crowded feeling than Stephen Perse IMO.
Kings Ely is a bit less selective (though does have an entrance exam) and takes mainly boarders - so a different kind of feel to it. They used to do Saturday school though I think I heard they were stopping that.
Heritage is new and small and I don't know much about it, other than it sells itself on "tradition".
Hi Freemind00, sent mine to local prep from Year 7, but then of course you'd have to find him an onward place, and you might not like to break continuity for him.
We found St Chris in Letchworth to be by far the best onward school from year 9; high quality arts and sciences (its got its own observatory and amazing and passionate maths and science teachers) and a great mixture of sports options: its easy to get to by train/short school bus from Cambridge. Also no gruelling Saturday school. It was the only shool we could find that was really "up to date" with its approach to educating teens and it caters particularly well for gifted and talented children in a highly proactive and thoughtful way. I wish it was in Cambridge, it outshines all the others, but your lad's interests would be very well catered-for there.
Good luck, hope you can find him a great school that makes him happy!
Each to their own KubiksRube but not every parent wants no school uniform, their child to call the teachers by their name and as far as results go although good they certainly don't match the levels of Perse or Stephen Perse. Also none of the schools mentioned by the op have Saturday school and neither does King's Ely anymore.
Ofcourse HereIAm, you are right, some parents want their children to have to wear a uniform, but I suspect most children do not want to have to wear a uniform. I would rather leave the choice of school to my child, but perhaps not every child is able to make that decision for themself, even if they are permitted the choice to do so.
My child has thrived and already gained a very early GCSE (A*) at St Chris, the league table results of which probably Very much reflect its positive and warm embrace of the education and support of children with specific support needs, which are carefully and expertly catered-for. It also has many children with very high and broad academic skill and natural talent.
I also suspect most children would rather go to a school with a broad spectrum of other children, some with special needs, or who are broadly different from the "norm", rather than havng to try and find a place within a hierarchy of highly competitive and stressed-out classmates. However, I have no experience personally of the other schools you mention, directly, only by anecdote and by visiting them. I just wanted to provide my experience of a really excellent school in order to answer the OP's query. As you say, each to their own.
Thank you for the advice.
As for continuity to senior school , my son ,actually, wants to leave the current school as he has not made any close friends since his close friend went back to Australia when they were in Yr4. He needs more space to move around and likes open space.
We went to the schools" open day and did private visits as well. I know Stephen Perse is taking 17-20 new boys for 2017 admission. They are going to mix Maths and computer studies which I think it is progressive to mix subjects.
As for the Leys, (I may not be correct as I found out from discussing with a few parents), there is a quite a proportion of teachers with children in the same school. I am not comfortable with this as the boys are experiencing this in their current school and I can see the effects of it. Also, from another source (the mum actually saw it), there is a a number of yr 12 repeats from Leys in MPW sixth form school.
I think I have finalised which schools my older son is going to try but just need a few more fact finding.
There will always be a reasonable number of private school teachers with kids at their school - discounted school fees is pretty much the only perk teachers get. I would imagine the same situation will exist at SPF, Perse Upper and Kings Ely.
What do you mean by mix subjects - are they mixing the boys and the girls together for those subjects at SPF or are they taught both by the same teacher. Perse Upper doesn't use the same teachers but does use the same sets for maths and computing.
Something else to bear in mind with SPF is their focus on iPads - they've gone all out on them and use them intensively; Perse Upper much less so and no iPads at all in Yr 7. Different parents have different views on the use of them so if you have strong feelings either way that might make a difference.
Be careful of 'fact finding' from other parents - a quick look at this thread and others on this board will show you that views on Cambridge schools vary widely, there are all sorts of anecdotes out there about most of the schools.
I'd be a bit concerned about that low a number of boys going into the Stephen Perse if I had a son to send there - aren't they planning on single sex classes for most subjects? In which case wouldn't your DS end up in the same group of boys all the time? Not much chance to set by ability, or for different friendship groups. And what happens with GCSE options? (Or will they do mixed sex classes by then?)
I don't think they're are many teachers children at the Perse upper - most of the teachers are far too young!
That's a really good point Cammumm - looking at SPF webiste it says:
co-education classes in all subjects up to year 4
single sex classes for English, maths and science in year 5 & 6
single sex classes in all subject in year 7 & 8
single sex classes in English, maths, science, humanities in year 9
single sex classes in English, maths and science in year 10 & 11
So yes, there is every possibility that there will be 17 boys all having to be taught together. If I was looking at sending a son there I would definitely want a lot of info about how they are going to deal with that, not just around setting (not sure if SPF set do they?) but also around friendship groups. Personally I've never bought into small class sizes/year groups as being a particularly good thing; I think you need a big enough group that each kid can find those they get along with and also have a large enough number of other influences to help them develop as teenagers and see them through the slightly more fluid friendships that goes with kids developing/changing at different rates.
SPF definitely used to set for Maths in year 7, I can't remember if they set in any other subjects (maybe languages) but most subjects weren't set. DD is in year 11 now. Year 7 was such a long time ago!
I imagine that as the intake is fairly selective then there wouldn't be a wide range of abilities in any case - certainly it wouldn't compare to having a mixed ability class in a non-selective school.
I think this all depends on the child where they can thrive-small/big class or school; single sex or mix class; how they teach and the style; the student variety-race,ability, friendliness, mixture; freedom of choice and mix of subjects.
As for anecdotal evidence, the sources were from the people who had children there and experienced it. Their information have been reliable on other topics as well. It is on how to pick the info out of the whole evidence.
Finally, we used our perceptions to look at the school and the student and behaviour. The elder son had his taster days and has pretty much decided.
I have personal recent experience of both King's Ely and The Perse and although they are very different schools they each suited the particular child.
If you want to PM feel free.
We are Relocating to Cambridge from South Africa and looking for an inclusive , nurturing independent school for our 8 year old daughter as well as our 7 year old who has SEN - thanks in advance😀
Sanction wood, the Phoenix school. The rest are very academic. Depending on the nature of your child's SEN independent schools are not great at supporting some children and you may be best to go for state (if you can).
Thanks for the input...unfortunately the Phoenix school has shut down, and still awaiting response from sancton wood - heard good things about Landmark International school , anyone have kids there?
Very sad that Phoenix closed! I'm sure the parents that opened it worked very hard, and then they moved out of town, which I suspect was a mistake. I have heard good things about Landmark too (very welcoming and inclusive), but don't have any personal experience of it.