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Sancton Wood

(6 Posts)
McDoogle Tue 31-Jan-17 13:50:11

Hello, we are considering sending DS (year 3) and DD (year 1) to SW. We've just been round the Open Day and it looks very nice. I'm wondering if anyone has any experience of this school and your thoughts. Is it a hot house environment? DS is sporty and loves being active - is this encouraged here? Many thanks in advance.

HereIAm20 Wed 01-Feb-17 09:26:25

Sancton Wood is not necessarily known for its academics (definitely not a hot house) and also due to the very small year group sizes tends not to offer sports in the same way as many other schools eg. class sizes not big enough to offer team sports etc.

It does have a good reputation for dealing with children with SEN and pastoral care.

If you are looking for thriving sports school I would probably be looking at different preps such as St Johns, St Faiths or Kings Cambridge if you want to stay in Cambridge or King's Ely if you were happy with being outside Cambridge.

doctorgeek Wed 01-Feb-17 10:04:15

Friends have their two DCs there and are happy - they moved from a very well regarded state primary which let them down. Definitely not a hot house.

My main concern would be the year sizes - IIRC they are quite small and I worry about them being too small for social comfort (and then, is the school financially viable?)

orchardy Wed 01-Feb-17 15:00:03

My impression is that it's not a hothouse - in fact of all the private schools in Cambridge I think it's the one that would be least likely to be described that way. I know it has tiny classes and good pastoral care. Not sure there's much space for sport as the kids get older. The very small classes would put me off, to be honest. Socially that can be very difficult. But horses for courses as usual!

McDoogle Thu 02-Feb-17 09:50:05

Many thanks everyone, I really appreciate all your comments and thoughts

realitycheckpoint Mon 06-Feb-17 14:45:50

Hi, our son goes there for pre-school. Overall assessment: it is a great, safe school, teachers are kind, but it is not extraordinary and as such, I think it's overpriced for what it is. If someone told me this was a state school I would believe it, other than the extremely good student-teacher ratios (this is not to say that state schools are all bad, just to say that you wouldn't tell this school has as much funding as it does).

When we visited the Stephen Perse Foundation pre-prep, we were blown away by comparison, for roughly the same price. That one also has small class sizes, friendly environment (feels very liberal, humanist, not like a conservative traditional school like the Perse where a lot of the emphasis is on uniformity and good behaviour) and oh my god so much better thought out resources. The only weird thing for us that we're getting our head around is the single-sex diamond formation thing that SPF do.

If Sancton Wood was priced at about half the price it is per term, I think that would be about right, if you compare the resources and the quality you get back.

* teachers are nice, especially for early years, we haven't met anyone beyond that
* new Pre-Prep site on Station road is (for us) well located, and it has a huge outdoors terrace and garden.
* it seems like a safe, good environment

* rooms are small, buildings are cramped. We were surprised that even with the recent expansion and acquisition of 3 new buildings, the classrooms are still very small, and many of them felt dark and cluttered. The place feels a bit make-shift which means it's a bit like a family home, but there also is not a consistent and well thought-out interior design to the buildings or classrooms.
* the clubs/extracurricular activities don't seem to be very well organised, don't seem to change much, and many of them don't start unless they find enough pupils, which is indeed hard
* there are no large green spaces for sports or large sports facilities as far as we're aware

In summary, I don't want to say anything bad about Sancton Wood, as it is a great place, and I would love to love it for being a small, not overly posh independent school. But you have to go and see what you're getting and compare it with others to know whether this is what you are after if you're considering independent schools. I do feel that at this price range there are similarly friendly options that also just feel cutting edge in comparison.

P.S.: I should say that I am still highly sceptical of the independent school system in general, the only reason we're considering these is because our catchment state schools are oversubscribed and many of them haven't had a permanent headteacher, etc.

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