Looking for recommendations for a private school in Cambridge for a not very academic girl. We'd also like to be able to move her much brighter DD to the same school. State school not working for either but for different reasons - one not able to cope with noise of large class and the other not stretched.
We've heard good things about St Mary's and St Faith's.
Grumpy - so you think St Faith's is less selective than St Mary's? I would prefer not to say which school they're at currently as totally outing as no one else has two DDs in those years at that school.
I am not an expert and don't have DC at either of those schools. But I do know a couple of families with not academic DC at St Faiths (one girl really not academic, think 1 out of 20 on maths tests usually, although quite sporty), whereas the ones that are at St Mary's are academic. Also I know a family whose bright girl didn't get offered a place at St Mary's, but got into Perse....
The families I know that chose St Faith's chose it purposefully because it was not academic. However, that doesn't mean it lacks more able students and doesn't imply that it doesn't cater well for them.
St Faith's is certainly academically selective. Most children move up from the Pre-Prep, so there are very few places in Year 3 and entrance is by selective exam.
They also set for all of the core subjects from year 5. Top set are stretched way beyond what would be expected for their ages. Entry to The Leys is not automatic (as it is in the Perse), but pupils can take the entrance exam in year 6 and hold a place until year 9. Pupils who fail have the option of trying again in year 8.
It is not academic in the sense that it focuses purely on academic pursuits though, but academic children do well. There is support for the less academic, but pupils who struggle tend to leave. Sport figures very highly, but there is also a lot of emphasis on the arts.
I work at St Faith's, it's an excellent, all round school, I haven't been there long but they really seem to value the individuals and their interests rather than just academic results which is the case with other schools I have worked in.
My youngest two boys both went to St Faiths from age 9, selective exam to enter. Elder was top sets across the board, younger much less academic and I found them both very well served by the school, stretching the first and giving great support to the second. I took them out of state school for much the same reasons as you and have absolutely no regrets about choosing St Faiths, great all round school with lovely staff.
As some will know from previous threads, our experience of St Faiths was not a very positive one. That said it can be a good fit for some children. All rounders who are good at sports may well find it a good experience.
When we were there a lot of girls left for St Mary’s during Yrs 3 and 4. At least one of these shared characteristics with my son seeming bright but high maintenance whilst at St Faiths. Just like us, all the high maintenance and need for SENCO intervention disappeared within weeks of leaving St Faiths. Sometimes a setting works and sometimes it doesn’t.
Sorry Poppy, I misunderstood your post. I thought you were taking the comments about the calibre of SW pupils at face value, whereas in fact you were making the point that you didn't think much of a teacher who would dismiss children.