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leys v Stepen Perse Foundation(8 Posts)
We are undecided as to whether to accept an offer from The Leys or SPF. The Leys appears to be more organised in relation to pastoral care and the overall leadership of the school, but SPF has better academic results. My daughter (yr7) will need both in order to blossom
Can anyone give us some insight into their child's experience at either please?
I would be happy to hear alternative views
Difficult one, the two schools are very different - the Leys is more of a traditional boarding school (with the long Saturday's you'd expect from that), SPF is in transition from all girls to mixed. The heads have very different styles, Tricia Kelleher is much more of CEO, Martin Priestly has a lot of the boarding school head about him (hence I suspect the Leys tends to come across very strong on pastoral).
In terms of academics, it's probably not as straightforward as comparing the stats on a like for like basis. Perse Upper has historically tended to take some of the very academic boys (and girls) who would have also sat the Leys exams - not sure how much that is still the case but the impact will still be showing in results for GCSE and A-Level I suspect. I would imagine that SPF also tended to be first choice for very academic girls in the same way. The Leys is still not shabby in terms of academics though.
Are you able to go back to both schools for another visit? Does your daughter have a preference?
I know families with children at both schools. I would say pastoral care is more talked about at the Leys, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is better.
SPF have a past reputation as an academic hothouse but are now working on being a more caring and nurturing environment.
Our family has direct experience of the utterly dreadful pastoral care at the Leys foundation's main feeder school, St Faith's. Pastoral care is something they claim is important to them but we felt it was one of their major fails when we were there just under 5 years ago.
One thing you might factor in is that SPF is a very small site. They have a brand new state of the art sports facility but no grounds other then some the kids walk down to. Leys is better served in this area. Leys also has quite a broad curriculum including subjects like Food Tech (I think), SPF doesn't teach that. However, SPF is an academic school that is good on arts and sciences and I'd probably still choose it for a sensitive child.
Yr7 at Leys is very small. We had one child from our primary go there this academic year. There are only about 15 girls in total in the current yr 7. SPF is the opposite, more girls and slightly fewer boys in yr7. I have to be honest here, the girl from our primary is not esp happy at the Leys so far.
I know 4 boys who went to SPF this year, they do moan but mostly about the workload. My DC is at St Bede's and the workload is about the same.
Thanks for the replies RocknRoll and MasterMum.
We have been back to both schools for 2nd (and third) visits. The third visit to Leys was with Martin Priestly in his rooms. DD preference is SPF, although probably not for the best reasons: one of here friends in Primary has accepted a place there, Leys has Saturday sessions, and she liked the food !! My husband has a preference for SPF - thinks that it is an establishment more in touch with the modern world, and it offers IB as an option. He has a "gut feel" that SPF would suit DD. I like Leys. I like the tradition of the place. However, both are great schools. We have until this Friday (16th) to make up our minds. This is so hard !!!
Do you also have a state secondary back up?
I missed piping in on this, and I'm sure OP has already made a decision, but I think pastoral care at St Faith's is outstanding. I know MasterTomsMum had a poor experience, but we have had an outstanding experience at St Faith's, and I don't see any reason to suspect The Leys pastoral care based on one person's bad experience at St Faith's.
Both of my kids have thrived Yr4 and Yr7. My Yr4 boy had not done so well at his previous school, but has really taken off in the care of the staff at St Faith's. He has been on the bottom teams of all the school sports this year (having never played any of them before), and yet, he always thinks he is super sporty, and wins the awards for Most Improved Player. He entered the school with terrible handwriting, but they never let him get discouraged. They pulled him aside for weekly learning support for handwriting for a while, but he improved quite quickly and now boasts his pen license. Anyway, I just wanted to give another perspective.
Just to say, I think St Faith's can be great for some kids and I things have probably changed since we were there. So variety of views is always good.