Independent Schools in Saffron Walden

(14 Posts)
DoreenRosemary Thu 07-May-09 14:53:15

Does anyone have any feedback on the Friends School in Saffron Walden. We are moving to SW and having great difficulty finding a place at a local school so are looking at independent schools. Any feedback would be useful, with thanks.

coolma Thu 07-May-09 20:39:43

Dame Johanna Bradburys is lovely and of course the Friends school.

coolma Thu 07-May-09 20:40:53

sorry completely misread your post. The Friends is a very good school - my cousins went there and boarded. Quaker of course but as far as I am aware, academically good too.

Millarkie Thu 07-May-09 21:16:31

Friends is a great school. It has a real emphasis on pastoral care as well as treating each child as an individual with regards to their teaching. The Quaker side is not overwhelming (the children have a 'silent pause for 'thinking of good things' in assembly in the Junior school).
It has a very welcoming spirit and when my children were there (ok so I'm a bit biased) there were a number of children with special needs (dyslexia is a speciality) which means that the emphasis is not on the school achieving high exam results but on each child achieving the best that they can do.
The junior school children can do a wide range of clubs, cricket, football, tennis, board game, trampolining, and can take ballet and a range of music lessons during the school day. Junior school also have free 'wrap-around' care so you can drop the children at 8am and they can go to after-school supervision until 5.45 if necessary.
The school uses email to communicate with parents (they email a newsletter each week or so, or you can request a paper copy) and the teachers are approachable and listen to worries.
If your children are extremely academic you may be better off looking at the Perse school in Cambridge (but I believe there are coaches which pick up from Walden)..which is more of a traditional academic environment. but as you can probably tell, I think Friends is a great school
Oh, and welcome to the SW area - also a great place to live!

Millarkie Thu 07-May-09 21:18:42

If you are thinking of primary schools by the way, we found Newport Primary (which is a couple of miles outside Saffron Walden) seemed pretty good (it's a small village school) and tends to have spaces (compared to R A Butler in central Walden which has a good reputation but is oversubscribed).

DoreenRosemary Fri 08-May-09 19:17:13

Millarkie thank you so much for the feedback on the Friends school. In your view, and that of your friends, did you feel that your children were held back in any way academically? I wouldn't want my daughter to attend a competitive academic school but equally I would want her to do well academically. Is that a contradiction? In any case, I will follow this through. Thank you additionally for your information on outside interests and activities. I will stay in touch on this thread should I need to pick your brains further. Kindest regards.

SWBird Fri 08-May-09 21:08:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Millarkie Fri 08-May-09 21:47:16

Hi, In no way were my children held back academically - in fact they raced ahead and had suitable work for their abilities, but I thought it fair to mention that the Friends school philosophy is more about the individual child than the school's overall results ie. most independent schools will aim for 100% top sat scores whereas Friends might score more like 80% (like good state schools I guess) but the difference is that they don't select children by their academic promise and a lot of children move to Friends from the state schools if they are having problems.
Very willing to chat. That's not to say that there aren't academically gifted children there - there are, but there is more of a mix than most independent schools (in my experience anyway ) My daughter is the same age as yours (from your other thread) so I should be able to give you current info on Walden.

rabbitears Sat 13-Mar-10 14:20:06

how about dame bradbury's which we are looking at next week, anyone have any experience/views? we are looking at our village schools around Chrishall as well, much my preference, ...looking forward to moving to area in 2 weeks....and it is spring well at least it is here in London

Ferncottage Tue 16-Mar-10 18:39:57

I am in the process of moving my daughter from a local village school to Dame Bradbury's - we liked it a lot.

biscuits400 Wed 17-Mar-10 21:26:55


Its interesting reading your comments on Friends as if I could afford it I think I would send my children there just from what I've seen and also heard. Unfortunately the pennies aren't mounting to much so we'll be going to the local catchment school which for us is Katherine Semar. I think it was RAB but over the years i think we've been pushed out of the catchment area. Do you know anything about this school? The HV said it's a very good school but I think she would. I know nearer the time we'll be able to do a school visit etc. but worry that everyone only talks about RAB.

Thanks in advance.

rabbitears Sat 20-Mar-10 12:21:15

thanks ferncottage for yr message, i really like the learning ethos too at Dame B's as it seems very much about equipping children to learn for themselves rather than obsessing about the results. it seemed v down to earth to us and we thought we cd hope to go for SWCH after (and thats why we are not going for Friends although can see its lovely too) the push for us is just not getting a place at our village school. a big jump for us. good luck with yr options Biscuits

GnTmummy Fri 23-Apr-10 06:50:58


we are going to DBs on Monday for a visit. I am hoping to get my little boy in there when he turns three later this year. Does anyone have experience of the nursery there -- or similarly planning to send their child(ren) there this year? Any thoughts gratefully received!

Irony Sun 30-Sep-12 15:28:41

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