Aldwickbury in Harpenden(28 Posts)
Hi all, want to revive this thread as DS just been offered a place at Aldwickbury. Any further thoughts or experiences anyone could share to help us make our decision? I liked the school but slightly put off by comments I've heard!
And I NCed for this thread as it is very close to home.
Nah, I'm an old hand here: sock puppets, Terry Wogan's xxxx, moldies, Gluezilla etc etc.
And I am indeed a parent at the school. Just trying to be measured in my responses to a someone who says it's not a happy place. I haven't read a prospectus in quite some time.
Being a parent does not mean you can't use language such as "the roll is up", especially if you have a lot of teachers in the family!
And I'm being careful not to out the parent as I think I know who she is.
Interesting first post there from Baudolina....
Sounds like the type of thing you'd read in the school prospectus, particularly, 'the roll is up', bizarre, I can't imagine a parent ever saying such a thing...
I'm sorry zaran that you've had such a bad experience of the school.
However, I must say our experience of the Pre-Prep has been the polar opposite; it has been excellent for our boy. We've had great teachers, a lovely class, and lots of support from the head.
And luckily we have not come across much bullying. In fact, we were surprised that the merest hint of playground unpleasantness was sat on very quickly. But of course I can't comment on bullying in other years and other classes.
I'm sure the school has its faults, but there is not a mass scrambling to get out. (I'm imaging mothers standing by their 4x4s shouting "Get Out! Get Out!" through loud hailers.) In fact it seems to be thriving.
The roll is up, and again, I can only speak for ourselves, but we have not had anyone leave. In fact, we have had quite a few new boys in our class and year from other schools.
From our point of view, and I suspect from the point of view of the majority of parents, it is a happy place. Perhaps not the most academically pushy institution you could send your child to, but one which has, in our opinion, been perfect for our little boy. It is giving him a good all round education.
But each to their own. zaran - I hope you find another school that is a better fit for you and your child. Like you say are lots of lovely ones in the area.
Just came across this thread - our boy is in that school and we are looking to move asap - no inspiration there for children, overall a number of mums who we spoke to, whose boys gone the whole way till 13+ suggest to get children out as soon as possible, as the school does not motivate and develop children well. And there is bullying, which is not dealt with properly, not so much our child although he did a bit, but we see it with a few other kids. This year 3 children from our class are leaving. Not a happy place. Plus finally, the head gives not very nice reviews to children who move early (we have friends who went to Habs and I also know the teacher who comes to speak to aldwickbury for transition, he says not very nice things about parents, calling mums 'typical harpenden mum' who just wants to have coffees and not interested in their children - our friend was shocked at how rude he was). There are many lovely schools about, now we are researching properly, this one is not.
I should add that they are now pretty open about where the boys go on to. Names, destinations etc are easily available I think.
And we have heard of children who have been 'managed out' of at least one of the other schools mentioned up thread. I think the phrase "pitchforks and flaming torches" was used, so I would be careful how much weight you put to the idea that the school is the most ruthless out there.
...... I mean, it definitely sounds like its a money making machine first and a school second.
The school does a great job of prepping the kids for 13+ exams but a bad one at 11+. The cynics suggest that this is deliberate so that they can get a few more years of fees out of you.
I have no personal knowledge of the school. I am merely passing on comments made to me by a parent who has a child there. Sounds plausible to me especially after reading the money and special needs comments made upthread
I started this thread long ago and my DS is now in year 1, and we are very happy with the school. The pre prep feels quite independent from the rest of the school and has a relatively new head of whom we rate very highly. Anecdotally she seems to be more supportive of children with different needs and abilities than the last head of pre prep.
I don't know about any other issues with the school further up the years, but we have found it very supportive of our son who is * ahem * not showing his academic brilliance just yet.
The boys seem really nice, and it is a happy place.
However, bits are expanding rapidly. So check class sizes or number of classes in each year. My Ds's class has started to creep up in size, and so we're keeping an eye on it.
It's not very 'smart', and it has its down sides, but it is definitely worth a strong punt. Like I said, we are very happy there.
um, that really doesn't sound good! appreciate your honesty.
My main reasons were : there is a high turn over of staff, if any parents were unhappy - it wasn't a done thing to express your unhappiness, as a few parents said to me, you need to keep your head down and not cause any trouble in school. I got the feeling that the their main concern was just money i.e. getting as many children as possible. They use the TV a lot in school for teaching and entertaining kids when staff is at meeting etc. Play areas are inadequate (e.g. using car park) so boys end up getting hurt a lot at playtime from wrestling and play fighting as there isn't much else to do. Also I have seen how they boot kids out with special needs - I know that they do not cater for special needs but it is how they manage it, they are quite unpleasant abt it even for me as a spectator. It was only once I moved my DS, did I truly appreciated what a good private/public school should be like. I think Aldwickbury looks absolutely stunning with its wonderful old building and well kept grounds but if you look beyond it ... ???. Also they are a bit vague abt their leavers so they will not give you exact numbers unless of course if it looked good in one year! Am sure my DS would have been ok if he stayed at Aldwickbury but knew I could find a better school hence the move. Sorry for being negative but it is just my honest opinion. Like I said it is not a bad school ... just mediocre..
Would love to hear your reasons for your decision if you don't mind. I definitely want to make the right decision. I am a big believer that different schools fit different children. What were your issues with A'bury? What type of boys would it suit/not suit? We are looking at other options also.
Unfortunately I was not super happy with Aldwickbury so ended up moving my DS at Year 3. It is not a terrible school but we discovered later there were better schools in the surrounding areas like Beechwood Park, Edge Grove, Manor Lodge, Habs, Lochinver, Lockers Park etc...Blackice, make sure you check out other schools too.
Many thanks for the feedback, Follygirl. Glad to hear that you are still happy with the school 2 years on and that your son is doing well. I have heard (from more than one source apart from MN) that boys who don't fit in are 'managed out' but don't know how frequent this is or what the circumstances were. I'm really undecided and it's always to get a new perspective, good and bad.
I wrote on the original thread and we're now 2 years along. I'm still very happy with the school. I would agree that they are not able to cater for children with special needs but they can and do have boys who are dyslexic and who have ADHD.
I haven't come across a 'military style' approach. In fact compared to my daugher's school it is positively laidback. My son was allowed to develop at his own pace which meant no progress in reception but a huge leap in Y1. The school put no pressure on him and us and his learning was allowed to grow organically. I am only speaking from our experience but we are really pleased with the school and the fact that our son is thriving there.
Have just googled Aldwickbury and found this thread and am reviving it. I am considering it for my son. It seems to have a good 'feel' to it from what I can tell but does anyone have the inside track? Is it true that they are quick to ask boys who don't confirm to leave? many thanks
Hi any more feedback on Aldwickbury? Is it super strict or really good with live-wire boys?
Have heard that too Charlieliz. Have known of a few young boys to struggle with their strict military behavioural code in various ways from low achievement, concentration or behaviour and they were very quick to show them the door - giving them very little notice on options at the end of school year.
It would not be my choice of school for a summer born child. There's another private school in Harpenden with a stronger focus on pasteral care but it's heavily religious...I guess it depends what you want.
however, be warned, if there is any chance your son has any special needs they will want him to leave as they don't do that
My DS is also young for his year (mid July baby). There are 6 other summer babies in his class which is great.
One of the things I love about the school is that they are happy for the boys to progress at the rate which suits them. Some boys are starting to read and some like my son are still learning their letters. They recognise that children develop at different rates and are very supportive.
I would say that most mums live in Harpenden, St Albans and a few in Wheathampstead. No one lives further away than that so yes we are all relatively local.
We are really pleased with the school and more importantly our DS is really happy there.
It really is a fabulous school.
We have been on an open day, and really liked it. DS is very young for his year, and that's one of the reasons that we thought it would be good for us, as they seem really on top of everything.
Can I ask, do you live near the school. We are in Harpenden, and it would be nice if some of the boys were local.
Yes he is in pre-prep. I find it a lovely school.
The staff really seem to 'get boys'. He is able to go at his own pace and there is no pressure on him or us.
The other boys in his class seem lovely and the parents are really friendly. We've had 2 nights out already.
I don't think it's difficult to get into as the boys aren't assessed. It's just a case of putting your name down really.
Have you had a been on an open day yet?
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