Abbey Junior School (in Reading) or Piper's Corner (in High Wycombe)(9 Posts)
I am considering moving my daughter to an independent school (she is currently at state school) in September and would like to hear from anyone who has children or other experience at either Abbey Junior in Reading or Piper's Corner. I would love to hear your comments and feedback about these schools.
There have been people with strong opinions on Abbey on here in the past, they may come back and share!
My personal opinon of Abbey is from girls I know that have been there, and basically if you are academic and have a fairly strong personality that can deal with pressure, it could be perfect. I don't think it's for the more sensitive child. Two young women I know that went there are horrible people, very selfish and ruthless. I don't know how much of that is to do with the school though, and how much is just about them being horrible people.
Thanks for your reply Bubblecoral. You have just confirmed everything that I have heard about Abbey senior school. However, on visiting the Junior school, it seemed completely different and had a very happy and nice atmosphere. Do you know anything specifically about Abbey Junior or are your comments based on senior school?
If you are looking to move for this September I'd check whether the schools you're interested in actually have space.
I am an Abbey Junior School mum, and highly recommend it. It is a very happy school with happy girls and great facilities. It is very popular, and I think that many year groups are full with waiting lists. Few girls leave unless moving away.
There are plenty of-in fact I'd say an abundance of- "sensitive" children at the school, all well catered for because the pastoral care is great. I think that it nurtures and develops independence and confidence in all girls, as well as providing both academic stretch and support for those who need it. It is good for girls who will benefit from a structured day, but there is an amazing array of optional, free, lunchtime clubs for all interests (like sports, music, art, science, languages) as well as paid-for before and after school clubs like speech and drama, dance, judo. We like the fact that the girls get a PE or gym lesson every day.
As for the selfish ruthless girls (who are no doubt at all schools) I imagine that those qualities are a product of their upbringing and home environment, and Abbey girls are encouraged to be kind and considerate. Abbey girls are taught to look out for each other, and for others-on Friday they had the annual pupils only Charity afternoon, organised by, run by and attended by the girls-great fun.
The journey is a consideration-I gather you might be Maidenhead side of Reading-the traffic into Reading is awful, and depending on the age of your girl there is a coach service worth considering.
I have no experience of the Senior School, but the Head Mrs Stanley is very nice, and the ability to go straight through is a bonus.
Thank you for your reply Cavermum. When I visited the school, it really did look like a happy, relaxed environment in which the girls seemed very happy. Is it a given that the junior girla go straight through to Abbey senior, or do they have to sit a test? - wasn't sure about this.
Hello Mumin Berkshire,
There is a test, but the vast majority of girls do move up and I believe that those who leave are not doing so because they have "failed" the entrance. I know that a Junior School girl who underperforms in the Senior School entrance exam will have her whole school record taken into consideration, so effectively it should be okay because the school will know it was a one off-highly sensible and takes the pressure off the girls. We get two fairly detailed reports a year plus parent-teacher meetings, so any potential problems with academic progress would be highlighted extremely early.
I also know of someone whose daughter started in Y6, and she apparently had a guaranteed Senior School place on the basis that there's no point in starting only to have to leave. You 'd have to check if that does still happen as this was quite a few years ago.
I should have said that the new girl intake increases a little at Y4, mostly with state school girls whose parents are looking ahead to the Senior School. There is an entrance test for the school no matter in what year you start, I'd check that with the school too as the format varies depending on the year.
If you do decide on The Abbey, I am sure that your daughter will be very happy there.
Thank you - your posts have been really informative and are helping me to gain some direction in choosing the best school for my daughter. It is invaluable to hear from someone who knows the school as an insider rather than just making a judgement based on scratching the surface from the outside.
Abbey Junior seemed like a very happy school with great facilities and a vibrant headmistress. However, I have to admit that although I have seen the senior school, I have been put off by a lot of negative comments from people - sink or swim environment, only for the brightest of the bright, overly competive etc.
I wondered if you are able to offer any insight to the senior school. Also wanted to ask for your thoughts about how a shy, quiet, less confident girl who is academically bright in certain areas but average in others, would get on in Abbey Junior. Finally, in your opinion, are most of the junior school girls a friendly, inclusive bunch? Are there any bullying issues that you are aware of?
Once again, thank you for all of the useful information.
My knowledge of the Senior School is very positive, but of course highly subjective.
For example, I don't ever hear comments about it being overly competitive etc from SS parents whether their daughters "went up" or started in Y7 , but I do hear it from parents who have never had girls at the school, and have read some unrecognisable comments on Mumsnet (in particular by one Mum who appears to have had very unique circumstances). It's definitely not just for the "brightest of the bright", but there are some girls there who have for example turned down Kendrick places or haven't even sat the Kendrick exam but were considered capable of a place-i.e. pretty bright. Quite a few old girls send their children to The Abbey.
A shy , quiet, (currently!) less confident girl will be just fine, and I would say should flourish because there really is something for everyone, and the staff really do look for girls interests and strengths-new girls are allocated to someone who looks after them at first, plus they are buddied up for work or activities, and there are quite a few social activities like Christmas parties organised by the parents.
I think joining a club is a great way of making friends, especialy Mrs Icke's fun Drama club. I have heard that Mrs Ryninks asks existing parents who have a common interest or live near by to make contact before new girls start too. I am also amazed by how well the teachers get to know the girls and their characteristics. I wonder if it would help to ask if you could speak to an existing parent if they would allow that?
Academically, there are stretch classes for more able girls, as well as support teachers to help where girls are less able. I'm not aware of bullying issues, but would approach the form teacher instantly if I was at all worried. My experience is that the girls are friendly and inclusive, and it can be hard to remember who was there from the beginning and who joined later on.
I hope this helps. Feel free to ask anything else if that helps inform what must be a big decision.
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