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Co-ed prep schools in Guildford

(34 Posts)
DeboDevonshire Wed 18-May-11 06:57:51

Hi ladies, I hope you can help me with this. We are planning our move from the big smoke down to Guildford this summer. We have two children, DS 5 and DD 3. We are looking for a co-ed prep school for them, and have come up with Longacre, Ripley Court and Hoe Bridge. Are these Guildford schools? Will they make Guildford friends at these schools? I am told Longacre serves the area south of Guildford rather than Guildford itself. Where do parents who want a co-ed education go? I am not against state at all, but have rather presumed we won't get my DS into a school at this stage, and also want the freedom to buy the house I want, rather than being tied to a particular street to get into a school. Any advice on co-ed schooling in the area? Many thanks.

Silverstreet Wed 18-May-11 20:51:57

Hi I would ring round state schools as you may be surprised. I live in one of the surrounding villages and whilst the new reception class is full for this September, there is 1 space in current reception due to it being a lower birth rate year and current Year 1 is totally full. So if DS is current reception he would get a place tomorrow. This is a very good school with children going onto either very good state comps plus the private schools in Guildford/surrounding area. Other posters who live in Guildford have said same before re Guildford primaries, there is a fair bit of movement. If a school has a place they will offer to you if you apply - you don't have to live in any particular street for an in year admission when there is a vacancy.

mummytime Wed 18-May-11 21:43:17

I would apply to state (even Holy Trinity) as there is often movement in Guildford. People move for all kinds of reasons eg. from University to becoming missionaries. Those are the three co-ed prep schools, most people who go private go for single sex schools, and Lanesborough/High School/Tormead are all close enough to be totally do able.

I hope this helps. BTW I have heard good things about all three preps you mention, and even know teachers at one.

Fiddledee Wed 18-May-11 22:42:36

In general those 3 schools will not have lots of Guildford pupils though as mummytime has said there are lots of single sex options in town. What you do want to avoid is having to go through the town centre at school run time unless you are dropping the kids off at one of the schools in town.

You may think it will be more convenient to have both kids at the same school but a school run from the centre of town to Old Woking (Hoe Bridge) is not much fun and you would pass all the single sex preps on the way. I would look at state if you want co-ed in Guildford.

Good luck finding a house.

DeboDevonshire Thu 19-May-11 00:04:55

Thanks for the replies ladies. I will look at the state options too. Mummytime, which school do you know the teacher at if you don't mind me asking? My DS is on the list for Lanesborough, but no place as of yet and we need to make a decision pretty sharpish. Friends have suggested the Goldalming schools, but this would involve moving my DS twice (he is already in reception) as they only take boys to 7, so there would be another move again then. And Aldro looks like a bit of a hothouse for Charterhouse tbh. We were planning on renting as we don't know exactly in Guildford we want to live, I have heard good things about Holy Trinity, so will equire as to spaces.

puffling Thu 19-May-11 00:19:53

People think very highly of Longacre. My niece goes to a lovely state primary. I think it's in Wonersh/Shamley Green. She got a place mid year. Normal entry requirement would be to go to parish church.

Fiddledee Thu 19-May-11 08:15:35

village schools tend to be far less oversubscribed, there are quite a few villages 10-15mins from guildford. My village infant school has only on average 15-18 each class, a swimming pool, teach french etc...

willali Thu 19-May-11 12:24:35

Another vote here for Longacre - leaving it was a wrench when we moved out of Guildford! Agree though that you don't want to be living the other side of the G'ford one way system - but they do run a bus from Guildford which may save you the morning run at least.

Fiddledee Thu 19-May-11 12:45:38

Of the three I would go for Longacre although alot of my neighbours go for Hoe Bridge, a few for Ripley Court (a very alternative headmaster is the most polite way of putting it but many report it being a very happy school). Where you live will determine which co-ed. Live in Pewley Down/Shalford, going to Longacre not such a bad trek as long as you don't need to get to work afterwards, Hoe Bridge(20mins) and Ripley Court (15mins) fine if you live in Merrow/Burpham. However, the single sex schools will all be closer.

DeboDevonshire Thu 19-May-11 17:46:45

Thanks all - I went to see Longacre today. I was very impressed. The Head was totally on my wavelength. She has two children at the school, having moved from Sutton Valence in Maidstone a year ago. She had all the same concerns as I do about moving house and schools. One of her current projects is to stop the exodus of boys out at 7 (one of my concerns), and from what I saw, the classes seemed very balanced between boys and girls (another worry of mine). The car park set up looked good (I didn't want an 'open the car door and out they fall' type of arrangement), as chatting at drop off and pick up is how you make friends, which is very important to me. Parents seemed very heavily involved too - another plus. Academically she claimed to get every child into their first choice of school (although I am guessing this will be after heavy consultation with the school as to what the senior school should be) - I am going to find out a bit more about this as DH wants a comprehensive analysis of leaver destinations. I am off to see Ripley Court tomorrow, thank you for the heads up on the Head. Seems very sporty from the prospectus. I am a sucker for a swimming pool on site and rolling grounds so will need to look beyond this.

Fiddledee Thu 19-May-11 17:53:12

Somebody last week described the Ripley Court swimming pool to me as if it looked as if it was an e-coli breeding ground, don't get your hopes up! Go and see Cranmore, boys only although take girls at the pre-school if you want impressive grounds/pool etc.. and all the facilities you could want.

willali Thu 19-May-11 18:21:35

Debo you will find that all prep school heads will encourage parents to focus on the appropriate senior school for each child - it does them no favours if parents are unrealistic so that the child fails to get in and therefore spoil their 100% record! Longacre feeds to many schools (the fact that it is not a feeder for one particular school was, I felt, a strength!) including Royal Grammar School, Guildford High etc for the brightest children. They are also however incredibly supportive of those whose sights are set rather lower in the academic sense, and make sure each one gets to somewhere appropriate. Boys leaving at 7 is a perennial problem becaise Longacre does not go up to 13, when some of the boys Public Schools start. Leaving at 7 is a natural point at which to go to a 13+ prep school (mostly they go to Cranleigh). However the mix across the school was very nearly 50/50 when we left some years ago and I suspect this doesn't change much from year to year

DeboDevonshire Thu 19-May-11 18:26:53

I have been googling all the discussions on here about Cranmore - I don't think it is the school for my DS to be honest. Will look closel at the pool tomorrow! Willali - do you know what they do for swimming at Longacre? They are doing a lot of building work over the summer, but none involved a pool.

Fiddledee Thu 19-May-11 21:12:04

Go and visit all the schools you would consider (I wouldn't judge Cranmore on possibly out of date views on the school posted on here). You know your children and can judge for yourself where they would fit in. That may help you decide what area you will look for a house to rent. Also do trial school runs, as on the map or during the day a journey can seem fine, but at school run time it can be a completely different matter. We've been through all this recently in the area.

annh Fri 20-May-11 00:16:02

DS2 did swimming lessons at Ripley Court until about two years ago. I used to sit next to a grandmother whose children had gone to school there and she said the pool hadn't changed much in 40 years!

DeboDevonshire Fri 20-May-11 12:49:26

Back from Ripley Court. The Head was a complete contrast to the Head at Longacre, a very physically large (so I imagine potentially intimidating) forthright chap, who was very unPC in many ways (mentioned gypsies taking over the local state schools, ranted about the governors at another school) and was quite impatient with my little girl who I had taken along with me (who was somewhat challenging at times, bless her). Having said that, he did talk a lot of sense about what works well in a school and I think the ethos of the school might work well for us. It did seem quite boy heavy, obviously due to Years 7 and 8 being purely boys. The swimming pool building has definitely seen better days, and the roof needs a good clean, but the pool itself looked fine. The grounds were lovely, and I did like the focus on keeping the children active and healthy, but not overly competitive with sport. If this school was south of Guildford we would DEFINITELY go for it I think as it seemed a bigger school than Longacre (even though the numbers are not that different), and I liked having the option of boy staying until 13, even though we might not take that option. Is the drive through Guildford that bad? I drove through at around 3.15pm yesterday afternoon and it didn't seem too busy, but I am used to London, so maybe it is all relative?

willali Fri 20-May-11 13:21:54

It's not the aftrenoon drive that will lead to life shortening high blood pressure Debo wink. It's in the morning the madness lies.....

willali Fri 20-May-11 13:24:48

The younger ones at Longacre go to Cranleigh (town not school) pool once a week if I remember correctly. However it is very much more a swimming "experience" than a lesson and mainly in my view serves to teach them how to get dressed and undressed quickly. In other words you wouldn't want to rely on those sessions alone to teach them to swim! I think these sessions stop at about Year 3??

DeboDevonshire Fri 20-May-11 13:43:56

Thanks Willali - where did your children go post Longacre if you don't mind me asking? I am a little bothered by the stopping at 11 issue at Longacre, although the Head did mention that RGS takes more in at 11 than 13. I am sure that is true, but if my boy is not an RGS boy I can see him having to go to another prep for just two years, which seems unnecessarily disruptive. There are obviously state options, which I presume are Guildford County in south Guildford.

Fiddledee Fri 20-May-11 14:45:04

The problem with the south (of) guildford area is that you haven't got alot of choice of boys days schools for secondary - RGS or Cranleigh (very expensive even as a day pupil). If you live in Guildford itself he could get the train to other boys or co-ed schools that go to 18 - St John's Leatherhead is popular, or Reeds Cobham. Only if you want your child to go to boarding school would I worry about a school going to 13.

willali Fri 20-May-11 16:18:43

for the reasons mentioned by Fiddle we moved away from Guildford to another part of Surrey to increase the opportunities for our DS who definitely is not an RGS kinda guy grin. We left Longacre way before he got to 11 - I'm a great forward planner!! I know that doesn't help you Debo. Boys are woefully served by Guildford day schools - true fact

willali Fri 20-May-11 16:20:07

Oh and St Johns starts at 13 so would still have the same problem - Reeds starts at 11 though

Pagwatch Fri 20-May-11 16:23:34

3.15 in guildford is quiet.

Rgs, GHS and tormead shut at 3.45 to 4.00
it then gets progressively madder with shoppers, shop staff and office workers trying to get out of town through the one way system.
And if it rains it grinds to a halt.

Pagwatch Fri 20-May-11 16:24:37

...and lanesborough, and George Abbott and county.
And guildford college....

100lilgreen Fri 20-May-11 18:17:38

If i was you, i would go for longacre. looks a lovely school, can't judge but maybe slightly friendlier than ripley court. I reall would'nt worry about it going on to 13. when they get to 11, although you want co-ed, send your dd to ghs or tormead. such fantastic schools. and rgs for your ds! good luck! and tell us what you choose

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