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Single sex prep schools in Sevenoaks.

(24 Posts)
DeboDevonshire Tue 07-Jun-11 23:49:18

Hi ladies,
I posted a month or so ago about co-ed schools in Guildford and got some great advice, so I am hoping that you might be able to help me out again. A move to Guildford has been shelved, predominantly because we couldn't get the schools to work or afford a house in the right area, so we have now set our sights on Sevenoaks in Kent, which we have been keeping bubbling alongside the Guildford move 'just in case'. Now that just in case has happened, we need to choose the schooling for our children. We have places at both Wally Hall and The Granville for our 3 year old DD, and a place at New Beacon and Solefield for our 5 year old boy. I was wondering if anyone had any experiences of these schools; I have visited them all myself, but as I don't know anyone in the area I am not sure what the local perspective is on these. Many thanks, Debo.

Dunlurking Wed 08-Jun-11 06:34:49

Hi Debo. Am passing on an old Sevenoaks School and Tonbridge Girls Grammar School pupil perspective here. Wally Hall traditionally acted as private local girls grammar, so the prep school aims to feed into the senior school. Some good friends went to Wally Hall senior school. I spent a summer working at New Beacon on a summer school and really enjoyed that. They work mainly to feed the boys into Sevenoaks School and Tonbridge School. Had good vibes about the place!

Hope someone else can feedback a little more up to date info to you...

DeboDevonshire Wed 08-Jun-11 09:34:43

Thank you Dunlurking! I understand that New Beacon is possibly more 'pushy' than Solefield, which is described as more nurturing. They both seem to produce excellent academic results. Re the girls schools my worry with Wally, even though I liked the head, is that she will get pushed forward into their senior school, which may not necessarily be the right school for her (but then again it might be). The Granville strikes me as a little more traditional, but independent in regards to where the girls go on.

100lilgreen Wed 08-Jun-11 10:03:52

The Granville is an amazing school, and the headmistress is fantastic having been head of also 2 London prep schools. Don't know much about the others, but the Granville has an excellent reputation and IMO go for it.

DeboDevonshire Wed 08-Jun-11 10:07:46

Thanks Lilgreen, that is very good to hear - did your daughters go there?

rebl Wed 08-Jun-11 10:10:57

I went to Wally (not same head mistress). Loved it. I never "felt" pushed but I must have been to a certain extent considering the grades I came out with. I'm still in contact with my friends from there.

100lilgreen Wed 08-Jun-11 10:20:57

No but 1 of my daughters went to the prep that she was head of in London and we were very sad to see her leave!

DeboDevonshire Wed 08-Jun-11 10:21:15

Thanks Rebl - did you go all the way through? Did many girls leave at 11 and go elsewhere?

DeboDevonshire Wed 08-Jun-11 10:22:33

Good to hear about the Granville Head - she came across as very professional - maybe not quite as warm as the head at Wally - but the results she gets speak for themselves.

100lilgreen Wed 08-Jun-11 10:23:53

Yes to some she can seem quite cold, but she is ever so friendly to the girls and whenever i had a problem she was very easy to talk to. it sounds like an excellent school

Insomnia11 Wed 08-Jun-11 11:36:35

All those schools have an excellent reputation locally, to my knowledge.

gracebf Wed 08-Jun-11 12:27:51

I would disagree with some of the comments. I think Granville is academically pushy and does not have such a wide curriculum. There are definately more traditional. Yes, they have more choice at 11 but the push is so much on academic subjects that the children miss out on being children and exploring all areas. I have not heard positive things about competitiveness between mums either! They do do well though.

Wally Hall may have push to Senior school but not all go there. They are allowed to be who they are and exposed to a variety of subjects. IMO this is a school where children thrive becuase they are allowed to achieve at their own rate and exposed to variety of experiences.

But you have to choose based on your own instincts as only you know your dd. Where do you think she will be happier? Forgot what other people say and go on your own feelings. The atmosphere of one school must have appealed to you more and I would go with that, personally. She would be happy in both.

DeboDevonshire Wed 08-Jun-11 13:03:39

Thanks Grace - to be honest my heart was with WH. It was a leafier, more outdoorsy site, I got on very well with the Head, and I could see my little girl there. However, my head says go with the Granville due to the independence issue and the results (just been looking at their academic results on their website - quite impressive). Making friends is also key for me, so I want to be at a school with like minded mums - I am not overly competitive so I am glad you have mentioned that point, anecdotal though it may be. Did you have girls that went through Wally?

I am having similar wrangles with the boys school to be honest. DH keen on NB, my heart is currently with Solefield, as I want my little boy to be happy more than anything else.

100lilgreen Wed 08-Jun-11 13:30:41

go with your heart then! whats good about wally is that your daughter can stay there right up to 18! unlike granville where she would have to to 11+ however she can always join wally at 11 as she will def get in im sure and then you would have had her at both schools. go with your heart though

LetThereBeCake Wed 08-Jun-11 13:47:36

I went to Wally too! (rebl - which year did you leave? I left in 95) It was a good school (got me into Oxford anyway).

Toughasoldboots Wed 08-Jun-11 14:17:33

Hi, I have friends with dc's at all of these schools. One has five children with a child at each of the schools that you've mentioned.

I can only relate my information from them, but both friends consider Solefields to be a very caring school, a high emphasis on pastoral care. New Beacon has a different vibe and I would go for Solefields based on their experiences.

Wally Hall has good academic reputation and everyone that I know seems happy with it, but one friend has just opted to put her younger daughter in to The Granville rather than let her follow her elder sister through WH.

I don't know much about The Granville, but this child is not so academic and quite quirky in personality.

DeboDevonshire Wed 08-Jun-11 14:29:15

Oh my Toughasoldboots, five children in private schools?! My goodness - that is a financial commitment! Thanks for sharing your info - it is good to hear nothing bad about either WH or Solefield!

Toughasoldboots Wed 08-Jun-11 14:42:02

Yes, I have no idea how they do it. The boys are going to Tonbridge school next- have you seen those fees?!

DeboDevonshire Wed 08-Jun-11 14:47:46

Oh my goodness!

gracebf Wed 08-Jun-11 16:15:48

I know what you mean about being drawn to Granville for their results. However, you child will do well where she is happy. Both schools are good and she could achieve at both. My child is at Wally and she is happier than I ever thought possible. But that's her. It suits her down to the ground as so relaxed. She will not be going to the Senior school which did initally worry me, but realise that a move at 11 is not the end of the world, compared to her having the right start to school.

Her friends are at Granvillle and are happy but it would not suit me or my dd.

I have heard the same comments about New Beacon and Solefields. Solefields is more like Wally and NB more like Granville.

A hard choice. Go and see them again if you can. I looked round twice and it helped to confirm my thoughts.

DeboDevonshire Wed 08-Jun-11 16:19:59

Thanks Grace - a second look might definitely help. Where you are hoping your daughter will go at 11? My husband is worried that WH will convince us that she should stay with them, even if she could do better somewhere else, as they need to populate their senior school. I met the ex-head of Sutton Valence who confirmed to me that she had quota objectives with regards to convincing parents to stay on, regardless of whether it is right for them or not.

gracebf Wed 08-Jun-11 18:32:05

Hi,

We are hoping for 11+ but who knows. I am sure there is a push to fill a quota but by 11 you will know your dd, her capabilities and what you want from a school. I am confident that even if you are encouraged to stay on that as a parent you will know what is best. I agree that there probably is some pressure but am sure the class teachers want whats best for the child. The senior school is popular and has plenty of pupils so not in the situation that absolutely desperate to fill places.

Thats just my opinion and for me the benefits of the school are worth not worrying about the senior school situation for now. A lot can change by the time they get to 11!

Good luck with your decision!

DeboDevonshire Wed 08-Jun-11 19:46:39

Thanks for your wise words Grace - always so helpful to speak to mums several years ahead!

rebl Wed 08-Jun-11 19:59:36

lettherebecake I left Wally in 94.

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