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Davenies prep school

(26 Posts)
itsaminefieldoutthere Mon 22-Aug-11 18:01:58

does anyone have any experience of Davenies school please? Thanks

hopskipandjump Mon 22-Aug-11 22:13:49

I have heard mixed things about Davenies. Not all of it good I am afraid to say

itsaminefieldoutthere Mon 22-Aug-11 22:38:23

What have you heard?

hopskipandjump Tue 23-Aug-11 13:04:30

These are just things I have heard - so may be completely incorrect - schools are very individual things and I would go and judge for yourself. However, what I hear is very glossy, confident and academic - but a bit arrogant. I have also heard quite a few people in Beaconsfield say that they are not even going to look at the school on the basis of their experience of children they have met who attend the school.

EBDteacher Tue 23-Aug-11 14:59:22

I don't think it is very academic. The list of places they send their leavers on to is not impressive at all.

It would work really well for me location wise but I'm not considering it- style over substance (is purely my opinion).

I am looking at Gayhurst, The Beacon and (current front runner) Ridgeway for KS1 then Caldicott. Have you looked into any of them?

hopskipandjump Tue 23-Aug-11 15:03:10

I liked caldicott, the beacon and gayhurst - all for different reasons

Rocky12 Tue 23-Aug-11 15:22:11

Had a son there over 6 years ago for three years. Didnt rate it, glossy is correct but no heart, parents all thought their boys would go to the grammar schools (which they didnt!). it meant that the boys who didnt pass the 11+ were left with either staying at the school or desperately looking for another school at short notice. They have had some changes of head which hasnt helped. I think you need to think about what you want for your son, is it private ed all the way or do you think that Davenies will coach them to pass the 11+. They wont, they want you to stay another two years until 13.

Arrogant is probably correct and that isnt necessarily a bad thing if they have earned the reputation of knowing what they are doing but they havent. If you want your son to go to Radley, Charterhouse, Harrow etc it is definitely not the right school. A friends son's place was completely messed up at Radley by been given incorrect advice about the entrance process

Rocky12 Tue 23-Aug-11 15:25:46

Caldicott a fab school as I have said before on other threads. The making of my DS. However, they get boys into the big boarding schools, only a few go to day schools. If you dont want boarding Caldicott is not the place for you. Last two years complusory boarding (11-13) (no execptions!) Caldicott also Saturday morning school which for boys is great. You need to keep boys busy.....

hopskipandjump Tue 23-Aug-11 19:26:05

kingscote also seems lovely for pre-prep

itsaminefieldoutthere Tue 23-Aug-11 19:29:25

Wow! Thanks for all the info. Yes I've looked at lots of others. I liked Gayhurst but the (part) co-ed put me off a bit. I've got three boys and my opinion is that they need focussed, boys only. I looked at Ridgeway but didn't like the head, seemed more worried about the cricket score than their education. I liked Herries but think they would quickly outgrow it, very sweet but again too many girls. I loved Caldicott and could see my lot there quite happily but I've got doubts about the boarding fir final two years and of course they can't start till they are 7. We currently have no1 son in local primary school but aren't happy with it hence looking at other options. He's due to go into yr 1 in sept. No 2 son due to start reception the following year. I haven't given much thought to post age 11 education, normally too knackered sorting out my boys endless squabbles for much tine for real matters! Ive been in bucks all my life and went to Challoners but hubby's keen on the private system. Rocky12 has the Head changed since your boys were there, it's now a Mr Watson. EBDteacher are you a real teacher, ie you'd know more about it than me for sure! Thanks again, think I am more confused than before, nothing good been said about Davenies by any of you. Mmmmmm back to the drawing board!

EBDteacher Tue 23-Aug-11 19:52:14

Yes I am a 'real' teacher grin. I teach in a very specialised role now though, with children with severe and complex behavioural difficulties so it's not exactly the same!

It sounds like we've been round exactly the same block looking at schools! My DS is just 12mo so we've got a while to decide but we also think it's a minefield out there! My DH teaches at Merchant Taylors' so he gains some of the products of the South Bucks prep schools. He rates The Beacon (but it's not great for my work run) and Caldicott. Not Davenies though!

I liked Herries on visiting too but would not use it right through to 11 as it's too cloistered an environment. Would possibly consider using it as a pre-prep for Caldicott but have you seen how many Heads they've been though recently? I'm waiting to see if it settles down a bit before ruling it in/out.

hopskipandjump Wed 24-Aug-11 21:38:42

Rocky 12 - where do most of the boys who go to Caldicott go to for pre-prep?

EBDteacher Thu 25-Aug-11 07:40:21

Caldicott actually publish that info hopskip. I suppose they get asked that question all the time.

I'd love to use Kingscote but you can't access their breakfast club until children turn 5yo which for my August DS would be Y1. Shame.

EBDteacher Thu 25-Aug-11 07:41:20

Oops, didn't link properly.

MollieO Sat 27-Aug-11 13:14:30

I live walking distance from Herries but didn't consider it as I only know people who have sent children there and then had to move them because the class sizes are just too small. We've lived here for over 10 years and I've lost count of the number of heads they've had since the old head retired some years ago (and who was there for years).

Davenies seems very glossy - astroturf pitch and indoor swimming pool but I don't know anyone who looked at it and actually sent their dcs there. They certainly have the smartest uniforms.

The description of the Ridgeway head isn't one I recognise at all. It is a school that really appreciates boys are boys and need to be educated in a way that appeals to boys. Lots of playing outside in the woods and lots of active learning. Ds is there and truly rubbish at sport. Fortunately the head seems to take an interest in the boys who are non-sporty too! He probably isn't as good at selling the school as the old head though which doesn't help if you don't know any parents there and don't know anything about the school.

Other schools to consider are St Piran's in Maidenhead or St Georges in Windsor. Both are co-ed and go on to 13. I didn't like the head at St Piran's but I know people who have children there and are very happy with the school. St George's is a good all round school and has a very good reputation for music.

EBDteacher Sat 27-Aug-11 19:12:46

Ridgeway should be paying you for the good press MollieO. You are certainly selling it to me! I want to play outside in the woods and do lots of active learning! grin

I'm going to go and visit in September and hopefully will be able to finalise my decision. (Sorry for the hijack OP).

Jasmyne32 Sat 27-Aug-11 19:12:55

My DS attends Davenies and has been their since reception, now in juniors. I have been very happy with the level of support that he has received as he was diagnosed with learning difficulties in Y1. The learning support dept have been fantastic (as have all the teaching staff) and he has come on leaps and bounds, by the way there is no extra charge for learning support. I've never found any of the pupils to be arrogant just confident boys who have an all round education. The range of activities and subjects covered are huge and really geared towards boys, my DS loves all the topics that are covered i.e. Romans, Transport, Castles etc. The PE dept have also been excellent at making sure his gross motor skills are improved and giving everyone a chance at taking part in all team sports regardless of ability. I would even say that the school lunches are amazing, the menu looks so good that I wish I could have them!

Unfortunately I don't have any experience of our local schools or the other prep schools so can't compare, however, I am friendly with our local deputy head and her personal opnion is that DS is most definitely in the right place and had he been in a class of 30 his problems may have not been picked up and he would have been lost.

I would say that you will always get a group of parents who are competitive but my view is that this seems to happen where ever you go these days. I would say on the whole everyone is pretty normal and well rounded for Beaconsfield! lol.

The fees are high and we did send DS there with a view to sending him onto Grammar, however, now he's at Davenies I have to say I would very much like him to stay there until he is 13 (if we can afford it!!) as he is very happy and it is a lovely community. I also believe that DS will be far more mature to tackle perhaps the 13+ rather than the 11+ or I'm equally happy for him to stay in the independent sector as we do have a great selection in the area.

I think your school chocie comes down to your DC and you will know what the right environment is for your DC. We also have a DD and I know that she will thrive where ever she is sent and we are actually considering sending her to our local school as I think this will be a better environment that an all girls school, at least until juniors anyway.

Hope this helps.


itsaminefieldoutthere Wed 31-Aug-11 21:37:12

Thanks everyone. Really useful stuff. Nice to hear a good report about Davenies. smile

busybee13000 Sun 20-Jan-13 19:47:26

Hi - i know this thread is really old but just incase anyone is looking for an 'up to date' opinion here goes:

My son goes to Davenies. When choosing, i also looked at gayhurst & Kingscote.

Kingscote -I was impressed with 'Kingscote' (pre prep) but not so impressed with 'thorpe house'. Its very small & i was concerned about social skills amongst other things, so decided against it. Good pre prep facilities & outdoor area.

Gayhurst - well i did not see one person smile in that school!!! - including the staff!!! We were shown a music class when we were being shown around and the teacher didn't talk to the boys - she shouted at them, unnecessarily so in my opinion. Yes they do very well at sports but I am much more interested in the rest of their education & more importantly their happiness. I would not send my son there.

Davenies - The first thing i noticed about this school was how happy the children are. I also noticed the childrens impeccable manners and their confident social skills. It has great facilities and seems a 'fun' and happy school. (forget chess club - these boys can do paintballing, go karting, skate boarding, fencing - as well as the more traditional options of course!)

I had to laugh at a previous comment which mentions 'snobby parents' at Davenies - i think these people exist all over south bucks unfortunately!!

My son is in Davenies pre prep. So far i am very happy with Davenies and feel i made the right choice (even though gayhurst & kingscote are much nearer to where i live) More importantly my son is happy. He likes his teachers and i have noticed how very much he is learning. There is a big emphasis on lessons being specifically geared up for boys and also picking things up in their own time - they discourage 'pushy parents'.

In fairness I think you just get 'that feeling' for whats the right school for your child.

Anyway - i hope this helps someone!

mamawithstandards Tue 02-Jul-13 12:19:03

I know this is an "old" thread but having had more than 4 years at Davenies Boys School I would like to put my two cents in:
Preprep was lovely, the Preprep head effectively ran the school independently of the overall head, discipline, good behaviour and a high standard of academics seemed to prevail and I was very proud of my school decision...(I understand that the head of Preprep I am talking about has now left.) Then came the Prep year!!!!!! I soon learned why so may of my son's friends were leaving for CALDICOTT!!!!! Hideous. My son was bored out of his skull, teachers and the head were unresponsive. But possibly worse than anything I could imagine was the yobbish, low-level thuggish behaviour of some of the kids and lack of discipline and responsiveness of the head! READ Bullying and bigotry! No the academics aren't anything to write home about either - in fact apart from NOT preparing these boys for "any" school of their choice, all parents I spoke to or was friendly with were shelling out thousands of Pounds for private tutoring well before beginning YEAR 4!!! This is a private school. I am aware of a large number of families that have taken their children out over the past few years - not due to finances and often to great logistical inconvenience. And yes I made the mistake of picking a conveniently placed school rather than a good school too, and I still feel sick to my stomach when I think about what a lousy parent that makes me!

2manyboys Thu 08-Aug-13 20:20:50

You seem to be in a spot of bother, Mamawithstandards! Having had three boys go through to leave Davenies in Year 8 (all been there since Reception) over the past 4 years - my youngest DS is currently in Year 7, going into Year 8 this September - I would say that you have to be in it for the long haul! All of my boys have had a ball, especially in their final two years, and all have had their blip years! As for not preparing for the 11+, Davenies is a 13+ Prep school, not a state primary! All of mine sat and passed the 11+ at Davenies, but have themselves chosen to remain on into the Senior School (Yr 7 & 8). I have to say, it is fantastic, with a couple of key teachers fronting the top section of school. I am feel aware of the car park 'keeping up with the Jones's' and the apparent need to spend money on tutoring but, if your son is bright, he will pass the test. If he is not, then perhaps grammar school is not for him! Simple. As for lack of preparation for any school, in my youngest's year, boys are off to schools as diverse as Merchant Taylors', Westminster, Harrow, Stowe, Berkhamsted, Pangbourne, etc. About 40% left at the end of Year 6 to go to the RGS and John Hampden. Look at their website for leavers' destinations in 2013 and over the past 5 years, as the same was true for my older DSs.

Davenies is a boys' school. If your son is experiencing difficulties in the year group, that is a real shame, but maybe he would be better suited to a co-ed environment? Maybe I have been lucky, but my DSs have worked their way through problems, with the unstinting support of all the staff. And, for the record, I have been told that the school has its highest role in the past decade starting in September '13, so we can't all be thinking the same as you!!

pennymoney Fri 10-Oct-14 13:51:40

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Feenie Fri 10-Oct-14 18:10:16

Er...I'm not sure it is worth registering on MN just to post on two old threads advertising this school, actually. Strange posting behaviour.

EdithWeston Fri 10-Oct-14 18:36:13

But not exactly without precedent.

I can think of a number of other schools where threads are suddenly filled with newly registered posters singing praises.

I probably wouldn't have noticed, if those posters stuck around and posted on more than the specific school threads.

Feenie Fri 10-Oct-14 19:26:00

Me too - why do they think no one will realise?!

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