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Good Primary school for bright girl

(26 Posts)
SendMumSurreyBoyGirl Tue 29-Oct-13 23:55:58

As a result of various different things having happened at my girl's school, she is no longer happy there. We've taken the difficult decision that the best thing would probably be to move schools. She is in year 2 and have been told by all the teachers she's had so far that she is very bright, she loves art and anything creative, she loves science and really enjoys writing and numeracy. We've been told that she would probably benefit from a class that's not too big, since she's got an inquisitive mind and asks lots of questions and really enjoys the interaction with adults. I would really, really appreciate suggestions for a good primary school private or government in Surrey that's not too far away from the Send area.

MiniMonty Wed 30-Oct-13 00:38:40

Sounds like she needs prep school.
Ohhhh yes it'll cost ya - but trust me it's worth it for bright kids.

The uniform and the "regime" takes away any anxiety about what to wear or how to behave because they all wear the same thing and they all HAVE to behave the same way - but the classroom experience is utterly and entirely different from your average state primary. Small classes (20 ish) with a teacher and a classroom assistant who between them can do that "one to one" that kids actually need. Exposure early on to French and Latin, contrast out on the fields with Hockey and Netball (in a properly competitive way)... Soooo many things I could go on and on about having seen both sides of this coin.

Go and check out some local prep schools. If you can afford it then do it.
It IS an advantage to gain those learning habits early on.

EBee57 Wed 30-Oct-13 09:15:40

There are many good schools in the area - Ripley Court, Manor House and St Teresa's are all easily reached in the morning - and of course there's the Guildford schools - Tormead, Guildford High and Rydes Hill - many have buses as well which can make life a bit easier.

My experience is only at senior level in this area but I'm sure you'll get more expert viewpoints soon. I would agree with MiniMonty having moved dds from original primary to a prep with playing fields, science lab, french and music specialists, and those all important good learning habits which, years later, are still in force.

As ever it's a case of visiting and finding the school that will, hopefully, meet your daughter's needs in a lovely nurturing environment. We are very lucky in Surrey with so many good state and independent schools.

Wellthen Wed 30-Oct-13 11:39:54

The uniform and the "regime" takes away any anxiety about what to wear or how to behave because they all wear the same thing and they all HAVE to behave the same way - but the classroom experience is utterly and entirely different from your average state primary. Small classes (20 ish) with a teacher and a classroom assistant who between them can do that "one to one" that kids actually need. Exposure early on to French and Latin, contrast out on the fields with Hockey and Netball (in a properly competitive way)... Soooo many things I could go on and on about having seen both sides of this coin.

I teach in a state school where children all wear the uniform and are expected to behave properly. I have 21 in my class and I have two teaching assistants. My children learn French with a specialist and we compete at county level in sports. It would be described as distinctly average. Actually people locally would probably say pretty unpleasant things about it as it is surrounded by council houses (its a very snobby area). Please do not make sweeping statements about sate education.

As you were.

mummytime Wed 30-Oct-13 11:52:04

There are lots of choice in State school in that area too. Ripley school? Or one of the Cobham ones? Maybe the Free school? I have known children go to Holy Trinity in Guildford from there too.
For private you could also look at Hoe Bridge, or Halsted?

Chestnutx3 Wed 30-Oct-13 12:33:43

Hoe Bridge the closest of course just up the road, one of the few co-eds but does get rather full. Ripley Court has mixed reviews but co-ed too.

Selective girls - GHS & Tormead take 15minutes by car, entrance exams in January not sure if you have missed the registration dates you need to check. GHS your girl would need to be around the level 3 mark now in year 2, many are aiming for level 4 in the May SATs so only suits highly academic girls. Tormead less academic but both schools highly competitive for year 3 entry.

Manor House and St Teresa's non selective girls school, Manor House goes to 16, St Teresa's to 18. Both usually have spaces which does say something.

Slight chance you could get into Bushy Hill in Merrow for year 3. Holy Trinity had a terrible Ofsted report recently so you never know it may have spaces but that is a hike from Send.

Good luck.

teacherwith2kids Wed 30-Oct-13 16:30:21

Just a cautionary note...As part of the pre-investigation, btw, I would investigate a little further what the teachers meant by 'bright' - look at any data such as EYFS profiles and any levels given at the end of Y1.

IME 'bright' can mean anything from the colloquial 'bright and cheery' to 'exceptionally intelligent, the highest ability child I have ever taught', and it would be as well to find out a little more about her ACTUAL ability before basing a school choice on the word 'bright'....

[Shudders at parents' evening memory - had to deal with parents who had been assured by the previous teacher that their child was 'a nice bright girl, very cheery', but had interpreted it as 'exceptionally intelligent' and built enormous future plans on it....]

spanieleyes Wed 30-Oct-13 19:39:25

The uniform and the "regime" takes away any anxiety about what to wear or how to behave because they all wear the same thing and they all HAVE to behave the same way - but the classroom experience is utterly and entirely different from your average state primary. Small classes (20 ish) with a teacher and a classroom assistant who between them can do that "one to one" that kids actually need. Exposure early on to French and Latin, contrast out on the fields with Hockey and Netball (in a properly competitive way)... Soooo many things I could go on and on about having seen both sides of this coin.

I'm with wellthen on this, there is nothing here ( apart from the Latin and I'm planning on running that as an afterschool club) that a bog standard state school won't provide. Uniform is worn by all, behaviour is ( according to OFSTED) exemplary. We have class sizes ranging from 17-22, all with a full time TA, French taught, German too ( by a native speaker) large fields for hockey and football, courts for netball etc. Competitive inter school tournaments on a regular basis, including cross country, hockey, football, tennis and rugby. And the advantage is that it is free!

mummytime Wed 30-Oct-13 21:48:59

My DCs Primary regularly competes against Prep schools in Sport. My DD has been learning French since year 2, is now studying German and Latin (year 6).
It is a state school. Most schools in Surrey have a uniform; the only one I know without one is private. But there are lots of great schools around.

clam Wed 30-Oct-13 22:03:33

"she is very bright, she loves art and anything creative, she loves science and really enjoys writing and numeracy. We've been told that she would probably benefit from a class that's not too big, since she's got an inquisitive mind and asks lots of questions"

With respect, that could probably be said of half my class. You might have to pin the teacher down to something a bit more specific. Or decide for sure if you want to go down the private route anyway. As others have said, most state schools can provide all those things that minimonty mentioned.

DalmationDots Wed 30-Oct-13 22:14:18

Suggestions for nice and good prep schools:
St Hilarys in Godalming, St Ives in Haslemere (linked to Guildford High now if you are thinking that way for secondary- long way off I know and probably too far to travel despite the new tunnel), Tormead or Guildford High junior schools if she is very academic, Hoe Bridge, Halsted in Woking, Rowan, Glenesk -Pre-prep only (East Horsley), Rydes Hill.

Cobham free school is basically run like a prep school, perhaps without the facilities (but if you aren't paying £££ it is fairly unimportant whether they have shiny facilities) definitely worth a look.

Others have mentioned holy trinity in guildford. It is good, although recent ofsted doesn't reflect that! And sends DC to private schools as well as George Abbot/County/St Peters (the three great states in guildford) BUT from your description of what you are looking for I am unsure it would suit your DD.
Maybe a smaller village school- Puttenham Infants comes to mind but that is the wrong direction for you.

talkingnonsense Thu 31-Oct-13 07:03:35

Where are all these state schools with 20 odd in a class? I agree most state schools have uniform, most do actually have good behaviour, most do not have native or specialist language teachers, and about half now seem to have sports coaches coming in, often to cover ppa; but less than 28 or 29 is unheard of, and 30-32 is standard (experienced supply teacher!)

DalmationDots Thu 31-Oct-13 09:18:47

Yes, not sure where these schools with 20 are- sounds like a dream for a teacher like me who enjoys state over prep but is getting older and classes of 30 take a huge amount of energy!
All I can think of is village schools? But then, they often use mixed class systems.

AmberTheCat Thu 31-Oct-13 09:33:45

The average class size in English primary schools is 27 (20 at Secondary), so while there are undoubtedly many schools with classes of 30, there must also be many with much smaller classes. My DC's school (150 kids, village school) has single form entry, so on average 21 kids per class.

Huitre Thu 31-Oct-13 10:19:44

DD is at an ordinary state school rated good by Ofsted, and was in a class of 16 for Reception and a class of 24 for Y1 (this was a mixed Y1/2 class and there were also Y1 and Y2 classes of a similar size). Her Y2 class is 27 as a few kids joined this particular year group over the summer. It's not a village school - we are in SW London.

teacherwith2kids Thu 31-Oct-13 11:26:18

I have taught state primary classes of all sizes from 12 through to 33 - and of all kinds from 3 years in a class to 3 parallel classs per year group. IME rural schools are somewhat more likely to have small classes.

I also agree with clam - I can, in fact, only think of 1 girl in my current class who I could NOT describe as the OP describes her DD. Which is why I think she needs to tie the teacher down with greater specificity about levels, areas of strength and weakness etc before trying to find a school to fit her.

Iamnotminterested Thu 31-Oct-13 22:01:01

OK, OP, how exactly do you define the word "Bright" then?

springrain Fri 01-Nov-13 13:45:42

Raleigh in West Horsley or Pyrford primary would also both be worth talking to, given proximity to you.

TooTryHard Sat 02-Nov-13 17:42:58

Be careful marrying a bright inquisitive mind with a private school. You have to look at the school very carefully because at least one mentioned here certainly did not encourage creativity. It seemed to be there purely to cater for slightly pretentious parents (of less academic children).

It seemed to me that the selectives were more likely to encourage the children to think for themselves.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 02-Nov-13 17:51:30

Why is she unhappy?

I would get to the bottom of that first before deciding on schools.

JammieMummy Sat 02-Nov-13 20:56:43

Can I also ask the posters above who have mentioned schools with small class sizes, native language speakers etc to let me know which schools these are (am more than happy for that to be in a PM). This is a genuine question.

OP I can say having toured what feels like every private school in Guildford
Rydes Hill is lovely without being too pressured and gets a good number of girls into the academic secondaries with scholarships. But it is not particularly creative and has a much larger focus on the academics.
A friend sends their DD to St Ives but it is a very small school only 9 girls in some years and so may not suit some.
I found GHS too pressurised for little ones but would have no qualms sending DD there at 11.
Tormead was lovely but not a lot of space and a pig for us to get to.
Hoe Bridge ummm...well.....I know someone who works there and wouldn't send their own children there! Which I think speak volumes.
Ripley Court felt very much for boys and was a miniature secondary school, which clearly isn't right for our quiet girl.

I hope that very quick appraisal was a bit helpful.

DalmationDots Sat 02-Nov-13 21:19:35

Re GHS and pressure- I had a DD through the school (from 4 to 18) who loved it and thrived. I am not pushy particuarly (genuinely!!) I choose the school -albeit 17 years ago now!- because our local state was in special measures and we had put our older son in a boys prep and so were looking for a girls alternative, looked around a few and GHS 'felt' right.
DD said to me the other day (now at uni) she never once felt pressured from the school. It is a very academic environment, due to their being 20 bright girls in every class who want to learn, but if anything the school is laid back. No pressure to join or do any activity outside lessons they don't want to, rarely does a girl get a detention, no re-tests or pressure IMO to achieve. The types of DDs who it suits though, want to achieve and do well and will work hard. They also tend to have a desire to learn. We found GHS fairly creative with its learning in the last few years and a really special environment combining tradition, innovation and warmth. There is such a buzz and community spirit. It isn't for everyone, but if your DD gets in there (without too much prepping), then it is more than likely to be right for her.

St Ives has just been taken over by UCST, who own GHS too, to help with the falling numbers. It is likely to get more popular because of this. Similar happened at Rowan school in Claygate and UCST helped bring numbers up.

I have done some work with St Hilarys (around 7 years ago though be warned!) and found it also very creative and a wonderful environment for a bright girl. It isn't selcetive but seems to really work for bright girls who often get GHS/St Cats scholarships.
I'd also consider St Cats Prep which is meant to be fantastic.

Agree re the point about some schools not being right just because they are private (even the ones I've mentioned may no longer be right- my info is based on a few years back, sometimes more!). Best way is to go and have a look at some states and privates and see what you feel can cater best for your DD.

DalmationDots Sat 02-Nov-13 21:20:29

*there not their - apologies. Too much wine with X factor I think!!

anotherstringtomybow Sat 02-Nov-13 22:02:56

IME 'bright' can mean anything from the colloquial 'bright and cheery' to 'exceptionally intelligent, the highest ability child I have ever taught', and it would be as well to find out a little more about her ACTUAL ability before basing a school choice on the word 'bright'....

Well said!

SendMumSurreyBoyGirl Fri 08-Nov-13 11:38:07

Thank you everyone for all your kind replies and advice. The reason for writing bright rather then intelligent, was because I didn't want to sound full of myself. Her points coming out of reception was the highest the school had ever seen for a child and she has continued strongly, particularly in maths and science, which she loves. But she also loves and does well in art. It's been an emotional roller coaster and we have spent the last couple of weeks looking at lots of schools. Someone said I should look into why she is unhappy. I know very well why she is unhappy and it has mainly got to do with issues the school has got with that year group. I have children in other years, at the school and they are very happy. Again, I really appreciate all the suggestions. Thank you!

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