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Alpha prep harrow , reddiford or quainton hall ? Current advice wanted please

(20 Posts)
sheepster79 Mon 09-Dec-13 16:10:01

Any up to date experiences ? I liked reddiford but have a problem with no provided food, does anyone know of anyone who provides / puts together meals as a packed lunch ? Any current parents at alpha prep - what are your feelings? Also does anyone have a daughter at quainton hall ? Thanks in advance

tinytalker Mon 09-Dec-13 20:58:38

Parking is a BIG problem for Reddiford!

sheepster79 Mon 09-Dec-13 23:12:12

Oh really ? Thanks that could be an issue ? Are the bays always full in the morning ? Do you have a child at Reddiford

tinytalker Mon 09-Dec-13 23:38:09

No I live in the street and I have to say it is chaos at drop off and pick up! Bays are always full, sometimes it's gridlock and parents often park over residents driveways and block access!!! Have you looked at Orley Farm?

sheepster79 Wed 11-Dec-13 21:44:21

I'm going to see it - but it's quite expensive !

Drami Thu 12-Dec-13 10:28:00

I wouldn't recommend Reddiford - poor facilities and mostly unimaginative dull teaching.
Parking is horredous and sadly selfish parking by a small number of parents has left very bad feeling among the residents towards the school.
Sport for boys is good, terrible for girls.
Everyone who does the 11+ is tutored, Used to be a good school, but many of the good teachers have left.

sheepster79 Fri 13-Dec-13 14:14:02

Oh drami thanks for the response - I'm honestly confused , as I have a girl and boy so am veering toward coed . Reddiford does a good talk about preparing them for 11+ , but I'm put off by lack of school meal . Do you have or know anyone who has kids that attend Reddiford ? What do you know about alpha prep ? Thanks for your help everyone x

stikmatix Sun 15-Dec-13 20:42:45

Drami needs to substantiate the post. Is it first hand experience or second or third hand hearsay?

Sheepster - our son is at Reddiford. We are happy and most importantly so is he. Feel free to search my previous posts on the subject or message me if you want to know more.

No school will ever be perfect! To pick up on some of the points:
Poor facilities - the school doesn't bill itself as having purpose built facilities, it was originally houses.
Lack of imagination in lessons - yes from time to time, II think any school can be guilty of that occasionally. Some of the topics in the national curriculum aren't thrilling.
Parking - you need to be there in good time, if so, no problem. Cut it fine and it is bad. There are indeed some really inconsiderate people around. However I fear parking is a problem at a lot of schools including this with their own car parks...
Teachers - well if all the good ones have gone (when apparently?), they must've been replaced by good ones, as my son has had excellent teachers on the whole. There are always a few how are less good, in any school, but generally the standard of teaching and care and attention towards pupils has been great.
Tutoring - is utterly endemic in all the schools in the area it would appear - prep, all through and state! So many kids have some sort of extra help (not only in Reddiford, our girls are at an all through school and it happens there too). There are still a number of people including us, who don't tutor, my son is academically average, I trust the school and know that, because my thoughts on secondary are highly likely to be in line with the school's he will get to the right place.

How old are your kids and have you considered an all through girls' school for your daughter? This is what we have done for our girls, and although I have 2 schools for pick up/ drop off, it is a good option to consider.

Alpha I know nothing about, there are a number of former Quainton kids in Reddiford - I don't know what the current situation is there....

sheepster79 Sun 15-Dec-13 21:43:01

Thanks so much fr the response - what year is your boy in ? I had seen some previous posts but wanted current info . My daughter is nearly 3 and son is younger so I'm trying to work out where I want her to attend school and therefore consider if she needs to relocate nursery ! Where do your girls go to school - I looked at at Helens but quite like idea of the kids being at the same school . How old were the quInton hall kids when they transferred ? Thank for the response ...-oh also how does your son find attending with a packed lunch ?

Drami Mon 16-Dec-13 14:04:37

Stikmatix, I do not want to out myself on a public forum, but my experience of reddiford is first hand and current. You obviously have not had a child go through the 11plus process at reddiford. The fact of the matter is that without significant parental input or outside tutoring, there is very little chance your child will get into a grammar school. They will probably get into atleast one independent school, but that is not what most parents these days are aiming for. It is usually grammar or scholarships to an independent. I am not going to go into details about the teaching here, but if you want more details please pm me sheepster and I will be happy to answers your concerns fairly. I certainly do not have an axe to grind with the school, I am just stating my personal experience.

Drami Mon 16-Dec-13 14:07:08

And just to add besides the academic aspect, sports for girls is terrible. Boys sport is taken seriously but not girls and pe is often cancelled as the hall is used for other things.

stikmatix Mon 16-Dec-13 20:45:25

Drami - no need to out yourself! Perhaps we know each other?!

The thing is we are probably on the minority of parents with regard to our attitude. We just won't tutor, and will be happy for our boy to go to the school that suits what he can do at 11+ without extra tutoring. We want to stay private anyway, and he is not a child cut out for a super selective school, nor is he scholarship material, for him it will be a non-selective or gently selective private secondary. For that, he will be served well, and I have no worries with the school preparation.

I don't know that many other parents well, the ones who I am friendly with are of similar attitude. I do know tutoring is widespread but sadly it is the same at other schools too. My girls are in an all through school and theoretically there is no need for tutoring as girls automatically go from one section to the next. However loads of parents still do it (or kumon etc), so their kids will be in the top set - madness!

It seems to be a vicious circle now for competitive schools - I am sure that is we had some parents on here from other prep schools in the area, they would tell the same story....

stikmatix Mon 16-Dec-13 20:49:15

Sheepster - what did you think of St Helen's? Our girls go there (outed myself, Drami do you know who I am now?!). They are very happy there, it's a great school.

Did you apply for 3+? Or are you thinking about doing 4+?

If you fancy St H then you could consider trying your boy for one of the preps in Northwood to make the school runs easier. We didn't consider them as we didn't want a 13+ school, but they are all good I hear.

Drami Mon 16-Dec-13 22:26:46

I don't think I know who you are in real life Stikmatix! By what you have told me, then yes I agree reddiford would suit your son. I guess a large number of reddiford parents choose the school rightly or wrongly for what they think the school achieves in academic terms. When they print the leavers offers and destinations it is an impressive list. Many parents and that included me in the past, thought that this was primarily down to the teaching carried out in school. I was very anti-tutoring, but did have to go done that route in the end or my child would just not have been prepared. This is not a problem at all if you are not aiming for grammar or a highly selective school.

Totallyunited Tue 17-Dec-13 08:13:58

I think that it's a matter of being realistic. The grammar schools have near on 2000 children sitting for 150 ish places, the grammar schools are not in the Pinner area so my guess is that parents are wanting outer catchment places at Watford Grammar or Henrietta Barnett / QE. The odds of children getting those places is so small and much of it comes down to how well the child performs on the day. In addition the exams are in September and this is a recent change. Likewise with scholarships, there are very few of them being chased by thousands of parents. Schools, however good simply cannot even begin to expect most of their children to get these, yes a few but you're talking about tiny odds. Similarly there are far more places in independent schools, even the more academic ones, far less children sitting for them and therefore the odds are much higher that a child Will get an offer. I think therefore that it's not so much the fault of the school but less than realistic expectations of the parents. It's only the very top of the top who will get into these ultra selective schools. I am not a reddiford parent but have children in another prep school and it's the same story.

Drami Tue 17-Dec-13 10:38:17

That's true totallyunited. But the point is that with tutoring the top set do get into the grammar schools and highly selective schools.
I'm not even talking about over-the-top tutoring, just once a week for about 6 months.
If a school is taking credit for the results and markets itself as an academic prep school, then I think it should be able to ensure that it's brightest pupils get in without tutoring, which is not happening.
Ofcourse it is unrealistic for everyone to get it and many don't want to anyway.

Drami Tue 17-Dec-13 10:45:42

Also wanted to add that ofcourse there is no guarantee of getting into highly selective schools even with tutoring. The tutoring just got my child to a required standard that they would have a chance of getting in.
I don't expect the school to do everything, but I expected more than I got.

Richard67 Wed 01-Jan-14 20:58:17

Sheepster 79, in response to original question, I have a daughter at Quainton Hall. She transferred from state at the beginning of yr4. In short, yes, school only became co'ed relatively recently and this is reflected in some aspects of the school, particularly sports, e.g. dd has been playing football and will start rugby, but actually we are really pleased that she is being introduced to a diverse range of sports and is gaining a degree of robustness! From our daughter's initial experience, girls and boys mix well and she is making good friends. Whilst girls are still a minority, they appear to create close bonds and we are pleased overall with the school. Finally, I have noticed that there are very few comments on these type of information channels regarding QH, compared to other schools such as Alpha etc. We reviewed Alpha as well, and were overwhelmingly convinced by the ethos and ambition of QH. We are pleased with our decision.

sheepster79 Thu 16-Jan-14 07:27:05

Thanks so much for your input - if you don't mind I will private message some of you . I saw quainton hall the other day so thank you for your input . To add another layer of indecision I popped into west lodge state primary and was impressed with the school ! Does anyone have any comments about it ?

sheepster79 Sat 08-Feb-14 00:01:12

Drami just curious - where did you tutor your child ?

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