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Prep school near Reading: Rupert, Cranford, Waverley, Bearwood, Crossfield, or St Neot's?

(24 Posts)
qiuyifan2000 Tue 28-Jul-15 18:59:49

Hello everyone. DD is starting at Reception this September. Due to job relocation in Reading, we need to find her a good private school in a month!

Following schools still have place for her from this September:
1. Cranford House School
2. Rupert House School
3. Waverley School
4. St Neot's Preparatory School
5. Reddam House Bearwood (Bearwood College)

Any one have any experience of these schools? Any ideas of which school to choose? We value both Academic success and personal development. Thanks.

DachsandPup Tue 28-Jul-15 19:32:51

I don't have personal experience although my daughter would have been going to Rupert House if she hadn't got into The Abbey - it seemed like a lovely nurturing place but the girls were also very proud of their friends who had won scholarships.

Academically I'd say Rupert House probably trumps the Wokingham schools and St Neot's.

I have a friend with a little girl at Cranford House and they're very happy with it. However, it depends what you want for them later as it doesn't prepare for common entrance as it has its own senior school, but the senior only goes up to 16 so you'd have to find somewhere else at that stage.

Also depends where you will be living! Reading traffic can be very bad so the best school for you will depend on which side of Reading you are on.

CharlesRyder Tue 28-Jul-15 19:37:26

Are there no places at the Dolphin in Hurst? It is worth a look if there are.

I have heard good things about Waverley and Rupert House looks lovely.

I'm not sure if Bearwood would be too much of a gamble for me. The new owners may work wonders- but what if it doesn't work out? It is a beautiful looking place though.

qiuyifan2000 Tue 28-Jul-15 20:09:36

Still haven't heard back from Dolphin school, Lambrook and Crossfield. But as they are so popular, the chance should be low.

DH currently works in Green Park, which is by A33 and M4 junction, but may move to London in future. We mostly like Early as it is a nice area and have good access to everywhere. But if we pick Cranford or Rupert House, we have to move close to school. The other thing is these 2 schools are mainly for girls and it will be a problem if our 2nd child (not yet) turns out to be a boy.

But I have heard good things about Rupert House too. A friend of my friend swill send her DD there from September and she seems very impressed by the school as she turned down the offer from Abby School after seeing Rupert.

I personally quite like Bearwood due to it's great location and beautiful ground. The new owner refurbished the whole school and there are lots of enrichment classes on offer. But as mentioned, it is a gamble to send DD there.

It is the video that St Neot's produced impressed me. It is very different from others and shows the school a very caring and happy place to stay. But other than that, I have no idea about the school.

qiuyifan2000 Wed 29-Jul-15 13:05:58


Whowherewhywhat Sun 02-Aug-15 00:12:11

My children are at Holme Grange, I have nothing but excellent experiences and would highly recommend taking a look at it smile

qiuyifan2000 Fri 07-Aug-15 17:02:12

Whowherewhywhat, thanks for your recommendation! We went to see Holme Grange today and DD absolutely loved it and could not wait to join. But the said point is we will not know if a place is available until next Thursday when the registra comes back from holiday. Fingers crossed!

Whowherewhywhat Sat 08-Aug-15 01:49:55

So glad you liked itsmile Ot really has and continues to be, a fantastic school for my children, really hope you get a place smile. Let me know how you get on ��

Sianilaa Sun 09-Aug-15 16:30:56

I loved Holme Grange too, though we didn't use it in the end as my children got into an excellent state primary.
I pulled mine out of Waverley School...

qiuyifan2000 Mon 10-Aug-15 09:35:47

Hi Sianilaa, why did you pull your Dc out of Waverley school? A friend of my DH used to work there and suggested us not to go there.

Did you have a bad experience at Waverley? Could you tell me a bit more about the previous head Tammy Howard? She is now the new head of Junior School of Raddam House Bearwood which we are seriously considering for DD at the moment. So we really need to know if she is a good person and a good head or not?

She showed us the school last week and was very helpful on answearing all questions we have. But based on the negative comments we have heard of her previous school Waverley, I am now very worried if we should send DD to Reddam House?

Tiredbutstillwithapulse Sun 08-Nov-15 08:14:50

Hi Qiuykfan2000, I wanted to wait until the new Head of Junior, Tammy Howard, had taken up the role before I replied on here. I have been very impressed. She has set up a blog which gives daily updates, you take your child to the classroom so you see the teacher every day and she appears to have a very good teaching staff. Had our first report of the academic year and just about to have our first parents' evening too so lots of communication about how the children are doing. Lots appear to have followed her ( and many of the teachers) from her previous school. Whatever choice you make or have made, I hope it all works out well for you.

smartboysmum Sun 03-Jan-16 15:49:59

Did you look at Crossfields or Abbey ? Both very good school. Holme Grange is okay school but definitely not academically challenging if that is what you are looking for. DS went to Bearwood in year 1 and 2 and absolutely loved it but cannot say the same about HG. We moved out after he got into Eton as the school did not have any history of sending children to the top public schools and we wanted a good prep school who could prepare DS for the 13+ entry exam to Eton.

stealthsquiggle Wed 06-Jan-16 16:23:04

Ah. I was going to come on and say Dolphin, but I see that you haven't heard back from them. That's a shame.

Balancedopinion Thu 18-Feb-16 20:53:33

I have had experience of Bearwood, Crosfield and Leighton Park with 3 boys.
Crosfield was the best and most valued experience. All schools have pro and con but do consider if Bearwood is more business than school..

dadsnet69 Sun 13-Mar-16 20:44:25

It would be helpful for balancedopinion to do a bit of research on proprietorial schools before mud slinging. GEMS, Cognita (run by Chris Woodward, ex Ofsted Chief inspector) are bigger players and smaller independents such as Hawley Place - all are 'businesses' which the poster seems to think is a dirty word. Finland owes a lot to 'for profit' schools in driving choice for parents and high quality in education. You cannot 'sell' an inferior product....
It is estimated that charitable private schools cost the state around £100 million pounds a year - and for what? To save the parents the cost of the VAT on the fees! I'd rather this £100 million goes into real charities and helps people in need - not parents who don't like the local state school. And what of hybrid organisations who claim to be charities but are actually racking in profit for private investors under the cover of the charity?
Give me a for profit school any day of the week, at least I know upfront that someone is going to be making an effort to make the school as good as it can be so that they take home a few pennies at the end of the day. Provided the parents pay the fees that are due of course when they have been happily using the services the 'business' is providing.

Whippetywhippet Wed 16-Mar-16 09:06:47

Oh what a shame about Dolphin. The Reception class is already full, I imagine? It's worth giving them a ring and checking. It's different to the others, (no uniform, teachers are called by their first names) but it achieves astonishing results. We're currently looking at secondary schools for our eldest, and each one we've been to says that Dolphin children have a bit of sparkle about them. One said 'We love Dolphin children here. They love learning, they're really creative and they make some of the best contributions in class.' We couldn't have chosen better. I urge you to try again.

Myredcardigan Wed 16-Mar-16 10:21:11

My older 2 boys started at St Neots and it was fab. Infants spent lots of time in the woods in wellies. 70 acres to enjoy. Good Flexi boarding opportunities. We didn't get beyond the infants though. Dolphin was a lovely school but I don't think we were free spirited enough as parents. I really didn't understand why people opted for Waverley. It offered nothing special that I could see. Facilities were limited/poor, the EYFS set up was fairly disorganised and there was no sheltered outdoor area. I also felt there was little vibrancy about the place.
Bearwood was a mess when we viewed it. They had forgotten we were coming and they seemed to want to sell it to is on how beautiful the old building was. They only had 8 signed up for ds1's year which they saw as a positive. It was like a crappy day nursery. However, this was quite a few years ago so the new owners may have turned it around. Mind you, I'm not a fan of large for profit school owners. We hated Sherfield (GEMS) and I felt you could really tell the difference. I tried talking to staff and it was very clear to me that it was a less than ideal working environment. Plus the long dresses on little girls was ridiculous. What's the matter with a plain navy uniform?
Holme Grange was ok. A nice enough school but again it lacked the space and facilities I was looking for.

Tiredbutstillwithapulse Sun 20-Mar-16 08:37:26

Reddam House have totally refurbished the old Bearwood College Nursery and introduced their educational philosophy. In January it got Outstanding in every area by Ofsted. Worth a look.

BlackBagTheBorderBinLiner Sun 20-Mar-16 08:55:29

Bearwood very much a business, they use the grounds to sell it to nice but dim foreign students. Good plans for dyslexia, etc. They've started the refurb at nursery level, the upper school is small, plain and very old fashioned.

dadsnet69 Sun 20-Mar-16 20:29:25

You are a bit lot behind the times here blackbinbag, refurb all over the place, a huge investment.definitely worth a look if you haven't been for a while. I have heard the dyslexia provision is really good with a new head of support, but think your 'dim' comment is also a blast from the past.... shame you did not have any up to date information to share with us. Maybe you could go over for an open day and see what has happened to the plain, old fashioned upper school?

Elv08 Sun 20-Mar-16 22:28:09

We would highly recommend Reddam, and their ELS (up to reception class) and can't praise it enough for the impact it has had on our girls and their confidence, happiness and education. Choices are personal, & I do think judgements are best made after a visit for some firsthand experience. Tammy Howard is an inspiring Head - she really knows the children and has such vision for the school. We've signed on for the Junior school years. Yes, the environment at Reddam is wonderful, and yes, they do make great use of it - and why wouldn't they, they're a school with a Reggio Emilio approach to education - the environment is a fantastic educator, but there's so much more than the setting that makes me feel lucky to have found the school. It's such a stimulating environment. Great care is placed in the provocations for each learning experience at the Early Learning school - there's specialist Art, Dance, Drama, French & PE instructors from 3 years upwards, and the class teachers are so committed and creative. For us, it's perfect and we feel very lucky to have found it. Would recommend checking out the blog for a little more of an insight into the day to day learning experiences at the school if you're in the process of deciding if it is the school for you, or the ISI inspection really captures why it is so special. The Early Learning School comes out as Outstanding in all categories - not an easy achievement! Also the inspection covers the Junior and Senior school too, so is a useful insight into what Reddam is like.

BlackBagTheBorderBinLiner Mon 21-Mar-16 15:29:38

OK, so I'm local and my DS does n't go to Bearwood nor do I work there but....this is looking for opinions rather than offical inspections.

Locally the state Grammar School system creams off a significant number of bright secondary pupils who might otherwise be in the private sector. There is a lot of competition with more academic and more sporty private schools within the area.

The refurb has started from a position of real underfunding for many years pushing the school almost to bankruptcy till the South African buyers stepped in.

There will continue to be teething problems whilst the International experience that the new owners bring settles down with the demands of UK students and the significant number of overseas student.

Would I send my imaginary child to the recently shaken up nursery - I would consider it.

Would I send my child to the upper school, before the changes have bedded down and the peer group benefited from them - no, not when there are lots of other options locally.

Glad you're happy Elv in time it may be a fantastic school and I'm sure your girls will experience it at it's best. Your post really sums up their new professional approach . It was very sad to see the low numbers of pupils and poor morale under the last owners.

ignores dadsnets69 comments since Mumsnet has never been a place for personal attacks and by his posting style must be rather new here

dadsnet69 Mon 21-Mar-16 19:59:49

Factual not a personal attack. You have not visited the school and in your post admit you have no recent experience of it. I agree that MN is not a place for personal attacks, it is a shame that others do not feel the same way. Give whatever opinions you like, you can think whatever you want to based on the experience/knowledge you have. I find it interesting that you set no store by external inspections, when a previous poster was urging everyone to look at ISI. Personal views, do both. Read the report and then visit, no substitute for seeing it yourself.
In the spirit of balance I think you raise a valid point about joining an upper school that is not bedded down. Year seven to nine maybe but no if I was in GCSE I would potentially not have joined a brand new school. I disagree with the comment that local grammars cream off a lot of pupils. A couple of hundred kids spread over the seniors locally will hardly make a dent and whilst we are on the subject, passing a grammar test is a lot of luck and expensive tutors so how many of the 'best' are left for the rest?
If I came across attacking that was not the intention, but some of these comments in this post and others like it are outrageous. We are in the thick of it and know the truth of the matter - it irks me to read things that are twisted versions of the truth or just plain false.
Btw not so new, and post like I speak which is not usually a problem.

BlackBagTheBorderBinLiner Tue 22-Mar-16 12:53:37

Sorry don't wish to out myself, wasting my time on a Zombie thread!

There's a few other threads here about Reddam and other local schools worth a look and see which posters pop up regularly.

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