Chesham Prep, The Beacon, York House, Westbrook Hey - opinions needed!

(47 Posts)
UrgentSchoolHelp Fri 01-Apr-16 22:11:10

Chesham Prep, The a beacon, York House, Westbrook Hey - opinions needed!

I'm looking for a place for my HFA DS at a school which can hand hold him a bit through 13+ CE.

He is very average academically but is continuing to improve with SALT.

I'm looking for a non-hothouse school which can take him through 13+. I'm aware that Chesham and The Beacon focus a lot on Bucks 11+, but how much will this disadvantage him if many pupils also go for Public schools at 13+?

I'm keen on York House but I've been told by someone that it's considered very second rate?

Westbrook Hey I hear lots of good things about, but I'm put off by the class sizes being up to 24 until the end of Year 4.

Any info on the above schools would be very useful!

OP’s posts: |
ReallyTired Sat 02-Apr-16 20:02:46

Have you looked at Locker's Park or if your child needs extra support there is Egerton Rothesay?

I think you need to go on gut instinct. What is the right school for one child is not necessarily right for other children.

Hotcrossbunsandcheese Sat 02-Apr-16 20:15:59

Beacon is selective and v focused on 11+

Chesham Prep/Lockers Park from heresay - I get the impression that they do the minimum re supporting SEN

Zodlebud Sat 02-Apr-16 20:41:10

WBH class sizes usually only reach 20-21 in years 3 and 4 (two forms) before being split into three forms of approximately 14 in years 5 and above.

I think visiting all of these schools will help you a lot more than other people's input as HFA is so specific to each child it affects and only you know what he needs and ask the right questions.

All four schools are located within just a few miles of each other - you might be able to "do" them all in a day!!!!!

sunnydayinmay Sat 02-Apr-16 22:48:31

You need to go and get a feel of the schools. No personal experience, but my understanding from friends locally is that WH is nurturing, whereas York House children come across as very competitive. Other friends happy with Lockers Park, but they have to top up with private tutoring to fill in gaps, so not sure their SEN provision would be great

Karoleann Sun 03-Apr-16 15:23:26

Its very unlikely the Beacon would take him, they turned down both my friends children with ASD even though they are both academically near the top. One has ended up at Thorpe House in Gerrards Cross and the other stayed at their state school.

I don't know about the other schools, although my neighbours two children are at Chesham Prep and they are very happy with it.

Have you a school in mind for 13+? Is it worth working backwards and looking at the schools they take from.

Hotcrossbunsandcheese Sun 03-Apr-16 19:57:31

Sadly, that that does not surprise me re the Beacon.


UrgentSchoolHelp Sun 03-Apr-16 22:00:00

Thanks everyone!

Really Tired I've ruled out Lockers as its not that SEN friendly, I've discovered. Everton Rothersay at the current time offers more support than we need and not enough academics.

OP’s posts: |
UrgentSchoolHelp Sun 03-Apr-16 22:04:49

HotCrossBuns & Karoleann*

Hm, The Beacon sounds like an 11+ factory who only want perfect kids??

Is Chesham Prep likely to be pretty similar to The Beacon in that regard?

OP’s posts: |
UrgentSchoolHelp Sun 03-Apr-16 22:06:34

Forgot to say, I will absolutely book visits, but my list of schools to visit is massive so I'm trying to prune it down to avoid visiting millions, especially pointless ones which will put him through a test he will fail.

OP’s posts: |
UrgentSchoolHelp Sun 03-Apr-16 22:08:13

zodlebud ah yes, my mistake on numbers at WBH. I must write these things down!!

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UrgentSchoolHelp Sun 03-Apr-16 22:13:46

Karoleann I'm pretty open minded regarding schools for 13+. I think broadly speaking a minor Public School where he can flexi board or be a day pupil would suit him well. Haileybury have a bus to London, Bradfield may be doable..... If he needed more help then Shiplake, if he needed less academic pressure then Aldenham? I think I'll just have to wait longer and see what kind of a young man he turns in to!

OP’s posts: |
Hotcrossbunsandcheese Mon 04-Apr-16 07:22:54

OP a friend's child was turned down at reception at Chesham prep - the school suspected (and told my friend they thought he was "Aspergers") I think given what she said about her experience, they are not very inclusive.

bojorojo Mon 04-Apr-16 14:04:20

I would work back from where may be a suitable school at 13 plus. What prep schools get children into the schools you mention? How selective are the schools you mention and what SEND supoort do they have? Does he fit their profile? No child fits exactly, but what support can they offer? I am not sure Haileybury would consider itself as minor by the way. What prep schools get children into these schools? Presumably a day school would need to be closer than weekly boarding. All of these "minor" schools have a range of pupils and Shiplake would have some higher ability children. They will not all have the same prior attainment. Sometimes being more able in a school is less of a slog than feeling you are at the bottom all the time.

Chesham Prep and The Beacon are focussed on the Bucks 11 plus as is the The Gateway at Great Misdenden. This is the market in this area of Bucks/Herts. CE children at 13 plus who need extra support are more difficult to place so I would go and have a look and see what you think.

Karoleann Mon 04-Apr-16 20:26:53

Shiplake's results have really improved over the last 10 years - maybe consider that for 11+ rather than 13+. Otherwise you'll probably find that all the preps want some kind of assessment before entry.

The other option would be to move him to a prep for year 7/8, there's more places and therefore less competition and he may be more likely to get a place.

It must be difficult, at my boys prep although we have some "interesting characters" has no children with ASD, the few that were admitted in early years, we asked to leave as the school couldn't manage them.

BlackbirdSingsInTheDeadOfNight Mon 04-Apr-16 20:52:39

DS1 has ASD and Chesham Prep and the Beacon wouldn't even consider offering him a place. Bucks is so 11+ focused that we left the county to find a Prep where he is valued, nurtured and making amazing progress. Unfortunately a lot of Preps are very nervous of taking children with any type of SEN.

watfordmummy Mon 04-Apr-16 21:00:47

Both my boys have gone through York House and happy to answer any questions directly.

Both boys got their first choice senior school without any tutoring. Both very different boys and were not in a mixed year.

DS2 is dyslexic and the support at the school has got better over the years, the boys are very lucky with the full education offer they get there. Boys from both sons years have gone onto MTs, Harrow, Winchester, St Albans, Shiplake, Habs.

Hope this helps smile

bojorojo Mon 04-Apr-16 21:55:43

The children I know who went to Chesham Prep then went on to grammar schools in Bucks or to Berkhamsted School. That is a reflection of Bucks and I would suggest the grammar schools are top of many parents' agendas at Chesham Prep. Berkhamsted has a junior section but I do not know what their pupil support is like.

It has long been the problem that there is no boys equivalent of Godstowe where most do CE at 13 and it is non selective.

UrgentSchoolHelp Tue 05-Apr-16 01:35:02

HotCross & Blackbird
Oh, gosh! Yes, neither Chesham nor The Beacon sound very inclusive! Thanks for letting me know of your experiences - I'm now totally put off applying! What a pity that Bucks is just full of 11+ factories.

OP’s posts: |
UrgentSchoolHelp Tue 05-Apr-16 01:44:50

Bojo & karo

Yes, I'm certainly considering Shiplake and Seaford for when he is older. I think I've rules out most of the Preps near London that typically feed those schools! I think I'll probably end up applying to a massive range of Senior schools a bit nearer the time.

It would be possible for him to do 11+ for somewhere like Shiplake if I thought he stood a better chance than at 13+, but all the research seems to says boys fare better at 13+ in general.

Oh, and I guess I describe as "minor" any Public school that is not well known nationally.

OP’s posts: |
UrgentSchoolHelp Tue 05-Apr-16 01:46:20

I would really appreciate some info on York House. I'll PM you.

OP’s posts: |
bojorojo Tue 05-Apr-16 09:57:30

I think if you choose the right prep you will have help in selecting a senior school. It is really hard work applying for lots especially if you opt for an entrance exam and there is an interview. CE is not vital everywhere. You will need to see how it goes and take advice later on. I know of children who have thrived at Sibford School near Banbury. It is a bit further away than you are suggesting though. You could also look at Wycliffe in Gloucestershire. This has a prep attached and says it offers individual education to meet needs. Not sure if that is also too far though.

I was going to suggest you looked at Winchester House Prep School in Brackley but for Learning Support it says, "Content coming soon" which is rather off putting.

I think in Bucks, apart from Godstowe, many prep schools are in the Bucks 11 plus market, inclding those in Milton Keynes. Parents pay for prep schools but are less inclined, and often cannot necessarily afford, a private senior school of the calibre of Haileybury or Stowe and certainly cannot afford boarding schools. The parents that want that sort of school have a fairly narrow choice of prep in Bucks and it is mainly Caldicott School for the high achieving boys. The only "name" school at senior level in Bucks is Stowe so for many boys, the day schools are mostly in neighbouring counties.

UrgentSchoolHelp Tue 05-Apr-16 12:33:33

Bojo I'm not at all set on Bucks - anywhere fairly close to Lindon is fine really, but I had another thread about that smile.

Oh, I thought Stowe was Oxfofshire. Is Stowe meant to be good for SEN? I've heard so.

I dont think he would enjoy Caldicott or that they would take him.

Unfortunately I think the others you suggested are too far away. Thank you for the suggestions though.

OP’s posts: |
UrgentSchoolHelp Tue 05-Apr-16 12:34:02

^ fucking autocorrect, London!

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Hotcrossbunsandcheese Tue 05-Apr-16 16:10:27

My impression (from friends whose children are there or have been there) is that Caldicott is a great school if you happen to fit the "Caldicott" mould and in particular love sport. I am not sure that it would be good if you were a "square peg".

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