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UCS -- still a liberal school?

(4 Posts)
MathDad Sun 29-Jan-17 15:55:54

My DS just got a 7+ offer from UCS. We're still waiting to hear from St Paul Junior's but frankly I was quite put off by what I saw of the school during his interview there, with a lot of focus on rules, punishments, etc. I believe that UCS is considered to be very liberal but that things have been changing under Mr Beard. But I presume that any change is relatively small and still leaves it far more liberal than the likes of SPJ -- can anyone confirm?

The other question on my mind is the nature of the teaching itself. I went into the process assuming that at SPJ/WUS the classroom experience would be far more stimulating, since the kids are presumably all at a very high level. But the impression I got was that the SPJ kids didn't really like their teachers and lessons, whereas the UCS kids did seem to.

So overall I'm tending to think that we'd turn down SPJ even if he gets the offer, but I'd appreciate anyone else's feedback on whether my impressions are accurate.

UCS is also more convenient although we may be moving anyway so it's not a massive consideration.


PollyParanoia Mon 30-Jan-17 10:16:01

Hello I don't know much about the Junior Branch, but my son is at the Senior School. We didn't try for St Paul's - too far away and I have the impression (maybe misplaced) that it's full of Alpha boys and wouldn't be the right place for my ds.

We're ambivalent private school parents (children at state primary) and UCS definitely feels like a London day school rather than a public school. I bristle at any regime too rigid, which was part of the problem we had with our local state options which are of the your-socks-are-a-cm-too-long-here's-a-detention variety. UCS seems to treat the boys with respect and not get too bogged down with petty details. The teaching that we saw when we looked round looked fun, though that's not to say that ds doesn't complain about some of it being borrrrrring.

I don't know what it was like under the old head, but I have heard that the senior school is coming down on the junior school because some of the kids that were coming up were not keeping up with the new kids. No idea if this is true, but I gather some of the teaching at the Juniors was quite laid back. I rather envied them that because since they all had automatic places at the senior school, they didn't have to get drilled for 11+/sats like mine.

MathDad Mon 30-Jan-17 22:24:30

Thanks! I share your views on private education, and I'm glad that UCS has a substantial number of full bursaries.

I'm definitely keen that he doesn't get drilled for exams but I hope the standards aren't too low -- to find himself at the bottom of the class as 11 would be a shock.

Do you have any general impression of the school culture? I think it's generally a less sporty school right? Who are the "cool" kids? Still the football team, or the rock band, or....?

PollyParanoia Tue 31-Jan-17 10:52:54

Oh no I don't think your child would be at the bottom when he arrives at the senior school. I think it's more the children who might have been in the pre-prep who wouldn't have got in if they'd applied later (either at 7+ or 11+). I'm sure the teaching is fine, they're just not drilled in the same way my son had to be. He said, on arrival, that his handwriting was much worse and that the junior boys all knew more French and Science (but less good on maths, but this may be partly to do with this being a particular strength of his).

The cool kids seem to be the popular ones who've come from the Junior School, but to be honest none of them seem very cool at all. It's pretty sporty and it definitely helps, socially at least, to be in the A or B teams but equally I know boys who very cheerfully tell you how rubbish they are at sports. And then there are some super nerdy ones who are in collecting those weird cards. My sons' friends are very sweet, self-deprecating and chatty. He might just be lucky with that, but he feels he's really found a group of boys that he lacked at primary.

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