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Radlett Prep

(20 Posts)
Confusedmom53 Tue 28-Nov-17 13:32:49

Just had an extremely strange experience with Radlett Prep. My DS took the test, and because he cried while going in, we were told to come in for another assessment as he showed promise, but his performance was probably undermined by him being upset.

Went in for test 2, but he cried so much, that we returned without him being tested. Just received a letter yesterday offering him a place. The only conclusion I can derive from the experience is that all children who appeared in test 2 were offered a place and hence he got an offer too despite not being tested.

Should I take this a sign of their deteriorating performance...that they are desperate to fill in their places? Or I should thank my lucky stars and accept the offer at once?

Ttbb Tue 28-Nov-17 13:39:26

Maybe he was still performing relatively well enough on the first test for them to give him a place?

spurtions Tue 28-Nov-17 13:49:04

Personally I'm not keen on the school. It's a hardcore hot house where children who are academic will get on well and those who aren't may struggle. It's extremely heavy on homework and be under no illusions, most children are heavily tutored out of school for 11+. There are no governors as it's privately owned so any complaints go to the proprietor who is stuck in circa 1972. Despite what they say, there are always places there and children come and go all the time. Classes are large for a private school, I think that they cap at 26 and TA's are limited past KS1. Unless things have changed, there are no school lunches either. However, it's pretty much the cheapest of the private schools.

Personally, I think that there are far better options. Manor Lodge is also extremely academic and getting more particular at who they offer to but it's a proper prep school with a board of governors, slightly smaller classes and just a much more modern school. Don't dismiss either Edgegrove or Aldenham either. Don't be fooled by their reputations for being less academic, they're both fantastic schools, small classes, excellent pastoral care and giving a well rounded education and they teach to the children's ability and build their confidence. Children move on to secondary to exactly the schools they should be going to having had a fantastic prep experience.

Confusedmom53 Tue 28-Nov-17 14:20:33

Thank you so very much for your reply. I didn't get good vibes, despite the fact that they have excellent grounds and quite a high intake into Habs. Apart from the large class size, the method of education seemed really traditional.
However If it is being supplemented by tutoring, what is the point of sending my kid to a prep school? I might be better off sending him to the outstanding state school in my area, and supplementing his state school education with tutoring and extra curriculars

hiyasminitsme Tue 28-Nov-17 19:50:42

Most children at most prep and pre prep schools are tutored for a year or so before the exams. That's just the way it is.

FanDabbyFloozy Tue 28-Nov-17 23:15:54

It is not very selective I think.. Do they teach phonics yet? I remember they used to learn words by rote in reception not that long ago!
Seems to get decent results at 11+ in fairness.

Ma518 Tue 28-Nov-17 23:39:56

Boys at prep schools typically sit 13+ so those like Radlett who sit boys and girls at 11+ have an advantage as boys are typically competing against a state school cohort - something to consider when looking at 11+ results !

spurtions Wed 29-Nov-17 09:41:45

MA I wouldn’t say that. They are competing against some state school children but also against Manor Lodge and all the privately owned pushy little preps like Holland House, Alpha, Buckingham College who sell their kids souls for 11+. Habs / St Albans / City, the big intake is at 11. I think merchant taylor’s is the main one with a big 13+ as they’ve got their own prep plus St. John’s and st Martins as their main feeders

hiyasminitsme Wed 29-Nov-17 14:58:46

More and more boys move at 11. At Hendon prep, for example, half of their boys left at 11 last year

bitofwhatyoufancy Wed 29-Nov-17 17:55:04

How old is your ds? He cried hard on both occasions that you took him there? It doesn't sound like a great fit to me.

fidgettt Wed 06-Dec-17 14:41:00

There's not really much that's positive here OP. What are your other options?

Hullabalooloo Sat 09-Dec-17 10:54:09

We agree with the comments re lack of governance structure and lack of facilities. They are all crammed into those two small buildings despite the acres of open grounds which are only accessed for a few months of the year. The library is tiny - when we were shown it they were v proud that it had just been refurbished and we asked if it was just for year 3 thinking it to be pretty small and they had to admit that actually this was for the entire school to use. The 'art room' is more like a large cupboard and accessed via one of the year 3 classrooms. The classrooms themselves feel like they were built to house 15 childten but they are cramming up to 23. With a 3 form entry there are over 60 per year group and year 3 at least has the support of one part time TA across all three classes. And the extra curricular activities are not what you would expect from a school like this plus the school days are the same length as state schools but the terms are largely as short as other prep schools so not sure how they cover the curriculum adequately. They also don't offer hot lunches, you have to provide packed lunches and I don't think they had a swimming pool which again a lot of competitors nearby do have. Overall, the only thing going for it is the admirable destinations, but if lots of children are heavily tutored as has been suggested then it may be little to do with the school.

This is our experience from seeing the school earlier this year. We were offered a place following a one hour assessment with a single teacher whereas other schools we looked at undertook a day of assessments both academic and class based and involved a panel of teachers discussing performance and fit before agreeing to make an offer.

We wanted to love this school but were glad to receive offers elsewhere.

Confusedmom53 Sat 09-Dec-17 11:49:50

Thank you so much for your detailed insight...what schools would you recommend?

fidgettt Sat 09-Dec-17 12:19:42

Locally I'd say Manor Lodge, Edge Grove, Aldenham though obviously that's the least academic and DC may need to be more of a self starter for there.

Can you travel further afield? Lochinver House in Potters Bar? Definitely some good Preps around Hemel Hempstead and Harrow, possibly some in St Albans?

Hullabalooloo Sat 09-Dec-17 13:30:05

We loved edge grove though didnt take it for various reasons and it's a lot more academic than it was historically, the range of destinations esp for boys is v impressive. That is a classic prep with everuthing you wpuld imagine, fantastic facilities and incredible grounds with lots of exciting corners to explore and play. The headmaster is exceptional. We intend to send our younger DC there. It appears to provides a v nuturing environment vs the hothousing of neighbours. Some serious old money and wealthy overseas families, esp bcoz of the boarding options but a mix of hard working middle class types too. They send one or two boys to Eton/Harrow most years but also have links with a large range of other schools.

fidgettt Sat 09-Dec-17 21:04:49

Yes, Edge Grove is lovely, however a lot of MN have agreed that the SEN provision is crap. Also the timetable is more like that of a boarding Prep with the longer days. No Saturday school AFAIK though.

MumDad999 Tue 09-Jan-18 10:52:37

thank you for the insight.
We turned down Holland House, but have radlett in a few weeks and also orley farm this week.

Any thoughts on these?
From the above I regret not applying to Manor Lodge and Edge Grove.

Hullabalooloo Tue 09-Jan-18 14:52:23

@Mumdad999, ML and EG may still accept applications, don't know which year you are applying for but one thing I have learnt with these schools is that you shouldn't assume anything and always just ask.

MumDad999 Tue 09-Jan-18 15:02:27

thank you. i'll call them smile

Dancergirl Wed 10-Jan-18 12:56:09

However If it is being supplemented by tutoring, what is the point of sending my kid to a prep school? I might be better off sending him to the outstanding state school in my area, and supplementing his state school education with tutoring and extra curriculars

Agree 100%.

I've never known anyone to be turned away from Radlett Prep. One mum I know who had a daughter there said most of her year had been unhappy with the education provided and had been having their children privately tutored.

Save the money for secondary.

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