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tick tock decision time looming...Surrey schools...

(13 Posts)
holidaysrcoming Sat 28-Sep-13 21:16:32

So we thought we'd decided and then... more open days, more uncertainty...and here I am cogitating over x factor...

Anyone prepared to pm me or venture opinions on Tormead? Know there must be a certain amount of pressure/focus on academics but have heard comments that it is 'not a happy place' and an 'exam factory' with limited opportunity in extra curricular activities.

I know opinions are subjective and different children/parents have different experiences - but ...they help !

Labro Sat 28-Sep-13 21:29:20

Friends daughter just started there, they are very happy. They chose it over St Catherines and Farnborough Hill as she didn't pass GHS or Kendrick.

holidaysrcoming Sun 29-Sep-13 10:44:47

thanks Labro... your friends seem to be turning against the tide of people I hear of who are all plumping for St Cats over Tormead... and I'm trying to suss out why !

mummytime Sun 29-Sep-13 11:19:26

Went to the open day, and have also known a lot of girls at Tormead.

The school is crowded and very dark! It desperately needs that new building.
The girls were not as bright or switched on as GHS. When I asked girls at both schools what they liked most and least about their schools; GHS girls could answer, Tormead girls didn't want to say anything bad (not even to complain about the lunch queues).
They are also timetabled more homework in years 7-9 than GHS.

The Headmistress has been there 2 years or so, and she came from St Cats. She has a very different attitude to the last one (who was also controversial when she first came). She has brought back the Blazer, which had been fading out.

However I found the staff easier to talk to at Tormead. None of the lessons looked "sparky", which was disappointing. I know girls who have come out and would be an asset to any school. I have also known others who are feeling very pressurised; the problem then is their parents may have chosen Tormead as a less pressurised school (or because their DD were less academic).

Finally, I think it is quite worrying how even "the less academic" girls schools in this area (and I don't mean Tormead) are pushing for a more academic reputation. They may always have produced Oxbridge Medical students, but if they are going for the GHS "everyone gets A*" reputation it makes me wonder where the less academic girls will end up.

DalmationDots Sun 29-Sep-13 21:56:55

mummytime has summed it up well in terms of the new head.

It is still a very good school, just can be in the shadows of GHS, sparkier and more academic and just down the road.
IMO it suits very different girls to GHS and to St Cats. Lots go for it because of the reputation of it being less pressurised than GHS. Heard of lots leaving for schools like St Cats, Priors Field etc recently because of clashing with the new head.
The new building is desperately needed, as mummytime said it seemed dark, cramped and gloomy. A shame because in a different newer building it would look and feel so much better. Tormead seems, to me, more relaxed and a smaller environment than the other girls options around. I can see it really suits the right girl.
The girls that come out of Tormead all seem very bright and well-mannered. Lots leave for sixth form though.
St Cats is more for the ones who are a bit more jolly hockey stick types and want more a country boarding school feel. St Cats is more academic than Tormead.
I love Tormead prep school BTW, just find the senior school a bit gloomy and lacking in enthusiasm/atmosphere compared to other schools like GHS/St Cats/LEH/Priors Field.

I disagree with the whole 'pressurised' thing when it comes to schools. DD was at GHS, supposedly a super-pressurised power house. She had so little homework until year 10, some of her teachers were so relaxed, there were no detentions, no pressure to achieve a certain grade. Any pressure came from the fact each year had 100 very bright girls who all want to do well and are very motivated. It creates an atmosphere where the girls aren't afraid to work hard and want to do well.
I am sure the same can be said of Tormead.

DalmationDots Sun 29-Sep-13 22:01:41

Just read your post again and I also agree mummytime with your last comment, I think schools feel the best marketing tactic is academics. I really like Priors Field because it doesn't pretend to be on par with GHS or the equivalents, it just promotes value added, a caring environment and being really in-tune with the girls. If my DD wasn't GHS level I would be looking for a school which was recognising that not every child is realistically going to achieve that highly, but that they help the child achieve their full potential, have a fulfilling and opportunity filled school career and find a post-16/18 path suited to them.

But even the likes of Priors Field seem to feel pressure to be promoting the fact they have some super academic girls.

holidaysrcoming Sun 29-Sep-13 22:32:46

Thanks both for your honest replies...guess there's always going to be transition issues with a new head but a bit worrying if many are leaving.

I thought St Teresa's did a good job of promoting themselves as a 'value adding' school at their recent open day and/or as a school for those who are GHS/Tormead level but want a 'less pressured' environment. Lots of changes though so its hard to tell what sort of school it would be in a few years time.

Need a crystal ball.......

DalmationDots Tue 01-Oct-13 17:47:20

Yes St Ts new head seems to be on a mission, but hard to tell whether it was work. It definitely needed re-vamping.
Good luck with the decision.

homebythesea Wed 02-Oct-13 07:54:35

If you are looking at St Teresa's please also look at Manor House- ok it doesn't have the facilities to match but value added is amazing and they regularly beat St T's GCSE results. iMO to compare St T's girls academics with GHS is a bit far fetched-not in the same league regardless of what the new head woud like to think

holidaysrcoming Wed 02-Oct-13 10:05:14

I don't think for one second he was making comparisons - more saying that St Ts was an option for those who wanted best 'added value' (which he demonstrated using a rather basic chart showing an average C going to a B grade) OR an option for those who were of GHS academic standard but wanted to choose a different pace school.

Am going to M House open day - my only concern that it seems very much a 'through' school with few girls joining at 11. Great selling point at 5 not so sure at 11 ?

homebythesea Wed 02-Oct-13 10:45:25

This is not true at all. My daughters year doubled in size at year 7 due to intake from both state and private schools. Happens every year so entry at year 7 works not mean your DD is only new girl

homebythesea Wed 02-Oct-13 10:45:56

"Works" = would

CherryEmma Wed 02-Oct-13 16:34:08

Hello, have you tried also posting this thread on our Surrey site?

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