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Prior's Field v St Cats help

(11 Posts)
Mumoftwo222 Sun 14-Feb-16 22:37:02

I would really appreciate any up to date comments on these 2 surrey schools. My DD has offers from both for sept year 7. She is v strong in English otherwise solid but not exceptional in other subjects.
I have read all the old threads and words like pushy/bitchy/anorexia/powerhouse have cropped up in relation to St Cats which worries me. Have not heard a bad word about PF although clearly less selective academically.
Current head advising St Cats but think more based on academic results.
My DH also seduced by impressive facilities at St Cats hut I loved PF for the feel of the school.
Any comments really gratefully received!

Grikes Mon 15-Feb-16 07:54:26

My daughter is at Priorsfield. If your daughter has a lack of confidence or is rather shy. Then I can say Priorsfield will bring her out of her shell. The pastoral care is excellent. Academically I would say because they are not as selective as St Catherine's they do lag slightly behind. Although they do bring out the best in every girl they accept.

Is there bullying? Hmm they are very strong in stamping out in your face bullying. Low level peer pressure. What you wear how you look does happen.

It's a beautiful school where most teachers do care. Obviously some more than others. The teachers mostly inspire the girls to do well. Which really does means the girls do well.

Problems
Kit goes missing once in a while.
You do get one or two horrid teachers
Food wise is excellent if the Chef is on duty. Otherwise it is mediocre. Apparently last Friday Chef was on duty and the Fish and Chips were exquisite.

Plus side
Very low level bullying to non existant. (Sorry there is always some comments that are said innocently that can be taken out of context and hurt your child). The school will listen to your daughter and put it right.
Teaching is excellent very progressive. There is very few teachers that just stand and bore your daughter to death.
Physical education is excellent. Daughter was non sporty but now although reluctant will try.

I hope this answers your questions on Priorsfield. I have not regretted one moment sending my daughter to Priorsfield. She has improved by leaps and bounds. She has become more independent and seems to have a deeper understanding of her surroundings.

ifancyagreencard Mon 15-Feb-16 12:27:24

Have PM'd smile

Mumoftwo222 Mon 15-Feb-16 15:00:48

Thank you so much for this. It is sooo helpful to hear from current parents rather than just the official school blurb. I know we are spoilt for choice in this region and both schools are excellent in their own ways but it doesn't lessen the chewing over you do to decide on the next 5/7 years of your daughter's life. Very grateful to you for taking the time to tell me your view 👍👏smile

Flyflo Tue 16-Feb-16 11:00:36

We had a similar choice but I ended up speaking to a friend who has a DD at priors field. It is great in all the ways you described but I declined in the end.
My friend said PF is great in all the non-academic ways but the academic side, albeit lots of great teachers very determined to get results up, is held back by the atmosphere which is so focused on it being an 'all rounded', 'comfortable' school. My friend felt her DD just didn't have much urge to work and the atmosphere isn't that ambitious (compared to other schools which still aren't pushy but promote real drive and a 'can do' attitude). Priors field would be perfect for DD if it was just as it is but with more emphasis on progress and achieving academically. It doesn't help most leave for sixth form so there is apparently quite an attitude of girls moaning and being more focused on their new sixth form in year 11.
This sounds negative - there are so many good things about this school. Ultimately the attitude to academics (I don't want a pushy school but I want a school with a real positive atmosphere which instills a work ethic) was important to me if I am paying fees. It really does depend on your DD and what is important to you though.
The new head is from Caterham and friend said she and a lot of parents are hopeful she will maintain the unique PF history and the great things but bring the atmosphere up which does need a slight culture shift.
Hope this helps!

Mumoftwo222 Tue 16-Feb-16 11:27:38

Hi Flyflo
Actually it really does and thank you for taking the time to answer. I haven't used mumsnet since my 2 were little but I am finding it massively helpful now. Really good to hear balanced sensible and informed views. smile

Wriggle45 Tue 16-Feb-16 11:51:39

We've just plumped for PF over Tormead for our DD... We were finding it v hard to pick but going back for the open days a couple of weeks ago made our minds up. I know our DD works really hard with support there and PF really felt like they were set up for her to do her best

shank2 Tue 16-Feb-16 15:20:35

Prior's Field has the same level of work for top sets as tops sets at st cats. However the difference is that Prior's field goes lower in sets but has the work appropriate to the lower girls. Ability setting I in most subjects at of. They all do the same GCSEs in the end. Academic girl will get the same results at either. PF only do 2 languages in y7 ! same as gas,whereas st cats do 4. Not so much homework at pf compared to st cats. More clubs at pf.

Flyflo Tue 16-Feb-16 15:44:09

From what my friend said, an academic girl would have the potential to do as well. But you have to think of an academic girl who in her teenage years becomes easily influenced by peers... My decision was made thinking of this (knowing myself as a teenager). I'd want my daughter to have her teenage wobble in a school where ultimately there is an atmosphere that results come from hard work and that the norm is to knuckle down. I'm not saying there isn't this culture at PF, just that at other schools locally it is a stronger culture of 'we'll support you and support as much as we possibly can but ultimately you've got to do the pedaling' (and I'm not talking about GHS or St Cats which are completely different to PF in terms of selectivity) whereas for me the being comfortable and no petty uniform rules suggested too much of a relaxed feeling at PF.
But that is me! Just providing another perspective. For some girls it will be the perfect school and offers something quite different to other local schools. I'm just contributing as I was so close to taking a place until I spoke to my friend and she really made me think of these scenarios and a teenage DD, not my sweet, innocent, eager year 6 DD!

Grikes Wed 17-Feb-16 08:26:13

Actually I do think if your daughter is a little to lax and needs the iron rod. PF may not be the school you require. DD explained PF setting to me. The top sets just get on with the work set. That is because most understand the concepts. The lower sets move at a slower pace but are taught the concepts. My DD is in top set for certain subjects and in a lower set for others. We find that the lower sets tend to do as well as the higher sets when exams rears its ugly head.

PF is about giving space and opportunity for your DD to develop. I think it is a great school for the shy. The girls who have lost confidence. The girls who have been bullied. They all get accepted into the fold of PF and excel. PF is not just about competing with others and winning. Its also about caring about your friends.

TBH im not too sure how other schools work. I am just thankful that PF has broken the mould.

PF is just so much more than academia or competition. Its about living life right. Altogether they do provide the means for academic success and are quite competitive in all areas. Its the formula on how they achieve it that makes paying the school fees bearable.

Issy Sun 21-Feb-16 20:35:22

I currently have a DD at both schools. PF and St Cats are both excellent schools with outstanding strengths but about as different as they could be whilst still fitting within the general scheme of a Surrey all-girls day and boarding school.

I'm happy to help further if you want to send me a personal message.

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