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Mayfield School, Sussex

(38 Posts)
Frankfurt17 Sun 21-Jan-18 21:54:50

Anyone have any knowledge of this school. Looking at it for boarding for dd in next couple of years. Thanks.

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Frankfurt17 Mon 22-Jan-18 22:31:48


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Neolara Mon 22-Jan-18 22:43:33

I went there a million years ago! Unfortunately, I have no recent knowledge. Used to be great for singing, pottery and sport and bizarrely we had to say prayers at the start of our maths lessons but no other subject. Lots of kids from properly religious families - mass on Mondays and lots of girls went to confession because it got them out of lessons. Lots and lots of emphasis on being kind and helping others - think this is probably why I've volunteered almost my whole adult life. Almost no-one got good exam results back then (just wasn't seen as terribly important) but strongly suspect this will have changed. In my fist year, we all had tweed cloaks as part of the uniform! It really was a life time ago....

semideponent Tue 23-Jan-18 16:41:05

Yes, I have a DD there. We're very happy with it. Do you have specific questions? Happy to pass along what I know.

giddybiddy Tue 23-Jan-18 17:07:52

Do you know what the drama and music are like there? Also, am slightly worried as they still appear to be getting the girls to do 12 GCSEs despite the fact most schools are doing 9 or 10 due to the new curriculum. Do you have any insights into that? Thanks so much!

Frankfurt17 Tue 23-Jan-18 17:29:40

Thanks ladies. I really want to know about how many boarders are really boarders - as in staying in most weekends and not going home.

Is the pastoral care good? Not a hot house I hope?


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Frankfurt17 Tue 23-Jan-18 17:39:30

Another thing. How hard is the entrance exam at 11+? Places to applicants? We are overseas at present and dd is following the International Baccalaureate, not UK curriculum.

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semideponent Tue 23-Jan-18 18:21:36

Music and drama both seem very good. There's a new head of music this year: judging by the live crib I went to at Christmas, he's doing a great job so far. When we had (as might happen anywhere) a problem with DD's peripatetic music teacher, the music dept were responsive and helpful: the problem got solved.

I'm not sure of the stats for places to applicants at 11+, though I'm sure the admissions office would help with that. What I do know is that they were incredibly welcoming to DD and did their best to allay anxieties both before and after her exam e.g. with opportunities to spend time with her year group, in the boarding house etc. Clued up and caring would be a good summary.

12 GCSEs...again, I'm not sure of the story here. DD isn't GCSE level yet. However, I have pressed for details about preparation for the new grading system. It's clear that they have thought about it hard and integrated the new grading system into marking work in the lower years. I am quite critical of schools on this point. I think they're doing well compared to others.

They do have subjects like food tech and ceramics that girls might choose to take in addition to the usual set of 9 GCSEs. That might account for it?

giddybiddy Tue 23-Jan-18 19:22:40

Thanks that is useful, I will ask again about the 12 GCSEs as it is worrying me. There should be no need to do more than 9 or 10. I think RS is compulsory which adds on one.
Good to hear about the music, thanks

Frankfurt17 Tue 23-Jan-18 19:45:43

Thanks so much! How about boarders? Staying in %? Sorry to be a pest!

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semideponent Wed 24-Jan-18 00:28:04

Giddybiddy, I completely agree with you - there is no way DD is doing more than 9 or 10, I assure you! I would just ask them about it and find out where the statistic came from and what was the reason behind it. The new curriculum is also a gradual thing: not all the subjects have 9-1 grading yet.

Frankfurt, I know the junior boarding house quite well now. It's got a good vibe: one of DD's best friends is an overseas, non-British boarder. The junior boarding house and the lower school are really well integrated.

I have no idea about % staying for weekends at the moment, but again, I'd ask. I expect they get asked about it all the time. To be honest, though, I've never really thought of it as a numbers game: more as a what's going on and who's looking after them game: I think that's what really matters. What I have seen is that DD has gone from being hesitant about staying for the weekend to wanting to do it regularly and enjoying it when she does.

Frankfurt17 Wed 24-Jan-18 06:53:12

Thanks- really appreciate it. I just want to make sure there are a good number of other boarders from same year staying in regularly at weekends as we live overseas.

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Needmoresleep Wed 24-Jan-18 08:39:33

Had the cloaks in my day as well Neolara, and scratchy Harris tweed skirts.

I agree about the emphasis on being kind. It seems to be something that has stayed with my peers, with several working for charities or in public sector jobs like teaching or medicine. I also agree about the academics.

Academics do seem to have changed. Mayfield does well for a non selective school, particularly in STEM subjects. My understanding however is that they are working hard to retain their ethos, seeing an increased demand for boarding, partly from London families who are seeking something gentler, and more nurturing. Singing (Mr Pont is apparently still around), pottery, riding and more are still strong, so, unlike some other schools it is OK to be clever, but equally OK if academics are not your thing.

One of the advantages Catholic schools have is that overseas boarders tend to come from Catholic communities, so you get a good mix: Poland; Mexico; Nigeria; East Asia, which helps with integration.

In terms of numbers who stay weekend you might ask the school and what they do. You might also ask about how boarders and day pupils interact at weekends. There is a MN orthodoxy that full boarding is essential. Yet DD's experience of being a sixth form day pupil at a school with boarders was that she often went in at weekends to do homework with friends, and then out for supper after, and that boarders would occasionally come and stay with us (with housemasters permission!) at weekends or for half term. She often had matches on Saturday as well.

Frankfurt17 Wed 24-Jan-18 09:37:28

This is all so helpful - thank you.

Is there a good social mix? I don't want dd to live in a bubble.

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Needmoresleep Wed 24-Jan-18 09:58:49

I can't really answer that, other than to say that St Mary's Ascot is where the posh Catholics go. Mayfield was never really a rich girls school, and does not seem to have the same culture of sophisticated weekend parties in London. It is a private school so you won't get a complete mix, but that coupled with the fact that day girls will be from the local area means that the rich bubble should not be a problem. That said we did not send our DD there because she was an academic London co-ed type. I think she would have found Mayfield a bit too sheltered and nurturing. A different bubble!

giddybiddy Wed 24-Jan-18 11:25:31

semidepondent - that is interesting, is your DD in Yr 7 or 8? It was the Head who told me about the number of GCSEs so not a statistic . I am really hoping it will be reviewed though..
We are going to visit again soon so will press the issue. DD is v keen..

Neolara Wed 24-Jan-18 15:04:37

Needmoresleep - Can't believe Mr Pont is still around - he must be about 85!

Needmoresleep Wed 24-Jan-18 15:54:13

Probably older...

There is some big reunion of the Mayfield Schola Cantorum in Spring. All tuneful OGs welcome. Unfortunately my singing career was stopped in its tracks when some ancient nun told me I should never sing in church as it would be an insult to God. Those were the days. DC don’t believe tales of my school days. But then modern Mayfield girls would not either.

Frankfurt17 Thu 25-Jan-18 11:57:01

Thanks everyone. Really appreciate it. Going to go to the next Open Day.

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trudylady12 Fri 02-Feb-18 09:58:54

What your thoughts after going to the Open Day?

Frankfurt17 Fri 02-Feb-18 10:05:29

Not going to April!

The thing I really want to know is what % of boarders actually stay in at weekends?

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trudylady12 Fri 06-Apr-18 08:28:05

Hi, I am also looking at Mayfield and would love to hear from you after your visit in April.

Does Mayfield only accept Catholics?

Frankfurt17 Thu 12-Apr-18 11:53:15

Hi TrudyLady. I'll make sure I give you an update after the Open Day in 2 weeks.

Mayfield does accept non-catholics but children are expected to embrace themselves in the Christian ethos etc.

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Zodlebud Thu 12-Apr-18 15:02:37

If you are not religious then I would really delve into the Catholic element of this school.

I am CofE and did go to church every now and again. I went to a Catholic school and found it VERY intense in terms of the religion side.

Every school is different in terms of religious emphasis but don’t ignore it if you have strong opinions on it.

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Thu 12-Apr-18 15:15:15

Another Old Girl (literally, actually grin )here, from back in the days of cloaks and Mr Pont. I never want to set foot in the place again - the most miserable days of my life. HOWEVER, that was undoubtedly partly down to my own character and I also believe it has changed enormously.

I have a colleague whose DD is a Day Girl there now and who loves it. It doesn't sound as though it is frighteningly academic but certainly seems to be a happy place.

One of my peers also has a daughter there, who regularly turns up on my doorstep at exeats because the family live abroad and everyone else has gone home for the weekend. She's sitting 12 GCSEs but is highly intelligent, academic and competitive (which is very much encouraged by her mother ...). I don't think she fits into the school as well as my colleague's daughter, which I think is a positive in favour of the school! She certainly seems to have plenty of friends who board though.

On the one occasion I did venture back as part of a reunion, one of the nuns, our old head of house, asked if I would be sending my DDs there. I said absolutely not. She said, "oh, there are bursaries available for old girls, you know." I had to say it wasn't about the £££ ...

But please don't let my experience put you off - I do genuinely believe it is a completely different place now. I think the head is a lay teacher, for a start, rather than a strange nun of indeterminate age, with a peculiar greasy bun she was always stroking.

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