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St Mary's Gerrards Cross/Pipers Corner(4 Posts)
Wondered if anyone has any experience of the above two schools, especially St Mary's?
DD has offers from both and we're trying to decide which would suit her better. She is currently at a small state primary but has got a little lost there, for a variety of reasons. She's currently being investigated for ASD but, regardless of the outcome, has very low self-esteem, anxiety and problems with sleep and eating. Also some sensory issues.
She's above average academically but our main concern is to find somewhere she can be happy and gain confidence in herself. We liked both schools on visiting - on paper, St M's looked the better fit, but Pipers have been very supportive throughout the process (not that St Mary's haven't). She also struggles socially and I'm not sure if a smaller or larger school would be better for that - I can see advantages to both, depending on how she gets along with her classmates.
Any experience would be very welcome.
I know Pipers but not St Mary’s. I would, however, consider the journey to school and possible friends. If you are much closer to one than the other, that might be important in terms of friendships. Local friends might improve confidence and help her to be included. I would also evaluate which school can support her more effectively. Don’t forget both schools want your money and will be accommodating during the admissions process, but which school gave you most confidence about meeting her needs? What did you think of the ethos and the pupils when you visited?
Neither school is large. Is it the case that she doesn’t have a grammar school place or that you don’t want a grammar school place due to the size of those schools? They are much larger! Both the schools you mention are capable of seeing pupils as individuals but schools cannot ensure DCs have friends and I would think this is important. What school does DD prefer? My DDs had strong preferences regarding where they felt they belonged! Children can be very good at evaluating where they fit in.
Both schools unfortunately suffer from a reputation of being the school you go to if you fail the 11+ which is not only unfair, but also clouds judgement when you ask people for opinions.
They both get great results bearing in mind the very brightest in the area are being creamed off by the grammars and Wycombe Abbey. Out of the two schools though, Pipers is now becoming a first choice school in its own right.
Pipers has approximately double the number of girls than St Mary’s in each year although class sizes are roughly equal. I guess this means there’s more chance of your daughter finding her tribe. I felt the year groups at St Mary’s were too small and could actually create more problems than solve in terms of friendships.
Ultimately though they both have a similar vibe so I would honestly follow your daughters feelings on this one. If she has a strong preference then go with that one.
Thank you both for your replies, very much appreciated.
To reply to your comments, we are in a difficult/fortunate position of liking both schools and having difficulty weighing up which would be better. DD hates making decisions so is firmly on the fence. We live in between both, so no real difference on distance although Pipers slightly better in terms of bus stops, which is a consideration with younger DC. The friends point is a good one and one which has made me consider an Upper school, although DD struggles when she sees people regularly and has very little contact with school friends outside of term time. She has been at the same school since reception and only had a friendship group for two of those years which has now fragmented - they are all still at the school
but have grown apart and she is now largely excluded from the group. This is a concern to me with a smaller school - if it doesn't work out, there's nowhere to hide - the flip side to this is that I understand that the class sizes are significantly smaller at St Mary's which may benefit her.
Grammar isn't an option, which was the right outcome as I don't think she'd cope with it. And academic less of a factor for us as there is so much else we need to support her with to get her to a stage where that's a priority - she's achieving all Age Related expectations at school, higher in some areas, but probably not as well as she could be. But until we can get her happier/less anxious, there seems little point in worrying about that.
We have a list of questions for both schools so will look into those before taking a decision but thanks again for taking the time
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