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Berwick/ Beaconsfield- St Margaret's vs St Brigid's?

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#1 Nashes

Posted 04 May 2012 - 02:19 AM

Any help appreciated!    DD1 is in kinder, due to start Prep in 2013 and I'd appreciate any knowledge on either St Margaret's in Berwick or the new Catholic School in Officer, St Brigid's.
While she's been on the waiting list at St M's for a while, she's not guaranteed a place in prep. She has been accepted at St Brigid's and will likely have a place , being baptized and living in the zone.
My DH has his heart set on St Margaret's & rang today to see what her chances were. They were apparently noncommittal but said they would likely have a place in ELC for term 3 Kinder next term & would we come for interview next week. She's in a kinder programme that she loves and I'm really not keen to pull her out of it, but DH is afraid she'll miss a spot otherwise.
I know there's a certain amount of game playing with all the schools but I can't abide it.
I liked the look of St Brigid's too- my only concern was not a lot of information on the academic programme & composite classes.
Has anyone any experience of either school? Help please?

#2 Phascogale

Posted 04 May 2012 - 07:25 PM

They are completely different school systems.  St Brigids is a catholic school and St Margarets is an independant school (don't think it's really linked to a religion any more but happy to be corrected).

St Margarets is also a lot lot more expensive than St Brigids.  It can be a lot more cliquey and because it's a more expensive school there can be pressure to have more stuff ie horse, O/S holidays, the latest toys etc.

At St Brigids your child will be expected to learn the Catholic religion as it's built into the curriculum (which is fair enough seeing as it's a Catholic school).  And seeing as your daughter is baptised you already know about this.

St Margrets has lovely grounds and the class sizes are small but if you aren't performing (at the higher year levels) then you are encouraged to find another school.

What was your gut feeling when you walked into the two schools?  I didn't get a particularly good feeling from St Margarets for my kids but I did at another school.  The facilities were excellent but they aren't everything.

Will St Brigids go through to year 12 or will the kids transfer to St Francis Xavier in the senior years?

Can you afford St Margarets?

#3 newwoman1

Posted 07 May 2012 - 02:28 PM

I went to St Margarets many many years ago and have to say during my school years it was the happiest time.  I think you have to go with the school that has the right fit for you and your family.  

Just thinking about it now has brought back some many memories.

Good luck with your decision making

#4 OTP

Posted 07 May 2012 - 10:16 PM

I also went to St Mags many years ago and loved every minute of it, brilliant school back then and its reputation is still excellent. If we lived closer I would send my girls there without a doubt.

St Margaret's is an top level Private school and you cannot compare that to a local Catholic school.

#5 newwoman1

Posted 08 May 2012 - 11:18 AM

OTP noticed you didn't have as many "many" as me !!!

But I think you are right they can really not be compared to each other

#6 OTP

Posted 08 May 2012 - 11:22 AM

biggrin.gif  well it was many, many years ago. Were you there when we had yellow track suits and the boys at Haileybury would call us "banana legs"? Now sure when the uniform changed but ours was hideous, brown and yellow.

#7 newwoman1

Posted 08 May 2012 - 12:31 PM

I was there in the brown and yellow days, hated the yellow socks....

Used to get on the train home and get the tie and blazer off and hope no one saw me

#8 Nashes

Posted 09 May 2012 - 12:31 AM

Thanks guys, much appreciated.
We got a good feel for St Margaret's when we were there & liked what we saw. I think it would suit our DD. We are lucky in that we both work & will be able to afford it (with the usual belt tightening!).I suppose my experience of some of the other potential mothers and the game playing they've been carrying on with colored it a bit for me. And moving mid year with the disruption that might entail. But 4 yr olds are resilient, more so than their mothers sometimes!I've been talking to some other parents we know whose children are on primary & secondary there, and they had good things to say.And yes, I'm very aware of the differences between it and a local Catholic school....
But as an aside, I went to school overseas & even we didn't escape the brown & yellow! Brown skirt, brown vneck jumper, brown and gold striped tie & white or yellow shirt. Brown socks though, marginally better than yellow!
Thanks again

#9 JKTMum

Posted 09 May 2012 - 01:56 PM

Dont just factor in the fees as to whether you can afford it, you need to look at all the incidental costs, especially in the secondary school.

I have a friend who has her boys at BGS (the boys equivalent of St Margarets) and it is all the extra costs that really stretch her. There are more expectations on being in all the extra curricular activities and even the camps can be quite expensive and numerous. Her boys as well as having a very full academic schedule are also in the school band, take private music lessons (two instruments each), are in the tennis team, swim team, HPV (Human Powered Vehicles) and the cycling team (expected bikes for the track are something like $6000+ each, then there is all the gear). Her eldest son in in the triathalon squad. They are constantly running between one thing and another. Every year they seem to require different uniforms for each team and there are no excuses they have to come up with the money. Her son did something like 4 camps last year, including an overseas one for several weeks to China. They do have a lot more opportunities, but at a cost. Training for the sporting events is constant and at all hours, currently they go to the gym at St Margarets to train at 6:30am every morning, then my friend has to wait and take them to BGS at 8am for school, similar in the afternoons she is ferrying them between venues. Fortunately they are only a year apart so are in many of the same activities.

The Parents and Friends at St Margarets has to be paid for if you want a place on the committee, bit exclusive.

I know of a couple of girls who found it too cliquie and moved to Hailebury, but then not every school will suit every child or every family.

I suppose you could try it and see how you go, if money is not a problem. You will have a fairly good chance of getting a place later at St Brigids if it doesnt work out at St Margarets after a few years. Another friend had her kids go through another Catholic primary and then both have gone onto secondary at BGS and St Margarets, so you could always do it that way and go Catholic for primary and just St Margarets for secondary (actually her DD got offered a scholarship in music and actually transferred over at the start of year 6 although she had the option to wait and go in year 7, but thought it was a good compromise to start before the bigger year 7 intake).

#10 Nashes

Posted 10 May 2012 - 04:33 PM

Thanks JKTMum for all that information.Lots to consider....
We'll see what we think tomorrow. Lots more questions to add to my list, but I feel more in control with all the help I've had here & from other friends & acquaintances.
Thanks again everyone.

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