A review of The Perse Upper School by Anonymous Student written on Tuesday 15th of November 2011
I am a Perse student in Year 11. I have been at the school since Year 7 and I have experienced ups and downs. Firstly, the teaching is relatively good. Most teachers are helpful and friendly and carry out their job well. Also, in recent years, many of the stricter teachers have retired so you needn't worry about getting yelled at. A lot of young teachers are being hired every year, contrary to the popular belief that all the teachers at the Perse are old and traditional. Discipline is generally good although sometimes the teachers need to get their priorities right - shirts being tucked in has become a bit of an obsession amongst some teachers.
The lunches are pretty average - on a good day, you might get sausage and mash with gravy - on a bad day, you might end up with 'refried beans' or 'chicken tikka masala' (I use apostrophes because neither taste anything like what they claim to be).
The school campus is clean and litter is rarely found. There is not much chewing gum on the ground, however, if you are unlucky you might encounter some on the bottom of your desk.
There is a wide variety of subjects and extra curricular activities to suit the majority of tastes and talents. Pupils have to work hard in order to succeed and satisfy their teachers' expectations, as the Perse has very high standards.
Now, on to the pupils. I say that I've had "ups and downs", and these have mainly been with my peers. The majority of the pupils come across as middle class - if not in wealth, then definitely in their ways. Some of the are nice, friendly people with a good moral compass. Others, I fear, have been told by their parents that they are more special than they really are. Serious bullying is not very common at the Perse (although of course, like with all schools, it does occur), but 'banter' seems to be everybody's favourite hobby. This banter can be fun when it goes both ways - for instance, one person might make a light jibe at their friend and their friend will reply with something equally witty - but it's not so fun when it is going one way and the person on the receiving end has to deal with it every day. Banter can cover many subjects including people's relationships, their race and their weight, and it occasionally gets too much, but the pupils dishing it out don't often realise how their words are making other people feel. Having said this, I stress that there are just as many nice people at the Perse with enough emotional intelligence to see where the line is at. Also, the middle class, over-achieving kind of mindset that prevails at the Perse can lead to some pupils becoming slightly arrogant and overly keen to argue with others.
So if you are considering whether to go to my school or you are a parent thinking about sending your child there (both boys and girls can now join at ages 11+ and 13+), I will say this. If the child/teenager concerned works hard, is competitive when it comes to exam results (especially with their peers), enjoys such pursuits as rugby (which in my opinion is a terrible sport) and squash, is able to take (and preferably retaliate with) a little 'banter', is self-confident, is seemingly immune to - or copes well with - pressure, and is prepared to enter a mixed-gender school, then this is the school for them. If they tick most of these boxes, then this could be a good school for them. If they don't quite fit in with these guidelines, like myself, then perhaps it is best for them to keep their options open.
Thankyou for reading this long review. .
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Map showing The Perse Upper School on Hills Road