Alleyn's School Open Day(17 Posts)
Currently doing the rounds of State, Grammar and Private Secondary Schools and yesterday attended Alleyn's School in Dulwich. Was shocked to see such a lack of ethnic diversity amongst both pupils and prospective parents. I know this topic has been discussed here before but prior to new head been appointed. Obviously not a lot has changed. I do not buy in to the argument that parents from ethnic minorities prefer to send their children to single sex schools. I have visited plenty of co-ed private and grammar schools where the population reflects that of the city in which we live.
We went to an Open Day at Alleyn's many years ago at this point in the year. They had also had one in September which clashed with another one, so we waited for the November one. It was very evident that the great majority of people attending had children at prep schools. Our experience of September Open Days was that there were lots and lots of families from a state school background (like us). I wonder if that goes some way to explain the difference in the prospective parents - obviously not amongst the existing pupils, though. It might be worth asking how many applications they get from people from minority ethnic groups and what the percentage offer rate is for each ethnic group. That would show whether the problem is in a low application rate or a low offer rate - or for that matter, a low acceptance rate.
Alleyns is selective and expensive.
On average households from Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Black British, Black Caribbean and Black African are poorer than other households, followed by British Asian.
Maybe this affects how many families with bright children can afford a selective private school as opposed to getting a place in a grammar / super selective state school. I have just come from the Prizegiving evening at DS's state comp which is within walking distance of Alleyns and the top achieving children are completely representative of the local community - including high ratios of prize winners from those (on average) economically disadvantaged communities.
Historically, Alleyns has always been much less ethnically diverse than JAGS and the College. I have always presumed it was due to certain families preferring single sex education. Or could it be that the more generous bursary system at JAGS means that disadvantaged but bright girls are recruited?
I went to Alleyn's (left around 10 years ago) and my brother went to Dulwich so my mother knew/knows parents from both schools. It was very much the case that a fair number of Black and Asian mothers wanted single sex schooling. They would openly say that. Dulwich also had the more prestigious reputation.
Also some put high emphasis on rugby/rowing at Dulwich hoping it would lead to scholarships abroad/easy university entry/bursaries etc and Alleyns didn't do either of these sports at the time.
For what it's worth I never witnessed any racism/prejudice at Alleyns when I was there, it happened far more often (including an incident when a teacher called a Chinese pupil a "chink") at Dulwich. (As I say this was all over 10 years ago and that teacher was, eventually, fired)
And another thing to keep in mind: Dulwich are widely known to ship large numbers of bright boys from abroad in for year 10-13 on scholarships. This may lessen as they open more schools abroad.
I agree with OP. Had the same impression. Very "blonde" (and too much so for us). We are white, but still thought it very very strange indeed that there was so little representation of ethnic minorities compared to say Dulwich (so has nothing to do with poverty of those groups as per Blu's post). Or even other co-ed indies in south London (Emanuel)
Last year at an open day I actually asked a teacher about it: he had no answer and seemed surprised at the suggestion. I found that particularly strange, how can you not know (in these days of monitoring diversity) that your school is particularly un-diverse compared to its peers.
Welcome to the mysterious world of London independent school admissions, London Mother.
A swift glance at Alleyn's sports' scholarship web page is quite revealing.
An image is included of sports' scholarship hopefuls from a previous year.
I counted around ten children from ethnic minority backgrounds there.
Now look at the school's sports' pages featuring current pupils. Hardly a single person of colour in sight - except for the strap line at the top of the page, where children of various hues are shown playing musical instruments.
Can it be that all the EM children are not up to scratch on the academic tests? This is hard to believe. Charity Commission please take note!
Rather, I think it is the case that said sports' awards are often sporting in title only. Sports scholarships are largely awarded to highly academic children (great for the league tables), who, are on the whole, not truly outstanding in sport.
Look at the Power of 10 website (supported by British Athletics) a bible of rankings for young British Athletes.
In the girls' Under 15: 1500; 3000 and 800 meters, (sports traditionally dominated the private sector) all the top ranked, are children of colour. (And I know two thirds are state educated to boot!)
Apart from a couple of notable exceptions, the indy London day schools barely feature.
The achievements of our top track Olympic medalists, Ennis, Farah et al, are truly remarkable, given the advantage of time and facilities, made available to those with deep wallets at private schools.
Sadly, such progress has yet to be made in elite events, such as rowing, out of bounds to most state school children, and which does open quite a few doors to tertiary education!
Alleyn's has a reputation of being home to a rather more 'monied' set than the surrounding schools - the children we know there go to a LOT of very expensive parties with a fair bit of associated under-age drinking and sex. It tends to appeal to families with a more liberal parenting style (and lots of cash)
I was quite shocked that 2/5 of the children at an allegedly highly selective school take double rather than triple science - I can't think how the teachers can't get all their pupils through triple science with As and A*s...
Alleyn's reputation is arts and drama, which might account for the availability of double award as well as single sciences.
"I have visited plenty of co-ed private and grammar schools where the population reflects that of the city in which we live."
Really? In London?
We're further out from Alleyns, but the co-ed schools are noticably much much whiter than the single sex schools. All of the grammars are single sex. I had no doubt that Alleyns would be whiter than Dulwich.
In some respects, it all becomes very self-perpetuating. You have to really really want co-ed if you are going to send your minority child into a very homogenous yeargroup.
Ds2 is at a co-ed prep which does represent the local community at least in term of ethnicity. But all of the Asian children in his class have applied only for single-sex schools. And our local grammar schools do not represent the local community in terms of ethnicity.
My advice. Listen only to parents that have children at the school your looking at. No body else opinion matters. Go to the school and see what you think. No review or playground/coffee shop talk counts for anything.
Frankly, the opinion of anyone posting here that can't say "my kids are at the school" is almost worthless.
I don't know about Alleyns but I was quite taken aback by the monocultural kids of the two North London grammars at recent entrance tests (Henrietta Barnet and Queen Elizabeth Boys); but in the opposite ethnic direction from Alleyns.
"Private schools are not ethnically diverse nor do they represent the demographics of their area" shocker
Am surprised that anyone is surprised
Bound, In my experience in South London and Croydon, some private schools schools ARE ethnically diverse and do reflect the make up of their area.
My dd is at Alleyn's. Of the 13 girls in her class - two are black, two are from a Pakistani background, one is Chinese by background. I don't know about the boys because, despite picking a mixed school so that she would mix with boys, they are rarely talked about.
Although this is very unscientific, the children in her year 6 class from ethnic minorities who went to inde secondaries all went to single sex schools because that is what they preferred.
Hi everyone !
we are very interested in Alleyn's for secondary school for our eldest boy. we are a minority, albeit white, but non English mother tongue. But, over two years on I was wondering whether the situation had changed at all.
We love co-ed but fel also strongly about mixed background/diversity.
Join the discussion
Please login first.