independent primary schools in and near Clapham

(71 Posts)
Chiana Mon 28-Jul-14 10:52:01

Hi ladies, been lurking for a while but this is my first time posting. DH and I are moving back to London next April after 6 years abroad. DS (7) and DD (5) are thriving in their current British international school, but those are the breaks. We own a home in Clapham, currently let out, but the local state primary does not have a great Ofstead report. We can afford to go independent, so we probably will.

DS is a quiet, shy, sensitive, bookish child, very very bright, so we're looking for a school that will push him academically while still having good pastoral care. I realize every parent thinks their precious snowflake is "sensitive" but trust me, DS really is. Thomas's Clapham or Thomas's Battersea are right out, if Mumsnet postings are anything to go by. They're supposed to be very pressured. If my impression of Thomas's is wrong, please let me know.

DD is a different kettle of fish altogether, fairly bright without being brilliant, and loves sport. Obviously it would be more convenient to have them both in the same school, but given how different their personalities are, I'm wondering if the same school would fit both of them. I'm not picky about single-sex versus mixed. I've heard good things about the Dolphin School, but apparently it's supposed to be quite religious, and we're atheists. I've heard Newton Prep used to be good, especially for gifted kids, but is now going through a "time of transition".

I have heard good things about Parkgate House. The prospectus makes them sound very nurturing. Also heard good stuff about Eaton House the Manor, but that's boys only as I understand it, so would mean finding a different school for DD. From a school run point of view, I'd prefer to have them in one school for convenience's sake, unless there are buses. Are there any other indies in the Clapham area which I've missed?

Obviously I'm going to get the Good Schools Guide and look in there, but I was kind of hoping for any observations from parents who actually know the schools in question as well.

Given that we're moving in April, I highly doubt any of the independent schools will have a mid-year place. The plan is to put them in the local school until the end of the year, and focus on applying to indies for the 2015 - 2016 school year. Another option is that DH may move to London in April, and the kids and me stay abroad until the end of the school year.

There is also the possibility that we could end up moving houses and staying within Clapham but getting a bigger house. So we could end up in the catchment for a great state school. My understanding, though is that catchments get tinier with each passing year.

Thanks in advance!

legalalien Thu 18-Sep-14 11:50:39

Also if you are moving towards Dulwich,I've heard good things about the sports provision at Sydenham girls.

legalalien Thu 18-Sep-14 11:49:48

Has anyone mentioned The White House? Don't know much about it, just that it is in Clapham (am thinking about the schools in our cricket team catchment...).

Happy to provide info on Dulwich Prep if your DH changes his mind. There are now a lot of children attending Dulwich schools from Clapham/Wandsworth/Balham, so playdates and lift sharing not really an issue.

AuntieStella Mon 15-Sep-14 10:51:00

For a clever sensitive boy, it would be worth having a look a Kings College School (they run a coach service, so journey need not be an issue), and in parallel look at Wimbledon High for your DD.

leeanedav Mon 15-Sep-14 10:33:57

I have heard very positive things from parents with children at Dulwich; the sports grounds, in London, is a luxury and also they go all the way up to 18

minipie Thu 11-Sep-14 10:47:22

marking place, as we'll be sending DD to one of these schools in a couple of years' time.

OP, you probably know this, but most of these schools have open days in October, around the same time. For example Broomwood 7 Oct, Hornsby 9 Oct (morning), Finton 9 Oct (evening). So if you can manage to be in London that week you could visit quite a few.

irisha Thu 11-Sep-14 10:30:15

Wandy - please get your facts right before posting. Hooray preceded me, but just to re-iterate, Northcote Lodge is NOT an academic choice. It may well be able to develop academic talents in a smart kid, but it's not why you'd choose it. You'd choose it for other reasons and then hopefully they will be able to give you support to prepare for an academic day school. But it's not the raison d'etre at all.

Nobody is saying Broomwood and Northcote are not good schools, but they will suit a particular set of students and parents - Northcote to a much larger extent than Broomwood, the latter is less marmite I would argue and is a great school if you are happy with the ethos/environment/parent set.

And as for Chinese, Asian and Black kids in your DD class, that would be very much an exception if true. I don't know a single black kid in Broomwood Upper school (may be one or two mixed race), nor can I think of any Chinese - may be one or two mixed race (for the whole school!), just a few Asians. Again, I am not saying it's good or bad, but let's not describe something as diverse when it isn't.

YakInAMac Thu 11-Sep-14 00:01:34

For a sensitive child, what about Rosemead? It might be too near Dulwich for your DH, but it is co-ed, very caring, children go on to good scholarship places at St Dunstans, and Dulwich College (amongst the kids that I know).

hoorayforsummer Wed 10-Sep-14 17:58:45

Wandy - I question your comments about Northcote (but not Broomwood). They didn't send 3 to KCS - they sent 3 to Kings Canterbury. Only 1 to Eton. None to Westminster since 2009. It is not a school that sends reliably every year to Westminster, SPS, KCS, Eton, Winchester (which is my definition of enabling the most academic boys to access the most selective schools). Very few go to day schools. Friends with DS there say you are signing up to boarding at 13+ (except for the 5% of so that go to either Dulwich or Emanuel - both Jan of yr8 exams). They also comment that it is not diverse and that the upper end of Northcote is "robust".

wandymum Wed 10-Sep-14 17:21:53

Don't rule Broomwood/Northcote out based on earlier comments. It is a very nurturing and friendly school and is becoming increasingly more diverse. DD has chinese, asian and black friends in her class. Also not true that boys don't go on to academic schools - e.g I can think of 3 to KCS this year from a year of under 30 kids and a couple go on to each of Eton and Westminster every year (St Paul's not a popular choice for some reason). Definitely go and have a look around: like you I have a very academic pushy 7yr old DS and a shy quite DD who is 5. Both love the school and are thriving there.

shepsheep Fri 05-Sep-14 16:16:11

me and DH were in a similar situation as Chiana. we moved back to London in 2012 from Dubai and settled in Wimbledon. DH and I had been in Dubai for over 9 years so we were at a loss with which schools to send DS and DD to. We had a look at Harrodian - very nice indeed esp for DD who is very art focused. We liked Newton Prep and Thomas's Clapham as well but finally we settled on Godolphin for DD and KCS for DS. Incidentally, we had next to no support from our school in Dubai - they did not want us to leave given the fees we paid them!!! - very unhelpful, but a friend of ours recommended us to go to a Schools Consultancy with a company in central London. they were excellent and really helped us finalise our choices, especially as we did not know what options were open to us. Now DH has another job offer in Dubai but we are DEF not moving back!!

ivpet Fri 05-Sep-14 13:43:53

Just forgot....please see latest Ofsted report for The Roche School-OUTSTANDING in all aspects!

ivpet Fri 05-Sep-14 13:42:13

Hello,I just joined Mumsnet as I saw bad comments about The Roche School.....I have two children there and I can tell you that all other schools are far down towards Roche.It is simply one of the best school.We live in Clapham and my kids are in Roche-Thanks God!School is like a big words to describe how my kids likes school....and not only mine.So whoever said to put Roche down on the list of good schools....sorry that is wrong 100%!

soundevenfruity Thu 21-Aug-14 08:47:05

Has anybody mentioned Hill House? It's non selective with brilliant results and coed. High percentage of expats so there is movement in the year so might have places in April. Plus it's a lot cheaper than others.The only catch it's not in Clapham but should be doable. I talked to somebody who takes their child there from Wimbledon so theoretically it shouldn't be a problem with absence of local friends. For that you can put them in one local after school activity.

Schoolsearchconsultant Sat 09-Aug-14 20:22:44

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Chiana Sat 09-Aug-14 00:49:44

thanks very much, KingscoteStaff

KingscoteStaff Fri 08-Aug-14 09:42:54

Chelsea run holiday football camps in Battersea Park that my DD went to from about 5 or 6.

Also, check out Bedhead Football Club - they train in Battersea and have girls' teams from U7, I think.

Chiana Fri 08-Aug-14 08:02:25

Have PM-ed you.

I certainly wouldn't mind getting the name of the club from you (via PM if you're not comfortable putting it in the thread). Barnes is a bit of a trek, but possibly do-able if there's nothing suitable locally.

Mind you, DD is only 5 and a half, so it's tough to say how talented she is at this age. We think she's good, but we're not sporty, so what would we know? She enjoys herself is the main thing.

Good to know re: Hornsby and getting on the waiting lists early.

soddinghormones Fri 08-Aug-14 07:05:15

Ps I'd love to know what your DH has against the Dulwich schools as they're all quite different in character

soddinghormones Fri 08-Aug-14 07:03:03

One of dd's friends plays football to quite a high standard (her dad is a coach!) - I think she trains at Barnes but could check the name of the club if you're interested

Hornsby do girls football

Unfortunately irisha is right in that many extra-curricular activities around here are hideously over-subscribed with long waiting lists so would be good to start getting your dd's name down on waiting lists before you move

Chiana Thu 07-Aug-14 21:53:02

Oh, goodie. More activities for DH and me to drive her to. Also, just what I want my 5 year old to be doing: wearing knives on her boots so she can whiz around on a slippery surface while whacking other kids with a stick.

GetMeOut Thu 07-Aug-14 20:59:21

Luckily, you will even be able to indulge DD's winter Olympic fantasy at the new Streatham ice rink......including ice hockey smile

irisha Thu 07-Aug-14 20:29:12

For swimming, register with Leander swimming club - terribly oversubscribed.

Haven't seen girls playing football here - doesn't seem to be a big thing in England in general and in SW London in particular. May she'll want to try hockey.

There is Netball academy at Emanuel school).

Don't know about karate clubs, but it's a big thing at Broomwood, especially as they get higher up the school and do karate with Northcote boys.

Regarding switching at birth, I wonder that about my DD too, only the other way around - I am super sporty and used to do swimming and fencing at high competitive level, but with DD it's always pushing. Genetics is an interesting thing!

Chiana Thu 07-Aug-14 20:04:29

Good to know re: Streatham & Clapham. We may pursue it as a fallback option, but it won’t be high on our list.

JAPS is a possibility, but not much more than that, as DH is strongly agin schools in Dulwich, and will only consider them as a backup. It’s complicated. Sigh.

Thanks for the great suggestion re: after school sports clubs and registering soon. DD is into football, karate and swimming, in no particular order. And ever since watching Sochi on TV, she’s been wanting to play ice hockey as well, but fortunately there is nowhere near us for her to indulge that particular passion. Of course, the useful thing about football, karate and swimming is they can all be pursued out of school time, so even if she ends up at a school where sport is backburnered, she can still do them. DH and I are quite bewildered, and occasionally wonder if she was switched at birth, because neither of us is remotely sporty. My late father was very enthusiastic about rugby, so perhaps it skipped a generation.

soddinghormones Thu 07-Aug-14 18:05:11

Agree with irisha about SCHS - something like 9 girls at dd's school this year got scholarships this year, some quite hefty, but not one of them accepted - some of them preferring full fees places at places like JAGS and Alleyn's instead

The school is actually very good at gymnastics but other than that it's not renowned for sport, especially in the junior school

irisha Thu 07-Aug-14 17:56:30

I personally wouldn't consider Streatham and Clapham. I know it's considered to be on the up and becoming more desirable but results aren't that impressive so far. An interesting indicator is that A LOT of their able junior girls leave to go other schools rather than proceed to senior.

Senior school is definitely considered a back up unless you live right next to it and you "might as well."

I struggle to see its value proposition and would certainly choose a good state school over it.

To answer you question, they are not great at sports as a whole school although some talented individual girls.

BTW, you should put your DD on wait lists for sports clubs, e.g. swimming, hockey, gymnastics - depends on what you want her to do, but please keep in mind that they are all terribly oversubscribed in SW London with long wait lists.

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