Moving to Chislehurst - schools help!

(11 Posts)
PeaBaby Tue 11-Jun-13 22:09:51

Hi,
We are currently considering buying a house in Chislehurst but I'm having wobbles about schools in the area. My DS is only Reception age at the moment, but this would be a long term move so I need to consider our options (although I am aware that schools and catchment areas change year on year).
At the moment the only realistic option that seems to be available for a boy would be Coopers, which I have heard really bad reports about, (from a friend's son who 'graduated' from there recently). Is there anywhere else? Do people really commute to the Bexley grammars from there? I know traffic is pants in the morning and could imagine that would take ages.
Does anyone live in Chislehurst and have some insight to give me? I really don't think that private would be an option for us. sad

Thanks
Px

HollyBerryBush Wed 12-Jun-13 05:43:59

The Bromley schools (secondary) are much sought after in their own right. But yes, there is a great deal of too-and-fro-ing between the Bromley schools and the Bexley grammars.

I know nothing about the primaries in Bromley.

Coopers is an odd school as is Kemnal, The Priory has behavioural issues.

Langley Park Boys is very good, Darrick Wood, Charles Darwin very sought after.

St Olaves would be the pick of the bunch but it is 'super selective'

SanityClause Wed 12-Jun-13 06:28:48

He won't get into Langley Boys, Darrick Wood or Charles Darwin.

You will get either Coopers or Kemnal, which are not brilliant.

You can commute to the Bexley Grammars. Lots of people get into Chis and Sid, particularly, even without the assurance of the "Bexley 180". (Being one of the 180 top ranked in the Bexley 11+ assures you of your first choice of Bexley Grammars.)

Lots of boys also commute to St Olaves, Dartford Grammar and The Judd, but they are all super selective.

To get the greatest options for Grammars, he will have to sit the Bexley test the Kent test and the St Olaves test.

Chislehurst is a lovely area, but if you are looking for a good boys school, I would look closer to Darrick Wood or Ravenswood, unless you are willing to go private if he misses out on a grammar.

wood Wed 12-Jun-13 08:04:04

hi I have a ds at coopers and another at a grammar in Bexley. I have to say I was very apprehensive about sending my ds to coopers and thought I would compare it unfairly to the grammar school. however my ds has been at coopers a year now, and I have been very impressed. they are streamed from year 7, and are continually assessed and moved according to how they are coping. my ds is in the upper sets, and the level of work is so similar to the grammar school. coopers appear to have a zero tolerance to any form of even the slightest misbehaviour. my ds has had detention for being distracted in class, and we have not come across any forms of bullying so far. I would be very interested to know the experience your friends son had, as I know my ds has only been at coopers a year. I would also like to mention my son remains the polite, sensitive and lovely boy he was at primary, which was something else I was worried about.

Evageorge Wed 12-Jun-13 12:44:47

The best thing to do is get some objective information on local schools - read the Ofsted reports, and take notice of them if they are recent; look at the websites. I found www.how-to-choose-a-school.org/ is a not for profit site that I found really useful in navigating my way through this minefield.

PeaBaby Thu 13-Jun-13 12:58:14

Thanks for the feedback everyone.
Wood - I have heard horror stories about bullying at Coopers but I have to admit that I have nothing really concrete to rely on. I will have to ask around and see if they are just isolated incidents or something more ingrained. I'm very pleased to hear that your son is doing well there and fingers crossed I am totally wrong about bullying. I will let you know if I find out any facts but don't want to write anything that is just hearsay and rumour.

I do think whether you like a school is pretty subjective. I'm also more concerned at the moment about the pastoral care. Good grades are important but I would prefer my son to be happy than to pressurise him into getting grammar school grades...although I would probably enter him into the exams if he proves himself to be an academic boy. (I have such rose-tinted glasses when it comes to my sweet child growing up - what an earth am I going to do when he turns into a grotty teenager!?)

Does anyone have children attending one of the Bexley Grammars and commuting from Chislehurst? I just can't imagine trekking that far to school. (Although I have to admit that this comes from someone who lived pretty close to her school and managed to be late almost every day!)

LondonMother Thu 13-Jun-13 13:48:30

Your child is currently aged 4 or 5. A lot can change in a few years. I wouldn't worry too much about the current reputation of the local schools right now. If it still seems dodgy in a few years, you could move again, after all.

pooka Sat 15-Jun-13 22:38:23

I live in Bickley, so further from Bexley than Chislehurst. My next door neighbour's dc both attend Chis and Sid. You can get the bus from Chislehurst pretty easily. Next door kids walk to Summer Hill to get bus which then goes on through Chislehurst to Sidcup. They leave the house at about 7.15am.

I looked at Chis & Sid. DD will be sitting tests next year. I felt that there wasn't actually that much in terms of extra value that the grammar offered over our most local girls' comprehensive (Bullers Wood). Is a pain, in that also have boys currently in infants and so they obviously can't follow her to Bullers Wood.

I also looked at (and really liked) Ravensbourne, even though it doesn't have the reputation of BW. Several friends have moved to be in the Darrick Wood catchment, and some have moved towards Hayes School (which has a very small catchment historically). They are co-ed, which would be great for us. Current plan is to get dd to sit the tests in the hope that when we have to submit application, we have options. Would be very happy with Bullers Wood, although would prefer her to go co-ed. Will revisit when ds1 gets closer to year 5 with a view to moving if we are desperate for a particular school (he has some SEN and I'm not convinced that Ravens Wood which is all boys would suit him).

My recommendation would be to move to Hayes or Locksbottom way, to have the option of Darrick Wood, Hayes and Ravens Wood possibly for your DS. Chislehurst is lovely, but apart from Coopers, not especially well-served for boys at secondary level.

pooka Sat 15-Jun-13 22:45:09

Golly - just seen that your ds hasn't started primary yet...

As previous poster said, heaps can change in even 3 years when it comes to schools. What was the sought after school 5 years ago (Langley Girls comes to mind) isn't necessarily the school of choice now (everyone I talk to seems to covet Darrick Wood, which I haven't actually looked round because we are way too far away). Also, schools that maybe get sniffed at, like Ravensbourne, can also produce very happy children and parents - something I've realised in the last year upon talking to parents with children there.

I also keep reminding myself that so much of school achievement is related to parental influence and the attitude to school and achievement at home.

With regards to Chis & Sid - I think I've pretty much ruled it out because I came to the conclusion that the cachet of grammar wouldn't offer enough of an advantage to dd to warrant the journey and the lack of really local schoolmates. But perhaps I'm reflecting on my own time at secondary school, where I walked for 20 minutes and was there.

PeaBaby Sat 22-Jun-13 20:31:54

Thanks for the feedback guys - it is really nice to hear other people's views.
I agree that it is a long time before I need to really think about Secondary but we are stretching ourselves for this house with the view that it will be our 'forever home'; but things could most certainly change.
I'm also possibly dithering because I love the current area we live in, but we just can't afford the housing here!
I guess without a crystal ball, no one can tell me what to do, but I do really appreciate the words of wisdom from everyone. Even if it is a swift kick up the bum that I need to stop dithering and get on with it!

airedailleurs Fri 17-Jan-14 20:38:16

Hi just wanted to comment regarding Coopers Technology College; I know someone whose DD attends and they have a relatively new head which accounts for the turnaround in standards / behaviour etc. She and her DD are both very pleased with the school. Hope this helps!

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