Alleyns, Colfes, Eltham and St Dunstans - where would you send your DS?

(24 Posts)
anbar Fri 21-Feb-14 18:48:37

Hi All, our DS who has a hearing impairment, done extremely well and got the below offers

Alleyns: Full Fee Paying Offer
Colfes: A Scholarship and bursary offer
Eltham College: Full Fee Paying Offer
St Dunstans College: a bursary offer

Extremely proud of him. We wanted to know which school would parents send their DS to if they had the choice and would appreciate any advice from any parents on the respective schools pastoral and academic support particular for children with disabilities.

Thank you in advance.

Helpyourself Fri 21-Feb-14 19:03:20

Well done! Wow.
I'd go for one of the full paying offers of course! Of those schools, I think Alleyns is considered the best. Is it near you?
Which one does he like best?

LadyMuck Fri 21-Feb-14 20:01:42

What sort of chap is he? Sporty? Artistic? Introvert/Extrovert?

anbar Fri 21-Feb-14 20:41:50

Thanks Helpyourself and LadyMuck for your comments,

Although his not that good at sport compared to other kids (his hearing impairment has had an affect on his balance) he loves taking part. He also loves drama and music. His an extrovert without a doubt.

Our DS really does not mind which one he goes to, as all of them have their ups and down.

Full fee places would be an extreme challenge for us, so Colfe's and St Dunstans seem like the most likely.... But saying that if push come to shove and if some of the trusts decide to support him then the others might be a choice.

Based on the above what would you suggest?

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Fri 21-Feb-14 21:39:37

Ah, I was confused by your phrasing, as others were too, obviously - thought you meant the school would pay full fees, not you.

But now it seems it's the other way round.

On that basis, I would go to the one that saves you the most money, all good schools. Well done your ds!

Helpyourself Fri 21-Feb-14 21:51:53

Aha I'd understood full fee offers to mean 100% off! confused
So which is nearest? It's great for secondary school pupils can make their own way there and back- especially if he's likely to doing extra curricular.

anbar Fri 21-Feb-14 22:14:15

LOL... Thanks for the clarification on the term "full fee paying"...

Colfes is the nearest plus it operates a bus service that is conveniently located..

St Dunstans is closer to my DH's workplace so he can drop him off and pick him up..

Anyone have any inside knowledge of these schools or know parents that send their children there?

MrsWobble Fri 21-Feb-14 22:26:39

My dc go/went to colfes and we have been very happy with it. But I suspect the same could be said by parents if pupils at all of those schools. I suggest you think about which you like best including consideration of your impression of the school, the journey and the cost. But you've got a good choice of good schools - a good position to be in.

Tractorandtree Fri 21-Feb-14 22:32:35

My ds goes to st dunstans but is in the junior school (and I'm assuming you're looking at senior school). He absolutely loves it and I do too, very supportive/caring, ds had a minor hearing issue (now resolved) and they've been great with that.

It's not as academic as somewhere like alleyn's but all the parents I know are happy with it and all the dc seem to be happy and enjoy their school days which I think is v important.

Colfes I've heard anecdotally that some parents aren't happy but don't have any specific details and no personal knowledge.

Don't know Eltham at all. Alleyn's is great if you want more academic.

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Sat 22-Feb-14 10:10:41

Your ds will want to be independent and not reliant forever on his dad to drop him off, so Colfes might be the best bet, if your ds likes the look of it. People will bang on about St Dunstan's not being as academic as the others, but the cleverest person I've ever met went there - and, arguably, the most successful; basically all these schools will cater correctly to bright kids and give them great opportunities. Well done, again.

LadyLapsang Sat 22-Feb-14 23:55:42

Alleyns has the best academic reputation & Colfes is very good in terms of pastoral support. Is Eltham still single sex? I have only known one child to go there (about 10 years ago in the prep) & it wasn't a happy experience.

Also, unless things have changed, when your child gets a scholarship to Colfes it isn't renewed on a year to year basis that I've heard some schools have started to do (adds a lot of pressure for the child I should imagine).

Anyway, wherever he goes he has done really well and I hope he is happy.

anbar Sun 23-Feb-14 20:08:19

Ladylapsang, thanks for your comments... A point of clarification what did you mean by "when your child gets a scholarship to Colfes it isn't renewed on a year to year basis"?

We will be going to all of the offer parents sessions this week so that would hopefully help us make our minds up...

ConfusedMummy1 Sun 23-Feb-14 21:42:17

My daughter goes to Colfe's but the prep school. I hear lots of good things about the senior school. It's a school that is going places. It's quite sporty but also strong on music and art. New sixth form centre being built this year too.

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Mon 24-Feb-14 09:09:13

I think she means it is a scholarship for the duration of your school career. Other schools renew every year, depending on performance. So it's a good thing, means you can relax.

DS has Asperger's and was at Alleyns. In my experience they were brilliant at coping with children who had pastoral and educational needs - the philosophy genuinely seems to run through the whole school and all staff (and pupils too) rather than just being a department. He really flourished. They arranged an educational psychologist and he had weekly sessions with an advisor, but also eg he had a special book to write his invention ideas in, and was encouraged to share them with the HM each term! Or, when he was behind with some coursework (organisation was his main weakness) one of his teachers actually came to the house to spur him on. The Chaplain basically adopted him too!

On the sports front, the Head said his ambition was simply that there was ONE activity the children enjoyed and kept up as an adult. So there are some 51 different sports they can try, and definitely not all of the rough and tumble type nor ones where hearing is critical.

I really can't speak highly enough about Alleyns. Yes, it's academic, but it never felt pressured.

St Dunstans was on the list too and obviously I don't know it as well, but it did seem to have a similar atmosphere.

beafrog Tue 25-Feb-14 22:09:19

I'd go for St Dunstan's in your position - it's known for being inclusive and for the outstanding pastoral care.

anbar Thu 27-Feb-14 21:39:03

We went to both St Dunstans and Colfe's parents reception, the Headmistress at St. Dunstans was really interested in knowing about our ds's needs and asked us how he was doing and if we needed any more help to let them know. Whereas, the Headmaster at Colfe's was keen on talking to as many parents as possible and rather than asking us about our DS, asked if we had any questions and than moved on quickly :| , not a great impression!!! However, the teachers at both of the schools where great, Colfe's were introducing there new "tougher minds" teaching strategy, aiming to make children more effective in approaching tasks, whereas at St Dunstans, the teachers wanted to know more about your child. Another impression was the school children that where there, at Colfe's they were less diverse of a mix, whereas, at St Dunstans the children seemed alot more mixed and genuine. I had to do some quick objective comparisons, which i have listed below:

Colfe's School
Number of Senior pupils as of 2010 (aged 11 - 18): 689
Average Class Size: 20 - 22
Percentage of pupils achieving 5+ A*-C or equivalents including A*-C in both English and mathematics GCSEs (2013): 92%
Percentage of Key Stage 4 pupils achieving the English Baccalaureate (2013): 67%
FT Ranking (2011): 417
Inspection report:

St Dunstan's College
Number of Senior pupils as of 2010 (aged 11 - 18): 553
Average Class Size: 18 - 20
Percentage of pupils achieving 5+ A*-C or equivalents including A*-C in both English and mathematics GCSEs (2013): 96%
Percentage of Key Stage 4 pupils achieving the English Baccalaureate (2013): 71%
FT Ranking (2011): 309
Inspection Report:

Both the schools have extended their deadline to the 4th of March so not long before we have to make our choice, will speak to our ds again and see what he thinks. But if the parents evening and the above information is anything to go by, then its St Dunstans 1 - 0 Colfes...

Tractorandtree Thu 27-Feb-14 22:18:18

Just to throw another point into your consideration in case you weren't aware - the headmistress at st dunstans (who is indeed very nice) is leaving at the end of the school year so she won't be there in September. I haven't met the newly appointed headmaster yet. That said the teachers so far in my experience (as I said above only of the junior school) are all very supportive of individual children in a way I didn't see at other schools I looked at so I would expect that to continue under the new head.

anbar Fri 28-Feb-14 11:16:00

Thanks Tractorandtree, I'm glad you mentioned that. We did enquire about the new headmaster (Mr Nicholas Hewlett) and we were informed that:

1. Head of Boys’ School, North London Collegiate School Jeju, South Korea.
2. Former Head of Geography and a Housemaster at Magdalen College School, Oxford.
3. Geography Graduate from Kings College London
4. Educated at Whitgift
5. Loves being involved in school performances

I dont know how to interpret the above, but I really do hope that the school maintains its pastoral presence that we have felt in all our visits.

janinlondon Fri 28-Feb-14 13:39:26

We have a DD at Dunstan's. Pastoral support is outstanding. Mrs Davies is indeed leaving in the summer, but the Head of Lower School will continue and he is a fabulous, involved, understanding and caring teacher (his children also went to Dunstan's). The school is very inclusive - many children with disabilities and a relatively high number on bursaries or scholarships, so a wide cultural and social mix. I really cannot recommend it more highly.

Tractorandtree Sun 02-Mar-14 08:16:50

anbar thought I'd let you know that all parents have now received a message from the new head, not sure if it's been shared with prospective parents but the gist of it is that he wants to build on the friendly, supportive and diverse environment that already exists and (I get the sense) improve the academic performance. It all sounds good to me. PM me if you want more details.

anbar Mon 03-Mar-14 19:05:58

Thanks Jainlondon and Tractorandtree,

Mr Hewlett's (new headmasters) email to prospective parents was, epic, poetic and required me to get the dictionary out. smile

We are in an amazing position today as our ds also got his first choice of local schools, which is the top school in our borough. grin

Taking everything into account and asking him several times "where he wants to go???", we have decided to send our ds to St. Dunstans College. We really hope he fits in, considering his hearing impairment...

Jainlondon and Tractorandtree: seems like that our paths are now likely to cross, will PM you both for advise on next steps "i.e. school uniforms and extra such trips"... Hope you don't mind.


VoyageDeVerity Mon 03-Mar-14 19:42:54

I know a few children who are so happy there and a few grown men who are all lovely, successful guys.

dueanamechange Tue 04-Mar-14 14:10:18

St Dunstan's offers the IB if that is of interest.

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