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Churcher's College vs Ditcham Park

(22 Posts)
completelybonkers Sat 04-Jun-11 18:04:30

We're contemplating a move out of London to Petersfield to start DS2 into Year 3 at a co-ed independent school in September 2012. Looking at the prospectuses for Churcher's College and Ditcham Park, we like the look of both but ATM Churcher's has the edge because it goes through to A level and would be easy to get to (if we bought in Petersfield or Sheet) at senior level; however, I've no idea what the trip to the junior school in Liphook would be like or a trek to Ditcham Park. What are the class sizes and are most pupils reasonably local?

Any comments or advice on schools and location would be gratefully received as this will be the one and only move we plan to make! Can't really imagine living in a village as I'm a townie and used to cycling or walking to school, shops, library, GP etc etc but, again, your experiences could prove invaluable.

Thank you in advance for your input smile

aig Sun 05-Jun-11 18:36:13

I don't know a lot about these schools but I do know the area. I believe most children at Ditcham go by the school bus, lots of Churcher's pupils use the train. Both have a wide catchment area - lots of children come from Havant and surrounding area. Equally children from Petersfield travel to Portsmouth Grammar (mixed) and Portsmouth High school (girls). You would also be close to Dunhurst/ Bedales.
However a lot of the local state schools are very good (Sheet and South Harting are examples). At secondary you are surrounded by good schools; the Petersfield School, Swanmore and Bohunt - you should have a look.

completelybonkers Sun 05-Jun-11 19:51:35

Thank you so much, aig, that's really helpful and I'll look at the local state schools as well as Dunhurst (but Bedales is a bit too pricey at senior level).

At least you didn't say to avoid the area or schools - that would have meant "back to the drawing board"!

aig Mon 06-Jun-11 22:19:48

It's a very nice area - I'm sure you will enjoy living there. the chief advantage is it is close enough to London, Gatwick, Heathrow, Southampton, Portsmouth, Chichester etc. I live in Havant which is cheap and close to all the above! I was also fortunate in good infant and junior schools and an excellent C of E Comprehensive in Chichester (but the catchment area has changed now - so no use to parents in Hampshire sad )

completelybonkers Tue 07-Jun-11 08:57:27

That's reassuring, aig. Actually, part of the reason to move is to be nearer my mother who lives in Havant . . . but she doesn't seem to venture as far as Petersfield and, as I didn't grow up there, neither of us knows much about the schools, particularly in the private sector.

Am also hoping that the new Hindhead tunnel will make it even more attractive to live there - we would like DS1 to visit occasionally (he will start uni as DS2 starts Year 3)!

bigkidsmademe Tue 07-Jun-11 09:03:56

IMO churcher's is better thought of - but I left the area ten years ago! Ditcham isn't so academic but I have a couple of dyslexic friends who really flourished there, so if that applies to you that might be worth thinking about. I'm one who got the train to Portsmouth high but that's girls only. Portsmouth Grammar is a superb school but a long trip for a primary boy.

completelybonkers Wed 08-Jun-11 09:12:07

Another helpful comment - thanks bigkid. My gut feeling is that Churcher's would be better for our son but I now need to go and have a look at both schools.

I'm also assuming that a 15-mile round trip to Churcher's Junior from the Petersfield area isn't a problem but would like to know if anyone regularly does that journey and, if so, what the traffic is like.

Curlyfrizzball Fri 10-Jun-11 14:36:30

I don't really know the schools, though I have been into Churchers (Junior) a few times in the course of my work and it seems like a nice school.

I live in the area though, and I don't think the journey will be a problem - without traffic it takes about 10-15 minutes each way, but I don't think the traffic is that bad going that way in the morning (I commute the opposite way so not 100% sure).

Lovely area to live in, by the way!

Sidge Fri 10-Jun-11 14:44:57

I covered both of these schools in my patch when I was a school nurse. Personally I preferred Churchers but that was as a professional rather than a parent.

Are you definitely planning to live in Sheet/Petersfield? If you go slightly further south to Rowlands Castle-ish area there is a nice state primary there, and it puts you closer to some of the more southern schools such as Portsmouth Grammar, but I realise it's still quite a hike into Portsmouth.

completelybonkers Fri 10-Jun-11 20:00:32

Thank you, Sidge. I know that PG has a very good reputation and I've also read that the head there is about to move to Ditcham Park; we don't really want to go as far south as Portsmouth and Petersfield sounds like a lovely place to live.

I value your comments but I'm intrigued by your "professional" preference and wonder whether that was to do with the care of the pupils or the general teaching. DS2 has been through a life-threatening illness so it would be important to know that any school took the medical side of things seriously.

justonemorethen Sat 11-Jun-11 21:10:16

Hi. I live in Sheet and my son is at the local primary. It's not brilliant but we have lots of mums in the same boat as you - ex Londoners planning to send their children to the private schools and some who moved for the good quality state schools.
Churchers is way more sporty although football is frowned on - rugby all the way with hockey and cricket encouraged too. The primary school has a coach too although lots of mums do the run which is easy enough up the A3. The senior school is a complete pain with traffic backed up to the roundabout and beyond (there a garage opposite the school too). Basically cars just drop off anywhere and it will get worse when Sheet blocks of the rat run through the village as they are planning. Ditcham has a better system of one way traffic and it's in a much prettier spot. Children are local as far as it goes but since many are in the same situation as you, it doesn't mean that much really.
By the way Langrish primary school is in the top six in the country and is generally considered to be a private education in the state sector. Lot's of homework ,high standards in behaviour and their own pool. More telling however is when the school fetes' planned attraction cancelled at the last minute one of the Dad's called in a helicopter for the day as the main attraction.

completelybonkers Sun 12-Jun-11 09:51:34

Wow to the helicopter!

JOMT [love the name] - that's exactly the sort of information I'm looking for as I'd only otherwise find out through experience and, by then of course, it would be too late.

I had no idea how sporty Churcher's is but I'm not sure DS2 would be too delighted at that prospect. He, unusually for a boy, loves writing; also making things, visiting places and generally more passive activities. Oh, and he likes the girls!

Regarding the school run, I think the solution would be to try to find a property in walking/cycling distance of the senior school and look to share the journey with other mums for the junior years or get the coach. I shall certainly look up Langrish Primary which sounds ideal for DS2 but I appreciate it may be difficult to get him in there.

Many thanks and do tell me if you think of anything else smile

justonemorethen Mon 13-Jun-11 14:41:40

Glad you like the name - it's very much " come and have a glass" round here. Churchers probably has more kudos but Ditcham sounds totally up your son's street. My son's father went there and it is a really lovely school. It verges on Sussex ,both Harting and Compton are both really nice villages if you want to go more rural. Petersfield and Sheet get more urban with every year (in attitude as much as anything) although you probably won't think so after London.
I don't personally feel primary in the private sector will add on much for your son. On the Churchers induction day it was immediately apparent which children had been to state primary schools. They were more confident and sue of themselves.They are all up to speed by the time they take GCSE's (a year early) so round here it's better to save your money and get him as many local friends as he can. All the village primary schools Steep, Sheet, Langrish, Rake and Rogate are lovely. Steep uses Beadales facilities and the last three have their own pools. have fun looking

completelybonkers Mon 13-Jun-11 20:16:36

More thank yous to you, JOMT smile

I love the look of Langrish and will get my DH to read your comment about confident children from the state sector!!

Your local community sounds just my sort of place - I'm totally without airs and graces (I hope) and like to be neighbourly [some may interpret that as being nosey!]. We're going to visit next week and hope/expect to get good vibes.

I shall report back on progress.

Cheers wine

justonemorethen Mon 13-Jun-11 20:48:48

Are you down this weekend? Every year Sheet does a summer village party -this year it's Bed Sheet Stock on Saturday afternoon/evening. You can have a look at the locals and see what passes for fun!
Must have a look in the Harrow too- best pub in the country (only order food if hungry).

completelybonkers Tue 14-Jun-11 10:06:41

What a shame we're busy this weekend as that would have been fun. Still, this time next year . . .

Have a glass for me!

alwayswanted4untilihad2 Sun 03-Jul-11 10:19:45

The comment on Langrish is marketing bumf and is simply untrue now. The results are not outstanding, neither is the behaviour and many of the best teachers are leaving because of the head.

Summerdaze Wed 13-Jul-11 17:16:49

First of all hands up - I'm a Ditcham parent so obviously made the choice and biased!
These schools are both excellent. It is a case of horses for courses.
It does seem that Churcher's is a more competitive environment and this may well suit you and yours, but I am not qualified to make an impartial comparison.
My dd has been all through the junior school at Ditcham and is very happy. The school has challenged and supported her in the right places.
There are several children who have come from Churcher's because it wasn't right for them. I do also know of 2 who have gone the other way.
The school run is fine and I actually enjoy the drive out through the countryside rather than a town commute. There are school buses or many school lift shares and it only takes me 15 mins each way from north of Petersfield. You may get a couple of closure days due to snow but that's what you get for the stunning location.
The school is much smaller than Churcher's which means less facilities but perhaps a more personal feel. The results are in line most years remembering that each pupil counts for more of the percentage points and so only a couple of strugglers wil make a big difference. They seem to get the best out of each pupil as far as I can see with families I know.
One word of warning - when we were looking at local primary schools we were told by one Head that "parents used to move their children up to Ditcham at 9 and now it's 7 to make sure they get a place" and that was nearly 10 years ago! There were just 12 places up for grabs for entry into the senior school Sept'11.
It probably isn't as sporty due to its although there are opportunities for team sports as well as a very active cycling club and Duke of Edinburgh scheme. There are many children here who engage in the music or art departments instead.
My suggestion is to visit them both on ordinary working days and listen to what they say about how they think your children would fit in and make your own mind up.
We moved down from London (I grew up here) and have never regretted it. The commute to London is a daily journey for many people here and the quality of life for your children is well worth it.
Good luck!

completelybonkers Sat 16-Jul-11 13:48:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sproingle Wed 20-Jul-11 22:20:29

What about The Royal School in Haslemere? The have a bus from Petersfield and are taking boys in some year groups now with a separate boys school opening soon. They do ballet too!! and I assume they'd let a boy join in.

dollydoops Fri 22-Jul-11 10:25:12

Is your DS musical at all? I attended Churcher's senior school and was not in the least sporty, but became heavily involved in the music, which is very strong, and was happy there. The facilities are excellent at Churcher's and in my view it is a fantastic school. With regards to primary schools, have you considered Conifers in Easebourne (near Midhurst)? A lovely, tiny school and several children go to Churcher's from there every year.

completelybonkers Fri 22-Jul-11 20:37:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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