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Clifton Lodge Prep School - Ealing

(17 Posts)
woolsh Wed 25-Jan-12 22:33:33

Any parents have experience or knowledge of Clifton Lodge prep school in Ealing?
We are thinking of sending our DS there.
Thanks
smile

superbug Tue 22-May-12 23:57:32

I put my child into Clifton Lodge early this year and am delighted with the school. The quality & innovation in teaching is fab and they really nurture each child to bring out their potential. The kids have a real sense of pride in their school. The culture & relatively small size of the school instill a great sense of community.

gardenlady Wed 23-May-12 20:57:49

oh wow - it must have changed if superbug is right - LOTS of parents were taking their children out a couple of years ago - it is not a school many local parents would consider sending their kids too as they have heard too much about it over the years!

superbug Wed 23-May-12 22:32:19

Indeed, and the secret of the transformation of the school is the new head teacher who joined last summer- he is very impressive & has rapidly turned things around.

gardenlady Thu 24-May-12 08:31:20

I still wonder why people would choose Clifton Lodge though, given the wealth of other fabulous schools in Ealing and the very local area. I think it has gone co-ed though in recent years so this may attract some people as most other local schools are single sex (except of course Orley Farm in Sudbury Hill - lots of ealing parents travel the 15 minutes up there because it is so different from what is on offer in Ealing). Of course for a boy in Ealing, Durston House is a very popular choice if your son is academic or of course St Benedicts - co-ed but you have to be Catholic in the junior school.

crazyscientist87 Thu 24-May-12 11:53:10

What other schools are in the Ealing area? I have a boy and a girl. I have heard of Avenue House, Aston House and Durston House - apparently they don't provide lunches there?

woolsh Thu 24-May-12 16:03:39

We have chosen Clifton Lodge for our son, mainly because the teachers seemed amazing as well as the headmaster. Obviously small class sizes and high standards also attracted us.
It also seemed a very happy atmosphere compared to Durston House which seemed a bit more 'cold'.
We also looked at Avenue House which was very good, but we wanted a school which went to 13.
Clifton, Durston and Avenue house are all good school that prepare children for 11+ or 13+. The problem is we are spoilt for choice in Ealing!
smile

gardenlady Thu 24-May-12 18:35:42

crazyscientist - for a girl there is of course Notting Hill and Ealing - great academics; st augustines (you don't have to be catholic to go there) which some people love but not as high up the league tables as notting hill and the smaller one's you mention - avenue house and aston house plus as i said before st benedicts for co-ed or Orley Farm for co-ed. for boys there are the obviously the same co-ed one's plus durston . personally i agree about woolsh comments about durston (I could say more but hey some people like it !)

crazyscientist87 Thu 24-May-12 22:22:42

Gardenlady - thank you. would you mind telling me more about Durston? I don't know much at all about it, just what my friend commented about the lunches and she's sending her boy there this September. I'm interested to hear opinions. For girls is Notting Hill the best one? Can you tell me any more detail about it please?

LadyGnome Fri 25-May-12 09:49:44

I gave Woolsh some info on DH as both my sons go there. I don't find it cold at all. The parents and teachers are all friendly and my sons are really happy and have loads of friends. Historically DH has been more academic than CL (if you look at the senior schools they go on to) although I understand CL is now changing. DH is a one of the major feeders for St Pauls as well as Merchant Taylors (I think CL send a fair number of boys to MT as well). The boys I know from both DH and CL are lovely.

I know quite a few parents with girls in Notting Hill and they seem happy with it. Harvington (next to DH) is now just a prep school rather than doing GCSE's.

My posts to Woolsh are below (sorry bit long as its a couple of posts together)

I've namechanged for this but I am a regular poster

Positives
My sons are at DH YR4 and YR. They are both doing well there. My older son is very involved in music - instrumental and singing. Sport is strong, they have good facilities and play regular fixtures against other schools such as Orley Farm, Sussex House etc.

DS1 struggled with reading and has had one on one and small group support from the learning support teachers at no extra cost. The school doesn't select for entry so is used to dealing with a range of abilities.

I have found the staff approachable and they do offer regular opportunities for parents to attend assemblies, see work etc.

The school is culturally diverse and although the school has a broadly Christian ethos its not overpowering (my sons are not Christian but DS1 happily sang in the choir for the carol service)

Negatives
On occasion the homework burden can be a bit heavy. Having said that I have agreed a more phased approach with the teachers if I felt DS1 was struggling.

No school canteen so it is packed lunches every day (I am used to this now).

School is split across 3 buildings with one set of playing fields about 5 mins walk away and the main sports fields 10-15 mins away.

Overall
It is a good school with a friendly atmosphere. The academic standards are high but being realistic they have to be that high if you want to get boys into schools like St Paul's, Merchant Taylors, Westminster etc. To some extent you have to accept there will be a fair degree of pressure later as the boys go up the school because Senior Schools expect such high results on the CE. Having said that, the pressure so far, has been well within my sons' capabilities i.e. things may stretch him but they don't overwhelm him.

Taking your questions in order

1. No facilities for hot lunches. However, some boys do bring hot food in a food flask. (*there are talks with an outside caterer to start delivering hot lunches to those who want them*)

2. In the first couple of years up to and including Yr2 I would say the amount and type of homework doesn't intrude much on family life e.g. reading, learning spellings etc. There is afterschool care until 6pm which costs £1.95 per 15mins. From YR3 onwards I think they can do supervised HW during that time. There are also free afterschool activities such as arts and crafts. If I remember correctly you can use childcare vouchers for afterschool care as it is not fees for education but rather for childcare.

3. Whilst the school does cater for boys leaving at 11 or 13. Most still leave at 13 and those that leave at 11 often stay in the independant sector. Looking at the 2010 accounts on the charity commission website accounts here only 1 boy went to a grammer at 11 and another to a state boarding school. Note - if any school you are considering is a charity check their accounts on the charity commission website.

4. My sons don't seem to mind not having girls around. I think it is something to consider but there are pros and cons of single sex education.

LadyGnome Fri 25-May-12 09:59:45

arghh reposted without correcting

in point 3 it should be grammar blush

gardenlady Fri 25-May-12 10:42:36

the problem with Durston is that it has allied itself to St Paul's and MT so closely that if you get to the end of your time at Durston and you don't want your son to go there for any reason (e.g. he may be bright enough but you prefer Westminster) or he really isn't that academic then your choices for secondary are more limited than if you were in a more traditional prep school that feeds into a wider range of schools. They clearly do not have the same relationship with Westminster and you would be encouraged for st paul's if your son is in that bright category.
Also when the boys get bigger the small buildings, eating lunch in your classroom every single day get's a bit much. pre prep is lovely when small and cosy seems like the thing you want but it's higher up the school that you need to consider. If you have a super bright boy and you think St paul's /MT are for you then it would be perfect.
try and speak to some parents who have boys higher up the school - I live in the area and hear the constant drip drip of various complaints. Lots of boys are tutored higher up the school due to variable teaching. Various boys leave - some because it turns out they are not super bright and the fast pace of teaching is not letting them keep up and parents are faced with the need to tutor and think this is not satisfactory (remember Durston is not selective at intake) and some leave because they are looking for some more space where the boys can run around without having to constantly walk on the pavements of a busy road to get to playtime. Durston does the best with what it has but it is a small school in an urban location.
There have also been some issues with teaching standard - some people are lucky and have had good teachers all the way through but due to the variable standard some have taken their boys out (2 recently who went to the local state school) to access better teaching. the parents who sent their kids to the local state school (and these were bright boys ) reckon the teaching was better there. Some very good staff at Durston but I believe it is very variable.
I know it's hard when they are so little and you are choosing a school but try to see beyond pre prep as all too soon they are strapping lads who need other things than a small and cosy environment. There was an interesting review of Durston on one of the independent schools websites (can't remember which one but i'll try and find it) where a parent of a child who had just left gave a very interesting account of his time and highlighted just that point about thinking about larger boys and the end game! hope this helps.

gardenlady Fri 25-May-12 11:02:41

search up the "independent schools directory", then England, then search Durston house (sorry can't make a link work). Look at the reviews - the one i was talking about was in Dec 2006 - yes a long time ago but not sure things are any different now. also look at the most recent review from 2012.

LadyGnome Fri 25-May-12 11:42:11

Gardenlady according to the accounts posted with the Charity Commission
for year ending Aug 2011 4 boys left and 6 boys joined (I know at least two of the leavers were from younger age groups - one due to relocation within the UK) . This suggests that your comment about various boys leaving is not giving the whole picture.

Additionally, a fair number of boys move on to St Benedicts, some to Harrow some to the JL. I am not sure that DH's range of destinations is much narrower that others
Durston House destinations

Clifton Lodge Destinations

Avenue House

Do you have sons in DH?

CrazyScientist - do you know people who have boys in DH, CL, Avenue etc. I would agree with Gardenlady that the best thing to do is talk to them. I am happy with the school and it suits my sons. It may not suit you or your son. There is no one right school for all children. I would rely on what you hear from parents who actually have or have had children in the school recently as to whether or not it would be the right school for your child to go to. I would also think what school you want them to go on to.

Ultimately, none of us here know your children as well as you do so pick the school that you feel is right for them. It feels traumatic when you are choosing but I'm sure it will work out well. Good luck.

crazyscientist87 Fri 25-May-12 21:20:05

gardenlady and ladygnome, thank you both so much for your helpful comments. I will definitely take on board everything you have said especially about when my son is bigger. And also the info about girls schools. If I had lived in the catchment for the 'good' state schools it would be easy and no one in my family has ever been educated privately so it's all new to me. I find it all a little crazy to be honest but my parents never knew much about what options were available when I was growing up and now I know differently I want to make sure that I give my children the best possible chances, whether that's through state or private. Thanks once again!

sammerta Wed 28-Nov-12 15:36:12

My son is at Clifton Lodge now and I am thinking to take him from there. There were 3 Maths teachers changed this year. Children have to share Science Books two days before autumn tests in Year 6 because there are not enough! Last year there were only three pupils in year 8 and two of them went to John Lyon School, the girl I don't remember where. Three boys tried City of London, somebody Merchant Taylors' School and all failed. My son is not prepared for 11+ or 13+ pretest at all. I don't know what to do!

elboe2014 Tue 11-Mar-14 19:19:26

Does anyone have updated information on CL - I understand there is a new headmaster. Is anyone satisfied / dissatisfied?

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