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Experience of DUCKS - Dulwich College Kindergarten for 7+ preperation

(27 Posts)
jacksparrow1 Wed 08-Feb-12 20:30:34


We are considering DUCKS for our daughters, with a view to them being prepped for 7+ entry into other local independent schools.They would potentially attend from reception through to year 2.

Any parents with experience of the infants school, please do share your experiences - either privately or on this thread. We are really torn and cannot make a decision.

zeezywoo Wed 08-Feb-12 22:19:32

have had friends who have been to DUCKS, their feedback has not been at all impressive! Dulwich area has some great state primaries like rosendale, dulwich village infants. i would go to their open days.

jacksparrow1 Wed 08-Feb-12 23:20:01

Hi Zeezy, really?

Would you elaborate ... if not on here then a private message?

zeezywoo Thu 09-Feb-12 14:29:31

hi, am newish to mumsnet, how can i send you a private message?

jacksparrow1 Thu 09-Feb-12 14:34:42

Hi, thanks for getting back.

I'm new too. I sent you a message earlier by clicking on 'Message poster' in the header of each of our posts.

Thanks, look forward to chatting!

zeezywoo Thu 09-Feb-12 14:35:37

worked it out!

jacksparrow1 Sat 11-Feb-12 19:54:11

Excuse me for bumping up, is there anyone else with feedback on this nursery and infants?


maraisfrance Wed 15-Feb-12 11:35:23

Hi. My son went to this school. It is a nice school, lots of green space, swimming, music and so on. But it is not necessarily very good value - a dedicated dance teacher for pre-prep kids? a French teacher to teach colours and numbers when this could easily be done in class by their regular teacher? (they don't learn any French in the time, by the way - we subsequently spent a couple of years in France, so I do know the difference between good and bad teaching of a foreign language). We left before the 7+ but a LOT of parents were disappointed that year because their children did not get the schools they wanted. This was especially true of those parents who wanted their boys to go to Dulwich College. And the teachers are under a lot of pressure from parents with very high expectations to get their children through the 7+ for the schools they want; and this can lead to parents, in turn, being put under pressure to refer their children to educational psychologists for assessments for LDs. I succumbed to this pressure because the claim was that, at FIVE, my child was showing signs of dyslexia and/or dyspraxia because - get this! - he wasn't yet reading fluently. Basically, this was rubbish and I suspect a pre-emptive strike (there had already been a conversation the school year before about sending my child to a non-selective school). The lad is highly literate and numerate and was accepted by several selective schools on our return to the UK and is flourishing. But I spent £300 that could have been used on something positive and useful, and became very worried and upset as a consequence of this poor, self-serving advice.

All that said, it is a nice infant school, and my child was happy there and made good friends. But just beware of some of the nonsense that goes with it. You might find choosing a school that takes the children right through, like DCPS for boys (goes from 4-13) or St Dunstan's (4-18) avoids the pressure point of 7+ which was, I believe, the cause of teachers over-reacting to perfectly normal development trajectories.

jacksparrow1 Thu 16-Feb-12 22:59:40

I had also heard that not as many boys as would be expected go through the the college after 7. Disappointing as I would hope the school would take more responsibility.

I am also really shocked at the pressure you felt to have your child assessed for LD's. That could be perceived as passing the buck/self serving as you suggest.

It's good to hear experience from a parent, thanks for your post.

carltonscroop Fri 17-Feb-12 12:59:36

This thread has made me wonder how much the new head of DC is influencing the future academic standard by more selection and at what stages.

The old head used to keep nearly everyone, all the way through (eg no weeding into 6th form, probably true at all transfer points). But I've heard that this may not be the case higher up, and the 11+ and 13+ entries are far more academic than they were a few years ago - DC is quite overt in saying they are looking for the top 15% achievement range at that age. I don't know how far this can be translated into the younger groups, but there is a logic to the idea that a non-selective pre-prep won't necessarily turn out a cohort that can all transfer to selective later stages (irrespective of standards within the pre-prep).

I suppose the underlying question here is at what stage/age you want your children to face a selection process, if at all.

jacksparrow1 Fri 17-Feb-12 14:43:16

The college itself as slipped down some of the schools' lists in recent years (The Times etc). Perhaps they are being more selective to improve schools' overall results.

Carlton how long has the current head been there? Do you know much of the previous head and why the change?

It is surprising they don't have selective entry to pre-prep. But then DUCKS was set up just 20 years ago primarily for the children of the College staff. A staff member told me they are given 80% off the fees. Nice perk! But that surely stops any real selective entry into the pre prep?

carltonscroop Fri 17-Feb-12 17:26:10

Previous head (Graham Able) left after 12 years, on retirement in 2009. New head is Joseph Spence.

His previous job was head at Oakham, and he appears to have an excellent reputation.

jacksparrow1 Fri 17-Feb-12 18:12:24

The College must have some influence/input towards DUCKS, their main feeder school. Current head there is Heather Friell, previously at JAPS.

I have heard less than positive feedback about her relationships with staff, and how she came to leave JAPS. I found her very kind and engaging towards the children.

centraltendency Thu 15-Mar-12 11:30:05

ds is at the kindergarten at ducks and we would ideally like him to stay there to 7+. I thought last year's results were very encouraging - 22 boys applied and 16 got a place at the juior school and 11 of 16 got a place at DCPS (they are available on their website - so public info). We unfortunately missed out on the 4+ at DCPS but are concerned by the negative views I have read on mumsnet about DUCKs and none whatsoever of DCPS - which does make me question about our choice.

DS also has a place at Eaton House the manor and we are now visiting other schools as well to make sure that DUCKs is indeed the right choice for ds.

EnchantedForest Wed 19-Jun-13 17:07:51

Hi Zeezywoo

I read your feedback on Ducks and would appreciate it if you could PM me on your friend's feedback on this school.

Many thanks

daisyfield1969 Wed 03-Jul-13 15:19:06

Reading these comments with my mouth wide open! What a shame most of these harsh comments are from those without children at DUCKS. Both of my children have been through DUCKS one still here. My eldest did very well getting into all of our 4 choices of schools JAPS, Allyens, Sydenham and other independent. The Kindergarten is the most amazindg nurturing place for your child's educational life to begin with staff that really care about the children. Learning is thorough play and top of the list is fun! The school is non- selective but with all of the children getting into good schools. Maybe not all first choices but in this area the assessment process is tough and places are limted so get real people! If you want yuor child to have a gentle start, a childhood and not insane pressure this is the place for you.

helipadded Sat 27-Jul-13 21:41:55

Hi Zeezywoo,

Sorry to jump in here but I may soon be looking for a new school for my children. I would really like to hear about your experiences, and from any others with children at DUCKS.

Thank you.

Rita45 Sat 05-Oct-13 19:16:04

Has anyone else experienced DUCKS staff suggesting learning difficulties, or behavioural issues to parents? Seems to be an increasing and worrying trend to aid self selection. Would be interested to hear thoughts, comments, etc. it's very upsetting and I imagine causing unnecessary stress and anxiety.

carolcan Thu 07-Nov-13 11:37:34

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

meditrina Thu 07-Nov-13 11:50:46

Do you have any evidence for that? Where did you hear it?

LondonMother Thu 07-Nov-13 14:00:34

I've reported Carolcan's post as I believe it to be libellous and also arrant nonsense.

meditrina Thu 07-Nov-13 14:13:34

I asked the questions I did, because as it stands it seems literally unbelievable.

But if she comes back with something well sourced about serious investigation or criminal prosecutions, then that would make a big difference.

Crystalballs Sun 10-Nov-13 19:53:30

What was said?

Rita45 Mon 11-Nov-13 21:00:52

read the latest ofsted report. Some very pointed comments. The report is in the public domain.

Marneyian Fri 15-Nov-13 19:45:59

Hello, reading this with interest. Do you mean the ISI report? I can't find an Ofsted report. Thanks.

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