Dulwich Prep London vs Bickley Park School(19 Posts)
Our 3 year old son has just been offered places at both Dulwich Prep London and Bickley Park School for September entry and I am hoping I could get some feedback from any parents before we make the decision. Overall it seems Dulwich Prep is better known, but we may need to drive or take trains as it is very expensive to live in Dulwich now. :-( Is Dulwich Prep really much better place worth doing that? Which one will be better fit for a boy who is academic and sensitive? Any comments welcome.
Do you have any idea where you would like your son to go to senior school, that may be one of the key deciders? Both of those are prep schools so unlikely to prepare for 11+ if that was your intention.
If you are planning to say until 13 have you looked at the leavers destinations over the past few years? Both schools should be able to tell you the numbers that went where and whether they had scholarships.
Thanks Otterwa. Understand they are prep schools.
I did some research, Bickley Park is feeder school of seven oaks, so usually send quite some kids to Seven Oaks, Tone bridge etc, good schools.
Of course Dulwich Prep seems even better, I found from their website that they send 7 boys to Westminster for 2012/2013 exit.
Academically I prefer Dulwich, just don't know if worthwhile the commute, or if many other parents are doing the same...
I don't know Bickley Park but DPL is a really great school.
If you have a look here you can see where the buses come into the school from www.dulwich.org.uk/coaches/home. I appreciate your DS would be too little for that yet but it should give you some idea of where boys travel in from in later years.
However, I think you need to be realistic about the impact a long school commute will have on a 4 year old. If you are aiming for Westminster etc... you could always put him somewhere local to you for now and look at moving him at 7 or 8+ when he'll be more able to deal with the journey at which point you could either apply to DPL again or go straight to a prep linked to one of the public schools - WUS, Colet, KCJS etc...
Not sure where you live but the main feeders for Sevenoaks
/ Tonbridge has tended to be New Beacon / Hilden Grange.
But if Bickley Park is local that might be better for you - do you know how many they feed to the top schools?
7 to Westminster is very impressive.
Check school bus route is a great idea. End of the day it is a balance of living quality vs commute.
I don't know the exact number Bickley Park feed to seven oaks, but heard they have kids go there each year
He is very young and the buses are likely to leave very early, will mean a long day. Would you consider moving schools at year 3 when he will be older and used to a full school day?
Also it will be easier to have friends over for tea / after school if you are local.
If Bickley are feeding to the schools you want and its local then might be best choice? You can always move at year 3 if you need to.
I know someone who went to Bickley and then went onto Dulwich College afterwards ? He was older by that point so would get the train . This was in early 2000
DS of a friend was at Bickley Park and he is now at Trinity (which they are delighted with btw)
Bickley mainly feeds Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Whitgift, Trinity and Dulwich
Dulwich Prep - the vast majority go on to Dulwich College. Think 7 to Westminster is unusual. Which secondary school did you have in mind?
IMO proximity counts for a lot at his age - school bus sounds a step too far?
DPL's leavers are pretty split. About half go to Dulwich College and then the other half spread across a whole range of boarding and day schools. Last available published leavers data showed 7 to Westminster with 11 the year before (although I have heard this has reduced since but mainly because more boys are now applying to KCS instead)
All three of my children have and two still do attend Bickley Park School. The nursery and pre-prep department in my opinion is second to none. The Prep school is a happy vibrant department where the boys thrive both in character and academic abilities, often being taught 18 months ahead of their age group. In pre-prep they nurture the boys and take pride in their teaching. One of my boys has been diagnosed as dyslexic, the school immediately acted on this and set out a learning schedule for him, after struggling he is now matching and in some areas appears to be ahead of some of his peers, I could'nt ask for more.
I think at this stage you have to think about the travel too. It would make for a very very long day for your little one which could be detrimental to his learning.
In short I can't recommend Bickley Park School highly enough, it is a thriving happy nurturing environment where boys enjoy going to learn.
My son is now in Year 7 (age 11) at Bickley Park and has been there since nursery. I cannot recommend it enough.
He is very young for his age (end August) but that has never held him back as he is very academic but also sensitive - I've found the size of the school (class sizes and school overall) has really helped him with this.
You'll be surprised how well known Bickley Park is within the school circuit, it has a fantastic reputation and the school ethos really brings the boys on. They are streamed, even though all doing the same work, they are set to work at their pace (whilst still being ever so gently pushed!).
Boys are always encouraged to take part in sports, drama etc. - being that bit smaller they do get a chance to do these things rather than getting 'lost' in a larger school.
We are very lucky to have such great facilities with it's own swimming pool, huge sports hall, theatre and playing fields - next to come is a climbing wall - which we are all excited about!!!
In Year 5 you have a series of discussions with the Head about 'next school' and we are aiming for Sevenoaks. Bickley Park has a fantastic relationship with schools including Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Kings Rochester, Whitgift, Trinity, Dulwich and Eltham.
In the current Year 7 there are 24 boys; 1 of which is hoping for Westminster - there were other boys who were told this would be a suitable school after Bickley, but it's been the boys and parents choice not to pursue this.
Good luck with your choice.
We moved from bickley park to DPL - there is no comparison between the two schools- at DPL your son is treated like an individual and the sky is the limit. The school feeds to everywhere. Tonbridge, Eton, DC, Westminster, KCS, City, Alleyns....In a good big school your child DOESNT gets lost... everyone knows my son (no, he's no troublesome or very loud etc) but the teachers make it their business to know and the pastoral care is outstanding - the school is divided into little schools (Lower, Middle, Upper) with 2 year groups in each, each with own head, yet everyone knows everyone. The facilities are amazing ( new science block rivals most top senior schools and includes an observatory) - national level sport and of course the music dept regularly feeds to RCM, NCO, Guildhall. Clubs from bee keeping, to pistol shooting... to philosophy to book clubs... have a look. The boys are lovely! Also DPL do a minibus back to Bickley although so many parents around there are lots of lift shares possible, you would be surprised. The train is also easy. Without doubt it was the best decision we made, to move.
Agree with catelyn, Dpl, incomparable to Bickley. Totally different league.
Catelyn and Snowsjoke, could you elaborate more on why Bickley Park doesn't match up? You have said why DPL is so good but i don't know enough about Bickley to know why that's so good in comparison
I can only comment on the Early Years (nursery and Reception) at DPL compared with similar stages at the other Indies in Dulwich....
... DPL is a class apart from the rest and, without meaning to sound nauseous, it makes childhood seem magical.
From what I heard, the passion continues through the rest of the school.
May I just say Xx88, Bickley are not going to get 7 kids every year to schools like Westminster because they are so small. You can look at this one way and say "Well having a small school will be great, my child can be given more one to one help" or not. I think there was 12 one year in year 12 and they all went to quality schools and the ones which are less academic go to places like Kings Rochester which is not bad at all.
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