Looking for fantastic co-ed independent schools around Croydon(12 Posts)
I have just started looking at schools for my son who will be starting reception in September 2017 and my daughter in nursery.
I have been looking at a mixture of state schools and independent schools with in my area of South Croydon and beyond.
Unfortunately the state schools that we prefer all seem to be in Sanderstead and are not in our catchment area thus the reason for looking at independent schools plus we believe that these type of schools would benefit our sons personality as he is a very shy, quite thinker that comes out of his shell in small groups.
Obviously the class sizes are a huge plus for us and might give our son the opportunity to shine and nurture him into a well rounded individual with more opportunities when looking at secondary schools in the future.
We have viewed quite a lot of schools and wondered if any partents of these schools or friends of people that now of children that attend these schools have any comments or suggestions as I have only found old reviews.
• Warlingham Park School
• Oakhyrst Grange School (we would be on the waiting list)
• Essendene lodge (viewing next month)
• St Davids College
• Wickham Court school
• Bishop Challoner Independent School (viewing next month)
• Breaside Preparatory School
These schools were chosen as we wanted to put both our daughter and son in the same school and we don't have an endless pot of cash and need to be realistic and thats why we have decided not to see the likes of Royal Russell and Cumnor House.
We are open to travelling a maximum of 20-25min to get the right school for our children that suits there individual needs and personalities.
I have my two children at Essendene Lodge School and it's a fantastic school. I moved my DD when she was in year 2 and I had concerns about
moving her but we've never looked back as she's really thrived there. It's
a very small school, very inclusive great pastoral care fantastic enthusiastic teachers and my 2 love it there.
It's funny when we went to look around the school I was put off by the fact that the school is on a very small sight with very few facilities and no impressive grounds but I think this is why the fees are so competitive. Even with the lack of facilities the children don't miss out because they still go swimming at the local sports centre without an expensive pool to maintain, they still play games in Queens Park they take part in inter school matches etc so I am glad I overlooked the lack of facilities in the beginning because it's the staff and friendly inclusive atmosphere of the school that really make it a brilliant school and not the building.
Good luck with your decision.
There is also Reedham Park - I don't know it personally but a friend spoke very highly of it while her DDs were there, and they both secured entry to Coulsdon High afterwards.
Sorry that should say Croydon High (not Coulsdon)
We've had children at Cumnor House and at a prep similar to those listed.
Our experience with a smaller prep, especially where there is a single class per yeargroup, is that it is the children in that cohort which determines the ethos, happiness and progress of the child, possibly more so than the leadership, class teachers or facilities.
Obviously if you have specific needs for afterschool care etc, then that will play a factor in these early years. But I would look carefully at the cohort of children in your specific years. Our dc had a great experience, but there were children in the yeargroups either side who had a detrimental effect on the experience of the children in those classes (on the the issues with small class sizes, especially in co-ed settings). If it isn't working out, don't be afraid to move - we moved a dc in the infant years and it was the best thing possible, even though the first school still suited their sibling.
My DS is currently in year 1 at Bishop Challoner. He started in nursery and absolutely loves it. It's a lovely single form entry school and very nurturing. Their sports facilities/activities are lacking however, they're amazing at Fencing and regularly compete Nationally...and actually place! Their co-curricular activities have improved too...chess, taekwondo, gymnastics, fencing, ballet, music etc.
How did your visit go?
Do bear in mind that a lot of these schools can be used as holding spots until some of the more schools that start their intake in Y3, it can create a brain drain of the brightest and those who either don't know this happens or those who were previously happy with the school suddenly find a very different mix of pupils from Y3 onwards. Some teachers cope well with this, but sometimes if you have one academic high flier and the rest not as all the other academics have left it can make for that child to either be singled out for different work (awkward when only one) or thoroughly bored.
DStone thank you for your comment on Essendene lodge.
I have to say that I really liked it even though the facilities don't compare to some that I've seen but that was the only down side. As we arrived one year group had just arrived back from there swimming lesson.
I don't know what my children will be like as they get older but for me sport was a big thing and it was mentioned in our tour that they go to queens park. Do you know if they go there on a weekly basis?
The children we saw were very happy, energetic, polite individuals.
Mrs Ali showed us round and I found her to be knowledgeable of each child and new there strenghths and weaknesses when it came to there 11+ and where she felt the childs chosen destination after Essendene should be. They have great statistics into independent, grammar and state schools.
I liked the fact that the test the whole school every 6 weeks to see where the school can improve academically across the school. I think that keeps everyone one step ahead and on there toes.
Drama seems to be a big part of the school and many children get scholarships from this.
Is there a good relationship between headmistress, teachers and parents. I like an open door policy and would very much like to play an active role in knowing what my children do in school?
What part of school life do your children enjoy?
The ones I am in favour of are Walingham park school. The facilities were good. Lots of space which I loved and felt that my DD would have the opportunities to explore and shine as he is a very shy boy.
I felt the DT side of the school would capture our boys imagination as he is very good with his hands and would enjoys that aspect of the school.
I loved the fact that it was very family orientated and that each teacher new each individual child as do the other svhools I like.
For me the headmaster was a real plus and one of the main reasons for liking it as much as I did. I felt that he would have the best interest for our DD and would be able to guide us and be honest as to the best path to take into secondary education. Having said this the other headmasters and headmistress would do the same when it came to deciding on school.
I know that they do well in getting tge children into the first choice but my concern is the schools independent school report which doesn't refect what I saw and for most part was satisfactory in the report?
Oakhyrst Grange School was another but unfortunately we would be on a waiting list. We also have a daughter and couldn't risk her not getting a place even if our son did eventually.
Essendene lodge school appeared more academic than Walingham park school but I'm not intireley sure on that but I did like that there way of teaching. They unfortunate part is tge lack if outdoor space. I fee that when they are younger it is fine but when your older you need to spread your legs a little bit more however the children were very happy in there surrounding. I was impressed by the childrens abilities and how they are tested evert 6 weeks to gage where the school is and where improvements can be made overall across each year.
They are very successful in drama and get a number of scholarships into independent schools from this.
St Christopher's the hall in Bromley was another I liked. If we wanted our DD to go there he would have to go on an assessment day and if successful would be given a place. My only trouble with this is that there are NO plac9e available for my daughters year in the nursery and therefore she would have to do the assessment day aswell the following year and I really don't want them going to separate schools.
Having said all this I liked the fact that the school was proud to be competitive in all aspects of school life but especially in sport where there seemed to be a very high standard achieved and also scholarships achieved in this area. Music was strong with children doing very well when it came to grading.
Does anyone have any first-hand experience of these schools? I want to find out as much info as I can before making a decision
Yes I have and didn't like it. I want a small family feel school and would prefer a bigger school like Royal Russell when they are older.
Glad you got to tour Essendene Lodge school.
It is a lovely school, and there is an open door policy. Anytime I have wanted to speak to a teacher about anything they have always made time for me and I do find the staff go that extra mile where the children are concerned. For example when my daughter first started in yr 2 she was behind in spelling for the high frequency words because she hadn't done any spelling in her previous school, her teacher made a colourful laminated pack of words just for her to stick up on walls around the house. I've had emails directly from teachers sent in their own personal time following up on meetings I've had with them and sometimes they've brought things to my attention I wasn't even aware of like problems within friendship groups that they helped resolve quickly.
Another example of how they go that extra mile for the children was one year when it snowed and the children were in school Mrs Ali brought round hot chocolate for all the children to drink. My daughter still talks about that as a fond memory of hers!
Mrs Ali is a strong head and she's well respected and liked by the children and the parents. I do believe she knows the children individually and they do prepare them well for entry into secondary schools. When you are in yr 4 parents are invited to a meeting at the school to discuss secondary schools, what options you have and what to consider when you are looking for a place for your child. Then when you are in yr 5 you have an individual meeting with Mrs Ali specific for your child where you discuss your school preferences and she will let you know if she believes the schools you've selected for your child are a good fit. They then help prepare your child with an after school club once a week which gives them practise in meeting the entry requirements for the schools.
I do agree with you the lack of facilities is a downside compared to other schools but it hasn't held them back with regards to sports. They do go to Queen's Park every week for their games lessons (I can't remember which year this starts in though) and they do have matches with other schools in football and netball. They also do an interhouse swimming gala at the end of the school year. Last year the girls netball team came second in a schools tournament and they received silver medals which they were very pleased with.
The school is also very strong in drama and their end of year productions are amazing for their age. They also have lots of varied lunch time and after school clubs on offer everyday of the week. My daughter loves netball, drama and sewing. There's plenty on offer for boys too but I only have girls so I tend to focus on that side of things.
I hope that helps you Silk, it's really difficult deciding on which school to send your child to I wish you the best of luck in your decision!
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