Private schools in blackheath/greenwich
Hi everyone! I was just wondering if anyone had anything to say about Colfes vs Blackheath High vs Blackheath Prep?
My daughter is 2.5 and we have (tentatively) been accepted into Colfes for Sepetember 2017. We have just returned from her assessment from Blackheath High (will only hear from them end of November) and will go for an assessment for Blackheath Prep in March 2017. We would prefer either Blackheath High or Blackheath Prep because we live closer to those two and they are walking distance as opposed to Colfes which is a drive. However, we have just welcomed a son so a co-ed like Colfes would mean just one school run.
Does anyone have any positive/negative views on the above schools? I really like Blackheath Prep but have heard they are very very selective and very few children get in for nursery level.
OP, they're all good schools but I would suggest you talk to people locally with older children to get their views on the path each one sets you on. I'm saying that because I see people opting for these schools at nursery/reception age for a few different reasons, i.e.
- it's good quality child care and offers late stay, and isn't that much more expensive than a nursery and less than a nanny
-they are uncertain about the local state primary schools (which if you're in SE3 are all pretty good actually)
-they're committed to private education and understand what that entails in terms of planning, cost, tutoring and competitive entrance to secondary school.
So bearing that in mind...
Pretty high turnover of pupils in all 3 - people moving in and out of area, people in categories 1and 2 above. 15-20% a year not uncommon.
Colfe's and BH are all-through so provided your DC have no major academic issues or SN are pretty safe bets if you have the longer term in mind.
BHP is "selective" at 3, whatever that means. (There is no sound basis of academic selection for young children) In older years it seems to suit compliant, well-behaved children best. However because there is no senior school there seems to be a lot of angst about senior school entry - near universal tutoring from y4, senior school entrance exams spread over 4 months. Not good at dealing with bullying from what I've heard.
just wanted to give some input on BP (as a parent) as disagree with the previous poster's summary.
It's a high achieving prep school. the children are outgoing and lively - am not sure where "compliant" comes from? I also disagree with the angst comment - most of the kids are focusing on the independent exams which last only a couple of weeks in January. Yes it would be easier to go for an all through school but easier isn't always better? I can't refute the tutoring comment as although we didn't go down that route, the majority do in some form - but I think that's the case with any independent school that stops at 11 in London? Most tutor from Sept or Jan in Y5.
That said, it is very over-subscribed so best not set your heart on it. If it remains a favourite then entry any time after year 1 is easier - as families relocate. The turnover is high as the school is very international so even if you don't get in at 3 you can stay on the waiting list.
If you're wanting co-ed then have you thought about Heath House? Small school in the village - gets good reviews and results. Although - as a non parent I wouldn't dream of trying to tell you what kind of child goes there or any specifics about the ethos of the place.....
Thank you both for the input.
We are now waiting to hear from Blackheath High. While it is true that we have our heart set on BHP - we have had to accept that it is a vey 'in demand' prep school around here. A nursery classmate of my daughter has just been accepted and will start early next year. We will o my go for our assessment in March so I suppose a lot can change in 6 months.
@fleur thank you re: the information about BP's entry after year 1 being easier. If needs a must, we can keep her in nursery a year longer and try again I suppose!
We were not aware of having to put your names down early for any prep school (I am not from here originally and where I'm from the prep school are all based by assessment) - so unfortunately we came late for the party, we are on the waiting list of Heath house and also Blackheath High. Looked at Pointers but we not religious enough so we got rejected for that one (although we were very low down on the wait list too) For Colfes it was based on assessment so in the regard it was 'easier' if you like, as is Blackheath prep I suppose, because it's not a first come first served like the other two, it does reallly come down to the child's abilities.
Did you have a child in BP?
it does reallly come down to the child's abilities
Assessments aged 3/4 don't test children's abilities. They are completely unreliable in picking out high ability children but do tend to pick out fairly accurately which parents will support their children's learning a lot at home.
it's an interesting one isn't it - testing at 3. BP maintain there is a strong correlation between the initial 'test' (basically a structure play session one on one with a teacher) and the eventual year 6 result. But I'm not that convinced - there's always a full range of results at 11. Possibly the superstars at 3 are the superstars at 11 though?
OP - year 1 is actually the second year fo full time school (Reception being the first) - so an extra year of nursery wouldn't work. Lots of kids do transfer in from local primary and prep schools though. Some do join in Reception and Year 1 - but IMO it's easier after year one as people are less keen to move their kids should a space become open then.
yes I am a BP parent. My children have been really happy there and, although there are aspects I would change, I would make the same choice again.
A lot of BP children move to Colfes for senior school, so depending on your longer term plans you may as well save yourself the 11+ angst and skip the middle man. On the other hand the prep does give you more options if you are planning to try for the Dulwich or Central London schools at senior level.
In my personal experience as a former parent, BP suits a certain type of child (and parent). Clever, ambitious children who conform will love it there. White European is heavily over represented compared to other preps in the area. Anything out of the ordinary is not well tolerated. Bullying and favouritism are issues and the head tends to take the view that you take it or leave it.
On the other hand, the facilities are amazing, there is a nice, tight knit community of parents and children (if you fit in) and some lovely teachers and parents. The school gets excellent results although I would be shocked if it did not, given the starting point.
the Colfes comment is valid. This year a5 kids went on to Colfes (out of 40 ish) - but that was unusual. 3-7 is a more usual number. I agree though -if you like Colfes then just go there and save the year 6 process. The disruptive stressful nature of 11+ exams cannot be overstated.
I don't agree on the white European comment. Both my kids had around 10 kids from Ethnic minorities in their years - so around 20-25%.
The head is very marmite. Doesn't tolerate any criticism of her school or how it operates.
This is a very helpful feed. I have a similar dilemma to Kimann.
Is something amiss at BHP? The leavers destinations don't quite correlate with a school that has ambitious parents, selective intake, massively oversubscribed, tutoring children from year 4, amazing facilities, smallish classes. Why are so few going to JAGS and Dulwich college? If so many parents wanted Colfes why put their children through the stress and expense? I'm sure that the numbers used to be a lot higher and there were a number of scholarships?
Can anyone shed light on this?
Colfe's is luring lots of BP kids in with generous scholarships. They tend to be the children who possibly missed out on the more selective schools.There were many offers for JAGS and DC, City, Sevenoaks and Westminster Under School to name a few of the others. JAGS out of favour over Alleyns which offered to around 12 of the children ( impressive as their intake is only about 70 for those not at their own prep). Ditto Dulwich College - around 10 offers. Some of the very brightest kids are going to the super selective grammars (having won multiple scholarships at the school's above).
Colfes bought a lot of last year's leavers with generous scholarships - this year parents have not been swayed and have gone with the schools perceived as 'better'. 6 Alleyns, 6 Dulwich, 4 Sevenoaks, 2 City, 1 JAGs and 6 Grammar school places out of 40 leavers.
Mrs Patmore - am thinking we know each other?! Do not agree that the very brightest kids are going to the grammars..... Do agree that some people got carried away with applications and collected scholarships like merit badges - for schools they never had any intention of going to.
Jingo - they don't disclose the scholarships on the website now - but a decent percentage of the kids get a scholarship to the school they end up attending.
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