Bishop Challoner Independent School

(33 Posts)
Tennin Sun 24-Jul-16 21:10:07

Hello I am looking for more information ONLY on Bishop Challoner Independent School @ Shortlands. Any honest opinion would be appreciated. This is for my child who is 7 year bright kid who is polite,kind and clever to handle peers but doesn't know to confront. Current school is a state school @ Hertfordshire which is a good school by OFSTED, I am happy with the school staff and everything about the school except peers. The children in the current state school talks more like an adult and uses swearing words and these little kids as young as seven talk about having a boyfriend and beyond ( *) and vulgar desires which shocked me and created stomach cramps for days. In the playground its always uncertain whats gonna happen ? Though I have faith in teachers and staff who are brilliant but still I don't feel right for my child being in that school. My little one says she loves teachers and teaching and other extra creative activities but she does not like to get involved into such dirty talks. She feels proud about herself for what she is and able to figure out good and bad. She has few friends , even these parents are unhappy. Wanted to discuss with head, but feel very uneasy to talk and describe the situation. I am sure as a parent I am able to know many news whats happening at school , how can Head or teachers miss this out ? So this made me search enough schools but some did not fit my budget. Bishop Challoners Independent school felt good, but yet to go and talk. So before going wanted to know how the school is ? Is there bullying,racism and do children similar things at independent schools ? Heard few people saying results were not good and its gone down on pastoral care as well and other few good things about the school , so I am confused.Also heard shortlands and beckenham is popular for burglary.
So little worried, as my husband's office is central London, is it safe to walk from Shortland station to home ? Is it safe for woman and child at home when husband is out on work ( various countries for two weeks etc), will burglary happen when people at home ? This Burglary scares me a lot ! How is shortlands ? if school looks ok, would like to rent a home with 1/4 mile from school not beyond as I have constant leg pain , which might be impossible to commute to school everyday to and fro four times a day. Current location where I live @ herts close to Harpenden is a lovely place where everything is good except the current concern. Very safe place and family crowd around. So just hoping that I am taking a right decision and not regret later .
Thanks very much xxxxxx :-)

PettsWoodMum Mon 25-Jul-16 08:02:31

Seems like a major move for a rather middle of the road school. Having had a DD in private school in Bromley do be aware it isn't a magic wand that will solve all your problems. If I were in Beckenham (I am a few miles away) or looking to move to the area I would choose the likes of Langley Park state school over Bishop Challoner and move to catchment for Langley Park and if I couldn't get a place at a decent primary before senior then I would probably look at the likes of Braeside or if more academic then Dulwich or Eltham College which both start at 7. If you are only looking at Bishop Challoner as it is more affordable than the other schools then there is a reason it is more affordable but that doesn't mean it necessarily gives good value.

As regards the area it is generally quite safe. Penge is maybe a bit more edgy and gets lumped in with Beckenham stats sometimes so it can pull them down and make it look worse than it is. Shortlands is more hilly than some other parts of the Borough so it you have walking problems do bear that in mind.

Tennin Mon 25-Jul-16 11:13:30

You mean mid of the road is Geographically or something statement about the school. Will be nice if you can be clear on that. It really helps. I am not keen on any state primary schools any where

PettsWoodMum Mon 25-Jul-16 13:04:56

Middle of the road as in neither amazing nor terrible. I think such a closed view of state education that you have is likely to mean if your budget is low you could end up with a poor education (even expensive schools don't guarantee a great school) if you are determined to avoid state. I know of at least one cheap indie (not Bishop Challoner) that the local authority paid for places for its hard to place pupils and it created an environment that sounds like just the situation you are trying to run away from. To give you some perspective I am happy that my daughter is leaving a selective independent school and moving to an outstanding state grammar school as that is the best fit for her. The independent sector is not perfect either. To say that no state school is of interest to you is also very insulting to those who have no choice or who are happy in their schools.

Ginnowplease Mon 25-Jul-16 16:33:57

I wasn't clear whether your daughter is 7 or year 7.

There are several pretty good primaries in Beckenham, Clare house and balgowan and Marian Vian all get good ratings, ditto oak lodge. On the private side, St christopeher's is a nice school, not academically better than any of the primaries, but a pleasant ethos. St David's in West Wickham is in my view excellent. The Bromley prep schools are mostly pretty good too. Do you want a catholic ethos, because that's what bbc would give you, but so ŵould St Mary's. And it's another good school.

If year 7 again think about whether you want Catholic or not. Lots of girls secondaries, state and private, mostly pretty good in the area. Like the other pp I'd go for Langley over BC, but that's my view.

Shortlands unsafe? Ha! I suppose if you come from a very protected rural environment, maybe, but compared to most places I've lived in London, it's a dream. Ditto Beckenham.

Tennin Mon 25-Jul-16 18:23:21

Seven year old.

Tennin Mon 25-Jul-16 19:30:29

Thank you PettsWoodMum for giving a broad idea about Bromley. Thanks very much !
When it comes to state school I did not mean anything negatively at all. My current focus and PRIORITY are only Independent Schools around London and Greater London. If I want to apply or move to another state school there are many schools around us where I live currently which are mostly rated Good by ofsted , I can as well apply here I don't have to move else where :-). I don't have to make a big move as we just made our move from New Jersey a year and half ago which was hectic with which we are already tired. I don't have much energy to hunt and move to a catchment area and Hoping and Praying for the choice school, We are too tired with all that process . This is what I meant when i said NO state schools anywhere. That does not mean otherwise what you thought to be !! Sorry

Tennin Mon 25-Jul-16 19:32:22

Thankyou Ginnowplease. My daughter is seven year old girl.

Ginnowplease Mon 25-Jul-16 23:35:19


Well, about ten years ago, the teachers of at least one state primary and one if the private preps used just to swap, ie one would leave school a to go to school b, and next year you would find another teacher had gone the opposite way.

What makes a difference is the class size and possibly the ethos, for example at St Christopher's as at many private schools they had to shake hands and say good morning at the school gate. They are also prepared to go on mainly, though not exclusively, to the private sector. There's a bit more emphasis on competitive sport, I think.

You should look at where the children go on to, that's a good guide to the academic standing, if you are comparing between private schools. Just ask.

Ginnowplease Mon 25-Jul-16 23:38:09

If you want top notch prep schools for girls in greater london, go onto the Isis website, prob called something else now, and check what they say about the area.

NightingaleMum Tue 26-Jul-16 02:49:26

I can't comment about the schools as my children are grown up now. But I've lived in the Bromley / Beckenham / Shortlands area for over 30 years and it is a safe area to live.

I have no qualms about using the station and walking the streets and travelling on local buses.

MummyPigsFatTummy Tue 26-Jul-16 09:57:30

I am a bit confused about what attracted you to move all the way from Harpenden to Bromley just for one independent school. Is there a reason you want to make the move to Bromley/Beckenham anyway, or is it just for Bishop Challoner. As PettsWoodMum says there is nothing sufficiently special about BC to justify such a big move without other reasons - if it is Catholicism that interests you surely there are Catholic preps in Hertfordshire or surrounds?

That said, commuting to Central London from Bromley/Beckenham isn't bad - you have access to Blackfriars, London Bridge/Cannnon Street/Waterloo East/Charing Cross and Victoria from different stations in both areas and fairly short journeys. Both boroughs are pretty safe and family orientated. The state primaries are excellent but if private is what you would like, have you considered Bromley High? It is a girls school but the junior section has a good reputation and the school has excellent facilities. Its only issue perhaps is that because it has a senior school, it won't necessarily provide much help if you are aiming at grammar schools for secondary, so that is a consideration. Also it is the Chislehurst side of Bromley rather than Beckenham so that might be an issue for you.

Otherwise, particularly if budget is a concern, I would have a rethink about state. Given the concerns you have about your daughter's current school, maybe a small faith-based primary might suit her/you better? There are a few Catholic (assuming that is your religion) primaries round the Bromley area. St Josephs and St James's are two but there are others in different parts of the borough and they are unlikely to tolerate the sort of behaviours you find at your current school (although from what I know from friends at other state schools in the local area I am not aware of that sort of thing - bullying, racism etc - being tolerated anywhere).

MummyPigsFatTummy Tue 26-Jul-16 09:58:26

Apologies - just re-read and see you are not considering state in Bromley. Please ignore my earlier comments.

Tennin Tue 26-Jul-16 13:57:53

Thank you :-)

beginnings Tue 26-Jul-16 22:47:06

I went to see Bishop Challoners with a view to sending my daughters there and ran out practically screaming. Tired outdated buildings. Rude older students. 6th form
Common room has a huge walkout Window onto the Reception playground. Blasting very inappropriate music.....wouldn't take a place there for a bet.

Keep looking OP!

Ginnowplease Wed 27-Jul-16 00:23:52

If you go onto the isc website you should find those schools that are registered with it.

A quick canter through of some of those within 5 miles of Bromley. Some of my info is current, some less so. M

Bc, you have the comment above
Bromley high, doing v well for two children I know, one reasonably bright, all rounder, the other brilliant. Prob less stretching for her.
Sydenham high, did well for a less academic child I know.
St Dunstans, catford, good all rounder, though less specialist in the performing arts than Alleyns, where the immensely gifted sibling of a St d girl I know ended up.
Brea side, good
St Christopher's, nice, not v academic though has some bright kids
St David's west Wickham, where I would have sent dc if I could have. Trad but good.
Farringtons, don't know about junior side if any, did well for v unsure child.

Tennin Wed 27-Jul-16 10:56:14

Hi Beginnings,

Thanks for the valuable information hmm. Its interesting to know these things. Thanks very much .Really helps.

Tennin Wed 27-Jul-16 10:59:49

Hi Ginnowplease,
Thanks for further information on other schools like Bromley High and other schools. I missed these schools in my list, wondering how ? But anyway will start doing more research on these schools as well and will visit ISC SITE.
During our times back in 1985-90, schools were so different and nice , but nowadays while sending kids to school parents sometimes have to keep fingers cross that children should come back home safely. Oh too much isn't it ? confused

PettsWoodMum Wed 27-Jul-16 13:26:17

DD went to Bromley High, but I have friends whose children have been just as happy, if not happier at Crofton or other state primaries in our area as there are so many good ones in our Borough. Do read the ISC report for Bromley High with a pinch of salt, they ignored all of my comments and those of some parents I know and doesn't really bear any relation to what I know of the school but I hear that about a lot of ISC reports. I would recommend getting a copy of the Good Schools Guide to help you identify schools. Most libraries have a copy if you don't want to buy it, or you can get a subscription online for just one month. Bromley High requires a test and interview prior to entrance and is highly oversubscribed. Property nearby is very expensive unless on the Coppice Estate about half a mile away which is ex local authority housing stock, still good but cheaper. Feel free to ask me questions by private message about Bromley High.

Tennin Wed 27-Jul-16 14:07:14

Thank you PettsWoodMum. I agree with you completely .Would do it. smile)

Ginnowplease Wed 27-Jul-16 15:47:38

Getting there and back safely isn't the problem, round here, honestly. Are you expecting her to take the bus and make her own way home, will she stay on at school for clubs or an after school club, do you have a childminder of after school nanny if you are not going to be around? I don't know what you are scared of, but clearly you have had an unpleasant experience where you are. Perhaps 7 is a bit young yo be travelling by herself, but round here I'd have no problem with 8. Lots of children travel up to central London by themselves, going on train and tube. Give her a cheap pre paid mobile with a couple of pre programmed numbers to call if she needs to.

And yes, the Good Schools Guide.

beginnings Wed 27-Jul-16 19:25:38

I could have written a much longer post OP but didn't have the time and certainly don't now have the inclination.

Having lived in the area for nine years and extensively researched schools, as well as having been educated in the state and indy sector in London, I can assure you that the experience on my visit gave a worrying picture of the atmosphere and ethos of the school.

Given the concerns you voiced in your OP they were noted in good faith.

I won't bother with any more - good luck with your search.

Tennin Wed 27-Jul-16 20:24:49

Hi Beginnings... smile Thank you for important info like inappropriate music. If it is ok with you can you please tell me what does the inappropriate music mean ?
When you say rude kids its clearer. But when it comes to music its still not clear.
Let me be more open.
I currently have two offers from St.James London and another St Faiths at Cambridge, Bishop Challoner is a chance ,just some calculations about fee structure, etc and other pros and cons I am saving it in an excel sheet about these schools to give me better picture and make a decision by end of aug 28th ,We have been called for an assessment some where around August at Bishop Challoners, but still we are not clear about Bishops whether to go or not except for the commuting distance to London and slightly lower fee is what we are slightly inclined. Other two schools I have to tell them by end of August confused !
For sure if Bishops does not work I am going for one of the schools mentioned above most likely St James Independent School London as Cambridge ( St .Faiths) is longer to commute.

Would appreciate any feedback and ideas about Bishop Challoner.
Thanks very much

Tennin Wed 27-Jul-16 20:46:08

Hi Ginnowplease,
Thanks for the post. Well when it comes to bus or tubes I am not comfortable sending the little one alone. We gonna pick and drop till she is old enough to travel . And I would not send her for breakfast club or nanny care. As my parents are around and with us, she is lot more happier being picked by parents or grandparents. Yes we did have a bad experience in London in 2008 , all our original documents like marks cards,birth certificate and many more were lost to a wrong person delivered by dtdc in the morning hours. Huge apartment complex around hundred apartments , the courier man delivered the parcel to someone in the apartment complex and they had signed with illegible signature handwriting , inspite of police complaints etc never was traced. It was such a difficult time then, so we realized there are con mans in London and around. This took place in Hounslow where the apartment was given to us by the company for which my husband used to work . We did not have a choice then.

After this event we moved back to US. So in 2008 we stayed only for 8 months. After many years now again we are back to UK, but the current place where we are living was decided after a lot of research . Good decision as this place is very very safe and secured, friendly people with always a smile around. Warm family place.

Sorry for such a long mail

Thank you smile

Addictedtoflapjacks Wed 27-Jul-16 22:37:25

My dd went to the nursery at bc and I had no problems with it. My ds is currently in the senior school at bc and doing very well. I think they have very good pastoral care and they all know the children inside out. Classes are small and he us generally happy. The buildings do look a bit worn and coukd do with a little bit of decor however I have no problems or complaints regarding the school. I'm happy and my ds is happy. It's much cheaper than the other independent schools however being cheaper doesn't mean it's not a good school.

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