Croydon independent schools for girls

(15 Posts)
RubyRuby76 Mon 02-Nov-15 09:45:25

Just starting on this journey for 2017. Any comments on Old Palace or Croydon High would be welcome.

Seeline Tue 03-Nov-15 09:52:04

Junior or senior?

My DD has just started Y7 at CHS. Do you have any specific queries?
You may have more luck posting in the main Education boards as lots of the girls live outside Croydon. smile

RubyRuby76 Wed 04-Nov-15 19:25:19

We are drawn towards Old Palace but don't know anybody there. We have friends at Croydon, a few happy and a few not. DD is at a state primary school now but has spent several years at an international school in UAE. She is a cheerful adaptable child, this just seems such a huge decision.

Seeline Thu 05-Nov-15 08:36:06

It is a big decision. Have you visited both schools? We went to both several times just to get a feel. My DD was at a state primary but has settled in well at CHS and made new friends, despite being the only one from her old school. I still haven't worked out the percentage of Junior school girls to 'newbies' but she is definitely in the minority. She doesn't seem worried though.
The CHS head has just announced she is leaving at the end of July 2016, which is a great shame I think. Don't know what the future holds..... The recruitment process is overseen by the GDST though.

SandersteadMum Thu 05-Nov-15 11:13:45

That's interesting about the Head leaving - that's 3 local independent Heads leaving now. It's making the decision process over the next few years difficult as it's hard to know what direction the new Heads will take them in. Do you know why the CHS Head is leaving?

Seeline - did your DD ever feel like an outsider as a consequence of so many of the Junior school going into Yr 7? Are you pleased with the decision you made?

Seeline Thu 05-Nov-15 11:22:56

CHS has a new headship up north nearer to her family. DS is at T - I don't think it's my DCs impact on the Heads grin

DD has only had half a term so far. They all went on a week long activity trip to Devon after the first week which I think helped with bonding. She hasn't said anything about feeling left out. Sometimes when she has mentioned something about another pupil I've asked whether she was at the Junior school or from another primary, and she hasn't known, so I don't think it's an issue for her. It's a steep learning curve for parents though! So far things seem to be working for her - early days though smile

OwlCapone Thu 05-Nov-15 11:28:41

I am also doing this for 2017. We went to look at Royal Russell and CHS last month and both DD and I liked both. We both preferred CHS for no definable reason whatsoever so that is currently top of our list. (Which would mean my children have matched Seeline's right from primary wink )

I didn't manage to look round Old Palace this year as it clashed with something else. I am doubtful about it purely because of its location although I have had friends with DDs there who say it isn't a problem.

Seeline Thu 05-Nov-15 12:08:42

Owl - I hadn't realised that! Do you know me?! shock I knew Soupy and I stalked the same threads, but hadn't spotted you. Do you have one at T too - what form?

We looked at OP but just didn't like the feel of it. Partly location - not just because of central Croydon, but the fact that buildings were spread around and you had to cross roads to get to different lessons, and the fact the sport fields were at the old Croham Hurst site. I found the head a little strange too.

Liked RR and that would've been our second choice, but really wanted the single sex.

Liked the feel of CHS and loved the Head - very sorry she is going. It felt right for DD.

OwlCapone Thu 05-Nov-15 12:32:29

I knew Soupy and I stalked the same threads

And there is your answer. grin

For reasons I don't quite understand, I have a different name on the local boards and don't know where to change it blush

OwlCapone Thu 05-Nov-15 12:34:56

It's the split site and the central Croydon location that put me off OP. I will probably go and look when the chance comes up, more out of curiosity than any real urge to send DD there.

Seeline Thu 05-Nov-15 13:33:13

ooh an alias - how exciting!!

RubyRuby76 Fri 06-Nov-15 15:43:39

I am not concerned about a split site school, lots are. I have a niece at Surbiton, now that's a magical mystery tour, and with off site sports.
Interesting comment about OP head, seems a bit dated but pleasant enough.
I will have another look on one of the working open days rather than a Saturday.
One of the problems I have is to remember I am not looking for a school for me but for my DD.

Seeline Mon 09-Nov-15 08:57:36

Ruby agree - that is a very important point! I had to keep reminding myself that I was looking for my DD too. Schools have changed so much since I went - I would love to go to most of them!!
I think 'working day' visits do show a different side of a school, and if you can manage them it is a good idea.

merlottime Wed 11-Nov-15 22:25:46

Have you considered Woldingham? The head is also leaving this summer (retiring), but I think it would be an attractive job as the location is lovely and the school results are excellent, so hopefully will get someone good. My DD only started in September, the only one from her state primary, not a problem at all. We aren't Catholic, and the religion feels no more obvious than it did looking round Royal Russell. It's an easy train journey from East Croydon or South Croydon (Woldingham station is in the school grounds and they run shuttle buses), or school minibus from Purley and Kenley stations. So far so good for us. The school couldn't be more friendly, and the opportunities are endless. The novelty of it hasn't worn off for us yet!

chappedhands Wed 16-Dec-15 17:15:07

Old Palace has a fine reputation, and it is important to remember that it is linked to the fine reputation and deep pockets of the Whitgift Foundation. Trinity and Whitgift School are its brother schools and Old Palace benefits hugely from these relationships. My daughter came to Old Palace on a scholarship and a music award, and was also awarded a bursary as an alternative option to the scholarship. The school is outstanding academically: just this week a girl was given a provisional place at Oxford to study medicine. My daughter is in the 'pre-med' stream where she is under the special tutelage of a PhD biology teacher specially tasked to get OP girls into medical careers. Last year 5 girls received offers for medicine (the Sixth Form cohort was 45 girls).

Old Palace staff are happy, and have excellent reputations and long years of service. The grounds of the senior school are on a Grade I Listed historic sight, attached to Croydon Minister. It gives shivers to walk around the buildings knowing Elizabeth I slept in one of the classrooms, and the chapel was visited by a long list of royals as they progressed towards Canterbury.

The school is friendly and my daughter has never felt there to be any cliques -- she says the small class sizes and year groups means they are friends across the year group. There is a quiet pride amongst the girls at Old Palace: they are intelligent and dignified. No sloppy behaviour. Many of the girls are first generation born and raised in the UK and their parents have especially high aspirations of their children. I like that the parents are motivated for their children to get a firm educational footing towards high professional success: I have seen no complacency. They know it takes hard work to make it in our culture, and this message is transmitted to their girls.

The head is conservative but kind, and this is well received by the parents. She is always available day or night, and holds special Saturday surgeries for 'drop in'. The Sixth Form Head, Mr Talleux, is a dream. He is adored by the girls and -- he is French and dresses accordingly; he has a great sense of humour tied to being extremely organised in shepherding his girls to aim for the very best educationally with an eye towards getting the best university spots. He is a treasure.

A very special word must be reserved for a quiet reality: Old Palace has one of the finest programmes of musical training anywhere in London. There is the select Polyphonic, who performs Evensong at the Minister and around the country. Trained by Cambridge educated Mr Hemmings (probably the most beloved teacher in the school); my daughter is studying voice, piano and flute to high standard -- this is very common. There has been involvement with Glyneborne Opera in conjunction with Trinity's music programme; there are three Pan Drums groups; a Pre-Polyphonic programme treats younger girls as serious singers in training for the prestige that awaits them in the advanced choirs. There are two orchestras, an Advanced Flute Choir and many, many other ensembles. Old Palace is Whitgift's sister school of choice to join in producing exceptional drama programme. My daughter is in the chorus of the upcoming Sweeney Todd; last year girls were in the cast of Spamalot and The Crucible. Girls even have ballroom lessons at the moment with Whitgift boys! Of course there are a huge range of other activities, including sports, on offer. I am just explaining those I know.

No one who plans to educate a daughter in the Croydon area can afford to miss visiting Old Palace. If only for your finances! Whitgift Foundation gives out over £1 million in scholarships and bursaries each year: who else has those kind of deep pockets?

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