Hornsby, Finton, Thomas, Broomwood or Dulwich schools?

(12 Posts)
Balhambelle Thu 19-Mar-15 20:13:57

Hi, having had a total flap when my baby was born we registered her with all of these schools and should be early enough to get spots at Finton and Hornsby. In which case, I'm wondering whether it's worth bothering with Thomas and broomwood? The thought of out daughter having to be assessed seems a bit much at her age but would love to know what others think. Are they more academic because of being selective? I'm a bit spurious about it myself. I mean how accurately can they assess how smart a 4yr old is? But my husband is of the view that if we are paying then she should go to the best school we can find. Which leads me on to my next question. Lots of his city colleagues have kids at the Dulwich schools and have told him they are a different league academically. Anyone know if that's true? I suppose we'd be looking at JAPs.

Thanks in advance - we have so much choice in London it's confusing!

Hanadowning Thu 19-Mar-15 20:38:20

Hi, I chair the PTA for Thomas's clapham. I have 3 children there. Anything you want to ask from a parent point of view I'm happy to help. It's all quite gentle not a big scary assessment. They just want to meet your children. The best advice I have is its like buying a house, you buy it if it feels right even if it doesn't tick all your boxes

LucyMaud Thu 19-Mar-15 23:07:25

I'm a Hornsby parent, so obviously heavily biased! I have friends with children at all the others, and I really don't think you can go wrong with any of them. They will all give a bright child a good chance of getting in to the most academic schools. Hornsby is non-selective but has an excellent track record with secondary school results, including many scholarships. The children all seem so happy and well rounded, and it is not a pressure cooker, even in y5 and y6.

The important thing is how you feel about the school. I live closest to Broomwood but just didn't feel right about it on my 3 open morning visits, it felt a bit stuffy and old-fashioned for my taste, whereas I felt Hornsby was more down to earth and relaxed. I know less about Thomas's and Finton but the word on the street tends to be that Thomas's is best for a confident child who likes to be pushed to excel in everything, whereas Finton is the gentler option for a less alpha type personality.

I can't comment much on the academic credentials of JAPS, but do remember that a long commute will make for a tired child and friends who are potentially a good distance away.

The best thing you can do is visit them all and see which one you can picture your dd happily settling into, and which most suits your family style, this will be your "best" school.

Balhambelle Fri 20-Mar-15 11:48:07

Thanks for the replies and sorry about the typos in my original message - lucky it won't be me being assessed.

I know everyone says this but we think our daughter is going to be quite academic - she is already able to read those 'First reader' type books so we are keen to find a school that will encourage that and where there will be other similar children. On the other hand she's certainly not 'Alpha'. Not shy and retiring either though, she's confident but in a quiet way if you see what I mean.

Hanadowning - thanks - it's good to know the assessment is quite low key. I may PM you a few questions if you don't mind

LucyMaud I really liked Hornsby as it just had a lovely warm feeling to it - plus it would be a very easy walk for us.

One thing that does confuse me is that some of the schools finish at 11 and some at 13 and what effect that has on what schools kids go on to?

It is a ridiculously long way off for us, but ideally we'd like her to go to one of the super academic London day schools, St Paul's Girls etc.... although there is an outside chance we'd look at boarding if she wanted to (sobs at prospect of my baby leaving).

honor1979 Fri 20-Mar-15 13:15:54

I have a child at one of the Broomwood Lower Schools. (Being deliberately vague).

It's lovely: caring, nurturing, lovely staff, lovely ethos, lovely premises and grounds (for a London school). But it's not academic. At all. I think if your DD is superbright, she'd be absolutely fine (but then she'd probably be fine anywhere, if that were the case); but if she's in the bright-but-not-Stephen-Hawking brigade, then I'd proceed with caution. I've heard that Northcote / the Upper School are more serious, and they certainly get an impressive slew of scholarships at 11+ & 13+ (but not many academic and certainly v few academic ones to the most academic schools - several to next tranche down). It's not my child's time yet, but I've heard that the 7+ attempts were largely that. I think a school which can't get the bright boys into Dulwich College Prep (which, while sought after, is hardly Westminster Under, let's be honest) needs to take a long hard look at how it can justify its sky high fees. I don't think they've ever sent anyone to St Paul's (boys or girls but happy to be corrected and this may be a geographical thing).

You could obviously do a lot worse, and our child has been very happy there thus far, but he/she will be leaving after the Lower School and we won't be sending his/her brother there this Sept.

Assuming the brace position for other BH parents to attack me now!

sw12 Fri 20-Mar-15 17:04:31

Ha, ha. No need to duck and cover honor1979.

Have DC at Broomwood Hall too and agree with much of what you say - lovely school, children couldn't be happier but not really an academic powerhouse.

That said, I don't think that any of the schools on the list apart from JAPS are really any more academic. They all tend to pack them off to the same schools afterwards . Can't imagine Finton or Hornsby sending kids on to SPGS either and suspect even Thomas' gets very few in to that level of school. For that reason we've just done 7+ and will be moving on to somewhere with more of a track record of entry into the super selectives - we had a few options after 7+ and know another child with scholarship offers to all the Dulwich schools, so some attempts were def. successful.

Balham - if you're really aiming for the very top schools then I'd say pick any of the schools on your list but be prepared to leave early as none of them is going to get your child into St Pauls (unless she is very clever in which case she'll get in but it won't be thanks to the school). JAPS will obviously send most girls on to JAGS.

May be worth you having a look at Newton Prep as I hear it sends more kids into the central London day schools, probably because it is closer in.

sw12 Fri 20-Mar-15 17:13:47

Oh and also be prepared to shell out for a tutor for the 7+ prep. We didn't but almost all the parents I talked to at school open days had done so - seems to be almost automatic at the prep schools over the river.

LidoLil Sat 21-Mar-15 22:15:44

At primary level I really don't think that how 'academic' a school is really makes much difference. A friend teaches at JAGS and she says you can't tell which girls have come up from the prep school and which have come from elsewhere. And all the very selective schools take plenty of children from state schools where they've had no special preparation at least from the school.

My personal view is that living near school is very important at primary age- no long tiring commute, local friends, plenty of time to get involved with local extra-curricular activities

You need to think about the kind of direction you'd like your dd to take (while bearing in mind that it's still very early to decide that your dd is 'academic' or otherwise). If you're thinking of London day schools for example then you'd be looking at schools which go up to 11.

For girls there's very little difference between Finton and Hornsby so IIWY I'd go with whichever is closest to you. My dd is at one of the Dulwich schools now but I wouldn't have sent her to the junior department as the commute would have been too much for her when she was littler and I don't think she missed out at all.

I think the reason why very few children go from the local prep schools to places like SPGS is mainly geographical. The journey from here to the Dulwich schools is very easy - dd gets on a bus which goes from the end of our road and there are lots of other children making the same trip. We decided against SPGS a because it was just too tricky a journey. She's often got commitments after school so has to get the late bus home and there are several events in the evening when she needs to be back at school - at times like that I'm really glad we're not schlepping over to Hammersmith. I don't think that any school is worth a long or tricky commute as the possible gains would be quite minor compared to the losses caused by the journey. The majority of girls going to SPGS come from west/central/North London so going to friends, parties etc gets that much harder. You have to remember as well that the uber-academic schools get their stellar results from only letting in those children who'd be getting a string of A*s wherever they went

CaptainNjork Mon 23-Mar-15 17:29:09

Having seen them all in action today I can confirm that....Hornsby House is the best at football grin.

Seriously, I agree with the last post. 4 is still very young so I'd think about ease of journey. Very few local kids from the Balham area will go over to SPGS, LEH etc... just because JAGS, Putney or Wimbledon High, SCHS, Alleyns and Emanuel are so much closer and there isn't really that much difference results wise.

Bodders1 Fri 01-May-15 22:51:01

My feeling is that all 4 schools (HH, Thomas's, Finton and Broomwood) are excellent and I feel we are lucky here to have such a "choice". We were in a similar situation to you 7 years ago when our son was born and registered him at Thomas's and Finton. We ended up being offered places at Thomas's, Finton and Broomwood Garrods Road. I really liked Finton (nurturing, "non selective") but my husband was of the same view as yours - he felt in the end that Thomas's offered the most for our money and our course we took into account our son's personality. I was unsure but I am very glad I went with my husbands instincts. The "assessment" was very gentle as far as I can work out. In my view Thomas's is a pretty academic school and there are a lot of very bright children there but it is also a very nurturing and caring place and not too "full on" for the kids homework wise etc particularly in the lower school. I personally wouldn't want to trek across to Dulwich each morning/afternoon and inevitably the distance makes playdates etc harder logistically. Do PM me if you want to.

Bodders1 Fri 01-May-15 22:53:01

My feeling is that all 4 schools (HH, Thomas's, Finton and Broomwood) are excellent and I feel we are lucky here to have such a "choice". We were in a similar situation to you 7 years ago when our son was born and registered him at Thomas's and Finton. We ended up being offered places at Thomas's, Finton and Broomwood Garrods Road. I really liked Finton (nurturing, "non selective") but my husband was of the same view as yours - he felt in the end that Thomas's offered the most for our money and our course we took into account our son's personality. I was unsure but I am very glad I went with my husbands instincts. The "assessment" was very gentle as far as I can work out. In my view Thomas's is a pretty academic school and there are a lot of very bright children there but it is also a very nurturing and caring place and not too "full on" for the kids homework wise etc particularly in the lower school. I personally wouldn't want to trek across to Dulwich each morning/afternoon and inevitably the distance makes playdates etc harder logistically. Do PM me if you want to.

mylifestory Tue 30-Jun-15 22:11:23

I have one at Hornsby so do message me if you wan the real off screen nitty gritty - no problem!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now