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Choosing a prep school

(16 Posts)
bexmumb Thu 21-Oct-10 11:38:34

Can anyone give me advice on choosing a prep school for my dd. Having visited a few preps in the Sidcup/Chislehurst area I am struggling to find a one locally that meets all my expectations.

West Lodge school had a nice nurturing vibe, lovely head teacher and great KS2 results, but quite small outdoor space with no playing fields or pool and fewer extra curricular activities. Also the classrooms for older children seemed quite small. Merton Court school had great outdoor space, a pool and lots of extra curricular activities, good KS2 results but IMO a bit of a 'one size fits all' vibe from the head teacher, and outdated reading materials. Farringtons school had a nurturing vibe, lovely head teacher, great outdoor facilities and extra curricular activities, but mediocre academic results (so have pretty much rule this out).

Please help - does anyone have personal experience of these schools? Were my first impressions were correct? In general how much importance should I place on outdoor / extra curricular facilities?

Sallyssss Thu 21-Oct-10 11:50:56

Gosh, I am with you on this. Trying to decide by next September. I have both a boy and girl, so I am really struggling. My thoughts were:

Farringdon - really the only down side was the acedemics and if you are paying for school I do expect some good results!

Merton Court - there just something I just didn't like about it, may be a little old fashioned. Plus the uniform!

Then I have looked at:

St Olaves - which I loved but small campus and not many girls in the school year we were looking at.

Babington - fairly acedemic, but small grounds and boys can only go there until they are 7 years old.

Bromley High - very academic and girls school.

Bickely Boys - I liked it- nice grounds, not too pushy.

Saying all that though I really still can't decide - thinking Babingtons/Bickley's....or St Olaves!

I have also looked at Bickley boys, Babington House and Bromley High school. I am yet to look at Braeside.

ForMashGetSmash Thu 21-Oct-10 12:55:26

I went with the prep which lacked outdoor facilities and pool....I decided that DD woud be happier in a smaler more nurturing environment with high academic results...because then we both has some of what we needed!

The lack of fields etc don't impac at all...we have a nearby field which we use fo sports and the kids also use the leisure entre...its a small and homely school and fits us well. You should go on instinct.

bexmumb Thu 21-Oct-10 19:15:56

Thanks for the advice & synopsis of other schools.

We also looked at Bromley High, as we have two dd's. It was the only school we have seen that seemed to have it all, but is probably too much of a commute for us. Also, with no pre-prep our dd would start in Sept 2012 and we wont know if we have a place until Jan 2012, by which time all the other preps may be full. Its a shame.

I guess I should be grateful that with two girls I don't have to add a possible double school run into the decision making process.

I think the small campus might not be such a bad thing. I have just looked at the websites of a few state schools to compare facilities with the preps. Quite a few state schools seem, to have comparable or better facilities (no pools), but this doesn't equate with a better education. Made me realise that like you said - I'm paying for results.

Small and nurturing seems like our best option. Thanks to you both for confirming my instincts - I wasn't sure if my vibe about the other school was just me being overly sensitive.

bexmumb Fri 29-Oct-10 12:14:58

Aaargh! Despite thinking I had made a choice, I can't get nagging doubts re: no green outdoor space out of my head. Why am I getting into such a flap about this? Think I'm starting to drive DH potty with my indecision.

I still like West Lodge (nice feel / great results), but I'm now starting to lean back towards Farringtons, as it just feels more like the environment/rounded experience I pictured when we decided to go for an independent school. I know the results weren't as good as other schools (although I cant remember specific KS2 sats results) and as we're hoping to take advantage of being in the catchment area of local grammar schools, passing the 11+ is very important.

Sallysss - what did you decide in the end/ have you decided?

nenezina Mon 21-Mar-11 00:57:38

It's worth noting that schools that have a senior section teng not to prepare pupils fir the 11+...

nenezina Mon 21-Mar-11 00:59:07

Arggg just noticed my typos... Apologies...

hollyfolan Fri 02-May-14 17:14:28


What did you decide for your child for primary school? I know it's a couple of years on, but I am trying to make the decison now. Toying between Breaside, Merton Court, West Lodge and St Olaves....

Anyone got any comments about these schools - good or bad?


mumtosp Tue 02-Dec-14 22:02:59

Bump.... As I am in the same boat... Just cannot decide !!

ChalkyC Tue 02-Dec-14 22:18:45

mumtosp - where are you looking? We have looked at farringtons and breaside....trying to make a decision!!

mumtosp Wed 03-Dec-14 10:03:31

ChalkyC I have only looked at the various prospectus for now... DS just turned 2 and we started thinking about pre-schools and I wanted to look at what private options we have for when he turns 3.

I will be going to see Babington House this week. Didn't manage to book a viewing slit with any other Scholl as they are busy getting ready for the Christmas break... I have some lined up for Jan... Will let you know how that goes...

which one are you more inclined to?


mumtosp Wed 03-Dec-14 10:04:27

*slot and *school blush

ChalkyC Wed 03-Dec-14 11:12:23

I really like farringtons because of the space and facilities. I didn't look at babington house. Breaside was lovely but quite a cramped site. You have time on your side - there are definitely some open days in January.

bexmumb Wed 03-Dec-14 21:01:02

We went with Merton Court in the end, after feedback from other parents and a couple of return visits. DD is thriving and absolutely loves school life. Four years on and overall we are very happy with our choice.

Also, I have heard lots of very positive feedback about Breaside, from friends with DC at the school.

Visit them all more than once to get a good feel.

BunnyBump1 Wed 19-Aug-15 09:03:05

In a similar boat here, cant decide between few independent schools. Farringtons and Merton Court not ideal for us due to commute and so is Bromley High. And Bromley High is on 4+ entry. I am looking for a 3+ entry so decision has to be I guess between Babington and Breaside. Any thoughts to help me decide?

Mumofmanychores Tue 17-May-16 21:31:52

Bunnybump what did you choose in the end. Also looking at Babington and braeside

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