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(35 Posts)
ozhodge Sat 15-Jan-11 12:42:59

Oh what a week. The kids (Nursery & Year 2) were put through their paces this week at assessments and meetings with the schools. Was certainly more than was expected at some of them (naively i guess). The good news is that we got made offers. Now comes the part about choosing from them. I would really appreciate people's thoughts on St Dunstans vs Dulwich College Prep for Year 2 boy and St Dunstans vs Blackheath High vs Sydenham High for Nursery girl. I've searched on here and found a few older threads on each individually.
Obviously location is now an issue (Blackheath vs others) but we are still hoping to live in Greenwich/Blackheath. Any help would be great appreciated.

icancancan Sat 15-Jan-11 17:59:11

Hi Ozhodge - congratulations - that must be a relief. Sorry cant help with those schools but post a new thread with the school names in the title and you should get more responses.

falsemessageoflethargy Sat 15-Jan-11 18:03:26

Do you want your dc to go to the same school for starters? What will the drop offs/pick ups be like if they go to different ones bearing in mine year 2 clubs etc. Or will your dd only be doing a couple of hours a day anyway?

If Dulwich are you committed all the way through or do you have somewhere else in mind for secondary - seems miles away but is important.

Do you need after school provision? Are you keen on lots of clubs/music/drama etc or do you want a more academic school with nothing else?

ozhodge Sun 16-Jan-11 00:35:54

Same school isn't a huge deal as they are both fairly independant. We did discuss the drop off's as Year 2 clubs (and especially Year 3) will factor in. Having said that, we could then go to a coffee shop and do homework whilst waiting for ds to finish.
We aren't committed all the way with Dulwich but it is obviously an attractive option continuing through Dulwich College. We are keen on a variety of areas inclusive of academic, drama, sports etc.

CrosswordAddict Sun 16-Jan-11 09:32:12

Ozhodge
Congrats on success! Enjoy the glow!
Don't know the schools concerned but have DCs in Year 8 independent so "Been there Done that" iykwim.
Just want to say quickly that a change of school after a few years is no bad thing. Some children I know stay at one school from 4-18 and then find change rather difficult.

ozhodge Sun 16-Jan-11 12:54:18

Thanks CrosswordAddict. We were very pleased that the kids did so well. Now we need to make that "right" decision to start with. What we are worried about is say we go with 2 and then want to change (say for Sept 1st) will they look down on the fact we said no initially. My gut says yes, of course they would. That is what is worrying us the most, hence the request for as much feedback on the schools we can.

legalalien Thu 20-Jan-11 15:42:52

Hi ozhodge. I can sing the praises of DCPS as our DS is in Year 1 there at present and loving it. I don't really know about the other schools. Are you set on Sydenham High? It's a good school, but ime probably more people with sons at DCPS have daughters at Herne Hill, JAPS, Oakfield or Rosemead - I say that only because your chances of finding someone with similarly aged children, with whom you can share the pain of drop offs and pick ups, are probably higher... .

will try and PM you. haven't been on this board for ages and don't think you can PM me as haven't paid the subscription...

ozhodge Sat 22-Jan-11 08:27:55

Thanks legalalien. The whole choice thing has been quite stressful even though it probably shouldn't be. I guess for us we are also moving from overseas so trying to work out where to live. We want to live in Greenwich so given the schools we got into aren't near there (DD has one option thats close) it made the decision hard.
We are looking to send them to St Dunstans as its the closest to Greenwich for both of them and we did really like the school but am struggling to give up DCPS given its results, prestige, feedback (as yourself have said too). I guess it is a nice position to be in to have a selection but its also hard to try and make the right decision.

onimolap Sat 22-Jan-11 08:50:26

Do you mean DCPS, or the prep bit of Dulwich College.

I don't know DCPS, but despite the positive comments here, I've noticed several families from there arriving at other prep schools in the ares - not just 7+, but atypical moves at 9+ as well.

I've yet to meet a parent with children at Dulwich College who didn't love it.

onimolap Sat 22-Jan-11 08:54:36

BTW, the boys I've met from St Dunstans have turned out well. There's a well trodden path from there to Dulwich at 11+.

Do not underestimate how much you could come to resent an awkward commute.

ozhodge Sat 22-Jan-11 10:29:02

onimolap, Dulwich College Prep School is what I was referring. Thanks for the comment on St Dunstans. We have flipped between DCPS and St Dunstans almost daily...

smischa Sat 22-Jan-11 15:50:45

My nephew has just started DCPS this term in year 2 and absolutely loves it. It appears to be one of those schools where there can be a niche for all types of boy which can only be a good thing. Good luck whatever you choose.

fapl Sat 22-Jan-11 21:33:29

I have heard really good things about the primary section of Blackheath Girls. The commute around the south circular to Dulwich could be pretty hellish from Greenwich at peak hour. If you are leaning towards Dulwich maybe do practise run of the drop off and pick up. Otherwise how set are you on Greenwich as a place to live and what are work commutesand other commitments? Could you live in an area like Brockley, Forest Hill or even head as far across as East Dulwich?

ozhodge Sun 23-Jan-11 09:09:58

Thanks both. I think we aren't able to go wrong with the different schools based on the feedback so it now comes down to convenience. We are looking to go St Dunstan's as it means one drop off and closer to Greenwich. If we had found a nice lace in Dulwich village then we would do DCPS and Sydenham but we get such a nice feel for Greenwich its hard to change that thought. I have been looking at Forest Hill but many have said that whilst it is developing, there isn't really alot of shops, parks etc for the kids. I guess it's the whole village feel and given we will be new to London and UK we are thinking, go with what we know for the first year.

fapl Sun 23-Jan-11 12:20:50

Greenwich is lovely but does get packed out with tourists on the weekends, Blackheath is a little calmer so somehwere easily walkable between the two you would get the best of both. I can imagine the number of people in Greenwich on a weekend could get on your nerves. I do love Greenwich midweek though. When did you look at Greenwich and for how long? Blackheath is also a tiny bit closer to Catford for StDs.

The hub of family life in Forest Hill is the Horniman Museum and Gardens with a free aquarium it is a great place (also can get very busy as so many families in the area), FH is a bit of the poor mans East Dulwich with people that can't afford ED moving into FH.

ozhodge Mon 24-Jan-11 14:16:38

legalalien, will send you an email shortly.
fapl, we did go to Greenwich during the week and then weekend and absolutely saw the difference. We really loved the park though and with 2 bug dogs would be perfect. Agree blackheath village is really nice and suits. Its harder for my husband to get to Canary Wharf even though it seems so close.
Does anyone have any feedback on St Dunstans? Have had some good feedback on DCPS but given we are really leaning towards St Dunstan's, wanted to know if there are any concerns we should have.....

Lucifera Mon 24-Jan-11 16:03:39

all I can say is my two nieces went there for almost all their school years (both started at state primaries) and loved it, they really had a good time, and did very well academically too!

Lucifera Mon 24-Jan-11 16:04:05

sorry, I mean they went to St Dunstan's

fapl Mon 24-Jan-11 19:23:13

Greenwich Park is fab and big enough for tourists and locals alike even on weekends, not surprised you like it wink

How will your husband get to Canary Wharf? Walking/running/cycling Greenwich definitely makes sense, if he plans to catch the DLR the services can get really busy and he might actually be better getting on at Lewisham as it is the start of the line, so roads heading down from the Heath around the Hare and Billet pub towards Lewisham could be a good place to be located eg. Eliot Hill, Granville Park amoungst others.

Also, if it were me personally I would find the trip twice a day from Greenwich to Catford For St Dunstans (and worse still for Dulwich) and back quite grim, if you take the main roads through Lewisham and Catford it is plain nasty, you could maybe find a better route through backstreets via Ladywell and maybe down Bexhill Road under the railway, but still not great and the traffic on Greenwich South Street down onto Lewisham road can stand still at busy times. With such little ones I couldn't put myself or them through it. Terrible quality of life.

If you are set on St Dunstans/Dulwich the Brockley conservation area near Hilly Fields is an area worth considering to live, your husband could easily get to the DLR in Lewisham and it would be a very easy drive to StDs. Hilly Fields would be great for the dogs.

If you are more set on Greenwich as an area to live than the particluar schools, I am going to throw the cat amoungst the pigeons here and ask if you have considered Colfe School? It does not have the fancy buildings and is not selective so does not have the prestige of some of the other schools you have applied to but does a good solid reputation locally. If you live in Greenwich/Blackheath the most prestigous local primary I think is probably Blackheath Prep, but it is selctive so you may have missed the boat for that. There is also Heath House.

Also, where are you moving from and have you lived in London before?

ozhodge Mon 24-Jan-11 23:52:05

fapl, thanks so much for the great information. My husband will get the DLR to work so will consider your tips above. I hadn't considered the places you mentioned, especially Hilly Fields so will look into properties there as well.
We checked every school, even Colfes and they were full and long waiting lists. Unfortunately we have a daughter going into reception so worst timing to join up and son into Year 2. As such we essentially contacted about 15 schools (pretty much every private one) and met with 6 of them. Unfortunately Blackheath Prep was the only one we didn't get into otherwise it would be Blackheath Prep and Blackheath High and life would be easy....
We are new to London. Australians but lived in Singapore for the past 7 years.

ozhodge Fri 04-Feb-11 08:44:32

So we accepted St Dunstan's College. We just thought Dulwich College Prep/Sydenham High was just too far to travel from Greenwich every day. Today we get a note from Blackheath Nursery Prep asking if we have accepted anywhere as they wanted to know if our son should be considered with the other kids being reviewed for entry.

So now we have the issue of if DS gets into BNP, then we can accept BHS and have everything at Blackheath/Greenwich. But we don't know as yet and i need to pay the 500 registration fee to St Dunstans.

LouiseCP Fri 11-Feb-11 11:50:17

Does anyone have any thoughts about the differences between DCPS and Dulwich College in terms of approach and ethos (for a boy going in at year 3)? I have heard that DCPS is more academic in its approach, but thoughts would be appreciated

onimolap Fri 11-Feb-11 12:08:02

One family I know left DCPS because they did not like the style of teaching (lots of (fairly repetitive) worksheets); they had the feeling they were teaching to get the test results, and found it fairly uninspiring.

I don't know the junior part of DC, but every single family I know with children in the College (11+ upwards) is thoroughly positive about it.

westerngirl Sun 13-Feb-11 10:58:22

onimolap,
dcps is still a fairly all round school though isn't it. Music, art and sports as well as academic. Even if they do a lot of worksheets, they'll sure know language and numbers.

Are you saying there is somewhat of an exodus from it? If so, where are they going and why?

hatsybatsy Sun 13-Feb-11 12:05:34

oz - so your ds is going into yr 2 or 3 in september? there will definitely be places at blackheath prep - phone the school and get some clarification?

catford is an awful journey from greenwich or blackheath every morning?

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