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Ducks then Dulwich College Junior School or Dulwich Prep (DCPS)

(26 Posts)
Emsmom Tue 06-Dec-11 15:17:06

I posted a few months ago on the education forum but thought I might get a additional feedback here. In short, my son is due to start reception in September, and has been offered a place at Dulwich Prep. In addition, I have had his name down for Ducks, and he will most likely be offered a place there as well. ( But I won't know for sure yet) I have seen both and like aspects of both. At Ducks he would most likely move on to Dulwich College Junior School, and this is the one school we haven't seen.

Has anyone else faced a similar decision? Does anyone have any feedback on Dulwich College Junior school and the facilities etc in comparison to Dulwich Prep? I need to let Dulwich Prep know by Friday, so I am feeling the pressure. I also have a one year old daughter, who is down for Ducks as well. I had been leaning this way as I could drop them at the same school for a few years etc, but don't want that to be the main factor in my decision.

I am genuinely torn! I have ruled out all other schools so essentially it is one or the other. My son is sporty, sensitive, and very young for his year. Any advice or information from others who have made a similar decision is greatly appreciated.

Emsmom Wed 07-Dec-11 11:37:52


sugarfoot Wed 07-Dec-11 11:43:25

I would check with DUCKS what proportion of boys actually get places at the junior school - and what happens to those who don't.

Emsmom Wed 07-Dec-11 12:07:20

I have done that- last year 16 of 22 applicant to the junior school received a place. I think the other six went to two schools that I am rejecting the first time around, so that could be a concern.

minceorotherwise Wed 07-Dec-11 12:14:51

Duck is the 'feeder' for Dc as far as I am aware, and a larger proportion go there from Ducks. It would be good for you to have them at the same school for this first stage for lots of reasons, but agree it shouldn't be your main concern. I think Ducks is quite nurturing, so good if he is a sensitive boy - and mixed - so another thing to consider. My friends DC goes to Dulwich College and they love it - he's especially sporty too, and I think they have quite a sports focus

wahwah1270 Wed 07-Dec-11 18:23:56

Which are the schools you ate rejecting? Alleyns?

Emsmom Wed 07-Dec-11 20:31:35

The ones I am "rejecting" are Rosemead and Oakfield. I don't mean rejecting an offer, just that after looking at the schools I didn't feel they would suit my son. I felt that the facilities were lacking. I am sure they are both good schools however. As far as Alleyns, we have applied there. However after visiting the Junior School I thought the classrooms were very tiny, specifically the reception space and the outdoor space wasn't fantastic either. So it really was our third choice fOr now. The situation with Ducks is that my son is on the waiting list and they cannot commit to an offer right now. So of we pass on the offer from Prep it could be our only offer. I really wish I had gone to see the junior school of Dulwich college to get an idea of where he might potentially move to after Ducks, assuming he got in.

MarshaBrady Wed 07-Dec-11 20:34:36

I loved Dulwich College Junior School and have seen all the ones you mention.

Boys only obviously, but I don't mind that.

They did say that Ducks wasn't that much of an advantage and they had to pass the test as others do, but looking at those numbers below it seems a good pass rate.

Can they not let you have a quick look to help you make your decision?

minceorotherwise Wed 07-Dec-11 20:43:17

I wouldn't worry too much about not having a place or options. By January, when Alleyns and other school offer their places, there is a big shift again and more places become available again. Ie if you didn't get an offer at Ducks, you might get an offer in January as more places become available

Emsmom Wed 07-Dec-11 21:07:41

I have been thinking that with Ducks.I have spoken with them and they said that many more places will become available, but that they couldn't advise me to turn down another offer just in case. Dulwich Prep has offered us a place now and that is what the issue is. I have contacted DC Junior School and may be able to get in on Friday for a quick tour. I hope that will help, although I know that there is no guarantee my son would get in after Ducks. But if he did go to Ducks that would be where he would be applying. I guess I am just wondering what has made some families choose Prep over DC junior school or DC Junior over Prep? Is there a major difference in ethos environment etc that I seem to be missing?

MarshaBrady Wed 07-Dec-11 21:10:49

I think people choose the prep from a younger age. So they go at nursery or reception. I haven't heard much about Ducks at all, but good things about Dulwich Prep.

Then it's still easy to switch to Dulwich College. But I bet there isn't much in it.

Do you pass an assessment to get into Ducks? Maybe that is it, people like doing an assessment and getting a place at DP.

minceorotherwise Wed 07-Dec-11 21:14:54

It's the same with the Prep, someone I know turned down a place this time last year, they called her back in jan to say there was still a place available if they wanted it

minceorotherwise Wed 07-Dec-11 21:23:01

Prep goes to 13 and then feeds boarding schools and Westminster type places and I think DC goes through to 18? Go and have a look around, see how you feel. Always best way to choose in my opinion.

Emsmom Wed 07-Dec-11 21:50:44

Thanks for the feedback. Marsha Brady I think you might be right in that people feel they are getting into somewhere exclusive because their son passed the assessment. I don't even know how many students were offered places out of the total number who were assessed. It could be everyone! With Ducks it is non selective and I have had my son on the list since he was an infant. I also think there probably isn't much in it between the two, but I feel all this pressure to make the right decision! It's so hard to know where my son will thrive as he is not even 3 and a half.

MarshaBrady Wed 07-Dec-11 22:01:17

I know it's really hard. It's easier as they get older because you know more about them (we're doing 7+ now).

If you can see DC Junior School on Friday that would be great. Either way, I bet each child ends up in the place that is good for them. So by 7+ and above you'll know if he is really academic, sporty, musical or all these things.

I'm also willing to bet he would thrive in either place.

Emsmom Thu 08-Dec-11 07:25:37

I have been thinking I should take the Prep place, and then if I was somehow unhappy I could apply to the DC Junior School for 7 and see how my son does. Also, because of my dsughter's birthdate, they are three years apart in school so would only be at Ducks for one year together if she took up a nursery place. I think I have this weird feeling because we saw Ducks over three years ago, and this whole time it was our first choice. I had never considered other schools until recently. I will still try and go see DC Junior school tomorrow if I can and then make a decision. Thanks to everyone with advice.

MarshaBrady Thu 08-Dec-11 11:21:32

Good decision. I saw the Prep School today and loved it too.

minceorotherwise Thu 08-Dec-11 16:01:22

If you see the DC junior school tomorrow, ask them where they would recommend. That usually gives a good indication. Good luck !

Emsmom Thu 08-Dec-11 20:48:45

Marsha Brady, since you have seen both schools, what would you say about the facilities at each? At prep I thought that the classrooms for the year three and four boys, in the old section of the school were quite small and dark. But the rest of the facilities and the younger boys areas we great. My son and daughter have both come down with high fevers tonight and I am afraid if they don't improve I won't be able to go to dc junior school tomorrow. I don't have any childcare for Fridays and was going to have to take them with me. What would you say the main defferences were if you don't mind me asking?

MarshaBrady Thu 08-Dec-11 21:21:30

Hi Emsmom. The facilities at the junior school were good. I'm trying to remember. The nicest thing were the boys and the way they had to address the parents. Interested, polite and nice. There was a good science lab, art room and music room. The Headmistress was really lovely, professional and explicit about why you should or should not choose the school. So talked about the advantages of an all boys' school and the fact they are not a prep school.

I am in the same situation as you unfortunately for the prep because ds2 had a fever on Wed and I didn't have childcare today so left after the Headmaster's talk and a quick chat with some boys from Year 8. My friend did the tour and said it was good, but I can't really compare the facilities. They did say we could go back (which is fine as our deadline isn't until next Feb). The big difference is possibly the prep thing. There is a big emphasis on the exit exams with DP and where the boys go next.

What do you think about comparing Ducks with the prep? As you could move to DC at 7+ in any case, so you don't have to rule out DC even if you go with the prep. What is Ducks like?

Emsmom Thu 08-Dec-11 22:37:42

The thing is, I saw Ducks three years ago. So now I forget what it was like inside. I remember it being new and spacious but can't remember what other facilities it had. I know I could move my son at 7, although I am sure prep won't be preparing the boys as they don't need to. I could always do it myself or get a tutor if needed. I do remember Ducks seemed very nurturing and a happy environment for the students. That is what i really liked. My husband loves dcollege- the way it looks, all the playing fields etc. My son is already very sporty and I am sure all of the facilities in that regard would really suit him. However my son is also very shy, cried at the prep assessment as he won't separate from us, and doesn't like new situations. I know he will mature by age 7, but I do fear how he will do on an assessment like the 7+. If he was already in prep and didn't do well at least he could stay whe he was, assuming we liked it there. And the situation with my daughter is still factoring in. Ultimately though I think we are going to have to take the prep place, as there is always a chance we would not get ducks and I would really be upset if he got nothing. We are in sort of a black hole with state primaries and I do not like our closest one at all. Are you just deciding between dc junior and prep for your son? Or are you looking elsewhere as well?

MarshaBrady Thu 08-Dec-11 22:59:09

I've seen nearly all of them, but not going for St Dunstan's or Newton Prep as too far. We've narrowed it to DC, DP and Rosemead. I just hope he gets into one of them!

I found DC and DP the nicest in terms of happy, friendly, enthusiastic children. Actually they were all good.

Emsmom Fri 09-Dec-11 10:12:43

Good luck to your son on his applications. I will be accepting the prep place today. Children still sick so no way to view dc junior school with them in this condition.

dcordp Mon 27-May-13 13:32:35

Hi Emsmom. I am thinking to send my son to either DUCKS or Dp. how is your experience so far with DP?

DevotedMumOf2 Wed 14-Jan-15 23:18:39

Hi there
Emsmom... What has your experience been at the prep? I think I'm about to be in a similar position...can i ask for your advice please?

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