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Opinions on The Roche School, Wandsworth, London?

(29 Posts)
gastopher Wed 25-Apr-12 20:44:52

Hi,
I am wondering about The Roche for my son age 6. Does anyone have experience of this school? Opinions please! smile

gastopher Wed 25-Apr-12 21:18:27

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gastopher Thu 26-Apr-12 11:40:50

Bump!

lostboysfallin Thu 26-Apr-12 12:06:46

I've heard of it, that's all. Try posting in local-wandsworth or Merton
I've found Merton helpful for school advice

EdithWeston Thu 26-Apr-12 12:09:35

I knew one family with DC there, and they were very happy with it. But this was some years ago, and I don't know any specifics.

Mrsrobertduvall Thu 26-Apr-12 13:33:10

It has good sen provision, and seems a very caring school.

gastopher Thu 26-Apr-12 21:26:19

Strange I posted in Local Wandsworth this morning and now it's disappeared, so I've posted in there again. Thanks for your responses so far.

gastopher Fri 27-Apr-12 07:07:48

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FebreezeYourJeans Fri 27-Apr-12 09:25:42

Classrooms are tiny, real lack of outdoor space, head seemed a bit bonkers but children seemed really happy. I turned down a place there and chose Prospect House instead.

gastopher Fri 27-Apr-12 15:19:05

Oh dear doesn't sound good. Any other opinions?

gastopher Fri 27-Apr-12 19:07:18

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Marni23 Fri 27-Apr-12 20:11:19

I have DC at The Roche, so I'll give you my POV. It certainly isn't your run-of-the-mill London prep school...

The first thing I'd say is that the children come out of there confident (in a good, non-arrogant way) and caring individuals. The school teaches them to be respectful of others and to look out for each other, and I love that about it.

They have a relatively new head who has been in post for a couple of years, but Dr Roche is still principal and I suspect that is who Febreeze was referring to! He is rather eccentric but cares a lot about the education of the children. The newish headmistress is more mainstream and I think provides a good balance to him.

Space is limited but they are just finishing building works which will substantially increase the interior space. There is very little outside space, but the school is very close to Wandsworth Park and they do games lessons there.

The teachers are a bit hit and miss; the newer teachers are great (eg the current Y6 teacher is fantastic) but there are a couple of ancient teachers who have been there forever and who are clearly just marking time until retirement and trotting out the same stuff year after year.

Communication and organisation isn't great. There's an air of chaos about the place that some parents find endearing and others find infuriating. I think they're trying to tighten this up but IMO it's taking them far too long to do it.

Not sure it would be the place for a very sporty child as organisation of fixtures etc leaves a bit to be desired.

In terms of academic achievement, however, they've really upped their game in the last few years and I think this is down to the new head/newer teachers. This year's leavers list is very impressive with lots of children getting in to top schools, many with scholarships and/or bursary awards (eg to Alleyn's, Jags, Latymer etc). Apparently Roche children always interview really well, which doesn't surprise me.

I suppose in summary, it's a bit marmite. If you want a typical London prep school like eg Thomas's or Putney High, then it probably isn't for you. If you want a school that treats your child as an individual, and encourages them to be caring and compassionate, then it's worth considering.

gastopher Fri 27-Apr-12 21:52:22

Thanks Marni! My DS is currently at Hill House and complains that he's "bored". They do seem to trot out the same work, i.e. photocopied sheets for the kids to sit silently filling in, bit of a lack of imagination in my view.
I wanted a school where they give a bit more attention to the individual child and teach a little more creatively, but it sounds at Roche as if you might get unlucky and get the older teachers who are trotting out the same stuff. I guess I'd be gutted if I changed him and I got a duff teacher sad
I like the being caring of others ethos you mention though; that's what I like about Hill House too. Do they have playtime, free play? Or if they have no outside space is that limited? As HH has no outside space they don't get much free play, though they are bussed to parks a couple of times a week.
Is the teaching imaginative? Do they cater for individual children's strengths/interests? I'm not sure if I'm being too idealistic.
My child isn't sporty so that's not a prob. How are the art lessons? Is there a big mix of nationalities?

Marni23 Fri 27-Apr-12 22:30:30

They do have some outside space so they have all breaks outside (weather permitting) and there's enough space for them to run around/play football etc. It's not a terribly big playground but it's big enough for the size of the school IMO.
My DC are fairly high up the school, so I can't really comment on the teaching for the younger children-many of the teachers in the lower school have changed since my DC were in there. From what I hear from friends with younger children, standards are pretty high but I couldn't say how creative the teaching is. Higher up the school, the Y6 teacher, as I said, is great and teaches very creatively. She also teaches Y5 English. The older teachers I mentioned definitely don't and one in particular is very uninspiring. Difficult to know how long she'll be there though-she may well have retired by the time your DS gets to that year group.
The art provision is very good. They have a dedicated art teacher (who is an artist) and good art facilities. It's taken very seriously.
Not sure how far they cater for individual children's interests (but not sure if anywhere does in reality) but I do think they identify strengths and encourage/nurture them as far as possible. And I do think they really know the children as individuals (the upside of small classes/school) and treat them as such.
Wouldn't say there is a big mix of nationalities really. Some, but not loads. Probably not as much as at HH which I've always understood is pretty international.
Do ask if there's anything else you want to know-happy to try to help.

Gastopher Wed 02-May-12 13:54:11

Thank you Marni.
Do you know if they have the same teacher for all subjects in Year 2 or separate teachers for each subject?
I went to look round. They said they do lots of plays. Do the kids get to be creative in that or are they just told what to do and do it. The nursery and HH have just told my DS to "stand there and say that" and it all seemed more for the benefit of the parents than the children IFYSWIM.
I definitely don't want a typical London Prep school.
Is communication bad because the teachers don't really want the parents involved at all? Or because it's all busy, absent minded, slightly chaotic? I'd prefer the latter!
Is there much parental involvement?
Yes HH very international which I love.
In the talk Dr Roche gave he kept emphasising that they LISTEN to what the children have to say. Is this true? Because that's what I want as my son gets frustrated at HH as has to be quiet and not really contribute randomly to discussions.

Gastopher Wed 02-May-12 13:54:23

Sorry so many questions!

Gastopher Tue 08-May-12 16:15:23

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Marni23 Tue 08-May-12 19:47:51

Sorry Gastopher didn't see your subsequent posts/questions.

Not sure about specialist teachers in Y2. They will have specialists for French, Music, Art and Games but beyond that I suspect they will have their class teacher.

They do a lot of plays, usually 2 per year, which the teachers put a lot of effort into. I guess there is a certain amount of 'stand there and say that' but the children have input too and they all enjoy doing them. I really don't think the teachers see them as being for the benefit of the parents.

By and large the lack of communication is because things can be slightly chaotic, and in my experience communication between teacher/parent is good when it has to be IYSWIM. With one exception, the teachers are approachable and available for a chat at very short notice. The small class sizes mean that they really get to know each child very well.

The children are definitely encouraged to take part in discussions and their point of view is listened to. I think that's why they interview so well; they are used to giving their opinion.

HTH. Feel free to ask any more questions you may have

Gastopher Wed 09-May-12 10:56:44

Oh boy I'm gonna have to seriously consider it aren't I? The trauma of moving him versus staying at a school that isn't as nurturing...
Had to look up HTH. It certainly does.
Do you know anything about an early morning club run by Dr. Roche for "Little Professor" type boys (or girls hopefully..) to discuss Ancient History, Science etc.? The headmistress told me about it when I described my son.

Scoobyblue Wed 09-May-12 15:24:53

I would agree with absolutely everything Marni says!

Just to add a couple of things. In Year 2 the children have a specialist teacher for French, Music, Gym and Games. They are streamed for English and Maths and the different streams are taught by the year 2 teachers, so the children may be taught English and Maths by their form teacher or by another year 2 teacher depending on which set they are in. They are taught art, topic (history/geography) and ICT by their form teacher.

There are quite a few nationalities, particularly in the lower part of the school. Some children have moved back to their own countries but there are/have been children whose parents are from Russia, Columbia, Holland, France, Belgium, Japan, Spain, USA, Ukraine etc.

Don't know about a "little professor" club but i know that Dr Roche runs a Latin club for the older children so it would not surprise me.

Marni23 Wed 09-May-12 18:06:39

Yes, a 'little professor' club is exactly the sort of thing that Dr Roche would do!
For what it's worth, the population of the school is quite transient, and lots of children join in various year groups (sometimes part way through the year) so they are very used to integrating new children, and the children themselves don't seem remotely fazed by it.
Good luck with your decision!

Marni23 Wed 09-May-12 18:13:16

<<wonders who scoobyblue is>>

Gastopher Thu 10-May-12 19:25:36

Thank you! Wonders why the population's transient...though at Hill House it's totally transient due to ex pats going home etc.
I thought they had a specialist art teacher? Or is that further up the school?

Scoobyblue Thu 10-May-12 21:59:25

There is a specialist art teacher who is a local artist, but in Year 2 they are taught by their class teacher who tries to link the art lessons to their project work ( eg making Egyptian death masks or Kenyan cave paintings). Not sure when they have specialist art teacher, but I think it is year 3.

Summernow Mon 18-Nov-13 10:36:50

Dear, thank you for sharing thoses infos, its been very usefull, my DC will start next year. My last concern about the school is, why having 3 nurseries, they still have places for reception? Why parent prefer other Prep????? confused

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