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Alleyn's Junior School -- help me decide

(16 Posts)
printpress Wed 06-Feb-13 22:19:18

Incognitow, maooftwo, I accepted the offer in the end! I decided that general parental happiness with the school (at least via the grapevine) and overall reputation trumped their disappointing Open Day which was hopefully more a failure of presentation than of the actual place.

So see you around Incognitow! Maooftwo, what did you decide?

maoftwo Wed 06-Feb-13 11:57:38

Hi printpress, What have you decided? My son has also got a place at allenys 4+ and he currently at Herne hill. But my view is same as yours, was not very impressed by the open day , having said that it goes till 18 where as herne hill stops after year2. I will apprecaite if you can share your views.

Incognitow Tue 05-Feb-13 21:03:19

So what have you decided?
<nosy> grin

printpress Tue 05-Feb-13 16:02:32

clothqueen, yes I definitely think you're right about the luck aspect. My DS didn't get into one less competitive school, not even onto their waiting list and that was a few months ago, so my expectations weren't high. I think especially at 4+, so much of it is down to the day.

Incognitow Sun 03-Feb-13 10:51:15

AJS are always happy to show people around again once offers have been given, so they can see if it will really suit their dc. Very common.

Dozer Sun 03-Feb-13 08:42:17

Would it be an option to book to visit again, and get shown round by a teacher?

Or are these schools so popular they don't need to do that!

Avoiding 7+ would be good, especially if you were thinking of choosing that school at thar stage anyway.

Clothqueen Sun 03-Feb-13 07:56:59

I think the competition to get into Alleyns could be as high as 10:1 at seven but do check that out as my DS does not go there. I was in correspondence with a mumsnetter whose child got into everywhere including KCJS but they chose Alleyns as both children there for school run purposes and they really liked the school. I have just been through 7+ with my son which came out well and he got into KCJS at 7+ but I can tell you that if I had the choice and someone offered me a place to a great school without this then I would have snapped it up. Everyone goes on about tutoring ect and of course alot of that happens.

You have to be confident that your child is right for that type of school, not always easy and you do need also to have a bit of luck on the day and that's something you can't control! DS did not get into some of the " easier" schools amd it was all down to the fact that he loved the KCJS exam but I have to say I got the other results through first so no way did I think he had made it. I came away thinking that ones they reach the right standard you still can't guarantee anything. Bird in hand and bush came to me and absolute relief that he had risen to the occasion on the right day !!!

printpress Sat 02-Feb-13 19:27:03

Thanks for the details on the parking situation, legalalien. It would be great not to drive, but it's not really an option. And yes, it does seem that the grapevine tends to say very different things to different people!

OK, anyone else with any comments on Alleyn's?

legalalien Fri 01-Feb-13 19:00:29

Re parking : suspect it is not difficult to park a couple of blocks away and walk ( and probably a quicker and less stressful experience). We're about 5 mins walk from allyns and there are usually spaces outside our house.

Funny that DPL is perceived as more stressful than Alleyns as Ds is there and it's definitely very low key (10-15 mins basic reading and maths per night in y3). I think the message is that we should all take anecdotal stories with a pinch of salt (me included!)

printpress Fri 01-Feb-13 10:21:58

Hi, thanks for all the responses! Incognitow, yes the big plus of the junior school IS automatic entry into the senior school. If that wasn't guaranteed, I'd definitely think harder. Hmmm...

I wish these schools would have some sort of school drop off system where you could drive up, let your child out and have them ushered in through the main door or something. I think they do that in a lot of schools in the US and it seems like it would solve a lot of problems.

BoringSchoolChoiceNick, I don't know anything about the secondary school except what I've read, so nothing direct from the horse's mouth. The gist of what I've read is that it's a good 'all-rounder' type school, strong in drama with good but not absolutely amazing results. Others would know a lot more, I think. I wasn't blown away by the junior school open day though, I have to say, which is in part why I've posted on here.

My DS has also been offered a place at Herne Hill and another local school. I actually really liked Herne Hill but the whole ending at 7 thing is not ideal and if we were still in the area, then we'd probably go for Alleyn's then anyway, so it seems a bit silly to not accept now especially as there's no guarantee he'd get in again later since I think a lot of these assessments are down to luck.

BoringSchoolChoiceNickname Fri 01-Feb-13 08:29:52

While you're here PP's, could you please give me a run down on pros and cons of the secondary school? This is a bit presumptious, because DD even hasn't had her interview yet, but I'm still not quite sure what I think about it, not blown away by the open day.

basildonbond Fri 01-Feb-13 08:22:31

We know lots of families with children at Alleyn's both senior and junior. The junior school is much less pressured than JAGS or DPL (also much smaller than both those schools for primary level). On the whole, the parents are happy. We decided against in the end when we were looking to move for Y3 partly on distance but also on size. We were also not sure that we'd want dd to go to Alleyn's for secondary.

Parking is awful and another friend who lives in the next road but doesn't have dc at Alleyn's is frequently livid about the behaviour of some of the 4x4 driving parents so if you do take up the place please be considerate to the families living nearby!

Incognitow Fri 01-Feb-13 07:34:39

I've got one child in the Junior School, and one in the Senior. My observations on the Junior School are: nice friendly teachers, and generally happy children.

Communication can be a problem though (being randomly copied into school emails about clubs your dc don't do, etc), especially with homework, which seems to be done, then never be returned or feedback given (especially with spelling tests, annoyingly). This infuriates me, as it makes a fairly meaningless exercise of some pieces if there is no formative assessment.

I do get the impression that they pick the very brightest (obviously grin), but then don't feel they need to do much (NOT a hot house, in my view!). A teacher friend in the Senior School (very handy) says the running joke there is that the Junior school intake is instantly apparent by its attitude and ability, while the 'fresh' intake from other primaries are more on the ball... Make of that what you will.

Certainly my junior dc's last three homeworks have included two design/colouring pieces, which is pretty standard. Not much intellectual rigour, but perhaps, aged 8/9, that isn't necessarily expected.

I do know they try to take in 9 boys, 9 girls at the beginning, and then add a similar ratio in Y3, so I don't think the balance of genders is ever far off 50:50.

Overall, I'm happy, especially as being in the Junior School means automatic entry to the Senior. There are rumblings that the new head of the Senior School may be going to change that, though....

See you on the EDF?

legalalien Fri 01-Feb-13 07:07:16

I know two people whose dses started there in reception 3-4 years ago. They seem happy there.

Anecdotally it has a reputation for being a bit of an academic hothouse so i wouldn't worry about academic standards. The only other useful thing i've heard is that there tends to be more girls than boys at the junior school, so that the boys have a relatively small "pool" of friends to choose from if they're classic football / wrestling types (the opposite of the norm I guess)!

You might want to try posting on for feedback. I think there have been discussions about the parking / drop off situation in the past.

Clothqueen Thu 31-Jan-13 21:57:42

I M pretty sure its an amazing school and don't worry about the parking in the scheme of things!

printpress Thu 31-Jan-13 20:50:55

My DS has just been offered a Reception place and we need to let them know by Wednesday whether we're accepting it. I know it's got a good reputation but of all the schools I saw, for some reason I found it the hardest to get much of an impression of. The girl who showed me around was very shy and it was a difficult to get much out of her and there were so many parents looking around there wasn't much opportunity to chat with the Head or any staff and I don't know anyone with DC there.

So… any comments from former/current parents about the school would be appreciated. Is your DC happy? Are they being stretched and in a good way? What are the pluses/minuses? I know it's got a reputation for being strong in the arts but how does it do on other non-core subjects like History, Geography, etc.? Also, just practically, what's parking like? I'd have to drive and don't want to spend ages circling especially as I have a younger DD.

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