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St Olaves- Heath House - Colfes - Eltham College

(34 Posts)
IndigoCat Mon 10-Aug-15 20:42:02

Hello, I'm looking for information and experiences of the above schools. I have 2 Ds 4&6and am really unhappy about their current school. I also suspected my eldest may have ASD, although he appears to be growing out of many of the behaviours that led me to think this. It has taken the school 2 years to refer and now he hashad an "initial assessment" and they are now exploring ADHD instead. I'm interested to know about general experiences of the schools, but also from SEN input/ support perspective. Ds1 is pretty good at reading and maths is ok; he is left handed, his handwriting is difficult to read and he struggles to write much down, although he is happy to talk for ages smile. All feedback re the schools would be helpful.

IndigoCat Mon 10-Aug-15 20:47:33

There has been incidents of bullying, general acceptance of poor behaviour, a new head, staff leaving in droves, poor communication and we have minimal confidence in the new management team.

lizzytee Mon 10-Aug-15 21:33:27

Indigo, I think you are local to me based on the schools you list. Please PM me if you like. I suspect you may find a better solution looking at a different state school.

IndigoCat Tue 11-Aug-15 08:17:58

Thanks Lizzy, the current school is supposed to be a really good school. Which makes us wonder what other options are there really. I know private is not the pancea for everything, there may still be bullying. However smaller classes and a mentality to foster and do your best sounds very appealing. A focus on sports. I also appreciate some people whose kids have SEN can also have poor experiences at private school.

ChalkyC Tue 11-Aug-15 08:24:32

Hi - Eltham College only takes boys from yr 3 I think so wouldn't suit. I don't have experience of the other schools (apart from anecdotally St olaves sounds lovely but is oversubscribed) - we have 2 boys of the same ages and are moving them to Farringtons this September - it ticked all our boxes and seems nurturing - I can update in 6 months time!

IndigoCat Tue 11-Aug-15 09:52:46

Thanks ChalkyC, would love to hear how you get on.

IndigoCat Tue 11-Aug-15 19:03:29

Anyone at or know of anyone at Heath House, Colfes or St Olaves?

PettsWoodParadise Tue 11-Aug-15 19:43:21

I know a fair few parents who have DCs at Farringtons and they are nurturing for the less academic. Eltham is a great school and popular and requires an entrance test so is seen as more academic but I hear they cope well with later identified dyslexicia etc but don't know any of DD's friends brothers who go there who have SEN so can't comment on that angle. Eltham is also all boys, Farringtons, co-ed so different again depending on what you are looking for. No knowledge of Colfes or others. Some parents start their children at the more nurturing schools of Farringtons and Babington and then move at Y3 when style of learning for their DC is better identified. Farringtons does have an amazing EYFS that suits all levels.

IndigoCat Tue 11-Aug-15 20:28:48

Thanks for the feedback Pettswood Paradise.

HeleneCixous Tue 11-Aug-15 20:33:25

St Olave's is excellent with children of all abilities including those with SEN. It is a lovely school. Full to the rafters but call the School Office and ask about the waiting lists for your boys' years

Nonreplicable Wed 12-Aug-15 15:35:26

Farringtons - I have a friend with two dyslexic boys there - very happy with the school. Colfes - another friend has moved both her sons out, one because of quite significant SEN, the other went to grammar. Eltham - I have observed a boy who was assumed by nosy parents to has some special needs along the lines of ADHD (although never diagnosed as far as I know) and was lagging behind academically, progress to receiving a scholarship. Not sure if that was the school's doing or he simply matured. Heath House - I have no first or second hand experience of but when I looked around my main concern was the lack of space which can not be good for active children.

IndigoCat Wed 12-Aug-15 19:43:49

Thanks Helene, I will contact St Olaves, do they have grounds at all?

IndigoCat Wed 12-Aug-15 19:50:35

Thanks Nonreplicable, I had not considered Farringtons but will have a look. Thanks for the other information also. Heath House is on a very small site, but I did like the fact they teach French, Latin and classics. Seemed to have a good anti bullying policy. Although they are quite frank about their attitude to SEN and seemed quite firm that all siblings had to attend the school.

SanityClause Wed 12-Aug-15 19:57:13

I did a long post about Eltham yesterday, and lost it somehow.

I would say from first hand experience that they are excellent for SEN, and also deal with bullying very effectively.

The facilities compared to St Olaves and Heath House are off the scale, because they often use the senior school facilities. (I know the sports facilities at Colfes are just as good, but I don't know how it compares for music, theatre or art.)

They also have access to the senior school sports coaches and music teachers, etc, which means extracurricular activities are excellent.

The classroom teachers are excellent.

You would have until early December to apply, if you wanted to, for your 6yo, and testing is in January.

iheartshoes Thu 13-Aug-15 23:17:47

Hi OP we are looking at Braeside Prep in Bromley for our DD could be worth a look? Have not got any first hand experience of it but looks a lovely caring school from the website. Don't know if anyone else has any inside knowledge on it ? (apologies for hijack!!).

PettsWoodParadise Fri 14-Aug-15 09:50:46

I had friends children go to Braeside. The major pluses are that as it has no senior school it works really hard on entrance test support for grammars and independents. Major negative depending on your view is the very wide range in abilities which works for some DCs but not all. One friend who had bright girls decided to leave after a few years as she knew she wanted to stay independent sector and her girls needed an environment that was more at the level her girls were working at and from Y3 they moved to a selective girls independent. Another friend had two boys at Braeside and one got into St Olaves, the superselective state grammar and another going to a selective independent in Croydon.

iheartshoes Fri 14-Aug-15 09:58:40

Thanks pettswood that's useful. Were your friends happy with everything on the pastoral side at Braeside?

IndigoCat Fri 14-Aug-15 11:08:29

Thanks Sanity clause, that's good to hear. And thank you heart shoes, have not considered Bromley, maybe abit far for us.

PettsWoodParadise Fri 14-Aug-15 12:39:51

Hi iheartshoes - yes pastoral was good at Braeside although it hasn't been something I've discussed in detail with them. Not that I'd choose a school based on its uniform and a major sidetrack, but I was always jealous of how smart the Braeside uniform looked compared to schools DD has been at.

ChalkyC Fri 14-Aug-15 14:00:19

I don't have any real experience of Braeside - we did look round it though for our two. It did feel friendly and I liked it apart from the really tight site it is on - portacabin classrooms in the playground etc - it just felt a bit overcrowded, and very focused on the 11plus (which could be good or bad depending on your child/point of view!). Also I'm not madly keen on Cognita, the ownership group.

iheartshoes Fri 14-Aug-15 14:56:21

Oh really Chalky? Will have to have a look round I suppose and try to get a feel for it. I don't know too much about the ownership group may look into that. I'm not too fussed about 11 plus - the main thing is somewhere DD will be happy and really enjoy school. Somewhere really nurturing is the main priority with good before and after school care. We are also considering farringtons which looks lovely and I know goes through to seniors. Don't suppose anyone has any insight on that ?

iheartshoes Fri 14-Aug-15 15:00:21

Apologies Chalky just reread thread and seen you are moving your DC to Farringtons ! Obviously you really liked the school, can I ask what about the school appealed to you?

ChalkyC Fri 14-Aug-15 20:40:54

Well we liked Farringtons a lot - lovely big site, co-ed, not too small (we're coming from a tiny village school so actually want a bigger pool of kids!), good facilities because of the senior school (eg sports hall, pool etc). The wrap around care seems good - 7.30-6.15 and holiday clubs.

It's not academically selective and it certainly does not seem to be in any way a 'hot house'. I like that - I have no idea how bright my two will turn out to be but I want them to have a lovely time at school. A new head of school started this year and a new head of juniors starts in September, so it feels like an exciting time to be joining. I have no idea whether we'll stay for seniors - I'll worry about that in a couple of years.

I did mostly really like braeside - it wasn't idea for us in many ways - location, uncertainty whether they would have a place for both my children this September etc - so yes do go and have a look - there will be loads of open days once the new term starts. There's Bromley High too. Good luck!!

iheartshoes Fri 14-Aug-15 21:49:04

Thanks Chalky. It sounds lovely from your description. Wishing your DC all the best there.

purplefairy287 Wed 19-Aug-15 19:04:40

The children at Heath House school seemed very bright and well behaved but a lot of this may be due to genes and the family environment they live in. The school buildings looked very small and cramped, with lessons going on even in the entrance hall when we arrived, due to a lack of room; the school doesn't have significant outside space of its own. The Head owns the school and there is no independent board of governors. She shows families around every day for 2 hour tours in a very "grandiose" manner and did not appear to assess our child at all, just scrutinized us. The Head stopped 1 school pupil after he had politely and appropriately said good morning to her and asked him to repeat good morning Mrs.... in a more subservient way, which seemed unnecessary to us. The school is very small with only 1 class for each school year. I think we will go to a more mainstream school that is not the monopoly of 1 person.. The previous , earlier, independent school inspection reports also had concerns re: the management and leadership of this school so worth reading these.

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