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Alleyn's junior school

(10 Posts)
rmr100 Tue 19-Jan-16 19:46:09

I would be most grateful for some advice from people with children at Alleyns (the drop off is close to my work and my daughters father went there for secondary school, but this was quite a while ago!).

I'm waiting to hear my daughters assessment outcome, but just in case she is lucky enough to get a place I just want to be able to make a quick decision. She has just been very fortunate and received a place for 4+ entry at WHS, but the Alleyns outcome comes after the deadline for the WHS acceptance (where the drop off is close to my home).

1. I found the girls at WHS very eloquent, confident and proud of their school-in fact a few said they 'loved' their school. This gave the impression that they were all very happy and really felt a sense of belonging. At Alleyn's the children were very polite and nice but they seemed quite shy and it was harder to gauge how happy they are? There was good feedback on the assessment day from parents, but I just wondered if there were any other people with experience there? Are the children happy? They looked a bit tired-are they overworked? The person showing us round made the fatal error of asking how many children were looking forward to their holiday (all of them) and how many were looking forward to coming back after holiday (silence, then 2 hands up!Maybe this is to be expected but it gave a bad impression!!!).

2. Also, how much do they focus on your child as an individual at Alleyns? Also what is their approach to failure, or finding things difficult. I know for eg at WHS they stress the importance of failure, and risking by trying. What is the ethos at Alleyns in this regard?

3. How have people found the new head? Positive?

4. I don't have much of a sense of the senior school, but is there much in the way of any problems with drugs, eating disorders or underage activities in general (boys!)? I know there will be potential access in any school/parties etc, but just wanted to check there was no particular problem at Alleyns particularly in the senior school?

5. Previous mumsnet posts have portrayed Alleyn's as being mainly for celebs etc, hence the associated celeb culture and pitfalls and perhaps ignoring other children-is this really true? I would imagine you can get them at any good school so perhaps this is nothing to worry about?

6. My child is mixed race, do you think this would be a potential source of bullying there given at present it is still not as diverse as WHS?

7. Has anybody been in the position of another school outcome coming after you need to accept a potential school? What did you do if you were unsure which you would choose? Obviously I could just pay the deposit for WHS and then forfeit it later (I can see the small print says you need to give a terms notice, if children start in September I presume that would be from now) or I could talk to the school?

8. Any thoughts if she is lucky enough to get into both what you might choose and why. Pros and cons. The girls at the WHS were overtly impressive, but Alleyn's really grew on me on each visit and obviously the facilities are incredible and it's co-educational (which I would prefer)?

I think one can really overthink all of this, but any thoughts are most welcome!

AveEldon Tue 19-Jan-16 19:52:44

What if you change job? How will that affect your school drop off plans?

How do you propose doing playdates if you live far away?

rmr100 Tue 19-Jan-16 20:04:27

Very good points. If I change jobs I could potentially reasonably easily get another one in the area. There is also a bus that goes from my area to Alleyns-but sadly not until my daughter is a bit older. She also has a brother who could potentially join her (and they let younger siblings on the bus if an older sibling is at the school) albeit very few places are available, so competition is high and odds low! Obviously at WHS it is girls only, but more local and convenient until I have to face where her brother goes! In terms of playdates, I suppose for work at least I'll be in the area and plan to be working mornings only, but on other days I can relatively easily drive there, but yes, obviously not as ideal!

It's hard because for the right school and continuation to secondary school it definitely seems worth the pain of difficult logistics

Seriouslyffs Tue 19-Jan-16 20:11:50

Do you live near WHS? I live near Alleyns and hear good things about it but if you're near WHS (I assume Wimbledon?) that's a long schlep for a 4yo.

AveEldon Tue 19-Jan-16 20:17:55

How long is the drive?

It's not just your pick ups you need to think about but the general effect of local friends vs non local friends

If you invite my kid for tea and you live miles away I then have to drive miles to pick up. With older kids and homework to factor in, I'd probably be declining those invites

rmr100 Tue 19-Jan-16 20:37:38

From our house, without traffic, it's a 21 min and 11 min journey to Alleyns and Wimbledon High, respectively. With traffic I would say Alleyns could take 30-40 mins. I am arranging my work around drop off and pick up for school so that I can for as many years as possible do this myself with my daughter. I could potentially drop over at other peoples houses after school drop off and weekends for playdates. I appreciate some parents may not want to come to where we live as it is too far :-). I think closer to us would be nice, but I think choosing the right school for us is paramount-hence experiences of Alleyns' to help make a decision if we have a choice-and co-educational and the potential for another child would be helpful. Given that there are buses from various places to Alleyns I would think there are other parents who live further away also.

Seriouslyffs Tue 19-Jan-16 20:46:43

The foundation buses are mainly for secondary school children- they have very few primary school children on them.
Is moving nearer an option? There are many schools in and around Dulwich...

rmr100 Tue 19-Jan-16 21:38:29

Sadly I think it's unlikely we would move.

AveEldon Wed 20-Jan-16 11:39:45

Why not make the move to Alleyns at 11 instead?

rmr100 Wed 20-Jan-16 12:43:40

I think that given how competitive getting into Alleyns is, if she was lucky enough to get a place, and if we decide against WH it makes sense to take up the place now and avoid any additional entrance exams etc and all of that stress for her! I think we are very keen to get a, pretty much, run through place till 18-of course saying that this she may well turn round later and say she wants to change for senior school anyway!

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