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Herne Hill / Dulwich Village - Judith Kerr / Dulwich Village Infants / Dulwich Hamlets Junior

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scarlettbanks31 Thu 15-Dec-16 14:22:15

Hi all - I was hoping for some local advice please!

We are just about to move to Herne Hill with DS (4) and DD (2), after living in Shepherds Bush for 5 enjoyable years. DS will start primary school in Sept 2017, and so we are applying for primary school places in the current window - yikes! We actually have a few different houses/flats we could move to (renting for now, while we try to sell the Shepherds Bush place), and part of the consideration is which primary school we should go for. I've done lots of research online - but don't know anyone in the area yet - so would really appreciate some local knowledge! Our thoughts are below, but any ideas would be most welcome

- We are moving to Herne Hill for work reasons, and because we think we'd really enjoy the community spirit, and felt very at home there when walking around. Loved the local parks, independent shops, and being near Brixton.

- From looking online, seems that the best local primary schools are Judith Kerr, Dulwich Village Church of England Infants’ School, Dulwich Hamlet Junior School. Charter School looks very good for secondary.

- We really prefer state schools for primary and secondary school, if at all possible. We aren't religious, and would probably prefer a non-religious school, although aren't too bothered as long as all are welcome regardless of background.

- Judith Kerr is our first choice so far. Looks like a welcoming place. I speak fluent German (German grandmother), although haven't spoken much German to our kids yet. If anyone could update me, that would be much appreciated. Are kids happy there? Good teachers? Is it true that they dropped the German curriculum, or is this going again? There are talks about funding problems (causing them to drop German curriculum) - is this still a problem? Is class size still 25, or up to 30 now? And what's the likely outcome of that legal battle about the school grounds being taken over by a home for the elderly? Would this have a big negative impact, or would there still be some nice playground leftover? Also, is it true that there still aren't really any after school clubs? (football, art, etc). Sorry for all the questions! Oh, and how close do you need to live (roughly) to get in? (this doesn't seem to be published online).

- Dulwich Village Church of England Infants’ School. Looks very nice, and more established that Judith Kerr, so perhaps less risky. Has 45 CofE places (we wouldn't qualify) and 45 other places. Are kids happy there? Good teachers? Nice play area? For the non-CofE children, do they still take part in the religious education? And if so, are parents generally happy with this? I'm all for learning about world religions, but might not feel comfortable if the learning was overzealous and directed too much towards christianity. Also, any idea how close we'd have to live? (this doesn't seem to be published online).

- Then, if went for the CofE school, I guess you'd hope to get a place in Dulwich Hamlet Junior School for year 3 (I know it isn't guaranteed). Again, looks like a lovely school. Happy kids? Good teachers there? And there isn't the same religious teaching as per the Infants School, is there? They publish previous years' figures, and it looks like being 800m away is close enough. Do many kids go there from places other than Dulwich Village CofE Infants School? E.g. if our DS went to Judith Kerr, or somewhere completely different, but didn't get on with it, could he transfer to Dulwich Hamlet Junior School in Year 3? I wouldn't anticipate this happening, since I'm sure he'll enjoy wherever he goes, and wouldn't want to change his environment unnecessarily.

Sorry for long post! I'm probably overthinking things, but it seems like a big decision (and we do kind of have to make the decision which we prefer now, since we're about to move home and can choose a few different places). Any little snippets of information would be much appreciated, from anyone with local knowledge, or whose kids have gone to any of the above schools!

Thanks very much!

Scarlett

ridinghighinapril Thu 15-Dec-16 20:37:51

Sorry, I have no personal experience of either school.
DVI finishes in year 2 (I think) then it is a separate application for Dulwich Hamlets Juniors, which is further up the road, heading away from Herne Hill area. As this is done by catchment area there is no guarantee your child will get a place there. I suspect there is a reasonable % that leave DVI for the independent sector (I have nothing to back this other than hearsay), which could make it easier to get a place at D.Hamlet.

Try posting your query in the family discussion section of the East Dulwich Forum for a more informed opinion!

Good luck!

RicStar Thu 15-Dec-16 20:56:02

Hi - you should also consider rosendale school - may be? Much better reputation than Judith Kerr - though I know happy children at all three schools (dulwich village , Judith Kerr and Rosendale).

user1475317873 Fri 16-Dec-16 14:06:07

DVIS is a great school: excellent manager and teachers, good teaching techniques, very good in terms of communications, good community. School takes on board parent opinions, good sen support, any issues or concerns with your child are quickly resolved, lovely school with good facilities, very supportive. This really is a great school. Unfortunately it only goes until year 2. As a Church of England School they follow the Christian values and are linked to the church; If this bother you, perhaps a religious school may not be the right school for you or your child. You need to be within 500 to 600 meters to get a non religious / non sibling place.

DHJS is a good school: good music and sport provision and in general very good teachers; however there is room for improvement in terms of communications and in terms, taking parents opinions/concerns on board and in general working with parents. They don't have a dedicated sport leader but instead there are teachers who take some of these responsibilities; however they also have many other responsibilities which make it a bit difficult to manage imo as there is quite a lot of going on; same thing for music. Perhaps having a person dedicated only to these activities is too much to ask to a state school with limited resources. Art is not as well promotted as music. I think you need to be within 800 meters to get a place, but it changes year on year.

Judith Kerr; I liked the Head Teacher when I visited recently; I think it is a good school and parents really support it and want to make it better. I hope they resolve the issue with the land with the Dulwich States as I think it is a school with a lot of potential; the outdoor space is very limited at the moment. If you are German/have some German background and want your child to learn the language then this is a very good option for you and your child.

I heard Rosendale is a good school.

user1475317873 Fri 16-Dec-16 14:12:34

By the way Judith Kerr classes are still around 25; they do have after school clubs but wrap around care only goes to 5pm if I remember well

scarlettbanks31 Mon 19-Dec-16 15:17:49

Hi user1475317873, ridinghighinapril , and RicStar
Thank you so much for your comments. That's really helpful. I've posted on EastDulwichForum too now. Much appreciated! I have also recently heard that Bessemer Grange is a lovely primary school, and we're thinking of that one too.

Heathen4Hire Mon 19-Dec-16 15:27:14

Bloody difficult to get into either Hamlet schools. We live the wrong side of a tiny catchment. I don't know Judith Kerr. My DD goes to a school in SE22 now.

Herne Hill and Dulwich have had a German community since at least the Second World War. You will find tons of friends and things to do there. There is a German kindergarten in Red Post Hill.

Stingrayspike Tue 20-Dec-16 10:17:14

Hi Scarlett, I would agree with users assessment of DVIS and Hamlet. The infants is a lovely school but very very Christian and the Hamlet nice but some communication issues. Both get a super middle class intake which I guess is reflected in results. Quite a few kids leave to go private along the way which can have a bit of an impact on the others. I too have heard happy reports from Bessemer but not sure how far into Herne Hill the catchment extends. If you're thinking of charter for secondary you' ll need to be that side of Herne Hill not the Brixton side.

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