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Jags or Alleyns junior school

(33 Posts)
SWLondon2 Tue 28-Jan-20 17:05:12

We've unexpectedly been offered a place at both Jags and Alleyns junior school and don't know which to pick! We'd always assumed we would prefer a co-ed school but the facilities and clubs at Jags junior school seem better. We don't know anyone at either school so would love to hear from anyone who knows them please. Many thanks

OP’s posts: |
Summersunandflowers Tue 28-Jan-20 17:39:22

Have a daughter at both. There's a thread further down this page...
They're both great 😃

SWLondon2 Tue 28-Jan-20 19:17:57

Thanks. I've sent you a pm.

OP’s posts: |
DulwichMum1234 Tue 28-Jan-20 19:20:17

From what I hear Alleyn is by far the better school. So sought after, well done on getting one of only 18 places!

SWLondon2 Tue 28-Jan-20 21:24:02

Can I ask what you've heard about Alleyns that suggests it's by far the better school please? I love the feel of the senior school but am just not sure if there are enough facilities in the junior school, for example with regard to music tuition, drama etc especially compared to Jags junior schools.

OP’s posts: |
noworklifebalance Tue 28-Jan-20 22:24:58

Dulwichmum - that's interesting, because that's the opposite of what I have heard, particularly for the junior school where friendship have been difficult to make due to small class sizes, plus some other reasons which are more hearsay.

LondonGirl83 Tue 28-Jan-20 22:45:41

I live locally and I don't think Alleyns is perceived to be much better at all. The same 100 girls that apply to Alleyns apply to JAGs. JAGs has 35 places at 4+ and Alleyns has 9 for girls at 4+. While Alleyns is theoretically more selective JAGs outperforms Alleyns academically most years though there isn't much in it.

Which you pick comes down more to ethos I think. Alleyns' policies strike me as more nurturing-- they don't manage kids out, they have a sibling policy etc so they aren't as obsessed with league table results and it has a reputation for being less pressured- I have friends who teach music at Alleyns and JAGs. However, I know parents who swear up and down that JAPS is very nurturing despite its reputation for only suiting a very academic girl.

DulwichMum1234 Wed 29-Jan-20 07:39:37

It obviously depends on the child but Alleyns is more nurturing and focused on making children into well rounded people rather than passing exams. I have A very close friend that has one at each of the schools. She says ultimately both are excellent schools. You can’t go wrong with either so it’s more about picking which is better for your child. But if you are asking about advice on which to pick my friend says Alleyn. She said if she had to pick one over the other that’s the route she would go. Unfortunately we are not in that lucky situation to pick as we are on the waitlist ...

SWLondon2 Wed 29-Jan-20 14:56:56

DulwichMum1234 Thanks fro your response and I hope you get an offer soon. Would you be able to ask your friend why she would pick Alleyns over Jags please? Many thanks

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DulwichMum1234 Thu 30-Jan-20 13:04:59

Hi SWLondon2,

So here are observations from my friend:

Alleyn
- lots of focus on being well rounded, confident and self assured
- children are instilled with independence and leadership qualities early on
- academic but also focuses on other aspects such as presenting well, wit and social spark (her words!)
- facilities are amazing (for both junior and secondary) and equal focus on academia as sport/art/performance
- high end lunch provision and after school clubs
- very tough to get in too so PERCEIVED (she says in reality both are great!) as better by other schools/universities if want to move on (despite league tables). See as more exclusive.

JAGS
- as nurturing as Alleyn’s in practice
- equally focussed on academics but less so on all the extra curricular activities (in comparison) but still very good
- all girls can sometimes make it cliquey
- less focused on confidence/leadership qualities although excellent at instilling in girls that it’s ok to fail; important to keep trying etc
- some facilities are not ideal (ie language classes etc done in temporary outside buildings etc)

Her advice was both are great overall. And before anyone shoots me down, I am just passing on her opinions. I am sure there are lots of differing opinions on this topic, this is just one person’s view based on their child. I just hope it helps as we had a similar dilemma with north London schools for my eldest and a post on here really helped me choose the right school so I hope this helps in return!

SWLondon2 Thu 30-Jan-20 22:27:14

Thanks very much, that was really helpful.

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DiscoJanet Fri 31-Jan-20 12:57:02

My dd is at Alleyns, she had offers from both Alleyns and Jags at 7+. We initially thought we wanted Jags but went to see them both again (after we had the offers), talked to local friends with experience of both, and decided on Alleyns in the end. Mainly because we felt it less pressured - Alleyns does have high expectations, but ultimately we felt Jags had a feel that if you weren't absolutely excelling at something/everything you would be sidelined. Don't know if that's a fair assessment but it's how we felt. Eg at tour there was lots of emphasis about the high grades in music, awards won, etc.

Very very glad we chose Alleyns - dd very happy, its nurturing, rounded, and has fantastic opportunities for music, sport, drama, art etc. Gives opportunity and encouragement and support to pursue passions and talent, but also highly motivating and supportive for all-rounders or those who don't have absolutely outstanding talents in one thing. The teachers are kind, caring, while also being very motivating and ambitious for the children.

I think it depends on what kind of environment would suit your dd best. We didn't regretted our choice for a single second.

Somewherebeyondthe Fri 31-Jan-20 19:16:05

Our DD got into both also for 4+. In the end we've decided its Alleyns.

LondonGirl83 Sat 01-Feb-20 10:40:30

I think the point about how universities view Alleyns is a bit off. Just looking at the admissions information, both send a similar proportion of children to top schools.

JAP's does have more of a reputation for being a hot house though I've heard its not entirely true and is quite nurturing from friends with girls there now. Its the main thing that gives me pause about the school. I don't like that they manage girls out of the prep as it must create a feeling of added pressure to do well. Alleyns doesn't do this at any stage as they feel like they've made a commitment to the children once admitted. I really respect that ethos.

The thing that tips it towards JAPs / JAGs for me at the moment is that its much more diverse (ethnically and economically) than Alleyns. JAG's has much more racial diversity in the junior school and in the secondary school offer a higher percentage of bursaries so is pretty economically diverse too. It seems like a much more inclusive environment which matters to us.

I know people think Alleyns is less diverse than JAGs and Dulwich College because its co-ed and ethnic minorities prefer single sex. However, having looked at all the schools in the area including co-eds like Rosemead and Oakfield, they are all significantly more diverse than Alleyns for some reason. This raises questions for me.

DiscoJanet Sat 01-Feb-20 13:19:39

Yes Londongirl the lack of diversity at Alleyns is quite striking. I have no idea why that is. I can't think it would be an admissions issue at all (especially as out of all the schools we've gone through both the 7+ and 11+ processes for both my dc, the admissions process at Alleyns was the about the only one which seemed to be purely based on academic assessments - ie no interviews or parent meetings, and as far as I remember didn't even ask what the parents occupations were or if there were family connections to the school, unlike eg both Jags and Dulwich college IIRC.)

But it definitely seems less diverse than pretty much every other local school. I just can't work out why. I wonder if its reputation itself puts people from non-white non-Dulwich village-types off from applying in the first place.

DiscoJanet Sat 01-Feb-20 13:23:16

It would be interesting to see the breakdown of diversity of ethnic and economic groups of those applying to each school actually. I wonder if any school does this.

LondonGirl83 Sat 01-Feb-20 13:56:51

There is another thread on the board with a mom who has kids at both Alleyns and Dulwich College and she mentioned Alleyns has a far more ‘luvvie’ posh vibe when asked to compare the schools. She described DC as more down to earth which I think is also true for JAGS.

I think that’s probably off putting for many as no matter how much money you have now as someone who was either previously working class or non-white British that vibe will strike you as the school potentially not being for you. Money isn’t class after all.

When my husband and I went around I remember thinking Alleyns felt far posher in class terms than the other schools we’d visited. If they want to be more inclusive, it’s something they should think about as it’s actually the staff / administrators that give it that vibe imo.

ridinghighinapril Sat 01-Feb-20 14:04:52

Yes, the diversity issue is striking and one factor we are grappling with as we decide between Alleyn's and Dulwich College.

@DiscoJanet - Alleyn's do interview pupils for 7+ (I would have thought at 11+, too) but they don't interview parents.

LondonGirl83 Sat 01-Feb-20 14:11:09

Also Alleyns do interview even at 4+ where the assessment is entirely play based in a group setting with other candidates and involves no formal academic assessment.

DiscoJanet Sat 01-Feb-20 15:02:01

I don't remember my dd having an interview for the 7+! Maybe it was included in the assessment day itself then? As at Jags it was a totally separate activity from the entrance exam itself (about two weeks later, 1-1 with the head etc). Alleyns definitely didn't do that at 7! Yes i know they do at 11 though.

ridinghighinapril Sat 01-Feb-20 16:41:12

The certainly do now - my son has just been through it: written exams and, if you make the cut, then an activity morning about 10 days later, which also includes a 1:1 with a teacher (possibly the head).

Blueskiesdazzleme Sun 02-Feb-20 08:39:02

We also have offers from Jags and Alleyn’s at 7+. We have another DD in Alleyn’s senior school and have been very pleased with it so far. We are leaning towards Alleyn’s for this DD too mainly due to the same observations DulwichMum1234 has made above. We have heard from a friend whose DD has been to both schools that Jags junior school can be unnecessarily strict and that they put a lot of pressure on the girls with not very good results - 2 years ago 10 of the Jags junior girls applied to Alleyn’s at 11+ and only 2 got in. Saying that Jags senior school seems better than the juniors. Re the diversity issue I do think a lot of ethnic minority families (of which we are one) prefer single sex environments hence more at Jags/DC. My older DD does have a fairly diverse year in the senior school though with a lot of the children from different backgrounds and many benefitting from Alleyn’s fantastic bursary provision.

Summersunandflowers Sun 02-Feb-20 09:33:11

Last year, none of the girls applying for Jags from Alleyns in the 11+ got in!

ridinghighinapril Sun 02-Feb-20 09:37:19

That's interesting! I wonder whether there is some unwritten agreement between the schools. Seem unlikely but less likely than the JAGS girls not being up to the standard.

LondonGirl83 Sun 02-Feb-20 13:16:44

I read Summers post as the opposite- ie. none fo the Alleyns girls got into JAGS even though a 2 JAGs girls got into Alleyns. Its probably that those looking to leave either school aren't the strongest within their respective cohorts which might be why they are looking for a change to begin with.

Does anyone have any view on which is better at music?

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