Alleyn's 7+ for quirky boy

(43 Posts)
ridinghighinapril Wed 29-Jan-20 07:06:14

Another Alleyn's thread.... our son sat the 7+ for Alleyn's and Dulwich College, results will be posted at the end of this week.

DC is our preferred choice and initially we weren't impressed with the way Alleyn's managed the whole process - DC were very child-centric, all about making sure the boys enjoyed the experience, lots of snacks to keep the happy etc, whereas Alleyn's were much more clinical.
We also felt that at DC there would be a massive pool of boys from which our son would find someone he could click with. Also it is much much more ethnically diverse (we are not caucasian), not artsy/celebs, our son is not sporty.

However, we would love to hear from parents with children/boys at Alleyn's in the junior school and above about how they have found it.

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ridinghighinapril Thu 30-Jan-20 08:25:13


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TypsTrycks Thu 30-Jan-20 08:35:39

Sorry no direct experience of Alleyns. We’ve been to both Open Days (and spend a lot of time at the two schools for sports matches etc) and liked DC better. More activities/clubs/sports, vast grounds and most importantly, diversity/less snobbishness. Hopefully someone with Alleyns experience will come along to prove us wrong!

HomeMadeMadness Thu 30-Jan-20 14:43:02

My experience is a little out dated as all kids I know have left now but my impression was as yours that a geeky/quirky kid might be happier at DC than Alleyns (although they're both large enough to have a decent mix of friends to choose from). Both are quite sporty as are most indies but not all the kids will be sports stars.

Etinox Thu 30-Jan-20 14:48:25

I know both schools and both would be a good fit for you DS. Slight preference for DC but either would be a good fit.

ridinghighinapril Thu 30-Jan-20 14:52:02

Thank you all for taking the time to reply - interesting that some impressions are similar to mine.

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DarlingOscar Thu 30-Jan-20 15:51:09

have experience of both schools from 11.

DC is bigger so can offer more minority sports (rowing/fencing/cycling), clubs (beekeeping!) and trips. The school is big enough for every boy to find his niche - our ds is not sporty but has been encouraged to take part and has enjoyed representing the college. His year is very diverse - socially and racially, and they all seem to muddle along just fine. Properly inspirational teaching as the boys hit GCSE years. Amazing campus.

Alleyns - traditionally the choice for a non sporty quirky boy? V strong on all the arts. There's just a very different vibe - v middle class and luvvie? Alleyns is significantly smaller than DC from Year 9 and it feels it - it's a closer knit community. Traditionally does better than DC in league tables but suspect that's largely driven by being coed? Campus is cramped but facilities are very up to date. Sports facilities more limited.

The ethos is very different - DC feels more down to earth IMO?

Agree with the feel of the school through the admission process - DC more open and focused on the kids feeling relaxed and interested. Alleyns almost felt like we should be honoured they were considering offering us a place!!

Both kids very happy and very loyal to their schools - no bad choice?



ridinghighinapril Thu 30-Jan-20 19:18:42

Thank you DarlingOscar
- we are very much middle class by profession but not at all luvvie. And, yes, you absolutely hit the nail on the head when you described the sense that we should be honoured to be there.
However, good to know that it's still a very good option once you are admitted onto their hallowed turf!

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ridinghighinapril Thu 30-Jan-20 20:56:15

(referring to Alleyn's in the last post)

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Macaroons Fri 31-Jan-20 10:57:56

I think both are very good schools and I’d be happy with either. Have you chatted with your son to see which one he prefers?

ridinghighinapril Sat 01-Feb-20 10:02:55

He got offers for both! So it's decision time. Thank you all for your advice.

@macaroons - we asked him before just out of interest but it will have no bearing on our decision.
He is only 6 and has no concept of what these schools are like and his decision is most likely to be based on the type of snacks he had during the assessment day and which friends may be go there.

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Macaroons Sat 01-Feb-20 10:19:32

@ridinghighinapril Congrats! We are now at a similar situation with offer from both school. Can't quite decide! (As we really didn't think we'd be in this situation, we would have been so happy with we receive an offer from either school!)

ridinghighinapril Sat 01-Feb-20 10:22:05

Oh well done to your son, too, *@Macaroons*!!
Now the offers are in our hands the decision seems even harder.
What is your preference and why, if you don't mind me asking?

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Macaroons Sat 01-Feb-20 10:33:22


It's a really difficult one, as both schools are outstanding. As mentioned in your earlier post, the whole process was much better handled at Dulwich College - prospective parents evening, letter addressed to DS inviting him to assessment day etc. And looks like they understand boys and may connect with the boys better. But Alleyn's is also a great school with outstanding A-level and GCSE results.

Before the offer letters we have been leaning towards DC. We will have another chat with our son to see which one he prefers. As ultimately, he is the one going to school smile

ridinghighinapril Sat 01-Feb-20 10:46:03

Thank you @macaroons - I will let you know of our final decision when we make one!

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Macaroons Sat 01-Feb-20 10:53:52


Do you by any chance remember what's the after school club provision at either school? I only remember both schools offer a wide range of lunch time clubs covering languages / music / chess etc but I can't remember much about after school clubs... (I'm a working mum hence that's quite important for me...)

Invinoveritas20 Sat 01-Feb-20 11:49:57

@ridinghighinapril and @macaroons :

Very well done to your boys to have both offers. We are in the same situation as you both, and would love to share thoughts and insights.

Both seem like excellent schools and we are in a real predicament. I have the same questions about afterschool clubs as I am also a working mum.

Are either of you planning to visit Alleyns on Monday? They have offered another chance to view the school..

ridinghighinapril Sat 01-Feb-20 16:01:22

Well done to your DS, too @Invinoveritas20**

@Invinoveritas20** and *@Macaroons - I, too, am a working mum. Re: after school care, according to their websites:
- both run them until 6pm
- Alleyn's free until 4pm then half hourly charge until 6pm
- DC free homework club or other organised clubs until 5pm then after school care until 6pm

My impression, from various threads and speaking to others, is that DC and their pupils/parents are more down to earth and definitely more diverse socially and economically.

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ridinghighinapril Sat 01-Feb-20 16:03:01

For the juniors at Alleyn's (i.e. from Y3), the after school care starts with homework, same as DC.

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Macaroons Sat 01-Feb-20 18:35:15

@Invinoveritas20 Well done to your son too! We visited the school in October so probably won't visit again next Monday.

@ridinghighinapril Thanks for the info for the after school clubs. If both schools run the clubs till 6pm then I should be able to get back in time.

Have been discussing with hubby this afternoon, and at the moment we are leaning towards DC.

- smaller class size (15 students in each year class vs 22 at Alleyn's based on what I remember)
- more spacious campus (eg more spacious science lab)
- our son's preference
- from the speech at the Open Day, I felt the boys are encouraged to try out different things

- GCSE and A-level results are marginally better
- co-ed (which better reflects the society we live in)
- logistically easier for us to get to

It's a difficult choice, isn't it! Would love to hear your thoughts too!

ridinghighinapril Sat 01-Feb-20 20:34:59

Likewise @Macaroons - before the offers came out DC was a definite. The big sway for us is that Alleyn's would make the school run a lot easier. However, we are as sure as we can be that DS would be happy at DC but with Alleyn's we are less sure. which trumps everything.

The DC headmasters (prep and overall head) were really warm, charismatic and I felt they genuinely had the boys' interests at heart. Alleyn's felt colder. However, the main head of Alleyn's is leaving for Westminster.

I am also swayed by the single-sex schooling for our son where boys can do whichever subject or club they want without feeling it is not "boyish" enough or that it is girl-dominated e.g. at DC there was a sewing club and it is just a club and not a-club-that-girls-do.

Also like the collaboration DC have with JAGS for music and drama, esp as they go into the senior school. In my mind this is the ideal balance of core subjects in a single sex environment and non-core in a mixed environment.

Lastly, the sheer number of boys means there several teams for every sport, so even if you are not sporty you still get have a go and learn the skills of team work, camaraderie, organisation etc form being the football D team or similar.

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ridinghighinapril Sat 01-Feb-20 20:37:11

Oh and the diversity, of course (we are not caucasian).

We are planning to visit Alleyn's on Monday to check refresh our minds and maybe reinforce our decision.

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Invinoveritas20 Sat 01-Feb-20 21:04:41

Thank you @Macaroons and @ridinghighinapril for sharing your thoughts.

We are leaning more towards Alleyn’s as the co-ed factor is quite important to us and also because we believe Alleyn’s will be a better fit for our son given the opportunities for performing arts, languages, music etc. I will visit the school with ds on Monday and hopefully, that will help crystallize our thoughts.

I totally agree with how charismatic and friendly the DC heads are - I was very taken with their emphasis on a well rounded education for the boys and not just focused on academics!

Etinox Sun 02-Feb-20 08:50:49

Re the school run- any chance of taking the foundation bus in year or so?
Crossing Dulwich is awful, so it could well feel like a deciding factor at this stage. The bus system however is fantastic, they meet DC from all the foundation schools and make great friends. DC1 took the bus from year 7 and it was the making of her time there.

Etinox Sun 02-Feb-20 08:54:01

Another thought about co-ed. If your son had sisters and female cousins/ friends it’s less of an issue. DC3 had big sisters and did a mixed extra curricular so mixed didn’t feel as essential.

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