Which school - Warlingham Park, Royal Russell or Caterham?(27 Posts)
I have just started thinking about schools for DD, who will be 2 in November.
We live in South Croydon/Farleigh, so can get to Warlingham Park in about ten minutes, Royal Russell in about twenty minutes, or Caterham within about half an hour.
I quite like the look of Warlingham (and it's the closest), but it only goes up to 11. Is that a big problem? DH and I both changed schools at 11 and it didn't seem much of a problem to us, but is it easier on a child to stay at the same school right through to 18?
I don't know much about Royal Russell, but again it's quite close and the school did well in last year's GCSEs.
Caterham is the furthest away, but has the best academic reputation of the three. It seems to me to be the school everyone wants their child to get into.
They all have a nursery/kindergarten, so she could go the year after next - I'd want limited hours or days at first though I think.
Does anyone have any first-hand experience of these schools? We will obviously visit each of them during the early part of next year when they have their open days, but I like to be prepared with these things and find out as much info as I can at first.
Also - are there any schools I am missing? (Co-educational only).
PS I've namechanged as SIL is on here and is anti private education - can do without the argument for the moment
I would n't worry too much yet about continuity up to 18 - many kids move between these, and other, schools at 11 or 13. You can't anticipate now what may suit her for secondary or if the curriculum has changed by then.
Changing at 11 isn't a big deal. Co-ed is going t limit your choices immensely though.
I was under the impression that Royal Russell was the least well thought of of the local private schools though.
Rather than private all the way, my children are (will be) in state primary and then tutored for a year as necessary before going to Trinity/Whitgift/Old Palace for Y7.
I have a friend with children at Caterham. She's reasonably happy with the lower school but not a huge fan of the upper school. Some people seem v turned off by new head of upper school. My friend thinks she'll move her children to a different senior school.
Thanks all - any more views? Anyone know anything about Warlingham Park?
That's interesting about Caterham too sykes. I checked the rankings I could find (GCSEs) and it came the highest up of schools near here, but if the head is not going down well with current parents, then its popularity may decrease over time.
I thought dd would get a better "rounding" if she was at school with boys too, but I may be biased because I went to a co-ed school. What are the arguments for and against co-ed?
For co-ed you could also consider the Lodge School, Lalelam Lea and Oakwood - but the last two are Catholic and Lalelam Lea has also had financial problems! Lodge goes up to 18 (juniors are co-ed, 11-18 is girls only). The other two go up to 11.
I do think you are constraining your options too much by specifying co-ed only. I think you should look at Old Palace and Croydon High as well just to see what else in available.
I've visited Old Palace, Croydon and Royal Russell to help me decide. Croydon High best academically, and Old Palace lovely too - although going through change with the Croham Hurst merger. I chose Royal Russell as it 'felt' right for my DD, has amazing facilities and is nearest. RR also focus on the child rather than results IYSWIM. Also the pupils that showed us round on the open day were confident and happy. I'd suggest you visit them all (not just on open day) and you will get a gut feel for what works for your DC.
Just to confuse you even more, you could also consider St. David's in Purley and Oakhyrst Grange in Caterham!!
hi there, my ds has recently started at Oakhyrst Grange as we were unable to get him into a state primary. I am also fairly anti private schooling but I have to say I am coming round. So far it seems like a very good school to me and I am struggling to find fault.
So Lady Muck if race is not the issue what is the relevance of the high proportion of Asian parents at single-sex schools when making a decision?
I didn't say that race was not an issue, I suggested that I may get stoned for saying that it was.
Thanks for clarifying. Can I ask why it is an issue - not stoning just interested.
To be honest I'm not sure that I could explain why the trend occurs, just that it does in these schools. It might just be coincidence, but I doubt it.
Caterham seems to be less than sympathetic to children who are not highfliers, from my friends' experiences. They were told to get tutors when they were struggling. The teaching of reading seemed rather haphazard as well. My son had an excellent start at Oakhyrst Grange. Excellent school with lovely family atmosphere and traditional methods in teaching reading and writing. My daughter is at Croydon High and loves it. She has had fantastic opportunities such as being able to learn a stringed instrument free of charge. They have a scheme which allows every Year 3 girl to learn the cello or violin and now double bass free of charge for a year.
Every Year 3 child at Gresham gets to learn violin or cello free for a year too - it's not just the fee-paying schools that provide these opportunities...
We have viewed all local schools and have reached similar views. Royal Russell nice grounds but not academic or focused enough on results expensive in light of this. Caterham school excellent facilities and teaching until they start streaming which appears to take place at 7 yrs! It was also mention in their inspection report as being too early and we advised to change but I don't think they have. What bothered us was if your English is high but the child's ability in maths was lower they down graded them to a lower set in English but gave them extra work of a higher standard in the lower English set so that didn't suffer. Maths appears to be the over riding focus. Also no account of how this effects a child's self esteem appeared to be considered which we thought was a worry. Music , arts and sports facilities were excellent but not a wide range of sports for girls esp thought that might have moved on since my days at school bit disappointed there only Croydon High excels at female sports and takes them regularly to a national level. Warlingham park was a very nice school great out door space relaxed but still results focused without being too driven but they appear to achieve entrance to good senior schools both top state and private. Oakhyrst grange looks good relaxed and affordable Lingfeild Notra dame good school too worth looking at and no longer has an exam for entrance to its senior school for current primary school children only those applying from outside of the primary school it has excellent GCSE results better then Caterham and more relaxed didn't appear too sports focused but music good. Probably best to pick the school your child fits best and work from there we liked warlingham park as they have very small classes between 5-10 which we feel will suit or little girl but no ruling out oakhyst or Lingfeild either. Also as a by the by Caterham will not progress children to their secondary school who they feel won't make the grade so you might end up paying a lot of money to not end up getting them into the upper school anyway just a point to consider.
If you are interested in OGS you need to resister her very soon. My child has recently started and I really did have to put his name down before he was born (!) as all years have waiting lists as it is increasingly popular and only 1 form entry.
Are you sure lingfield had better gcse results than Caterham?
We have been at Warlingham Park School for the last 6 years. I couldn't rate the school high enough. My oldest son was very shy and they have brought him out of his shell. He is now so confident. My daughter has always been confident, and they have encouraged her personality.
With my son they asked him to read in front of assembly, gave him a main part in the nativity play, all to give him confidence as they knew he would do it well. My daughter was asked to read at chuch when she was 5 which she loved.
The music/drama teacher is amazing, she quite simply can get anyone to sing and perform, she is so relaxed and has total confidence in all her pupils and they know this and all love working with her.
The junior choir recently went to the O2 as part of young voices choir, there were 7000 children from different schools and WPS had front row seats, my son said it was the best night of his life!
I feel both my children have been stretched but not out of their comfort zone, they have some great teachers who really develop a love of learning. They all individually read with an adult for 20 mins a day.
The school has a lovely family approach with the older children looking after the younger ones, and all the children know and love to play with each other and look after each other.
The school field is massive and a big selling point for me as I wanted my children to be able to play outside. They hold the annual cross country running competition, where many schools compete at. They also have football, netball and cricket teams.
The classes are small, so the children get individual attention, this also means that my son has got into all the sports teams. My daughter who loves performing will also be able to get a good part in the plays. Each class performs a play every year, and as the school is small nobody can hide, but where as I hated to take part at my school all the children at wps are so keen to take part.
They have a new computer suite and recently won an award for this.
My only problem is now finding a secondary school which I like as much as this lovely school.
This looks like a very old thread which keeps being revived.
There are several very small private schools in the area, including Warlingham Park, which has seen numbers fall in recent times.....so much so that I think the top 2 classes are now combined to make 1 class, due to insufficient numbers.
In my opinion, there is small and too small, and this school is now in the too small category. Quite a few join the nursery with the free places scheme, using the government hours, but don't go onto the school or leave after a couple of years. And once a year group is small, others jump ship too, to join bigger schools. What seems good and cosy for a 4 year old isn't great necessarily for a 10/11 year old.
Personally I wouldn't consider a school that couldn't form a netball or rugby team from each year group. It's not just about the sport, but the limited options for friendships and for working with a decent number of children working at the same level as your own child.
If I were looking there, I would be very keen to know about total pupil numbers, numbers in each year group, the mix of boys and girls in each year group and what the trends in total numbers have been over the last 5 years or so. What would you think about your child being one of a tiny handful left in their year by Year 5 or 6?
There are other Preps in the area - HAazelwood, Caterham, Oakhurst, Hawthorns, various Croydon schools which I think would all offer more. Probably cost more too though!
My experience at warlingham park school is that my son's class has 16 children, my daughters class has 13 children, and both are full of lovely supportive parents, most other classes average at 10-12 children which has been their average for many years. This allows the individual attention but also the social integration, and as the children all get on so well they are always very happy to go to school. My daughter was recently ill and after one day was begging me to go back.
Different schools fit different children but wps was right for us as we wanted a school which increases the confidence of our children and has a family feel and has developed our children's thoughts and their love for learning, drama and sports, with lots of outside areas.
The only senior school we can find which comes close the the culture of wps for secondary school is lingfield, and hopefully they will be able to continue the brilliant start my children have gained from wps.
I couldn't rate Warlingham Park School highly enough. It has nurtured my daughter, given her confidence and inspired her to learn. The average class size is 10-12 which is the perfect balance for teaching positive social interaction and providing individual attention. Some classes have more boys, some have more girls. That's down to birthrate I'm afraid. I have a friend who has 24 boys in a class of 30 in a good state school. I don't think she would have chosen that ratio - but that is how it is.
Warlingham Park School is unpretentious. It takes children of all abilities, finds their talent and nurtures it as if it was its own. It gives the school a marvellously honest and down to earth vibe. It might not be your vision of private education but if it is - you won't get a better school.
I have been teaching at Warlingham Park for the last year and a half, and my experience confirms what my daughter told me regularly during her 4 years there. WPS (being a small school) is just like a family! My daughter loved it, and was sad to leave last year. The headmaster teaches Maths to Year 6, and Science to Year 5, and she describes him as 'The best teacher ever'! We are not overly formal, but have the ability to take an interest in every child. There is always something going on (from Young Voices at the O2, with a choir of around 6 or 7 thousand), to plays inspired by George Bernard Shaw or Shakespeare, to a residential trip to Wales for Year 6. I actually took a drop in salary to work at WPS, and haven't regretted it for a moment.
Warlingham Park is a sad tale of a school on the slide.
A few years ago it was getting most of it right. Its always been a small school (less than 100 pupils) and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, particularly as it was a small school with a big heart.
However, a group of pushy parents (and teachers) have been allowed to take over, and sadly the place has lost its unique character.
The Head maybe a great teacher - but great teacher's don't necessarily make great Headmasters.
Currently WPS lacks vision, leadership and some decent staff.
While nursery and early years are good, things go downhill thereafter. The quality of staff varies considerably, from those who genuinely care about the children, to some who quite frankly should be banned from teaching altogether.
Wiser Parents react by taking their children out early, hence dwindling numbers the higher up the school you go. Class 7 this year contained one pupil. There's small and there's tiny.....
Problems and issues rarely get sorted and morale amongst parents and some staff is low.
It's a shame - as I said at the start, a few years ago it was getting it right, but I'm afraid I couldn't recommend Warlingham Park to anyone right now.
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