Blackeath Independent Schools

(23 Posts)
galaxyC Wed 17-Jun-09 14:29:05

Hi,

This is my first post so im not sure if im doing it right, i do hope so.

Anyway, my sister is considering sending her DD1, to an independent preparatory school. DD1 is currently in Year 1 at a local state primary and doing really well but not necessarily being stretched as much as she should be for her ability. My sister is considering entry for Year 3 in September 2010. We have been looking into The Pointer School and Blackheath Nursery and Preparatory School. Neither of us have found any parent reviews of either school that are of much use so I was wondering whether others could inform us of their experiences direct or not. My sister wants to go into this with her eyes wide open and as much information as possible. (Pupil behaviour, parent interaction, teaching staff, events and activities, pastoral care, entrance procedures and atmosphere).

Anything would be helpful. And if you have any information on other independents in and around the blackheath area that would be greatly recieved too.

Thank you.

sharedplanet Wed 17-Jun-09 17:09:12

If you search using advanced search Blackheath prep there is an older thread on both schools (Pointers doesn't seem to fare too well) Also in the area Heath House - know nothing of really but they do wear knickerbockers. Colfe's which family members have attended - This is either an amazing school or they include propaganda on the curriculum as no one who attends will have a bad word said. Riverston which I believe is strong for those with educational challenges, and St Olaves in Eltham which is smaller and a strong family orientated non hot-house type reputation. As DD there is Blackheath High Junior not sure what it is like now, but not popular with a couple of ex pupils who left over ten years ago.

Personally I would say Blackheath Prep for very academic focused – with a view to 11+ or CE
Colfes for broader very strong sports / arts facilities which are shared with the senior school. (Colfes is by the way not un academic achieving the top ‘A’ level results last year over BHS and Eltham College

sharedplanet Wed 17-Jun-09 17:09:14

If you search using advanced search Blackheath prep there is an older thread on both schools (Pointers doesn't seem to fare too well) Also in the area Heath House - know nothing of really but they do wear knickerbockers. Colfe's which family members have attended - This is either an amazing school or they include propaganda on the curriculum as no one who attends will have a bad word said. Riverston which I believe is strong for those with educational challenges, and St Olaves in Eltham which is smaller and a strong family orientated non hot-house type reputation. As DD there is Blackheath High Junior not sure what it is like now, but not popular with a couple of ex pupils who left over ten years ago.

Personally I would say Blackheath Prep for very academic focused – with a view to 11+ or CE
Colfes for broader very strong sports / arts facilities which are shared with the senior school. (Colfes is by the way not un academic achieving the top ‘A’ level results last year over BHS and Eltham College

sharedplanet Wed 17-Jun-09 17:09:35

doh

galaxyC Wed 17-Jun-09 21:08:32

Thanks.

I'm not a fan of Blackheath High. I went to their senior school Year 7-11(begining) (01'- late 05') and it wasn't a good experience. I have very little positive to say about it and neither do many of my friends from there either. Although i didn't have direct experience of the junior school, those that did feed into the senior school from there weren't my idea of what i want my niece to be like. They were almost like mini clones, not in appearance but they all drew exactly the same and things like that. It was a bit disconcerting actually. Even if they all were very clever.
The pastoral care at the school was terrible.

Although, we're looking for a school that encourages pupils to be well rounded, the academic side is what we are primarily looking for. And her mum is hopeful that the smaller class sizes will help build her DD's confidence.

I'll do the search and see what i can find.
Thanks again

galaxyC Wed 17-Jun-09 22:22:46

Just finished the search. Some positive views and BP, less so on the side of Pointers. Hopefully more people can give my some more recent reviews. Anyone??

Madsometimes Thu 18-Jun-09 10:45:57

If academic acheivement is your primary consideration, then Blackheath Prep is the school for you. Competition for places there is traditionally fierce. At nursery/reception entrance they turn away far more children than they accept (I think it a 1/8 chance of getting a place). It is probably easier to get a place further up the school if classes are not full.

Pointers is not bad academically, and is probably better for pastoral care. I know parents who really rate it.

galaxyC Thu 18-Jun-09 12:25:00

Thanks madsometimes.

I have heard/read a lot of good things about Blackheath Prep. Like how it has a good family atmosphere. It is really sounding like a fantastic place and also somewhere where my niece's confidence can grow which is really important. She does lots of outside activities like dancing, rainbows, beavers and taekwondo but still gets quite nervous. Whether or not there are going to be places available next year (2010) in year 3 is the question though.

Do you know how Pointers evangelical ethos influences the day to day running of the school?

And I have also heard people say that they weren't comfortable with the fact that teh school is family run. Does anybody know why that is?

gladders Thu 18-Jun-09 14:01:04

Hello - am not makinany claims to be impartial here as ds attends BP. He is only in the nursery but has been there for 18 months.

So - yes i think it is a very family orientated school. There are 2 classes per year with each class having 20-23 pupils. Some children leave at 7 to go on to other prep schools - so there are places available at that stage.

The school is quite academic - gets results in the 11+ exams - but also has lots of sports (has its own field) and after school clubs.

It's been going for about 12 years and a lot of teachers have been there since the early days. The ones we've come across seem mainly strict but fair and the children seem to respect that.

The PTA is a bit fierce -lots of yummy mummies! but they do a great job - lots of events which raise lots for the school.

Anything i haven't covered??!!

gladders Thu 18-Jun-09 14:02:56

Pointers wasn't for us - we're not religious and the uniform is just ridiculous IMO. The owner is the head teacher and i've heard mixed reports - you either love him or hate him...

All that said, I know a family whose kids are very happy there - I don't think the evangelical thing has a huge bearing on daily life?

galaxyC Thu 18-Jun-09 23:08:40

Gladders, Thanks!!

It is good to know that it is quite probable that some 7+ places may be available. Is there a reason why pupils leave after the Pre-Prep stage?
As long as the teachers rule fairly then its not too much of a problem that they are strict. Although starting the school for the first time it may be a bit scary. She isn't a naughty child though, so i doubt she'll be at the end of a teachers wagging finger .
Are you planning on keeping your DS at the school right through to the end of prep??

I suppose my sister is going to have to make visits to the schools (and I'll probably go aswell) just to see what her personal impressions are. And those of her DD of course.

The religion thing at pointers isn't that much of an issue as my niece is curious about religion and enjoys church. Although I want to look more into evangelicalism (is that the right word??) But its really good to hear other peoples views.
Im not a fan of the uniform but I don't mind it to be honest. It would probably be a bit fun for her getting it all, especially the summer boaters the girls wear. She has pointed them out before. But the cost of the uniform is really dear!! lol! Especially for a prep school, its not even senior. Is that something we're going to find with Blackheath Prep as well??

bran Thu 18-Jun-09 23:16:18

I went to see Pointers for DS a couple of years ago and I found the head teacher to be very strange. I do know a couple of families with boys in reception and they like it. The thing that swung it for me was when the head was asked about the teaching of other religions and he replied that they did teach about other religions because it was a requirement of the national curriculum but they obviously pointed out that all religions other than Christianity were wrong and only Christians would be saved and go to heaven. hmm

Ironically DS has ended up in an independent Christian primary school but they are much more broad-minded and aim to have half their pupils from a Christian background and half from other backgrounds to reflect the diversity of the community that the the children live in.

oneofakind Fri 19-Jun-09 21:03:39

would also love to hear views on blackheath prep as ds due to start in reception this sept - have heard great things but also a few negs mainly around the academic pressure the children are under (all 'friend of a friend' btw!).

oneofakind Fri 19-Jun-09 21:07:28

forgot to add, v good state school in e greenwich (begins with H) which has extremely high standards and results - catchment about 250 yards though and expensive area to live in.

galaxyC Mon 22-Jun-09 20:58:03

Bran: I have read quite a few comments on the headteacher at pointers. I am quite intrigued as to what myself and my sisters impression of the school and the headteacher will be. I'm quite shocked at that comment on religious education though.

galaxyC Tue 23-Jun-09 10:36:20

oneofakind: unfortunately my sister is not in the position to move from the area she lives in at the moment. Especially not to somewhere more expensive. So we wont be in the catchment area of that school anyway. Congratulations on your DS getting into Blackheath Prep, i gather it is oversubscribed. Was it your first choice school? Are you planning on keeping him there for the forseable future or are you planning on moving/transferring at a later date? Have you brought DS uniform yet? Is the uniform expensive?

sorry for all the questions im just curious

gladders Tue 23-Jun-09 12:42:53

yes the school does have a reputation as being very academic and a bit pushy - but that has not been our experience to date - ds has been allowed to go at his own speed. they do encourage the children to do stuff earlier than other schools but the children seem to thrive on it.

ds and dd will both stay at the school til 11. I think some leave at 7 to go to traditional (ie 8-13) prep schools. I know some boys leave to got to Eltham or Dulwich they start at age 8.

uniform at the prep is much simpler than pointers - sweatshirt and polo shirt style rather than blazer and boater. Still came to £250 to kit ds out fully though shock

onofakind: is your ds new to the school in sept? he might be in same class as my ds?

gladders Tue 23-Jun-09 12:47:36

sorrythe uniform info i posted looks rather scary doesn't it....

there are regular second hand sales (at least twice a year)and the figure i've quoted is rather inflated as it includes 3 pairs of trousers and 5 polos plus all the PE kit.....

other possibly useful piece of info is that there are bursaries available from age 8 - i'm sure your sister could get more info from the school.

galaxyC Wed 24-Jun-09 17:37:40

£250 does seem quite a lot when you consider the price you can buy uniform for these days in supermarkets and department stores. But that's to be expected somewhat with an independent school. £250 is quite good compared to the price of pointers school uniform. I looked at the price list online the other day and was shocked.

You say that the 250 is more than most as you brought several sets of things but i think for kids its practical to have a few of everything just in case. It also keeps the clothes in better condition as well.

Yeah, we had read that the school does bursaries. As a 'independent' mum of five she can only really consider schools that do offer possible financial assistance if children perform well and are deemed 'suited' to the school during the assessment procedures. We are really hoping that she's successful in whatever school(s) herself and my sister decide to go for. If i had the money i would send my niece ASAP but as a meager student its not possible lol.

My sister got a prospectus for the school and the website has a lot of information too. We are awaiting a reply to an email sent last week at the moment, so we are waiting to what that says before she decides what to do next. At the moment though there are aspects of both that we like, so its a case of finding out as much information as possible and then visiting the schools at some point. Its hard though because it hasn't been mentioned to my niece that we're hoping for her to get into one of these schools because we don't want to get her hopes up and then get disappointed or worst still feel as though she has somehow failed if she doesn't get in. But at the same time she needs to see the school so her mum can get an idea of where she'll like. But her character and work ethic really is, in my opinion, suited to a more academically forward environment that independent schools seem to be able to supply.

Btw, does blackheath prep go on a lot of trips (day and residential) and are they expensive?

gladders Thu 25-Jun-09 11:29:49

if your email doesn't get a reply, try phoning - there's usually someone who can help (there is a specific admissions lady - can't remember her name though?)you can also go and have a look round - they do regular tours although you do need to book.

i think day trips tend to be max one per term and are about £20 each including a packed lunch. residential am not sure about - think yr 3 or 4 do a week long trip in the uk - have no idea on price - and then yr 6 do a short french trip?

there is also an annual ski trip but that's in the half term. completely optional - think to italy?

galaxyC Thu 25-Jun-09 19:41:50

Thanks. I think i'll give them till monday and then I'll try and get in touch with them.

galaxyC Thu 02-Jul-09 12:34:07

Got a reply. more info when i have more time.

Priyaer Sat 22-Oct-16 14:06:55

Hello MN,
My son got an admission into Colfe's nursery. Any reviews from someone who is currently sending their kids there?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now