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Charterhouse Square School or the Lyceum?

(28 Posts)
miffology Thu 21-Jan-10 11:40:42

We live very close to Charterhouse Square and are trying to choose between Charterhouse Square School and the Lyceum as potential schools for our dd.

Does anyone have children who currently go to these schools? We have heard that Charterhouse used to be a bit of a hothouse but that the new head may be changing things a bit?

We are looking for a school with quite a balanced curriculum. We like the Lyceum but it is not as convenient as Charterhouse.

Many thanks.

mumtolawyer Thu 21-Jan-10 16:56:00

My DD is at the Lyceum. We looked at Charterhouse but didn't like the style as much (that was some time ago). I regard the Lyceum as excellent. The academic standard is high (but as classes are small there is ample opportunity to help if a child is having difficulty - I don't think they deal with substantial SEN though) without there being hours of homework at the infant level. Currently homework in juniors is reading, spelling every night and another piece of work some nights and weekends, but it doesn't take long and consolidates teaching. Music provision is superb - DD does piano but there are lots of opportunities and the teachers are specialist. Singing is also covered. There is a high focus on children being able to perform confidently in front of an audience and they generally do it very well. Although all religions are covered in class the school has a Christian ethos, so there are Nativity and Easter plays. Sports provision is supplied by various external points and there isn't a competitive ethos - except by the children! Infants it's more going out to play, though there is ice skating in winter at Broadgate; Juniors there's swimming, netball, touch rugby, hockey, tennis, etc and (extra) judo. there is PE every day in some form.
If you live close to Charterhouse Sq you can walk it - a number of families are around the Barbican. We commute from considerably further and though this can be a pain on dark winter mornings I think the school is worth it.
The premises can be offputting but if you want a feel just wander by when they open the doors at 8.30 and watch the children pushing to get in!

(Disclaimer: I don't teach - there or anywhere!)

I would say CAT me and we could meet for coffee so I could tell you more but I'll have to work out how I get into CAT messages first!

miffology Thu 21-Jan-10 18:22:20

Brilliant, thanks for that. It's really helpful to hear first hand experience of a school. We visited the school recently and loved it and you're reaffirming our view, which is great.

Anyone else have current experience of Charterhouse?

Many thanks again.

mumtolawyer Thu 21-Jan-10 19:31:17

I've now worked out CAT so send me one if you want a more detailed chat.

Summersoon Thu 21-Jan-10 20:24:33

Our DD has just left The Lyceum to move on to secondary school. We liked it very much indeed and I would echo what MumtoLawyer said. The schoolis small and therefore genuinely caters for children of all abilities - including those bound for places like CLGS and North London Collegiate but also those moving on to less academic schools. It is indeed very good at instilling confidence in children from an early age. Although not all pushy academically until about Y5 or even the second half of Y5, they prepare children meticulously for the secondary transfer.
I do have more info I can give you - on both schools, actually, so cat me if you want to get in touch.

Wongaling Fri 12-Feb-10 09:01:32

I'd love to hear more about both schools. I am someone different. I am not familliar with what "cat" is but I'd love your views.


Summersoon Fri 12-Feb-10 10:12:09

If you press the contact poster button, you should hopefully be able to send a private message to me. (If that doesn't work, post on here again and I will try and fix it. )
I would be happy to talk and answer questions.

PollyParanoia Fri 12-Feb-10 13:10:41

Aren't you put off by the lack of outdoor space in both of them? I only visited one of them (won't say which) but I came out in tears with the feeling that children would be squashed like battery hens. Have you looked at your state schools? I was amazed by how much more generous the space and facilities were. Or St Paul's cathedral school? Not v keen on selection at that age, but I'd have been prepared to put my kids through it to have had the chance of some outdoor space.
Everyone tells me that both schools do fantastic sports and recreational activities, but that's not the point of a playground. Playgrounds are for un-organised activities, freedom and imagination, sometimes tough lessons. and good old fashioned fresh air.

mumtolawyer Fri 12-Feb-10 13:47:54

Polly, the Lyceum makes up for it by taking the children out daily - in Early Years to a local park or to Bunhill Fields so they can play. I've never seen them squashed in. Not perhaps as good as a playground on site.
I'd just say that the school being 10 mins from work means I almost never need to miss anything there. St Paul's Cathedral School didn't have after-school club so from my point of view is a complete non-starter.

Wongaling, same as Summersoon - press contact poster and if you haven't heard back or it bounces post on here.

SydneyScarborough Fri 12-Feb-10 13:53:40

Message withdrawn

PollyParanoia Sat 13-Feb-10 12:40:50

Mumtolawyer, I have heard only good things about Lyceum (and not so much CH) and the way it compensates for the lack of outdoor space, but personally I still think that walking to some fields every day is not the same as being unleashed in little chunks of time into a playground which is completely enclosed and so offers children more freedom.
I do think it's worth looking at state options - maybe Prior Weston as SS suggests, because I was a bit shocked that the place you didn't pay for seemed to offer so much more.
But am a bit of a stuck record about this, evidently!

maggiethecat Mon 15-Feb-10 00:02:12

I visited Lyceum and generally liked it. Went on a day that children were rehearsing for Christmas concert and was struck by how beautifully they were being prepared. The emphasis on music (piped music played at different times of the day; high quality music teachers) appealed. Head seemed friendly enough although he was not willing to engage in discussion about school considering provision of hotmeals. I was struck that children did not get (any?) much natural light in the classrooms. However, despite this I came away thinking that I liked the feel of the school.
Visited St Pauls as well and as other poster said liked feature of out door space but if it's a non-starter it's a non-starter.
Friends whose children went to same nursery as my dd sent their dds to Charterhouse and they always seem very pleased with it.

bundle Mon 15-Feb-10 00:07:16

i know someone whose dd (aged about 7) goes to charterhouse, she seems a v happy little girl. they also take the children out every day to an outside space (charterhouse sq, unsurprisingly)

the girl in question has just sat exams for city of london girls (she got a place)and so yes, i do think it's a bit of a hothousey envt.

maggiethecat Mon 15-Feb-10 00:24:32

Bundle, could it be that said girl was naturally a very bright girl?

bundle Mon 15-Feb-10 01:03:18

er possibly maggie

but i suspect the tutoring and doing 3 papers a day before the exams helped

a tad

pointissima Tue 16-Feb-10 12:42:58

We removed our son from Charterhouse square after about 1 1/2 years (about 3 years ago). It was very cramped, we were not convinced by the calibre of the staff, the teaching was unimaginative and there was some bullying which went unnoticed. There is some gesture towards extra-curricular activities; but this is pretty token. There is also a certain cliquiness: to have any notice taken you need to be one of the "In" parents.

Neither we nor our son are generally "difficult"

southernsoftie Tue 16-Feb-10 23:32:39

My friend's dc goes to Charterhouse. They have been really pleased with the care. DC has been diagnosed with some learning difficulties and school has been great about arranging extra support. DC has been in the school play that they do each year and despite not being a star musically has been encouraged to join in - generally it seems pretty inclusive (but that is an outsider perspective) and lots of running around opportunities.

maggiethecat Wed 17-Feb-10 01:19:12

Bald assertions don't help; the op may be inclined to consider what you say now that you've qualified your statement Bundle.

Wongaling Wed 17-Feb-10 18:13:36

This is all very interesting but how do they cope with children who are ahead of the norm? For example, our 2 year old son is starting alphabet phonetic at his own instigation and so he will be able to read well before starting. Hence, at a state school, we worry he would be ignored as we've heard too many times before. Mind you getting into any of these schools ie Lyceum etc relies on you having registered the child at birth (except for Charterhouse which has a ballot which is fairer in a way). My Mother has been a teacher for over 50 years and she always says that it's the people in the class that make the difference as all schools have good and bad teachers and I would have thought that perhaps there would be different chances at different schools. She also says that a good student will be so at any school given the right parental support but a mediocre child needs the right school and that is only something the parents will know once the child starts at a school.
Frankly,I'm totally confused. I'm used to another country's system. Also, I would like to think that weekends will be well used by my son for sporting and outdoor activities so maybe an outside area (or lack thereof) won't affect him. Who knows!

mimster Fri 19-Feb-10 13:12:09

I have two children at Charterhouse Sq and think it is a wonderful school. It has a great head, a wonderful homely environment, with good quality and enthusiatic staff, a broad curriculum and is very focused on the children as individuals. My kids (and their friends) literally rush in every morning. Regarding the lack of outside space, the children do get taken out daily and go to places like Golden Lanes and Coram Fields for sporting activities, have swimming lessons and go on frequent school trips. They have also just obtained the building next door and are converting it, which will double the space as of September this year. Having read posts about the school in the past, it appears to have acquired a reputation for being a pushy 'sausage factory' but that description does not accord with my experience of the school at all.

bundle Sat 20-Feb-10 12:29:52


your patronising tone doesn't help people want to take your advice hmm

so-called bald statements are often useful, who needs a 3,000 word essay on here?

talbot Wed 24-Feb-10 10:30:08

Bundle, afaik Charterhouse goes to 11 and so presumably doesn't prepare children for the 7+ assessment for schools like City Girls. It would be pretty unusual to sit an exam like that without any preparation so not sure that a Tutor is that big a deal. In any event, my kids are at an unselective independent school which is most definitely not a hot house and plenty of kids sit highly selective 7+ and 11+ exams for various reasons. That doesn't have any implications for the type of institution our school is however, it's just the parents' choice.

miffology Wed 10-Mar-10 12:16:38

I'm the original poster and I'd just like to thank everyone who has contributed to this discussion. It has been very useful for us to hear what you think of the schools, and especially the views of those who have had some first hand experience. We're very grateful.

Manisha12 Mon 21-Jun-10 23:29:12

Hi i wondered if someone could help me. My son is due to start at the Lyceum in September and i need to get either one or two people to help with morning drop offs and afternoon pick ups. Does anyone know anyone locally (in EC1/N1 for example) that they would recommend for such work? Thanks!

iceberrywater Sun 24-Oct-10 12:59:54

Manisha12, how did you handle the afternoon pick-ups? I would have similar problems, since it is very difficult to get off work that early, and also concerned what is the best way to keep him safe and happy.. Thanks

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