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Babington House School, Farringtons or St Olaves?

(30 Posts)
Sallyssss Thu 29-Apr-10 21:48:50

I am looking for a school for my children, and I was wondering if you could help. I have looked at all three schools and my thoughts are this:

St Olaves - lovely little school, kind and caring, emphasis on the child. More boys than girls and not great facilities or grounds.

Farringtons - great grounds, but found the teacher/pupil ratio not great for private school. (1:20)

Babington - Very academic - lots of testing and slightly posh.

Does anyone have any thoughts? Would this be an accurate description from your experience.

baytree11 Fri 30-Apr-10 16:16:04

I'm a former student of Farringtons!! still remember my school days....its been years since i was last walking in chislehurst! agree, lovely grounds, i was a full time boarder.

AppleHEAD Fri 30-Apr-10 19:12:04

I looked at Babingtons today and have been to faringdons. I feel very unsure. How on earth do you tell with independent schools which to choose?

MinaTannenbaum Fri 30-Apr-10 19:55:15

St Olaves makes up for a slightly cramped site with brilliant pastoral care. It is a brilliant place. I have dcs there.
Farringtons is very good and very nice too.

Sallyssss Fri 30-Apr-10 20:45:38

Thank you Mina - sorry to be dumb - but does dcs mean son. If so how does he get on with being in a small campus. Out of all the schools St Olaves is my fav at the moment. Also, what is the boy/girl ratio in your child's class?

Applehead - it's so difficult. I liked Babington house, but felt it might be a little academic for my little boy who seems very active at the moment.

MinaTannenbaum Fri 30-Apr-10 20:57:24

I have one of each there. They both actively like the smallness. The school makes good use of the big field in the local park, and they do Forest School locally too.
Both of them have a larger boy/girl ratio in their classes. It's not an issue for my son, I suppose it could be a bit for my daughter, but she has good friends at school and outside it.
We have been v. happy with the school overall.

Sallyssss Fri 30-Apr-10 21:04:40

Mina, thank you. I am worried about the girl/boy ratio as my daughter is a very girly girl and the class she would be joining is very boy "heavy".

Erghhh - wish it was simple!

MinaTannenbaum Fri 30-Apr-10 21:08:02

To be perfectly honest Sally, I am not too bothered about the larger number of boys. There are several really nice little lads in her class - and ds is on very friendly terms with the girls in his.

Sallyssss Fri 30-Apr-10 21:12:38

Thanks Mina.Thats really good to hear. I really, really liked what I saw.

MinaTannenbaum Fri 30-Apr-10 21:23:25

If there is anything more you want to ask off-board, I am happy to be PMed smile if it helps.

I do know families who are also v. happy with Farringtons (big advantage being those lovely grounds plus through to 18) but I'm afraid that the only families I know from Babington moved their dcs to our school (not many I hasten to add, just a couple!).

SpringHeeledJack Fri 30-Apr-10 21:25:17

I am a bit envy of your thread title

mine would be "Fenn St, Bash St, or Grange Hill?"

Sallyssss Sun 02-May-10 19:31:33

Thanks Mina - I think we are heading to St Olaves. Can I ask you what the teacher/pupil ratio is in your kids classes?

MinaTannenbaum Sun 02-May-10 19:55:52

1:15 and 1:14 (for ds)

I think they won't go above 1:16, I can't recall a class being bigger than that.

In Reception it is no more than 1:8 as both classes have a f/t TA.

They have floating TAs who hear children in Years 1 and 2 read (or their teacher of course). Ds and dd were both heard daily throughout lower school.

I am wondering if ds has shown you round! His year did the tours last term while the Head got over her broken foot smile

VengefulKitty Sun 02-May-10 20:27:41

I can't add anything of substance, but 20 years ago I was going to be sent as a boarder to Farringtons until I kicked up such a fuss that my mother relented and allowed me to stay at home and therefore state school!

Sallyssss Sun 02-May-10 20:29:32

Thanks Mina, that sounds great. The head showed us around ages ago before her foot was broken.

spectacular Sun 02-May-10 20:37:29

Sallysss - I have a friend with DCs at St Olaves and I know she is very happy with it.

I know it is a bit further away, but have you thought of Colfes school in Lee? A lot of parents travel from Chislehurst, so a car share is easy to find.

I live in C'hurst and have two children at Colfes and it has been a god send not to have to stress about Y6 transfer, as the children move up to teh senior school there.

It is an academic school but also has very good sports, art and drama facilities. We have been very, very happy with it overall.

AppleHEAD Sun 02-May-10 21:09:15

Sorry to but in on your thread. But I wondered with Babbington if you had noticed the same thing, in year six only three girls had been there since reception. That seemed a very small number. I hate the idea of dd1 making friends then they go.

Sallyssss Mon 03-May-10 21:14:32

Thank you so much for replying.

Applehead - gosh I did not know what about Babingtons. Hmmmm - does now sound good.

Spectacular- I have not thought of Colfes, mainly because I have a thing about driving and want a school really close to Chislehurst.

Think I am going to take another look at Farringtons.

Bernie8 Thu 12-Aug-10 14:31:01

Hi Sally, just joined mumsnet so explains late response to your post! My daughter has just finished year 1 at Babingtons and has really enjoyed it there so far. She is a very physically active girl so has joined in several of the lunchtime and after school clubs for sports and dancing. Unfortunately a lot of these will be unavailable this coming school year due to the building work going on there but once completed the new gym, changing rooms, etc should be quite impressive. It's mixed ability so they get quite good results considering it's not selective. We like it as we've found it to be quite friendly and were impressed with the attitude of the older girls. They all seem very supportive of each other and not too bitchy, materialistic or nastily competitive. I certainly wouldn't describe it as posh! They link up with Eltham College and Harenc school for some events so that the girls can take part in mixed sports as well as girl only teams. The new PE teacher there has also had a big push in raising the level of sports achievements. However they don't have the outdoor space of some other schools. Hope this helps!

cpbp Thu 12-Aug-10 21:37:56

Don't agree that Babington is very academic. It has a mixed ability intake. The teaching is superb- at least in my experience. My DS went there. Didn't find it posh either. Super school!

Sallyssss Fri 13-Aug-10 08:27:16

Thank you for replying! Bernie and cpbp, what did you like about the babingtons and what didn't you like? I am still trying to decide between St Olaves (few girls) and babingtons!!!

cpbp Fri 13-Aug-10 08:52:05

Honestly, I had no complaints at all about Babington. It is a lovely small, caring school. It always felt very "homely" to us. Excellent pastoral care and excellent teaching. Super duper!

Bernie8 Fri 13-Aug-10 12:10:30

The thing I like most is that the older girls are polite yet confident and you feel that they do the best they possibly can as individuals whether they get 10 A grades at GCSE, 6 mixed grades, or sporting achievements, outside awards etc. EG; Poppy Clifford (dep. head girl 2009/10)has won the UK young journalist of the year award for two years running and credits the Babington staff (+ her parents!)for helping her do that. The girls have the ability to think for themselves rather than being spoon fed everything to focus solely on exam grades. The head teacher has an open door policy every Friday morning so you can always speak to her although should probably speak to class teacher first if any particular issues with your child rather than school issues in general. The prep classes are all approx 50/50 girls/boys so a good mix of children and in the nursery and reception there is a high staff to child ratio. Both reception classes have full time TA and there is also 1 TA for the Yr1 classes to share. Prep school classes usually 16-18 children. Max size now increased to 20 from this Sept for reception. Re. children leaving: 2 children left DD class during reception yr, possibly due to financial reasons unfortunately but I don't know full reasons and obviously private issue. Another child left at yr end as her parent was unhappy with the school but I think it's important for parents to have close dialogue with any school. Babington are very willing to do that but parents have to make effort also to be involved with close contact, PTA, etc. This yr, 2 children have left DD year in summer but both are moving away from the area (Worcester and NZ!). It's not always as 'polished' as some other schools but most parents v friendly and genuine. The children are encouraged to achieve rather than being pressured or hot housed for exams. Almost all boys seem to get accepted to Eltham College or school of their choice at end of Yr 2. Have heard good things about St Olave's so not trying to put you off the other schools but think perhaps you didn't get a full picture of Babington. It's not as intimidating as you might have first thought! It is difficult choosing schools and think you may have to go with gut feeling and instinct on what will best suit your children. Babington will go through a lot of upheaval this yr with the building work but school working hard to minimise impact on children. Facilities will be lovely once work is finished (June 2011). We are hoping DD will be able to stay there all the way through to 16. The school office is open during holidays so maybe have a chat with Mrs Lee, the admissions secretary, for more information. Good luck

Sallyssss Sun 15-Aug-10 10:25:41

Thank you so much for replying, and taking the time to send such a detailed reply. It is very much appreciated. I am going to talk to them again this week - and hopefully make a decision very soon!

Velamum Wed 25-Aug-10 10:33:39

Only just joined hence the late contribution! I live in Chislehurst too and for all the same reasons had a real dilemma re choosing schools.... Babington - didn't want the hassle of moving them later, Farringtons - lovely school, not enough boys, St Olaves - although my cousin went there many years ago and was very happy, it just didn't do it for me...not great facilities....Braeside and Ashgrove - again, small site etc... i was recommended Merton Court so arranged a visit....talk about blown away!! We were shown around by such a polite, well mannered and confident pupil, who enthused about life at Merton.... amazing playing fields, indoor swimming pool so pupils start to swim from age 4! Pastoral care was impressive, also, the fact that it's a family run school really sets it apart from the other independents...the Headmaster really knows his stuff and you can tell he's so passionate about education, sport and all round well being of the children.... for me, Merton won hands down....i'd got in such a state as its such an important decision, all i can say is, look at all of them, speak to the pupils, check out the schools results and really talk to the Head....my son is now going into his final year at Merton and i have another 2 further down the school....its a 10 minute drive from Chislehurst and gets the kids really prepared for their 11+......finally, it has fab links with Colfes and Eltham for those wanting to carry on with private education.... Good Luck and hope this helps.....ps...its a bit like buying a house in that you'll know as soon as you step inside, if you get a good feeling!!! All the best...

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