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Dulwich or Whitgift?

(60 Posts)
MaMerry Fri 03-Feb-12 20:56:22

After quite upbeat interviews at both Whitgift and Dulwich, and assuming that the state offer for DS is not up to scratch, we may need to make a choice between D & W. I'm struggling to split them, TBH. They both talk about academic success, pastoral care and co-curricular activity, are set in fantastic grounds and cost an arm and a leg. Can anyone help me split them?

DS is bright, interested in most things, an enthusiastic sportsman (but not going to end up playing for England in any of them) and says he doesn't mind which of the two he goes to.


basildonbond Sun 05-Feb-12 17:46:52

For mamerry

Sports at Whitgift aren't just for the sports stars... There are A, B, C and D teams for major sports and a massive range of activities, so if no good at rugby or cricket, boys can choose rowing for example. The school also runs sports development sessions on Saturday mornings for boys who haven't so many opportunities of playing sports as many of the prep school boys which helps bring them up to the right standard.

Ds is very happy there - it suits him perfectly and he is exceptionally bright (level 4s at the end of Y2, 5s across the board in Y4) and so would have been able enough for the 'top tier' but he's also very sporty and bouncy and the ultra-academic schools just didn't feel right for him

My sister taught at DC and we know several boys there across the year groups so I've been able to compare ds's experiences with theirs pretty accurately

Ladymuck Sun 05-Feb-12 17:52:28

The Croydon preps used to send boys to Dulwich and Westminster each year (with more going to Whitgift due to geography and generous scholarships), but the numbers going to DC have dropped off. We visited DC a couple of years ago and one of the senior masters was surprised that anyone would bother to drive past Whitgift to get to DC ( and he had taught at both).

The other thing that struck us is that when we asked our obviously talented pupil-guide about art and music, he indicated that boys were expected to drop those activities by end of year 9 to concentrate on academic studies.

The FT tables looks at the Oxbridge/Imperial offer rates for schools and DC and Whitgift v similar. In fact Whitgift marginally higher.

If you get offers for both it is definitely worth visiting each again on a normal working day. The schools will expect a number of parents to ask to visit.

LondonMother Sun 05-Feb-12 18:13:55

Ladymuck, I'm puzzled by the statement that DC boys are encouraged to drop art and music from the end of year 9. I have completely the opposite impression, and my son is in his final year at DC. The music at DC is fantastic and many boys play/sing in numerous ensembles to a very high standard. The current head boy plays in the Symphony Orchestra and is also a very successful cross-country runner (competitive races). He has an offer of a place at Cambridge, I believe, so it clearly hasn't harmed his academic work.

Ladymuck Sun 05-Feb-12 18:36:03

As ever one has to take the guide's words with a pinch of salt I guess, but then again the music school was closed on Open Day which I found slightly odd. Every other school had something musical on show on open day so Dulwich stood out in that regard.

Chelseatina Sun 05-Feb-12 18:47:21

Oh, For Heaven's sake, Basildon Bond, just look up the 2011 Independent GCSE & A level results - out of roughly 400 listings, Whitgift doesn't even appear! Res ipsa loquitur! End of.

Ladymuck Sun 05-Feb-12 18:54:51

Chelseatina, as a Year 6 teacher advising on future schools you are aware that the Whitgift foundation took the decision (along with lots of independent schools) to withdraw all 3 of their schools from league tables a couple of years ago, aren't you?! They did appear in the FT league table last year (which is put together by the journalists doing their own review of information published by the schools, rather than by the schools submitting their results) and came 40th to Dulwich's 58th. But as they have an increasing number of boys doing IB whilst the majority do A levels I think that the league table comparisons are pretty difficult.

Ladymuck Sun 05-Feb-12 18:57:14

And out of interest where does St Paul's come on the league table that you're looking at?

firmbeliever Sun 05-Feb-12 19:02:32

As a prospective parent whose DS did not manage to get place at KCS 10+ entrance exam I am looking at Dulwich college and Whitgift with a view for trying for 11+entry.

Chelseatina and Meditrina you both say that the intake at Dulwich College is more academic, I have compared both OFSTED reports and there is nothing to choose between them, their intake is virtually the same! ( look at 1.2 in both reports, does the 'rich but thick' apply to Dulwich then ?) However one of Dulwich Colleges recommendations for improvement in the OFSTED report is to challenge its more able. Whitgift seem to do this by and large, hence its 'outstanding' OFSTED report as opposed to Dulwich College's 'good'.

Most academic schools incuding Dulwich College weed out those who do not get the required 'points' at GCSE. So your point Meditrana about why DC does not top the league tables does not hold.

I have looked at league tables The FT one and 'TOP 100 Senior Schools A* A and B grade' and again whitgift features in this. Dulwich College it seems is not in this catergory. These league tables recognise the IB'

I too am glad that Chelseatina is not advising me re secondary schools. I am certainly going to do my homework and look for myself rather than relying on outdated conceptions as both schools appear of equal calibre by and large

SoupDragon Sun 05-Feb-12 19:04:56

Chelseatina You can not rely on the league tables as there are significant omissions wrt the different exams available. Quite frankly, the league tables are a load of nonsense.

SoupDragon Sun 05-Feb-12 19:08:14

Here is the Trinity HMs newsletter, the first section of which explains why the league tables are misleading. I imagine this is equally relevant to Whitgift.

SoupDragon Sun 05-Feb-12 19:12:18

"just look up the 2011 Independent GCSE & A level results - out of roughly 400 listings, Whitgift doesn't even appear! Res ipsa loquitur! End of."

LOLOL. As Ladymuck says, that's because they withdrew from them.

NiceViper Sun 05-Feb-12 19:27:15

Something's amiss here. AFAIK, OFSTED have only ever done a social care inspection on DC's boarding provision.

Dulwich Music block has been closed during tours whilst it was being rebuilt, not because of lack of investment in music. Quite the contrary!

I'm another who has heard that they do not chuck out after GCSE. They have minimum GCSE result requirement fit 6th form joiners, but not for continuers. Whitgift and DC are both on the 2011 league tables, as published on BBC. But it seems Whitgift wish to repudiate their standing; fair enough, if they do not consider I accurate.

OP: I think the best you're going on get on this thread is claim and counter claim.

What did your gut, and DC's gut, say when you were at each?

SoupDragon Sun 05-Feb-12 19:50:09

The Independent Schools Council does the inspections rather than OFSTED.

SoupDragon Sun 05-Feb-12 19:51:18

Dulwich Here
Whitgift here

SoupDragon Sun 05-Feb-12 19:53:36

I would say that, academically, there probably isn't a lot to choose between them and it is more a case of gut feeling, ease of access and amount of scholarship offered smile

NiceViper Sun 05-Feb-12 19:58:04

I had a dekko at those when (paranoidly double checking) there was no OFSTED report. So I don't see where the previous poster's "outstanding" and "good" came from (esp when you look at the actual content of the report).

Is it the same head at Whitgift as when last ISI was done? DC have a new one, and I hear he is very highly regarded.

basildonbond Sun 05-Feb-12 20:12:07

Both schools have minimum GCSE points levels for current pupils as well, nice viper - I know someone at DC who is currently being warned their place in 6th form is not assured

It's fairly standard practice

SoupDragon Sun 05-Feb-12 20:16:45

If you look at the last section of the report, for Whitgift it says they are outstanding in all aspects and Dulwich a mix of outstanding and good. Not quite what the other poster said - I don't think they get an overall grade.

NiceViper Sun 05-Feb-12 20:31:39

I think it was the criticism of inconsistent marking that would bother me most. It might not make much difference to outcome in public exam, but I think it could make quit a difference to a boy's time overall.

havinganightmare Sun 05-Feb-12 20:37:33

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

arniesidd Thu 23-Feb-12 00:12:59

I know I'm a latecomer to this conversation, but nonetheless, what everyone seems to overlook when it comes to choosing schools is the fact that OF COURSE highly selective schools such as JAGS, Alleyns and Dulwich get such fantastic academic results - its because they cream off the very brightest children who are bound to perform well even if they were taught by a performing monkey. School academic results are NOT necessarily a reflection of the teaching, merely a reflection of the intake. If your averagely bright child goes to Emanuel or Alleyns, I simply don;t believe they will necessarily get better results at the latter; in fact they may be intimidated and demoralised by the fact that they are outstripped by their peers academically and simply give up. So judging schools by academic results and league tables is sheer folly; it's only one, very small, measure of how good a school is. i'd love to see how well Alleyns of JAGS teachers would fare with a class of 30+ kids from some of the state schools such as Eliots, which as far as I know is still in special measures.

Mummle Thu 23-Feb-12 07:25:31

Just playing 'Devil's Advocate', arniesidd - what if your child is in the top ability band? Would you prefer your child to be in a school where they cream off the top ability and, thereby, have your child being taught within a 'higher ability' stream and, in fact, ethos, or would you want your child to be catered for within an "mixed ability" cohort which is already lacking those that have been "creamed" off? In that respect, the schools which have the higher academic results may not, in fact, have the "best" teachers, but the environment for learning is competitive and expectations are much higher and, therefore, the child will, by default, have to play their best game in order to compete... I am not saying that results are the be all and end all...but, I am saying that, if you are the type of person who is very conscious of results and wants to have your child get the best academic results they possibly can, then a selective school may be the best choice, if the child is truly a high achiever. Saying all of that,a lot more than academics make up a secondary school and the broader ethos and a child's happiness are the most important factors. Academic results are only one facet of the issue - but some parents (and children) are really 'work horses' and thrive on academia...

EdithWeston Thu 23-Feb-12 07:30:18

OP - it's after offers day now. Have you made a decision, and are to happy to share it?

MaMerry Sat 25-Feb-12 22:05:45

Edith We have now received scholarship offers from both Dulwich and Whitgift. But planning to revisit one of them next week, as still not sure which is preferred.

EdithWeston Sat 25-Feb-12 22:20:20

Congratulations! What a nice dilemma to have!

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