Choosing between DC, Trinity, Alleyn's and BC(17 Posts)
Name change but not a big poster normally! Would really appreciate any insights and pls bear with me as it's a long post!
Dh and I have been holding off moving house for the last couple of years as we have one ds and we wanted to see where he ended up after the 11+. He sat for four schools and we are lucky enough to have four offers, all for schools we love. We are booked in for offer holder tours but aware that people are on waitlists so anxious to get started on decision making. Location isn't an issue as dh and I run a business together from home and can move. Fees also not a consideration as with just the one dc we feel we can stretch to whichever school ds ends up at. We absolutely loved all the schools, for different reasons. Ds has always said he would prefer co-ed but was really impressed by DC and loved how warm and welcoming Trinity was. He has scholarship offers from both DC and Trinity. Alleyn's and Brighton College were the schools we originally all thought were perfect for him, but now wondering that a move to Brighton is a big commitment in the sense that if for any reason it didn't work then there are a lot more options for ds in London and once we move we won't be able to up sticks so easily next time. Impressions we got were that Alleyn's is a bit 'snootier' than the others. Nothing tangible, just some of the kids and parents we saw around. The teachers seemed nice but ds said they weren't as warm as some of the others, ds's words were he got the impression Alleyn's wanted you to show why they should take you while the others seemed to be trying to make ds feel like he should pick them iyswim. In other ways it's suits ds perfectly, academic, co-ed, very good on drama (ds very into his drama and has performed professionally). Trinity we loved but not so keen on Croydon and wondering if they will stretch him as we don't see ds as a boffin but he was apparently one of the top scorers in the entrance exams. Thought the teaching staff were exceptionally down to earth and warm and the dealings with the school very efficient. Dulwich seemed very cool in a good way - a good mix of kids and felt there was a real spark and energy to the school which is hard to say no to! Brighton seems like a really impressive school, incredibly efficient as well as warm and welcoming. They made a big effort to get to know ds and academically we were told he sat squarely in the middle of the cohort, which I think could be a good thing as there's enough there to encourage him to push himself without struggling along at the bottom. We want somewhere with a big focus on drama and co-curricular as ds is big on hobbies and we don't want to send him somewhere that homework pressures mean he doesn't have time for his interests. One thing we noticed is that the London schools have a far larger variety of co-curricular clubs than Brighton. Sorry for the long post but we are genuinely stuck and also very keen to make a quick decision. Any views on any of the above schools very much appreciated!
Moving to Brighton seems uneccessary when you have three popular London / Croydon choices, unless you have other reasons for wanting to move.
Dozer we have friends there and have lived there before ds was born. It's appealing mainly because we can get more space for our money plus we did love the school but agree it's a big change and it would help cut the choices down to rule it out for that reason!
In croydon, there are some good areas to live. With a boy at Trinity, the Whitgift Estate or Adiscombe would be a great location with an easy walk. Also, the Croham area of South Croydon and Sanderstead is lovely. Central Croydon is not so nice, but it is a big area with lots of different “flavours”.
If you’re near the trams, the journey to London is quick, so plenty of opportunities for culture etc.
I have minimal knowledge of the schools, however, just from eading through your post it seem as if DC is the one to go for. Usually, people have the gut feeling and they need someone to tell them the choice is right - not a criticism, I am the same.
Thankyou Whippet and riding really appreciate the feedback. I think you may be onto something riding, it's not tangible, just gut feel that makes me kind of love DC! The only thing that makes me hesitate is that it's all boys and ds has always been keen on co-ed. That and the fact that we get less space for our money in Dulwich as compared to Croydon or Brighton, but it's a minor consideration. Agree though, I think often you have a gut feel and you just need someone to tell you it's ok to go for it! Need to get ds to make a decision too now!
You don't need to live in Dulwich for DC or Alleyns just commuting distance
From what you've said, younseem to like DC the best.
What's holding you back from just going for it?
I would go with what feels right for your child. I went to one of these schools, loved it; if he has a bad vibe about any of them, I would reject it.
DC and JAGS headteachers are very keen on collaborating in music and drama so there will be opportunities to work with the opposite sex whilst focusing on more traditional subjects/sports in a single sex environment.
This, for me at least, is the best of both worlds.
As a pp mentioned, you don't need to live in Dulwich - the West Dulwich/Sydenham Hill stations are within walking distance to the school and serve Orpington, Bromley & Beckenham. I see lots of D.C. boys on those trains and there is a lot of house for your money.
Beckenham and Crystal Palace are also a train & bus ride, respectively, from Alleyn's
Thanks all, food for thought. We are booked in for the offer holders day at A and unfortunately can't make the one at T, waiting to hear back from Dulwich and feel like we know Brighton well enough already to compare with the others. I think as some have said I will go with ds's gut feel but will let him take another look first before we decide. Thanks so much for your advice!
We live in SW11 and my son gets the Foundation coach to DC. Plenty of boys use the coaches, which are an additional cost but widen your choice of locations. Feel free to pm me with any questions you may have re the school, I'll be happy to answer.
If he is into theatre and drama, stay in London.
An Out of school Youth Theatre run by one of the well-known theatres will often offer a more valuable experience for someone with a commented interest than school anyway.
Ds is at DC. It just felt like the right school for him when we were doing all the tours - I know exactly what your son means, they make a massive effort to appeal to the boys and to attract them.
DS is v happy there - I sometimes feel the school is too big (pretty massive from year 9) but he still says he would make the same decision if he had to choose again.
Of his friends, I'd say the split in terms of local kids/school coach kids/public transport kids is pretty even. The coaches come in from all around and are a relatively good deal. But places such as Chislehurst are well connected by train - and give you better value for money.
FWIW I also have a DC at Alleyns. Agree the Head can be rather OTT - and can give the impression that you'd be lucky to get in. But once there it feels calmer and pretty friendly. The drama and music seem pretty inclusive. The smaller size definitely lends a cosier atmosphere than DC IMO.
2 more things while I think about it!
Offer holder days - we ignored those and made individual appointments to revisit the schools we were interested in. We found it was the only way to make the final decision - comparing the schools directly.
Gut feel - ultimately this has to be the basis of your decision. If you are leaning strongly one way then you have to go with that.
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