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Bromley secondaries (independent) - all nearby schools considered!

(46 Posts)
WellTidy Sat 22-Sep-18 12:13:29

Looking for views on:

Bishop Challenor, Shortlands
Farringtons, Chislehurst
Colfes, Lee
St Dunstans, Catford
Trinity, Croydon

Particularly looking for views on ease/difficulty of getting a place in year 7. DS is bright but unlikely to pass the state grammar 11 plus. We need a school that will push him academically, but with really good pastoral support. He has possibly dyspraxia and ASD tendencies, but not enough for diagnosis. He is gentle, sensitive, not at all streetwise, enjoys learning and reading and football.

OP’s posts: |
PettsWoodParadise Sat 22-Sep-18 13:57:02

DD was at Farringtons from Pre-reception to start of Y3. She still has friends there. It used to be easy to get a place but seems more and more popular. Whilst they still get a brain drain at key stages it is doing better and better every year and latest results show that despite not taking the brightest it does well. I don’t know how they select for the senior school, some of course come up from the lower school. Good pastoral care, some of the boarders can be cliquey, options for occasional boarding and the school bus service is a huge plus.

I have friends with DS’s at Trinity, the entrance test is of grammar standard but perhaps not the superselective grammar level. Good bursaries and scholarships too. They love the school and really rate it.

Eltham College might be a consideration too? It does have an entrance test but it isn’t mega hard from what I hear.

WellTidy Sat 22-Sep-18 14:14:32

Thanks PWP. I’ve passed on Eltham as the entrance exam looks really hard, and I felt after going there that there are very, very high standards for achievement academically, sportingly, musically etc. Too much pressure for DS.

Ds’ headteacher says he is bright but needs to be pushed and I’m not sure he would be at farr8ngtons. What do you think? There is an entrance exam but no past papers available. I get the 8mpression that DS would be ok, but I don’t want to be complacent.

I’ve heard the same about Trinity. Scholarship very unlikely for DS.

I really appreciate your opinion.

OP’s posts: |
PettsWoodParadise Sat 22-Sep-18 14:27:34

I don’t know how hard they push the students at Farringtons but I get the impression it has moved up a notch without losing its small class and pastoral focus.

Good luck to your DS with eleven plus - we were there three years ago and know how stressful it can be (for the parents!), fortunately DD enjoys tests and we were able to just treat it as fun. Hope your DS can focus on all the positives of choosing a new school and not get bogged down with any negatives.

WellTidy Sat 22-Sep-18 14:37:05

Thank you. Just hoping for a choice, and that he does get in somewhere! We really like Colfes, but so do many others.

OP’s posts: |
LadyLapsang Sat 22-Sep-18 15:02:42

I think Colfes sounds like it would be a good fit and there used to be the school bus from Bickley- I expect it still runs.

MHodge Sat 22-Sep-18 23:58:56

@WellTidy - I'm considering Colfe’s for my DS too. Many children from Bromley, Chislehurst, Beckenham etc, etc attend the school and yes, it’s a popular choice with parents in the SE London/Kent area. Somebody told me there were 500 applications for 120 Year 7 places for this academic year (2018/2019)! From what I've heard, it's a lovely school. The kids are very well behaved whenever I see them around Lee commuting to and from the school. I used to take my son to swimming there at weekends and although I haven't been inside the main school building, I'm really impressed with the sports facilities and the acres of greenspace Colfe’s has which is unusual for an inner London school! I've walked passed the new 6th form centre and it looks really impressive! Very bright and modern! I've heard Colfe’s have now upped their game academically and are now really pushing their 6th form students hard to study at Russell group unis/Oxbridge/Medicine etc, etc. Colfe’s is certainly one of the top choices for my DS!

LadyLapsang Sun 23-Sep-18 10:46:38

I liked the social mix at Colfes. Lots of first time users of independent education. Generous bursaries for those in need. Attracts parents who want their children to have a good rounded education, but I didn't find it an academic hot house. Thankfully, doesn't seem to attract those who are seeking to buy social advantage. Definitely moving up the academic league tables.

LadyLapsang Sun 23-Sep-18 10:55:49

Bishop Challoner used to be less academically selective than Colfes so might be worth considering for a back up.

WellTidy Sun 23-Sep-18 12:20:02

Thanks both. I agree that colfes seems to do everything well, and is very down to earth. Just hoping DS is offered a place as I think he would be very happy there. Farringtons and Bishop Challenor are schools that I see as back ups, but I really don’t want to be complacent as we def8nitely don’t want to be without any school place at all.

MHodge DH went to the open morning yesterday and the head said that they offer way more places than are accepted (I would imagine that there are waves of offers) as for many people, colfes will be a back up. That’s not to say that it isn’t competitive. He was very matter of fact and humorous about it. DH liked him very much.

OP’s posts: |
LadyLapsang Sun 23-Sep-18 15:44:39

Colfes used to lose a few to St Olaves, and the Kent grammars in Yr 7, not many but enough to open up a few extra places.

beautifulgirls Sun 23-Sep-18 20:36:37

I have girls at Farringtons and am very happy, experience of junior and senior there. Older DD is quite academic and I feel gets a good education but they definitely have a good mix of ability in the years and cater well for all in my experience. Pastoral support is good and has been needed by us but with good effect in both senior and juniors. Yes, there are more applications than ever there but they are not super selective about ability and look for a good fit in the school.

WellTidy Mon 24-Sep-18 09:22:46

Thank you beautiful girls. I am glad your girls are happy at Farringtons. I have heard very good things about the level of inclusivity and pastoral care. Academically, do you think they push children? DS is bright, but needs to be pushed. I don't want him to coast.

OP’s posts: |
Urbanvoltaire Tue 25-Sep-18 22:38:45

My ds is at st dunstans, so far so good. He has slotted into a friendship group ok and is enjoying his start to year 7. I'm told it's now a v sought after school because it's co-ed so its getting competitive to get idea how true this is though. Open day is on sat morning. Re pastoral care, there is a new building being opened which is specifically for pastoral care, supporting all kinds of issues, worries, challenges, open to all. Hth and good luck.

Seeline Wed 26-Sep-18 09:24:33

My Ds is at Trinity, which I can thoroughly recommend. He started in Y6 there, so didn't do the 11+ thing, but I think your DS would need to be at that sort of level.
Their open day is om 6/10 so it might be worth a visit. You could speak to their Learning Support Team re. SEN requirements.
I think they are very good with the sensitive boys, and do push the boys without undue pressure.

MrsPatmore Wed 26-Sep-18 10:57:29

All of these schools are good for pastoral care and a non pushy environment. A lot of the children from ds primary that didn't pass the 11 plus ended up at Colfe's, St Dunstans or Farringtons. Colfe's is raising its game academically though so may be getting harder to gain a place but they also look for talent.

turboturtle Wed 26-Sep-18 22:26:24

I met the head from Colfe's a couple years ago year and I was impressed by him, but I've never visited the school.
He appeared to be a straight talker - didn't things gloss over. I remember someone I was with asking him about SEN and he openly admitted that his school can cater for mild cases, but didn't have the resources for anything more than that.
I think that he mentioned that he was a governor of a state school in the nearby area, who had a much better provision for SEN.
He said that the current selection process needs to be improved, but was also mindful that the measure of 'how many of his leavers went on to Oxbridge' is all that some people see when looking at a school, and this is not necessarily the best measure.
As @Seeline said - I think Trinity is a great school, but it is down to the individual. Would you or your DS prefer co-ed or all boys?

isa2 Thu 27-Sep-18 18:02:15

My academically bright son (got into superselective grammar Wilson's, though surprisingly not Trinity at interview) has also just started St Dunstan's. Comms to parents are a bit disorganized, but he is really enjoying the teaching and feels he has no uninteresting lessons, is doing loads of extra-curricular stuff that seems to be of good quality, and is having a very happy time socially, in quite a relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere (most new kids seem to be from SE London state schools). Friendly parents too - seems like a pleasant place so far if you don't particularly want a hothouse.

calpop Fri 28-Sep-18 16:29:27


My ds is in y9 at Trinity. He isn't overly academic (didn't pass the Sutton grammars), more sporty. I still feel it is the right school for him and he loves it.

Rebecca36 Fri 28-Sep-18 16:34:56

You've forgotten Eltham College (which is not in Eltham). That's very good.

Mine went to Colfe's.

I know some who went to Challoner's and received a gentle education, their results are decent but not at the same level as the above two. However it is a lovely school.

Farringtons (which I think joined up with Stratford House) used to be known as the local St Trinians but I don't know what it is like now.

Bromley High School is great, girls only.

Rebecca36 Fri 28-Sep-18 17:39:48

Eltham College, Colfe's and St Dunstans all have their own entrance exam which is not easy but many children don't do the 11+ in their area so the schools have to be able to assess their capabilities. Challoners also have an entrance exam but not quite as hard.

MrsPatmore Fri 28-Sep-18 18:55:01

EC turning co-ed next year I think.

Rebecca36 Sat 29-Sep-18 00:07:12

Ah, I thought it already was co-ed, I'm obviously not up to date.
Colfe's has been co-ed for a very long time.
Both schools are highly academic.

I wonder if the op would consider a grammar school. Newstead Wood and St Olaves are selective and on same level academic as EC and Colfe's but there is Chislehurst and Sidcup, a very good co-ed grammar. I've known children who went there and were very happy, also did well.

I wond

Rebecca36 Sat 29-Sep-18 00:07:49

Sorry about the spare 'I wond' at the end of above post.

MrsPatmore Sat 29-Sep-18 06:42:28

I think you'll find that Newtead Woods and St Olaves are super selective Grammar schools ie no catchment, 1 place for every 10 children applying. Their academic standards/achievements are far higher than Colfe's/EC etc. The children we know at Farmington's/Colfe's/EC mostly didn't pass the 'normal' 11+ so unfortunately wouldn't have stood a chance of getting into the super selectives.

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