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Anyone have kids at St Dunstan’s or Colfe’s?

(17 Posts)
Petran Mon 21-Jan-19 17:24:23

Interested to hear your views and experience as looking to send my son (11) to one of them. But both seem lovely.
Pros and Cons would be really useful if anyone has a spare moment.
Thank you!

OP’s posts: |
isa2 Tue 22-Jan-19 00:10:50

Year 7 at St Dunstan's
Pros
Very friendly, older kids nice to younger
Very SE London- diverse, not too posh (As far as that's possible for a.private school)..Most new year 7s seem to be from fairly local primaries, especially round Dulwich and Forest Hill.
Teaching is mostly pretty stimulating - emphasis on skills like learning to write.well, critical thinkimg
Wide extra curricular programme with a 90 minute lunch break for activities, hard not to engage with at least a couple of things, residential.adventure week.and then arts festival after exams.in summer
Keen young leadership team, improving performance
Very musical head - school.music is being reinvigorated it seems

Cone
Quality of.communication.with parents not great sometimes - working.out details.of school.events etc can be quite confusing
(though they seem.to be trying to improve currently)
Quite a few teachers are very young (good and bad).and staff turnover has been quite high.

Generally would recommend - most kids seem very happy there..But i think similar things could probably be said of Colfe's - would have thought if one is clearly bettet geographically for you, it would.be good to go.for.that one.

jessstan2 Tue 22-Jan-19 03:21:17

I had one at Colfe's, left now. Ask away though I may not be up to date.
My husband also went to Colfe's when it was a direct grant grammar.

Petran Thu 24-Jan-19 11:26:24

Thank you isa - that’s incredibly helpful of you!
Jess - I was wondering what Colfe’s policy is with kids who aren’t doing so well. Do they support internally to get them up to speed? Do you know if there is a policy of children not being able to progress to the next year if they don’t achieve certain results - ie they have to move schools?
I’ve heard that can be the policy at St D’s? ISA?
Anyone any knowledge in that area?
My feeling is my son should be fine academically -but I don’t want the stress of him having to move schools again should that not be the case.
If that makes sense?

OP’s posts: |
WellTidy Thu 24-Jan-19 14:28:23

Very interested too, as DS has just interviewed for both (11+).

isa2 Thu 24-Jan-19 16:02:13

I think this is a good question to ask the school before making a firm decision. St Dunstan's do say from the outset that it's not automatic to progress to I think year 10, nor is moving to the sixth form automatic (the latter is pretty normal, I think). There are certainly people around (notably on Mumsnet!) who are unhappy about the year 10 filter, and I can see their point. However, my impression, especially from friends with older kids is that it's pretty uncommon to be asked to leave at that point, and a large majority of kids stay at least through to GCSEs, at which point there is a fair amount of movement generally. No idea whether Colfe's do something similar.

Regarding which of the two to go for - there seem to be lots of St D kids who come from just around the school, or to the west and the south - not that many from further east in Blackheath, Greenwich, Hither Green etc., at least in year 7, so I get the sense that Colfe's and St D's are fairly comparable schools that have almost each developed there catchment areas in which you'll find lots of pupils.

zonegran23 Mon 13-Jan-20 20:22:11

Son has interviews at St Dunstan’s and Colfe’s. Are they similar on league tables and atmosphere ? I like them both as does my DS.

DarlingOscar Wed 15-Jan-20 08:48:18

Very similar schools just serving different catchment areas?

League table positions (if you place importance on that) can be easily found online.

MumInScramble Thu 16-Jan-20 19:03:19

Does anyone know how many are invited to interview at Colfe's? Was surprised to hear there were over 100 boys for the sports assessment alone. Wondering what the interview success rate is sad

chalkyc2 Thu 16-Jan-20 20:57:14

Wow were there that many?! My DS said there were a lot - and loads more boys than girls. I'm afraid I don't know how many they interview - didn't the head say something at the pick up talk? I vaguely remember he said something like they interview the majority but could be wrong - why would they?!?

Bluerussian Thu 16-Jan-20 21:05:24

Not now but mine did go to Colfe's. It was good. He could have gone to Dunstan's but preferred Colfe's, it was a bit nearer to us too. Plus his dad was an old Colfeian.

I don't know where you live precisely but we are in the borough of Greenwich bordering Bromley. One bus would have taken our son to St Olave's in Orpington and another 'bus that goes up our road, to Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammer school in Bexley which is co-educational. I know at least four young adults who were at Chis & Sid and did very well. They wouldn't cost you anything apart from the extras that everyone has to provide nowadays. However the private schools give bursaries and scholarships for able children, we had one.

Enpot2007 Thu 16-Jan-20 21:34:53

@chalkyc2 I don’t know how many are interviewed. We went through this last year and and can’t remember exactly how many took the test. I think 500 approx and I think around half or so were interviewed. Might be wrong. But I can tell you if you do really well in the test you will be given a very strong indication at the interview stage that your child will be offered a place. The sports is competitive and takes place over two rounds. Some schools will have more than 100 children doing the sports assessment.

Interviews are done well at Colfes. Don’t over prep though but be prepared to talk about a recent book read, why you want to go to Colfes and watch the news too. Good luck everyone.

MumInScramble Thu 16-Jan-20 23:07:57

Thanks for the info. Wow even half i.e. 250 interviews are a lot. Wasnt optimistic about sports scholarship..just amazed at the competitiveness even post assessment test. Guess it shows my ignorance about the whole secondary process smile

JustOneSquareofDarkChocolate Fri 17-Jan-20 15:53:44

Anyone know how many offers Colfes makes from the interview round? My DD has an interview next week.

isa2 Mon 20-Jan-20 12:10:49

I already replied when the question was asked year - but my impression as my son goes through Year 8 continues to be that St Dunstan's is a very pleasant and comfortable place in which to navigate the challenges of adolescence. Very friendly and relaxed, strongly progressive and internationally minded with constant talks on tolerance and being outward looking and kids who are pretty sympathetic to this and not sympathetic at all to any kind of bullying, a stimulating curriculum that keeps kids from the very bright to a bit above average well engaged. Very busy extra-curricular life- we've been particularly impressed to see music get markedly better under a recently appointed and very enthusiastic and engaging young director of music, with very strong support from the Head. They have pockets of disorganisation, the odd eccentric choice, and a small number of children are reportedly asked to move on after year 9 as not sufficiently academic - but mostly the kids seem to be really happy. They got a delightful recent inspection report - the inspectors seem to feel that the school leaders are achieving the goals they have set themselves:
www.isi.net/school/st-dunstan-s-college-6954
I've heard really enthusiastic reports of Colfe's from parents with kids there. Seems like they are quite similar - both cheery, busy and progressive co-ed schools for SE London kids in a kind of traditional grammar school range, rather than super-selective, though with some really clever kids. Probably a good plan to go for whichever is nearest, if there's much in it - many of the SDC kids seem to live around Brockley, Forest Hill, Dulwich, Herne Hill and to come from state primaries in those areas.

jawnz Tue 21-Jan-20 18:06:50

My kid passed both Colfes and St Dunstans exams and we've had the interviews this week. Some thoughts on both:

Colfes - 400 applicants with about 75 places available to kids who have not been to their primary school. Fairly transparent process and we liked that the kids interviews were conducted one-on-one and that all parents meet the Head (albeit for just 15 mins). My kid applied for, but didnt pass, the sports scholarship, but we have been given a strong indication that an offer will be made next month, which is nice!

St Duns - we asked, but we found info on assessment criteria abit more opaque. interview was conducted in a group of three and was apparently 'fine' (!). We met the Head of Lower school and it was more of a Q&A about the school then about our child. Sports scholarship was also applied for - we will find out the results when we are hopefully made an offer in Feb.

Overall as a family we get a good vibe from both schools and i feel confident that my child would thrive in either. Location will play a role in our potential decision. We are closer to St Duns and i like the fact that it feels like its properly 'in' London. On the other hand, Colfes feels more suburban and quieter which is also appealing!

Hope this helps - good luck to all involved

JustOneSquareofDarkChocolate Tue 21-Jan-20 20:38:00

@isa2 and @jawnz thanks for the feedback!

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