Eltham or Alleyns or Dulwich

(51 Posts)
user1489589564 Thu 05-Dec-19 14:56:01

Hi all

DS is aiming for all the three in sep 2020 start.

for us nearest is Eltham. Regardless of that, which one do you all think is the best we should go for?


OP’s posts: |
WellTidy Thu 05-Dec-19 14:59:59

I can only give a view based on experience of Eltham. Ds joined this year into the senior school (year 7). He is really enjoying it and we are impressed so far. Good pastoral care, good integration with the boys coming through from the junior school, excellent communication, half termly reports, great exposure to different sport and art and drama and music. Form teacher and head of lower school very much on the ball.

From September 2020, Eltham is accepting girls in year 7.

pettswoodmumof3 Thu 05-Dec-19 15:33:15

I have a boy at Eltham juniors and he will be staying for senior school. The school is fantastic. You still matter as a parent in this school and results are excellent. I think GCSE and A level results are on par at Eltham and Dulwich College. DC is bigger and has more impressive grounds. Eltham is smaller and more personal. Teaching at Eltham is outstanding. Parents are properly listened to and action taken accordingly. Alleyns is apparently much harder and more unpredictable to get into. As a result the results are better as they get to cherry pick the brightest. I would go with whatever school your son gets the best feeling from after he has been through the process. If he is bright he will get a string of 9s in all 3 schools.

pettswoodmumof3 Thu 05-Dec-19 15:40:48

Sorry forgot to say I have lots of friends with boys at Eltham in the senior school and they are all very happy with it. I get the impression that it is a more local school than the Dulwich schools so lots of children from Blackheath and Chislehurst/Bromley - basically surrounding areas. I think this makes socialising easier in teenage years and trust me when I say there is plenty of homework given current rigorous GSCEs and A levels. But I also know people with kids at the Dulwich schools who are happy. So I really don’t think you can go wrong with any of these schools and your DS is very lucky that you can provide this fantastic educational experience for him.

MrsPatmore Thu 05-Dec-19 16:05:22

All three schools are very good. Eltham is smaller and seen as a 'back up' school but it will become more competitive as girls are starting soon so there may not be as many boys places. Dulwich is more prestigious but the boys are more scattered. Same with Alleyns (most competitive of these 3). I think journey and local friends are really important so would go for EC especially if your ds liked it there.

Notmynom Thu 05-Dec-19 22:58:34

Eltham was really high up in the recent Times league tables. It came in 30th place. Alleyns was at 49 and DC at 53.

chalkyc2 Fri 06-Dec-19 08:40:28

'Best' in what way? Best for academics? Best for rugby? Best for co-curricular??

Three v different schools! As you know Eltham is transitioning to co-Ed next year, DC all boys and Alleyns fully mixed. Alleyns doesn't play rugby, the other two don't really play football.

I wouldn't say Eltham is a back up option any more - I think this year is going to be scarily competitive with 60+ juniors coming up and they will want a good number of girls coming in too.

EnidAlexandraRollins Fri 06-Dec-19 08:48:23

I have a son at Eltham. I have nothing but good things to say about it. It's not perfect because nowhere is but I agree that parents are listened to and the school is definitely on an upward trajectory from an already pretty good base. I think Mr Sanderson is a really excellent headmaster who leads the school well. I also think for an all boys school they do pastoral care exceptionally well if that is something that is important to you!

Alleyn's is clearly an amazing school and I loved the quirkiness of it but I found it to have a really specific "type" of student in the main (just as a parent looking round on a few separate occasions). Having said that, I know 5 or so parents with children there who are happy with the school. However, their children are all the "type" I mean so I guess that figures...!

Daddeee Fri 06-Dec-19 17:12:02

@EnidAlexandraRollins I was curious what do you mean by Alleyn's specific "type" of student

EnidAlexandraRollins Fri 06-Dec-19 17:42:35

I think the perception of the monoculturality at Alleyns has been covered at length on many previous threads here.

For me as well there seems to be a slightly self-consciously manufactured eccentricity on the part of some students I have come across.

Again, I am at great pains to point out as per my previous post that this is just from the point of view of a parent who has looked round the school on 3 different open day type occasions and knowing 4 or 5 families who go there pretty well. It is NOT based on in-depth knowledge of the school!

As with all views/opinions it is a subjective one.

Daddeee Sat 07-Dec-19 17:54:15

Thank you

DarlingOscar Sun 08-Dec-19 17:56:19

League tables are meaningless unless the only thing you are interested in is exam results.

Historically, Eltham was seen as a back up option but Sanderson is a very ambitious head and the whole culture seems to be changing?

Going co Ed will mean very few places available for boys in the 2020 11+ so ironically it may be easier to get into DC.

DC is way bigger than Eltham so has a few more minority sports and academic choices on offer.

Alleyns definitely does have a type- lots of luvvies and arty types. But the monocultural thing hasn’t been true for ages. Football not rugby for boys and fixtures eminently duckable for the non sporty- unlike at DC.

You just have to choose the culture you like best- all 3 are great schools and all 3 have big intakes from the area near Eltham College.

Do check the Dulwich schools bus routes out though- from Greenwich/Blackheath/Chislehurst/Bromley it’s easy but Eltham/Mottingham is harder.

PM if you like?

chalkyc2 Thu 12-Dec-19 10:11:35

Apparently applications from boys up 25% this year at Eltham in addition to applications from girls...😬

NewElthamMum13 Thu 12-Dec-19 13:13:43

I have boys at Eltham, and have done for several years. One in sixth form and one in senior school currently. I've been really pleased with the pastoral care, sport and music, and academic support. There are some excellent teachers and, as with any school, some that are so-so. My sons have felt mostly well-supported academically and I've always been able to contact teachers if I've had any questions. The teachers seem to work very hard to me. There are some teachers who really go the extra mile, taking the kids to academic competitions etc. The music department has historically been very strong. Sport - it's great for rugby, hockey and cricket, swimming, fencing. They do offer football of sorts (Brazilian Futbal I think) but don't seem to have competitive football. They have a climbing wall which is very popular.
Academically their results are similar to or above Dulwich and Alleyn's, depending on which measures you're looking at, but my feeling is it's less socially exclusive. Maybe I'm wrong, but Eltham doesn't feel 'posh' to me. When my Eltham boys go to Dulwich for sports matches they have come back talking about how good the buildings and food are, and how fancy the whole place is. But for us, it wouldn't be worth the journey as I don't want them to spend ages travelling, and tbh for me, I send my kids to school for the education and the quality of life, not for the social networking side. I like the fact that they have schoolfriends who live locally, rather than having to travel miles to get together with their mates from school. I've no prior experience of independent schools so may not be aware of things which others consider important. There are teachers at Eltham who speak very frankly to the children about how privileged they are, which I think is great.

One of my DC went to St Olave's Grammar for sixth form (he was not at Eltham before) and he and his brother at Eltham felt that the quality of life at Eltham was much better, in terms of relationships with teachers and the way Eltham is flexible, not too rule-bound. I had hoped that my other boys would go to grammar schools for sixth form, but they've pleaded to stay at Eltham. I've spent some time poring over local school outcomes and it seems to me that Eltham is less selective than the grammar schools (there are boys who didn't pass the grammar school 11+ there) and yet gets better results than all the grammar schools, with the possible exception of St Olave's Grammar, which is super-selective, and in that case it depends which measure you look at.

Pastoral care is brilliant - there are 2 full-time nurses and a wellbeing centre. You can go and see the nurses at any time if you need a chat or feel unwell, and the nurses can overrule anyone in the school, including sports teachers! One parent told me that her son, who had ASD, used to often go to see the nurses for a chat and juice and biscuits at break and lunchtime, for some ad-hoc counselling. The boys all love the wellbeing staff. The nurses take the sex education classes and these are apparently hilarious and very informative - I was so impressed by how well it was all handled. Loads on positive masculinity, consent workshops etc . When the 'cup of tea' consent video was doing the rounds, the nurses were on it - the boys have to watch that once a year apparently!
There are some children who've had challenging behaviour and the school seems to keep them wherever possible. It's very rare for someone to be kicked out and I've only heard of it happening after multiple chances.
On the downside - the boys are worried about how going co-ed will change the school. The older boys valued the freedom of the school but the current teacher responsible for behaviour/discipline is very strict and has, eg, banned various boisterous games that the boys were playing at break, and has become more strict all round. It seems to be becoming more 'normal' , whereas they've valued the fact that it has been an old-fashioned school.

DarlingOscar Thu 12-Dec-19 14:05:27

Interesting post @NewElthamMum13

DC certainly has the most impressive campus of the 3 - am not sure that makes it 'posh' though? All 3 schools have very generous bursary schemes - the historic charitable foundations behind them make it possible.

Guy Sanderson is very very ambitious for Eltham. He offered very very generous scholarships to attract as may very bright boys as he could as soon as he arrived - hence Eltham is now leaping up the league tables.

We just weren't very keen on his style at the end of the day. We didn't choose the schools we did because of any social networking advantages. Genuinely the schools were a better fit for our kids at the time we chose them.

The Alleyns head is moving on -might be something worth keeping an eye on if that's a school you like the look of? Bound to bring a change in culture over the next few years?

Lightsabre Thu 12-Dec-19 14:53:14

Where is the Alleyns Head going *@DarlingOscar? * We liked him!

DarlingOscar Thu 12-Dec-19 15:14:05


After years of proclaiming co ed to be the best way to educate kids he's had a sudden change of heart! grin

chalkyc2 Thu 12-Dec-19 18:56:31

@pettswoodmumof3 - I think the days of eltham accepting boys that didn't pass the local 11+ are over - it's going to be super competitive this year. My youngest is in the junior sch and eldest is sitting the 11+ (having passed bexley and got to st O stage 2) and I'm really worried!!

I also think the move to co-Ed is going to change the school and it might be a weird few years.

chalkyc2 Thu 12-Dec-19 18:57:12

Sorry @pettswoodmumof3 meant to address @NewElthamMum13 - 😬😬

pettswoodmumof3 Thu 12-Dec-19 19:25:08

Chalkyc2 - your elder son will get sibling priority if he wants eltham and decides against olaves/doesn’t pass stage 2 for whatever reason. Olaves is a great school too but it will be easier to get the top grades at Eltham and fit all the extra curricular in too. The value added at eltham is excellent. I know boys who weren’t that academic but ended up with pretty much all 9s due to being at Eltham. There is a lot of homework from Year 9 onwards.

chalkyc2 Thu 12-Dec-19 19:35:11

He really wants Eltham - fingers crossed!!

NewElthamMum13 Thu 12-Dec-19 21:25:58

@DarlingOscar DC certainly has the most impressive campus of the 3 - am not sure that makes it 'posh' though?

I didn't phrase that well, sorry! I meant that many people have heard of Dulwich College. It's a renowned public school and has lots of famous alumni. Socially it's going to be different from Eltham, which is not at all famous!
I agree with @pettswoodmumof3 - the value added at Eltham is amazing and I'd love to see them publish stats on this.
One of my DC didn't pass the in - year Bexley test in yr 9; he'd been in a different system before and hadn't covered the standard curriculum. Mr Sanderson arranged for him to take an extra test assessing potential rather than just using their standard entry tests at the time (I think this is standard now). He had good support to help him settle in at Eltham and he's thrived, loved the place, really enjoyed many subjects, and came out of it with excellent GCSEs (scuse proud mother moment!). Some of the year didn't meet the requirements for sixth form entry, but they let them stay anyway. It's certainly not a question of just cherry-picking the students, though as others have said, it may well be getting more competitive.

chalkyc2 Fri 03-Jan-20 10:02:11

Eltham exam today! I'm a bit stressed! Good luck to all others involved!

hairloss39 Wed 22-Jan-20 14:34:24

And how was the exam?

chalkyc2 Wed 22-Jan-20 18:30:04

I think it was ok @hairloss39 - did your DC do it too? Eltham is going to be so competitive this year as apparently there were double the usual number of applicants and the school need to ensure a reasonable cohort of girls.

Results are out just before half term so we shall see!

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