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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:22 pm 
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Hi All,

we live in Bexley and are considering indies for son after he narrowly missed 11 plus selective score. Anyone have any views on St Dunstans, Bishop Challoner, Farringtons or Eltham and admissions procedure.

Ideally want a school that can keep him focused within easy commuting from Chislehurst, Sidcup or Eltham.

thanks


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:13 pm 
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I assume you are looking for next September? You need to check the closing dates for applications. The schools will all have an exam followed by an interview.

Well, I know children at St Dunstan's and Bishop Challoner. There is quite a difference between the schools on your list. One school I notice you haven't mentioned is Colfe's. I don't know Farringtons at all, I'm afraid. But the one thing that would concern me about Farringtons is that it has only just gone co-ed so there may not be many boys yet so not sure how well set up they are with sports etc.

Of the schools you mention Eltham is regarded as the most academic but I must admit I found it a bit snobby when I visited. Lovely building, though. :D

St Dunstan's (and Colfe's) are pretty much on a par academically (although St D's has a much nicer building - umm, bit of a theme here. :lol: ). St D's is hot on sport and has great facilities - better in that department than Colfe's in my view. I found the staff at St D's a bit cold and the children a bit untidy but the boy I know who has just started there really loves it. He is very sporty so it suits him well. St D's is in a hideous location, though, but they run buses from all over so I don't suppose the children have to brave the horrors of Catford too often. I thought they had a good boy-girl ratio (more so than Colfe's which appeared to me to be a bit boy heavy :? ).

Bishop Challoner is quite a different beast - it is very small - only 40 in a year so the opportunities for sport and extra-curricular stuff are naturally more limited than in a big school. It is also Catholic and they give preference to Catholic children. About half the pupils are non-Catholics but they have to be prepared to join in with stuff. A friend's ds has just started there - he is small, quiet and totally non-sporty and he is enjoying it. I visited the school with my friend and was really quite taken with it. All of the staff were approachable and friendly and it struck me as a very nurturing environment. It's results were better than I expected as it is not particularly selective. My ds is at a much more selective school and the work he is doing is at the same level as my friend's ds at BC.

It really depends on what you are looking for and what is important to you. is a good boy-girl ratio important? Is your ds sporty or musical or into drama or whatever? You need to visit all of the schools to get a feel for which one might be the best fit. Good luck!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 2:22 pm 
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LazyDaisy wrote:
But the one thing that would concern me about Farringtons is that it has only just gone co-ed so there may not be many boys yet so not sure how well set up they are with sports etc.


Hi there,

Went to see Farringtons and I think its a very lovely school. I believe the closing date for application will be soon as the tests are third week in Nov. We were told the test is used to stream the kids into classes.
I liked the school, they do have extensive facilities and the boy/girl ratio for last year entry was almost 50/50 which is good for a school that has just gone co-ed.
We will definitely have considered it for our dc if she did not get through the 11+ and we were confident she will have been happy there.

I think all in all you should visit all the schools as soon as you can as closing dates for applications are fast approaching.

Good luck


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:55 am 
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Thanks everyone for your replies. My ds is quite bright but makes silly mistakes sometimes and he may have lost marks on the 11 plus. He needs to be nurtured and to be kept focused (too much energy).

From your posts and what I have seen, my shortlist are Bishop Challoner, Farringtons and St Dunstans. I quite like St Dunstans but it is very expensive. It would be good if they take all abilities just in case he messes up the test. He will surely do well in the test but if St D look for very high scores in the entrance exam, he may not get in, added to that its expensive. I like the small setting and pastoral care of St D and Farringtons is equally nice. Will apply for all three.

thanks again


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:02 am 
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Lazy Daisy,

Just to add, my ds does like sports football(very good) and tennis(not so good) but loves all sports. As for the good boy/girl ratio not really bothered if he goes to a single or co-ed school.

As for Colfes, their GCSE results for 2009 seemed quite low, hence I did not consider it.

thanks again


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:26 am 
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Hi Lefol,
I think you'll find that St Dunstan's takes quite a range of abilities as do the other two schools you mention.

St Dunstan's used to run exam preparation classes on Saturdays in November or December - it might be worth asking if they still do this. You have to pay, obviously - if I recall correctly it was something like £100 for 3 or 4 classes.

St D's is quite expensive - more expensive than my ds's school which gets better results and has facilities that are just as good (if not better in some instances). I've always felt that St D's was a bit over-priced but no doubt others consider it good value.

BC is the cheapest of the three but that is because they don't have the upkeep of fancy sporting facilities! They do football etc in the NatWest sports ground near New Beckenham and athletics at Norman Park plus they use a gym in The Glades. I think they do swimming at The Spa. Fencing is really big there.

I'm impressed by blessedmum's statement that Farringtons managed a 50/50 ratio for their first intake of boys!

Good luck Lefol!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:07 pm 
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Just a thought, but you may find that the Colfes' results were low because some of their students take the IGCSE (International GCSE) in maths, which although considered more rigorous, is not recognised in the league tables. It might be worth checking with them whether this is the case.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:48 pm 
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Colfe's results are definitely down in published league tables due to taking IGCSE which are not published - please be assured their A-C GCSE incl Maths + English will be 100%.

(BTW - Glad to see that LazyD's opinion on St. Dunstans has changed since her damning indictemnt of last year !! )


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:08 pm 
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:lol: 2boydad!!!

Yes I went to see St D's again with a friend (don't know if you saw a thread I had earlier this year re 13+ places). The building, which I think I had formerly mocked as depressing (or something equally dire), appeared completely different. Did they do something to the front of the school? I'm sure it used to have a high wall at the front or did I imagine that?

Not surprisingly I prefer my ds's school to St D's (it's cheaper for a start :D ) but yes, my views have softened significantly! I still don't like Catford, though. :D :D :D

Always happy to modify my opinions in the light of new evidence! :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:54 pm 
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Laisy Daisy what school does your ds go to? I quite like Bishop Challoner and St Dunstans, thanks for the info as well on exam prep. My ds has started preparing for both. Thanks also boydad for the info on Colfes, I will look at their website this evening. My wife is totally against the whole indie idea(grounds for divorce!!) ... do not think i can compromise on sending ds to the local schools which are performing at 40%, hope you all agree


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