Alderbrook vs Ravenstone

8 posts
goldeneye
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2020
Options:
Share this post on:

Alderbrook vs Ravenstone

Postby goldeneye » Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:00 pm

Hi all, keen to get your views on these two local schools in Balham.Our child is currently at Alderbrook nursery which she absolutely adores and has lots of friends there who will be applying for a place in reception. I’m also a fan but having recently attended an open day at Ravenstone, I feel conflicted about where she should go next. I was really impressed with Ravenstone’s focus on ensuring every child achieves his/her full potential. Children are assessed at every level and either challenged or supported according to their ability or needs. I’m not sure I get the same feeling about the style of teaching at Alderbrook where the focus is more on the soft skills and inclusive learning. That said, Alderbrook has a terrific new headteacher who is still making his mark. Be great to get the thoughts of any parents with children at either of these schools.
Thank you
Post Reply
IoanaB
Posts: 9
Joined: Dec 2019
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Alderbrook vs Ravenstone

Postby IoanaB » Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:38 pm

I do not know anything about Ravenstone. However, I would agree with your intuition that Alderbrook does not have a way of accommodating high achieving children, does not differentiate by ability in any way and I am not sure that they have the resources or experience to offer a strong enough curriculum. 
The teachers, the head teacher, the administration, the children, the entire community are all wonderful and so generous. But I did not at all feel like this is a rigorous academic school. It is just a fun and very inclusive community. 
Post Reply
goldeneye
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2020
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Alderbrook vs Ravenstone

Postby goldeneye » Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:20 pm

Thanks @IoanaB, appreciate you taking the time to share your pov. That is the impression I get too.
Post Reply
JoClaphamMum
Posts: 21
Joined: Dec 2018
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Alderbrook vs Ravenstone

Postby JoClaphamMum » Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:55 pm

Ravenstone is a fantastic school. We were all set to send our daughter to an indie and I had visited numerous state schools around Balham/Clapham, including Honeywell, but Ravenstone really stood out for us. We ended up on the waiting list and got a place over the summer so decided to send our little one there.

The head is absolutely phenomenal. Very engaged in ensuring the school is continuously improving and that the children are thriving, challenged and happy.

The teachers we have met are all very experienced, have been with the school for a long time and are very interested in how each child can progress.

The PTA is great, very engaged and we are lucky enough to raise quite a lot of money to re-invest in the school.

A lot of the leavers go to selective state secondaries and independent schools (I believe they have the list of destinations on their website).

So far, we have been really happy. Of course we cannot comment on Alderbrook but we really recommend Ravenstone.
Post Reply
sid_seal
Posts: 82
Joined: Sep 2014
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Alderbrook vs Ravenstone

Postby sid_seal » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:07 pm

I have no experience of Ravenstone, but I don't agree with Ioana's view regarding Alderbrook's lack of academic rigour; having read Jo's post on Ravenstone it actually looks like the two schools are very similar in the way they nurture and challenge all children.

I have a scientific background, and I am impressed with the way they develop the children's problem solving skills and how they teach them to "think scientifically". Children are assessed and monitored continuously, but without much stress, and I have always been pleased with how all teachers knew my children and what worked best with each one of them; in each activity there are always extra challenges for children to stretch themselves. They nurture a love for reading, and if you look at some of the older children's writing it's impressive. 

And yes, as you have probably seen already it's a fantastic, diverse community. Even in the "big school" across the road from Early Years all teachers and staff know all children, who are greeted with a smile on their way in. 

If your daughter is happy in nursery I would keep her for reception. We did the same years ago and we have no regrets at all. However, if you have any concerns do make an appointment with Mr Weal or attend one of his coffee mornings; he is always very welcoming and genuinely listens to people's concerns.
Post Reply
goldeneye
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2020
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Alderbrook vs Ravenstone

Postby goldeneye » Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:07 pm

Thanks all, really appreciate you taking the time to contribute your views.

@JoClaphamMum - we were really impressed with the headteacher too. I went on school tours for all the state schools around the Balham area and for me, Ravenstone and Henry Cavendish, really stood out, although we have practically nil chance of getting into HC because of the very small catchment.

@sid_seal - it's great to get a different perspective too. On the basis of the school tour, I got the impression that Ravenstone was far more focused on academic achievement than Alderbrook. Good idea re raising concerns with Mr Weal. Thank you.
Post Reply
TheAlderbrookHead
Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2018
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Alderbrook vs Ravenstone

Postby TheAlderbrookHead » Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:15 pm

Hi all,Firstly, thank you for those kind words about me and the staff – and I totally agree, there is an amazing community here at Alderbrook.I would like to address one thing that I have heard whispers of.  Please don’t mistake a focus on ‘soft skills’ as an alternative to rigorous academic achievement.  We know from a wealth of research that academic achievement cannot be achieved without a firm grounding.  The focus on ‘soft skills’ is designed to allow children to achieve their full potential, academic or otherwise. The changes I have made to the curriculum since I started here have all been to raise attainment and there has been a notable focus on academic attainment across KS2 (Years 3 – 6, the focus on attainment in the Early Years and KS1 has also been high). However, I have a lot of respect for Mr Croft and what he has done with Ravenstone – essentially, you’re spoilt for choice J
Post Reply
goldeneye
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2020
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Alderbrook vs Ravenstone

Postby goldeneye » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:14 pm

Many thank for your response Mr Weal and for explaining the academic approach at Alderbrook. We had a school tour late last year (not with you) and didn’t feel this was adequately covered. There have only been positive noises since you joined the school as head and as you say, the changes you have made have had a noticeable impact on attainment and the broader feel-good factor of the school. We are indeed spoilt for choice in Balham and this is why making a decision is proving so difficult!
Post Reply