Thoughts on Dolphin School

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CHS11
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Thoughts on Dolphin School

Postby CHS11 » Sat Aug 26, 2023 9:19 am

Morning!

I was wondering if anyone out there had any children at Dolphin School on Northcote Road. We are thinking of sending our little girl there next year. I appreciate it’s a small school which I really like but wondered if people consider it to be very academic or very creative? If I am honest I would like an all round school.

The other element that some peoples mention is that it’s quite a religious school. What exactly does that mean? Is it weaved into every day learning?

Any guidance would be warmly welcomed. My little girl can be a little shy but once comfortable opens up, she is very kind and caring. Loves being outside and looking after animals. She is increasing switched on with an old head on her shoulders many day. I’m trying to find a school that will nurture those elements in her but I’m finding it hard.

Thank you for your time. 🙏
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millivanilli
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Re: Thoughts on Dolphin School

Postby millivanilli » Sun Aug 27, 2023 5:05 pm

Hi! My son and daughter go to Dolphin school and we think it is wonderful! If you have a child who is academic and creative, Dolphin would be perfect for them. The teaching is excellent (Dolphin just received ‘Excellent’ for its recent ISI report which is definitively worth reading) and lots of the Year 6 children go onto some very academic Secondary Schools, so we feel like Dolphin does a really good job of preparing them for the 11+ exams.

We love the small class sizes - the children really are well known by the teachers, who are able to support them or extend them depending on what they need. It is creative throughout the curriculum too - wonderful art dept, lots of drama opportunities, DT days, whole school creative theme days, opportunities to enter art competitions eg with the RCA. Wonderful music too with various string and woodwind ensembles, choirs etc. And one of our favourite things about Dolphin is the children spending their break times up on Wandsworth Common, being out in nature, experiencing the seasons, with lots of time for play. Both my kids love their break times where they can spend time with other classes and year groups.

Yes it is a Christian school, so the weekly assembly on Friday morning has a Bible-based theme, but it’s not pushy and we think that it provides our children with strong moral foundations which we think are so important in this world, particularly in preparation for senior school life. We love it! Hope that helps! x
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CHS11
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Re: Thoughts on Dolphin School

Postby CHS11 » Sun Aug 27, 2023 7:31 pm

Thank you so much that’s incredibly detailed and helpful indeed. We are due to see the school in September, I understand it’s definitely becoming a more popular choice. Which might be down to the newish head. Thank you once again.
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Hello244
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Re: Thoughts on Dolphin School

Postby Hello244 » Sun Aug 27, 2023 10:08 pm

Hi, I have three children, two have been through Dolphin (and are at a London day school) and one still there.

I cannot speak more highly of the school. My children are all quite different with different strengths and interests. They have all thrived there. It is an amazingly nurturing environment where each child is valued for who they are. Academics are strong (the teaching is fabulous) but it is not pushy. Each child is encouraged to fulfil their own academic potential. My kids have loved the sport, drama and art.

It does have a religious ethos but the school has loads of non religious families too. It is a small school but has huge amounts of energy and an incredible community. It is a school where kindness is promoted and really valued. Have a look round and see what you think but we love it!

Hope that helps.
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Beachboys
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Re: Thoughts on Dolphin School

Postby Beachboys » Fri Sep 01, 2023 10:11 am

Hello, I also have three kids, two now at a London day and one still there. Dolphin has been a fantastic school for all three of them.

In answer to your first question, it's both academic and creative. The ethos is very much to celebrate each child's strengths, whether that's in maths, English, science, sport, drama, art, music, or all of the above. The focus on academics is core, and the school is small enough that all the staff know each child's abilities individually and can cater to them. The children are challenged but not pressured, if that makes sense.

But there's also the recognition that children need much more than just being pushed to pass exams, and that's what makes it such a special place. The sports provision is excellent, both competitive and nurturing, with all the children given opportunities to play and learn even if they're not naturally sporty (like my older two). Music fills the school, and there are frequent recitals and concerts to showcase the children's progress, even if they're just starting out with a new instrument, which is amazing for their confidence. My three have also really enjoyed the drama -- from Reception, all the kids get to perform on stage during assemblies, nativity plays and the end-of-year production. Again, so good for their confidence, especially for the more introverted ones like mine.  

I think the word "religious" can, these days, have a negative connotation -- that's certainly how my husband uses it, anyway. As a staunch atheist who's had a very Catholic education, I wouldn't say Dolphin is religious in that negative sense. It has a Christian ethos, which I love because the kids learn respect, compassion, kindness and all those other important life values. There's none of that "non-believers will burn in hell" stuff I had when I was in school. Rather, my kids have taken away a good knowledge of the bible (very useful for art and cultural references), the ability to think critically about everyone's beliefs including their own, and, most importantly, tolerance and understanding.

The head, his senior team and the staff are brilliant and make the school a happy place that kids (and parents!) look forward every morning to going to. I do hope you choose to take a look around. Please message if you have any more questions.   
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Colliwobble
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Re: Thoughts on Dolphin School

Postby Colliwobble » Mon Sep 04, 2023 8:32 am

Hi, I am not a Dolphin parent yet but my daughter will start Reception there next year and her personality sounds very similar to your daughter's. The other posters have given some very useful insights but I just wanted to add our reasons for choosing Dolphin - it stood out by far in terms of the warm, family environment.

Our tour of the school was taken by Y6's and, as they went around the different classrooms, they knew all the other children in all the other years by name. They all just had such a lovely rapport with each other and the school seemed to value kindness quite highly.

The only concern was the lack of outside space but through hearing what other parents have to say and a fair amount of social media stalking of the school, I am confident that there is a big focus on the outdoors.

I hope you get on well with the tour - our girls might be classmates!

And thank you to the other posters on the thread who have commented about Dolphin on other threads as well. It was really helpful hearing the parent input when we were making a decision.
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CHS11
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Re: Thoughts on Dolphin School

Postby CHS11 » Tue Sep 05, 2023 12:49 pm

Thank you so much it’s so helpful to hear thoughts from current parents. I get the feeling that not that many people know about Dolphin or even consider it. When I mentioned it to her current nursery they just said no one has ever gone to that school from us.
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CHS11
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Re: Thoughts on Dolphin School

Postby CHS11 » Tue Sep 05, 2023 12:50 pm

Thank you so so much for the offer of speaking to you. I might take you up on that after we have seen it next Thursday. Thank you once again.
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sabine11
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Re: Thoughts on Dolphin School

Postby sabine11 » Sun Mar 17, 2024 10:36 pm

I wouldn’t say that Dolphin is academic in relation to the other local independent schools. The Year 6 teacher has been preparing children for the 11+ for a long time and is good at it, but most children are also tutored in order to be prepared for the specific schools they’re applying for. Destinations after Year 6 range from the local prep schools and Thames College to Alleyns and Woldingham. Unlike some other schools around the Commons, the children don’t all end up in the top tier secondary schools. In other words, if you’re not too fussy about where your child goes next, Dolphin is fine and will give your son/daughter a good foundation. If you want to be sure to get into Kings Wimbledon or similar, you’d better go elsewhere as Dolphin doesn’t actively prepare for that sort of path.
With regards to the arts/how creative it is, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a better school around here. The Head (who will leave at the end of the year) is a former music teacher and the Deputy Head is the drama teacher, so the music and drama are outstanding. Because of the small size of the school, everyone who wants to is given the support they need to go further in these disciplines. The summer production is a highlight of the year. Every production I’ve seen so far has been brilliant, but in the years when there was good acting talent and good singers amongst the Year 6 pupils, who are cast in the main/speaking roles, the production was on a par with local musical theatre.
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Beachboys
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Re: Thoughts on Dolphin School

Postby Beachboys » Mon Mar 18, 2024 9:30 am

That's an important point and an approach you have to believe in if you send your child to Dolphin. Dolphin doesn't "guarantee" that leavers get into certain senior schools because they just might not be the right school for your child.

What Dolphin is brilliant at is getting to know each child and finding the right school for their strengths and interests. That could well be a school that's at the top of the academic league tables, or equally a school that excels in sports or the creative arts. If your child is academically capable, Dolphin makes sure that potential is fulfilled. My son is in year 6 and this year's leavers have again been offered places at an incredibly diverse range of senior schools.  
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