Broomwood Hall insights please

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MGMidget
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Broomwood Hall insights please

Postby MGMidget » Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:30 pm

Hi, having been to a presentation at Broomwood Hall, they now want £100 before they'll give a tour of the school. So, before I cough up for what seems like a cheeky amount for something other schools will offer for free as part of their marketing I wondered if anyone could give me some insights into what this school is like. Happy to take feedback from those who have children in the school and also those who have been on a school tour but don't have children in the school. I have a boy so useful to know what it's like for boys too, especially in comparison with the others in the area such as Thomas's, Finton etc.
I was particularly impressed with Thomas's on their tour both for facilities and also for achievement but I know its competitive entry. Also have my son on the list for Finton which I thought was a lovely little school, not too pretentious. I just get the feeling that Broomwood Hall is a bit 'stuffy' but is it more stuffy than the others???
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investigative dad
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Re: Broomwood Hall insights please

Postby investigative dad » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:17 pm

I spent quite a bit of time looking into the various schools in and around Wandsworth so I hope I can shine a little light on your question.

There are two general types of private school in W/worth. Those that are run as charities such as Finton House and Hornsby House and those that are run as businesses. Just to clarify the charities still charge full fees, its just any surpluses, such as they may be the end of any financial year, are ploughed into the charity or into their reserves.

Then you have those that are run as businesses. Like any business these are run for the benefits of the shareholders and are run to make a profit.

I think, but am not sure, that BH fits into the business category. When I asked a BH father on the Common a similar question (a few years back) he said "you only get to drive a car like that with a private plate like that when you're making a certain amount of money", I have no idea what car or registration he was referring to but maybe some BH parents can enlighten us!

He also added that he had got the accounts for BH from companies house and that as these were public documents you could get an idea of the financial health of the school very easily.

So the point I am trying to make is that if you're running a business then charging people for access might be an interesting way to put an extra coat of wax on your shiny car. Again to be clear I am not saying that is their approach, just that if you were running a business that might make sense.

On a totally seperate note, I know a number of parents whose children are there and they love it.

Its very traditional but for the right profile of child/parent then its a very happy school.
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broodje
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Re: Broomwood Hall insights please

Postby broodje » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:39 pm

Well, you really need to be more specific in terms of what you are looking for and what's important to you/your family. One school may be a perfect fit for some, but an absolutely ghastly experience for others.

Broomwood, for example, is very big on games from an early age as is Northcote - if you have a non-sporty bookworm and a dreamer it may not be a perfect fit.

Also, you need to think what you want to do for secondary. Both Hornsby and Finton only go to 11 so not clear what options are for the boys as most boys senior schools (non grammars) start at 13+ with Common Entrance exam (some exceptions obviously, like Alleyn's plus some schools have various entry points apart from the main cohort,e.g. King's). Not relevant for me as I have a girl at Broomwood, but a lot of boys' parents in London have to think carefully about this one.

People choose different schools for different reasons. The reason why I didn't even look at Hornsby was that they didn't have hot lunches and the thought of having to do a packed lunch every day sent shivers down my spine. Plus I thought it much healthier to have a hot lunch. With their recently finished expansion this problem was solved, but I give this as an example of what was important in my decision making. You need to decide on your priorities first.
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anxiousannie
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Re: Broomwood Hall insights please

Postby anxiousannie » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:32 pm

MGMidget,

Are you SURE?? Really, £100 for a tour?? Dont they do these at open days
for free?

I's stunned and shocked obviously if this is the case!

AA
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Re: Broomwood Hall insights please

Postby mungomuffit » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:20 pm

Hello,

I was really put off BH by these requests for money - first there was money to go on the waiting list (that's standard so we didn't mind that), then they wanted more money to stay on the waiting list. We decided to look elsewhere at that stage so thankfully didn't get asked to stump again for a tour. I was also put off at them wanting to interview us - isn't it supposed to be the other way around? I found the proprietors off-putting too - at the presentation there was too much emphasis on their property portfolio and the wife having a title. Whoopie, good for you, we thought.

So, definitely wasn't our cup of tea, but it obviously is for others. If you are looking for somewhere a bit down to earth then look elsewhere - Hornsby, Finton, Ravenstone, Bellville, Honeywell if you are lucky enough to be in the catchments. I suppose it boils down to what type of family you are, but if you are uneasy being asked to pay for a tour then I suspect BH might not be for you.

Good luck. x
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broodje
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Re: Broomwood Hall insights please

Postby broodje » Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:05 pm

I think people are being somewhat unfair. Nobody is asking money for a tour. Rather, the tour is only available to people who have done the registration. And that (rather than the tour) costs money. This is standard for all private schools - you need to pay a fee to register.

It is far from standard to offer INDIVIDUAL tours and one-on-one meetings with the headmaster to people who haven't submitted a registration form (and paid the fee). Open days and group tours are available in most schools before you pay the fee so you can decide if you want to register, but Broomwood does that too, i.e.open days and group presentations.

It seems pretty fair to me, otherwise the time committment from the staff to show people around individually would be too great. I personally have never had an individual tour available before filling in an application, and I have looked pretty much at ALL schools in SW London.

Some schools, such as Bute House, you'd struggle to see at all. There is ONE open day and only for people who are registered to take part in 4+ ballot and 7+ exams.

I find there are lots of totally unsubstantiated rumours about Broomwood circularing around SW, mostly from people who don't have kids there.
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mungomuffit
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Re: Broomwood Hall insights please

Postby mungomuffit » Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:08 pm

... but Brooje, is it standard to require parents to pay a second £100 to confirm they want to stay on the list? Not in our (admittedly limited to nappy valley) experience. We paid £100 (or whatever it was, can't remember now) to go on the list at birth and then were asked for £100 (this figure I do clearly recall) to confirm we were still interested. We were on the lists of half a dozen schools in the area (Eaton, Thomas's, Finton, Hornsby and others). None of the other schools asked for dosh to stay on the list. Rather cheeky we thought. Anyway, as you say, we chose not to go further with BH, so can't comment on what it's like beyond those intial impressions.
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mungomuffit
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Re: Broomwood Hall insights please

Postby mungomuffit » Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:47 pm

broodje - any chance you might be connected to BH and would like to declare an interest in this discussion? Just a guess, but looking at your username and the fact that you've never posted before ... 8-)
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broodje
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Re: Broomwood Hall insights please

Postby broodje » Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:35 pm

I think I have declared my interest and connection pretty explicitly in one of the posts above - I have a daughter there.

And I also remember all the ridiculous rumours circulated by people in SW when I was looking at the school (with no kids there I must add) - they were rolling their eyes and saying things like no jeans at pick up, "certain type of family", etc. Utter nosense.

In terms of social composition and "type of family", it's not in any way different to Thomas's, Parkgate, and Eaton House the Manor as have friends with children in all of the above and see the parents at matches and weekend sports clubs. Less opportunity to compare to Hornsby or Finton as don't really know many people personally with kids there.
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broodje
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Re: Broomwood Hall insights please

Postby broodje » Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:38 pm

Oh, and about two sets of £100, you may wish to refresh your memory. There is NO charge to go on provisional list you sign up for at birth. Closer to the time, they do ask for firm confirmation and that's when you pay £100. At least that's the standard experience.
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CornishMummyinLondon
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Re: Broomwood Hall insights please

Postby CornishMummyinLondon » Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:21 am

I had the same concerns about Broomwood and had to take a sharp intake of breath when i wrote out my cheque for £100 to have our meeting with the Head. I had also heard the rumours about what a stuffy school it was full of dull, rich, overly competitive families. However, i went along to the school (the Garrards Road site) so I was able to make up my own mind about it and I loved it. It had a great atmosphere, great facilities, lovely politie happy children, bright classrooms and warm, down to earth teachers. I have subsequently met a lot of lovely families whose children go there all of whom talk very highly about the school.

I chose to ignore all the rumours and take a look myself and I would really recommend that anyone did the same. You'll then be able to judge for yourself. Yes, £100 is a lot, but for my family, I'm really glad we did it as we are very much hoping our daughter will start there next year.

Good luck in choosing the school that suits your child. It's a stressful business!
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madamex
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Re: Broomwood Hall insights please

Postby madamex » Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:02 pm

My little boy has just started at Garrads Road Broomwood Hall and I love it! I too heard the rumour mill about Broomwood and had my own reservations due to the rumours, but the reality is that it is a lovely, cosy school and not at all 'stuck-up'. I would highly recommend it.
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ready2pop
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Re: Broomwood Hall insights please

Postby ready2pop » Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:28 pm

We are at the same stage. To be honest I think you are being a bit harsh.

Our children are on lists for schools all over south west london and I think Broomwood has given best value for money so far!

We have been around the school on an open day, been to the presentation and chatted to various teachers but have yet to pay a penny. Entry on the provisional list is (as someone else said) free.

Whereas, we have shelled out a small fortune in registration fees to various other schools purely after seeing their brochures.

Before anyone asks I have no connection with the school save that I am looking at it for my DS and am intrigued by the rough ride it seems to get on a lot of chat boards?

Also (and I will probably get hollered at for this but here goes anyway) if you are considering paying the fees for Broomwood, Hornsby, Finton etc... then £100 really shouldn'y give you too much of a headache :D
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Francesca
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Re: Broomwood Hall insights please

Postby Francesca » Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:46 pm

Quite stressful this school selection / admission business !!!

Just wanted to say .... try not to listen too much to everyone’s opinion. I went to see Broomwood Hall and I just was not sure about it. My best friend instantly decided she wanted her kids to go there (and you think being best friends we would have vaguely similar opinions !?). Then I went to see Eaton House and I really liked it - my best friend wasn't sure about it. I now have a daughter at Eaton House and we love it - no complaints at all. My friend decided to go for Broomwood and she is very happy there too.

So go around and see a few of these schools and go with your instinct !
As long as you and your husband agree you will know what school is best for your children !
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MGMidget
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Re: Broomwood Hall insights please

Postby MGMidget » Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:56 pm

Thanks all of you for lots of useful insight. RE: fees, yes you don't pay to go on the initial list, but you do have to pay £100 BEFORE you get a tour of the school. I've had tours of Hornsby, Finton (admittedly at the open day) and Thomas' without having to stump up a penny first and I do think the school tour is a very important thing for giving you an idea whether the school is right - that and the experience/feedback from others, especially those with children in the school. Presentations just give you the gloss, the tour enables you to see things for yourself (although probably still with some added gloss). So stumping up £100 before a tour is still a bit cheeky in my view but given the positive feedback from many we may still do it! I don't have a problem paying to be on a list after seeing a school on a tour by the way and fees - well, circumstances such as a shortage of state school places may make it almost a necessity for us!
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