reception 2019 and dolphin school clapham

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lovinlondon
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reception 2019 and dolphin school clapham

Postby lovinlondon » Thu May 02, 2019 9:47 pm

We moved to London very recently and our son starts reception this September.  He has been accepted into an excellent state school, but since he is the shy type who finds it hard to make friends (and misses his old school back home) we are thinking of making the leap to an independent school, particularly due to smaller classroom sizes and (hopefully) more individual attention.

We have been impressed by the Dolphin school's ethos and warmth, but have heard that there has been significant staff turnover of late and in particularly that the head has changed a few times.  I would welcome any feedback which could help us come to a decision.  We are looking for a school that is academically sound and prepares kids for the next stage in their academic life, but that allows kids room to breathe and be kids.  Our son used to love going to school back at home, that is not the case at his current nursery (I worry it is simply too large - he says he 'feels lost').

Another school which had spots available is Oliver House, and we liked that school as well.

We live in Southfields but do not mind a bit of a drive in the morning -looking at Wandsworth, Putney, Wimbledon and Clapham

Any advice would be enormously appreciated.
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Goldhawk
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Re: reception 2019 and dolphin school clapham

Postby Goldhawk » Fri May 03, 2019 8:43 am

Do you want a faith school?
Oliver House is very Catholic

Have you considered Wandsworth Prep?


 
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cjdad
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Re: reception 2019 and dolphin school clapham

Postby cjdad » Fri May 03, 2019 9:13 am

Both my children are at Dolphin. I am very supportive of the school and the values it instils in the children. The current head has been there a couple of years and is doing a good job. The previous head suddenly had to leave due to family reasons but the school coped well thanks to the experienced staff and strong pool of governors. The staff turnover is not high. You will always get some going on maternity leave but they often come back to Dolphin. I would recommend you arrange a school visit if you have not done so already. I can assure you the school allows "room to breathe and be kids". By the way the school is in Battersea and not Clapham! Good luck
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lovinlondon
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Re: reception 2019 and dolphin school clapham

Postby lovinlondon » Fri May 03, 2019 11:17 am

Thank you very much for the replies!

We visited the school twice and really liked what we saw. It is reassuring to hear we may have been misinformed with respect to staff turnover

The fact that it and Oliver house have a Christian ethos is something we do like (we are Catholic) , although we are not specifically looking at faith schools

Once again thank you so very much for taking the time to lend your feedback.
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AbbevilleMummy
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Re: reception 2019 and dolphin school clapham

Postby AbbevilleMummy » Fri May 03, 2019 11:20 am

Take a look at Wandsworth Prep. It's a very nurturing school, not too far from you and sounds to be exactly what you're looking for.

Good luck!
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lovinlondon
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Re: reception 2019 and dolphin school clapham

Postby lovinlondon » Fri May 03, 2019 12:24 pm

will most certainly do so.  thank you for the advice!
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Beachboys
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Re: reception 2019 and dolphin school clapham

Postby Beachboys » Tue May 07, 2019 9:49 am

Wandsworth Prep, Oliver House and Dolphin School were my top 3 when I moved back to London from abroad a few years ago. My 3 kids are currently at Dolphin, not due to any shortcomings with the other 2 schools, but just gut instinct on my part.

I think my kids would have thrived at any of them - having said that, I think that Dolphin has the right mix of good academics and teaching kids to be kind, happy people (sorry if that sounds a little cheesy). 

As someone else said, the staff turnover is low and they are all committed and enthusiastic, which makes for a positive atmosphere. I think the current head is a strong leader and clearly knows how to run a school well. She also has a good senior team around her who are all very friendly and approachable, and want to solve any issues with you rather than fobbing you off.

I'm sure whichever school you eventually choose, your son will be happy. Good luck!   
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ElleCee
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Re: reception 2019 and dolphin school clapham

Postby ElleCee » Tue May 07, 2019 2:53 pm

Hi there, have you considered Donhead? it is an easier drive from Southfields than Oliver House, has a newish Head and a Catholic/Jesuit ethos. I don't have any personal experience of the school but friends have sons there who love it. Just an idea!
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lovinlondon
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Re: reception 2019 and dolphin school clapham

Postby lovinlondon » Thu May 09, 2019 12:45 pm

My most sincere thank you to everyone on this thread - I am hugely grateful for the advice and reassurances.

ElleCee - Thank you so much for the tip!  We had not heard of Donhead.  Having only just moved to London and with baby number 3 gracing the scene shortly after we moved we are still navigating our way and playing catch up  ;).  We made an appointment to view the school next week.  The fact that it is so much closer to where we live is certainly an added  plus... I have read that it tends to be oversubscribed, but I guess we will find out more next week.    

I would love to hear from anyone who has firsthand experience with Donhead school.  In particular, will a shy, introvert type thrive and be happy?
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NaliniChamane
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Re: reception 2019 and dolphin school clapham

Postby NaliniChamane » Sat May 11, 2019 12:36 pm

Hello,
Why don't you try Hall School Wimbledon?
It has small classes, individual attention.
Sharing you a link to the junior school [font]https://www.hsw.co.uk/junior-school/
You may also have more information on both sections on hsw.co.uk
Open days for the junior school: 23rd May and 14th June
Why not register for a guided tour of the school.
Regards
Nalini[/font]
 
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StephanieH
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Re: reception 2019 and dolphin school clapham

Postby StephanieH » Mon May 13, 2019 8:31 am

Hello,
reg Dolphin School, I have two children there who have been there since reception and are now in Upper School there. We have been incredibly happy with the school. I don't recognize the worry about changing staff and the changing heads. We have had the same head now for a few years and she has been amazing. The school definitely has a Christian ethos and that should be recognized by anyone who goes to school there, but it is not overwhelming.
All in all, the school is nurturing, recognizes children for what they are, is academically sound, and in the end also gets them into good  upper schools. We could not be happier.
Hope this helps.
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lovinlondon
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Re: reception 2019 and dolphin school clapham

Postby lovinlondon » Tue May 14, 2019 1:58 pm

Thank you to for the advice, definitely reassures is that our gut about dolphin was correct.

In the end we took your advice ElleCee and visited Donhead. That is where we settled on. It has a lot of the characteristics we liked about Dolphin but it is so much closer to where we live and in the end we felt that meant it would be more practical on a day to day basis and more conducive to him establishing a circle of friends (play dates and the like - I know it sounds silly but since we just moved to London building a community is important!).

We just registered and fingers crossed were told we should be ok...

Let me take the opportunity to once again thank you all for taking the time to give us advice. It is deeply appreciated.
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