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  • Bromley High Junior School
    Blackbrook Lane
    Bickley
    Bromley
    Kent
    BR1 2TW
  • Head: Ms Claire Dickerson
  • T 020 8781 7001
  • F 020 8781 7003
  • E [email protected]
  • W www.bromleyhigh.gdst.net
  • An independent school for girls aged from 4 to 11.
  • Boarding: No
  • Local authority: Bromley
  • Pupils: 314
  • Religion: Non-denominational
  • Fees: £13,782 pa
  • Open days: Last Saturday in September/First Saturday in October, or by appointment. Additional open events in March and May Taster Days throughout the year
  • Review: View The Good Schools Guide Review
  • Linked schools: Bromley High School

What says..

The new curriculum has freed the teaching from Sats: instead the focus is creative and cross-curricular, which the head feels has inspired the staff and ‘sparked’ the girls. Reception girls might be sculpting a mermaid, but they are learning about building 3D shapes and developing their research skills by investigating appropriate sea companions. The junior school is the reigning Bromley Festival schools’ choir champion in its age group. Working parents may be delighted with the…

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What the school says...

A popular well run and over-subscribed school with a broad academic base and enriched curriculum which focuses on grounding girls in the academic basics and develops confidence through participation in a wider range of trips and activities. Girls are personable, confident and happy. They enjoy excellent relationships with their teachers and they are excellently prepared for senor school. The vast majority of Year 6 transfer to the Senior School.

Entrance criteria as follows: 4+ and 7+ entry:
4+ - Girls invited to a group session headed with Prep department staff followed by another groups session (in the following week). Application should be made by December before September.
7+ - Girls are invited to assessments which take place in November before entry in September. Applications should be made by October prior to entry the following September.
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What the parents say...

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What The Good Schools Guide says

Head of junior school

Since 2012, Claire Dickerson BA (Anglia Ruskin University). Since arriving at the school 14 years ago, she has seen the school from all angles: beginning as a year 4 class teacher before moving to reception and then taking on the headship in 2012, at a particularly exciting time as the school moved to its own version of a creative curriculum. We found her to be focused, warm, open and an accomplished wearer of heels. Parents tell us: ‘She is very approachable and we feel that we can have access to her whenever we need it’; another said, ‘Our daughter was thrilled on her first day when Ms Dickerson was able to remember all their names and she takes a personal interest in each and every child.’ Her outside interests are skiing, swimming and theatre. She lives locally and has two grown up children in their 20s.

Entrance

There are two forms of 20 pupils at 4+ and an additional eight girls join at 7+. The 4+ assessments are in the January prior to entry and 7+ assessments are held in the November of year 2. Most recently there were 80 applications at 4+ and 20 for the year 3 places. Thereafter a waiting list for occasional vacancies.

Exit

Around 70 per cent move on to the senior school. Around a quarter leave at 11+ to attend local grammar schools. The school is very clear that it is not a prep school and girls will not be prepared for external testing, leaving them free to explore a broad curriculum throughout years 5 and 6.

Our view

The new curriculum has freed the teaching from Sats: instead the focus is the creative and cross-curricular, which the head feels has inspired the staff and ‘sparked’ the girls. Reception girls might be sculpting a mermaid, but they are learning about building 3D shapes and developing their research skills by investigating appropriate sea companions. Parents seem highly delighted with the imaginative approach to learning; one told us: ‘The teaching throughout has been fantastic, varied, and full of different learning opportunities such as visitors and trips that have enhanced the curriculum’. One aim is to give each child the confidence to put forward their own ideas. Year 6 girls describe having ‘talk partners’ which change every three weeks, where they pair up to discuss topics, and that those who have finished their work will buddy up with a girl who might be stuck.

On polar fun day a real-life explorer shared tales of blubber and frostbite. Pupils dug up the grounds searching for archaeological artefacts on Roman day. We have seen plenty of Tudor houses built from cereal boxes and straw as part of the history curriculum, but never heard of them being set on fire to no doubt replicate the Great Fire. This seems to sum up the staff’s ability to take things to the next level here.

The counterbalance to this is a careful teaching of the core subjects of reading, writing and maths. Maths is nearly always taught separately from the cross-curricular work. Handwriting is all joined up for most by the end of reception. A new system has been introduced for comprehensive academic tracking which, coupled with close home/school links, ensures that if a child does have a blip it can be talked about and supported. Homework escalates gradually, starting with some over the weekend in reception. There is a computing suite and years 5 and 6 each have an iPad which remains at school.

Literature is often at the heart of themes; World Book Day decorations adorn each classroom door, the library is well-stocked, houses are named after authors and the girls had recently enjoyed a visit from children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell.

Girls like to come to the library at lunch times if they’re in the middle of a particularly good book. Languages are taught to give girls a flavour of what they might go on to study: French throughout, then Spanish in year 3, German in year 4, Latin in year 5 and double French in year 6 culminating in a five day trip to France. Girls say they are ready for it, as they’ve ‘been practising’ with shorter trips such as the choir’s weekend trip to Belgium where they visited a chocolate factory and also sang at the Menin Gate memorial at Ypres.

Girls benefit from being able to share all of the sports facilities of the senior school, such as the indoor pool, and are the current GDST gymnastics champions. They seem to try everything and are playing an increasing fixture list, including a few against boys’ schools. A recent win against a local independent boys’ school was particularly important says the head, not so much for the win, ‘but knowing they can compete as equals’.

The music wing contains practice rooms and a high ceilinged performance space. Lots of individual musical tuition and girls learn the recorder in year 3. Wind and string ensembles and the chance to play with senior girls in the orchestra. The junior school is the reigning Bromley Festival schools’ choir champion in its age group. A year 5 girl is currently playing Matilda in the West End. There are whole school drama productions twice a year. This summer it’s the Mikado.

A tempting array of weekly clubs. Some sporting and musical, but also ballroom dancing, nature garden, chess club, circus skills, ‘hot off the press’ and our favourite: guinea-pig club.

The junior school building is tucked behind the senior school and a major re-development will be finished in 2020. Plain, brick-built, functional, some of the classes and the library have nice views across the tennis and netball courts to the woods of Jubilee Park. Plenty of playground space, mainly tarmac but the year groups are carefully divided: the reception children have a large weatherproof canopy and a pirate ship; there is a fake grass ‘Teletubby’ hill for the slightly older girls and plenty of space to run around for the Hawthorns, years 3 to 6. Making use of the grounds, the school has also adopted elements of the forest school outdoor learning.

The atmosphere is orderly but relaxed with children exuberant in PE and busy at playtime. Classrooms are large and utilitarian with meticulous displays. Girls were particularly neat in their uniforms of traditional summer dresses and grey wool blazers on the day of our visit. A parent: ‘Every facet of the school seems to run like clockwork’. Confidence is most often mentioned by parents, with one telling us, ‘Our youngest daughter is a completely different child since starting Bromley High. She has grown in confidence and has really thrived’.

Working parents may be delighted with the breakfast club, which runs from 7.30am. Additional fees for this and the after-school club. Had better hope that trains run on time, as late pick up fees are steep.

A large proportion of girls for whom English is an additional language, reflecting bilingual families. Just a few with a SEN. A part-time SENCo leads a team of eight teaching assistants who offer additional classroom support to any child needing a little more individual attention. One-on-one support is available where needed. Parents seem unanimous in the trust they place in the head and her staff and the ‘nurturing’ pastoral care to be found here.

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