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Local State Secondary Schools
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sydenhamhiller


Posts: 26
Joined: Apr 2009
Post: #1
26-08-2009 02:37 PM

Hi everyone
A controversial thread, I realise (having seen the fireworks on the local/state school subject on the ED forum!). But hoping those with older kids might have some words of wisdom...
I have two children in a local SE23/SE26 state primary, and we are thinking about what when the oldest has to move in a couple of years. We had always assumed we would be leaving London before they started primary school... oh then, DEFINITELY before secondary school... but London is so fabulous, where would one move to?? (;o))
So, I am keen to support the improving state sector, but husband wants us to go on uber-economy drive and save up for the private sector. To my shame, I don't have a great ideological belief either way, just think it is quite nice to go to yr local school, with primary school friends, and not such a high octane environment.
Hear good things of Forest Hill Boys, but have boy and girl and would quite like them to go to same school I think... and recently Kingsdale school seems to be attracting a lot of good press.

Anyway, any tips/ advice/ experience to share would be gratefully received. Thanks.

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suzisoo1


Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2009
Post: #2
28-08-2009 11:35 AM

Went through the same dilemma 3 years ago, opted for private which is fantastic but it bled us dry. Now we are skint and our daugter does not even have a school to start in september. I would send to state from the start and if you find it does not suit then you can rethink and move them if necessary. We are put off by what we hear and see but until you experience it for yourself you will never know. A good example is the school i work in was not one i would have considered at primary level for my child however going to work there i could see my fears were unfounded and it was a brilliant school.

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annsquire66


Posts: 100
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #3
29-08-2009 06:20 PM

I have not been in the financial position to make the choice between state and private, so can only comment on what I know. My daughter went to Addey & Stanhope in New Cross, which at the time was not doing well at all (we preferred Prendergast but she didn't want to go to a single sex school). Despite this, she made lots of friends, has brilliant memories, and got 9 GCSEs. She is now 22 and about to finish a Masters at Goldsmiths.
My son joined Forest Hill Boys last year as we are fortunately in the catchment area to guarantee a place. Their pastoral support has been both essential and brilliant, and several friends speak equally highly of Sydenham Girls.
The point I make is that there's more to it all than just getting great grades; kids have to get through puberty and enjoy themselves too! I am not convinced that the level of pressure in some schools is manageable for every child. I feel that with enough support, they will succeed if they are able regardless of where they are educated.

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baggydave


Posts: 384
Joined: May 2004
Post: #4
05-09-2009 02:02 PM

Parents can help make bad schools better, and that good schools remain that way. Sadly parents playground chatter from nursery school till year six seems to be how bad Lewisham secondary schools are (not necessarily from any hard facts). Hopefully with some of the reasonable discussions on this thread that view is changing.

I'd be interested to hear from those of you who moved your kids out of Borough, or even moved out of Borough, for your kids education. I know from my previous taunts of Bromley there is at least one of you out there.

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Cecily


Posts: 12
Joined: Oct 2009
Post: #5
06-10-2009 06:29 PM

we have recently moved to the area and both our children remain at their East Dulwich primary but secondary schools definitely on our minds. A friend of mine has her eldest son at Kingsdale and thinks it is completely wonderful, another friend's daughter will start at Prendergast next year - she was impressed by it when visiting. We looked at Haberdashers and thought it looked good, but apparently there are some behavioural and attitude problems with the younger intake. Don't know anything about Forest Hill boys but saw some nice-seeming boys in central Forest Hill yesterday, and found out their uniform was FH boys. Would love to hear feedback from anyone with experience.

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roz


Posts: 1,793
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #6
06-10-2009 06:50 PM

Personally as a parent of a younger child my own yardstick of local secondary schools has been the behaviour of the kids over the years around and about . I can honestly say that that of the Sydenham Girls in the town centre has been mostly appalling, at least of the few who seem to tar the rest with the same brush. I overheard some girls on the phone at the station to another girl threatening to kill her if she came to school. I managed to work out a few of the girls names so called the school shortly afterwards to complain and report this. The schools response was so disinterested that it was hardly there, ie what do you expect, girls will be girls, etc. hormones and all that. They probably didn't even investigate.
If that's the standard then its understandable that the girls behaviour is what it is. I most definitely will not be sending my daughter there.

Having visited FH boys school, and met some of the children and their teachers, I have found little to complain about.

Unfortunately first impressions, even superficial ones, last a long time.

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laurag


Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #7
06-10-2009 10:06 PM

my twins (boy and girl) have started at Sydenham and Forest Hill this year. Not ideal choices, as i would rather they were at one school ( not least so Ican get to grips with everything). However, I've been really impressed by Sydenham, and probably wouldn't consider moving my daughter now. There's been the odd hiccup, but I think that's the case everywhere, and Sydenham particularly have dealt with things really quickly and effectively.i'm a bit less keen on FH, but that may be as much about my son as anything. Definite advantages as a working parent knowing they are at local schools.

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SAF


Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #8
07-10-2009 12:07 AM

I have had one or more daughters at Sydenham school for the last 12 years and my experience is that it just gets better and better. The (fairly) new Head has made an enormous difference to morale and standards, the teachers are great and the girls are mostly very pleasant. I would not even consider moving my girl to any other school. I am of course allowing for it being a very large inner city school with all the problems that brings, but my young daughter feels very safe and is extremely happy there, as are her friends.

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junegapi


Posts: 106
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #9
07-10-2009 07:54 AM

State schools can be as good as some Private schools. Private schools can be as bad as some State schools. It's a lottery. If local schools are anything to go by, Sydenham Girls seems to have a devil-may-care attitude to anthing but themselves, Forest Hill Boys is excellent because the Head and his staff care. Dulwich College is full of scruffy, rude boys and Jags and Alleyns seem to have a real lack of uniform discipline - try using the P4 bus at school in or out time. Spare the rod and spoil the child is just as true today as it was many years ago, albeit in a different way.

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Ex FH Pat


Posts: 112
Joined: Oct 2009
Post: #10
09-10-2009 02:42 PM

Hi

Dont be put off by the outside of a school like i was, i kept my son at home for 6 weeks in 2006 as he did not get into Graveney School in Tooting [ apologies for intruding on FH forum - however i did live in FH for many years and my mother/brother still do and have done so for 27 years ]

Anyway we failed to get into the so called world famous graveney as they said we lived to far away [ 0.31 miles is the distance - complete joke or what ], we had an appeal, lost, went to local mp, minister of education, ombudsman, waste of time, so we sent our son to a school in Balham which has just been given an outstanding report by ofsed [ Chestnut Grove ], our son loves it there, made many friends and is expected to pass all his gcse,s with flying colours, so remember its what is in the inside that matters not the outside, and dont please ever bother with an appeal, waste of space, also the old adage, the teacher opens the door, yet it is only you who can enter. Sure all the local FH secondary schools are 1st class and lets remember when the kids are shouting etc, they are only children

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Sydenham Headteacher


Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2009
Post: #11
12-10-2009 01:11 PM

As the headmistress of Sydenham Girls' School I was very concerned to see the e-mail posted by Roz on 6th October. We have been unable to find any member of staff who took the call from Roz, and I would want to reassure everyone that we do take such calls very seriously. Where names are given to us, we can usually find out the identity of the girls and we always try to deal with any girls who cause problems in the community. If Roz would like to telephone the school, and ask for the Head's PA, then we will follow this up with all due speed - we do not know from the posting exactly when this is supposed to have happened.

We have just had a very successful series of open mornings and I would want to reassure members of the community that the vast majority of our students behave very well and apply themselves to their learning. Many thanks to all those who have posted very positive messages - this is far more representative of our school.

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #12
12-10-2009 03:22 PM

I appreciate you have your work cut out managing a school of that size. I am sure most of the young ladies are well begaved.
There is a group every morning which goes round Sainsbury's stocking up on the most unhealthy foods you could imagine ( they were not slim ) , then when a bus sturns on they run en masse to catch it for one stop charging all others out of the way.
Why oh why did our previous mayor give free travel to school kids . I have no problem those living 2 miles or more away having free travel but most do not need it , play loud so called music on the bus and generally misbehave.
Why oh why are so many children overweight. We never had money to spend on food , we had a good brekky then school diners.

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roz


Posts: 1,793
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #13
12-10-2009 06:47 PM

The incident and the call happened a few years ago but happen it certainly did and the reaction from the school was exactly as I described.
You may have records on file of such an incident.
If the standards of behaviour at the school have changed, all well and good, but not if recently observed behaviour on Dartmouth Road at going home time is anything to go by.

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Ex FH Pat


Posts: 112
Joined: Oct 2009
Post: #14
13-10-2009 08:34 AM

The incident happened a few years ago - think maybe the school has moved on since then

Not sure if other schools on Forest Hill area do as they do at Chestnut Grove, at 15.00 when the children are heading home or whereever, one teacher has to do patrol and walks all around the Balham area to make sure that the children are behaving, hence hardly any problems in Balham from CGS

Again apologies for intruding on the FH forum

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Ex FH Pat


Posts: 112
Joined: Oct 2009
Post: #15
19-10-2009 09:40 AM

Appears to have gone very quiet - so everyone must be happy with the schools in FH - all i know is i think it is a very good place to live and given the chance - will move back hopefully very soon

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Perryman


Posts: 809
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #16
19-10-2009 11:54 AM

Up until a couple of years ago, it was a straight forward choice for those parents without plenty of loose change and with children who have not been tortured, er tutored in music:
Boys to FH boys and girls to Sydenham girls.

However there is another fairly serious player now - Kingsdale - in Southwark, just behind Sydenham Hill station. A failing large mixed school, it secured some ?30m(!) as part of the schools for the future programme, and now has an impressive building and an intense and charismatic head. It has no catchment area and indeed the head has made a point this year of visiting primary schools in se23 - they want our children!
The catch is that its exam results, while improving are nothing special and possibly reflect the old intake and old set up rather than the new.

So Kingsdale has no form to go on, but I feel it certainly has given parents something new to consider. I hope I've been fair and accurate as choice of secondary schools is obviously a very sensitive subject.

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baggydave


Posts: 384
Joined: May 2004
Post: #17
19-10-2009 07:04 PM

Perhaps this thread should be moved to the other side as now we are getting recommendations to consider schools in other boroughs. Kingsdale's agressive marketing leaves a nasty taste in the mouth and has totally distorted the situation and targets all that middle class angst out there. No catchment area means it wants to hoover up the brighter kids from where ever. Hardly a community school. Results aren't everything as I am sure you all know. And looking at the wider picture what has choice done (irrespective of the fact that of course there isn't choice for many) - an even more divisive society.

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ForestGump


Posts: 202
Joined: Jan 2008
Post: #18
21-10-2009 09:41 AM

Re Kingsdale it is in its 50th year and has taken out a full page ad in the local press.

From next September a new specialist 6th Form will open. 'Scolarships in Mathematics and the Creative & Expressive Arts will be on offer.'

There is a 6th Form open evening Wed 4 Nov 6-8pm.

It's been suggested the school suffered when it was 'decapitated' by having its 6th form removed in the 1980's or 1990's, interesting to see it is to be re-instated.

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Jane


Posts: 52
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #19
21-10-2009 01:04 PM

Maybe I'm missing something but why does a state school need to offer scholarships in the sixth form - will it hand out a bursary to the successfu applicants?

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Perryman


Posts: 809
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #20
21-10-2009 02:05 PM

re scholarships in maths
Yes, this is an odd one.
They currently do scholarships in music and sport, and the grant goes to pay for individual tuition. This is fair enough, but how would a maths grant be spent?

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