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Talk to me about primary schools (again!)
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hellohello


Posts: 42
Joined: Sep 2010
Post: #1
13-02-2011 11:16 AM

Hello, I am about to start the admissions process to primary school for my son. I am located almost in between Dalmain and Kilmorie and looking at the OFSTED Dalmain looks like the clear winner but having spoken to parents with children at Kimorie they seem to love it so wanted to hear with people from children at either or just general feedback or feelings. I also like the look of Stillness but don't think we are in with much of a chance (we are in one of the roads of Stansted Rd) of getting in but also would love to hear about it. Also have read the OFSTED on Rathfern and although it's not somewhere I would have previously considered the headteacher defintely seems to be taking it in the right direction. It's all so confusing and scary! Thank you for your time.

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movingsouth


Posts: 35
Joined: Feb 2011
Post: #2
13-02-2011 11:39 PM

will look closely at this thread
how old is you dc?

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chantelle


Posts: 40
Joined: Feb 2011
Post: #3
14-02-2011 08:54 AM

I am looking to move to the area and am keen to hear feedback on Stillness, Dalmain, Fairlawn and Horniman. I have seen previous thread comments but it's always good to hear the latest.

I assume the OP is looking at admission in the 2012 academic year?

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hellohello


Posts: 42
Joined: Sep 2010
Post: #4
14-02-2011 09:27 AM

Some fellow mumsnetters I see! My daughter (not son, I was having an off day yesterday!) is 2.7 now so will be starting next September / January so need to really start looking now. I really like the look of Dalmain / Kilmorie & Stillness but think I am most likely to get a place at Kilmorie. The OFSTED for Kilmorie worried me but 2 of my neighbours have children there and could not speak highly enough about it and their children are lovely. They said the pastoral care, after school activities and teachers are great and to ignore the OFSTED! I have to say I am inclined to agree after visiting numerous nurseries which have been rated good by OFSTED and they have been awful! Anyway, I am going to start attending all the school fetes and generally looking around the schools and speakng more to parents and hopefully getting some more feed back here. It's all very scary grown up stuff!

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Sherwood


Posts: 1,358
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #5
16-02-2011 11:51 AM

Have you considered Rathfern?

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Nicola11


Posts: 12
Joined: Feb 2011
Post: #6
24-02-2011 11:56 AM

My two girls attend Fairlawn and its fabulous. Wouldnt be able to say anything against it, it is like a village primary school with a brilliant headteacher and a stable group of teachers. I know of several children who have transferred their from Hornimann and Cabrini's due to oroblems there and have then done really well.

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movingsouth


Posts: 35
Joined: Feb 2011
Post: #7
24-02-2011 12:21 PM

Hi Nicola can you expand on what type of problem you have heard off at Horniman. I have also read similar comments somewhere else but not sure of what nature. Ta'

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Nicola11


Posts: 12
Joined: Feb 2011
Post: #8
24-02-2011 02:40 PM

Hi. Sent you a PM.

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meduza


Posts: 55
Joined: Jul 2010
Post: #9
08-03-2011 07:15 PM

Hiya, My son has attended Kilmorie since nursery. He is now in year 6. He has loved being at school hand made good progress. A 1A student There are some issues about teaching methods and teachers but these issues are being addressed. They have a pro-active PTA and alot of parents who care about their childrens environment. Despite the ofsted report i do think you should give it a good look.

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IWereAbsolutelyFuming


Posts: 531
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #10
09-03-2011 09:15 AM

Horses for courses. I'm sure Fairlawn is the marvellous school the OFSTED reports and reviews say it is but I'm sure it isn't perfect either.

Nor is Horniman but you could do far worse (in London and the UK). I'd rather have any criticisms laid out in plain English as applying for schools for your kids is a big responsibility and vague comments alluding to problems at one school or another don't help.

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Mokey


Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2011
Post: #11
09-03-2011 01:19 PM

You can't be much more precise than Nicola11 was without risking confidentiality. I'm also aware of a child who had difficulties at Horniman that were not succesfully addressed, but who did well after being moved to Fairlawn.

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IWereAbsolutelyFuming


Posts: 531
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #12
09-03-2011 01:36 PM

Fair enough, my point being that these are individual cases relayed normally by people not directly involved and who aren't necessarily as aware of all the facts from both sides of the story as they might think.

Horniman is very definitely not perfect (one of the things I happen to like about it) but I think the way it can be portrayed reflects unfairly on it.

On the flipside, Fairlawn remains a great school despite the fact that I'm aware of children who have left there and gone to both Horniman and Eliot Bank and subsequently thrived. I don't think such isolated cases are useful to people who want to know what schools are really like until they become more than isolated.

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Jane2


Posts: 221
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #13
09-03-2011 08:46 PM

I think that we are lucky in that all the primary schools in this area are good. I have friends whose children are at Stillness, Fairlawn, Dalmain, Horniman, Rathfern, and Kilmorie. Generally everyone is happy with their school. OK there are always quibbles about this or that that could be better, but overall they are all quite a good standard.

Sometimes parents can get very patriotic of their own school and criticise other schools, which I don't think is very helpful.

I think you also have to look at the ethos of the school and whether it suits you and your child. That is kind of a gut instinct thing!

Lastly I am one of those who is all for going to your local school - community is very important to me and I like knowing other families nearby. I hate the idea of having to jump in a car to drive for miles to a 'better school'. Get involved on the school PTA, go to the Parent Council meetings, help to fundraise, help in the classroom etc etc - if everyone did this I think all schools and pupils would benefit!

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Satchers


Posts: 262
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #14
10-03-2011 06:05 PM

Very well said Jane2

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movingsouth


Posts: 35
Joined: Feb 2011
Post: #15
11-03-2011 11:55 AM

yep very well said
it does apply to all over the world too
I dont quite get it, tbh, once I am happy with my choice what's the point to compare

HelloHello have you made any choice yet ?

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RichD


Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2011
Post: #16
11-03-2011 09:29 PM

This is a useful discussion for someone new to HOP with a pre-school daughter. There has been a lot of talk here about Fairlawn and Horniman, but not many specific comments about Stillness which we are close to. Is it a nice school?

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Zoopie


Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2011
Post: #17
11-03-2011 09:35 PM

Hi Nicola. I'd very much appreciate you PMing me about Horniman. I'm a bit nervous that there might be something going on that I should know about before buying a house in that catchment. Do you know what is happening at the school at the moment to cause concern?
Many thanks!

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Satchers


Posts: 262
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #18
11-03-2011 10:38 PM

Zoopie
I am a parent of one child at the Horniman and have a second who will start there in September. I am also a Parent Governor.

I can say quite categorically there is nothing going on at the school that I am aware of that needs to give you concern.

I think you need to form your own opinion of a school, not one based on gossip that is so far unsubstantiated and most likely out of date. If I can answer any questions you have then please PM me.

As has been said in this thread and others, all schools have children that leave, incidents that create gossip (yes even Fairlawn - shock!), and issues that they need to continually monitor and address. As has also been said Forest Hill does very well with a great number of very good schools about which we should all be very happy. You will find a great many positive comments about all of them on this site in the various discussions.

Good luck with getting a place at the school of your choice, or even the one closest to where you will live, which as Jane2 says would be even better.

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hellohello


Posts: 42
Joined: Sep 2010
Post: #19
13-03-2011 09:31 AM

I think we are probably most likely to get into Kilmorie and I have to say I have heard nothing but incredibly positive things from parents whose children attend the school. I have to say the OFSTED did worry me at first but all the anecdotal things I have heard about Kilmorie have been great. Also Dalmain is in our catchment area so our question is whether to put Dalmain or Kilmorie as 1st/2nd choice. Fairlawn and Horniman sound lovely but wouldn't have a chance of getting in... maybe Stillness at a real push (have friends with children there who love it).

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roz


Posts: 1,793
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #20
13-03-2011 01:56 PM

http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/docbank/index.cfm?id=7305

The above is a link to information about Prof Charles Desforges who has suggested strong evidence that parental support and involvement is more of a critical factor in childrens' success at school than in many cases the school itself. This seems to make school choice a bit less critical for children and families in that position although no doubt an excellent school is much better than the alternative. Some schools will have a higher proportion than others of middle class parents or parents whose interest in their childrens education is very strong. I know of other schools in very deprived areas which struggle in league tables for that reason. Its easy to get hung up on the minute details of school performance and I know parents lose sleep over school places allocation when actually it probably makes a marginal difference to most children. There are however other factors which might influence any particular child and those with special needs but overall for most people its probably not worth losing a lot of sleep over. Sometimes schools don't work for some children and sometimes things do happen ie bullying but they can be temporary events as children do move on and away. Even the excellent schools have these problems and if relationships do deteriorate then there is always the option of applying to move your child.

I am a big fan of state education and think that parents and the community working together towards continuous improvement is the way forward, not this horrendous obsession of falsely claiming that the state system has been failing our children and creating free schools with scarce public funds on the basis of false claims about demand, as evidenced by unsubstantiated petitions. Anyone can sign a petition but the calculation of demand is a little more sophisticated than that despite this governments inability to grasp that fact.

We have a fair number of really good state schools in Lewisham and in Forest Hill ;we are spoilt for choice. Its a case of which excellent school might be a teensy weensy bit better the other excellent schools. Thats a fantastic position to be in. Lets work together please to ensure it stays that way. There are considerable threats to this currently being posed by this government from curriculum and funding changes as well as of course, the promotion of free schools.

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