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Talk to me about primary schools (again!)
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rshdunlop


Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #41
17-03-2011 08:37 AM

Yes, I know you can still apply to other places, I didn't want to give the impression you were bound to that secondary school. But I do think it's important to keep focused on getting the primary school that is right for your child for the seven years they will be there, not just because it might be a feeder school. Anyway, as there are so few school in this situation right now, the point is probably moot.

Perryman - my toes are untrampled, don't worry!

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expeckham


Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2011
Post: #42
18-03-2011 03:40 PM

FHB is classified as good with some outstanding features. Surely we should support our local secondary schools? My son has started there and I for one am generally happy with the school (as much as one is generally happy with a massive comprehensive school compared to the cosy world of primary school education). Why are people so keen to knock it? The boys seem pleasant enough to me when they walk down our road to the school. Of course some will be badly behaved but - shock horror - so are some of the middle class kids at Kingsdale! - Why this preoccupation with Kingsdale? sure it is a good school but I for one get rather fed up with the hysteria that has gone with it - a stampede of middle class parents and a less than transparent admissions policy - Suddenly all the other secondary schools are considered inferior compared to the holy grail of Kingsdale.

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roz


Posts: 1,796
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #43
18-03-2011 05:47 PM

Hang around long enough and you'll get the hang of our Baggydave!

Seriously, we are not even at the primary school doors yet but we feel that we need to start considering secondary options pretty soon as many of our friends are talking about it even though they are in the same position as us. I used to think going private was a good thing before we realised we could never afford it and that we also began to feel that all that money( should we ever have had it) would be better spent on extra lessons as support or improving the experience of our children by taking them travelling or doing something interesting like learning another language or doing sports activites, not ensconced in the world of privilege where connections were almost more important than academic success. We soon realised through talking to people that there were still many concerns about what private schools delivered for children and that many parents also felt a lack of accountablity and that in fact many of the state schools were delivering great outcomes for their children.
I am aware from other parents about differing views about Kingsdale so we will wait to see if its for us in a few years time. I agree about not judging schools by childrens behaviour although I admit to some concerns about Sydenham Girls for that reason but every day when travelling to work I experience 'behaviour' from school children from the Dulwich Schools and I have to say its not that wonderful either. They are not necessarily rude but they sure are scruffy ( when you're rich it doesn't matter apparently and you can get away with hair like Boris Johnson's) they do push onto buses in front of people in the queue causing arguments and don't move down or make way for others getting on, pretending not to hear people ask them to move. I'd say that was probably standard teenage behaviour really probably enhanced by being in a group rather than out on their own but for schools charging upwards of 12k per year I would have expected to see something better.

The last place where I want to send my child is a school who is forced to tailor their agenda to please and placate stampeding middle class parents- such as the one I went to for 7 years!

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Perryman


Posts: 809
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #44
18-03-2011 07:00 PM

Roz started this diversion by claiming both FBH and Sydenham are financially in good hands when actually FHB are taking out an emergency loan.

There may be an argument that sacrificing senior staff for a modern building like at FHB is a price worth paying - I've missed that debate - but it is worth pointing out that fairlawn has buildings that are nothing to boast about - at 60 years old and flat roofed, they must be a nightmare to maintain. Yet they top the performance tables.

As for kingsdale, I'm not so sure they havent already sacrificed some of their more experienced teachers to pay for the smaller class sizes. That is an interesting trade-off if true.
I'd dispute the idea that kingsdale is the middle class choice of school, as there is no evidence yet that it is any better than the local options.
But for a parent looking for a mixed school, it looks a reasonable option.

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roz


Posts: 1,796
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #45
18-03-2011 07:56 PM

I don't recall ever claiming that FHS and SG were in good hands financially- I have no knowledge of their financial situation either way. You must be confusing me with someone else.
Most schools do however have deficits these days and will increasingly do so in the more stringent fundng situation over the next few years so taking out a loan is hardly news?

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Perryman


Posts: 809
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #46
18-03-2011 10:07 PM

Sorry Roz - I misunderstood your earlier post, then.

According to the document I mentioned before link, this loan of 557,000 to FHB is quite exceptional.

Since sydenham girls are about to go through the same process, I think it quite important the reasons why this debt was racked up in 1 year are brought into the open. (I'm not suggesting anything sinister or overly incompetent has gone on.)

If new school buildings have to be paid for by losing experienced teachers, then this is not investment to my mind.

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pebble


Posts: 47
Joined: May 2011
Post: #47
04-05-2011 05:49 PM

I have worked at Fairlawn, Stillness, Kilmorie and Dalmain so I thought I might add my insider view to this thread. I would be very happy for my children to attend any of these schools as they are full of hardworking, dedicated and experienced staff.

Kilmorie and Dalmain are very inclusive schools which has some knock-on effects with their results although not with their standards. Of course there are issues at every school - no one is perfect. A few years ago when I was looking for schools in Lewisham for my own children, parents told me Fairlawn was rubbish and everyone was trying to get into Kender and Myatt Gardens as they were top of the SATS table. However schools change and what it is like now may not be so in 5 years time when your child leaves.

Please choose a school that you think will suit your child as they are very different in their ethos and function. And do not discount Gordonbrock as it is also undergoing some positive changes and children are very happy there too.

I have worked at some other schools in Lewisham and Southwark but will not give them the same endorsement.

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pebble


Posts: 47
Joined: May 2011
Post: #48
04-05-2011 07:22 PM

I should also add that Gordonbrock has been taken over by the outstanding Head from Eliot Bank primary school so should be the next Fairlawn.

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rmurraywest


Posts: 42
Joined: Jan 2010
Post: #49
04-05-2011 08:32 PM

As a mum who has just gone through the stress of primary admissions, it's really nice to see someone who knows taking the time to make such positive comments. Thanks so much - it's cheering - and I think we're very lucky to have such good provision locally.

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Prampusher


Posts: 34
Joined: May 2010
Post: #50
07-05-2011 07:24 PM

sorry, what do you mean by "very inclusive"? I am intrigued! presumably all state schools have to be "inclusive" in that they take any child living reasonably nearby. Why are Fairlawn and Stillness not "very inclusive"? I am not criticising you, far from it - it is indeed very useful info to hear from a teacher who has taught at these local schools. I just dont understand the point you are making - thanks.

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movingsouth


Posts: 35
Joined: Feb 2011
Post: #51
07-05-2011 11:44 PM

any feedback on Ivydale? I visited it and I thought the atmosphere was lovely, I was told by some mothers of children not at this school to check it out if I was interested in a school more relaxed about academics and more into creative development, not sure that rings true (their ofsted is not great)

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roz


Posts: 1,796
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #52
08-05-2011 08:36 AM

I've only heard good things about Ivydale although I have no real interest in that school but I have heard similar things about other Forest Hill and Sydenham schools ie the academic side v creativity and I'm never sure whether these schools focus on creativity or its just that their academic side is slipping and thats a by product which they like to market. Parents can easily themselves enhance a child's creativity out of school time but replacing the stringent academic input is a little more difficult to do.

I think that takes us back to what we think education is for at the different stages of a childs life!

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pebble


Posts: 47
Joined: May 2011
Post: #53
08-05-2011 08:46 PM

Both Dalmain and Kilmorie have the facilities to cater for children with a wide range of individual needs whereas the geography and design of Fairlawn and Stillness make doing so more difficult for them. For example, imagine being a wheelchair user at Fairlawn with all those steps and different levels! It's well-known in education that the more inclusive a school is the more of a sacrifice it is on their results.

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Jane2


Posts: 221
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #54
08-05-2011 08:59 PM

Kilmorie has very good disabled access that is true.

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pebble


Posts: 47
Joined: May 2011
Post: #55
08-05-2011 09:03 PM

I should add that no, schools do not have to take a child with special needs if they can't accommodate them. An example of this was a recent bitterly fought case at Harris Crystal Palace where they refused to take a child in a wheelchair because the school corridors were too narrow. The school won and did not have to admit her.

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pebble


Posts: 47
Joined: May 2011
Post: #56
08-05-2011 09:07 PM

Oh, and I didn't say Fairlawn and Stillness 'were not very inclusive' you seem to have made that assumption. I just said that Kilmorie and Dalmain are very inclusive i.e. more than most.

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