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Secondary schools
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carolfox


Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 2011
Post: #1
04-08-2011 09:37 PM

We've just moved back to Forest Hill and trying to find a yr 8 place for our daughter is becoming very stressful as most schools seem to be "over-subscribed". Does anyone know anything about Prendergast Ladywell Fields College? They seem to be one of the very few with vacancies

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jollyrog


Posts: 80
Joined: Jul 2008
Post: #2
04-08-2011 10:33 PM

Of course they have vacancies. It's a zoo. At open evening, they seemed proud that they had a police presence in the mornings. Also, on the BBC news website this year, it was listed as the 84th worst school in the UK.

Read the OFSTED report before making a decision.

We chose Kingsdale, but were happy with Sydenham Girls and even Cator Park, despite slightly lower exam results. Both should be able to offer in-year admissions.

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carolfox


Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 2011
Post: #3
05-08-2011 06:00 AM

Oh dear! Thanks for the info, we tried Kingsdale and Haberdashers Askes Hatcham College and were told they have no space. The other choices offered were Conisborough College, Deptford Green and Sedgehill.

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jollyrog


Posts: 80
Joined: Jul 2008
Post: #4
05-08-2011 06:02 AM

All grotty schools. The only places with space are the ones that nobody wants, for good reason.

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carolfox


Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 2011
Post: #5
05-08-2011 06:16 AM

That's what I suspected. So now I'm at a loss and becoming more stressed by the minute. She has been consistently assessed as being way above average academically though a little shy. These schools sound almost scary.

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jollyrog


Posts: 80
Joined: Jul 2008
Post: #6
05-08-2011 07:15 AM

Have you tried Cator Park?

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sandybaby


Posts: 14
Joined: Jul 2011
Post: #7
05-08-2011 08:25 AM

Our daughter is entering year 11 at Sydenham Girl's School and we have nothing but praise for this school. She is achieving well and has a good group of friends - most schools have a nightmare story to tell but overall the majority are good. Prendergast Ladywell Fields - or Crofton as it will always be known by me- will always have it's bad reputation and will probably never lose it. But then again Prendergast -the other one - will always have it's good reputation - maybe not so well deserved - but again will probably never lose it!!!!

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carolfox


Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 2011
Post: #8
05-08-2011 09:05 AM

Thanks. Will check out Cator Park, haven't done so yet. I was trying to go co-ed if possible.

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #9
05-08-2011 10:10 AM

What a shame about Prendergast. My sister went there in the 70's when it was a good school.

Seems the Socialist PC Brigade have taken over.

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showtunesgirl


Posts: 203
Joined: Feb 2008
Post: #10
05-08-2011 01:52 PM

I know of several girls who have gone to Sydenham Girls and all are polite, intelligent and independent young women.

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Sherwood


Posts: 1,347
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #11
05-08-2011 02:11 PM

Brian,

There are two schools with Prendergast in the name:

Prendergast Hilly Fields - formerly Prendergast School

Prendergast Ladywell Fields - formerly Crofton School

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brian


Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #12
05-08-2011 02:15 PM

I did not know that. Surely confusing.

One my sister went to used me be very good.

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rmurraywest


Posts: 42
Joined: Jan 2010
Post: #13
05-08-2011 02:19 PM

I'd agree about Sydenham Girls. And I think the sixth form is co-ed

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jollyrog


Posts: 80
Joined: Jul 2008
Post: #14
05-08-2011 02:31 PM

One very good, one dire. One trading on the good name of the other.

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michael


Posts: 3,196
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #15
05-08-2011 02:37 PM

Sydenham Girls and Forest Hill Boys join forces at 6th form, which is how I came to study Physics and Psychology in the girls school.

Prendergast is now a federation of three schools. The Hilly Fields site is the older one with the name and an excellent reputation. The head teacher of that school is now the Executive Head Teacher of the federation.

I believe this method of take overs by successful schools of less successful schools has had good results in improving performance in a number of cases. No doubt it will take time for the changes to be reflected in exam performance but it may be worth visiting the schools or speaking to parents to get an idea of what they are like and how they may be improving.

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rshdunlop


Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #16
05-08-2011 04:48 PM

Cast your net wider. We are near schools in other boroughs - like Bromley and Bexley, as well as Southwark and Lambeth.

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jollyrog


Posts: 80
Joined: Jul 2008
Post: #17
05-08-2011 05:10 PM

Ladywell Fields is unlikely to improve, unless it changes its intake. Hilly Fields' distance criteria is actually working in their favour, I think they're down to 800m (ish) for 1A girls. Nice well to do area, they’re not going to get many problem kids/families with that catchment distance. Self perpetuating, as better families move close to the school to get their daughters in.

Ladywell Fields (Crofton) on the other hand has accepted kids from 8km+ using their distance criteria. Shouldn't that set the alarm bells of any right minded parent ringing loudly?

Kingsdale was also failing. The 2002 OFSTED report is still on the web, along with the 2010 "outstanding" one. The 2002 report makes grim reading and from the opening paragraphs, it's clear what the problem is. Problem kids. The customers. Get rid of those and get some decent ones instead and bingo, the school will improve. They were distance based at the time, now distance isn't a factor - its random selection, with a bit of scholarship mystery thrown in (that nobody really seems to understand). Net effect, more nice people consider the school, try their hand with the scholarship process and whether they succeed or fail, they're attracted to the place and put it as number one on their list. End result? 2,000 applications from (mostly) nice people, strongly diluting the applications from the local undesirables. Add to that a bit of 1 in 10 random selection and you're left with very few rotten kids. 5 years (intakes) later, nice school, nice results.

Ladywell Fields hasn't worked this out. They've done some of the same things as Kingsdale. Shiny new building, new name, new management team and staff. Unfortunately, same rotten intake, so same results and reputation. Spaces available for anyone that moves into the area.

One teacher at Connisborough College (another hell hole school from what I saw) summed it up for me at the open evening last year. When I pressed him hard on why he and his colleagues preferred to quote - in an almost scripted format - "Value Added" results, which seem to be smoke and mirrors maths, rather than answering the straight questions I was asking about why they achieved such poor GCSE results. He finally snapped and said "It's not our fault that the kids are rubbish when they come here."

Says it all really. Connisborough has vacancies too.

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rshdunlop


Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #18
05-08-2011 05:18 PM

There are other ways to improve exam results, and Kingsdale is currently under investigation after six teachers claimed the school helped pupils cheat on exams:

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/a...cameron.do

Whether or not these allegations prove to be true, it is undoubtedly the case that there is more to a school than its place on a league table.

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jollyrog


Posts: 80
Joined: Jul 2008
Post: #19
05-08-2011 05:30 PM

Quote:
Whether or not these allegations prove to be true, it is undoubtedly the case that there is more to a school than its place on a league table.


I agree, which is why I directed the OP to Cator Park. We were really impressed with that school, despite its results not being as high as our preferred school. Happy kids, happy staff, good attitudes all round. Very positive.

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Perryman


Posts: 809
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #20
06-08-2011 01:39 AM

The other way to cheat is for schools to introduce more BTEC courses each of which is considered equivalent to up to 4 GCSE Passes (A-C).

This equivalence is controversial, and it is very misleading for schools to imply most children are getting a rounded education with 5 GCSEs when the reality is that many passed a BTEC and a RE GCSE.

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