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Is Dalmain School pretty mediocre?
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Posts: 147
Joined: Mar 2008
Post: #1
27-01-2012 07:55 AM

I'm hoping to flush some fervent Dalmain supporters from the woodwork with the provocative title...

It's by far our nearest school, and I don't think our child has a chance of a place anywhere else, even Kilmorie, given our proximity. This wasn't a concern until recently, as a couple of acquaintances with children there have said their children are very happy. Happiness is one thing (and very important too), but the Sydenham Society's stats have really worried me:


I read this as only 67% of Dalmain pupils leaving the school literate/numerate (and though I admit I haven't checked up on the standards themselves yet, I am guessing the government's definition of an expected standard of basic numeracy and literacy for an 11 year old is pretty unambitious).

I don't want our child to be one of the 33% of school-leavers who haven't reached a decent standard....

SO shoot me. Or better still, reassure me. Sad

This post was last modified: 27-01-2012 07:55 AM by edd.

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Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #2
27-01-2012 09:09 AM

I don't have any knowledge about this particular school, but I do know that these scores reflect how well year 6 children are taught to pass the SAT tests, not how good the school is at teaching literacy and numeracy.

My son is in year 6 at the school at the top of that table. From Christmas to May (when they sit the SATs) all the year 6 children are having an extra two hours of 'booster' classes per week, after normal school hours, focussing on raising their scores in the SATs. By contrast, my friend's son goes to a school where they don't do any prep for the SATs and get 'poor' SATs results, which would appear very low on this table, but it is still deemed by most of the parents to be a very good school indeed.

Lies, damn lies and statistics.

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Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2012
Post: #3
27-01-2012 04:42 PM

Hi, I have two children at Dalmain in Years 2 and 3. Both of my children are extremely bright and the staff are amazing. The head teacher is one to be reckoned with and is truly inspiring. All teachers at the school love children (I know that sounds like a pre-requisite for a teacher but sadly is often not the case!) and love teaching. My children are thriving at the school and any issues that ever arise are dealt with there and then, the head teacher has a fully open door policy and is always there to discuss any issues.

There is a thriving PTA in force with many involved and we have just held a wonderful Christmas fair with real Reindeer and Father Christmas which was a massive success and managed to raise lots of funds for the school. Please donít be put off by stats, I challenge any parent to go to the school on one of their open mornings and hear the head teacher talk about the school and how very proud she is and her vision and not want to have your children be a part of it! I am proud to say my children go to Dalmain.

Dalmain are a non selective school and this means they are open to all children, no matter what their background and for this reason there is a very mixed demographic within the school, but this is to be embraced. I do feel, however, this reflects the stats you refer to. Indeed, some children may come into that school at the very late stages who have only a very limited knowledge of the English language but the school are fantastic at overcoming any such challenges and ensuring those children with a more advanced learning ability or talent are continuously challenged.

Ok, rant over, as you can see I am very passionate about the school, sending my children there was the the best decision I ever made and many many parents at the school feel the same.

Go have a look!

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Posts: 47
Joined: May 2011
Post: #4
29-01-2012 06:21 PM

It may help to look at the percentage of level 5 passes on that table. It shows this figure has gone up over the past 5 years and went up this year too.

I would suggest that the standards have not dropped but there was a significant number of children who had learning difficulties for that year group this year.

This link seems to support this:
It suggests that the 67% attainnment was because many low attainers did not get a level 4 probably caused by the high number of children with English as a second lanaguage. HTH

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Posts: 42
Joined: Jan 2010
Post: #5
29-01-2012 10:22 PM

Well, no-one is likely to tell you they are sending their child to a mediocre school - and I'm not going to be the first.

My elder daughter is in Dalmain's Reception, and appears to be well on the way to becoming both literate and numerate. As the poster above has mentioned, the school has excellent teachers, and Ofsted thinks it is very far from mediocre. We actively chose the school for its vision, creativity, and atmosphere - and we had plenty of choice.

I have spoken to the Head (who is an impressive lady) about this year's Sats results. As a result they worry me not a jot. I suggest you go to an Open Morning and speak to her about them too.

This post was last modified: 29-01-2012 10:27 PM by rmurraywest.

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Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2013
Post: #6
25-02-2013 04:28 PM

Don't worry, my son is one of the 33%, however, this is not because he is illiterate - he didn't do the SATs due to his ASD and his teacher assessment levels are below average. However, my expectations were zero when he started - he is now a pretty good reader against all odds and thriving at secondary. This is solely thanks to the great staff at Dalmain. Brilliant school, so much going on - music is encouraged and loads of extra curricular stuff. My daughter loves it. Some children last year got exceedingly high grades by the way - with scholarships following.

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Posts: 83
Joined: Jul 2008
Post: #7
25-02-2013 10:24 PM

It's a really good school. Our one went through it, she's at Kingsdale now. She can certainly read and write very well. She was very happy there, as were we with just about everything about the school. They care about the children, there's plenty of clubs and interesting extras. Can't fault the place, unless something terrible has happened in the last 18 months.

Don't get hung up about SATS, just go and look at the school. Schools (especially Primaries) are stuck with the intake they get and can't make every child a genius or always turn bad into good. This will be reflected in their results. But, at Dalmain, I'm convinced that those who can do will do.

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Posts: 42
Joined: Jan 2010
Post: #8
26-02-2013 12:10 PM

Since this thread has been resurrected it should probably be updated. Last year's figures, published in December show that 95pc of children who left Dalmain gained the expected level in English and Maths, with a third also gaining Level 5s (classed as high ability).

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Posts: 221
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #9
27-02-2013 03:45 PM

I can't speak for Dalmain as my children don't go there, but just to echo what others have said that SATS are not the be-all-and-end-all. There is a lot more to primary schools than Year 6 results. As others have said, we have to bear in mind that we are in an area with a wide mix of backgrounds so children often do not have English as a first language, or they may have additional needs.

Schools who are non-selective - as they should all be, in my opinion - will have this reflected in their results.

Personally I'd rather a happy well-rounded child than one who is coached to do well at exams. But not all parents feel like that.....

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