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Planning to move to Forest Hill (or ED)
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Posts: 26
Joined: Feb 2013
Post: #1
11-02-2013 12:38 PM

Hi all

I am planning to move to SE22 or SE23 area from SE1 shortly with my husband and 10 month old girl. We have accepted that private school is not an option if we want to have more than one kid so we have agreed to target our searches around Heber, Goodrich, Fairlawn and Horniman as we have heard good things about them all. However there is nothing like some reassurance or warnings from those in the know when you are about to embark on a new chapter, so I'd be grateful to hear what you think.

My big concern is how these schools prepare the child for secondary school and beyond and which schools do the kids from Heber etc go to for secondary? If any of you recommend any other schools besides those above then please share your thoughts. Neither my husband nor I were educated in the UK so we're not really familiar with the system here (although we are doing our best to get up to speed).

Thanks in advance.

p.s. any general positive messages about living in SE22 or SE23 would be gratefully received also although we are already loving both areas but it's a bit tricky to choose between them. Cheers.

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Posts: 128
Joined: May 2010
Post: #2
11-02-2013 03:27 PM

have a look at stillness which is also a highly rated school

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Posts: 212
Joined: Jul 2012
Post: #3
11-02-2013 03:53 PM

Depends on what you want from the area. Houses around Heber and Goodrich are v. expensive for being rather small (but ED is very lively!). Horniman catchment is also very small and houses tend to be huge there - but very nice imho Smile

Area around Stillness and Kilmorie is nice and houses are definitely cheaper . Depends on your budget and what you want. Honor Oak / Forest Hill getting expensive quite quickly but changing for the better all the time - also transport in FH / HOP is much s better than areas around Goodrich and Heber.

Which is why we moved to HOP. We looked at ED for a long time but never did find a house that we wanted to live in that also had transport and school.

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Posts: 179
Joined: Oct 2011
Post: #4
12-02-2013 05:39 AM

Worth considering Eliot Bank too, which is on the Sydenham side but is rated outstanding by Ofsted. There are some nice roads around the school (Derby Hill Crescent, Thorpewood Ave, Radlet Ave).

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Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #5
12-02-2013 08:37 AM

Picking up on one point in your post - your choice of primary school will not have any effect on your choice of secondary school. There are no longer 'feeder' primary schools, linked to certain secondary schools.

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Posts: 1,389
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #6
12-02-2013 08:48 AM

Except for primary schools that are part of an Academy!

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Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #7
12-02-2013 08:52 AM

Do we have any of those in Forest Hill, though? I was going to mention academies, but thought it would be muddying the waters if it's not applicable here. Also, while academies give you precedence to move to the secondary part of the school, it's not the same as the old 'feeder' system where all the secondary schools had prefered primary schools from which they took their intake.

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Posts: 7
Joined: Sep 2010
Post: #8
12-02-2013 10:42 AM

it's a great area. Why not just find a house you like and go to the nearest primary school. It will be a nice school - they all are around here. And no doubt even better for having you there as an engaged and interested parent, "Front-loading" where you move to with a specific primary school preference can lead you down some very odd culs-de-sacs. So much is luck - do your kids make friends, is the teacher nice and so on. Whereas micro-managing exactly which school you end up with is not only contrary to the basic idea of community primary education, it also involves spending huge amounts of money on a set of mutable assumptions/ofsted waffle. Se23 is a safe bet in itself - people are nice and all the schools are decent

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Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #9
12-02-2013 11:04 AM

That's a most sensible post, Beavis. We moved here many moons ago with a two year-old. It never occurred to me to check out the schools first. We found a house and road we liked and went for it. Some might think that was naive or short sighted. But when it came to it, there were five or six schools within walking distance that I was happy for my children to go to. Were they perfect schools? No. None is. Did they suit my children? Yes. How could I know when my child was just a babe what school would suit? A good Osted report does not mean a good fit for your family.

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Posts: 729
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #10
12-02-2013 09:43 PM

What other people have said is true, that generally the primary schools of Forest Hill are all fine. However, the secondary schools (and no doubt someone will take issue with this statement) are not.

Here are the 2011 league tables - which show the nearest secondaries, Forest Hill (boys) and Sydenham (girls) are barely bobbing around the 50% mark for A-C GCSEs. Better bets might be Prendergasts (girls) whch used to have an excellent reputation, although I gather it's gone down hill a bit recently, and Haberdashers (former grammar school), but also Kingsdale and the Charter school in Dulwich.

I don't know much about the entry criteria for secondaries. Kids do grow up incredibly quickly and unless you are planning to move again, I'd say that would be a good area for further research.

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Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #11
12-02-2013 09:54 PM

Not Kingsdale. Sliding back fast.

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Posts: 729
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #12
12-02-2013 10:18 PM

Good point, RSH, who's to say where the secondaries will be in 10 years' time!

Didn't know that there was a problem with Kingsdale, although I had heard of Charter rather looking down on it. It should also be said that I believe that FH boys has improved significantly since the turn of the century, when I was told it was "only fit to train drug dealers and car theives".

There's also all the Kent grammars e.g. Chis & Sid and others.

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Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #13
12-02-2013 11:09 PM

And Catholic schools, if you're of that persuasion.

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Posts: 95
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #14
13-02-2013 12:07 AM

I grew up abroad and went to the local primary school and the local secondary, London is different and you will find that people travel. On my street, we have got people going to Harris Crystal Palace, Sydenham Girls, Forest Hill boys, Orpington, Kingsdale and those are the ones I know about . I don't think you should worry about it now. You should just choose a street you like with a good primary, secondary schools go up and down and it is impossible to predict which are going to be good in the future. You can move then if you need to.

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Posts: 212
Joined: Jul 2012
Post: #15
13-02-2013 01:45 PM

Agree about focusing on primary. choose a nice area and a decent nearby primary. important because hopefully your family will then make lots of local friends in the neighbourhood over time. the way it should be!

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Posts: 190
Joined: Oct 2006
Post: #16
13-02-2013 06:52 PM

Sydenham and FH in the 2012 league tables - both 66%

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Posts: 349
Joined: May 2005
Post: #17
13-02-2013 10:16 PM

Those 66% success rates for the boys and girls are commendable considering their inner city locations combined with the fact that they're also non-selective. I'm sure that there have been steady improvements over a number of years and, from what I've seen at a couple of FH community meetings at Sydenham school where some of the senior girls have performed and made various presentations to the visitors, I think a lot of people out there would be pleasantly surprised (as was I) at the calibre of these students. There was a clear demonstration, in my opinion, of the fact that the school provided students of all abilities with the necessary tools and framework to allow them to thrive in their chosen subjects and fields. The head also spoke about the school and its ethos for both academic achievement and showing the girls how to make a positive contribution to society through involvement in the local community and in sports and the arts.

I don't know if I'm in the minority here, but I think that growing children benefit hugely from rubbing shoulders with a real mix of abilities and cultures during throughout their education instead of being stuck (as I was) in the top stream of a grammar school amongst a bunch of unwilling swots whose parents thought about little else except forcing their kids along a path to some profession or another, whether it suited the poor individual or not. No doubt you will have all gathered that I bailed out early. ];^)~

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Posts: 10
Joined: Oct 2012
Post: #18
15-02-2013 06:33 PM

I quite agree Anotherjohn. My son is at Forest Hill Boys and doing very well. 66% A-C is a fantastic achievement for a non selective school - especially boys. Kingsdale was one of the worst performing schools in southwark after the cheating allegations last year.

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Posts: 59
Joined: Oct 2010
Post: #19
16-02-2013 09:52 AM

Dear shzl400, please update your info and your opinion, latest league tables are here

So as others pointed out, we have two secondary local schools, which take all children from the local community regardless of ability, and achieve above average results for England and London. I feel very strongly that we need to support local services. If we think things can be improved, isn't it better to get involved and support, rather than talk down, local services? There's another recent thread on secondaries here

Back to alimc, sorry if you're feeling bemused by the posts seeking to counsel you about which secondary school to send your 10-month-old daughter to!

But hopefully we've shown that Forest Hill is a thriving community, with people who care about it, and who have been very happy with local education.

One other observation is Forest Hill is likely to continue on the up, in terms of shops, eateries etc. All the recent flat building means more singles and couples, likely to be working, spending - and therefore encouraging more interesting shops and businesses.

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Posts: 816
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #20
16-02-2013 10:08 PM

FH is a great place to live. It's very much community based. Great schools overall, and most shop keepers are local and care about the area. I love living in this area. Sure you will too if you choose to live here.
P x

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