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Where do local primary kids go on to, on whole?
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sydenhamhiller


Posts: 26
Joined: Apr 2009
Post: #1
12-02-2013 10:59 PM

I feel very ignorant on this topic. With primary school, it was relatively straight-forward: we applied for one of closest state primaries on the SE23/26 border and happened to get in.

Now my eldest in 9. And lots of parents seem to be moving to Hayes/ West Wickham/ Beckenham. Friends in Beckenham (but not in the hallowed Park Langley catchment) are moving out to Hayes/ West Wickham too.

All this...movement is starting to unsettle me. Potential moral dilemmas aside, we can't afford to go private :o). I don't really want to move. Kingsdale is our closest secondary, but has a Byzantine admissions system, which leaves us Forest Hill Boys and Sydenham School. Which I was OK with, until I've just seen that they are around the 50% mark for A-C GCSE.

So where do SE23 state primary kids go on to? Do primary schools publish this information?

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sandy


Posts: 189
Joined: Oct 2006
Post: #2
12-02-2013 11:23 PM

Both Forest Hill and Sydenham 66% 5 good GCSEs in 2012 league tables

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/educat...m?compare=

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Perryman


Posts: 809
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #3
13-02-2013 02:51 PM

Unlike the local primary schools, the secondary schools with their large catchment area better reflect the diversity of the borough we live in, with all the problems that can bring - poverty being the key to under performance. There is a lot of poverty in Lewisham.

However with a stable home, bookshelves full of books, one or both parents in rewarding jobs, and a belief in education, then your child generally will excel academically where ever they go and will make friends with children like them. The 2 main local schools need these middle class children to keep their figures up and some concessions are made to attract them (some streaming, latin, gifted programmes).

Kingsdale as the flag ship academy is unlikely to be allowed to fail and despite all the scandals and disastrous results in 2012, it is likely to become a reasonable alternative for those parents who really want a mixed school. But they cast the net wide and their selection criteria is a mystery in practice.

The facilities (sporting/music) will be better at Prendergast HF and Haberdashers (Hat), but unless you can look out your window and see the front door, you have next to no chance. There are very very few music places.

Grammar schools in Kent are about 1h away, which if you add a stack of h/w every evening seems an ordeal, but many do it. Probably will need private tuition to do well enough at the 11+ though.

Harris Crystal Palace is selective and as a result their results are excellent, but I'm not sure they have any better facilities.

That's my take on the local free secondary school options. I hope I've been reasonably fair.

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Deano


Posts: 179
Joined: Oct 2011
Post: #4
13-02-2013 10:40 PM

I think I know the Head you are talking about Sydenhamhiller and I can't wait to see you having the 'middle class flight' conversation at parents evening! We'll stand back and watch the fireworks while you are led off to the chokey...

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derbybill


Posts: 122
Joined: Jan 2010
Post: #5
14-02-2013 03:44 PM

A very sensible balanced response from Perryman.
Assuming that you are not in the big money for St Dunstans (14,061 per year, mutiply that by 5 or 7 years), then there is quite a baffling choice.
The BBC website has secondary school league tables, but then do you go for the five GCSEs score, the English Bacc score, or the Value Added score, or a smaller school, or a speciality school?
Lewisham has a lot of single sex schools: better for girls, not so good for boys? Also faith schools, as well as the private sector. Most are doing pretty well, but like every school they have good and bad years.
Then there's Southwark, Greenwich and the green pastures of Bexley, Bromley and Kent. Education officers talk about "imports" of children from Southwark, and "exports" to Bromley etc: so children tend to travel out from the centre, while many workers travel in to central London.
My choice several years ago was for a mixed school (now completely reorganised, rebuilt and with different staff), not too far away (so that they could easily visit their school friends at weekends and in the holidays) with some enthusiastic teachers who would develop all their talents. League tables and Ofsted reports provide a good picture, but you can't beat visiting and asking plenty of questions of the staff.
And don't write off a school just because the pupils are very noisy at the end of the day, in the streets or on the bus!

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Kingly


Posts: 10
Joined: Oct 2012
Post: #6
14-02-2013 05:34 PM

Both Forest Hill and Sydenham Girls are very good schools. They have good Ofsted reports and their GCSE results are some of the best in the borough. The mixed sixth form appears excellent with students getting into top universities (including Cambridge and UCL).
My son is at Forest Hill and I'm extremely happy.

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SEN


Posts: 53
Joined: Oct 2010
Post: #7
15-02-2013 12:05 AM

I sympathise Sydenhamhiller, we faced same issue a few years ago. But as Sandy points out our 2 local schools have 66%ish good GCSEs. A result that is more impressive when you consider these schools serve the whole of this wonderful but mixed area.

First thing I'd say is don't think in terms of right and wrong answers. All answers have pros and cons. Don't get too alarmed at the flight to Bromley and beyond - it may look appealing but doesn't work out better for all.

If you're committed to this area, I agree with Kingly - we have good schools on our doorstep (I mean FH Boys and Sydenham Girls). Our kids went to both. Oldest now at Russell Group university doing a "real" subject. Middle one has achieved A* GCSEs early. Youngest also loving secondary school. Both offer so many opportunities (Latin, music, rugby, author visits...) and because they're local schools, your kids can take advantage and still get home at a reasonable time (or get there for before-school activities).

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Townleygreen


Posts: 12
Joined: Jul 2012
Post: #8
23-02-2013 10:38 AM

Don't forget that Sutton has some brilliant grammar schools and that quite a few kids travel from this area to them - eg from F Hill via Overground to Norwood Junction, then on to Sutton takes 30 mins.

Wilson's, Wallington Boys and Girls, Sutton and Nonsuch are their names I believe. They are easier to get in than the Olaves/Newstead super selectives - AFAIK

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pebble


Posts: 47
Joined: May 2011
Post: #9
12-03-2013 01:05 PM

I would disagree with Perryman on the difficulties of getting into Prendergast HF as it has a much wider catchment now and it is not unheard of for children as far as in Nunhead to get in on the second round of offers.

I have a child at Harris Crystal Palace and they have just finished a major refurbishment so the facilities are very good but I suppose it depends on what you are looking for.

The journey to the Sutton Grammars is about 35-40 minutes (don't get off at Norwood Junction. go to West Croydon as the trains are more frequent from there as more come in from Victoria). Also, it is possible to pass the tests without extra tuition because I know of a few children who have got in without it.

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Perryman


Posts: 809
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #10
12-03-2013 11:23 PM

http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/ed...wisham.pdf

At the back of this pdf are a set of tables that give the catchment areas.
Children were grouped into 5 bands and places were offered equally in each band.
If a child was grouped in 2A, then with a 2km range, I guess those se23ers NE of Honor Oak Pk station had a chance of being offered a place at Prendergast Hilly Fields. Otherwise unless the children were genuinely musically gifted, or had a special need, all in SE23 were most likely initially rejected.

Harris Crystal Palace's catchment area is 1m (90%), 2m (10%) so again SE23ers miss out there unless they pass the entrance test or have a special need. The test I believe is not dissimilar to the 11+ (with a technical flavour) and there are a ridiculous number that apply. They pick the cream so well done pebble!
Their results are superb, but they would be. Smile

Places presumably come up in these schools for the very persistent, but they will be rare. It would be misleading to suggest otherwise.

On grammar schools, I do not think my door to door estimate of an hour is too far off the mark. Some children no doubt pass the 11+ without effort. Most will need to work on one or more parts of their skill-set. Primary schools are not 11+ prep schools. And my understanding is that passing the 11+ does not in itself guarantee a place at a grammar school. You need a good mark.

PS Does anyone know if Kingsdale's rather poor results are because of the BTECs they teach are no longer counting towards the 5 A-C (incl Eng and Maths) figures? I've not heard an explanation and I am curious.

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pebble


Posts: 47
Joined: May 2011
Post: #11
13-03-2013 12:34 AM

I've found from experience that what is printed in the Lewisham booklet and reality are not the same thing. I know parents last year and the year before that got their child into Prendergast HF from the corners of SE23 without too much effort.

The test for Harris is a non-verbal test with shape sequences and is the same one as Askes were using unless they have changed it this year. This is totally different from the 11+ which is verbal reasoning, maths, comprehension and a writing task. My child tells me children come and go at Harris CP all the time just like at any other school so it is not impossible to enter mid-term in any year group. Their results are excellent because they have a narrow curriculum, constant testing and retakes, very few school trips out, mostly good teaching and aim for 100% 'C' passes. Their intake is a mystery because although they divide the children into 9 ability bands from the test results and take the top from each band, like you say, they manage to admit very few low ability children (see DfE KS4 results). A new Head is starting in Sept so it will be interesting to see what changes she makes.

Sorry but I wasn't disputing your journey times to Kent grammars but adding that Sutton's are shorter. The journey is 29 minutes station to station. And yes passing the test doesn't guarantee entry but the children I know that have not been tutored have been offered places. The grammars try to design the tests so untutored children are not disadvantaged. For example, Sutton reject applicants if it is obvious children have pre-prepared phrases or generic essays.

Kingsdale's latest ofsted report has some suggestions about why their results have fallen.

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Perryman


Posts: 809
Joined: Dec 2006
Post: #12
13-03-2013 01:06 PM

Thanks pebble - that is very informative and more up to date than some of my offerings which are a couple or 3 years out of date.

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pebble


Posts: 47
Joined: May 2011
Post: #13
13-03-2013 03:06 PM

As you can probably tell I'm not that enamored with Harris CP but I expect a lot of schools operate on similar lines. They run it like a business (thanks to Lord Harris) and whilst it's a slick operation they forget they are children and not employees. Anyway I think the last Head was just coasting on his results and I hope the new Head will bring some vibrancy to the school. She is certainly heavily qualified.

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derbybill


Posts: 122
Joined: Jan 2010
Post: #14
13-03-2013 08:31 PM

Lord Harris is the Chairman of Carpetright plc, close friend of David Cameron and substantial donor to the Tory Party, so I guess he insists on his schools ran as if they were businesses.
Do parents of the pupils get cheap deals on carpets and flooring, I wonder?

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sydenhamhiller


Posts: 26
Joined: Apr 2009
Post: #15
13-03-2013 11:03 PM

Thanks for all the replies. Pebble - I hope you don't mind, but I'm interested in your opinion on Harris CP.

Friends with older children have been a little 'marmite' about Harris CP after Open Days: they felt it was quite regimented, quite strict, not much art/ drama/ music. We'll have a look round in September, but was thinking it might be quite a good fit for DC1 (he would make a great prefect, loves rules...Huh

Was Harris CP your first choice? What would you like the new HT to change when they take up post?

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borderpaul


Posts: 87
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #16
14-03-2013 03:10 PM

I am always a bit confused at how Harris CP which takes children of all abilities from the community manages to get a 99% pass rate. It seems a bit high and does not reflect the natural distribution of results as inevitably some people do well and some people fail unless you select.

I get the impression this year that many people didn't get in but it seemed that does who did seemed to be of higher academic ability than those who didn't. I have heard this said about Harris last year as well though it could just all be a coincidence.

I did the tour last year and was amazed when they introduced a one way system round the school during the day. I think that summarizes my opinion of the school that they wanted kids to go in one direction and did not prize individuality so much. I think it is a brilliant school if you have a kid that way inclined as it will let them excel.

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pebble


Posts: 47
Joined: May 2011
Post: #17
14-03-2013 03:53 PM

HCP is not regimented and not strict. Although they do give out dententions until a child has had so many the school can get rid of them. It's not like the East Dulwich boys school. It's much more relaxed.

HCP was not my first choice. I moved him from ED Boys because he couldn't cope with how strict it was. What a mistake that was! He lost all of the nice subjects like swimming, Spanish, drama, extra DT and the great after-school clubs ED boys run and got more English & maths lessons. My son liked getting involved in stuff at ED Boys but he is just not inspired at HCP and going to school is a means to an end, which is sad because as a parent you ideally want them to go to a school they will find something to love. There is very little in the way of rewards or commendation either.

The biggest problem I can see at HPC is they don't listen to or communicate with parents or children. They answer your calls within a Harris set business time frame but then always have some excuse that they refuse to compromise on. For example, they enter children into GCSE's early without telling the parents and even when they are clearly not going to get an A*. But the government is about to put a stop to schools doing that soon.

Having said all that, when I go to parents' evening I meet lots of enthusiastic and intelligent teachers and my son is making good progress, although I expect his grades would have been much better if he had stayed at ED boys as they have more to prove.

The new Head, I've realised, starts in April not September so I shall be finding out very soon what impact she will have. I hope she will make it more parent friendly.

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rshdunlop


Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #18
14-03-2013 07:53 PM

The thing about a reduced curriculum, as pebble has discovered, is that it allows the school to focus on English and Maths. One of the measures in the league tables is the number of children who get grades A* to C at GSCE including English and Maths. A school that crams the timetable with extra English and Maths can significantly improve this measure. But at what cost?

Borderpaul - what's wrong with a one-way system? Lots of secondary schools do that. If you have more than a thousand children moving around the school at the same time it makes sense!

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AMFM


Posts: 306
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #19
14-03-2013 08:59 PM

My daughter is a long way off secondary, not even at primary yet but it is already abundantly clear that she adores music and dance - any school that fails to understand how important the arts are in turning out well rounded, and happy, people gets a big thumbs down from me. I dread the notion that we are training our children to be automatons.

that said - nothing wrong with a one way system - my secondary school introduced it (all of 20 something years ago) and it made a big difference to congestion moving from class to class.

It also, perhaps oddly, had the effect of curbing some elements of bullying - no more deliberate barging of people coming in the opposite direction (and this was an all girls school)...

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pebble


Posts: 47
Joined: May 2011
Post: #20
15-03-2013 10:14 PM

There isn't a one-way system any more at HCP. It was only for when they had building work.

There is drama included in the English lessons but there's not much of it.

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