Primary School agonies, advice needed

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jessicah
Posts: 5
Joined: 10 May 2013 11:58
Location: Sydenham

Primary School agonies, advice needed

Post by jessicah »

Hi, am new to this board and (fairly) new to the area so please be gentle. I have a 2-year old daughter and just starting to scope out the primary school situation. We live on Collingtree Road (off Kirkdale). I'm assuming we're well out of catchment for Eliot Bank which seems to be by far the gold standard around here for primaries, although confusingly I've seen kids with Eliot Bank uniform walking down our street so maybe not. If we had a shot at getting in that would be my first choice by a mile, but not sure if its even worth applying. Based on some fairly sketchy research the only other three schools that seem to be unequivocally in catchment for us are Kelvingrove, Saint Bartholomews and the Catholic school (Holy Trinity?). We're not Catholic by any stretch of the imagination so I'm assuming that would be a stretch. Saint Barts looks and sounds lovely and that would be my clear second choice after Eliot Bank and is pretty close, although again I'm only nominally CofE and I imagine that's not super easy to get into. Kelvingrove doesn't on the face of it look too inspiring, based on its Ofsted and remarks from other parents but maybe I'm being a snob and unfair.
Just scouting around for some advice really to see what people think. Are we so far out of catchment for Eliot Bank that its not worth applying? Is Kelvingrove better than its reputation would suggest? Anyone have any experience of it? Any other schools I've missed off?
michael
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Joined: 26 Sep 2006 12:56
Location: Forest Hill

Re: Primary School agonies, advice needed

Post by michael »

Holy Trinity is CofE.
In 2011 the further admission for Eliot Bank was from 457m (see http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/SiteCollecti ... 012-13.pdf). In 2012 they had a bulge class so the distance is not comparable. And it is quite likely that the catchment for 2014 will be smaller once the number of sibling places from a bulge class are taken into account. So I would have thought that 850m from your house is a bit far to guarantee you a place.
multisync
Posts: 282
Joined: 5 Sep 2007 06:12
Location: upper sydenham

Re: Primary School agonies, advice needed

Post by multisync »

My children are past the school age. But how come you see children on the buses going to and from Penge, do some schools have catchment areas and others not ?
pagoda
Posts: 1
Joined: 11 May 2013 11:53

Re: Primary School agonies, advice needed

Post by pagoda »

Haseltine School is out of your catchment area but I love the way they are celebrating their Oustanding grade, banners everywhere well done!!!!!

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paultreacy
Posts: 487
Joined: 10 Jun 2008 17:40
Location: Lawrie Park Road

Re: Primary School agonies, advice needed

Post by paultreacy »

My two are at St. Bart's and it's very good. Just pipped Eliot Bank in most recent rating and is now best in Sydenham and 13th or 14th overall in Lewisham. I think I have those details right. Also, St. Bart's has an excellent reputation for well prepared year 6ers starting secondary school.

We are a godless household and the religiosity does do our heads in a bit but St. Barts was the school we got. They are very relaxed about that sort of thing though and students from all sectors of society are represented at the school. I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending it. It's a smaller school than Eliot Bank though it is expanding with new buildings being constructed right now. Plans look excellent.

Also, there are several male teachers which is a BIG plus so students are very likely to have a male teacher at some point.

Good luck.

Paul Treacy
KM
Posts: 185
Joined: 10 Dec 2006 19:38
Location: Sydenham

Re: Primary School agonies, advice needed

Post by KM »

A big thumbs up for St Bart's too - my reception class daughter loves it, has settled well, has a great teacher, TA and Nursery Nurse and the school feels warm and welcoming.
The kids who attend Eliot Bank on your road well may be in the bulge class intake (I know one of the family's). The school I think is normally 2 form and this current 2013 intake went up to 4 form due to the 2 bulge classes. So, like the other post says, there could be a large sibling intake, probably for the 2015 starters.
Don't rule out Kelvin Grove either, feels like a changing school - for the better.
I think the website to look at about distance/stats on schools is schoolsfinder...?
dorino
Posts: 26
Joined: 26 Jun 2008 11:31
Location: Sydenham

Re: Primary School agonies, advice needed

Post by dorino »

Hello,

If you want Eliot Bank as your first choice, I would go for it. It's a really popular school, when I went to look around it there were people from Peckham and East Dulwich looking, and they live much further than us Sydenham bods.

The schools don't have catchment areas any more as such, but it's still based on distance (?) and the order you make your choices is important.

My daughter starts Reception at St Barts in September. I also really liked Holy Trinity School up by Forest Hill Library and I agree with the person who thinks that Kelvin Grove is going to be the next school with big improvements too. Both schools have got fantastic Head Teachers.

I really think we're lucky with our Primary Schools in Sydenham, and it's wonderful to see Haseltine School blowing it's trumpet loud and clear!
Bobbins
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Joined: 2 Nov 2011 14:02
Location: Syd Hill

Re: Primary School agonies, advice needed

Post by Bobbins »

Lewisham does publish the distances of the furthest child to get into each school Reception class. (it's in the back of the booklet you download when applying for a place). This can give you a rough guide as to whether you may get in or not, but sometimes with bulge classes and their knock on effect in later years it's hard to tell. Siblings get priority places so that is why you often see people coming from far and wide to attend a particular school, yet someone who lives close may not get a place.

I certainly suggest viewing them all, you can tell a lot by visiting, meeting the head, seeing the children at play. Eliot Bank and Kelvin Grove jointly run a Children's Centre at both schools so you could pop along to activities there with a little one and begin to get a feel for the school.

It's worth noting that OFSTED have recently changed their criteria, so keep that in mind when looking at when an inspection was done.

I think it's fantastic that Haseltine has progressed so much in a short space of time. A few years ago parents seemed to dread 'being sent' to that school, how wonderful that it is now judged Outstanding. A lot can change in just a few years.

My daughter is at Kelvin Grove and is loving it. It's a vibrant school, with excellent facilities and lots of space now they have renovated the new building on Kirkdale. We particularly like the music and sports provision and the community garden/allotment too. It is also opening a Forest School very soon for early years.

I think we are lucky to have so many great schools nearby!
Mazzer
Posts: 119
Joined: 18 Sep 2011 19:06
Location: Sydenham

Re: Primary School agonies, advice needed

Post by Mazzer »

I'm glad I found this thread, i was starting to feel overwhelmed and very alone - trying to work out about schools in the area for my 3.5 year old who'll be starting school in 2014!

Jessicah - please let me know how your research is going. I'm just at the very starting point. I'm not looking at religious schools, I didn't realise we had any chance of getting in, but maybe I shouldn't rule them out, just not sure it feels right sending my kid to a religious school when we are not so.

I'm not sure if I'm missing something because when I moved into this area (I'm Byne Road), I'd hear mumbles from parents about how this is not the area to move to with school age children because of all the terrible schools... But I've started vaguely browsing the info on schools and there seems to be loads and they all seem fine with generally good ofsteds (I know I know - I shouldn't judge on ofsted reports but still, a good ofsted report is a positive starting point). I'm just wondering if I'm blind to the fact that I'm not in the catchment of any of them or something awful.

My first distance search (on findaschool.info) has brought up the following that I'll look into: Eliot Bank, Kelvin Grove, James Dixon, Adamsrill, Hasletine, Alexandra, Worsley Bridge and Churchfields. I've rulled out Malcolm and Royston - or am i being a snob, open to any info on why I should reconsider them?!

I think a couple of those at least I've no hope cos of tiny catchment areas but i suppose it's worth putting them down just incase.

James Dixon and Worsley Bridge have forest schools within them. Don't even know what that is but I'm sold! ;-)

I also worry that I'm missing an amazing school that I should consider because I'm only looking a the closest schools to me... what schools have I missed?

Any info on these and other schools greatly appreciated! Thanks to those who have already commented on the schools they know about, great to hear people have a good feeling about Kelvin Grove and that your daughter Bobbins likes it, from previous years that looks like a sure bet in terms of catchment area etc for us.

Thanks!

Marie
Annie.
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Joined: 11 May 2012 17:48

Re: Primary School agonies, advice needed

Post by Annie. »

Best school out of that lot is Eliot Bank, I have known the Head there for 25 on / off years, not as friends I must add.
Kathy Palmer is a really good head, always wants the best for her Children.

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Mumcah
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Joined: 25 Aug 2011 20:13

Re: Primary School agonies, advice needed

Post by Mumcah »

I don't think you will get into Eliot Bank if you live on Collingtree...I do know someone from your road who goes there but she lived closer when she started there.
My neighbours go to St Barts and are pleased and one of my friend's daughters goes to Kelvin Grove and they have been happy....although were a bit snobby about it at first!
My daughter goes to Adamsrill but way too far for you as is Hasletine.

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Mazzer
Posts: 119
Joined: 18 Sep 2011 19:06
Location: Sydenham

Re: Primary School agonies, advice needed

Post by Mazzer »

How do i find out which schools will have a bulge year 2014?
michael
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Joined: 26 Sep 2006 12:56
Location: Forest Hill

Re: Primary School agonies, advice needed

Post by michael »

Mazzer wrote:How do i find out which schools will have a bulge year 2014?
If this year is anything to go by, you wait until a week before the summer holidays and find out that Hasletine, Fairlawn, and Kilmorie all have unexpected bulge classes. Unexpected by parents, teachers, or governors. Perhaps 2014 will be better organised, I certainly hope so.
leenewham
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Re: Primary School agonies, advice needed

Post by leenewham »

What's a bulge class?
Mazzer
Posts: 119
Joined: 18 Sep 2011 19:06
Location: Sydenham

Re: Primary School agonies, advice needed

Post by Mazzer »

Yeah, I could really do with knowing in advance, I can't be bothered to look round 10 schools I don't have a chance of getting into, I'd rather just look round and apply for the local one that's going to have a bulge class this year, job done, less time wasted.

Lee, i didn't know what a bulge class was until two days ago, turns out that schools are persuaded to admit another class worth of children into reception, every few years (instead of being one-form entry taking two as a one-off type thing), to help with the demand on primary places, so in every borough there'll be a few schools doing it every year. If we don't know who's doing it then we might want to apply to all the schools that we wouldn't normally have a chance (but would love to go to), just incase they might have a bulge year. Which is such a bloody waste of time because it means looking round and reading about etc all the schools that I probably don't have a hope in hell, just in case! And putting them down and wasting a spot in my short list etc etc etc.

Marie
Mazzer
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Joined: 18 Sep 2011 19:06
Location: Sydenham

Re: Primary School agonies, advice needed

Post by Mazzer »

Mind you, Michael, at least I now know three schools that are unlikely to have a bulge year in 2014 :-), thanks!
KM
Posts: 185
Joined: 10 Dec 2006 19:38
Location: Sydenham

Re: Primary School agonies, advice needed

Post by KM »

Look at the schools which are nearest to you and within your borough, visit them, read the Ofsteds, go to their school fetes, make your choice. The demand for school places is increasing, so just be sensible when you complete your choice of 6.
With Eliot Bank's 2 bulge classes in the 2012 intake, a higher proportion of places will inevitably go to siblings over the next couple of years.

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Mazzer
Posts: 119
Joined: 18 Sep 2011 19:06
Location: Sydenham

Re: Primary School agonies, advice needed

Post by Mazzer »

Just wanted to bump this up to the top to see if there was anybody also doing the primary-school-hunt with any pointers. I've been to see a few and like them all really - turns out I'm not that fussy! :-) I didn't get a chance to see James Dixon or Hasletine, anybody else seen them? What are they like? I'm struggling to find 6 to put on my list! How about Royston, anybody been to see it this year now that it's a Harris Academy? I'd be interested in hearing people's thoughts on that one.

Thanks

Marie
Suzee
Posts: 195
Joined: 7 Jul 2006 12:42
Location: Sydenham

Re: Primary School agonies, advice needed

Post by Suzee »

Hi Mazzer,
I think we're close to you, our son is in Reception at Kelvin Grove and we are really happy. It is already a good school and feels like it will get better and better. Brilliant Reception teachers.
My only negative is it is not that close, though I feel fitter as a result!
I didn't get a chance to see Malcolm and didn't want to see Royston. Plus it works better going that way rather than towards Penge in terms of me getting to work.
It has a breakfast and after school club which are great for working parents.

What we need around our way is for Alexandra Infants to move onto the Junior site as that actually is our closest school. Seems silly having Alexandra Infants so close to Royston. Ho hum....

Sue

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Suzee
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Location: Sydenham

Re: Primary School agonies, advice needed

Post by Suzee »

P.s. Kelvin Grove does Forest School - it's great, the kids love it!

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