Secondary schools??

(13 Posts)
JessiElsa82 Fri 14-Oct-16 09:21:22

I'm about to choose secondary school for my daughter and thinking about Crown woods, Eltham or Coopers, Chislehurst.

Anyone has children attending any of the schools?

I would prefer a mixed school, not many in the area. but could consider bullers wood and chislehurst school for girls as well.

Any advice would be truly helpful xxx

Thank you.

PostofficeTower Fri 14-Oct-16 09:40:32

I have a DS the same age and recently looked at Coopers and was quite impressed. Their GCSE results were good this year as well. We also looked at Coopers for my older DC a couple of years ago and I put it second choice then as he preferred the layout of another school. I went to a recent open day and thought the teacher's speech was good. Other people I know who go there are happy with their choice. You probably already know this but you have to fill in an expression of interest form by 21st October if you want to put Coopers as one of your choices. This is for the banding test which I think takes place in November.

I also want a mixed school and have looked at Bishop Justus and Ravensbourne as well, both of which are good.

VanillaLatte13 Fri 14-Oct-16 15:34:34

BullersWood is the best school in the area.
Eltham College as well, but I think it is private?
Langley for girls is an excellent school but the catchment area is tiny.

My son currently goes to Coopers as Bullers Wood for boys didn't open as advertised this year.
Coopers did not have great reputation couple of years ago, but the new Principal is introducing many improvements and the management overall and the teachers are making great efforts.
DS is very happy so far with the school and his first report is excellent.
The communication with parents is really good and they organise a lot of evening for the parents.
All information is uploaded on the gateway and you can see in real time your child attendance etc.

There are more boys in the school (2/3) than girls.

PostofficeTower Fri 14-Oct-16 16:40:35

VanillaLatte, is there any movement in the bands once they have been streamed do you know?

PettsWoodMum Sun 16-Oct-16 07:15:52

Personal fit for your child is important but for data they have just released the progress 8 data for every school. It shows how a child improves from when they enter a school to when they are 16. Anything over 0 is above average. Most comprehensives score -0.03, Bullers gets a very good 0.29 and Coopers gets minus 0.24, Crown Woods gets minus 0.07.

MulberryJam Sun 16-Oct-16 08:13:39

I know someone who recently taught at Coopers for a few years.

He believed that the discipline was terrible. He would have two 17 year old boys (so man-sized people) talking loudly to each other during a test, or whatever, and have no recourse to any kind of sanctions.

He compared it very unfavourably to another local school, where he felt the SMT really had his back as far as discipline was concerned.

I would be very wary of sending my DC there, and didn't even put it as an option for DS a few years ago, despite it being quite close to us.

I don't know anything about Crown Woods, so I can't give any opinion.

VanillaLatte13 Sun 16-Oct-16 08:48:18

PostofficeTower, I attended 3 information evenings since September so far and the children have just been streamed at Coopers. They sat a banding test before, then another one when the academic year just started and also their primary schools have been contacted to gather information. The progress made so far was considered too before the streaming. I have a friend whose DS is in year 8 and he moved up this year. As the Assistant Principal explained on the presentation students can move every year according to their progress. DS is in the grammar stream (they have a points system) and a boy from his class is 2 levels down.

I read very negative feedback regarding the school from before 3-4 years ago. As we did not have much of alternatives (DS did not go to grammar school in Greater London, got a space further in Kent which we could not accommodate due to the long commute) and chose Coopers. As previously stated BW for Boys did not open as expected in 2016. Ravenswood is boys only and there are not many other mixed schools in the area we live. I was negotiating tutoring for my both DC before the school year started, he was an acting teacher from another secondary (Catholic) school in the area. This tutor was so aggressive and completely put me off to let him teach my DC.

Discipline in Coopers is very strict (at least in year 7). DS got his first detention recently for someone else who broke his ruler. As we all know - DC behave differently when we are not with them.

Coopers is a mix of different areas and backgrounds - one year is about 230 students. I met parents from Bexley, Sidcup, Bromley, Orpington, etc. Some of them did not pass 11+ (but sat it) and are travelling from Bexley to the school.

I think it depends on the DC what they are going to make from the secondary school and my DS's results. We will see. Coopers has s very good enrichment programm and also students can approach their house tutor if they struggle with homework. You get less points if you do not achieve maximum attendance, if you do not complete homework on time etc. Students collect extra points if they take part in charity activities or overachieve.

Certainly, for my DD I will go for another school as there are alternatives.

VanillaLatte13 Sun 16-Oct-16 08:52:30

I forgot to mention that Coopers is now applying for International Baccalaureate.
Also if English is not your first language you can sit GCSE in your native language.

It depends what are you looking for in a school.

PostofficeTower Sun 16-Oct-16 09:19:12

That's really useful, thanks Vanilla. I thought their enrichment programme sounded very good when I went to a recent open day. Also, the year 7 kids who showed us round were very proud of the school and seemed happy there. Loved the 6th form block too!

PostofficeTower Sun 16-Oct-16 09:43:38

PettsWoodMum thanks for posting that link. I've been looking at the comparisons between the schools and the one my older DC goes to fairs significantly better. Difficult decision.

VanillaLatte13 Sun 16-Oct-16 10:00:17

DS took part in the Open morning event. I was very concerned how he will settle.
The school has a new principal, she was at the last Parent event last week and she is the one making the big changes. I know that it is overall not easy for a school to obtain an 'Outstanding' Ofsted status but they are underway. They have new facilities and encourage the students to take part in all activities so they can figure out what they like and what they are good at.
We did not list Bishop Justus as we were not after a religious school. And the aggressive tutor I spoke with is teaching there.

My friend told me that they had children with 'issues' in last year 7. Couple of them got expelled due to the big number of negative behaviour points they earned. Her DS came across verbal abuse from another boy when he started and the school dealt with the situation very successfully. Her DS is very confident in Coopers now and is thriving.

I know it sounds like I am advertising the school but I was very reluctant in the beginning and really really disappointed that BW Boys did not open. DH and I both have university degrees and are multilingual. Education is extremely important and paramount for good future. The grammar school in Kent DS got a place is an 1hr 40 mins one way commute. We could not afford private schools for both DC and decided on Coopers for DS as it was mixed, with perspective to become outstanding and the management easy approachable; also other positive things. DS is very sporty, he plays for a semipro football team and really liked the school (there is a football academy in the school). Their IT & Arts block is also new and big. As they would like to become an outstanding school (Coopers is an outstanding IT school) they are pushing for more and more good GCSE results. We thought that the positives are more than the negatives. Yes, averages are sometimes lower compared to other schools but we usually look at our DS performance. The first one so far was outstanding and he is now very motivated to keep the good work. DS is very happy in Coopers and I think 'bad apples' are everywhere.
In state schools you get different children from different families and backgrounds as the students are selected by distance. You will get students from affordable housing areas in all schools (do not want to sound judgmental).
Discipline issues and bad behaviour are not tolerated in the school, that is my impression as a demanding parent.

Lidlpopsicle Sun 16-Oct-16 16:12:11

Just to point out that Eltham College is a boys school, with girls in 6th Form, it is an Independent School. Also, contrary to widely held beliefs, you get children from all walks of life at many Independents, may be different at the Etons and Harrows of this world but I have taught at a few and we had children of skip drivers (didn't own the company) nurses, firemen, lots of taxi drivers and loads of teachers, so do not let that element put you off. The most important thing is that the school suits your child, their personality and their abilities, and of course that you are happy with the subjects taught, the discipline and the pastoral care. Go to open days, speak to everyone you can speak to and always ask for a visit and tour on a normal school day, you will often be taken round by a pupil and they will have been chosen to do this but will answer your questions and perhaps give a little insight - if you ask the right questions! Good luck with your research.

PostofficeTower Sun 16-Oct-16 17:24:33

VanillaLatte, I have pm'd you

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