Local Talk

primary schools in mill road area

(43 Posts)
goldpony Sun 25-Apr-10 08:52:15

We'll be applying for primary schools next year and would be really pleased to hear of any personal experiences with the schools around Mill Rd.

goldpony Sun 25-Apr-10 19:32:53

Sorry should add, we're new to the city and still trying to decide where to rent. Mill Rd seems like a place with lots going on for children and parents too! It also seems a bit more affordable, so I'm hoping you think the schools are great too... Any insights welcome.

coolma Sun 25-Apr-10 20:57:38

St Matthews ( norfolk street) St philips (vinery Road) Ridgefield (Radegund Road) - I wouldn't send mine to any of those personally, but out of the three I guess St Matthews would be considered the 'best'.

*disclaimer - just my feelings about my children, please don't slate me!!

MamaChris Sun 25-Apr-10 21:00:06

So coolma, out of interest, where in the city would you recommend?

Octavia09 Mon 26-Apr-10 16:46:28

You should check the OFSTED reports for the school performance. As for the Radegund I would not say it is a good one.

SummerLightning Mon 26-Apr-10 16:57:12

Hi, no personal experience as my son is too young for school yet, but from what I have heard both St Philips and Ridgefield are not particularly good (ofsted reports back this up too). However, I have not spoken first hand to anyone with a child at these schools so this probably isn't particularly helpful!

I can confirm Mill Road area is a good place to live though, there is lots to do, lots of other parents around and easy to get into town.

Re good schools in town, I have heard Milton Road & Newnham are particularly good. But I think prices will reflect this, they are expensive areas!!

Octavia09 Mon 26-Apr-10 17:26:56

The Spinney, Newnham Croft, St. Pauls are considered as very good primary schools in Cambridge.

coolma Mon 26-Apr-10 17:37:46

Morley is where my son goes, and I am very happy with that - am very angry at the moment as myd has not ot a place there but somehwre esle AWFUl (don't want to say where) Really pissed off! St Pauls was good when my eldest dd (now 20) went, Park Street v popular!

coolma Mon 26-Apr-10 17:38:51

so angry my spelling went right out of the window I see!

cbmum Mon 26-Apr-10 22:26:59

Park Street, Newnham, Milton Road and St Pauls I'd say were the best but the catchment and intake for Park Street is tiny. St Matthews is ok. I'd personally avoid Ridgefield as not heard good things.

Octavia09 Mon 26-Apr-10 22:50:53

I have used this link before to see the rating of the school. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/lifeand_style/education/a_level_gcse_results/primaryschools/

J ust type "cambridge" and search. There will be a list of very good primary schools in Cambridge one of which is the Milton Road. It is also good to read OFSTED reports. I hope they are not corrupt.

Atzan Mon 26-Apr-10 23:09:07

You might find my map useful. The schools are listed on the left in descending order according to their SAT scores averaged over the last four years. I've also included links to league table results and OFSTED reports. The catchment areas are accurate down to individual street level.

coolma Tue 27-Apr-10 08:58:45

Oh God that map and the league tables has just made me feel quite ill. I'm off to the home school board!

umf Tue 27-Apr-10 11:38:02

Have heard bad recent (but secondhand) things about Ridgefield, despite rumours of improvement.

My understanding is that until recently Mill Rd pushy middle class parents were able to get their children into state schools further away, but that the birthrate has increased so much that this is no longer possible.

We moved to the Spinney catchment area for this reason. Went to look round it and were absolutely horrified by the pressure put on the children for SATs. Only an impression from a visit, but looked way OTT.

I'd like a school which has good behaviour and a nice environment, but I'm not bothered about league table results. Seems like they go hand in hand, though.

Vallhala Tue 27-Apr-10 20:55:28

Park Street is fantastic. Small, great pastoral care, pro-active parents, very welcoming staff and families, excellent academic results. It's C/E but not terribly pushy, though it takes it's faith seriously, largely middle class without being exclusive, with a mix of nationalities thanks to it's city centre position and the fact that it has children from military and visiting academic family backgrounds. The head is very 'old school', the discipline gentle but highly effective and the children AND families well cared for and respected.

It also has the benefit of sometimes having mid-year spaces which if you're lucky you might obtain as an out of catchment family, owing to families moving on when they have finished their academic or military placements in the city.

Other than that, St Pauls, a larger C/E with good results. St Matthews is AFAIK considered good on results but has a few difficult children which some parents find offputting.

smeeglemum Tue 27-Apr-10 21:51:03

Atzan - can you tell me where you got your map from - is there one for further south (some of the villages south of Cambridge?)

Will be looking at schools next year for my dd and would be really useful!

goldpony Wed 28-Apr-10 20:05:56

Thanks everyone. So much to take on board. Atzan, your map is completely addictive! Really really useful, thanks. I'm quite gutted to hear of such unfavourable experiences with the mill road schools, as it seems like the best place for us in other ways.

Umf, i wonder if the fact middle class families in mill rd area are now having to use the local schools is having any effect on those schools? I guess this would be hard to gauge until a few years have passed.

Park st sounds lovely... tiny though, which suggests tricky to get a place. But VERY interesting to hear about mid year shifts.

If anyone has excellent advice regarding affordable, sociable places to live in Cambridge that are in the catchment area for good primary schools please feel free to let me know ;)

goldpony Cambridge is a very small place, don't limit yourself to living in the 'mill road' area alone, as most of the city centre has a similar vibe and mill road is still close enough to most other city centre places that you could benefit from everything it has to offer without sacrificing your children to schools like St. Matthews or ridgefield.

Vallhala do you have DC at park street? When you say the head is very 'old school' what do you mean? I hear they got a new head last year, has she changed the school?

coolma Wed 28-Apr-10 20:45:06

We live a bit further out from Mill road, not too far from Addenbrookes and I find it a really good spot. Not far from town, but far enough out to have a bit more 'space'. I wouldn't say it's a super cheap area, but what our 3 bed house with massive gardens is worth, would get you a two bed on the street house off mill road! Sadly our catchment school is Ridgefield, but we got ds into Morley 5 years ago through the waiting list and are praying that dd will be accepted there - she's no. 2 on the list so should do! We were offered somewhere else (not Ridgefield) which is absolutley NOT going to happen!

Vallhala Wed 28-Apr-10 21:35:26

Ah, sorry overmydeadbody and goldpony. My DC did attend Park Street, but are teenagers now. They were under the old head, the formidable but fantastic Miss Betts. I'm afraid I have no idea who the current head is and wasn't aware that Miss Betts had left. All I can say is that I'll eat my hat if the Governors and parents have allowed Park Street to change much as a result!

umf Thu 29-Apr-10 10:58:39

goldpony you'd think it would affect the Mill Road schools, wouldn't you? I've had that discussion with friends in the area lately.

We couldn't afford to buy in the centre but I reckon if I were renting I would look there. If you have a university connection then the uni has quite a bit of central accomodation.

We live near Cherry Hinton Hall park (probably quite near Coolma [waves], but Spinney rather than Ridgefield catchment). It's nice here.

coolma Thu 29-Apr-10 15:11:49

It is nive isn't it? jolly nice!

coolma Thu 29-Apr-10 19:58:24

We're not far from cherry hinton hall either - feels like being in the middle of the country at times.

marmee Thu 29-Apr-10 20:33:40

goldpony - I've got two DCs at St Matthews (one of the Mill Rad-ish schoold mentioned above)and we're really happy with it. Lots of good teaching so far, close pastoral care, energetic vibe, nice kids. Can't speak to Ridgefield but, despite reputation, friends of mine at St Philips this year are feeling positive about it too. And both Philips and Matthews are community schools with a strong feeling of connection to Mill Rd/Romsey/Petersfield area. So if they're conisdered below par by Cambridge standards, then that should at least show that most primaries here are doing OK.

goldpony Fri 30-Apr-10 15:27:37

Thanks marmee, great to hear a first hand experience and a postive one too.

Will check out cherry hinton hall park area. Totally take your point OverMyDeadBody that Cambridge is a smallish and walkable place, good to remember that!

Atzan Fri 30-Apr-10 23:38:36

Goldpony, glad you found the map useful. I created it from the information provided in the County Council's schools information booklet. The council web site has their own map but there are a few discrepancies between it and the booklet: e.g. the map shows Orchard Street as being in St Matthew's catchment whereas the booklet lists it as being in Park Street catchment. I would take the booklet as authoritative. My map is, as far as I am aware, completely accurate.

The Council's guide to school admissions is also very helpful, although the admission criteria for each city school are also set out in the schools information booklet.

Regarding schools on and around Mill Road, the general thinking is that the town side of the railway line is fine, the far side more challenging. St Paul's is a very good school by all accounts. St Matthew's had a mediocre Ofsted report a few years ago but that was at a time when it was going through staff transition and had an acting headteacher. The latest report is much more positive, results have improved significantly and the school appears to be on an upward curve.

Over the bridge, the teaching at St Philip's gets a lot of praise but the school's results are held back by a higher number of children with learning difficulties and those without English as a first language, being situated in the Mill Road melting pot. Ridgefield is considered to be the weakest of the Mill Road area schools.

There's been quite a bit of talk about Park Street. It is a good school but, being far and away the smallest school in the city with a correspondingly tiny catchment area, it's also difficult to get into. The catchment is basically the town centre (i.e. shops), the ancient colleges (i.e. students) and two tiny residential areas: on the streets between Bridge St and Jesus Green, where many of the houses are college-owned student accommodation, and on Castle Hill, between Castle Street and Madingley Road.

From outside of catchment, places are awarded based on straight-line distance from the school. Practically, that means if you don't live in the De Freville area or the 'wedge' between Victoria Road and Chesterton Road, I should think you're unlikely to get a place. Of course, a mid-year opening might be the best opportunity, but pulling your kids out of school mid-year is a big decision, unless you're really unhappy with where they are.

I think Marmee has it right though when she says that there are very few bad schools in Cambridge. It's an affluent, cultured city and consequently many if not most schools are between good and excellent. Most likely, wherever your kids go they'll be fine.

Atzan

Atzan Fri 30-Apr-10 23:45:39

Smeeglemum, I meant to say, the Council's guide book to South Cambs schools is here. I'm afraid I haven't produced an equivalent Google map with SAT scores, Ofsted reports etc. I live in the city so it's not been a priority for me, and there would be many more schools to collate details for!

zoley Mon 21-Jun-10 22:20:17

Hi, I came across this thread whilst searching for something else and hoped that our experience might be useful. We live in the Mill Road area and started to read the OFSTED reports about a year before we had to apply. They are not that great for the schools in this area but before you write them off please don't just base your decision upon them, do take the time to visit the schools, meet the pupils and talk to parents who have sent their children there. We did this, spoke to the teachers, one head teacher, chatted to parents in Vinery and Coleridge parks and made our decision based on all of this information plus knowing our son and where we thought would suit him. We put down our catchment school St Philip's and are happy with it. The head is great and the school puts on some good extra curricular events, we really enjoyed international evening recently. Whichever school your children go to get involved in the PTA and make your voice heard. Also I have friends with children at St Matthew's who love it and have heard that Ridgefield is improving now it's part of the Parkside Federation which is making a real difference at Coleridge too. Hope this helps from one who went through the same process 2 years ago and is planning on sending another one to St Philip's next September.

zoley Mon 21-Jun-10 22:20:18

Hi, I came across this thread whilst searching for something else and hoped that our experience might be useful. We live in the Mill Road area and started to read the OFSTED reports about a year before we had to apply. They are not that great for the schools in this area but before you write them off please don't just base your decision upon them, do take the time to visit the schools, meet the pupils and talk to parents who have sent their children there. We did this, spoke to the teachers, one head teacher, chatted to parents in Vinery and Coleridge parks and made our decision based on all of this information plus knowing our son and where we thought would suit him. We put down our catchment school St Philip's and are happy with it. The head is great and the school puts on some good extra curricular events, we really enjoyed international evening recently. Whichever school your children go to get involved in the PTA and make your voice heard. Also I have friends with children at St Matthew's who love it and have heard that Ridgefield is improving now it's part of the Parkside Federation which is making a real difference at Coleridge too. Hope this helps from one who went through the same process 2 years ago and is planning on sending another one to St Philip's next September.

goldpony Tue 22-Jun-10 20:31:19

Thanks Zoley I really appreciate this. We've made appointments to see St Philip's and St Matthews and I'm looking forward to that. Talking to people in local parks sounds like a good plan too. Thanks for the suggestions.

Hooferoo Tue 21-Sep-10 11:33:26

Probably very late to this but I can happily say that Ridgefield has a new head, whose last school scored outstanding - and it was in a deprived area. DS#1 is in year 1 and has achieved a reading age of a 7 year old - thanks to the fantastic teaching in Reception. Read the Ofsted report. The league tables mean nothing in an area with a higher than average rate of non-english speaking families. The teaching means everything, and they have great teachers at Ridgefield. Personally I feel the only way is up!

Gunhilda Tue 28-Sep-10 14:07:03

And as of September 2011 there will be a new primary school in Cambridge on Gunhild Way. It has today been decided that it will be run by a federation group formed of Governors and the head from the already successful Queen Edith Community Primary School. The new school's catchment area will cover the existing catchments of Ridgefield, Morley and Queen Edith schools, so parents living in those catchments will be in the catchment of their existing school and the new one. It's a really exciting development and the buildings are being constructed brand new along eco principles.

jah1 Fri 29-Oct-10 12:40:07

We have kids at St Paul's and Parkside. Parkside is excellent and St Paul's is good. Kids at Parkside feeding in from St Matthews, Park Street , Newnham Croft and St Paul's all appear to have very similar previous educational experiences and school satisfaction.Not surprising as very similar middle class social catchment areas with minor differences overall. Park Street very small and therefore more cossetted and St Matthews larger and more rough and ready. St Pauls and Newnham Croft in the middle. Depends what your kids would prefer. Mine all wished they'd attended St Matthews from what their friends tell them !

zoley Tue 02-Nov-10 22:58:08

If anyone wants to look around St Philip's it's their open evening next Thursday 11th November 6-7.30pm, 2 Vinery Way.
It's a good chance to meet staff and pupils and get a feel for the school, DS really enjoyed it when we went along a couple of years ago and we had practically had to drag him and DD home!

coolma Fri 05-Nov-10 18:02:15

My eldest went to St Pauls followed by St bede's and loved them both.

cat40 Sat 13-Nov-10 21:27:58

I am both a parent and a teacher living and working in Cambridge. I've just been reading the remarks posted on mumsnet regarding schools in the Mill Rd area and was disgusted to see in amongst the tittle tattle a headteacher actually named. I think the comments made by those who were speaking from experience were fair enough but the comments shared based upon rumours and hearsay were irresponsible and nothing short of gossip. The headtecher named was praised but this is not the point. To name someone and pass judgement about their professionalism on such a forum is disrespectful and insulting. Please think carefully about what you share with others, who you don't know, in such a public way.

[On a seperate note, as another parent and teacher, PLEASE take the advise to go and see your local primary schools and get a feel for them rather than relying on SATs results and Ofsted reports! The former are only a snapshot of achievment (and, as a Year 6 teacher I know that they can be unreflective of real achievment) and the raw data does not show progress - a nice middle class school like some of those listed above may not add much value to their pupils compared to when they joined the school whereas a school may work miracles with the children in their care and they could make vast progress. The second are, ultimately, subjective assessments that may be out of date. Both are useful parts of the jigsaw but are still only that - talk to people in parks etc and go to look around! And whoever said get involved in the PTA / Governors is spot on - if you don't like what the school is doing then get involved and change it instaed of whining about it!
Can I also add taht both me and my wife, who wrote the first paragraph, teach at schools who came out very well on this thread, so it's not a case of sour grapes! Thanks for all the positive comments!]

HonestofMillRd Sat 15-Jan-11 22:31:45

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

ZigaZig Mon 09-May-11 21:27:58

Just to echo what zoley said re: St Philips. It's a mixed catchment, community C of E school. The head is well liked by staff, pupils and parents and was hired from a London school. In spite of a slight tendency for religious zeal, she heads up a school where pupils are happy, creative, encouraged to achieve and are supportive of their peers. Links with the community are excellent and it is a school which truly refelcts the diversity of the surrrounding community. Recent years' intakes have witnessed an increase in the St Phil's school gate`yummy mummy' - testament to the slow gentrification of Romsey and the fact that this could be the area's hidden secret.

Biased? Of course I am! I have 2 children at the school who are happy, have fantastic, dedicated teachers and who are in no way underachieving. Ultimately, an OFSTED report is just a snapshot.

Good luck to all those choosing schools. Do go and visit them. It's such a personal choice!

Vallhala Mon 09-May-11 23:52:43

"The headtecher named was praised but this is not the point. To name someone and pass judgement about their professionalism on such a forum is disrespectful and insulting."

I stand by what I said. The Head concerned was a fantastic one IMHO and if SHE were to complain or feel I was disrespectful or insulting I'd apologise. As it is, I don't.

I am a parent with experience of the school and I am entitled to voice my opinion on here in the manner in which I have - I don't believe that MNHQ has any rules to the contrary. As parents we probably ALL "pass judgement" on our DC's schools and teachers in one way or another and I see no reason why I shouldn't share an informed opinion based on experience in order to offer the OP some assistance in making their choice, which they and others are free to heed or ignore as they choose.

HonestofMillRd Mon 14-May-12 21:17:04

We have children at St Matthew's and quite honestly, it is a poorly run school in my opinion. In my youngest's class there has been a significant turnover of children and staff (some parents choosing to leave due to poor educational outcomes). Do not believe everything you read in the Ofsted report. This place is "outstanding" according to the inspector(s) but we would disagree! We summarise our experience as: v poor communication, overly "PC" senior management team, inconsistent teaching (in the same day my child was asked to do column addition and long division of very large numbers, then to add the missing numbers to a simple sequence 2, ?, 6, 8, ?, 12, 14 etc), too many of governing body not acting as "critical" friends, culture of denial, unwelcoming staff room due to ongoing/failed staff liaisons etc. Fine if you have no problems. Disaster if you come across an issue. Go private if you can afford it. Go somewhere else if not.

Petersfield13 Wed 16-Jan-13 22:55:48

I have children at St Matthew's and to be honest am fed up with a few very vocal and pushy parents slating what is a very good school. The school is vibrant, creative and friendly. If you have a bright child they will do well but not be overly pushed if you have a child who struggles they will be helped. The management are great and very approachable and the teachers are fab. There is very low staff turnover which says a lot. Parents I know are very happy but there are a few parents at the school who essentially want a private school education and can't afford it who complain about everything. It has a very diverse and vibrant catchment and a great creative curriculum. My children are very happy there. If you want an exclusive academic education choose a private school. If you want a more creative and stimulating environment for your children choose St Matts.

ResourcefulRose Sun 20-Jan-13 22:31:01

I agree Petersfield, I am very impressed indeed with St. Matthew's, and I have extensive experience in a lot of the local primary schools having been a supply teacher for many years.

mynameisnt Thu 24-Jan-13 11:19:16

I guess everything is subjective. If you are happy with your childs school, you will be positive, if you have problems, it will sour your opinion. Whilst it's really useful to get opinions and reports on individual schools, the only way to really know how your child will fit in, and how you will feel about it, is to visit, and ask all the questions you need to ask. <peacekeeper>!

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