Local Talk

Concerns over IOW schools

(10 Posts)
Flossie5 Wed 18-Apr-12 17:58:18

Hi everyone, only just joined Mumsnet officially (just dabbled over the years) and so pleased to discover the local sections and seeing IOW on there.

Want some advice from any of you out there that has experience of the education system on the island. Basically, me and DH want to move to IOW, Ventnor area. We already have a small holiday flat here so already feel like semi-islanders. (BTW, we are not well off, but inherited it and intend to let it out as part of our income). We have extended family living here and just basically love the place, the vibe and think we could all have a really good life here. I know it's a common old question for you residents - people wanting to move to the lovely IOW but worried about certain aspects etc, so bear with me if you will!

The area that keeps troubling me is the schooling and we have a DD 8yrs in Yr 3. I've tried to find out as much as poss over the last year or so, and was so disheartened to see various articles about the low SATs results and GSCE pass rates. I know that there's been much controversy surrounding the transfer to the two tier system, but can anyone furnish me on how things are going, have things improved, schools settling in more? (The the results will be the proof of the pudding of course).

To make matters more difficult, we have some very good secondary schools around our way here on the mainland and we are so lucky our DD is a bright girl, particularly literacy. Now, I've been told that if you're bright, you'll do well any where etc, which I've clung onto, but deep down I fear we're being selfish putting our wants first (although a better quality of life and childhood for our DD is one of the reasons for moving). Many people sacrifice so much to be near a good school, and here are we, looking to move away from them. (Going private is not an option).

As long as a school has a good work ethic, behaviour is good and those children with academic potential are looked after/encouraged/challenged, that would be good enough for me, but I just don't have any evidence to draw on. I'm not so worried about the primary stage, I think she'll be OK KS2 SATs-wise, and we'll do everything we can at home to help.

Any info to alleviate fears would be so grateful. I know it's a tricky one - and we've got three more years till secondary school (presume we'd get Sandown Academy due to our location?). And sorry to ramble on so!

SmallShips Wed 18-Apr-12 21:55:32

At the minute the school issues are causing me much stress. We do have some pretty awful schools. A friend of mine has just moved his DC to the primary in Ventnor and is quite happy with it though.

Sandown Academy would be your catchment school. It's ours too and the way things stand right now, there is no way my kids will be going there. It is horrendous IMO.

Who knows what will happen when the upheaval from the changes settles. It's still early days.

Flossie5 Thu 19-Apr-12 14:59:14

Thanks SmallShips. That's a real shame about Sandown - notice from their new website that it all looks wonderful... so obviously need to be careful not to fall for all the clever marketing that schools employ somebody to wheel out. Do you think you could refuse to send your child to the school on the basis that it's not up to scratch? And wonder how likely you could get into another school, but I'm really not sure what the best state school is on the island. Someone said Carisbrooke was good, someone else said it was awful. What a mess and such a shame it's potentially putting people off moving over (and getting the younger population up) - not to mention letting down all the island's young people.

Oh, well not the news I wanted, but important to hear from people like you who know first hand. Not writing the move off yet, but do keep me posted if you have any more news.

SmallShips Thu 19-Apr-12 16:11:51

If mine had to go to one now, they'd be going to Christ The Kings (Carisbrooke).

I know loads of people who have refused their catchment school and have had very little problem getting into their 1st choice, especially at secondary level, so that's not really a worry.

I'm not sure if I'd let it put you off moving down here though, some of the schools are fine and if your daughter is bright she'll probably have no issues.

Good luck with your decision, this school thing is a mine field isn't it?! I've spent the morning viewing new schools for my 6yo as his current one is just not working for him. Found one I'm happy with and now waiting for the council to give me the green light. No idea if I'm doing the right thing though confused

Flossie5 Fri 20-Apr-12 00:03:49

It must be very stressful for you at the moment, but if you're going with your gut instinct, then it must be the right one, so good luck. He's only 6yrs so will be quite resilient and probably not made any deep friendships yet (unlike my DD, who will be gutted as she'll be about 9 or 10yrs...)

Thanks for comment about Kings, as I've seen their website and prospectus and it did look impressive (though it could be good marketing again ;) Only, although DD is at a faith primary now, we're not regular church goers as a family, nor is she christened, so assumed that this could be a problem?
I'd also be very interested to know in what way Sandown is a no-no at the moment, just so I can keep up-to-date.

(Apologies if this reply appears twice, thought I sent it before, but doesn't seem to be there!)

IsleofWightTsarina Wed 25-Apr-12 07:15:29

Hi Flossie and welcome to MN and the IOW! smile

The school system has been a mess for years here, but I do think things will be picking up soon. When we had the old system (Primary, Middle and High) I think we were disadvantaged against the rest of the country because we were not in line with the whole country and the key stages. Basically other than key stage 1 the pupils had to move schools just before the end of the next key stage, meaning they never did very well. Then we have had years of unsettled-ness <oh good grief, its early morning!!!! blush > The primary schools were not geared up for keeping children beyond year 4. Last year was a huge re-shuffle when the middle schools disappeared, the "high" schools, which had been used to having years 9, 10 & 11 suddenly had more three fifths of their students as new students. This year has been tough on staff. I know no-one wanted the change to affect their children, but it has to affect some.
Now that all the changes have taken place I do believe it will improve quickly as the staff settle into the new system.

Over recent years I have had DCs go through Carisbrooke, Medina, Sandown (6th form only) and Christ the King! hmm - in my defence I have 5 DCs and we went with the one that was best for each individual child. SO my rundown from my own experience:

Carisbrooke - was fantastic for 2 of my DC. They both did very well here and I loved the atmosphere within the school. I like the fact that communication between staff and parents is good and easy. (emails answered very quickly, responded to etc...)

Sandown - mmmm as I said, it was 6th form only and it was OK.........ish.......

Medina - We had an absolutely fantastic year 9 at Medina, then it all went terribly downhill because DD3 became ill and they were basically horrible to us. Although, in their defence the head has now been moved on and most of the individual staff were lovely. I think a lot of children from Ventnor do go to Medina, so Sandown might not be your Catchment school after all. Another school with excellent communication staff to parents.

Christ the King College - the advantage to this is that they started their year changes 3 years ago, so are now 3 years ahead of the other schools with settling in to their role. You might need to have an endorsement from a church to ensure a place, but that has not always been necessary, it just depends on how many applications they get. It does have a good reputation for the brighter students. DS is in year 11 now and he is the first year to go through the whole of the college like this. So they wont have any real statistics on their GCSE results until after this summer. If your DD is bright then I think this is where she would be stretched. Not so happy for a mr average, really. I find most of the staff are lovely, but communication can be frustrating as they do not seem to value 2 way communication and I have had repeated emails and letters not acknowledged, although when pushed I have received an "of course we received it, and of course we are acting on it" type of response........well, maybe a quick email reply to let me know that would have been good!! hmm

Oh dear, what a load of waffle....... maybe it will help in some way!! grin

Flossie5 Thu 26-Apr-12 12:45:43

Thanks IOWT - very interesting about the different schools suiting the individuals, and you've said what I thought, about the changeover playing a big part in the overall 'mess'. I would very much hope that things would have settled down by the time it became relevant to us - sorry that sounds so selfish! blush (Still got a house to do up and try and sell - who knows how long that will take? confused) At least there are some options, and sounds like Christ the King would be appropriate. (Might have to get her christened then and start getting up early on a Sunday...wink) Actually, wouldn't have a problem with that and my DH would like it anyway - the christened bit, not the getting up early on a Sunday...

Nobody here is still giving me the real low-down on Sandown though! grin Feel like we should be calling it 'the school that shall not be named'! And being in Ventnor could mean a strong possibility on getting that. sad

Well, look forward to seeing the results this year, though reckon next year's will be a better indicator. Thanks again - and keep me posted on anything interesting. wink

PS Just worked out how to do the smileys, so went to town a bit! grin

Flossie5 Sat 28-Apr-12 09:58:35

Oh my goodness, check this out - have our prayers been answered???

https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Island-Community-School/381906425166262

Like it and share!

IsleofWightTsarina Sat 28-Apr-12 16:41:47

I would love to say that yes, your prayers had answered, but I have to say that it has there has been talk of this and other similar ventures for goodness knows how many years and nothing has happened so far........... sorry!!!!!

Haveanapplethen Wed 22-Oct-14 12:25:17

Did you ever move OP, my dd is now at the new school in Ventnor and so far so good. I'm really impressed!

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