Norwich high schools - what happened?!

(19 Posts)
H0neyBee Wed 10-Aug-16 19:04:39

We were in the middle of moving to Norwich and our house purchase just fell through sad, so we're homeless in 2 weeks. We can stay at my parents for a bit luckily, and we're back to looking at houses again. We're looking all over but keep coming back to the schools, I've 2 little ones including one applying for first school in January and we just don't want to move house ever again! So ideally we'd have a 'good enough' series of schools in catchment - but what happened to Norwich high schools since I moved away?! CNS, Hewitt, Sprowston... all struggling by the look of them. We want somewhere green-ish too so Thorpe high doesn't look ideal despite being outstanding as no parks in Thorpe. Can anyone help with ideas? CNS has a really good intake so is it really that bad? Is Sprowston really getting better, Ofsted seems to say it'll be 'good' next time round? I know standards can change a lot but it seems silly to buy in a failing school catchment. Thank you for any local knowledge!

Misty9 Wed 10-Aug-16 19:49:07

It's pretty bad here to be honest yep. We bought 3 years ago and eldest starts primary next month - but we're prepared and anticipating moving out of Norwich for high school if necessary... Sorry to hear about sale falling through sad buying houses sucks.

Misty9 Wed 10-Aug-16 19:50:28

On the plus side, a lot can happen to schools in 6-8 years...!

MegBus Wed 10-Aug-16 21:24:21

Not sure where you got the idea there are no parks in Thorpe... there's Dussindale Park, the recreation ground on Laundry Lane, Thorpe Woods, the nature reserve by the river... and just a little further away there's Mousehold Heath. Tbh wherever you are in Norwich you're within easy reach of green space!

Mattheguineapig Thu 11-Aug-16 09:56:33

We tried buying near Thorpe for the school and it's really hard. Properties get snapped up. I have the same concerns 're high schools, but such a lot can change in a few years. I like the look of the free school and we're lapsed Catholics so I might have to un- lapse myself for Notre Dame if I can bear it and there is absolutely no other option 😀

Mattheguineapig Thu 11-Aug-16 10:02:02

I will say my dc went to an outstanding primary in London and I found them very reluctant to change or listen to parents because they were terrified of changing anything in case they lost the outstanding grade. Their new schools are good and I find them much more innovative and holistic. I know that's anecdotal and it's a concern but An outstanding ofsed isn't the only thing to look at 're schools.

5madthings Thu 11-Aug-16 13:47:40

The high schools aren't great but they are on.

My ds1 got all a and a* at Hethersett, he would have got the same at cns but wasn't happy there so we moved him. He is now predicted A's at a level.

My 11 yr old starts cns in sept and I think it's the right school for him.

Cns should get better results given its catchment area but it's far from terrible.

Hewett has been taken over by inspiration trust but hadn't been great for a long time maybe it will improve. I am no fan of the inspiration trust but I have a son at Hethersett which is run by them and a son doing a levels at their 6th for who is doing really well.

I would say ofsted is bollocks, your best bet is to visit schools and speak to locals etc.

H0neyBee Thu 11-Aug-16 22:07:27

Thank you all! Yes, I'm trying to gather as much info as possible, including on here, given I can't visit the schools for a while. I think we'll just have to rent and look around, I'm feeling a bit panicked that we'll be homeless shortly but it's not great to rush buy. I do know Ofsted is not the gospel but it seems worth checking what they say and sensible to be wary of anything less than 'Good'.

5madthings, why was your DS1 not happy at CNS, if you don't mind me asking?

Matttheguineapig - yes I also liked the look of the free school, surprising since I don't really approve of them! But it's such a random application system with no catchment area that I guess it's not one to rely on.

Anyone know anything about Sprowston? It's the closest high to my parents so would be lovely for family life, but I just haven't heard anything positive about it so far?

Mattheguineapig Thu 11-Aug-16 23:09:38

Yes I know what you mean! I dont really approve of free schools but I like their philosophy. I'd like to know about Sprowston too as it's the closest school to us.

lljkk Thu 11-Aug-16 23:13:54

There's an explosion of new small secondaries in Norwich now. I guess they are all free schools? Jane Austen, Isaac Newton, a UTC, a new school focusing on autism.

Mattheguineapig Thu 11-Aug-16 23:25:16

That's interesting. It's 3 years until my eldest DS goes to high school. Hopefully there will be much improvement by then. He'd suit a smaller school, I think.

Suffolker Fri 12-Aug-16 11:17:25

Don't get too fixated on results. As I understand it, one of the reasons that CNS's results don't look high as they should is that they are not selective over who sits the exams. So they still let the lower performing students sit exams. In other schools this is not always allowed as it brings down the overall scores. Also, the 'value added' score at CNS is apparently very good. I hope so anyway, as that's where DS starts in September. Having said that, it is a huge school.

5madthings Fri 12-Aug-16 12:45:11

Yes the value added score at cns is good.

My ds1 just didn't fit tbh, he is quite introverted and very geeky. He got picked on and just wasn't happy. He got on much better at Hethersett and is now at Sir isaac newton 6th form and has found his niche.

We didn't send ds2 to cns as it wouldn't have been right for him but ds3 starts in sept and he will be fine. Not all school suit all children.

Cns is always over subscribed and they have a waiting list for September.

There are the free schools, Jane Austen as well.

Nored Mon 15-Aug-16 12:30:02

I think that you should look at the results - sorry to contradict you Suffolker.

Their exam entry policy makes no difference to the results for the league tables. The school percentages for GCSE include all students, regardless of whether they are entered or not.

My last school (not in Norfolk) had several students who just left the education system in Year nine - left us but did not go anywhere else and their results were still included in our percentages! Much to out annoyance as you might imagine! There is little the school can do - all the parents say is that they are leaving the area (local authority), schools cannot force parents to register in another area.

I'm planning to write a parent's guide to League Table results for my website in a month or so - after "the dust has settled" I will send you a link if you like. They are changing this year anywhere for secondary schools with the new Progress 8 measure, which will be fairer.

Nored Mon 15-Aug-16 12:32:23

Sorry should also add that I chose to send my daughter to Hethersett, although in CNS catchment. Partly results but also the sheer size of the schools - CNS is very large and Hethersett quite small. Having taught in both very large and small schools, I thought that this would suit my child better.

5madthings Mon 15-Aug-16 22:47:42

Nored we did same ds1 moved to Hethersett in yr nine and then ds2 just went there from yr seven. Ds3 didn't want to go to Hethersett and I think he will be fine at cns but it wouldn't have suited ds2. You can kick a football from our house to cns we are that close but we pay for ds2 to go by bus to Hethersett and did for ds1. It does depend on the child though hence why ds3 is going to cns as I think it firs him better and he will be happy there.

Norwichtreelover Fri 23-Sep-16 11:10:49

My two kids go to Thorpe high and love it there. The school has a lot to offer in extra curricular activities after class, too. There's a lot of parks around, and my kids go to the rec opposite the school to meet friends when not at clubs. We're currently moving closer into Thorpe as my kids have quite a walk to get to school right now... There are houses (and many bungalows!) around, but you have be quick to snap them up, especially Dussindale area.

beggingbehind Sat 12-Nov-16 00:07:59

I COULD NOT speak highly enough of Sprowston. Part from the amount of pupils and the head can be a little Annoying! It's amazing I've had 4 DC go there the class sizes are good considering the size of school, the teaching is amazing they really take control of classes and teach very well. The SEN support is under staffed slightly but very supportive and incredible including LSA in most year 7 classes a support group (for year 7 not quite in lessons) a safe haven and visiting people like EAL supervisors. They look after pupils and behavior is good and well managed (oldest DC was a bit of a nuisance and they dealt with his behavior well) but the best bit is the patrol care I can get hold of HoY easily, matters are death with quickly, there's lots of support, we had a sudden death in family, and the two how where at school at time had counseling support and school nurse for first few weeks could go somewhere if they'd didn't feel like lessons and always had someone to talk to. It's got better since first DC was there though. 5th going up in two years. Any questions do ask!

Mattheguineapig Sat 12-Nov-16 10:04:42

Sprowston is our local school so glad to hear that! I heard they bucked the flight downward trend so hope they can keep it up!

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