Lingfield Notre Dame or Caterham School

(7 Posts)
mumiscle Tue 24-May-16 06:34:51

Hi there, I'm looking at secondary schools for my DD, she is a bright all rounder, loves sport, drama, singing & dance, is strong academically but is mildly dyslexic and does best in a supportive environment with good pastoral care. Both Lingfield and Caterham would seem to cater for her and both convenient to reach from home, does anyone have children at either school any insight on dyslexic support and pastoral care? Caterham has a new Head & Deputy, are they making lots of changes? Lingfield, I wasn't sure about the Head, is he not really a people person? or maybe it was just me? Any advice would be great. TIA

LIZS Tue 24-May-16 06:58:29

The LND head made a lot of changes very quickly after a very established head and some of these have proved unpopular. Part of his remit was to give the school a more boy friendly atmosphere, build, up sports , extracurricular etc. He's been there 5 or so years now.

Caterham head is too recent to call , followed a very charismatic predecessor so has made few changes thus far and yet to make his mark. Day to day running is very much a team effort. Facilities are developing rapidly and you can see/feel where the difference in fees goes Imho.

twofingersfinal Tue 24-May-16 15:54:00

Not just you, I thought the same, as did most of the parents in my DC class šŸ˜‚. He's just very honest I think. In dc school Caterham is thought of as the more academic option and the entrance exams are meant to be more challenging. We certainly have children who do get a place at LND but not at Caterham. We found new head at Caterham a bit underwhelming as well but may be biding his time as previous poster said.

How much the head matters I don't know, I know children at both schools who are very happy.

twofingersfinal Tue 24-May-16 15:58:11

Some of the girls who applied to these 2 schools in my DC year this year also applied to Dunotar school (under United Learning with Caterham) and are going there for the support side, might also be worth a look? (and very pleasant head)

mumiscle Tue 24-May-16 16:21:34

Thanks for your responses LIZS and twofingersfinal, I've heard very good things about Dunottar, but Reigate is too far West for us and probably a bit too small a school for her. I'm really interested to know about the pastoral care at LND, I've heard quite a few pupils and teachers have left or are leaving, not sure if this is true? Also what the dyslexia support is like, do they teach in a dyslexia friendly way? The same for Caterham, I know families that are very happy there but their children are not dyslexic and so can't tell me how well they would support a bright, mildly dyslexic child.

Mrspolemical Thu 02-Jun-16 11:19:48

Hi Mumsicle, my child used to be at Lingfield Norte dame school. mildly dyslexic, has a high IQ , loves sport, music, art, and drama . Initially we looked around the school many years ago when the previous headmistress was leading the school. At that time it was a caring , supportive school. The headmistress knew all the names of the children we saw as we toured the school. I mention this, as there is a frequent reference to the positive changes that the new head has made on social media. Extra sports focus for boys, Canterbury sports kit ( very expensive), thriving music, new 6th form centre. We were blindsided by the glossy changes the new head brought in, and a rather slick professional aura exuded . However, these are peripheral considerations compared to what you really need to look at. We went in with full ed psych report, which cited dyslexia, dyscalculia, slow writing speed , and organisational issues being areas of weakness with support needed. None of these were supported. There is only one senco, with poor communication of individual needs to teachers. Most teachers blatantly disregarded our child's needs , handing out endless detentions from the start for organisational issues , which was demotivating and stressful, not just for our child, but many others too. This led to a toxic combination, where self esteem tumbled, behaviour deteriorated due to a lack of respect for some teachers who seemed more content to label children (sometimes blurted out in class in front of other children too) rather than help them. The culture was more like an old fashioned failing school in the 70s. There was overt favouritism, little pastoral support , demotivating atmosphere, "lots of sticks and no carrots" a lot of serious social problems in the year group, with the consequences of endemic bullying/fights (pm me for more info) as a result of this toxic combination. Some of the best teachers who were there at the time have left. There are also some still there, but wonder how long they will stay if the current culture continues. ? There have been significant gaps in teaching (due to staff shortages) in GCSE syllabus and 6 form, which led me to wonder if staff retention problems could impact on our child academic progress at a critical time for her future? This leads into another consideration . I think that personality , vision and management of a school reflects the Heads leadership and personality. Communication with parents is weak overall, administration chaotic. Eg end of term 1 report was a total shock to us, no teacher had communicated with us, there was no support . When we tried to meet with the head to discuss problems etc, he was not interested on any occasion. I have heard similar reports from other parents too. The current head does not have an extensive education management background , which is significant, these tasks are delegated to others in the senior team. He has grown the school quickly, but has not grown or developed pastoral care , SEND, or creative subjects, which should be considered , as your daughter will benefit from a school which invests more in these areas. In my opinion, LND will push your child to aspire to A* s , but with no respect to their all round education, which should include emotional intelligence , self confidence and respect. I am sure there are many with children there who thrive academically, but most are not on Send profile or been there so long as not to be affected by the changes brought in during the last few years at the bottom of the senior school. I would suggest that you look elsewhere and don't believe the hype - a lot of LND leavers go to other local schools. The number of leavers from my child's year is now into double figures , we are not an isolated case.

mumiscle Thu 02-Jun-16 17:07:23

Thanks Mrspolemical, that is very insightful and similar to another report I have heard about the SEN support at that school. It sounds like one to strike from the list. I'm sorry to hear your child has had such a tough time.

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