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Richmond Borough Schools Chat 5(1000 Posts)
Welcome! This is the latest in a series of threads about Richmond schools, which was first triggered by the council's publication of its Education White Paper in February 2011.
Please do join in the chat. There’s a bunch of us who’ve been following the thread for a long time, and we sometimes get a bit forensic, but new contributions are always welcome, and if it’s something that’s been covered before we can always direct you to that part of the thread.
We generally talk about local education policy, the impact of national policy, the performance of the borough’s schools, and admissions-related issues. We began by talking about Secondaries, but tend to talk a lot about primaries too, so the title of the thread has evolved this time to take that into account.
If you have a few hours to spare and want to catch up on 2 years of local education history, then below are the links to the old threads. We have to keep starting new threads because each only hold 1000 posts. The first two threads run in parallel, as one was started on the national Mumsnet site, and another on the local one:
1a) New Secondaries for Richmond Borough?: Mumsnet Secondary Education (Feb 2011 – Nov 2011)
1b) New Secondary schools for Richmond!: Mumsnet Local (Feb 2011 – Nov 2011)
2. New Secondary Schools for Richmond 2: Mumsnet Local (Nov 2011 – May 2012)
3. New Secondary Schools for Richmond 3: Mumsnet Local (May 2012 – Nov 2012)
4. New Secondary Schools for Richmond 4: Mumsnet Local (Nov 2012 – Oct 2013)
5. This thread: Richmond Borough Schools Chat 5: Mumsnet Local (Oct 2013 - ????)
Finally, to find out how to add links, as well as smilies and emphasis, see these Mumsnet guidelines.
Monday’s Guardian has: Over-full classrooms are Cameron's fault, (will say Monday) Tristram Hunt:
Shadow education secretary will promise to end Tories' free schools and stop ever larger class sizes if Labour win election . . Hunt will say:
By diverting resources away from areas in desperate need of more primary school places in favour of pursuing his pet project of expensive free schools in areas where there is no shortage of places, David Cameron has created classes of more than 40, 50, 60 and even 70 pupils
Labour will end the free schools programme and instead focus spending on areas in need of extra school places. The choice on education is clear: the threat of ever more children crammed into large class sizes under the Tories or a Labour future where we transform standards with a qualified teacher in every classroom and action on class sizes.
Hunt has said that he will end the Tories' "ideological experiment" with free schools. He would still allow parents to establish new schools, to be called parent-led academies. But these would be in areas where there is a shortage of spaces. Successful free schools established under the Tories would be allowed to continue.
mum yes I wondered about that as the new Free School was trumpeting on results day that it was offering solid academic A level options that were not available in local schools, including Maths, Biology and History www.theguardian.com/education/2014/aug/14/a-level-results-free-school-sixth-form-london-academy-excellence whereas that does not seem to be the case at all at Newham College which has a gifted and talented programme very much targeted at meeting the requirements of Russell Group Universities, including the academic options quoted as not available elsewhere. www.newvic.ac.uk/honours/index.htm It may of course be that because of numbers applying admission is more selective than the 6.5 points at GCSE quoted
Being a Russell Group university is of course not actually a marker of quality, it is the group of universities who met at the Russell Hotel to agree to become part of an alliance of research based universities to lobby government, together with a few who have joined the alliance since because it has acquired a "brand" of excellence. There are universities, and courses, that are better rated in more objective measures of quality, than some Russell Group universities / courses, including those that are second only to Oxbridge. It is a shame it has become such a strong brand that schools and colleges use it as a marker of quality because it may lead students to restrict their choices.
Information for families applying for 2015 school places is now on the Richmond council website.
Allocation maps for the 2014 applications round show ever decreasing catchments for first preference applications on distance. Only 8 from Richmond beyond Ham got into Grey Court with many disappointed applicants in North and East Sheen. Only two beyond Richmond bridge managed to get places at Orleans Park and none were successful past Twickenham Green.
Good luck to Turing House this year for getting a site in the black hole around West Twickenham and Fulwell. And let's hope the 2015 opening of Kingston Academy is successful enough to persuade North Kingston residents to go there so more from Richmond might have a chance at Grey Court.
Thanks MiL. It's worth pointing out that those are the original distance allocations made in March, so catchments will have expanded since then as waiting lists have shifted, though perhaps not as much as in previous years as this time more offers were made in anticipation of drop-out.
For the 2015 cohort, the numbers increase again - the two schools that added an extra form of entry in that year group were The Vineyard (which will presumably put extra pressure on Christs, Grey Court and Orleans Park) and St Mary's and St. Peters (which will put extra pressure on Teddington).
The Vineyard is particularly interesting because it was one of the schools excluded from the linked-school admissions policy. Presumably very few, if any, children transferred from Vineyard to Orleans Park before 2014.
The Vineyard's catchment extended into East Twickenham up to about 4-5 years ago but by this year, even with three form entry, would not have reached past Richmond Bridge. But there was a black hole in East Twickenham before the dropping of the link policy. You can see from the 2012 map that the catchment thinned out considerably past Crown Road.
Yet from Cresswell Road eastwards there was no chance even of Waldegrave (unlike the admittedly larger black hole which would be served by Turing House). And there would have been many families like Heathclif who returned from abroad with children in KS2 and found out you had to opt for a CofE primary to have a chance of Orleans Park, so went private instead.
No one expected Grey Court to make such a spectacular improvement, but that would now also be out of catchment for those in East Twickenham.
Don't forget there's generally a lot of house relocation between Reception and Secondary Transfer though MumInLondon. Many people are willing and able to move closer to their preferred secondary to secure a place, and families from The Vineyard and other previously unlinked schools are now able to use that option too, whereas they couldn't before.
It seems to me that some areas are like a housing conveyor belt, with pre-schoolers constantly moving in and families with pre-secondary children moving out. I live near Twickenham Green and several families with boys we know have relocated from here closer to Orleans Park or Teddington, and, not surprisingly, nearby rental properties seem to be packed full of girls.
That's true BayJay - lots of families around Richmond Hill rent flats, then choose to buy further out to wherever they can afford. House prices have become distorted in some areas, but it is much more difficult for those who are already settled in a family house to move 'up' the ladder if their area doesn't offer as many options. And if those with boys are migrating out of certain areas because the only local school is for girls, it's an unhealthy and unfair situation. The case for Turing House in West Twickenham - and perhaps also a change of policy at Waldegrave to widen its catchment, maybe via a partial lottery - is strong.
Interesting. The Teddington map does seem to show that large numbers of children attending St Mary's and St Peter's (the catchment for which is almost exclusively to the west of the railway line in Teddington) are now not getting into Teddington School on first preference, even those living in central Teddington rather than the Fulwell/Hampton Hill part of Teddington. I know one of the closest red dot refusals and he did get in eventually but only during the summer holidays so I don't think many of the other red dots will have made it. With a bulge class coming through St Mary's and St Peter's this coming year I don't know how this is going to be managed unless Turing House opens in 2015. Hampton Wick-St John's has also expanded and has a bulge class coming through soon I think - those children will almost certainly live nearer to Teddington School than those in Central Teddington. How are admission numbers at Twickenham Academy?
LP, the most recent Admissions Forum minutes from July 7th say there were still some spaces at TA/HA at that time (it doesn't say how many), but all the other schools were full, and applications were still coming in.
There's another Admissions Forum meeting on September 23rd, so presumably more detail will be published in advance of that.
Good news that RPA is now full - it sounds a great place from what I read on another thread earlier this year. I imagine all of the red dots from the Teddington map will have been offered places at Twickenham Academy or Hampton Academy, or maybe Waldegrave if they put it as second choice. I don't know how many accepted TA and HA but grapevine suggests those offered TA were reluctant. I suppose quite a lot of these will have been families who also applied to Turing House and it shows that the catchment for Turing House is likely to reach down Stanley Road and Hampton Road to central Teddington in the future.
I expect some of the red dots will have gone to the private sector too.
A new RTT story on the website about Turing House possibly being able to move to Teddington's Imperial College Sports Ground after all:
Very interesting maps, but don't see one for RPA, and also have not seen 2014 5 A-C in Eng/Maths and Ebacc results for RPA - does anyone know where to find these?
MiL thank you for the link to that map. Very interesting. My daughter has more chance of being on the cover of Vogue than getting into Waldegrave! Ho hum, tutoring here we come....
As much as I'd like to believe it, the RTT news on the Udney Park Road site is pure speculation... even the title says it's based on rumours.
MrsSalvo, I would imagine anyone who applied to RPA would get in - they offered 250 places as they have the space, so even with some places being turned down it looks like they at least have reached their published admission number of 180.
I can't find 5 A-C results inc English and Maths for them either, although other schools have done really well on that measure. I think they've found it harder than other academies to sustain the upward trend of previous years without equivalents or resits being counted. But there's a headteacher's blog on some individual subject results, however, which is encouraging.
There was an article in the Richmond and Twickenham times with all local high school results. Wish I'd kept it. From memory RPA did well. Christs doubled their A* rate to around 12% if I recall correctly. Still not a patch on the private schools rate around 70 -80 of course.
I think if Imperial College are really buying another sports ground - and the Teddington one is hardly well used by them and I've never been sure why they need one at all especially so far from their main campus which is full of international boffins who haven't looked at a rugby ball ever! - then there is a large virtually free site going which I'd imagine they will sell at the right price. It's a shame that there isn't a site in the actual catchment area for Turing House but there doesn't seem to be.
The RPA headteacher seems to be saying they did their best with a very challenging bunch of kids this year but from now on they will definitely be on an upward trajectory. I don't think their results were in the local paper article. It sounds from everything I've read as though they are getting fuller and fuller from people living nearby who are now opting positively for RPA. The GCSE results story from the local paper is here:
Yes, I saw the RPA HT blog, but was disappointed that it cherry-picked results in a PR kind of way - I think they should honestly publish the results A*-C inc Eng & Maths. What were their maths results, for example? They can make any excuses they need to about their intake, but it smacks of sleight of hand not to be transparent and may cause suspicion.
I noticed that they have taken down the banners they had outside the school last year with their results. Is this because they are worse? Again, if so, people would prefer honesty rather than any suggestion of burying bad news.
All schools can struggle with difficult intakes. DarkBlueEyes you may be interested to know that LEH's A level results were indeed well down (by the standards of the independent school tables stratosphere) 74% A/A* compared to 81% last year. Possibly why they neglected to provide them to the Daily Telegraph Meanwhile here at Wuthering Heights overall percentages were irrelevant as my DD who left somewhere higher up the tables for somewhere lower at 16 actually did better than we could ever have anticipated, she puts it down to being happy and encouraged.....
So I am now officially no longer the parent of a school age child, no back to school panic for me, or difficult school choices, and feel like I should now refrain from further comment
Congratulations Heathcliff! However, please feel free to stick around and be the voice of experience.
Thanks bayjay. The thing is to recognise when your experience is no longer relevant or the past being viewed through the rose tints of nostalgia..................
I was disappointed to hear the authority's admissions officer being slightly negative in a secondary admissions presentation this week. After going through the pan London process in great detail, Turing House was mentioned only at the end, and then with a "well they didn't manage to open last year, but you can apply if you want, who knows, don't rely on it".
And horrified/furious that Hampton Academy are published in the admissions booklet as having an 82% A*- C pass rate at 5 GCSE. That it were true…I think that's their A* - E figure. A significant difference.
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