Sedbergh and Casterton Merger(36 Posts)
I read about the merger; does anyone know why parents are objecting to it though?Has anyone heard anything adverse about these schools individually or about the merger? More importantly, would the merger have any speculated repercussions on the students or staff which may affect the performance of the school in general?
Are they? I'm too far south to have considered Sedburgh - some of DDs classmates did look at Casterton. Stonyhurst didn't seem that great academically TBH compared to others but cost way more (for day) ...gorgeous environment I guess! And being Catholic makes it a bit of a Marmite choice.
It seems particularly rough on people who'd specifically chosen Casterton because they wanted a girls' school.
Not a huge choice even though both are boarding but it's not that easy to change once started due to admissions deadlines, entrance exams etc. We have about 6 months to make up our minds which one to go for - its which is best overall for academics and sport - both seem very similar on the surface.
>If you dont like it,you can change schools
There's not exactly a huge choice in that area, is there though?
will bump this as have my choice down to Sedbergh or Stonyhurst!!
Does anyone have any onfo on the whole casterton parents lawsuit???? All seems to have gone very quiet.
I am a parent of two girls at sedbergh, one in the senior school (she had two years in Junior) and one just completing her third year in the junior school. They were both very shy, retiring and lacking in confidence when they went to SJS. I am pleased to say that they have both found their confidence - NOT in a brash way but are now outgoing and freindly. I would thoroughly recommend sending any girls to SJS and thence to Sedbergh - I have only wonderful experience of them both. I would also point out that they were almost alone in boarding when they started and now the girls boarding house is bursting at the seams - surely this can only show how good the SJS boarding is - three years - from 2 at weekends to overflowing - it really speaks for itself.
And the comments below show how skewed an article it is!
This article throws doubt on the idea that Casterton was thriving financially.
I take it that is 11 senior school girls (year 9 +) as I understand almost all the prep school are moving over?
Heard from my dd tonight that just 11 girls from Casterton will make the transition to Sedbergh.. If this is the case (and who am I to call in to question my 10yo fact finding skills...) then it does rather poor water over the talk of a merger.. more like a bloodless takeover! Feel very sorry for all connected to Casterton. The Governors should join all the HBOS bankers in the dock.
The Casterton bursar was on Escape to the Country the other week.
It must have been a bit of a shock to her to relocate from a perfectly stable job, and then to discover a merger a few weeks into the job.
I have read this thread with interest and have to add something to the mix. Whilst I wholeheartedly agree that being able to vote with your feet is a great way of teaching these governors a lesson in manners, what do you do when your daughter is half-way through her GCSEs or A levels? My daughter is at Casterton and is in the lower 6th. We were promised (by Mr Fleck, the Sedbergh head teacher, who is now the head teacher of the new entity) that their would be 'continuity of teachers, of classes and of courses' for girls in this position at the meeting on 1 March - yet this has not proved to be true. One of my daughter's teachers has been made redundant - he has successfully guided girls through the A level course for years (As, Bs etc). The Sedbergh teacher who will now take over (if she goes there) has never had a pupil gain higher than a D - and that was with a different board. If we vote with our feet, my daughter will have to start her 6th form again.
Why couldn't the merger have been announced for September 2014? That way, the girls in my daughter's position would have had a chance to complete their courses and girls who didn't want to go to Sedbergh (I now understand that the majority have indeed voted with their feet) could have had 12 months to find an alternative.
It is no wonder that parents from both schools are angry - this has been handled SO badly and I understand that this is now reflecting on Sedbergh in ways that they had not anticipated. Bad for the pupils, bad for the teachers, bad for Casterton and now bad for Sedbergh - well done governors for a job well done!
I just wish we would be given some information on what is going on. We have had one meeting with SJS head at start of March and that's been it!! Haven't seen the Casterton site nor been told how many of the girls are coming over into the Junior school in September or in what years they are going into. We don't even know what teachers are staying! All sorts of rumours going round obviously! Would have been far more sensible to have taken more time over this rather than this mad rush for September.
I can tell the Casterton parents that there are some extremely bright girls at SJS that are academic scholars and the children are also heavily streamed so I wouldn't worry about academic standards for your girls. Its more whether your daughter would suit SJS as the whole ethos of the two schools is different. As I said before I wouldn't send a sensitive or shy girl there as the girls I know are very strong and outspoken.
CBJAY Shame he is wrong about everything else though... And the thing about the girls houses is misleading. I am afraid the name of the newspaper brought him here. He has been shot down by Casterton supporters on newspaper comments elsewhere for his misleading views, (dead easy for anyone to search that if interested - tons onthe merger there) as well as being accused of being a governor... He claimed not, just an interested bystander, but he joined mumsnet just to post one arrogant post. Odd.
As a SJS parent I know what PRogerson says is correct - the senior girls houses are overcrowded. Having said that I would rather they hadn't merged with Casterton for all the reasons I said before -
Just to clarify a few points, far from struggling for girls at Sedbergh School, they have a vast waiting list. The decision to merge with Casterton was not done to save Sedbergh, more to ensure the Casterton name lives on, albeit in a different guise. Sedbergh was already in the process of sorting out a 9th boarding house, as the 2 girls houses were becoming over crowded, which would allow them to accomodate all those on the waiting list, the addition of the Casterton girls will merely enhance those numbers, and increase Sedberghs academic success. I am told that the Casterton site will be a very long term location, I hear the comments regarding the history at Bentham, however SJS has long been too big for the Sedbergh site, and this move is ideal for the prep school and Casterton village itself, the SJS parents are well known for being very enthusiastic parents, who themselves will add colour to the village along with their children. Sedberghs goal is to make the Casterton site the premier prep school in the North of England,which it will be, and to act as the primary feeder school for Sedbergh Senior School. I fully understand the Casterton Parents being upset and angry regarding this, as they signed up for an all girls school, however in terms of any underhand reason for the merger, then absolutely not, this is being done for the benefit of all.
Both schools are very different. I think the above poster is correct when they suggest SJS will run at CAsterton for a few years then the site will be sold.
As far as I am aware some of the reasons CAsterton parents are upset are:
They chose a small single sex school, with a good record of academic results for their daughters. All of a sudden they are being told that from September their children will be going to a large co-ed school with less good academic results. They were given no warning, no time to think about this and look for alternative schools...just "This is what will be happening, isn't it good"
The letter talks about merger and keeping CAsterton ethos etc...but in fact the school will be Sedbergh with Sedbergh uniform, Sedbergh hours etc...
The way the news was given out to the girls was shocking. It seems they were told in an assembly that from September they would be part of Sedbergh....
Parents of girls who started in September are understandably unimpressed at having made large finacial outlay for nothing. Some had even moved house to enable their girls to go to the school.
It was implied that girls who will be half way through GCSE and A levels in September would be able to continue the same courses. However some are now saying that girls will have to redo the whole of year 10/12 and start again.
Parents got together a plan that could have saved the school. The governors refused to meet with them until after the takeover (NOT a merger) had gone through. Even if they had said "yes we thought of that but it would not work" it would not have hurt to meet parents.
Had the governors handled this differently there would have been much less anger and frustration even if the end result had been the same. If parents had actually had chance to think about Sedbergh, to visit it and talk about what it could offer AND have plenty of time to look at other schools if that was what they wanted then maybe there would be less anger.
However there is some talk of the merger maybe being overturned...I don't have the details of this so don't know exactly how.....but it is being mentioned on the Westmorland Gazette and on the Save CAsterton facebook page.
If you ask anyone about Sedburgh having too many girls for the space available they look rather baffled! That's nonsense spin IMO.
Personally, as a parent I do feel very strongly that while parents can "vote with their feet" and move, they are not merely customers of the product. They are more like investors as for parents it's a long term affair - you are effectively trusting the school over a period of 5/7/11 years to invest themselves and their school in your child in return. Not suddenly change ethos and location and size and headship and governance and character and and and...
Personally, I think Sedburgh will run the prep school at Casterton for a few years and then suddenly "listen to parents" like CBJAY and well as "listening to the market" and sell the assets. Sad :-(
Merger is not that popular with the Sedbergh Junior School parents never mind Casterton ones - we chose Sedbergh Junior School because it wasn't big with loads of facilities - there are endless numbers of preps like that around - we liked the small family type boarding houses, small numbers and the close proximity to Senior School. We are now supposed to be overjoyed that our children will go to a type of school we didn't want, miles away from where it used to be. We, like a lot of others would have waited until 13 to go to Sedbergh if we knew this was happening!!
Agree with AntEaterAgain - the two schools are complete opposites with regards to the type of child they suit - I wouldn't send a shy or sensitive girl to Sedbergh - ones I know are very feisty and outspoken!
Well parents have the power don't they? They simply vote with their feet. That's the beauty of paying for indy education.
The sadness about this merger is the loss of Casterton as it will most certainly be swallowed into the Sedbergh brand. The Casterton governors, if they were true to the school rather than the business, would should have gone public with their financial problems 12 months ago. Some sharp new appointments and clear goals could have saved Casterton and let it thrive.
Shocking work by the badly advised governors.
Anybody who knows these two schools will know how they could never coexist due to the completly different ethos.
Historically the two schools were both single sex, but geographically close.
Nationally there is a lower demand now for s/s education, hence Sedbergh going co-ed and Casterton's falling roles. (They have boys to 11).
The merger means that the junior and prep schools (co-ed) will be on the Casterton site. And the Senior school (co-ed) will be on the Sedbergh site.
The argument that parents should have been consulted by governors was used by the parents in our area but ultimately private schools are businesses and when did you ever hear of the directors of a struggling business asking their customers if they would approve of them merging with another company?
Interestingly, in our case, it was apparently a merger but one school was already part of an educational trust (so had more clout if you like). The financially struggling school was being propped up by a local educational trust which, now it is not spending funds on an ailing private school, has been able to return to its original mission of spending to assist education of those in the borough who cannot afford it.
Personally, even as someone who has sent DCs to independent school, I would sooner charities were able to spend their money on those that need it rather than subsidising those who can afford to pay.
Why postersget the hump because aschools governors do not consult thenm is beyond me. Who says they need to? I doubt the consulted staff either. Thats the way it is.
If you dont like it,you can change schools. Many often do but its a drop in the ocean and is unlikely to be a big deal for the governors.
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