St Joseph's College in Stoke-On-Trent? Anyone care to share opinions/experiances ?

(14 Posts)
Havenamechangedtostayanonymous Wed 23-Apr-08 17:03:34

Um, title says it all really, am thinking of sending DC here but have heard some slightly negative views about the headteacher and wondered how anyone on here felt.

Any opinions/anecdotes/unfounded rumours (maybe) welcome

shouldbeworking Wed 23-Apr-08 17:35:26

Have never heard anything but good reports about the school. They get very good results and of my ds's friends who have attended they have all been very happy there. Ds didn't go there..He went to Thomas More instead and dd is going there in September too. This is only because we are not Catholic and although dcs went to RC primary I didn't think the chances of him getting a place warranted putting him through the entrance exam. He did very well at Thomas More. Don't know where you live but Painsley at Cheadle is also good although equally hard to get a place if your dc isn't at a feeder school.

Havenamechangedtostayanonymous Wed 23-Apr-08 17:46:39

So she isn't a bit 'cold' or 'passive agressive'?
Heard 2 different people refer to her as the above on two separate occasions and a third mother I know said she felt she was enjoying all the media attention the school was getting a few months ago just a little bit much. Basically from talking to people I haven't yet met a parent or pupil who actually like the woman and I'm probably being paranoid, I have never met her but after DCs very sarcastic and verbally abusive head at primary I really want to do my background research IYKWIM

shouldbeworking Wed 23-Apr-08 18:13:27

Sorry, because we dismissed it for our dcs because of the non Catholic thing I have never actually met her so info I have is secondhand. Having said that I only ever spoke to ds's headmaster once in the five years he was at high school. Had much more contact with his form tutors who coordinated the pupil progress days that have replaced parent's evening at Thomas More. I think you tend to have more contact with headteachers at primary level than you do at secondary. In my experience they only get involved with individual students when there is a problem. Obviously their input does reflect on the school but she must be doing something right on that front as St Josephs does get excellent results ( although as a selective school I suppose it could be said that they should get better than average results). I can understand your 'once bitten twice shy approach'. Choosing the right school is hard isn't it?
Sorry I can't be more help, hopefully there will be someone on here who actually has dcs at St Josephs.

Havenamechangedtostayanonymous Wed 23-Apr-08 19:39:35

God, shouldbeworking it is soooo hard choosing the right school, and lots of stoke's schools are particularly bad, plus the added uncertainty in many of them, I just want a school where DC will be happy, able to work at her ability, respected by teachers and pupils alike and able to stay at until she leaves at 16/18!!! I would have thought this shouldn't have been hard to find in a rich, western country hmm

But thank you very much for your time

islandofsodor Wed 23-Apr-08 19:55:06

My neice is there and her Mum is very, very happy with the school. We have never given it a thought as we are not Catholic and come way down on the entrance criteria. If we were Catholic I would definately apply for the dc's as it would be a heck of a lot cheaper than NuLS.

I also have a friend with two sons who are there and doing very well. She seems happy with it.

I have only heard good things of the school.

upthepotters Wed 23-Apr-08 22:19:20

Interesting question.

I have friends whose children attend, and they seem happy with the school. I know of some children starting there this September too.

I have, however, had two other friends who have commented that they'd heard negative things about the reputation of the Head.

Oddly, I've also heard virtually the same comment about her liking the media attention a tad too much. (been thinking about this for hours, and can't think where I heard it, unfortunately).

We looked at the school for DC1, and met the Head. There was a cool arrogance about the woman, (NOT the reason we chose against!) but other than that couldn't really pass comment, as this was about 4 years ago, and iirc she'd not been there that long at the time.

You really need to go and look around the place, get a feel for it, and her.

What other schools are you considering?

As a side topic - I know of some children who are going to Painsley this September without too much of a problem - whilst it was a bumper year in SOT, there was apparently a dip in the Moorlands for this year.

Havenamechangedtostayanonymous Thu 24-Apr-08 17:05:35

mmm hmmm, upthepotters DC would probably go to NULS or perhaps Alsager or Sandbach if we can move into catchment in time. Painsley is waa-aay out of our neck of the woods. I think I would prefer her to go to a more socially diverse school than NULS and I do know I don't like the attitude a sizable proportion of NULS kids come out with (some are very lovely young people though).

It wasn't an isolated comment about her liking the attention, it was made at a dinner party by one mother (perhaps you were there lol)and there was a unanamous (sp?) decision that it was true. Also supported by several teeenaged children of friends who go there who also told me several of the rumours that float around about her (seemed to be mainly about her supposedly strict catholic RE teacher stance juxtaposed by her 1 child and 4 husbands, who knew teenagers were so moral! lol)
I suppose I just wanted unbiased reassurance from someone that either she is lovely and the social circle I mix in is an anomaly or that she is indeed a callous media wh**e but is still very good at her job...
I think I may arrange to be shown around and just ask her outright, see what her reaction is? Maybe.......

TeenagedDDofaMNer Thu 24-Apr-08 17:49:28

This is my time to shine! I'm in the Lower VI at st joe's and TBH you aren't far off with some of the observations and comments made about darling 'Maggie'.
Firstly she does run the school very well, she clearly works very hard and puts in a lot of effort.

But we (me and my fellow VI formers) do think that the media campaign especially showed the true extent to which her ego needs stroking. There was the expectation (from staff and pupils alike) that she would have left the school in a heartbeat if the LEA had offered her a more prestigious post elsewhere.
TBH I think that she perhaps isn't the most confident woman in the world as she often seems to feel the need to boast about her foreign holidays, clothes, material possessions etc to her teenaged pupils. I was in a small group of pupils who were 'mentored' by her in the run up to our GCSEs last year and without fail every anecdote and piece of guidance she gave us displayed her own successes, who she knows, her daughter's acheivements etc. Personally I don't feel this is a particularly good personality aspect for a teacher.
On the other hand though she will take the time to listen to pupils and parents and can react to sensitive situations a lot more discretely and in a nicer manner than some teachers.
She is arrogant, cold and passive agressive though. Her car numberplate sums up her personality defects pretty well in my opinion - 'BO55 RMM' (her initials)Why? just... why?!?!

I have enjoyed my time at St Joe's and if I was 11 again I would choose to go there, most of the teachers do care about their pupils and the pastoral care is, on the whole good and there is, for the most part a nice cohesive family atmosphere.
(and remember, you don't actually need to have much to do with her, she lurks in her office admiring herself most of the time, occasionally appearing to randomly make some sarcastic comments and then smile at the pupils when showing people round, once you have learnt to just smile back and agree wholeheartedly with everything she says she's harmless)

upthepotters Thu 24-Apr-08 18:46:49

I have literally just sprayed tea over my keyboard!

What a fantastic post.

A future MNer if ever I saw one.

shouldbeworking Thu 24-Apr-08 22:42:49

Well if TeenageDDofaMNer is a typical St. Joes student I would be more than happy to send my dcs there ....What a great, well balanced, intuitive post. smile

islandofsodor Thu 24-Apr-08 23:24:25

Great post Teen DD

I do share some of upthe potters reservations about NULS and I have to say that I was very very worried when dd first started at OH that we would be out of our league. However I needn't have worried, everyone is really, really nice, the children from the senior school I have met seem lovely, well behaved and hard working.

The new Principal seems great too (unlike the old one who no-one, staff or parents liked).

I guess you just have to visit, see what your gut instinct says and keep fingers crossed for the entrance exam.

Havenamechangedtostayanonymous Sat 26-Apr-08 11:44:01

Well thank you very much for all your input, especially TeenDD, your post made me laugh, but I was equally reassured, you sound happy, mature and your argument was cogent and balanced!

I am in the process of trying to get someone to show me around the school but it seems like this will be easier said than done! I think I will ask her outright about these comments I have heard and what she thinks about them..... Surely she wouldn't belittle me too much? I am taking DH for moral support though, I might treat her as a patient....
Actually maybe I will bring a print out of this convo, present it to her saying I want to send DC to your school but these comments concern me. Can you allay my reservations?

Havenamechangedtostayanonymous Wed 30-Apr-08 19:57:52

Well, we have an appointment to be shown around the school on friday, and a 5 minute slot of the headteacher's precious time (I had to be very nice to the secretary (sorry Head's PA) to get this and it has been made clear we are honoured
I'm not really sure what to say but I do want to ask about her reputation... any suggestions welcome...

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