Does anyone have experience of the London Oratory school?

(41 Posts)
Celia2 Fri 06-May-05 13:50:08

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alibubbles Fri 06-May-05 17:49:22

Ask Tony Blair, that's where his boys went!

Celia2 Fri 06-May-05 19:27:52

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Carameli Sun 08-May-05 13:48:18

My brother went there. From what I can remember ultra strict!! I will ask him for a few words on it. Is Macintosh still there? They used to call him batman.

I will also ask my mum what she thought of it as a school. CAT me if you want to ask anything specific. My brother left there 15yrs ago, so not sure how much it has changed. But it is very very popular, I know that.

Celia2 Sun 08-May-05 16:10:17

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Azure Sun 08-May-05 17:34:58

All I know is that it's the only decent state secondary school that takes boys in my borough and DS doesn't have a chance of getting in because of his religion. Not that I'm bitter, of course...

Davros Sun 08-May-05 19:10:47

A friend's DD went there, she's only about 21 now and went to Oxford. They are an ordinary family. She loved it.

Celia2 Sun 08-May-05 22:29:23

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Azure Mon 09-May-05 10:30:57

Celia2, that's madness. I agree, where is the parental choice?

frogs Mon 09-May-05 10:41:40

I know several people whose sons are at the Oratory, and they seem very satisfied.

Having said that, I also know quite a few who chose other schools (mainly the Vaughan) as they felt the Oratory was all a bit uptight and over-cooked. So look carefully before you choose.

It's worth checking very carefully what the admissions criteria are and getting some inside information on whether or not you are likely to qualify. Although most Catholic schools say you need priest's reference, regular Mass attendance, blah blah, in practice some will take kids who have barely seen in the inside of a church, while at others (including, I suspect, the Oratory) regular Mass attendance is only the starting point, and you will need to show evidence of all sorts of other active involvement in the church (child serves Mass every week, parents are catechists or in the SVP, that kind of thing) to be in with a real chance. These additional criteria are generally not spelled out, so do your research carefully, as it will be a waste of a first choice unless you have a realistic chance of getting a place.

Celia2 Mon 09-May-05 21:57:23

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bossykate Mon 09-May-05 22:12:44

agree with frogs, i strongly suspect regular mass attendance is only the starting point with the oratory and they will be looking for all the other things mentioned.

frogs Tue 10-May-05 09:32:23

Good inside info is what you need, Celia. If your child is at a Catholic primary, the headteacher should be able to decode the requirements for you. But don't take the published admissions criteria at face value, as there's a powerful current of hypocrisy running through Catholic schools' admissions policies.

For example my children's school feeds into two Catholic girls' secondaries, both of which have pretty much identical admissions policies -- but once you look carefully at which children go where it becomes immediately obvious that school A is for children who really do attend Mass most Sundays and probably have other church involvement as well, while school B takes children whose practice is pretty minimal. But an outsider would have no way of knowing this. Having said that, the headteacher's speech at the open evenings in the autumn might give you more info, though that doesn't give you much time to look at other options.

Without wanting to freak you out, parents plan years ahead how they are going to get their kids into schools like the Oratory, and adjust their Mass attendance and parish activities accordingly. Because Catholic schools tend to have the maddening requirement that they be your first choice, you need to target your school extremely carefully as effectively you only have one choice. Successful appeals seem to involve concerted lobbying from the child's headteacher and parish priest, which they will generally do only for what they consider to be worthy applicants.

Seriously, it's a shark pool out there -- it's one of the few areas where the Church still has real secular power, and they use it pretty ruthlessly. I can afford to be cynical about this, as we're going the grammar school route with dd1. Whereabouts in London are you, Celia? What alternatives do you have?

Celia2 Tue 10-May-05 11:26:32

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frogs Tue 10-May-05 13:25:30

Priest is probably a good start, since he'll be writing a reference in any case. Does the headteacher of your child's school not have opinions on 2ndary schools? I would have thought most Catholic primary schools would have sent the occasional child to the Oratory over the years. Ours has two or three kids a year going there, and we're the other side of London. You might also want to look at the Vaughan, which a lot of people seem to prefer as it's not so uptight.

I've also heard from a reliable source that some secondary heads phone round primary schools to identify which kids they should be looking out for, though the Oratory wasn't mentioned in that context. Still reckon the whole thing is a bit of a stitch-up, though.

Celia2 Tue 10-May-05 14:35:57

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frogs Tue 10-May-05 17:30:29

Maybe we should start a paranoid-London-Catholic-parents-of-Y5-children support group.

I'm sure Tony is there every spare Saturday scraping chewing gum off the pews. And Cherie no doubt has a laundry basket full of alter-servers' robes. Which is about as far as I've got in the ingratiating-myself stakes.

bossykate Tue 10-May-05 17:44:28

how about paranoid-London-Catholic-parents-of-not going into reception until sept-children

Celia2 Tue 10-May-05 19:35:34

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maddiemo Tue 10-May-05 19:39:19

Have no experience of the school, but do know that people travel from far and wide. My friends ds is going there this Sep and she lives in Kent!

frogs Tue 10-May-05 19:53:29

I think bossykate wins the paranoia prize for reading a secondary-schools' thread before her child has started in primary. An example to us all.

Yes, I do wash alter-servers' robes. [halo emoticon] But only because dd1 was complaining about how disgusting they were. If an 8-yo notices that something needs washing, you can be sure that it really, really does.

muminlondon Tue 10-May-05 20:03:57

I know someone who went there many years ago. He's quite bitter about the discipline - I think corporal punishment was allowed then which would have been harsh. And it put him off catholicism for life. He did end up with a good education though.

bossykate Tue 10-May-05 22:30:22

teehee, frogs, i started researching primary schools when i was pregnant with ds, and have been looking at secondaries for ages!

Celia2 Wed 11-May-05 06:43:59

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bossykate Wed 11-May-05 10:19:25

brixton

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