Cleves School expansion

(42 Posts)
frazzledmumoftwo Mon 02-Apr-12 22:26:14

Does anyone know anything about the Cleves School expansion plans?

We chose to live in Oatlands, Weybridge, assuming we could use Oatlands Infants School from 4-7 years old, and then Cleves from 7-11 years old, both Outstanding Ofsteds.

But now Cleves is proposing to expand to a massive 5 classes a year, from 4-11, over 1000 pupils in total??? Leaving children at lovely, lovely Oatlands Infants School with nowhere to go at 7.

I don't think my 4 year old would cope with a school of that size? But you would have to go to Cleves Infants, to be sure of a place at 7+.

I don't know anyone who is supporting the proposals, but there must be supporters (and reasons for their support) or presumably no-one would have proposed it in the first place.

Does anyone out there know anything more about this???? We have just submitted our "response letter" to Cleves Governors, protesting the plans, but the whole thing still just seems so strange, and so "not thought through properly".

I would post in "local" but there isn't one covering our area.

SchoolsNightmare Mon 02-Apr-12 23:16:33

It seems that in general that many Primary schools are being forced encouraged to expand. Many around here are adding at least one extra class per year and some are expanding a great deal more.
The steep rise in the birthrate coupled with people moving into areas means local school provision soon won't be able to cope. We are London so I am assuming your area is perhaps the same in terms of demand. Certainly parents here have the same concerns about enormous primary schools with hundreds of children but it is seen as a necessity (catchment areas are shrinking to a few hundred metres such is the demand and unless schools expand some children won't get any local place at all).

That said, there should be some sort of plan for children isolated in an Infants school if they are to lose their Juniors overnight. Are the schools currently linked? Will there still be other Junior Schools age 7-11 that you can apply to or will Cleves have more provision from year 3 to absorb all of the Oatlands children? It doesn't seem very fair otherwise to spring this on you and leave you with no school to go to.

ConfusedGovernor Tue 03-Apr-12 08:04:00

It may well be that no one wants the expansion, but the LEA needs the extra school places and this is the way they have decided to do it.

Schools don't get any choice about whether to expand or not. It's all up to the LEA.

thestringcheesemassacre Tue 03-Apr-12 08:19:23

Frazzled I know space is the big issue for the schools in Weybridge. My DD goes to St James and we are currently expanding to take more children from Mamby Lodge for juniors. I'd ring the LEA and see what they say.

thestringcheesemassacre Tue 03-Apr-12 14:53:01

Frazzled just had coffee with my mate whos dc go to Manby Lodge and the rumour mill at her school says that they and Oatlands will close if this happens. Only a rumour, but who knows.

frazzledmumoftwo Tue 03-Apr-12 19:53:06

I understand what some of the posters have said, that expansion is needed as part of broader strategy. But I thought Surrey had addressed the infant/junior shortage in Weybridge/Walton/Hersham by

1. Adding 30 extra infant places/year at each of Oatlands and Manby (60 in total)
2. Adding 30 extra junior places/year at St James
3. The broader restructuring of primary schools in Walton & Hersham just announced in December 2011.

Now Oatlands and Manby are the only infant-only schools in the area with 90 pupils/year each - 180 in total. Of this 150 would be expected to go to Cleves at 7+ and the remaining 30 would go to the new junior class being put in at St James.

By doing all this, I thought Surrey/Elmbridge had sorted the problem of infant/junior places.

This whole plan (adding an extra 150 infant places/year at Cleves) seems to just have come from Cleves, rather than be part of any wider Surrey strategy for the area. Is Cleves just able to do this because they are an Academy? It just seems crazy.

String Cheese - do you know if Manby parents/governors are as actively opposing it as Oatlands School parents/governors. I think it is all meant to be really important to write letters to Cleves governors to let views be heard.

Thanks for the responses everyone.

thestringcheesemassacre Wed 04-Apr-12 08:41:36

Sorry frazzled I'm not sure what the parents at manby are doing. I think it's all rather shocking news to them.
Also just to note the expansion at st James is not permanent, it's only to take 2 bulge years starting this sept. and then after that we revert back.

SchoolsNightmare Wed 04-Apr-12 09:21:49

frazzled - it all does sound very worrying if it will leave some children with no school to go to at age 7.
In our area bulge classes have been added annually in the way you describe but we are also entering a period of more permanent expansions now. The birthrate in this area started to climb in 2003 but from about 2008 it shot up so even with bulge classes, the council's predictions for the future still show a shortfall of hundreds of reception places. I am guessing this is pretty universal.

It does sound from the Cleve's website that this whole idea has come more from them than from pressure for places (which might be their way of putting a positive spin on expansion or it might be totally genuine that they have decided this in isolation). It says though that there is no proposed timescale or numbers planned so perhaps it is going to be some way off? Either way, I am pretty sure that they won't be able to pursue changes without taking into account in impact on hundreds of children currently at local Infants' Schools.

thestringcheesemassacre Sun 08-Apr-12 09:03:40

frazzled, not sure if you're still around but I found this

www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/s/2111439_oatlands_head_worried_by_cleves_school_expansion

Weymum Mon 16-Apr-12 19:46:44

At Manby everyone is very worried, and we are all urged to put our worries in writing to the schools. The implications are that Weybridge 4 year olds will have no choice of school if this happens - they will all have to go to a large primary school, as both the small infants schools are likely to close down. Both Oatlands and Manby Lodge have repeatedly approached Cleves with a view to becoming "feeder" schools, but Cleves have always refused (nobody seems to quite know why, though). Unfortunately, because Cleves is an Academy, they can determine their own admissions. But the recent arrangements, that Frazzled has outlined are absolutely right, and there is no additional local capacity required. Cleves seem to be operating on their own, with no regard to others in the area.

frazzledmumoftwo Tue 17-Apr-12 18:30:14

Thanks for the messages everyone. I haven't heard much more at Oatlands since term started.

Tree2000 Thu 19-Apr-12 11:54:25

The move is entirely (imo) based on financial motives on behalf on the school possibly based on commitments made in the past.

Taken from Cleves School newsletter June '11
www.cleves.co.uk/open.php?filename=documents/June2011.pdf

PROPOSAL TO CHANGE THE PATTERN OF PROVISION IN SURREY
Some of you may be aware that there is a proposal to change the pattern of provision in Walton and Hersham in order to accommodate increasing numbers of children. The proposal is as follows:-
 Burhill to become a 3-form entry primary school instead of a 3-form entry infant school. This would commence in 2014 or possibly earlier.
 Bell Farm to become a 3-form entry primary school instead of a 3-4 form entry junior school. This would commence in September 2013.
 Grovelands to become a 2-form entry primary school from September 2014.
We take two-thirds of our children from Walton and Hersham because, although we have a Weybridge address, we are closer to the borders of Walton and Hersham. We have told Surrey this on many occasions, but they insist that we should become a Weybridge school, taking from Oatlands and Manby only. This will not give us enough children in the long-term, and will disadvantage many parents in Walton and Hersham for whom Cleves is their closest school.If the move is towards primary education then our single-story buildings could be replaced with a two-storey building which would make this entirely viable. Surrey will not consider this. We believe it is not acceptable to disadvantage Cleves in this way and will be making representations to the appropriate bodies.
You can view the consultation on
www.surreycc.gov.uk/sccwebsite/sccwspages.nsf/LookupWebPagesByTITLE_RTF/Education+consultations+and+plans?opendocument
Any support would be much appreciated.

Tree2000 Thu 19-Apr-12 12:01:08

By newsletter March 2012 it's all about the children:
www.cleves.co.uk/open.php?filename=documents/March%202012.pdf

PRIMARY PROVISION
For several years our vision at Cleves has been to become a primary school on the Cleves site. We did talk to other schools about this at that time and there was some positive feedback.Now that provision is being reorganised on a primary basis, it would seem timely to revisit this concept, and we are therefore seeking funding to become a primary school on the Cleves site. Positive parental opinion will be key to our bid and your child’s classteacher will therefore seek feedback at tomorrow’s Parent Consultations. (We would like to know whether a Cleves Primary School would have been an attractive option for you when your
child was starting his/her educational journey.)We are very excited by this prospect for many reasons:-
 We believe we will raise standards at a stroke because there will be no attainment dip in Year Three
 There would be seamless provision from 0-11 and our links with Weybridge Children’s Centre would be much stronger
 We have the grounds to accommodate more children comfortably and some superb facilities for them to use – infants have thoroughly enjoyed their taster sessions in the Sports Centre for example. Many more …We would maintain our vibrant inclusive ethos and would continue to offer a broad balanced skills-based curriculum together with high expectations and strong values.

Tree2000 Fri 20-Apr-12 08:35:03

'Technically consulting' What does that mean? Slippery.
The didn't consult properly with parents over the change to 'academy status either.

From school website
http://www.cleves.co.uk/News/Primary-Plans-for-Cleves-an-update

19th Apr 2012 Last updated at 13:29
Primary Plans for Cleves an update
There has been much speculation about Cleves’ expansion in the last few weeks and some inaccurate quotes which I feel I would like to clarify.

We had a meeting several years ago with the Headteachers and Chairs of Governors of Manby Lodge and Oatlands School at which we outlined our aspirations for a Primary school on the Cleves site.

Representatives from Surrey were at this meeting and were positive about the concept and Manby Lodge were open to our ideas. Therefore, as you can see, we have been technically consulting for a number of years now.

Whilst primary places were fairly stable in Elmbridge, we were happy to maintain the status quo. However, as Surrey has now confirmed a policy of primary, rather than infant and junior provision, the time is now right for us to pursue our long-held vision for Cleves.

Surrey supported the idea of Cleves becoming primary in a meeting with representatives from the Education Funding Agency.

In a letter of 1st December 2011 the Cleves Chair of Governors wrote to the Chair of Governors at Manby Lodge saying, “I would want to be clear that at this point we consider that the only viable route is for us to also become a Primary School”. We still consider that this is our only option and will direct our efforts towards this end. Parent feedback and Children’s Centre feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we remain excited about this possible future development.

Traffic will be eased as it is anticipated there will be a one way system with dedicated entrance and exit.

Expansion will give more opportunities for outstanding start to be part of an exciting new initiative.

The infant school building will be built and structured in a way that will be separate from the rest of the school. This building will be of high quality and fit for purpose.

Cleves will maintain its current high standards through an ethos which will promote broad balanced curriculum, thus giving every child a chance to succeed.

beansprouty Sat 21-Apr-12 12:38:07

It seems like such a bad idea for so many reasons!

1) Oatlands and Manby Lodge would probably become under-subscribed and be forced to close.

2) Both infant schools have had major work, at considerable expense, to be expanded to accommodate local demand for infant school places. This would be wasted.

3) In addition to the above waste, MORE money would be necessary to provide buildings, staff etc to get the infant part of Cleves up and running.

4) I would feel very uncomfortable sending a 4 year old into an school with over 1000 pupils - my 4 year old settled very well in the small, nurturing environment of Oatlands School. She is a shy girl who would have been overwhelmed by the school run alone at a school like Cleves.

5) Speaking of the school run, the traffic around Cleves School is already nightmarish. To add further disruption to this one particular road seems crazy. Currently, traffic for primary places is spread across St Mary’s Road, Oatlands Drive, Queens Rd etc but to have all that traffic converging on Oatlands Avenue is dangerous. Our children wouldn’t be safe.

I hear that Cleves school is concerned by the possibility of not filling the classrooms when Bell Farm and Burhill become primaries but surely turning Oatlands and Manby Lodge into feeder schools for Cleves this concern would be resolved.

Also, if Cleves is worried about the standards of the children coming into Y3, why don't they work closer with the infant schools to ease the transition? It just makes no sense.

The trouble is that because Cleves is an academy they don't have to justify any of this to anyone apart from the Dept of Education. Surrey County Council don't have the power to stop it. It seems to me that it will probably go ahead...

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Sat 21-Apr-12 13:18:13

Cleaves have always been like this .Why are you all surprised.

Sorry, I don't have anything useful to add, because I haven't lived in the area since I was 18. But it's so sad that two much-loved, small infant schools might close and give local parents no other option than a massive behemoth of a school.

I went to Oatlands, then Weybridge Middle (now St James). Lovely schools, both of them.

frazzledmumoftwo Mon 23-Apr-12 17:38:22

wakeupandsmellthecoffee,
Just out of interest, what do you mean Cleves have always been like this? What's happened in the past?

When we moved to the Oatlands Village area of Weybridge a few years ago we just thought Oatlands lovely for 4-7, Cleves lovely for 7-11, and it all seemed really simple.

And what is wrong with the 7 year olds arriving from Oatlands & Manby ... there seems to be a real undercurrent that Cleves doesn't like them. Oatlands and Manby are both great schools ... what is the "Year 3 attainment gap" they are worried about, and are 7 year olds from Walton & Hersham much better in some way?

Tree2000 Mon 23-Apr-12 20:41:43

The last word I'd use to describe Cleves is lovely.

If you risk sending a seven year there you'll find out why. Heaven knows what they'd do to four/five year olds!

More appropriate words might be fear, cruelty, tears, loss of dignity & lack of respect for children ...I could go on at length. Lots of shouty teachers too.

I don't think so much 'attainment gap' but low expectations by Cleves of all abilities.

They get their results by cramming the children in Y6 (a SATs paper every morning all Y6) and asking parents to have their children tutored in Y6 if it looks like they won't make the grade. The rest of the years nobody cares how well the children are doing. It doesn't feel like the place is run in the children's interests but simply as a business. Sport is very poor despite the showy new sports hall. French is taught but very badly Same children picked every time for drama performances.

A nasty place run by a bullying head. Only my opinion of course but you did ask - others may think differently.

I've had children at Oatlands & Manby both really nice happy schools that serve their pupils well.

I think you've misinterpreted the presumed slur. Actually it's just that the Head at Cleves was protesting about now increased intake to Ashley, Burhill & Bell Farm which will leave Cleves short on numbers (& money!) which won't be covered by an increased intake (according to her) of children from Manby & Oatlands. Hence the focus on wanting the children from Hersham & Walton as there's more of them and more pennies to be derived from them and possibly even more with the new 'Pupil Premium' attached to low income families.

There are other threads on here about Cleves that you could look at too.

Tree2000 Mon 23-Apr-12 20:53:54

Attainment Gap
By the way, what happens in Y3 is that your child starts the year with say L3 & by the end of Y3 many have dropped to a L2 & the occasional L1. This is said not to be the fault of the school but because Cleves' standards are so high.
Believe that if you will. Personally, I put it down to he poor treatment & low expectations suggested above. Again only an opinion & others may have different impressions.

lilianp008 Wed 25-Apr-12 21:51:09

THANK GOODNESS I WROTE THIS IN WORD AND COPIED AND PASTED - - NOT SURE WHERE MY LAST POST WENT....

Anyway - - I understand and respect it is a very personal view point, and there are so many view's to this topic - I feel it's my turn to share my thoughts:

My children completed Cleves (well the last one) in September last year, and I was amazed at the standard of the school and my children (all 3) left Cleves with confidence and values which they still use today not to mention a fantastic educational standard. Oatlands might be about many things, of course the children are happy and content, and that is positive, but, as far as I know, no child arrives in Cleves up to the standard that the other schools have propelled their children. Therefore Oatlands children from an educational stand point are somewhat way behind.

I ask why many parents of Oatlands have started to invest in tutors at Oatlands to bring them up to the level they should get to when they start Cleves.

My point is, I think if children were to start at reception at Cleves, the standard of education would be higher, the children would be consistently happy and parents wouldn't dread the move from Oatlands to Cleves as much as they do. Let alone have to invest in tutors at the age of 6/7! - thats insane.

In addition how amazing to be able to do one school drop off. As a mother, I would welcome that any day. In addition the children would be able to enjoy their siblings in the school environment (it adds to future fond memories for them personally). I also think the physical education is excellent at Cleves they have the facilities and the grounds to be able to accommodate all these children.

The way I understand it is, Cleves will obviously have a separate building which will house years Reception, Year 1 and 2 - - so these little kids won't be exposed to the masses.

Teachers will have more opportunities to expand their careers too - working with a bigger school is a great way to evolve their career.

One of the mothers from Cleves told me that it is an 'aspiration' of Cleves to do this, but the parents who seem to be up in arms are the ones who have children at Oatlands at present and are somehow worried their kids won't get into Cleves if this does go ahead... seriously, if this project happens - it's not going to happen over night and frankly how crazy to think that the government would leave children without educational places.

Personally - I think most people don't like change - - and are scared of it. I think it is a positive change and I hope it happens.

TEAM CLEVES! - GOOD LUCK!

RandomMess Wed 25-Apr-12 21:59:43

I have read all the posts in detail but please be aware of the following after the school changes in Addlestone fiasco:

Surrey's strategy is replace seperate infants/juniors with primary schools
Surrey tell bare faced lies about their motives, it is all about saving them money ("the new flats being built in Addlestone will not increas demand in school places as families do not live in flats"
Surrey closed the outstanding infant school in Byfleet
School closures have to go through an independent review process, I'm not sure the same applies to school expansion?

frazzledmumoftwo Tue 01-May-12 19:43:35

Lilian, Thank you for your post - it is interesting to understand some of the rationale behind it all.

However, a few questions for you or anyone else:

I just don't understand how Cleves can be a nice, good school, and seriously be proposing something that they know will result in the likely closure of the two neighbouring infant schools - one OFSTED Outstanding and one OFSTED Good rated. It all seems to come down to Cleves being an Academy and hence being able to work outside the processes that usually apply.

I understand your argument that existing children there are probably going to be fine before these changes all take place. But it is not just about my own children. I love Oatlands School, and I hate seeing it being put under threat by another school. So my children will probably be fine - but I am annoyed on behalf of the school - a key part of the local Oatlands Village community.

Even if you are pro-Cleves (and I can understand that, because I have heard extremely good things about the quality of Cleves education and facilities), you must be able to see how this seems from the other schools' perspectives.

From the view point of Oatlands School & Manby the whole situation seems extremely aggressive. There are phrases being quoted from Cleves like "we can see no other way forward" - but this doesn't make sense. Why can't Cleves continue as is (as a stand alone 7-11 school)? Or, if they want the security of guaranteed demand at 7, why can't they officially link to the two remaining infant schools as feeder schools? I just do not understand why they consider it necessary to do what they are proposing, and I can not understand their "we can see no other way forward" statement.

I also don't understand why Oatlands School leavers are considered to be sub standard, with some needing extra coaching. Out of all the infant schools who currently feed into Cleves, Oatlands is the only one with an OFSTED Outstanding rating ... are you really saying that Cleves views the ex-Oatlands pupils as less advanced academically and less prepared? This just doesn't seem to add up.

I didn't mean this to sound too controversial - so I hope it is not read that way. It is just so frustrating to see our son's lovely school under this much pressure. Because of Cleves' academy status there seems to be very little that can be done to protest, as most of the normal channels don't apply.

Tree2000 Fri 18-May-12 11:50:43

http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/s/2113714_meeting_to_debate_cleves_school_expansion_bid

For those interested.

Tree2000 Fri 18-May-12 11:59:18

http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/s/2104536_teachers_delight_as_school_cleared_to_change_status

The real reason Cleves wants to expand

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