Herne hill Judith Kerr school

(36 Posts)
shadylane Thu 21-Nov-13 10:08:05

Does anyone have any children here/know much about it? Will be going to open day next month but wondering as I know no one with kids there. So bored of school application politics in this borough.

SidandAndyssextoy Thu 21-Nov-13 12:03:55

My neighbour's daughter started in September. So far she's not too convinced but is giving them time. She is happy with the teaching but they haven't helped her daughter settle very well.

shadylane Thu 21-Nov-13 12:21:29

Thanks for your reply that's interesting. I think it's a really good idea but apparently it's in a non child influenced building - that sounds like a minor detail but I'm inexperienced.

eltoro Tue 03-Dec-13 20:54:56

Hello,

My child started here in Reception and I am really pleased with it!

The building is particularly unattractive (esp. from the outside) and the playground is just a patch of ground at the moment.... BUT the building work is already underway, so it will only be playground-less for 1 year out of 7 years of school.

Also- it turns out that the kids don't care! I don't have any other kids at school, so the only thing I can compare it to is the the local Southwark school that my kid went to for nursery. That was massive, with lots of years all sharing the same playground and for someone like my child, it was a bit intimidating. At Judith Kerr at the moment, the kids are using their imagination with the playground (lots of chalk patterns all over it) and there are surprises like a 'secret garden' through a gate in the fence.

Also- I figure the physical changes that are needed at Judith Kerr are relatively easy to do. Much easier than changing the culture of a school- the behaviour of kids and teachers, the learning, the community etc etc. All of that already seems really nice at Judith Kerr- the teachers are kind, the kids are nice and the classes are small (max 25) which makes it a really nice environment.

I always felt my child was a bit overlooked at nursery but has now gained loads of confidence. In fact, to use a cliché, is flourishing!

The school is still a bit chaotic - but they only got the keys to the school 5 weeks before term started- and everyone is just muddling through!

All in all- I'm pleased! Sorry about the essay!

I totally sympathise with you about the Southwark schools admissions. You have to put your closest school- otherwise you don't stand a chance (except through waiting lists- which is horrifically traumatic...). Even then, it isn't guaranteed. We live really close to a 3-form entry school and didn't get in.

You should come to the open day and have a nose around! The last one was complete madness- there were about 4 times the number of prospective parents than were expected- but there was also homemade cake for everyone!

nlondondad Wed 11-Dec-13 23:29:43

Will the class sizes be staying at 25?

I ask because I was wondering how they were going to fund that.

allyfe Thu 12-Dec-13 12:31:19

I don't know anyone at the school, but I think that Judith Kerr work on the same guidelines as Bromley Bilingual are going to, and if that is the case it will be a maximum of 25 all the way through.

In terms of the funding, as I understanding it, schools get a premium for children who speak a second language at home (even if they are bilingual and speak English too). Consequently, for all the children who are bilingual at home, their is a premium in funding. Since it is the majority of the children in the school, it may be how they are able to keep their class sizes lower.

Daggi16 Wed 19-Feb-14 14:53:34

I have a daughter in year 2 and my second daughter in reception at the Judith Kerr primary school. I love the school and the possibilities it offers for the children. The classes are and will stay 25 children per class. I personally don't care about the building outside because the school offers amazing inside spaces. It has an auditorium and a glass house on the roof. It's always a little chaotic with a start up, but the children are happy and they all already speak small sentences in German and seem overall very well adjusted to changing schools. As parents we feel we made the right choice, since I think the teachers in the school are worth their weight in gold - working incredibly hard for the well being of the children.

somanyschools Wed 19-Feb-14 15:15:43

Hi, is Judith kerr a bilingual school for german speaking children or an english school where children are taught german ? Or is it a bit of both ? I am confused ...

allyfe Thu 20-Feb-14 13:57:55

Both. It is a bilingual school, but speaking German on entry is not a requirement. So children who are monolingual on entry will become bilingual.

allyfe Thu 20-Feb-14 14:00:54

For parents with children who were monolingual on entry - have your children found it hard to integrate? I am considering sending my child to the Bromley Bilingual School (French/English), but am concerned because DD is quite sensitive, and a little overwhelmed in a totally new environment initially, and I'm concerned that she will feel alienated as a monolingual English speaker in a Bilingual environment initially, which will make it very hard to settle in. I just wondered if any other parents had already been through this at Judith Kerr? Thanks!

Snier75 Mon 03-Mar-14 21:35:15

I was wondering if anyone with children in the school had any more thoughts about how things are going now that the school has been open for almost two terms. I'm thinking of applying for a place for my son but we currently have an excellent local primary school nearby so I'm really torn. I'm German and my kids speak the language very well so I'm a bit worried they might get bored if there are lots of children who are totally new to the language. How do they provide for the different language abilities? It must be very difficult for the teachers. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Vertana Wed 16-Apr-14 12:09:31

Waiting impatiently for primary school admissions email... Have put Judith Kerr as first choice, but was wondering whether parents with children currently at the school were still happy with it despite the headteacher having left?
There isn't much info on the website about the change of leadership, and meeting the (old) head at the open day was one of the things that convinced me about the school. Would be grateful for any thoughts, as now not sure whether to accept even if we do get a place!

Gringologous Wed 16-Apr-14 13:34:35

I had exactly the same thoughts as Vertana (good luck with the admissions email by the way!). I would love to hear from anyone who knows why the current head is going.

Vertana Wed 16-Apr-14 14:09:16

I think she has gone already, possibly due to personal reasons - my concern is about the ethos of the school etc... I have every confidence they will appoint a good replacement, but I chose the school based on its leadership at the time, so would like to know more too!

And does anyone know when the email is supposed to come? I can't bear the suspense any longer!

Ollyo Wed 23-Apr-14 20:25:44

Hi Judith Kerr followers, we got a place, much to our surprise, and now have to decide whether to move down to Herne Hill from Dalston, which we love. We really want our children to be bilingual (my husband is German, I'm English) and up until now have taken it as a given that Judith Kerr primary school will do the job with the minimum of stress to our son (and us). But now, I'm wondering how easy that mission actually is to the school - they have to pass all the same key stages as normal UK schools, but how do they manage this when half the lessons are in German? Could we make it work just by attending a German saturday school once a week (there are two near us)? Any advice much appreciated, as I'm rather confused! Did Vertana and Grigologous get in?

theklam Thu 01-May-14 22:40:06

Ollyo, what did you decide re Judith Kerr?

We have a place for our monolingual daughter; keen to hear from others going into reception in Sept.

Vertana Tue 06-May-14 11:48:27

We didn't get in sad

Waiting to hear where we are on the waiting list.

Ollyo if I were you I would make the move, I think it will be worth it, and Herne Hill is a really lovely area to bring up children!

Vikingmum Mon 12-May-14 16:43:18

Hi, I have been interested in the Judith Kerr school too and went to an open day with the old head–who seemed brilliant and I thought she would be the main reason to send my (bilingual) kids there. But now not only did the head leave less than 6 months into the school, but also the German Curriculum Leader and Class 1 teacher have left the school after just two terms, which raises some serious questions! Without a (brilliant) German Curriculum Leader the school won't be able to deliver their main bilingual premise and provide for the different language abilities. It's a really tough task and the chances of finding someone who can do a great job of this seem slim. Allyfe, I don't know where you get that information about funding for bilingual children, but I have never heard of this (I work in education) and the school certainly never mentioned any extra funding and always maintained that they can keep the class size low because they all the administrative costs that LA schools have.

Vikingmum Mon 12-May-14 16:49:49

my last sentence should say: 'they can keep the class size low because they don't have all the administrative costs that LA schools have'.

Vertana Mon 19-May-14 20:23:55

Hi Viking - I wasn't aware about the German curriculum leader and Class 1 teachers leaving too. Do you have any information about what might have gone wrong?
We didn't get a place (we put it down as our first choice) but the more dealings I have with the school, and the more I hear about it, the less disappointed I am!

nlondondad Mon 19-May-14 22:28:36

I would be really concerned by their statement, if they made it, that they can keep class sizes low because "they don't have all the administrative costs that LA schools have"

Its a claim made by a number of proposers of Free Schools which seems to be based on a misunderstanding of how school finance works. In fact what happens is that administrative services that are performed for community schools by the LA are not carried out for Free Schools. So free Schools are given some extra money to pay for the cost of carrying out these services themselves. They do get a bit of extra flexibility, but they actually have GREATER administrative burdens than an LA school has. For example they have to administer their own payroll...

The "bureacracy" is legal and administrative responsibilities which Free Schools still have to take on.

So they may be finding that they have actually mis calculated on finances and its costing more to run the school than they thought.

straggle Mon 19-May-14 23:20:02

I read that it is run by CfBT, so they would be expecting to make use of those administrative costs. And they are already recruiting a new head teacher after a year or so - it all costs money.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 20-May-14 01:38:41

Does the 'keeping the class sizes low' part not run into problems with admissions and appeals anyway regardless of funding?

Whilst they may be able to keep the PAN lower and run classes of less than 30, that lower PAN automatically makes any appeal much easier to win than it would otherwise be. I doubt they could make a strong case for not being able to cope with 30 in a class since that is what many school are already doing, which leaves it fairly free for an appeals panel to admit 5 extra children.

I'd imagine that if the LA was short of places and they needed to admit children through the FAP for any reason then a school with less than 30 in a class might be the first place they look. Although I'm not sure whether free schools are treated the same as other schools with regards to FAP or whether they have a bit more freedom.

Vikingmum Sun 25-May-14 22:26:07

They did make that statement at their open day about class sizes, nlondondad. But I agree that this doesn't add up in the long run, as the administrative duties still need to be done and LA's being a massive machinery, who have done those duties for years, are probably a lot more efficient. With regards to admissions, I also find it quite strange that Ollyo all the way from Dalston got into the school..? Surely, if normal admissions process applies as it should (distance being a main factor after looked-after children and siblings), there is no way someone from that far away should get in if the school is oversubscribed? Vertana: I know that neither the head nor the German curriculum leader and class 1 teacher left for personal reasons: It had to do with the conflicts / disagreement of how the school is run and bilingual learning achieved.

Parkrunner1 Wed 28-May-14 17:28:07

Has anyone had any luck getting any information whatsoever on the Judith Kerr waiting list? Council says it's not been submitted to them. I spoke to the school three weeks ago and was told that all unsuccessful parents who'd put the school as their first choice would be receiving a letter the following week giving them info, but still not received anything. And now the school office is closed for half term.

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