Hi, This January I need to decide which of the three schools to choose for my son. Are there any parents out there with children currently at reception, grade one, two or three? Could you tell me the pros and cons of your school? I know that there are a few Haberdashers schools, but I'm after the Free School that is located at he top of the Telegraph Hill.
I have a child at EW. It's undergone a lot of change in the past 3 years - already a good school, it wasn't getting the results that it should have done. The new executive head made changes that led to quite a turnover of staff which must have been quite painful but it's come through it really well and as far as I can tell is a happy and productive school. Lots of extracurricular clubs, a lively curriculum, excellent relationships between staff and children. It's great for music (the Christmas and summer concerts have to be seen to be believed!) with a very inclusive and creative ethos. The school fair is on 6th December (I think from 12 till 3 but check) - worth going along to get a feeling for the school. A fabulous playground complete with chickens and a tree walk, as well as a very spacious site with lots of halls etc.
Friends with children at JS have been very happy with it. I get the feeling it has a greater focus on discipline (although they have lovely things like a school dog that the children take turns looking after!). It feels more densely packed in there as well but the new extension might alleviate that.
As for the free school, everyone I know with children there is pleased with it. Lots of people seem to choose it for the automatic admission to the secondary school - worth checking that this is a secondary you would want if that is the case (some people have said it doesn't suit every child). The head isn't a primary specialist and she started very tough but seems to be relaxing a bit - the school is obviously finding its feet. For us, the fact that there isn't an established school culture with traditions/older children to look up to etc makes it hard to compare to the more established schools. Still, there's something very tempting in its newness and the enthusiasm of everyone involved.
Ultimately I think all three are great options so I'd probably go on gut feel and trust that your child will be in good hands in any one of the three. If you live near Haberdashers anyway then apparently there will still be 60 odd places for the secondary after all the music places/feeder schools so it's likely that your child would get a place there even if they go to a different primary (especially as lots of local children will already have a place through the free school).