st albans primary schools(19 Posts)
Hi all - hope someone can help
We are moving back to St Albans but now have 2 kids to boot and one needs to start school in September ... we've missed the deadline for applications so will be left with the schools that are not filled but despite reading league tables and ofsted reports I don't know what the word on the street - or rather at the school gates - is regarding which schools are the best ... anyone please care to enlighten me?!!! I've been looking at Fleetville, Oakwood, Aboyne ... to name but three
Any help would be much appreciated
I hate to say it but a lot of the primary schools in St Albans are really oversubscribed.
I would find out which schools are in the catchment of where you are hoping to live and then to contact them to see how long the waiting lists are. I know for a fact that Fleetville and Aboyne are very popular and I'm sure that's the case for Oakwood too.
Sorry not to be much help.
I've heard mixed things about Fleetville. I know a lovely lady with delightful middle of the academic road children who go there. It's busy, bustly and the Hub school of one of the Consortiums afaik. It's a very multicultural part of town (as you may recall) so that may be a plus or minus point depending on your view.
I also know a parent whose son was signiicantly bullied there.
My DP's daughter attended the Abbey school and does very well academically and socially. Fairly wealthy school I'd say but one which is also letting down her younger brother who is not academic and also has a speech problem which they have failed to address.
My DC are in one of the village schools - have you looked at those?
Almost all the schools in St Albans are excellent; my lovelies are at Fleetville Infant school which is fantastic (I wonder if the mention of bullying above is at Fleetville Juniors? Which said, I've never heard of any bullying at either school and they both have very caring cultures and anti-bullying policies). They also have lots of after school activities, a good breakfast club and after-school club.
I've friends with kids at Maple, Aboyne, Oakwood, Cunningham Hill and Camp all of whom are very happy with their choices. The advice about catchments is very wise; work out which schools are a possiblity based on where you want to live, then contact the schools directly.
some years ago i had dsc at fleetville infants - which was great, they and we were happy. then oldest moved up to the juniors and after a couple of years dh's x moved them both to camp school. this was due to the bullying at fleetville school - this was at least 7 years ago, so it may no longer be true.
camp is lovely, really small and very family like. BUT because it is so small it has its downsides too, mixed classes, eg yr 5 and yr 6 together (again, may not be true now). and it is very hard to go from very very tiny to huge secondary school ime. Also, there was a predominantly muslim intake at that time. Pluses and minuses in that, it did make for a great fun cultural mix and the most amazingly inventive christmas plays! Not sure I would have sent my dd there had we lived in catchment (we didnt live there)
As ours were leaving the school was still winning loads of awards and people were queueing up to come. Since then the Head has moved on. So as always things may not have stayed the same.
btw, I have always heard good things about Sandridge schools.
also, dont forget academic results are not the only thing to look at, pastoral care is far more important
Thanks all for your views ... I totally agree that the academic results are not the only priority. That's why your views from the field so to speak are so valuable as well. I've arranged to see a few schools next week as it seems that until the end of April, it is impossible to say where we may get in ... urgh!! It's so stressful!!
HobbG ... which 'village' schools do you suggest? We've even talked about moving to Berko instead if we can't get a place in St A that we like.
Having read up on other discussions M Wix seems to be a no-no? Any others we should reject out of sight even if offered?!!
I'd advise living on the north side of StA as that gives you the best choice at secondary too. Village schools are lovely BUT if you live in the villages, your chances of getting even a half-decent place at secondary then plummet. (Twas in the local papers again this month)
You almost certainly won't get a place in the city centre schools as they are now so full with siblings that even if you live very close to them you can no longer guarantee a place. My gut feeling is that you may get a place in one of the larger ones - Bernards Heath, Garden Fields, Wheatfields, Fleetville - all absolutely fab. MW I think is possibly the only school left in StA that may be avoided.
There was a whole thread about Berko schools a few weeks ago that may help if you're thinking of going there.
My DCs go to Garden Fields on the west side of St Albans. I've got no hesitation in recommending the school - it's been brilliant. My only caveat is that the head teacher is leaving at the end of this school year. Hopefully the replacement will be just as good but they'll have a tough act to follow.
I have experience (first hand) of Bernard's Heath and Sandridge and close friends had/have DC at Wheatfields. There has been a change of head at Bernard's Heath but still good I hear. I loved it when my DC went there but they don't have a combined Infants and Juniors.
Sandridge is considered good. There is a good community spirit but I see its cons as well as pros first hand and I wouldn't rave about it unabated even though my DC go there.
There are a couple of fabbo teachers there - really fab in their approach but I rate not just the academic side of things... and value empathetic and insightful teaching as well as good SATs results!
With this area...Sandridge/Wheathampsted you have Sandridgebury secondary which is excellent. And STAGs if all girls secondary ed is desirable to you.
I went to what was Berkhamsted Girls and love Berkhamsted, personally but my DC were never schooled there. It's a great place but I rather like the diversity of St Albans and also the rurality of my village on the doorstep of the City.
OK all - your comments were much appreciated all those months ago ... the dreaded deed has now been done and I feel thoroughly shafted ... despite all our best efforts we've been placed at Windermere. Please someone make me feel better about it!! Negative comments would be valued too but all I can say is "at least it's not M Wix!"
Anyone got a good thing to say>?
How did you get on with Windermere ?
We are moving to St Albans from London at the end of the month and Windermere is one of the schools that has a place available.
If anyone has anything to say about St John Fisher and/or Margaret Wix, all comments are gratefully received !
Has the new St Albans City Free school not got any places? I thought they had a few available, reception only at the moment but a fab school, superb facilities, dynamic head and very happy parents- I know several who didn't get their first choice or indeed any of their choices but are extremely happy their children are there now.
Oops, zombie thread, but might help unusual as mostly still relevant information
Myself, my husband and 3 year old son are moving to st albans in Nov, to the Marshalwick area. Being catholic, my preference would be to send my son to St John Fisher RC primary. Wheatfields is in the catchment too which is outstanding, Skyeswood is the closet to us, that,s meant to be a great little school too. I've looked at st John Fisher Ofsted report which is good, but was hoping for feedback from any mums out there in St Albans that can advise me which is known to be the better school. I can't find any reviews on St John Fisher at all.. Please help.x
I don't know what St John Fisher is like but I know you won't have a problem getting a place. After allocations were done this year there were still places available - I haven't heard bad things, I think it's simply because it's Catholic.
Wheatfields is a 3 form entry so no problems getting a place from Marshalswick. The outstanding grading is a very recent assessment if that makes a difference. Perfectly nice school.
Skyswood is 1 form entry and just lovely. Expecting an Ofsted at any minute I think! The last child in in the last couple of years has been living at around 400-550m iirc so you really need to be living very close to the school to get a place.
All 3 schools offer something different to your child, the faith aspect, then the very different sizes - I think it would be hard to say which is 'best' as such. It would depend in many ways on your child and what would suit him - if you are close enough to Skyswood you will genuinely have a choice of all 3 I would think. I know both Skyswood and Wheatfields get good results - I haven't looked at St John Fisher's outcomes. The Herts website is very good on the schools.
I hope all is well. It's been quite some time since your last post but I was wondering what you had decided at the end as I find myself in a fairly similar situation to yourself. Which school did you decide on from the three you were looking at ( as mentioned in your thread) and if so, is your little one enjoying it? What's the area like? Xx
I am joining this post as I am in a very similar situation, trying to make a move to St Albans for the schools as I have a 1 year old daughter and son on his way :-)
To be honest I am starting my research now (so I am clueless!) and, before asking specific questions on particular schools, I wanted to use as a starting point the Ofsted reports and the league tables but I am struggling to find those. Do you know any website I should look at?
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