Help! In a dilemma about whether to accept place at Wwest London Free school Primary - new free school

(85 Posts)
Firstgold Sun 21-Apr-13 21:45:15

We're struggling to decide whether to take up a place offered at West London FS Primary for DS this September or whether to scrimp and save and just about afford private school.

Concerns are the obvious ones - brand new school (albeit with close links to the West London Free School secondary); unknown quantity in the young headmistress (who isn't meeting any parents until they accept the offer of a place); teaching staff still in the process of being recruited etc etc. We can't even visit the school as it currently houses the secondary and they don't want visitors; DS would be one of 60 reception children and his year group would always be the top of the school (no one to look up to etc as it is filling up year by year from reception each September).

So it would be a big leap of faith. But it could be brilliant and help us save for private secondary school which we'd ideally like to do.

If we go the private route and see how WLFSP works out, and apply for DD in a couple of years, suspect we wouldn't get a place due to sibling policy and probably ever decreasing catchment area...

freetrait Sun 21-Apr-13 22:02:02

No other option? I take it you didn't apply for any other state primaries? I think I would take the place, then if it's no good swap to private/other school after a term or something.

christinarossetti Sun 21-Apr-13 22:10:37

I would be very wary of a school with a head that refused to meet prospective parents, especially a brand new one.

So arrogant.

Firstgold Sun 21-Apr-13 22:25:38

We did apply for other state schools but this is the one we got into.

DS happy at current nursery (which is nursery which leads automatically to the private prep school).

One minute I feel really positive and the next, I feel nervous as hell about an untested school where I can't meet anyone (although can speak on the phone to the head which I don't think is as god as face to face). If we pull out of the private school now, think we might have burnt our bridges as it is oversubscribed freetrait. If money were no object, we would keep D S where he is I think.

christinarossetti Sun 21-Apr-13 22:37:30

Sounds like it rides on whether you can afford 2 children in private school?

darl2283 Mon 22-Apr-13 09:10:37

Seems strange that the Head will not meet new parents until they accept their places. As a headteacher with a vast experience of setting up new schools one of the first thing I do is to hold meetings with prospective parents to 'sell' myself as a school leader and my vision for the school as well as answer their questions and respond to concerns.
This is a great opportunity for your family to be part of a new school community. Your child will not suffer from being the oldest in the school in fact it is a benefit as they get much earlier chances to take on roles and responsibilities that are usually reserved for the older children. In my experience they are always a very special year group and they feel this too which has a positive impact their self confidence.
Obviously I have no idea how the head will want to play it but I think it is important to work in partnership with parents, listen to and try and act on their feedback when it is possible and appropriate so that they can have a say in some of the important decisions along the way. It is a hugely exciting to be part of a new set up. I would urge you to go for it.

Firstgold Mon 22-Apr-13 09:44:44

Thanks for your v helpful post. Really interesting to hear that you think it is a positive for the first class to be top dog. There will be 60 children (2 forms) starting in September.

I think my biggest fear is the leap into the unknown - not having met the teachers recruited or the headmistress and the school being unproven (although WLFS provides something of a blueprint). It also takes our son a while to warm up in a new environment although he is pretty self-sufficient, likes learning etc. - could he be overlooked in a big class where they're putting in place new systems, writing the curriculum etc.?

On the other hand, the private school is tried and tested and good - happy, dynamic, good commitment to sport (a miracle for a London school) but expensive....and potentially would put us as a family under a lot of pressure, rule out trying for a third child etc.

Interestingly, we've had v strong gut instinct about the schools we've visited - ruling out certain private and state schools. Here, with WLFSP, I think it is fear of the unknown holding us back

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 22-Apr-13 09:50:31

I think the fact she won't meet you should tell you a lot about the leadership and the school! I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole, tbh.

darl2283 Mon 22-Apr-13 10:01:50

Glad I was of help FirstGold.
Your child will get LOADS of attention - probably more than in the vast majority of schools in the country. Don't forget he will effectively be in a school of only 60 children for his first year!
They must have a Governing body or Free School equivalent. Can you not contact whoever is the Chair and let them know how very, very important it is for prospective parents to meet the headteacher? They might be able to use their influence. Just a thought.

mrsshackleton Mon 22-Apr-13 10:14:20

It's a no brainer to accept imo. So much is riding on the success of the wlfs, it won't be allowed to fail. You can move to private at any time, save the money and enjoy.

Theas18 Mon 22-Apr-13 10:32:54

Accept the place. See it. Change to private when/if you want.

Agree it's " no brainer" as Mrsshakleton said. This school wont be allowed to fail.

MajaBiene Mon 22-Apr-13 10:37:24

Is this the school where the Head doesn't actually have a teaching qualification?

Firstgold Mon 22-Apr-13 10:42:50

I don't know MajaBiene - how would I find out?

notfluffy Mon 22-Apr-13 10:52:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrsshackleton Mon 22-Apr-13 11:04:42

And if "just about" affording private is an issue, I'd def hold out - I have one dc at private, one at state. The fees go up exponentially, it's scary.

ReallyTired England Mon 22-Apr-13 22:17:11

What an awful position to be in. If a headteacher will not meet a prospective pupil how will they behave if your child had a problem in the school.

Are you on continuing interest waiting lists for other state primaries? You can always accept the place and go on to the waiting lists for a school you want.

Firstgold Tue 23-Apr-13 09:46:08

I felt so positive about it all yesterday..but then got an email back overnight from the headmistress saying she wouldn't meet and we needed to work out where our son will settle best, be happiest etc. The problem is (stating the obvious) we know VERY LITTLE INDEED about the WLFSP - no idea about the teachers she's recruited (there is nothing on the website), can't visit the school premises, can't meet her..

Private would be a HUGE stretch but at least it is a known quantity..

Getting cold feet.

Firstgold Tue 23-Apr-13 09:46:58

So how are we meant to judge where our son will be happiest if we don't know anything about WLFSP??

Weegiemum Argentina Tue 23-Apr-13 09:58:49

As a teacher, I'd not trust a school you couldn't visit and not get a meeting with the head. Given that at he moment there are no pupil issues for her to deal with (thought here will be a vast array of admin involved in the launch), she should at least have time for a meeting with interested parents.

Our dd1 (our eldest) had to move school in primary 2 (due to a house move of a couple of hundred miles). We visited at the end of term in the summer when the school was very busy with events, assemblies, trips, but were given a full hour by the head and deputy, including (not possible for you, of course) a chance to meet the teacher and pupils in her class for the following year, a tour and lots of biscuits! All before we decided to take the place (though due to the specialist status of the school we were pretty sure). Ds and dd2 now both go to he same school, dd1 is in S1 in their secondary dept, and still best of friends with the 3 girls allocated to her on that visit! It's a state school but with a specialist language provision.

I'd be very wary if I were you!

nlondondad Tue 23-Apr-13 10:19:21

Having seen Toby Young's performance on the BBC London News last night, I would say avoid any primary school he had a significant role in. He was saying that nurseries were allowing too much play and not providing "sufficiently structured instruction" ...(!)

christinarossetti Tue 23-Apr-13 10:48:56

The head 'won't meet' prospective parents?


How arrogant and un-child-centred.

Wow, this is a difficult decision if your only other option is 'stretching' to private.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 23-Apr-13 10:52:03

I was shown round three primary schools on ordinary working days just on spec when dd1 was 4.... the head must be either stupid or arrogant if she won't even meet you, and it does suggest a certain lack of empathy with the needs and values of the parents of new starters!

People keep saying 'if it's shit you can just go private later', but it's not really as simple as that, is it?

freetrait Tue 23-Apr-13 12:07:31

I think you have valid concerns and I would be tempted to e mail her again and push her. At least ask for her "mission statement" or something so you can get an idea of her attitude.

Perhaps she can't meet you just due to numbers of parents wanting this, although you'd think she could set up one or two meetings in say the hall at the Secondary school to talk to prospective parents. If she were professional then she should be able to talk about the school as far as she knows, even if there are gaps (I expect there are huge gaps at the moment and this is another reason for not wanting to meet, if everything was organised why not tell everyone?).

I agree, difficult to accept a place at unknown quantity, but perhaps demand is such that she is in this position.

Itspardonnotwhat Tue 23-Apr-13 14:29:22

Not the same school but we're considering a new primary currently being built which will be run by a local secondary academy. The current head will be head of both the schools. They've held two meetings for parents considering sending children to the primary school plus she personally answers emails promptly. I have reservations about sending my child to a brand new school - which is largely based around the fear of the unknown - but I can't fault the communication from the secondary school. I'm also clutching on to the fact, as other posters have said, that new schools such as these will not be allowed to fail.

So whilst we can't visit the school yet, we have met the head and there are plans for parents to meet the class teachers once they are appointed. I don't think I could even consider it if we hadn't had a meeting with the head. I find it bizarre that they are putting you in such a position, you can't be the only parent put off by the position she is taking?!?

derektheladyhamster Tue 23-Apr-13 14:34:25

Can you accept the place, meet the teachers/head and then withdraw before term starts if you don't like it and send your ds to the private school? Not something I would usually advise, but the situation seems quite strange

Firstgold Tue 23-Apr-13 14:37:11

Not sure we could to be honest. The private school wouldn't take us back because its so oversubscribed.

I've been offered a call now with the head (although it isn't the same as a meeting, however brief).

mummytime Belgium Tue 23-Apr-13 14:40:46

Is your son on the waiting list for any other state schools?

lalalonglegs Tue 23-Apr-13 14:51:19

Rather than take a phone call - which is a meaningless concession on the HT's part and will give you very little information - I would press for a group meeting with all prospective parents so that you can ask questions, meet the key staff and get a feel for their outlook. I'm afraid the HT's attitude would ring serious alarm bells but, as many others have said, the school will not be allowed to fail so it's more likely to be a personality clash than a problem with the school itself.

Dickwhittington Tue 23-Apr-13 15:06:46

Darl I'm curious when you say vast what do you mean , how many schools have you set up? How big were they? (not an attack I'm just wondering what constitutes vast and amazed at the number of new schools!!) I'm also wondering whether when you are selling yourself as a school leader you tell the parents you will be moving on.
We have been interested in a couple of schools because of the heads only to find them on the move so I think it is a difficult area for parents.

The attitude of the head is worrying TBH even if it wasn't the head showing you round someone should, I agree about it not being allowed to fail but it is not all about 'failure' at primary level though is it?

irisblue Wed 24-Apr-13 13:19:34

Hi Firstgold,

I'm not sure if I can help as I would have the same doubts as you. Although, I think you should probably try it and if it's not right look for a place at a private school. Circumstances change, places open up - I'm sure you could find a place somewhere.

As a matter of interest. Can I ask how far away from WLFS are you? We're in W12 and hoping to apply for entry next September. A friend who applied this year didn't get in, so I'm wondering if, like John Betts, it's a teeny tiny catchment area?

Thank you

irisblue Wed 24-Apr-13 13:20:03

Hi Firstgold,

I'm not sure if I can help as I would have the same doubts as you. Although, I think you should probably try it and if it's not right look for a place at a private school. Circumstances change, places open up - I'm sure you could find a place somewhere.

As a matter of interest. Can I ask how far away from WLFS are you? We're in W12 and hoping to apply for entry next September. A friend who applied this year didn't get in, so I'm wondering if, like John Betts, it's a teeny tiny catchment area?

Thank you

sanam2010 Wed 24-Apr-13 13:27:10

Irisblue, the widest distance this yeat was 0.62m this year I hear but I would expect it to shrink massively from now on due to siblings.

OP - it's a no-brainer, esp if private school fees are a stretch you should accept! Although you'll make some family very happy if you decline!!

The school will be good because it will be filled with children whose parents and teachers care about their education and set high standards!!

mam29 Wed 24-Apr-13 13:28:16

does the school have awebsite or even built yet?

as I just found academy opening september this year its not build, cant find admissions or website for it yet.

irisblue Wed 24-Apr-13 13:37:09

Crap. That's us out then.

I really don't understand why they had to build a new primary in Brackenbury where there are already two amazing primary schools. Why not Shepherds Bush/Acton where school places are desperately needed...but that's a whole new rant and not going to help OP!

I'd go for it and back out in a year or so if it's not right...

lborolass Wed 24-Apr-13 13:40:29

Sanam - I'm not sure that you're right about the school being full of children whose parents care. OP's posts read as if she didn't put this school as first choice (sorry if I've got that wrong) which doesn't suggest it's oversubscribed. I don't know the area though, would every parent in the 0.6m catchment radius have the same standards?

I'm not sure what I'd do in your position OP, on balance I think I'd give the free school a go and reveiw after a year.

Farewelltoarms Wed 24-Apr-13 14:51:48

Sanam do you work for the school? 'The school will be good because it will be filled with children whose parents and teachers care about their education and set high standards!!' sounds like part of an advertorial, complete with jaunty exclamation marks.
I just googled it out of interest. This uniform list:
is interesting. Do they ensure all parents are those that 'care about education' by insisting on uniform only available from one outfitter and costing at least double what, for instance, my daughters' gingham dresses from John Lewis cost?

Farewelltoarms Wed 24-Apr-13 14:52:07
Firstgold Wed 24-Apr-13 15:22:53

No further forward in our decision ... but thanks for the posts, they've been helpful.

We didn't put it as our first choice - because it wasn't an established school to be honest. And we don't live that close - we're north of Ravenscourt Park, off the Goldhawk Road but west of Askew Road.

I'm concerned that the head won't meet and that she thinks it is enough to go on info on the website and prospectus. ANYONE can say ANYTHING in a prospectus/on a website, and the reality can be quite different. Wish I knew other people who'd had offers so I could mull it over with them.

The other consideration we have is that we both work full time (I'm in the office from 8.30am until at least 6.30pm every day) so won't be at the school gates etc. to hold teachers to account and monitor what is going on....

lalalonglegs Wed 24-Apr-13 15:58:59

How about posting on your local section of MN and seeing if there are any parents in similar position wrt WLFSP or on Chat which gets a lot of traffic? It might also be worth seeing if there are any - for lack of a better phrase - yummy mummy websites local to your area (my area has a couple) on which you can also post and find like minded prospective parents. Good luck - the HT sounds a twat.

ReallyTired England Wed 24-Apr-13 16:06:09

I didn't think was legal for a state primary school to insist on logo'ed uniform or uniform from an expensive supplier. School uniform is completely unenforcable at primary.

sanam2010 Wed 24-Apr-13 16:06:52

Farewelltoarms, no I don't work for the school but i live in H&F and would
Love to send my kids there and know many parents who would - unfortunately we're too far away.

The reason I believe what I wrote before is that a) it's a new school so only those who care enough to read about new schools opening would have put it down as their choice (so this assumes some minimal lvl of interest), plus generally when a school says "we have very high academic standards" it attracts some parents and scares away some others. I went to a similar school to WLFS where i come from and even though it was non-selective, just by obliging children to take Latin till A-Level it selected parents who value a traditional education.

I find there is a lot of Toby Young and WLFS trashing on mumsnet but check the admissions statistics and a lot of parents in H&F would LOVE to send their kids there.

darl2283 Wed 24-Apr-13 16:18:57

In 30 years of my teaching career I have worked in four new schools: as a teacher (3 form entry primary school), a deputy head (two form entry primary school)and the last two as head teacher (two form entry primary school and three form entry primary school). I stayed at my previous school until the first cohort of children were moving on to the next stage of their education and the school had been deemed 'oustanding' by Ofsted. As you can see I have not exactly been a 'fly by night' and have stayed at schools for a good amount of time before moving on. I hope that this pedigree entitles me to make a very informed comment on new schools and their set up!

freetrait Wed 24-Apr-13 19:48:25

I had a quick look at the website out of interest. It looks like it is selling itself as "a prep school that you don't have to pay for". If you were going down that route (ie a prep school that you do have to pay for) then I should think you will be very happy with the school.

christinarossetti Wed 24-Apr-13 20:07:43

As an aside, this is the aspect of Toby Young that I like least.

Putting deliberate barriers up to some sectors of the community (school jumper for £19 and calling terms 'Michaelmas') whilst his school rakes in £££££ of public money.

Sorry, that doesn't help you OP but it really gets up my nose.

tethersend Wed 24-Apr-13 20:26:21

They will be using the former site of Cambridge school, where the secondary is currently I believe? Correct me if I'm wrong.

I haven't seen inside it since it was Cambridge school, but even then it was fit for purpose- I can only imagine that they have made improvements since then.

As to the head's attitude, I am a bit hmm, but it seems as if she realises people want to get their kids in and she can be as stand-offish as she likes. That would concern me.

freetrait Wed 24-Apr-13 20:33:18

Yes, why should uniform be costly at a state school? Why should you have to buy boys trousers from the school shop? And I agree, what's wrong with Autumn, Spring and Summer?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 24-Apr-13 21:52:25

That uniform list is ludicrous and pretentious. Why, for example, no trousers for little girls? Prep without the price tag, clearly.

musu Wed 24-Apr-13 22:03:51

So the uniform shop is the same one that supplies Eton College. For a state primary? hmm

You have to buy trousers from the school shop to ensure they are all the same colour grey. Ds's prep didn't even insist on that so everyone bought them from M&S.

ReallyTired England Wed 24-Apr-13 22:07:51

It would be interesting to see if a parent challenges the stupid uniform or what happens if a child with a disablity is given a place at the school.

Elibean Wed 24-Apr-13 22:57:39

Why won't the head meet prospective parents? confused

All other heads do. If it's to do with sheer volume, then hold large meetings/open days!

mrsshackleton Thu 25-Apr-13 09:55:19

The head has held open days, the places have been allocated. I imagine she takes the view prospective parents have already seen the place. Not saying she's right, but there have been chances to visit the school. OP, I would send this thread to Toby Young and see what his response is.

Firstgold Thu 25-Apr-13 10:57:35

To my knowledge, there have been 2 open days held back in November...All v scripted. Things will have moved on immensely since then I imagine - they've recruited the 2 reception teachers etc.

We've had strong feelings about the schools we've visited - both private and state and so taking a view about a school that doesn't exist yet feels particularly scary, especially when you can't meet the head face to face.

Elibean Thu 25-Apr-13 11:33:31

I needed more than 'seeing the place' to select dd's primary. I needed to meet the Head, talk, ask questions, see kids interacting, talk to kids...I didn't get that at all the schools I looked at, but I chose one where I did!

christinarossetti Thu 25-Apr-13 13:04:12

Absolutely, firstgold, the November meetings would have been the 'action' version of the glossy brochure. It's how six months down the line, staff in place etc.

In fact, I withdraw my previous comment about the over-priced uniform and unnecessary pretentious language being my main objection to TY. My main objection is that he's a journalist, knows next to nothing about education and is being given £££££££millions for his own little middle class experiment.

CecilyP Thu 25-Apr-13 16:27:37

Just because the HT held open days in the autumn for prospective parents, does that really preclude her from holding another for parents who have actually been offered places? There must be a few others who didn't attend in the autumn, especially those who, like OP, had it as a reserve choice. Can she really be too busy if she is currently running a school with no children?

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 26-Apr-13 18:19:11

Hello. We've been contacted by the folks at West London Free School and they've asked us to post up this statement from the headteacher:

"I saw this thread and thought I'd try and answer a few of the questions parents and educators have raised about the West London Free School Primary. I'm the headmistress, Natalie de Silva.

"In order to reach as many prospective parents as possible in our community, we held two open evenings in November and scheduled two sessions on each evening, so as many parents as possible could attend. Our intention was that visitors could hear about the vision and proposed operation of the school from Toby Young and me, and then have a tour of the school.

"After each talk, a number of prospective parents stayed behind to ask further questions, which we did our best to answer. At the open evenings, we offered visitors a prospectus, which has information about our strategic and operational vision for the school, and this is also on our website.

"Several hundred prospective parents attended these sessions and we've had 396 applications for places at the school this year, making it the most over-subscribed primary in the borough. Due to the level of interest, we decided it would be impossible for me to meet every single prospective parent face-to-face ? and if I only met some it would be unfair on those I hadn?t met and could lead to accusations of covert selection. However, I have spent considerable time speaking to nearly every one of the parents we've made offers to on the telephone and answered hundreds of emails with queries specific to individual parents and their children.

"While I haven't been able to meet with the originator of this thread, I spent the best part of an hour with her on the phone, helping her weigh up the differences between a private and state education as best I could. This isn't typically something headteachers are expected to offer advice about.

"This June, I've arranged an induction day for our new intake of 60 pupils and parents, so they can get to know one another and meet the teachers. I will also be holding individual meetings with the 60 families who have decided to take up places with us. I have appointed some fantastic teachers and will make them known to parents when all safeguarding procedures have been completed - DBS checks and the like.

"At the West London Free School Primary, we are absolutely committed to protecting all our pupils. For those who are interested in our approach to pupils with disabilities, I would invite them to look at our Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Policy.

"At the West London Free School Primary, we are offering a rich, knowledge-based curriculum, which we expect will encourage social cohesion rather than fragmentation.

"We spent a lot of time researching school uniform offers from a variety of different suppliers and comparing their prices with those charged by major retailers. We made it a priority to source a good quality uniform that will be smart and durable, and which is available at a fair price and offers good value for money. School uniforms have to take a great deal of wear and tear and we want to make sure that the uniform will look as smart at the end of the year as the beginning.

"We conducted a rigorous competitive tendering process, comparing service and value for money. The supplier we finally chose is the same as that of our secondary school, where, incidentally, 29% of the Year 7s are on free school meals. So we're not worried that the uniform - or our commitment to a knowledge-based curriculum - will put off families with low incomes.

"I hope this answers most of your questions and concerns."

FriskyBivalves Fri 26-Apr-13 18:26:25

Is it really possible that the reply from the head contains a terrible grammatical error in the first paragraph? "Try and explain...". From a head teacher of a new primary school. I'm not the grammar police, but come on.

FriskyBivalves Fri 26-Apr-13 18:27:43

Actually, she said, "try and answer" (can't copy and paste from phone) but it amounts to the same mistake.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 26-Apr-13 18:30:03

And you don't think, Ms da Silva, that thirty six quid just for two of the items which can only be bought from the uniform shop, and of which most children will probably need two anyway, might be a deterrent?

Also, why must girls wear skirts and dresses at your school? That's not the case anywhere else I've ever heard of.

Piffpaffpoff Fri 26-Apr-13 18:36:49

Frisky grin

Fulhamup Fri 26-Apr-13 18:43:35

Firstgold, do you know how lucky you are? I don't have a single offer for a primary place for my DS and I'm not alone in Hammersmith and Fulham. I was one of the 396 parents who applied to the WLFS Primary having been to the open day. Miss de Silva makes completely reasonable points and has the courage to go public unlike the rest of us who can hide behind anonymity.

And other thing, complaining about the cost of a decent uniform - seriously? Uniform is worn day after day after day.

lborolass Fri 26-Apr-13 18:53:39

I don't live in London and realise that the school allocation system might be different to my local one but I don't understand how the OP got into the school. They had nearly 400 applications and she didn't put it as first choice - how would that work? Don't they allocate to first choice children first?

If the uniform costs quoted here are correct I do think they are high - my childrens uniforms wore very well and lasted for more than one child and each item cost under £10.

infamouspoo Fri 26-Apr-13 19:11:58

Isnt Toby Young the idiot who called ramps for disabled children in schools 'ghastly political correctedness'. I'd avoid anything he was involved in like the plague.

mummytime Belgium Fri 26-Apr-13 19:15:13

Lborolass if you are in England then the same allocation system applies. Schools cannot discriminate by where on your appilication form you put a school, they draw up a list ranking all applicants by their selection criteria, then the top people who are not eligible for a place at any of the applicant's higher placed schools are offered a place.

The Uniform does sound over priced, and surely they must allow trousers for girls, if only with skirts as well? Or it would be discrimination on religious grounds. Admittedly my DCs infant school got around this by saying girls were allowed to wear the same trousers as boys.

yorkshirebound Sat 27-Apr-13 08:25:12

We got a place at west London free school but sadly are moving and won't be able to take it up. Hope that someone here on the wait list will get it!

muminlondon Sat 27-Apr-13 13:13:54

shock infamouspoo

I'd never heard that before. So I had to google it.

'Inclusive. It’s one of those ghastly, politically correct words that have survived the demise of New Labour. Schools have got to be “inclusive” these days. That means wheelchair ramps, the complete works of Alice Walker in the school library (though no Mark Twain) and a Special Educational Needs Department that can cope with everything from Dyslexia to Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.'

I am actually really shocked by that.

igves Sat 27-Apr-13 13:39:27


We have just accepted a place at the WLFSP for our child. I too am finding it hard to step into the unknown. Our other child is at an established local primary which we really like. We applied to WLFSP because we wanted to have the option of the WLFS secondary for our eldest and the sibling rule was very attractive.

My thoughts are that we will try the WLFSP and see how it goes. If we do not like it we will transfer to one of the other local primaries - mid year transfers tend to be easier than reception entry. For example at the primary school our other child is at there have been vacancies in Y1 and Y2. WLFSP will probably be great but its not like you are stuck there forever if it does not suit you.

I hope that is helpful. PM me if you want to speak further.

Also, to Iris who was asking about catchment distances this year, we are quite a distance away so I think it might be a larger catchment than 0.62 miles but I have not measured quite how far we are.

adeucalione Sat 27-Apr-13 13:40:04

He does attempt to explain it muminlondon :

Some people have misunderstood this paragraph. I'm using "inclusive" in the broad sense to mean a dumbed down, one-size-fits-all curriculum, rather than the narrow sense of providing equal access to mainstream education for people with disabilities. I've absolutely nothing against inclusion in that sense. Rather, what I'm against is the way in which opponents of education reform often invoke the low intelligence of some (non-SEN) children as a reason not to introduce more intellectual rigour into a national curriculum that's meant to be fully inclusive. That's the context in which I use the word "troglodyte". It's supposed to conjure up the fictional, cave-dwelling creatures from the movie One Million Years BC – someone whom it's plainly ridiculous to try and tailor the national curriculum for. It's not supposed to be a synonym for a child with SEN. Indeed, a moment's reflection should make this clear. After all, I'm trying to point up the absurdity of Harman's position and if I had intended "troglodyte" to mean "children with SEN" then Harman's position would seem sympathetic rather than absurd

muminlondon Sat 27-Apr-13 14:08:00


That's not context, that's post-publication self-justification because so many people were offended by his remarks. Not even a proper apology to those he offended directly. The original article is here:

infamouspoo Sat 27-Apr-13 15:02:08

I guess the proof is in the pudding. Does the WLFS offer a full education for disabled children and full inclusion? I wouldnt want my kids at a school where this doesnt happen.

Elibean Sat 27-Apr-13 15:16:59

Neither would I. We chose a local primary for (amongst other things) wonderful inclusion, as opposed to a local indie for it's crappy attitude to any SEN.

Am curious to know what proof TY's pudding has, does anyone know?

muminlondon Sat 27-Apr-13 16:02:45

No results, no Ofsted yet. I read that it had 31% of children on FSM. That's apparently the Hammersmith and Fulham average - but would include faith schools such as the Oratory, Lady Margaret, Sacred Heart which take children from other boroughs (the nearest comprehensives are 70% FSM).

sanam2010 Mon 13-May-13 07:43:33

Firstgold, what did you decide?

ame297 Tue 14-May-13 01:55:34

We have also accepted a place for our son at the WLFSP and will be attending the meeting on Wednesday - so may get to meet some of you then!

We live 0.52 miles south, just off the Fulham Palace Road. Was anyone here offered a place on a second round offer? I am curious to know how many places were offered in the second round!

I too have concerns over it being a new school, however I am confident that it will succeed and I'm very much looking forward to getting involved.

BewitchedBefuzzledBewildered Tue 04-Mar-14 11:44:48

I thought I would reanimate this thread. How are people finding the WLFPS?

MacMac123 Tue 04-Mar-14 23:43:32

Take the place and feel grateful for it. Of course she can't meet you, anyone local will know there is SO much interest in the school it would be farcical for her to meet parents at this stage, even only the parents who have been offered places. For a start, she's got a school to set up and like the school says, they held their open evenings. Futures years will be different for school tours and meeting the head I'm sure but this is the first year.

I'm sorry but if you got a place you must be aware of the competitor you beat. That's like winning a prize in the lottery then agonising over whether you should have played.

BambooBear13 Sun 09-Mar-14 18:25:46

I really don't understand why all these free schools insist on heavily branded uniform? I feel for the poor girls wearing those hideous pinafores. I am thankful that our amazing school has a liberal uniform code and my daughter is allowed to wear practical trousers in the winter !!!

sassytheFIRST Sun 09-Mar-14 18:31:25

The uniform issue is blatantly to keep the riff raff out.

One of our local private schools is converting from September. It's in the middle of the most ethnically diverse parts of the town, and one of the most deprived areas. They are keeping their uniform (average cost at reception, £300). That'll keep the nasties from applying!

And my taxes are going to fund it. I think this is awful. I hope the whole thing falls on its arse.

BambooBear13 Sun 09-Mar-14 20:35:44

Emperors new clothes. We will have a fancy uniform and look like a prep school and people will think we are for free ... It's probably a lovely school but I just don't get it: are people so easily fooled?

reup Mon 10-Mar-14 21:07:01

A friends child attends the oratory and it cost almost £400 for the uniform, you have to make a special appointment at the outfitters. The trousers have special embroidery on them!

DalmationDots Tue 11-Mar-14 10:23:24

I would raise your concerns with the WLFS, tell them about you feeling in the dark and while you love the concept and feel it could be perfect, you need to meet the head and come and see the building etc.
If they still say no, then leave it and stick with the private.

Is the private likely to have places for Year 1 or is it heavily oversubscribed?

DalmationDots Tue 11-Mar-14 10:29:44

Oops just seen the school's reply, ignore my comments.

Abra1d Tue 11-Mar-14 10:34:48

OP, did you really have an hour on the phone with the head? And you still feel you haven't been given enough time? Or have I misunderstood.

As for 'holding teachers to account' at the school gates, that may not build great relationships with teachers in any sector.

BewitchedBefuzzledBewildered Wed 16-Apr-14 22:38:58

I fail to see how the uniform for the WLFSP can cost anywhere near £400

MrsLittle Thu 17-Apr-14 21:50:18

This thread is slightly misleading. We visited WLFS and were also told that the head was not meeting individually with prospective parents. The reason stated was that there were three open evenings where parents could meet and chat with the teachers, head, governors and Toby (the god) himself. I was also able to email the head and received a reply within 24 hours. All of the Primary schools I contacted in Hammersmith weren't able to give an individual meeting with the head due to the sheer quantity of parents applying. I can totally understand why they would want to give priority to the existing students in the school. heads are very busy people!
Having said that, I wasn't impressed at the open evening. We were given conflicting information and it was totally unclear how the school would be operating with a shared space with the secondary. I couldn't see how exactly my four year old would be kept separate from the Year 9 students when they were sharing the same building and lunch hall. I was also not impressed with the availability of open space, which is an issue if you are interested in sport. The head and teachers were very vague about how often they would be using the park nearby. We visited after half term and the current reception class had yet to use the park. I was also disturbed by the fact that the children have assigned desks when every other school we visited used carpet time with no desk work. We ended up putting it down as our fall-back and thankfully got our second choice. Only you know what is right, but don't buy into all the "it won't be allowed to fail rhetoric".

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