The John Fisher School, Purley

(82 Posts)
marsbar22 Fri 04-Feb-11 19:59:22

I wondered if any parents had experienced difficulties with the admissions process we found that the John Fisher School does not adhere to it's own admission policy. In the process of applying for a place for our son we discovered that a boy was given a place in Sept 2010 who was not baptised in the first year. By the school's policy this makes the boy a subcategory C when the school governors stated that the school was oversubscribed with subcategory A candidates. The school governors can and do make discretionary decisions based on appeals received from parents at admission rather than at the appeal process. The Governors obviously feel that their opinions matter more than the published criteria which is odd as they changed the admissions policy in an attempt to make it fairer!

Ladymuck Sat 05-Feb-11 14:52:43

Do you know for certain the date of baptism? Is it possible that the child was baptised as a result of Catechumen initiation?

To be honest if the governors have made a mistake in applying the criteria, then obviously any other candidate can make an appeal.

Yes, but as it wasn't me I'm not really comfortable about giving details (sorry!) Suffice to say, what I know tallies with your conclusion and caused a good friend a great deal of problems. Personally I wouldn't have had the patience or ability to deal with them, but I'm not Catholic and would have had no pressing desire for my DCs to attend.

Apart from that it's a very good school by all accounts.

marsbar22 Sat 05-Feb-11 21:40:52

I don't know the date of baptism but the Mum told me the circumstances of his application and how she managed to pull it off. I have challenged the school at appeal but they refuse to discuss another child's application and say they acted correctly in my son's case. As they set and administer their own admissions policy it is very difficult to get any clarity or honesty from the Governors, very disappointing in a Catholic school!

penelopewellingtonbowes Mon 05-Nov-12 14:28:32

MrsDmitriTippensKrushnic, it's not as bad as it used to be.

You should have tried getting your sons in during the 1990's selection policy.

Try being:
-your son being interviewed,
-prepping your son through a Catholic prep school in order so he could pass the religion test, with the deputy headmaster asking the questions!!
-Not to mention the application forms, written statements (by your son, talking about his interests and motivations for wanting to join the school)

So basically what I am saying is, getting your son into John Fisher thesedays is incredibly easy in comparison. You have never had it so easy!

John Fisher's selection policy was banned in September 1999.

penelopewellingtonbowes Mon 05-Nov-12 14:30:59

And I say bring back the selection policy as John Fisher was a wonderful alternative to Surrey independents such as Whitgift and Epsom College.

The fact that it was so popular, oversubscribed and highly-selective; made it one of the best state schools in England.

Bring back more selective schools like The John Fisher School.

penelopewellingtonbowes Mon 05-Nov-12 14:52:16

''John Fisher was a small highly selective school from January 1992 until September 1999. John Fisher no longer selects its boys but instead takes candidates using a religious observance points system; because of this boys come from all parts of London and SE England to attend. John Fisher does not operate a catchment area.''

confusedperson Mon 05-Nov-12 15:33:54

Few years ago John Fisher was accused by selecting candidates by postcode and dismissing single parents - this was investigated but not confirmed by the school. Judging from their intake (low SEN, low free meals) I wouldn't be surprised that they find their ways to select students, and by the way there is no surprise that children of pushy religious parents are more focused and do better in schools.

tiggytape Mon 05-Nov-12 16:13:10

They don't really need extra secret selection. In all honesty, the published admission criteria and religious requirements are so strict (and the number of applicants so high) that only those of very faithful or very determined families will get in.
If they had less applicants, people meeting their lower criteria would get a place and potentially even up the numbers a bit but, as it is, only those who meet the very rigorous requirements of the top criteria bands tend to get places because so many apply from all over who meet this criteria (early baptism and regular mass attendance over many years)

AngelEyes46 Mon 05-Nov-12 21:46:32

There can be very valid reasons as to why a baptism is late and it is in the governors interest to read every singly application and adjust where necessary. I feel for you marsbar as i am sure your reasons were real and in that way it is subjective. There is flexibility in baptism date (I know a number of boys that were baptised after a year and are currently at JF). Mars - are you happy with your current secondary school?

penelopewellingtonbowes Sun 11-Nov-12 14:48:15

I'd rather go through the points-system and complex admissions than the selection policy.

As a middle-class mother my son was fortunate enough to attend Catholic prep and in hindsight the selection policy was unfair; my sons got in but it was wrong.

chloe74 Sun 11-Nov-12 15:18:55

Is it not ridiculous to base entry into a school on when they were baptized? I know it goes on in religious schools but it seems so wrong.

AngelEyes46 Sun 11-Nov-12 20:26:27

What should be used though? The church schools take their admission policies from the code of canon law and canon 867 states:
"Parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptised within the first few weeks. As soon as possible after the birth, indeed even before it, they are to approach the parish priest to ask for the sacrament for their child, and to be themselves duly prepared for it"

I agree that it can be very unfair for people that for various reasons did not get their dc baptised 'early' enough but I'm not sure what criteria should be used!

chloe74 Mon 12-Nov-12 00:49:50

whilst I wont be sending my DC to a faith school I would suggest church attendance over several years would be a much fairer system. I know many parents go to church just for the school but it but its a lot harder to fake years of attendance than a quick baptism.

mathanxiety Mon 12-Nov-12 00:56:19

There can be all kinds of reasons for not baptising a baby within a few weeks of birth and it is very possible that there were acceptable reasons. They can't discuss someone else's private life with you and you will only get their backs up by telling them you know details you really shouldn't know about this child.

Monty27 Mon 12-Nov-12 01:06:08

Had church attendance, within easy commute etc, (2008 intake, just the year after the interview process). Very close to parish priest etc, had been for about 15 years at that point..... the downfall, ds dad had an affair and left us when ds was less than 2 yo. We were turned down because of the divorce. I challenged it so they put ds on 2nd of the waiting list. He never got in...

Oh, and don't ever go for St Joseph's on Beulah Hill. Just saying.

confusedperson Mon 12-Nov-12 12:57:52

Monty27, sorry to hear that! If it wasn't my DC education on stake, I would say this is very unfair and I would never choose a school like that.
Can I ask where your DS went in the end? And why St Joseph's is a no-no?

Monty27 Mon 12-Nov-12 13:50:33

He went to St J's. I wouldn't recommend it. Lots of bullying and teachers aren't communicative. Well, he was very unhappy there anyway and didn't do brilliantly. Have you looked at it? If you get a chance for JF take it, definitely.

confusedperson Mon 12-Nov-12 14:55:28

Thanks for sharing Monty27. St Joseph on paper does not look that bad, but if you say bullying.. then not good at all! Our option 1 is to move nearer JF (Wallington or Purley) and hope to get in (our DS1 was baptized at 14 months so not top criteria), while back-up would have to be Thomas More. Option 2 is move nearer Langley boys (Bromley) and forget about catholic secondary education. Hearing all those things about JF refusing single parents makes me very cross. But half of my DS’s primary tends to go to JF, so I cannot ignore that, too.

AngelEyes46 Mon 12-Nov-12 19:30:24

JF wouldn't be able to do that now (as all other secondary RC schools). Thomas more's progress was the best this year in Croydon and the head and SLT are very stable. Is Langley Park's main criteria distance and do you need to live very close to the school?

Monty27 Mon 12-Nov-12 22:48:51

Confused Langley Boys is brilliant. The catchment is tight, so check it as it gets tighter and tighter it's so highly in demand, and of course you pay a penalty for housing for that reason. Dd who is a couple of years older than ds, after a RC secondary school where she did really well at gcse level, but wanted a change.... yyyyy boys 6th form etc, I trusted her judgement, she went to Langley Boys for 6th form and did well and is now at Uni. She thoroughly enjoyed it too. I've never come across one of her friends that I didn't think was wonderful. But St J's? Nooooooo. Don't do it. But then I was single and working full time and he probably didn't have the support that a 'functional' family could have afforded iyswim. sad

AngelEyes46 Mon 12-Nov-12 23:06:11

Confused - I have just remembered my friend's dd is currently at Langley Boys - she came from a RC secondary (it's not Monty's DD though - my friend only has one DD). The reason she went to Langley was because she wanted to do law and the secondary she was at didn't do it. She is really happy there although she did do very well in her GCSE's.

confusedperson Tue 13-Nov-12 09:32:33

Monty, Angel, thanks. JF would be a risky option due to delayed baptism, as I said, although we had various reasons to delay which may or may not be enough to move us to the top category. But most of his friends will go there. Moving to Langleys catchment would be a more “certain” option, and it appeals to me as they seem to have quite supportive SEN division (JF have very low SEN). DS1 is not SEN but I he seems on the edge of “normal” and perhaps he could benefit from SEN support. He is at the RC primary with very low SEN number and coping more or less OK. If we move to Langley catchment, we would have to swap our house for a flat, but I can accept that compromise.

penelopewellingtonbowes Wed 14-Nov-12 17:37:13

Friends of ours who sent their boy to Whitgift and girl to Worth complain all the time about the Fisher selection policy; it wasn't right, but basically ensured 700 Catholic boys were exclusively educated along selective lines for free.

If you look at the 1998 intake there were nearly 8 applications for every place, more than independents and grammars. And who can blame the school for it's really stringent points-system thesedays? It's the only way for John Fisher to remain an exclusive Catholic school without selecting its boys.

Or should we turn it into a bog standard comprehensive like St Joseph's (Beulah Hill) or Thomas More?


Monty27 Wed 14-Nov-12 21:59:21

St Joseph's is catholic selective, or was when I did the secondary school stuff. I thought Thomas More is/was too.

And to be honest, I brought my dc's up in a catholic religion because it was my upbringing (not in this country) and it was what I chose for them too (intending for them to chose their own paths in life when they were ready), I did not know the minefield that was the education system in this country. Boy was I shocked. But luckily I fitted the criteria based on 'catholicity' but for John Fisher, sadly not on marital status (by that stage). sad

AngelEyes46 Wed 14-Nov-12 22:13:24

That's a shame Monty that you/your dcs were not happy. It wouldn't be allowed now about taking your marital status into account. St Jo's is in the main catholic selective although they do admit 10% on academic ability. Thomas More ask for RC but if under subscribed will take those that are not. I don't know if i agree with PWB (as I'm not sure if she's agreeing with selection through faith). Maybe St Jo's has got it right (partially) in that there should be a percentage of non-catholic DCs admitted. I don't think that should be through academic ability though but maybe distance?

Monty27 Wed 14-Nov-12 22:18:02

Hi Angel, I don't think Thomas More's is ever undersubscribed though (if its the same one I'm thinking of).

Dd was very happy at her girl only rc secondary school (and then went to non rc 6th form), ds hated every minute at St J's. He's now at non rc 6th form and happy.

Hth smile

penelopewellingtonbowes Sat 17-Nov-12 20:20:50

AngelEyes what I'm agreeing is with John Fisher interviewing and examining candidates so as to weed out the bad apples.

AngelEyes46 Mon 19-Nov-12 20:58:45

Oh dear pwb - i think your comment could put the cat among the pigeons! Are you saying that Monty's family is a bad apple as that's the very reason her ds did not get in due to her being a single mother. I totally agree with faith schools (although I know a lot of mnetrs don't) but I can't condone selection based on family circumstances. JF was wrong to not admit her ds due to her not being married and they weren't the only school to do this either. Coloma asked for marriage certificate but the bible stated that divorce can be allowed.

penelopewellingtonbowes Tue 20-Nov-12 09:48:40

Look AngelEyes, the reason Fisher used to be nicknamed 'Catholic Grammar' and known as the best catholic boys school in Surrey was because it was highly selective and results consistently high.

I think we are naieve to think JF would have simply given up its reputation at the end of the selection policy.

Most of the boys who are currently studying at John Fisher come from middle-class backgrounds; some are even sent there as an alternative to Whitgift and Epsom College. This was most certainly the case during the early-late 1990's when the selection policy was still in effect.

I am not saying divorce is a class thing; that would be ridiculous, I am merely saying most boys come from stable, middle-high income homes.

penelopewellingtonbowes Wed 21-Nov-12 11:53:17

It's also worth mentioning...during the 1990's selection policy the JFA (the charitable body which does lots of JF's funding) provided a number of scholarships and travel bursaries for children from lower-income families living many miles from the school.

I knew a family who's boy travelled all the way from the outskirts of Tonbridge (Kent) into Purley; maybe a door to door journey of 1hr 45minutes, he was given a bursary for travel.

The John Fisher Association (JFA) continues to do lots of good work for the school.

John Fisher is not such a middle-class bastion as a lot of you seem to assume.
When Fisher was an Independent (Public School) it actually educated a number of it's boys for free!

Monty27 Wed 21-Nov-12 16:31:54

Yes Angel I think that's probably exactly what PWB means, we weren't accepted because we were considered to be 'bad apples'. sad

We fitted all other criteria.

AngelEyes46 Thu 22-Nov-12 21:32:25

I hope PWB isn't Monty. As I said before, there is a place for faith schools but they shouldn't abuse their selection process. My DH is not catholic and it is my role to ensure that they attend mass and take the sacraments. They are just as catholic as any other child that has two practicing parents. I would love to believe that you're wrong Monty about not being accepted due to you being divorced but fear not. PWB appears to be condoning the 'old' form of selection which is unfair and not at all christian.

Monty27 Fri 23-Nov-12 00:49:34

Angel, it was exactly that. Rules changed and they sent me out further forms saying they had had to changed their selection criteria (can't remember the beauractratic stuff the form said at the time, they had been pulled or something) so I filled it in, was assured we were on the waiting list... I phoned shortly after, my ds was 2nd on the waiting list as the school was full by then of course. He never got in. It was his downfall in life at the time.

He's ok ish now at a non rc 6th form, following the nightmare that was St. J's. God I was working full time and head spinning, wish I could have done more for him. But... we're just bad apples eh?

confusedperson Fri 23-Nov-12 18:05:54

Monty, I do no think you are "bad apples" but I understand where Catholics come from. Divorce is not allowed. You better be married to a cheating atheist, but married. I don't think is right.
I think that the current JF admission policy is fair on paper but it still doesn't get to me how they manage to get students mostly from affluent families, and Thomas More gets students from the same areas but not affluent - it is a mystery to me!

AngelEyes46 Sun 25-Nov-12 10:51:33

And I don't think you're a bad apple either Monty. I don't know if that's true re: JF's students Confused - they are very varied. What they do have is a very strict code of conduct and still that 'grammar' school feeling. All boys have to play rugby for example - we have to sign up for that on the onset and participate as a parent. Thomas More has done unbelievably well these last couple of years - I think it's a school to look out for. But, understandably, noone wants their dcs to be the guinea pigs in the interim. PWB's - I think your ds may have left full time education now as the school is quite different from what you are describing.

Monty27 Sun 25-Nov-12 23:22:53

Thanks Confused and Angel, it really wasn't my fault that he went off the rails. Still he did, and I divorced him.

It still stays with those schools though, and I am not envious of people who have that perfect life that I thought our family had and would always have. I still break my heart about it. But exh' ds has suffered for it... (not so much as dd for some reason, just different gender/personalities etc).

Sorry not a pity party, just pointing out how wrong it was and is. We'll get there.

Good luck and hope you all get the best for you and your dc's.

avoid St.J's like the plague though smile

penelopewellingtonbowes Tue 27-Nov-12 11:27:00

Hi AngelEyes,

Yes the school is much more inclusive now; I think something like 15% of the school's students are now black or other ethnic minorities-it accepts boys from lower income homes. It is obviously completely non-selective these days (since 1999/2000).

My boy left in the early 2000's as the first boys were coming in that were not selected.

I have lots of friends from the early-late 1990's and maintain some links with the school; I must say I am impressed that since the end of the selection policy the school seems to be doing very well indeed.

camilamoran Tue 27-Nov-12 11:31:39

You do know that 'black and ethnic minority' and 'lower income' are not the same thing.

Monty27 Tue 27-Nov-12 20:30:27


AngelEyes46 Tue 27-Nov-12 20:52:41

I thinks PWB is playing with us - she cannot believe what she is writing. I believe she is looking for a reaction!

penelopewellingtonbowes Mon 03-Dec-12 15:57:54


I am not playing with anybody! And yes of course BME & low-income are not the same thing.

I am making a number of observations; a) the school is one of the best Catholic schools in London and Surrey in spite of ending its selection policy, b) John Fisher is very elitist (still) now that it operates a selection policy and finally c) the school still seems to be an alternative to Croydon and Surrey Indies (whitgift and royal russell).

This forum has a flavour of anti-selection sentiment. That I have picked up on.

penelopewellingtonbowes Mon 03-Dec-12 15:59:29

sorry I meant to say ''now that it operates a points system''


Ladymuck Mon 03-Dec-12 19:35:35

John Fisher isn't seen as elitist in its policy, given how close it is to the Sutton grammars who do select on the basis of 11+ exams, and are in far more demand. You're either Catholic enough to get in, or you're not, but that is the criteria these days: thankfully not a points system, but simply a question of when the child is baptised, and how frequently the family attends mass. One of the local CofE comps does operate a points system including points for whether the child attends alone, or points for significant parental involvement in church etc.

Monty27 Mon 03-Dec-12 22:14:24

Yes PWB and me and my dc's were genuine catholics angry

What was I going to do with a dh who slept with someone else? Stay with him?

confusedperson Tue 04-Dec-12 16:30:57

Monty this could go on and on smile I do understand your frustration.
I need an advice. I presume I can prove to JF the reasons for late DS's baptism and get him into JF - great, as majority of his primary classmates will go there.
But DS has sort of Aspergers traits (undiagnosed), I feel he is a bit struggling with social side of things -putting aside religious aspect, perhaps Langleys for Boys with their Autistic Spectrum Unit would be better?
I need to finally decide which side of Croydon to move too. confused

penelopewellingtonbowes Wed 05-Dec-12 15:38:33


May I ask why you are so in favour of a less stringent London Oratory and John Fisher? Why you objected to these Catholic schools recruiting boys from all over the country? And finally for the selection policies and interview processes?

And presumably you were against boys who joined these schools in the 1990's/2000's based on musical or academic aptitude also?

Is it any wonder that Croydon has so much negativity surrounding it's educational insitutions, when we want to reduce outstanding schools like John Fisher and Coloma to the likes of the bog standard comps?

Ladymuck Wed 05-Dec-12 17:20:40

My children are in selective schools, and one of them commutes to a school in another county by train, so I'm hardly anti-selectionhmm or even pro-"attending the nearest school". I'm merely pointing out that the JF admission policy (which does seem to change frequently!) is not how you may remember it. It is a comprehensive Catholic single sex school, still in high demand. However it is in the same London borough as 3 very high performing boys grammar schools with entirely selective intakes (from all over the country), so there is no great surprise in that it loses some of the very brightest RC boys to those schools. John Fisher has been fully comprehensive for the last 12 or more years. Other than on the rugby field grin I'm not sure that it has been seen as an alternative to Whitgift or Trinity for some time.

Schools with a point based system generate more hoops for parents to jump through and therefore potentially are choosing those families who persist in hoop jumping. Have a look at Coloma's old policy for comparison.

confusedperson Wed 05-Dec-12 18:57:40

Does anyone knows any recent boys admitted to JF from Bromley borough or Croydon/Bromley border? I am trying to work out my chances...

AngelEyes46 Wed 05-Dec-12 21:37:30

I know there were boys who got in from Addiscombe. I also know boys who live in Dulwich and Esher who didn't get in. I don't know if you are able to work out your distance in comparison to these areas. My friend is a governor there and works on the admission panel. They follow the criteria very closely and look at valid reasons as to why baptism was late. I know I've said in other posts about late baptism and the governors are very sympathetic. I know a boy in my boys' year who was late due to waiting for family to come over from New Zealand - he was only 14 days over the year though. I also know another boy (currently in year 7) who was over the allotted time due to his mum being ill. I'm not sure what you should do re: langley boys or JF. What do you feel is best for your DS? What type of feeling did you get when visiting?

confusedperson Wed 05-Dec-12 21:53:02

Thanks Angel. The distance I am talking about is 5 miles. I know that 4.5 miles got in. JF travel policy mentions Bromley and further counties, but it was written in 2007. I am not so worried about late baptism because we had many serious reasons and I should be able to prove it. I am trying to satisfy a wolf and a sheep and move into Langley catchment but possibly have a chance for JF too. My boy has not visited yet. Both schools are different but good. I think I will just ring JF tomorrow and ask instead of agonising on MN!!

Ladymuck Wed 05-Dec-12 22:54:27

They'll possibly be cagey, but they should have the data. If not then you can visit the Sutton Council offices and see the maps that they have used for each year, which should should the initial allocation of places, and then subsequent allocations (eg if people opted for private schools).

penelopewellingtonbowes Thu 06-Dec-12 10:49:14

Yeah I can see where we are all getting a little confused here and I really have not helped matters!!!

Basically, John Fisher was one of England's most selective Catholic schools for 8/9 years in the 1990's/2000's whereby it only accepted boys for music places, a small number of academic places and the vast majority on religious places (your boy had to take a religion test and both parents and boy were interviewed regarding their interests, commitment to the school, ethos, homework etc). You could only apply to John Fisher as your first choice and not any Sutton Grammars. Only 100 or so boys were admitted each year to John Fisher having passed a) an entrance interview b) a religion or aptitude test and c) had written applications and previous school reports reviewed anc check with the head of your prep or primary school. John Fisher was hugely oversubscribed and because of the selection tools, families from 10-20 miles out could and would apply for places at John Fisher.

Now I think the conversation we are having today is about a very different school, less elitist, more inclusive, less academic perhaps?

Everything Ladymuck has said is ringing true with those contacts I still have in Purley and Wallington who are tending to send their boys to Whitgift over John Fisher as they miss the selection policy and see less middle (and sorry about this) posh families with boys at the school.

mummytime Thu 06-Dec-12 11:25:10

Penelope - most of those selection criteria are illegal nowadays, so I would say things have changed a lot. (No interviews, no exams except 11+ for Grammar or banding tests, equal preference system etc. etc.)
The admissions criteria is given in this web page which also includes an example of why they might on the judgement of the governors treat a child baptised after 1 year of age as the equivalent of one baptised before 1 year.

ercroydonmum Thu 06-Dec-12 12:47:58


just seen your posts on another page in regards to JF.

FYI plenty of DS's friends passed the JF interview and tests in 1993, but he didn't. Fact was John Fisher was so selective and oversubscribed that it made Croydon school admissions a headache for everybody, especially parents like me and DS's father who shelled out nearly 30 grand in fees at Laleham Lea to get him into Fisher at that time. Unsuccessfully! [fanger]

You had clever boys who had a chance at getting into one of the Grammars in Sutton, North London or Bromley whos parents were forced to choose between JF and say Wilsons, moreover JF which was a very small school of 600/700 boys until 2000 was taking only a fraction of its boys from Purley and Croydon, many more were coming from Surrey and Sussex prep-schools so parents and boys from outside Croydon were benefiting from a great, selective Catholic education at the expense of Croydonians like us! envy

Would like to add that we can't blame Laleham Lea for our failure to get a place at JF, he ended up at Worth and came back to JF for 6th form and is doing very well for himself. LL is meant to be a great school and alongside Fisher interview prep and mock tests, it prepares boys and girls well for 11+ and Common Entrance.

Not bitter honest! wink

misscorkingdaleoftheshire Thu 06-Dec-12 17:40:41


I can't believe what I am reading! Can't you see the hypocrisy in what you are saying?

My husband and I took advantage of Coloma and John Fisher in the 1990's when we could just as easily have sent (at least in my DS's case) my boy to RGS Guildford or any number of Independent schools. The selection policy was very attractive for us as a means to avoid paying huge fees and yet give our kids a good chance of winning a place at a good uni.

I hold my hands up and admit what we did was opportunistic, but I defy anyone on here to say they would not do the same.

So for you to then complain about John Fisher (back then) because you had to spend 60 grand in fees at Worth is the height of hypocrisy. Did you not think that you were denying somebody's kid from getting a good education when you could afford the fees for any number of schools?

And what a surprise that you PWB, Ladymuck and the others won't send your kids to JF now that it no longer operates selection?

The hypocrisy is staggering.

penelopewellingtonbowes Thu 06-Dec-12 17:47:27

If anybody is a hypocrite its you -misscorkingdale- for 'owning up' to all this is some bizarre mea culpa.

Parents who could afford fees for Indies at the time were (OF COURSE!) on the look out for good state schools, run along selective lines as it meant free edcuation for DDs and DSs!

You are living in a fantasy world if you think parents of Fisher boys at the time were not looking for the Indies alongside state alternatives.

I will admit not wanting to send my grandson to Fisher is hypocritical; as my only motivation for not doing so is to do with the loss of exclusivety the school has suffered to its reputation since the end of selection.


Monty27 Thu 06-Dec-12 23:26:38

Good Lord!

confusedperson Fri 07-Dec-12 09:42:50

This thread is getting somehow stinky.. sad

AngelEyes46 Tue 11-Dec-12 18:09:30

To get back to what confused is asking - I am very happy with JF for my boys. I'm sure it is more diverse than in the day of selection but that can only be good. Langley boys - I don't know of anyone that has gone there from year 7 but have only heard through the grapevine very good reports. I think you must go with your gut feeling Confused as to what is the best for your DS.

confusedperson Thu 13-Dec-12 11:48:38

Thanks AngelEyes46. Although I would like a catholic option, I cannot risk to move nearer JF and not to get in because of DS’s >1 year baptism, even though I think we have very credible reasons for the delay. Also Langleys has ASD unit and it may be better equipped to deal with SN if any. And the best property I can afford lies on Croydon/Bromley border, so I guess the choice is pretty clear…

Going non-catholic will not prevent us from going to church though. I am hoping that DS will be able to maintain his friendships from the primary through church and living nearby (i guess we will be just about 0.5m away from JF “catchment” i.e. proximity of boys accepted to JF).

ercroydonmum Thu 13-Dec-12 16:41:38


We agree on John Fisher more than we disagree-we both wanted a Fisher education for our sons. I am just guessing here but you seem to be one of the large (as am I) number of middle-class parents who sent their boys post-prep school to JF.

No right thinking parents having shelled out fees for 3-7 years at Cumnor House, Laleham Lea or elsewhere would have sent their child to any secondary school other than John Fisher (Croydon, Surrey) or The Oratory (Fulham) as it would have been a waste of fees (by sending them to a bog standard comp) or to one of the independents (Whitgift, Trinity or Royal Russell) as a comparative education was received at John Fisher/Oratory.

I don't think you can accuse me of attempting to fee-dodge (if that is what you are implying) having tried to get my son into Fisher in the 90's. Just because some parents can afford prep-school fees, tutoring or coaching/interview prep should not prevent them from applying to schools like John Fisher or other selective schools like the Sutton Grammars now or London Oratory then. Besides how would you enforce that system?confused

If we are being completely honest with ourselves, John Fisher in the 1990's and London Oratory until 2005/06 provided a highly-selective educational environment for well-behaved, middle-class boys to flourish, choristers to received outstanding education in the state sector, music places for the gifted and some ability places. Eloquent parents were vetted to ensure they were of the right stuff for Fisher and everybody was happy. sad

It's just a real shame now that so many boys wont have the chance to be selected for places at John Fisher or London Oratory- or similar schools. Yes there was a large prep-school cohort but many boys came from good state primaries also. [fhappy]

DoesntTurkeyNSproutSoupDragOn Thu 13-Dec-12 17:31:56

Good lord - what a load of appalling snobbishness there is on this thread.

ercroydonmum Thu 13-Dec-12 20:30:00

What is the problem DoesntTurkeyNSproutSoupDragOn?

misscorkingdaleoftheshire Thu 13-Dec-12 20:39:40

I have a problem with some of the comments being attributed to Laleham Lea by some posters- not naming anyone in particular.

Laleham Lea prepared our boys well for Fisher's religion test, exam places, interview and the music department was particularly strong for music and scholarship.

Laleham Lea (alongside prepping boys for entrance to John Fisher) also prepared boys well for Common Entrance and 11+ at other schools.

AngelEyes46 Thu 13-Dec-12 21:19:55

My dcs attend now so I can't comment much on what happened in the 90's although my dn went to JF late 90s and my brother in the 80s. My concern with some of the posts is that JF is (and was) a RC school and such should be about faith rather than selecting based on tests/interview etc. The comment:
"John Fisher in the 1990's and London Oratory until 2005/06 provided a highly-selective educational environment for well-behaved, middle-class boys to flourish" doesn't seem to support this but instead supports families that are in a position to 'play' the system. It would be interesting to know if these boys/families still attend mass and contribute to the catholic ethos now they have left JF!

confusedperson Thu 13-Dec-12 21:28:35

Ah very good question AngelEyes46

confusedperson Thu 13-Dec-12 21:30:04

AngelEyes46 is JF very, very sporty nowadays? My DS is not that good at group games (nor he is good at music) and that is another of my worries (although I have almost decided against JF for other reasons).

AngelEyes46 Thu 13-Dec-12 21:48:49

It's very rugby orientated - particularly in year 7. My boys are in year 9 now and one of them doesn't play rugby at all but does football, swimming and badminton. The other still does the rugby but due to the emphasis on the game is not allowed to play the other sports. Year 7 & 8 - it's rugby all the way though. I didn't like it in year 7 as it was all about - what team are you in? a, b,c,d,e etc. What I do like about JF is the pastoral care is very good and there is this inclusive feel due to the catholic/christian ethos.

ercroydonmum Tue 18-Dec-12 19:35:18

I would be really interested to learn the thoughts of any John Fisher parents who voted for the school to become selective in Summer of 1991, and their feelings about the end of the selection policy in 1999/2000.

Did anyone on here vote 'Yes' for selection?

surreydadcoolest Mon 14-Jan-13 14:04:09

I was in one of the first 100 boys accepted during the selection policy and let me tell you it was tough to get in. 2 interviews, religion exam, school reports and written statements.

You were going up against prep schoolers from across the road and boys from Kent and Sussex and all over London.

cazzieob Tue 15-Jan-13 21:42:01

Does anyone know the furthest distance a pupil was accepted to the school?

surreydadcoolest Wed 16-Jan-13 10:15:09

Like I said during the selection policy I was going to school with boys from Edenbridge, Bromley, Sevenoaks (All in Kent) Caterham, Lingfield, Dorking (Surrey) and the boys coming from furthest away would have been those from Crawley in East Sussex (A long way but good train connections into Purley).

These days (as the school cannot test, interview etc and cream-off some of the boys that went to the London Grammars and Surrey Indies) I expect the majority of boys come from Croydon and surrounding boroughs.

I think the days of boys travelling 1-2 hours to get into highly selective Catholic schools are not that attractive to parents any more. I think the only school of this type is possibly the Oratory in West London which selects boys and parents with interviews, just like John Fisher used to.

AngelEyes46 Thu 17-Jan-13 22:56:10

I'm not sure if the Oratory is allowed to select via interview but their admission policy is so strict they only get the most 'catholic' boys. My boys probably wouldn't have got in as there is a paragraph on marriage and I didn't marry in a RC church due to my DH being married before. I like the idea that my boys are only a mile away from their school and that all their friends are local.

surreydadcoolest Sat 19-Jan-13 11:23:25

I have to be honest AngelEyes, there were very few boys from around Peaks Hill, Purley etc during the selection policy- most were coming from far and wide. You have to remember that the school had a reputation for selectivity, high standards, sports, music etc and it would only accept first choice applicants. So it was attractive for parents who saw it as an independent school in all but name (apart from small donations asked of parents each year).

Mind you results are still pretty good, and the school still gets the odd boy into Oxbridge, Durham and UCL each year.

ercroydonmum Tue 29-Jan-13 20:04:51

John Fisher was very picky about who it chose for admission. You had to put it as number 1 on your list of preferences ahead of any Grammars or the oratery.

Boys who were there in 1994 were interviewed by 2 of the senior members of staff, as were their parents. JF was consistently in the top 3-400 schools nationally but has dropped away somewhat now as it is no longer selecting its boys, which in fairness is probably a good thing. some of the things the staff used to ask in the interviews about homework, interests, hobbies and the assessment criteria were too much akin to a selective independent school.

AngelEyes46 Wed 30-Jan-13 22:56:46

ercroydon - definitely agree - JF has joined the real world

marsbar22 Thu 07-Aug-14 19:47:51

I have just revisited this after a long gap and am surprised at the views it unleashed. We were not successful at appeal and despite contacting the Catholic Education Council had no success in getting JF to fess up on their 'error' in observing their own selection policy. So ds went to St Andrews in Leatherhead which has turned out to be a fantastic school for him and I can only say that maybe someone was on our side all the time!

bromleymumselfemployed Sat 09-Aug-14 14:11:26

Is this the school in Purley, Surrey? I know it used to interview parents and boys from around here (Bromley/Beckenham) and it was very difficult to get in.

meadowquark Fri 15-Aug-14 14:05:04

marsbar lucky story of yours! Would you give some insight if your DS attended one of St Andrews' feeder primaries, or was accepted from somewhere else? (just to give me a hope really!)

marsbar22 Tue 19-Aug-14 17:11:55

Ds went to St Annes in Banstead which is a feeder school. At the time he started St Andrews there wasn't the competition to get in that there is now the school is outstanding. Of his year group only a handful went to St Andrews whereas I think that last year a great deal more children selected it as a first preference. I am a bit out of practice with admissions policies but I would imagine that church attendance would be important, you could check their website or call for details. Good luck.

donthateonreig8te Sun 14-Sep-14 10:26:59

marsbar, in recent years St Andrews has earned a great reputation. smile

DS was at St Jo's Reigate and left there for John Fisher in 97, back then it was possible for boys to get in from all the way down here. At the time we knew of parents who's DS's got into JF who lived even further away in Dorking, Horsham and Cranleigh. I remember DS telling me at the time that one boy even took the train from Haywards Heath in West Sussex.

There was a selection policy in place that meant we had to be interviewed, and DS's school reports and SATs scores were also looked at. In the interview we were asked about our jobs, commitment to RC faith, and aspirations for DS. DS was quizzed on RC faith and had to sit a short written test which the deputy head then quizzed him on, he was also asked about his commitment to homework and extracurricular activities.

A large number of boys now go onto St Bede's, a co-ed Catholic school in Redhill, I'm not sure it would be possible for boys to get into JF from here since the ban on selection came in.

If you want a middle class selective RC option (some clearly do!!!!) have you considered St George's Weybridge? wink

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