The John Fisher School, Purley(82 Posts)
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!
marsbar, in recent years St Andrews has earned a great reputation.
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?
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.
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!)
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.
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!
ercroydon - definitely agree - JF has joined the real world
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.
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.
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.
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.
Does anyone know the furthest distance a pupil was accepted to the school?
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.
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?
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.
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).
Ah very good question AngelEyes46
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!
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.
What is the problem DoesntTurkeyNSproutSoupDragOn?
Good lord - what a load of appalling snobbishness there is on this thread.
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?
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.
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]
Thanks AngelEyes46. Although I would like a catholic option, I cannot risk to move nearer JF and not to get in because of DSs >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).
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.
This thread is getting somehow stinky..
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