Lady Margaret School, Parsons Green(21 Posts)
Majurormi, not sure where you get your info from but this is what the council publishes:
Allocation of places
Looked after children: 1
Musical aptitude: 12
Nearest by straight line: 50, last offer distance 0.509 miles.
Within 3 mile radius: 33, random ballot allocation.
Within 3-5 mile radius: 17, random ballot allocation
Lady Margaret School
Foundation band 1: 1.4518 miles Foundation band 2: 2.0267 miles Foundation band 3: 3.6874 miles Open band 1: 0.6643 miles
Open band 2: 0.7182 miles
Open band 3: 0.5978 miles
Plus as you mention distances will be larger even bc of waiting lists as quite a few of these pupils will end up in the private sector.
So there is a considerable overlap of catchment areas for many places.
Academic parents sending their children to WLFS will not bring them down as the catchment area for WLFS is already quite small and Fulham Palace Rd is not in it except at maybe at the far north end. ful palace rd is also out of the catchment area for LMS although many get in due to wait list spots.
I second that the girls seem well behaved but many local state school teachers have told me that there is a discipline (drinking drugs) issue at the school and the school is not dealing with it appropriately.
Just adding a comment on the behaviour part as this seems to be the main concern. I don't have DCs there but i live very close and see the LMS every day on the streets, in the supermarket, on the green, on the bus etc.. They all seem lovely and well behaved, so just as an outsider really looked like a very nice group of girls. I know it's not as informative as a parent's view, but I though I might add it. Academically I have no concern about sending my daughters there, it's the single-sex education I have a problem with, so if I can I would prefer the West london free school.
This last aspect might actually bring down standards at LMS going forward, it could be that very academic families around the fulham palace road area will prefer to send their kids to WLFS in the future.
We have found LMS to be a bit of a disappointment. I believe it rides on its past success and now seems to be caught up in reality - i.e. budget cuts and forced to have a broader intake. The school is forced to expand, but hasn't quite figured out how to cope with a larger group of girls coming up through the school. My daughter doesn't feel that she's being challenged enough nor is she encouraged to look beyond the curriculum. HOWEVER - it is still a good school with a traditional feel. There are some very good teachers. It does have a nice atmosphere and my daughter has made wonderful friends. But you should not be under the impression that you are getting an independent-level education for free.
Be careful of the last point, don't include that as a basis for your decision. The Officer for Fair Access is coming round to quotas based on the school's performance, irrespective of whether private or state. University's fair access arrangements have worked on this basis for years. The advantage is likely to be given to those pupils in poorly performing schools, and Lady Margaret is not a poorly performing school by any stretch of the imagination.
My girls both go there (year 7 and 9). Both were offered places at 2 or 3 competitive independent SW london girls schools for year 7 (Putney High, Wimbledon High, Latymer, Emanuel). We are both professionals and were concerned about what our girls would miss out on if we didnt pay to send them to secondary school. After much deliberation we decided that our family life and holidays and opportunities would be better balances without paying school fees. Many families at LMS are local Fulham and putney families who have made that same decision but as a result get right behind the school and its fund raising.
So after 3 years in the LMS community I can honestly say the only thing my girls really miss out on is the significant amount of regular sport on offer at independent schools as part of the cirriculum. LMS has sports clubs so if you have a sporty daughter (as one of ours is) you just have to make sure that she joins everything on offer (clubs for netabll rowing hockey badminton gymnastics cricket). Academically, they are both in the top set (out of 4 or 5) and are generally challenged at school, and more so in year 9.
Behaviourally I have never met a girl from LMS I did not think was well mannered and well spoken. Every event i have been to at the school the behaviour of the girls is wonderful. The Head is tough on any inkling of bad behaviour inclduing how they wear their uniform (dip dying of hair is still banned!). Trips (activities weeks in Spain France and Germany as well as Cornwall) and the music and drama and art on offer are superb. In short you will get a good education targeted at your daughters ability level, with a great sense of local community and parental commitment. And arguably a better chance of getting into a top university if your daughter is bright as more universities move to quotas from state schools. Good luck with your decision making.
I know three girls at this school. One is not very academic, the other two are. I would describe all as rather middle class (professional and affluent parents). They are lovely girls, in fact one who was a pain a couple of years ago seems to have undergone a personality transplant! ALL the girls seem very happy there, their parents seem happy to.
I just read the concerns of moreworriedbytheminute
I have just got a place for my daughter inYear 8 on the waitlist. She is currently in a very academic private school where she is not doing so well (mostly due to bad organisation and laziness).
I am seriously thinking of changing her even though she is happy emotionally with the current school.
I would be most interested to hear why you are not happy with the school
moreworriedbytheminute, what year is your daughter in? I have always held LMS up as the holy grail of schools to get into and my daughter has her exam there this Friday. You've now got me worried! I heard there were a couple of years when the admissions policy changed and there are 2 year groups with ahem not such good behaviour as the school was used to..... that these year groups are now progressing through the school, and will soon be gone. Does that make sense? If you had to make your choice again would you still send your daughter there? My daughter is diligent, a kind nice girl, but no great shakes academically.......
I thought about replying when you first posted. From a family with a daughter there right now I think you have made the right decision.
Thank you for all of your comments.
It has been a really tough decision but after a lot of soul searching and a visit to the building society, we have decided that our daughter will follow the boys into the independent sector. We had always hoped dd would go to Lady Margaret and six or seven years ago I think we wouldn't have hesitated to accept the place but six or seven years ago I'm pretty sure dd would have got a place in the first round. A lot of the posts seem to refer to that time too.
Admission changes over the last ten years should make it easier for local girls to be offered places. LMS remains a sound choice for most parents, but it may be possible other schools have been steadily improving too.
Their value added score while respectable is the lowest one reported in their borough:
Were you told the reason for the comment "it is not as good as it used to be"?
hi my DD is in year 7 and i have known friends girls that have gone through the school and i have found no problems with behaviour in the school, any problems are dealt with quickly and the school has high expectations of the levels of behaviour. The school has been a joy and if you have the chance for your DD to attend i would say go for it but if you have any doubts then give the place up as their are hundreds of other girls that would love it
DD had some good friends there (now all in first year 6th form) who loved the school. A primary Head Teacher once gave me some very good advice about picking secondary schools. Provided the school is a safe environment, would your DC be happy there? If so, then they will do well. This Head Teacher had Lady Margarets on the list of schools to target as it was in the same area (even though the girls were a different denomination).
Hmmm... tough one. I think of it as having a great reputation and didn't realise that had changed, but I don't live in London anymore so that doesn't really help you. Are you prepared to say what your indie alternative is? (I understand if you're not). Another important consideration of course is, what does she want?
On balance, I'd be tempted to send her. I know the main entry point for the London day schools is 11 but changes at other stages are not entirely unheard of, so the decision would not be irreversible.
If your friend's daughter is only in year 7, she can't really compare behaviour with that of previous years. I can imagine the behaviour of some of the louder teenagers might be a bit surprising to a rather sheltered 11 year-old.
Staff turnover could be for a number of reasons - retirement, female teachers marrying or moving with their husband's jobs, staff finding living costs in that part of London too expensive. This is something you could ring the school and ask about. I guess you could ask about behaviour too if you approach it tactfully.
I don't want to sway your decision but you sound as if your family would find it a real relief not to have to find school fees.
Cecily P has touched on what's worrying me. The broader ability range doesn't particularly worry me but I have heard that the changes to admissions have meant that there are now some problems with behaviour. I too have a friend with a daughter in Y7 and have heard that some of the behaviour is really awful and the school has done very little to resolve it. My friend has not complained but tells me that others have and the response from the school is that there aren't any problems. She has also said that she has been pleased academically and that most of the staff are delightful but I know she has real reservations about the direction the school seems to be taking. Also, I have heard that a few of the very long standing and well respected staff are leaving at the end of this year and wonder if they are just retiring or if they have had enough because of the changes. I know it's the best school in South West London, non fee paying, but am just a bit concerned that it's trading on its reputation and it might be a big mistake. Is there anyone around who has daughters there now who can provide any insight.
Recent changes in admissions policy may mean that it takes a slightly different, or wider, ability range than in previous years. But it is still the same school, same teachers, same ethos, so I would reiterate Kensingtonia's advice to 'go for it!'
I will reply to this as no-one else has! I know a girl in the current year 7 and she is very happy there and has lots of friends. She is not a terribly academic girl but seems to be doing well. I also know a lady who is one of the instrumental teachers and she thinks the school is wonderful.
Personally I would have been happy for a daughter to go there and based on personal experience of past struggles with private school fees, I would go for it! I know loads of people who would love to be in your position it still has the reputation as one of the best schools in west London.
Need some really quick info to help decide whether to accept a place. Already accepted indy place for dd who is quiet and hard working. A state place would make a really big difference for our family but have heard it is not as good as it used to be. Thank you for all help.
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