Trinity Academy Clapham - proposed new Free School

(43 Posts)
OhDearConfused Mon 17-Dec-12 14:32:54

I was just told of this propose new "free" school by a friend. I found their website, but it doesn't really say who is behind it.

Anyone know any more?

LondonLaura Sun 09-Feb-14 21:54:24

Oops, 27th February

LondonLaura Sun 09-Feb-14 21:32:17

Anyone interested in this school (or any other Academy/ Free School) should come to the question time on 27th January. You must hear about the realities of the curriculum, the class sizes; not to mention the untrained staff, the unregulated food service, cleaning crews. There is a lot to consider. http://www.nce2014.org.uk/south-london-education-question-time-27th-feb-2014
Get in touch with questions, I have a lot of first hand knowledge about some of these issues.

Jaynesse Thu 30-Jan-14 14:36:37

I went to the event at Clapham Old Library in Nov and was very impressed by their plans. At Christmas I got an e-mail saying they now have a site: the school will be in a new build on Brixton Hill.

The Head was impressive and they are using an ambitious and innovative curriculum. I have put DS down ........ I think it's a really interesting and exciting initiative and hope it will work out as well as Toby Young's school in West London. A friend at work sends her DS there and says it's brilliant.

Someone else I met at the event had put her DD down as a 'safety measure'. Because you can apply to Trinity Academy and keep your options from the CAF, it means that if you don't get what you were hoping for in March, there's a fallback.

straggle Thu 05-Dec-13 19:59:01

It's interesting that it is not supported by the Catholic Church:

www.thetablet.co.uk/features/2/677/free-but-fettered

Anne Bamford, director of the Archdiocese of Southwark’s education commission, said: “Trinity Free School is not a Catholic school and there are plenty of places available in local Catholic secondary schools for parents seeking a Catholic education for their children.”

JustAnotherUserName Thu 05-Dec-13 14:01:05

Just wondering if anyone knows anything more about this school than already posted. The website says that they are open for admission (in additional to CAF form)

I missed their sessions (with a new head) a couple of weeks ago: did anyone go?

Do they have a site? Is it a real runner?

twoterrors Fri 21-Dec-12 09:28:22

These new style tables provide a lot more detail and I think will be very illuminating - once we crack how to read them smile.

28% high attainers in that cohort, so however defined it is not so tiny as to invalidate the stats I don't think.

In the long run, this is good news I reckon. I think the more robust detail the better. And schools will find it harder to game the system with measures such as the average GCSE grade for each of the bands - direct comparisons are meaningful then, and it plays against the 'take as many as you can get a C in logic'. Which is good for the children IMO.

Many things are important in "choosing" a school. Exam results are one of them. If we have hard facts that are easily accessible for them, we need not rely on rumour and hype.

LocalSchoolMum Fri 21-Dec-12 00:23:31

In Lambeth Academy, the brightest students take the full Triple Science, both English and English Lit, Maths, RE or Citizenship, a MFL, plus 2 optional subjects. That adds up to 10 to me. It is one less than they took last year due to changes in timetables.
The religious ethos thing makes me laugh tbh - LA is run by a CofE trust called ULT and has a 'christian ethos'. They don't even go on about God on RE as far as I can make out.
From what I know of older cohorts, students who came in at Level 5 have done really well and gone on to good Unis. They are just few in number in the higher years. The English Dept recently was judged outstanding by Ofsted. The school has an image problem, locally. I believe Chestnut Grove suffers from a similar 'grass is greener' attitude from people who live near it - that's why it's so easy to get a place there.

OhDearConfused Thu 20-Dec-12 20:45:05

CecilyP I am sure you must be right. That makes more sense. Of course, it makes the performance of Lambeth Academy even worst though if the average grade at the end of KS4 of someone who was at level 5 in KS2 is only C+ !

Incidentally, my error on definition is excusable smile as I got that information from the DoE. http://www.education.gov.uk/cgi-bin/schools/performance/school.pl?urn=134815. If you hover over the ? on "high attainer" you get reference to level 4 - but you get exacbly the same text on "middle" and on "low". So a bug in the text.

CecilyP Thu 20-Dec-12 14:39:48

OhDearConfused, I though High Attainer meant level 5 on entry, with Middle Attainers being level 4 and Low Attainers being level 3 or below. Certainly the percentages for various schools seem to bear this out. Of course, level 5 could span from marginally above level 4 to near genius.

Blu Thu 20-Dec-12 14:15:59

OhDearConfused: But in the first years of Lambeth Academy very many highly motivated parents and kids will have steered clear, for the reasons outlined in my previous post. I bet the results will climb, and the 'fair banding' admissions will make a difference.

If I were looking at another secondary transfer and this was one of my closest schools (it isn't!) I would be going to the Open Day and discussing the stats of the highest achievers with the Head adnd Staff and get their take on it before coming to a conclusion. Also the lowish VA score.

Anyway, this thread is abou the proposed new Catholic Free School.....

OhDearConfused Thu 20-Dec-12 14:06:59

LocalSchoolMum One of the problems with looking at statistics for a school like Lambeth Academy is that it was a genuinely comprehensive, non-selective school in an area where many secondary schools operated some sort of selection, either through bands (like Dunraven and many Wandsworth schools) or specialisms like Chestnut Grove or outright top scores like Graveney

But its not just that, though. The stats that Joan gave (the original ones which were for the right school) show that "high achieving" kids did woefully badly..... I know that the bar for high achieving sits fairly low (level 4 - not sure why making national expected level at end of KS2 should be "high", but still).

Its the comparison with St P's and other schools that does it for me.

JoanByers Thu 20-Dec-12 13:53:35

Sorry CecilyP, you are right. I had a few schools open. The numbers I gave were for a different school.... blush

Blu Thu 20-Dec-12 13:50:28

I think the point that LocalSchoolMum makes is important. The cohort whose results are shown now will have joined the school before any years' results were known. It takes a long while before many parents will trust a new school, and the early cohorts may have a much higher proportion of students whose parents did not actively chooses the school or who have not made strenuous efforts to get a place in another highly sought after school. I don't think that the results make it 'obvious' that the school settles for mediocrity at all. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't, but there are so many factors to take into account.

Elmgreen, another newish Lambeth school, with no selection mechanisms, experienced a few difficult years with the early cohorts - it had a wide catchment to begin with - but now it is oversubscribed, with very high achieving pupils doing very well. (A friends DC goes there, and was one of those who went to the RFH for a top SATS award).

I suspect that the new generation of Free Schools have learned from this (in terms of marketing for the right kind of applicants and beating the 'wait and see the results' factor) , hence the profile of things like Cambridge / classics from consultation onwards.

FWIW I think the banded comps work very well as a principle in places like Lambeth, ensuring an equal spread of all abilities in the school, thus preventing the social apartheid that 'elite' schools may create, and also 'sink' schools.

Which is not good, in the end, for any of us - and MumInWestLondon, I think your friends need to read The Spirit Level.

CecilyP Thu 20-Dec-12 10:23:46

^If you check the average GCSE entries per pupil for high attainers, this is low, only 7 per pupil.

The low attainers and middle attainers do just 2.5 (i.e. English and Maths plus about half of the group doing one other), and 4.1 respectively.^

Where did you find that, Joan? According to your link 'Average Entries per pupil GCSE only' gives All Pupils 8.9, Low attainers 6.9, Middle attainers 8.9, High attainers 11.

JoanByers Thu 20-Dec-12 02:57:16

Blu, the average grades are on the DFE website.

www.education.gov.uk/schools/performance/

Lambeth Academy is here:

www.education.gov.uk/cgi-bin/schools/performance/school.pl?urn=134815

It gives the average grade per qualification and per GCSE.

The school offers a few BTECs, which explains the higher grade for 'quaification' rather than GCSE. www.lambeth-academy.org/curriculum/view/35/Year-10

If you check the average GCSE entries per pupil for high attainers, this is low, only 7 per pupil.

The low attainers and middle attainers do just 2.5 (i.e. English and Maths plus about half of the group doing one other), and 4.1 respectively.

This is essentially a scam perpetrated by academies to make their results look better. By doing so they can attract more of the middle class parents that every school desires and boast about their results.

These numbers are really incredibly low.

At Archbishop Tenison's, in Vauxhall, even low achievers sat 6 GCSEs, and the results are much better.

For me it's obvious that Lambeth Academy is in the business (yes, it's a sponsored academy) of producing exam statistics that make it look good. Not educating children.

In fact its approach is probably a reasonable one for the lowest achievers, just do English and Maths and a few BTECs, but for the bright children there, the school clearly is not in the business of having them reach their potential.

Of course the old truism is that a motivated child can achieve anywhere, but on the whole it's obvious to me that Lambeth Academy has a culture of mediocrity, not excellence.

So the move to establish a school that offers an atmosphere of achievement is understandable.

It's just a pity that to do this you have to erect religious hurdles, when it would seem much simpler just to allow the free school to select on ability....

sashh Thu 20-Dec-12 01:20:18

A few things would woory me - but I think this about the ethos says a lot

The school will have a Catholic ethos and character.

Trinity aims to educate the 'whole person', developing the spiritual, intellectual, moral and physical potential of all its pupils.

So it's going to be RC, which teaches a lot of normal things are wrong such as contraception, homosexuality

The school will be inspired by Gospel values in everything that it does.

Does that mean girls will be second class citizens?

Trinity Academy will foster the cultivation of the Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Fortitude.

Wr right

The school will prepare pupils for a life of service to others in pursuit of the common good.

but only the common good of the RC church

ALL children, from whatever background, will be made to feel equally welcome and at home at Trinity.

Until we start saying it's wrong to have two dads, use contraception and if you have an abortion we will chuck youout

LocalSchoolMum Wed 19-Dec-12 23:58:46

One of the problems with looking at statistics for a school like Lambeth Academy is that it was a genuinely comprehensive, non-selective school in an area where many secondary schools operated some sort of selection, either through bands (like Dunraven and many Wandsworth schools) or specialisms like Chestnut Grove or outright top scores like Graveney. This meant that they were allocated a greater number of kids who did not take any tests for one reason or another. 4 years ago they introduced a banding test and the intake now has a much better spread across the range of ability. As a parent of a child at the school, I am very happy with it. What strikes me is how long it takes for a new school to really become successful and I would be wary of sending my child to any brand new school, regardless of the ethos or the teaching of classics.

Blu Wed 19-Dec-12 22:12:57

It depends what you mean by ''succeed". In my book, the schools that succeed make excellent progress with the children least likely to succeed as well as with those most likely to do well. In my book a school does not 'succeed' if it merely gains an overall average statistic of good exam results from children who were always going to get good exam results by operating a selection process. That school might well be succeeding, in pushing able pupils even further, but good results and a back door selection process proves no success at all!

Can you explain how you work out the 'C+' of the high attainers, and what that means? I see that 95% of high attainers get 5 or more A-C GCSEs incl English and maths...is it from the point scores in the lower tables?

The very middle class parents I know are absolutely confident that thier individual children are being challenged, well educated and doing well. So who knows what goes on for individuals within a blanket stat.

The VA score isn't high for high attainers, though, if I am understanding the system - 100 is the mean level, higher than 100 good, less than 100 not doing what is expected?

Muminwestlondon Wed 19-Dec-12 19:50:49

I have a couple of colleagues with daughters at St P. I didn't even realise that they were Catholic until they mentioned it. They are both intelligent, hard working professionals and very pleasant people. They want their daughters to go to a socially (not academically) selective school, to meet the offspring of others similar to themselves, enjoy their time at school hopefully unbothered by disruptive influences and grow up to have successful careers and an ethos similar to themselves- frankly who can blame them?

JoanByers Wed 19-Dec-12 17:33:37

I think the main difference is the Catholicism tbh. Or the fact that it successfully excludes the most feckless.

Sacred Heart is also a few miles down the road but in a much rougher part of town (Camberwell) than St Philomenas (Carshalton). 60% ESL. 26% FSM (respectively 37% and 28% at Lambeth and 12% and 4% at St Philomenas). Only 22% high attainers. Average GCSE grade is B+ for them, and a very respectable B- for the middle achievers.

Outside of London there tends to be a lot of snootiness about high ESL numbers, but in London at least there's basically no correlation between ESL and achievement - several of London's grammar schools are dominated by South Asian children.

Obviously there are parts of London that are not ideal for children to grow up in, and in these areas the schools that succeed will have admissions policies that represent a hurdle that the worst parents, and their feral offspring, will fall at.

CecilyP Wed 19-Dec-12 16:56:50

Those few miles down the road represent a significantly different demographic. And St P's is also all girls.

OhDearConfused Wed 19-Dec-12 16:47:27

Wow. That is some difference.

Is this Lambeth Academy being particularly bad at teaching, St P's being particularly good at it, or an indication of motivation of the intake (ie the social selection/correlation with faith schools)?

JoanByers Wed 19-Dec-12 15:46:39

I see another thread about a proposed free school (in Woking) was deleted.

Presumably reported by someone.

Not sure why.

People seem quite bitter about them.

FWIW, a quick look at the Lambeth Academy Results suggests that those MC parents have good reason not to go there:

www.education.gov.uk/cgi-bin/schools/performance/school.pl?urn=134815

Average GCSE for High Achievers is a C+. 29% of them get the EB.

A few miles down the road, St. Philomena's gets A-. 54% of them get the EB.

I think I could learn the Hail Mary for that....

Blu Wed 19-Dec-12 11:01:36

StockwellLiving - I agree with you especially your crossed out bit grin. The families I know who have children at Lambeth Academy are really pleased with it. And that includes (diverse) middle class families, at least one which could afford private if they wanted to / had to.

However, I do understand anxiety about the social mix of some schools - parents of black boys are concerned because those are the boys statistically most likely to drawn into or be be victims of the gang problem which does, we can't deny it, exist in Lambeth and other boroughs. Obviously it is only a tiny minority of kids who are involved. But actually whatever their background, most kids in most Lambeth schools get on with leading a constructive life and getting an education. IMO, IME your access to choice in yoru housing makes more of a difference to vulnerability to anti-social behaviour than what goes on in the schools in Lambeth.

StockwellLiving Wed 19-Dec-12 10:53:23

Sorry - that all sounds bitter. I know nothing about the motivation of the people behind this here (other than they want a "catholic" ethos school).

It just that there is a lot of local resentment as to how a project like Bollingbrook can take so much public money when schools such as Chestnut Grove had their capital expenditure plans slashed. Rather than these "free" schools which are an expensive way of increasing capacity, if there is a shortage of places, schools can simply be allowed to improve facilities and expand.

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