Chiswick (Community) School

(48 Posts)
fruitcorner Mon 23-Sep-13 21:01:42

Does anyone have any recent experience of Chiswick school? I know the children for good GCSE and A level results there this year and that the headmaster is very dynamic but any other feedback?! How is it for middle of the road children in the lower sets? Is there much after school sport ? When I go past at 4ish, I rarely see children playing sport on the playing fields. Thanks

mimbleandlittlemy Tue 24-Sep-13 16:31:08

My ds has just started there so we are in the very early stages. I can't believe how much it has changed since we first went round 2 years ago and certainly the perception of it as a school since the new HT arrived.

I can't help much as we're so new, but they are only set for Maths in Y7 and Maths and languages in Y8 otherwise it is mixed ability teaching. They are very hot on target setting so we had target setting day last week and ds knows exactly what is expected of him now to the end of the year and I gather that if you drift from target the intervention is pretty swift to get people back on track. I've lots of friends with children there as ds went to a feeder primary and we've also lived just up the road from it for the best part of 30 years (and my how it has changed...).

New uniform is pretty smart too.

Here's the link through to the lunchtime/after school PE schedule. DS is doing indoor nets, waiting for rugby to start for Y7s probably after half term and is yearning to start rowing in Y8.

www.chiswickschool.org/page/?title=PE+Extra+Curricular+Timetable+++Sept+%2D+Oct+2013&pid=72

kylesmybaby Tue 24-Sep-13 16:40:18

the police at the bus stops at 4pm are a bit off putting. I live across the road. my son was meant to start there but luckily got offered our first choice in the holidays.

mimbleandlittlemy Tue 24-Sep-13 17:11:02

Ah yes - the police at the bus stops - much heard of in Chiswick circles.

They are obviously in plain clothes at ds's bus stop as he hasn't noticed them at all. grin

DiaryofaHollandParkParent Tue 24-Sep-13 19:22:51

Just a comment, the police, the community type are at the bus stops for Kensington schools as well. Gives them something to do I suppose. It is not necessarily a reflection of behaviour at the school and I wouldn't read it as such.

fruitcorner Tue 24-Sep-13 21:26:06

Thank you for the comments - the behaviour of some children on the buses in Chiswick or outside McDonalds on Chiswick High Road is pretty lairy and gives a bad impression of the school but I'm pretty sure that's not an accurate impression/not abnormal for London schools. Glad to hear that your DS is enjoying it there mimbleandlittlemy

kylesmybaby Tue 24-Sep-13 22:19:14

Totally agree its probably the same for most schools of chiswicks size. The kids are extremely rude and intimidating both at the bus stops and McDonald's, especially the groups of girls. I just wish their parents could see them behaving like it.

I have lots of friends with kids at chiswick. My view is if you have a bright child who would be in the top sets they will be fine. However, if like mine, your child could be easily influenced by naughty kids and not in top sets they find it harder.

Have to agree the new head seems fantastic for the school.

kylesmybaby Mon 30-Sep-13 23:34:11

Ds had a really bad experience coming home from the bus stop after school. Two lots of kids from chiswick school had arranged a group fight on the green outside our flat. He said it was terrible a couple of boys came out really bad with blood on their faces. He said parents or teachers were there trying to sort it out. He said "I'm so glad he didn't go there in the end mum... Yep so,am I" .

Julie1234 Thu 03-Apr-14 20:22:12

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

TheMums Sun 03-Jan-16 11:14:15

Chiswick School was downgraded from good to requires improvement, for leadership and pupil outcomes.
It's a very large school, and expanding.

TheMums Wed 17-Feb-16 10:02:03

The building and school expansion is being discussed on Feb 18th.
See W4 website for details.

decisionsdecisions123 Wed 17-Feb-16 18:30:36

Aren't lots of the schools in the area large and expanding? Will the recent Ofsted report mean parents pulling their children out?

TheMums Wed 17-Feb-16 19:16:47

Apparently there are a few schools in the borough that have decided to expand, to accommodate a larger than normal intake.
It does, however, mean that current students and staff have to contend with noise and disturbance forms prolonged period, since it will wrap around he school. Most pupils dont like to leave their friends, and Chiswick has always been a right of passage, even for those that complain. It would, I believe, only imapct new pupils, that, together with construction, and the Ofsted report. it is not usually advisable to increase the intake of a school that is not
strong in leadership and pupil outcome.

decisionsdecisions123 Wed 17-Feb-16 20:21:47

A rite of passage?? In what way?

TheMums Wed 17-Feb-16 21:13:02

Most that go there accept their fate. It is a bit of a roller coaster. There are a lot of disruptives, and it's not a quiet school by any means. However, it's a challenge, and most want to stay and see it through to the end. There is a sort of charm to the place, the inner city kid in the burbs. You can tell a Chiswick kid, easily.

mimbleandlittlemy Wed 17-Feb-16 22:26:45

Themums - I have to say I am rather baffled with the agenda you seem to have with regards to Chiswick. On the last thread you started, you incorrectly said that the head had not given any talks about the Ofsted report - that they were end of term concerts not parental meetings. Well yes, there were the usual end of term concerts but Tony Ryan also gave two talks before the end of last term and one early this term about Ofsted and both what the school were doing to rectify the situation and where they intended to go to take the school rapidly back in the right direction. I know. I attended them - well two of them as the one for y6 parents with Chiswick on their form didn't apply to me. I also attended the Christmas concert in the hall as it happens but that's neither here nor there. But not the one at St Nicholas's church.

I have absolutely no idea either what you mean about 'accepting their fate' or any of that about 'knowing a Chiswick kid easily'. I don't believe you would be able to tell my child from his mates who go to Chiswick or his mates who go to several of the top local independents. Not in behaviour or academically. He is the same as his friends who go to Twyford and to Isleworth & Syon too. They all came out of the same local primary after all.

The kids are looking forward to the new build. The Chiswick website you quote makes it sound like none of us knew it was happening but it has been on the cards for a while. Obviously. The Chiswick website isn't always the best in terms of their reportage, I think we can safely say.

I know a LOT of people with kids at Chiswick and I know a lot of people who are proud of the school and have rallied round rather than wanting to endlessly put the boot in. No one I know is pulling their child out or not sending other children in the family. Quite the reverse. In fact two friends have recently pulled kids out of both Twyford and West London Free and they are very happy with Chiswick.

So there we are. You have one idea of the school. I have another but I think mine might be grounded in a bit more experience, frankly.

decisionsdecisions123 Wed 17-Feb-16 23:37:26

You do seem very negative towards the school TheMums, perhaps your experience is one from a long time ago when the school wasn't doing very well? Isnt it the case that pretty much all students at this school will be students that actually live in Chiswick?

TheMums Wed 17-Feb-16 23:48:20

Many 10/11 year olds are daunted by the transition to a large and now expanding institution, which is why some countries have a middle school. Do young people really look forward to a year of banging and hammering while they try to study? There are enough seats in the school at entry for every child in the area to attend, and the head has built a new school in the borough to accommodate others.
Every school has its own identity, Chiswick is no exception, and it is identifiable. In contrast to the building expansion, this is not a criticism, just an observation. Sir Michael cited good leadership as necessary for a successful school, and expanding a school that is not at the top of its game in every aspect, wil not succeed. There is no such thing as a 'quick turnaround' in education. Parents are least happy with Co-ordinated Science, Core Science and Design Technology, happiness of child and choice of subjects., however, with regards to non-academic areas, parents are most happy with career advice, security and health education. If career advice, security and health education are priority, and science is not, then this is the ideal school.

TheMums Thu 18-Feb-16 00:21:01

Decisions- in response, Chiswick School has a very wide catchment area taking pupils from the borough of Hounslow as well as Kensington and Chelsea, Richmond, Hammersmith and Fulham and Ealing it is a very multicultural school; it has double the national average of students for whom English is a second language. These are facts not criticisms.

mimbleandlittlemy Thu 18-Feb-16 08:04:04

The catchment area for the 2015 y6 intake was down to just over a mile with w4 postcodes making up the bulk. Do get your facts right! If you had attended any of the meetings with Tony Ryan about Ofsted you will know exactly what it was that Ofsted didn't like about the leadership team but you obviously didn't and have just read a report with your agenda skewing it. For anyone considering the school please PM me and I will go into great and probably boring depth about both the ups and downs of the school. One definite down is it being in an area where a far above national average send to independent because of the proximity of some of the best independents in the country but with the growing increase in local middle class parents sending their children there it has gone through a serious change. Sadly it is a school people not in the school like to to talk down not up which is a great shame for the large numbers of kids who have great outcomes. All the parents I know with kids there are passionate to talk it up because we believe in it and see the results. I have friends who have now had kids in there for the last 15 years and, boy, do they see and approve the changes. It has one of the best History departments on results in England. The Maths department is in the top 10% in the country on results too.

When Ofsted go back in before Easter as they have to do, the school has already addressed several parts of the problem and are expecting the inspector then to send a letter on to parents indicating this.

As I said before, that Ofsted report was not the school I know - it no more reflected the school my friends and I know than my son's local ex primary school's glowing Outstanding actually reflected that one!

But you wouldn't know any of this, Themums, as I think you aren't a parent at Chiswick.

Livettupalittle Thu 18-Feb-16 08:23:05

Mimbleandlittlemy - thanks for responding -you beat me to it. My children are very happy at the school and I am very happy with Tony Ryan's response to the Ofsted inspection.
TheMums - you still haven't said what your agenda is with regard to the school. I assume you don't have children there as you are so anti it, so why are you so interested and why do you feel the need to write about it in such a negative way on a public forum?

TheMums Thu 18-Feb-16 09:02:38

Please can you tell me what references constitute an 'agenda', so I may address. I would be interested to hear what you love/ dislike about the school. I also do not understand 'rallying' and talking 'up' a school. Why is that necessary?
Does the 'class' of a parent has some baring? The school has the fourth best history department in the country, in terms of progress, for similarly performing schools. 25 percent of pupils achieve the EBacc, which is a basic requirement for most jobs and universities today Gone are the days when you could climb the ladder to become head of a school with two GCSEs.

TheMums Thu 18-Feb-16 09:26:28

An Ofsted inspection is not such a bad thing. Think of it as an annual health check. If inspectors judge that a school’s overall effectiveness is Requires Improvement, the monitoring visits will be completed when the HMI monitoring the school deems appropriate. The next FULL inspection should be determined by how many monitoring visits the school has had and the progress they have made. It's a shame really, but all the more places for locals.

decisionsdecisions123 Thu 18-Feb-16 12:12:42

TheMums, the information you posted regarding the very wide catchment area was taken from a website, I Have a feeling it was 192.com( I looked it up) and was based on 2014 I think. Perhaps you had children there a few years ago or children are around Sixth Form age now and so would be justified in not thinking too highly of the school but it seems that things have changed for the better now don't you think?

mimbleandlittlemy Thu 18-Feb-16 12:14:31

OK - what follows pretty much constitues War & Peace but here goes:

TheMums – I simply don’t understand where you are coming from. As soon as the school got the Ofsted result you posted – which is fair enough if you have a child there or had perhaps put it first on your council school application form for September 2016. I would have had major anxieties if that were the case – which is why one of the meetings Tony Ryan did was specifically for Y6 parents with all parents who had placed Chiswick on their council form invited. I answered you at the time, saying about the meetings and you came back saying there was mention of Christmas concerts on the website but nothing about the meetings; you happened to be wrong but there you go.

You then put a message yesterday, resurrecting an old thread, about the new building work – which you’ve seen mentioned on chiswickw4. Fair enough, but unless it impacts on your child, why make a comment? For those of us with children at the school we know how badly the school needs this, indeed the building work was due to start under the last government until the ‘there’s no money left’ debacle. It especially needs it given the fact my ds came from a local primary where they took first a bulge class then became two form entry, as has another local Chiswick school – and at least Hounslow has realised they urgently need provision for the current ys3 and 4 hence building now. Parents knew the work was in the offing – it might have been a shocker to ChiswickW4 but not to people whose children go to the school. At the very least and on a trivial level, in some ways, the PTA has been working with the school to consider how best to continue the car boot sales given the reduction in available parking for the regular sellers. That income is important, so worth sorting it out where possible.

Chiswick is a school that has had its problems and still has its problems. No one will deny that. It went through a far from purple patch under its previous head when, indeed, you are right, kids were coming in from Shepherds Bush and beyond, but that is not the case now. When my ds went in 2013 the catchment was just over 2 miles; it is now well under. It is often cited on MN that you need a middle class element to engage with a local school to improve it and Chiswick, located as it is so close to St Paul’s Girls/Boys, Latymer Upper, Emanuel, Harrodian, Hampton, LEH, Putney + Wimbledon + NHE GDST schools will always lose children to schools like that because the good people of Chiswick can often afford it. We also have Sacred Heart and the London Oratory very close so people who have gone to St. Mary’s will be sending their children on the Catholic route. There is also a very high number who go to church for Twyford and Christ’s. All that is fine – Twyford has nothing like the FSM/mother tongue issue and it wouldn’t because it’s effectively selective, but it slightly skews the mix within the school to be honest. The school has a well above average number of children on free school meals – and, as you say, a very large number of children for whom English is not their first language. I like that – I like the fact my ds mixes with kids from a huge range of backgrounds. Some of them are troubled – teenagers often are. Sometimes there is disruption but behaviour was not a Requires Improvement problem within the Ofsted report.

Fortunately it also has an incredibly active PTA who contribute regular and large sums to funds which enables the FSM kids to access all that other kids can do, bar the skiing trip. If you can’t afford it and you want your child to do the German or French trips in Y8, or the whole year PGL trip, or go to Madrid on the Spanish trip, or Rome on the Latin trip, or Iceland on the Geography trip, or Russia on the A level history trip, then the school enables children to do that. It broadens horizons.

The school is a true comprehensive. Some of the kids go in, like my ds, with all Level 6s. Some go in hardly able to read. The teachers work incredibly hard, across the board. Results dipped last year – but in English for example, results dipped nationally. Some kids aren’t ever going to be Ebac material. Blimey – I wouldn’t have got the Ebac even at my top independent school because my dyslexia was so bad I couldn’t do a foreign language. But some kids – such as a friend of my ds’s – couldn’t manage maths at their primary but is now in top set. That’s an outcome. That’s a result. That’s dedicated teaching.

I admire the teachers. I admire the ethos. I like the fact my DS has the same form tutor right through to the end of GCSE so children build a relationship and parents have a go-to they know. In the first term of Y7 we had a bullying issue; I emailed his tutor and the HoY. I had replies from the HoY within 3 minutes and from his tutor at 8pm that evening. It was immediately sorted and hasn’t happened again. Last year there was a different issue which I don’t particularly want to go into on a public forum but the school handled it with great efficiency and in a way that impressed me. I know other people who had had issues and who have found the school responsive and helpful.

The kids like things like the cards home from teachers, telling parents about good work. We just got one this half term – and my ds is as pleased now to be recognised by a teacher as he was in the eager-to-please days of Y7. We had a ropey Y8 but that was down to hormones, not the school.

Much of the teaching is inspirational. Some of it isn’t. Science seems to be going through a tough time and I am watching that with care as that’s important to my ds. Languages are great. English, terrific. Music/Drama/Photography is wonderful – you just have to go the concerts or the school play or the Summer Arts Festival to see that.

I believe Tony Ryan has a vision and that he will get there. It’s not a smooth road though. He holds his hands up to what went wrong with Ofsted. There WILL be a visit by a single Ofsted inspector before the end of this term. The school have been told that. There will be another inspection within 18 months. They know that too. They are sorting problems fast. One of them was incredibly stupid – they hadn’t put up on the website the Pupil Premium details as they are supposed to do and the way they held the information on pupil progress was not a way Ofsted liked. They have immediately rectified that and know it was a real absolute clanger; they have apologised to parents. They have also rectified the problems with the Governors – in fact they were already doing so, the Governors had put themselves up to scrutiny before Ofsted came in and were undergoing a major overhaul when Ofsted arrived. There were other issues too which, as I have said, I will happily talk about if a parent who didn’t attend the meetings or is thinking of the school want to ask me, but I think we will be boring the entirety of the Secondary section if I go on and on.

I don’t view the school through totally rose tinted spectacles – but then I listen to my friends with kids at St Pauls, or Emanuel, or the Oratory, or NHE or Hampton or Harrodian or Sacred Heart or Isleworth & Syon or Twyford and they don’t view their schools that way either. Sometimes a school just isn’t right for you and your child and then you have the option to take your child out. Sometimes a school surprises you.

I still hope and believe that Chiswick will surprise a lot of people and in the meantime I continue to not quite be able to understand why you feel such a need to comment when you seem to have no connection.

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