Any opinions on Wren Academy.(57 Posts)
I went to the open evening last night and thought it was a lovely school. The children looked really happy and confident. Nice teaching staff. Did any one else attend or have any thoughts about it.
bump! bump!! bump!!! bump!!!! bump!!!!! bang.
Right sorry..what does bump mean??!
I'm sure it will be a great school but I didn't think it was impressive as Compton. Then the Christian thing is not my bag so...
Thought the head at Compton was more compelling, genuine, relied less on buzz words. Wren has problem of not being able to give parents results of course, so that's maybe why he talked about a lot of things I'm not that bothered about (ie toilets!)
But overall yes lovely school in terms of buildings, facilities and the kids were great, so friendly and well behaved.
I wasn't that impressed tbh. Have heard lots of good things about it and lots of children from DS primary have gone there past 2 years but I just found it quite sterile, soul-less and more importantly, I was not impressed with the lecturing technique used by the head which was to talk constantly for 30 minutes, one speech after another, whereas anyone in education should know that after 20 minutes lecturing, the audience don't take in any more information. It was merely my opinion, but I do know people who like it, in particular the strictness/discipline, which it is renowned for. I've opted for East Barnet as first choice instead.
My niece goes to Wren (year 8) and she loves it. The teachers are great, the kids are happy and the standard of education is superb. If the kids are gifted, they get encouraged and pushed to increcibly high standards. The single-sex teaching for Maths/Science/English is great too.
Most importantly the head master is fantastic (really!) and the teachers are full of enthusiasm, but do not tolerate any bad behaviour whatsoever, so the kids are able to learn in a safe and organised environment.
We could not be happier!
Also, we are atheists, but the God-bothering stuff is not too overpowering. The Rev Kirby, school chaplain is a very nice man with a great sense of humour.
I went to the open evening and thought that the head was very caring in reference to the children. Boyngirl you didn't seem to get the point about the toilets. He was trying to tell you that the children and adults were to be treated similarly, of course still with teacher pupil respect.
The school is ideal with lots of discipline and with the lessons as they are, core subject in single sex classes. On the whole a job very well done so far.
I used to live near the school and a large number of kids walked past my house every day and at lunch times to go to school. Their behaviour was always shocking and we ended up moving because of the swearing, spitting and at times some minor damage that was caused to people's gates, fences and on occassion, cars!
I was a young mum at the time so not as judgemental as I am now that I've got older but even I was shocked. So I don't know what the school is like and I'm sure there are very nice kids there but I feel sorry for them having to put up with the large number of poorly behaved kids that go there.
that's odd voulezvou, seeing as the Wren has only been going for just over a year....clearly you are talking about an entirely different school.
I'm talking about the one in Wellingborough which has been there a long time!
wrong one. This one is in North Finchley.
I was wondering if anyone who believes in achieving through education could put my mind at rest with regards to Wren Academy. I live in Tottenham and our only option is to send our son to Wren instead of the satisfactory local secondary. He missed Latymer, in Edmonton/Enfield by 1 point, had an offer from a top private school with 60% financial assitance but we still can't afford to send him there. He's devastated at the moment and it's hard to convince him that he is not going to end up in a "sink school". The fact that Wren is a new school without any concrete results leaves me even more anxious as I can not gauge what the standard of teaching is like. My boy was bullied at his first primary for being smart and enthusiastic and I'd love to hear from anyone who has got kids at Wren for the honest and brutal views of the school as a whole, including the teaching standards.
I am the desperate mom from Tottenham. Any one there with very honest views on Wren Academy???
O.K cecinha, teaching standards are high (teachers are lovely) and the first few years will be the best as the school has to prove itself re standards and results. The teachers are very wisely chosen. The School is very strict, no messing about. Headteacher is great and cares a great deal about the school, he has taken it from nothing to having an excellent reputation in just the first year. The school is in its second year now and the year 8's are already at a very high level. There are many extremely bright and equally enthusiastic kids in the school and I think I can say that there is hardly any bullying going on (my opinion). our second child will not be going to Wren as he was always desperate with another friend to go to the local boys grammer (they both got in), unfortunately for me as I will be driving all over next year and be buying two different uiforms. I can honestly say that I would not have had any hesitations in sending my second child to Wren and was very lucky to have got my first child in.
The admin staff and secretary are great too.
Hello stressed4, how nice to get a response. Your views have been very reasuring and I will let my boy read it too. I think this will give him some comfort that by going to Wren it is not the end of the world. He's slowly coming to terms with the fact that we can't afford the private school fees despite his great performance, and seeing that Wren seems to be heading in the right direction academically, I will confirm his place this week.
I still would love to hear from many parents who have kids at Wren, just for piece of mind, really.
I mean I would like to hear from as many parents as possible for PEACE OF MIND!! Not piece! Sorry!!
Hi again Cecinha, I have just bumped another thread re Wren academy for your peace of mind. *Any opinions on Wren academy*.
Hi Cecinha, please tell your son not to worry. My daughter was the first intake too and is now Year 8. We were so worried because it was a new school but, like you, had little option at the time. She had been accepted into a private school but we couldn't afford the fees. Anyway, the school is excellent so far. And it's small so all the kids know each other and the teachers know everyone. As far as I know (and I asked my daughter again the other day), there is no bullying. And (whether you're a church goer or not), the fact that it's CofE based does engender a caring attitude (as someone mentioned, the Rev Kirby is great. Not at all preachy, he's just there almost as a school counsellor to help kids out. The teaching is really excellent and the teachers always come back to you if you email them with questions! They seem to be great at finding and encouraging talents, whatever they may be. The sport is coming along really well, the arts are building gradually (I hear there will be some sort of drama space soon) and it's exciting watching the school emerge. I firmly believe that the head sets his sights so high that the school will have exceptional results - hope so, as my daughter will be the guinea pig year!! Only slightly annoying thing for me is that things like the orchestra and the drama are made up of year's 7 and 8, obviously, which means the standard isn't amazing. You don't have the older kids who've reached their very high grades in there. But hey, you can't have EVERYTHING! As others have said, the discipline is excellent. You only have to go into the school during the daytime to see how well behaved the kids are. A friend of mine moved her daughter from Copthall because she couldn't work with all the noise and chaos. She's turned herself around dramatically since switching. I really wouldn't worry - it's a great school with lots of fantastic kids. You'll be glad one of these days - Latymer is wonderful but HUGE! Hope I've helped a bit.
Hi Cecinha, I feel for you,as you obviously care deeply about your son's education and have done the best you can, yet the result seems less than ideal to you.I was in a similar situation a few years back, and it all worked out, so please don't fret. I felt such a miserable failure for being unable to afford school fees,or more significantly the11+ tutoring fees that might have made a difference, and aggrieved that children clearly less able than my own had got through the test. But my DC are v happy and doing so well at their schools: better to be a big fish in a small pond!
Re Wren, there are lots of bright kids there, particularly girls as if they don't get into HB , this school is a better alternative to, say Compton or Friern Barnet. Extra-curricular activities are not optional , and the school day is longer than usual. Music is pretty rubbish tho, for reasons above but also because music-place-awarding schools cream off all the best, plus there are no experienced 6th formers to bolster sound.
Local vicar's son attends, as do primary school governors kids, and lots of comfortably off but non-intellectual churchy middle class types.
Thanks for your time and comments; I feel more reassured now. I never got to visit the school - my partner did - as I have always had a phobia of Academies and the bad press they get. My partner came back full of praise for the place, particularly the kids' behaviour; however, he was not able to see the teaching and seeing that he is not of an academic disposition, I really agonised over Wren.
My son has now seen all the above and feels less upset, although he is still going on about Belmont, the private school, his "dream" school. I think I am partially responsible for it as I was educated privately in my country and found it very hard to relate to state education. I guess it's for me now to try and undo all the damage I have caused and come to terms with the difficulties of sending children to independent schools in London on our income.
Please keep your views coming. I hope that between now and September my boy will have got over it after reading about the school from other parents' perspective.
Dear Cecinha, I too was privately educated, albeit with a full scholarship, and used to think that that's what I wanted for my DC...But couldn't help chuckling when I heard that Belmont was the private school in question- it's hardly Westminster/StPauls/City/Habs ! OK,the semi-rural setting and imposing architecture,playing fields may be charming , but academically,well... There are a significant no. of uncultured nouveau- riche non-graduate parents, who are far less involved in their childrens development than you must be. I heard one parent even sent their NANNY to a parent's meeting! Some years ago, a dad @ my DC s nursery school told me he was going to be sending his kids to Belmont. I nosily asked him what he did for a living and he said he owned a nightclub, but not one I could possibly of heard of, full of floozies, in his words.Well people have to get the sort of money to pay for those schools somehow....
My first reaction is Oh My God. We all want the best education for our children however reading some of the above makes me wonder whether its for their benefit or your own.
Yes Wren is not able to show us how high up the league tables they are, and no it itsn't up there on the desirable school list (Yet).
But you only have to watch the children leaving school at the end of the day and see the smiles on their faces, and the camaradrie amongst them to know that Wren is obviously pushing the right buttons.
The staff are fantastic, without exception. The children are concientious and polite. There is zero tolerance towards bullying be it in school or via other means ie. social networks. Mr Whitworth leads both staff and pupils with passion and enthusiasm, and along with Rev. Kirby instills good old fashioned respect and discipline.
Once again, thanks for your emails.
I do understand where notapushy and ardone are coming from so let me just clarify a few points.
Whilst Belmont is none of the schools notapushy mentioned, it's considerably better than our local comprehensive in our catchment area and my boy loved the atmosphere there, including the lovely and attentive staff. We dont live in Barnet, so Wren was a long shot, if you know what I mean. As for social class, I am not quite sure notapushy got it: it does not really bother me what the parents do for a living my partner used to be a model maker with works displayed at the British Library, who is now working as a bus driver, so there you go. I tend to relate to people on the basis of who they are and not whether they are cultured or not (although it does help to make conversation and pass the time when all the escape routes have been exhausted at school gatherings!); that does not define their personality, in my view.
You see ardone, we all want the best education for our children and part of that is intrinsically related to our own experiences. Trying to deny that when choosing a school for our little darlings does not sound very truthful to me. Whilst he was at primary school, I always hard parents, especially mothers, saying that it did not really matter which school their kids went torubbish, just to find out later on that they had all been paying for private tuition since year 3 to try and get their children into the best free grammar schools available, telling me the most outrageous lies when I tried to ask them for help finding a reliable tutor for my boy.
Reading your views on Wren has gone a long way calming my nerves. I am really pleased my boy is not going to end up at a sink school, and lets be honest, this is ultimately any parents worst nightmare.
Hi Cecinha, do you live in mill hill?
Sorry just saw your previous post, you live in Tottenham. Belmont isn't exactly that local, anyway. Wren will in my and i'm sure many others opinions be a much better school than Latymer. Come and visit the school at the summer fete and your son will get a much better feel for the school and the children attending. It should be advertised soon on the website, if not I will post a reminder nearer the time.
cechina - not for the reasons notapushy1 mentions, but your son will be fine at Wren compared to Belmont.
What child at age 10/11 wouldn't love the visuals and atmosphere of the fabulous site that Belmont exudes? It's our job as parents to see through this and to weigh up pros and cons, costs and benefit. 60% of Belmont fees is still huge and there are considerable hidden costs on top if you really want you DS to have the full experience. Despite the fact that Mill Hill school is moving up the academic ranks, I still can't see the value for money compared to what you could get from a motivated child at somewhere like the Wren.
Regardless, forget Belmont. You have heard from Parents about the Wren. Its all positive, so if you are inclined, go for it and make it happen. If you think your DS will fit in, be motivated and happy then go for it!
Hoping you are reassured by all these posts. I'm just wondering, did your son get a place on distance or is he CofE? I understand they offer on both but not sure how far the distance goes.
Cecinha - I have dcs at Belmont and Mill Hill and also have two good friends with
DCs at Wren. One has DCs at both Wren and Mill Hill - and she really rates Wren - she thinks it is a great school in fact she says she would have considered moving her other DCs had they been the right ages. Both Wren parents think that it is great - they especially like the way that the school will grow around the children so they are not too overwhelmed.
I also think Belmont is a lovely school - standards at both Belmont and Mill Hill are rising. If you are really keen it might be worth talking to the school again - Mill Hill certainly has a scheme offering full bursaries (so you would pay no fees).However Mill Hill fees are significantly higher than Belmont's.
Mill Hill also has an intake at 13+ so you could always ask whether your DS would stand a chance of gaining an increased bursary at that point. The new head is keen on attracting high flyers so there might be some flexibility. Also worth mentioning to them if your DS has other talents - they offer assistance to those gifted in sport/music and drama as well.
Also your DS should remember that Mill Hill has compulsory Saturday school that lasts all day (well until 3ish) and the school day starts at 8.15 during the week and ends between 3.30 and 5.30 - so the thought of losing weekends might help change his mind.
I just posted on another thread that Wren has just been judged 'outstanding' in its first Ofsted report.
That's nice, but I've seen a lot of schools get 'outstanding' and wondered how the hell they managed that!
Anyway, the best thing about Wren is that the teachers and the head are almost insanely committed to turning out nice, thoughtful, well-educated and happy children - whatever their capabilities. It is a lovely, safe environment for learning (the teachers don't tolerate ANY bad behaviour), but they are not afraid to encourage the kids to their limits.
Our DD has blossomed incredibly since going to Wren. She's now in year 8 and it very happy and proud of her school.
Best of luck to your DS anyway, wherever he ends up.
Just anecdotal, but I know that within the borough (LEA) Wren is seen as having a lot of potential, but not 'quite there yet'. Obviously it's very new, so everyone is watching and waiting.
Compton and Mill Hill County are seen as better, particularly Compton. Compton is seen as being a flagship non-selective school that is getting great results (improving year on year) - strikingly so given it's intake comes from a fairly broad socio-economic when compared to the high achieving selective schools in the borough (QE Boys, HB, St Michael's).
Compton is definitely one to watch. I have a feeling it is going to become the 'bun-fight to get into' state school in Barnet.
should have said socio-economic background, sorry
How wonderful to read these comments as my son starts in a couple of weeks and we have up until now had a number of disappointments in the exhausting schools selection process. We can't wait now!
Excellent school, extremely well run.
Our first was in first intake so now y8, delighted our second is going there in September.
Compton's catchment area has expanded due to competition from Wren, Compton is known as a good school so competition will be healthy but not trouble them. Children art Wren coming from Colindale, Hampstead, Harrow, though most are more local.
The new block opened a couple of weeks ago and facilities are great.
By far the most important thing in our opinion is the teachers - they are a great team run by an inspirational and very driven head.
Must echo other comments here - they are control freaks and need to learn to chill a little - Ofsted said so too in their inspection report a few weeks ago.
School fete this Saturday June 12th, run by active PTA - which is relatively rare at secondary level. PTA also run a website at http://friendsofwrenacademy.wordpress.com/
I was trying to find out what time the fete started tomorrow as my son is starting at Wren in September. Can anyone help?
My Husband and I spent a long time looking at all the schools in the Borough of Barnet, and even longer sadly talking about nothing else night after night in the hope that one of us would make a decision!! In the end we narrowed it down to three schools and our son chose Wren. After all, it will be him attending the school and it seemed only fair he had a say in which one he felt he would be the most happy, comfortable and able to achieve his goals at. A few of my friends children are there already and I have heard fantastic things about Wren. I am really looking forward to my son starting in September, and more importantly...so is he!
Wren catchment area this year was only 0.65 of a mile, I live 0.829 of a mile and got in by appeal - Cechina must have got in by religion, I presume.
Although someone at work advised that schools in Barnet, Enfield, Harrigey etc. have an agreement to have a number of allocated places for cross borough placement - don't know if this is true....
I don't know anything about the academic progress of Wren Academy but I will say this....
I have a son in a Barnet secondary school and recently attended a Borough sports event at Copthall Stadium. It was a very competitive event yet good natured. Wren Academy were not only good at sports, but more importantly were good sportsmen ! My son did not realise they were Wren Academy as their P E Kit was a similar colour !!!! He commented that he thought they were Year 7 and 8 from his own school, they were that friendly. I think that speaks volumes.
My son has now been at Wren for 8 weeks and he loves it!! He is enthusiastic and very happy there. He didn't concentrate at Primary school very well and yet he has just received a letter from his teacher for outstanding hard work in science. It gave him such a boost. Hopefully my daughter will get into the school next September and love it just as much.
My son, who attends a church school in N10, has been offered a place at Wren Academy.
As this thread has been dormant for a while, I just wondered if anyone could offer some more (updated) views?
notapushymum - you sound like such a snob! Who cares what people do for a living??
Have heard parents taking their children out of Compton School and putting them into the Wren because the behaviour is much better there. That's all the info I have.
I must say, in total honesty, that the wren academy is a truly amazing school. My child moved there from compton last year and is over the moon with her decision. Yes, I must admit that the head is not exactly a people-person, the academy itself is wonderful, where all children can learn and be enthusiastic about doing so without ridicule. Although the students are mainly middle-class, everyone feels at home which I feel is often a problem for my oldest son who attends a public school. Compton seems very nice from the outside, but when talking to a variety of students they all said it was quite frankly awful, and that Friern Barnet, despite its problems with behaviour and results, was much better.
I am astounded by this award-winning school and thoroughly suggest you to at least have a look around and im sure you will feel as pleased as I am.
I just thought I'd touch-base after my initial emails last year. My boy's been at Wren for over a year now and I think things are going to plan. I agree with LaurenK1197 that there's quite a bit of work to be done when it comes to listening more (to the kids and the parents alike) - this was the main criticism by Ofsted. My son is now in year 8 and fully involved in most of the activities at the school. I only have one niggling concern: they don't seem to be very flexible when it comes to freedom of expression - not mucking about in the classroom but actually constructively making and arguing their point. I believe that food teachers and good Heads are the ones who can unashamedly admit that they are always learning from the children and interacting with them. Once a teacher/Head thinks that they do not need to do it, then there's something symptomatically wrong with them. That's just my humble view, as someone who taught teachers and adults for 12 years.
Sorry, meant to say good teachers!! I taught teachers, children and adults by the way!
We had a Lance Corporal called Jenny his surname was Wren. Nice bloke. This may not be relevant
I am keen to send both my children to the Wren. I have been baffled by a common attitude in our area that a school is better if a child have to do an exam to get in! If bright children can achieve well and are encouraged and stimulated at an outstanding school, which is the case at the Wren form all that I have heard, I do not know what the preference for selective schools is really based on. I have high expectations of my children and want them to be in a very good local school with good values. My research so far points to the Wren. We are churchgoing intellectuals (I think!). I am an Oxford graduate myself and we expect our children to go to very good universities. I do hope that other parents who are equally ambitious for their children will not be thinking of the Wren as as mere second choice but will make a positive choice of the Wren. Thanks for the informative discussion above.
Newbie here, so apologies if this thread is more or less redundant now. We visited the Wren twice in the last week, the second tour with our DC's.
The buildings are new, light, pleasant. A little too functional, sterile and soul-less perhaps? Size and space possibly a little tight when in a year or two the school will have built up all its years.
As parents, we too were impressed by the behaviour we noted of the students, and by our Year 7 guides who were great despite having only arrived there a few weeks ago. We liked the commitment of the teachers, echoed in the comments on this forum.
What we weren't so sure about is a little more difficult to explain: the discpline is good, but could the rules be a little stifling? For example, we heard from one student on the first tour that you weren't allowed to run or play football in the playground. We asked our Year 7 guide the next day about this and she said 'Yes, we are supposed to act like young adults and not run about in the playground area. There is skipping and a few hula hoops.' There a lots of reasons why this policy could be good - less likely for students to injure themselves/others, less such incidents to manage. But we could not help thinking this might be difficult for our two DS's to let off a little steam during the winter months (when they wont have access to the outdoor multi-sports area). Could this be a slightly more girl-friendly policy than boy-friendly? We noticed on both tours that in break times, only boys seemed to be outdoors. There were two table tennis tables also in the playground.
Being able to run in the playground is not of course a 'deal breaker' in the decision process, but it was part of an overall slight sense of unease we had of the school's approach to school life - new academy, striving to get good results in the next year or so in particular - anything wrong in that? well no, I guess not, but I want my DCs to have fun at school and enjoy learning both academic and non-academic 'stuff'. The school may have adopted tough rules ('don't ask what happens if we go the wrong way down the stairs' another guide told us) but whilst the ofsted report was truly outstanding, I still have these niggling doubts.
I basically hate this secondary school decision-making, as I feel there's nothing out there that ticks all the boxes! My nick should be pullingwhatsleftofmyhairout
Ok first post so I hope this works.
Y7 mum so only 6 weeks at Wren but could not be happier.
School at capacity as open (and full) to years 7-11, seems to have enough space.
There is a multi use area (not the playground) so they can let off steam and so far have not found this an issue. Also they only get 35 mins for lunch (excellent food apparently) so not that much time anyway. There are however lots of after school clubs including all the usual sports so they can join them.
They are strict with the rules on time keeping, behaviour, uniform, standard of work (effort and following instructions), but they are clear rules so no issues so far and I like this clarity.
The school are very organised and efficient and they are very well prepared for lessons. The standard of teaching seems very good and they have been set targets which are already being reviewed from recent tests so academically it looks promising so far.
The best part DS is very happy and looks forward to school.
I have a child who was at Wren for a number of years. I was very happy with appearances and swallowed the PR, unfortunately. But all children are (obviously) different. I wish I had been as perceptive as 'Ipreferchocolatetowine'.
What do you mean exactly hwalcc. Did your child find the atmosphere stiffling and did it get in the way of their progress. was your child in the first year that started at wren.
My child was in the second year intake and I think lived in constant fear of doing something wrong so never really relaxed. Personality is quiet and conformist so confidence went downhill. Got good grades when child felt they were struggling.
where does your child go to school now and are they happy there. what has changed.
Update from us is that at the end of the first term, we are extremely happy with Wren (that's us parents & DS).
My son is coming to the end of his first term at Wren.
When I look back to this time last year, to the angst, to the uncertainty, to the endless and usually fruitless conversations both with myself and with other parents, I can not believe how clear and simple things are now:
Wren Academy in beyond outstanding. I consider my son incredibly fortunate to have gained a place at this amazing school.
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