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?

Muminwestlondon Mon 17-Dec-12 15:45:07

Sounds like it is group of catholic parents...

newschoolsnetwork.org/content/dennis

chloe74 Mon 17-Dec-12 19:42:47

I imagine they will be strongly supported bu the church. Whilst I am against faith schools it will probably be a really good school.

Muminwestlondon Tue 18-Dec-12 10:36:57

I am also against faith schools but I happened to sit on an admissions panel for an RC school this year. The appellants (most of whose cases failed on distance) were almost without exception incredibly nice, involved, supportive parents whose kids would I am sure be a credit to any school. It was very striking.

OhDearConfused Tue 18-Dec-12 10:55:45

Which of course is why faith schools are so popular and many "find God" at just the right time: not for religious reasons but for social reasons.

Which is one of the reasons I am against faith schools.

Another reason are the quirky view of science some religious folks have. The Dennis Sewell who seems to behind this initiative (mentioned in the post above) seems to have written a book about Darwin. I assume its the same guy.

They are silent on the website as to whether they are going to teach "creationsism" under the guise of science rather than religion - but I wonder....

chloe74 Tue 18-Dec-12 11:53:15

The Church should be disestablished and religious discrimination in school admissions should be stopped. The teaching of "creationism" should be banned in all forms, save for a footnote in history class.

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts...

OhDearConfused Tue 18-Dec-12 12:13:14

Agree entirely.

Shame Gove doesn't.

Foolhardy Free School policy. Moreover, Clapham does not need another school (one opened only a few years ago - one of the first of the Blair Academies) - its just that the middle classes (tend) not to want to go there ... There is also Bolingbrooke just a mile or two away which opened this year (but the gerrymandering there of course means that Claphamites can't get in), there is another new academy in brixton also.

I see a little bit of a Toby Young in this proposal: lets teach classics, expect the "majority" to go to University (and lets mention Oxbridge (ok only Cambridge, but still) for good measure) and that will keep the plebs away.

Muminwestlondon Tue 18-Dec-12 12:13:51

Yes, I googled Sewell too but I thought I better back off as I was becoming a stalker!

My ex colleague had kids at Sacred Heart and Cardinal Vaughan and they seemed to engage the kids in letter writing campaigns about abortion and what not to the PM which infuriated me.

I went to Cardinal Vaughan once and noticed a very large portrait of the Pope in the lobby near a rather smaller one of the Queen. I am not a royalist but for some reason it really annoyed me!

JoanByers Tue 18-Dec-12 14:19:15

There seems to be a kneejerk reaction to slander any free school by saying they are sekrit kreationists.

This Sewell chap seems sane enough to me: www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/nov/14/political-gene-darwin-review

Clearly he is a conservative.

Which will make a change from all the lefty teachers I should think.

Muminwestlondon Tue 18-Dec-12 14:24:26

I think it is a reasonable enough question to ask, if someone is proposing to set up a school funded by the public purse.

JoanByers Tue 18-Dec-12 14:33:32

It doesn't seem to be a question though, it's just innuendo, which, from what I can see, is slung at every potential free school that has any kind of faith links.

If a free school is teaching creationism, that should be stopped.

But as far as I am aware no free schools are, we have just had lots and lots of hysteria from the Guardian & co saying that they might, as if it was akin to training children to hate black people or something like that.

It's not. It's stupid and not science, but all this foaming and frothing about creationism is misplaced and is obstructing people setting up what will be schools that will provide more, and better, educational opportunities than those already available.

The elephant in the room, is not religion in classrooms, it's poor standards and atrocious behaviour across thousands of state schools.

OhDearConfused Tue 18-Dec-12 16:19:29

You are right of course that we don't know if they are planning to do anything of the "creationist" thing (it was me that started that - but only because I saw Mr Sewell wrote a book about Darwin - so really couldn't resist it).

The local schools all have good behaviour standards - so it can't be that that is motivating this campaign.

They set up a website, are in discussinons with the Government, but they don't really say what is wrong with the local provision (other than most schools in the area - as they quite rightly point out - don't teach classics) that they think means another school is needed.

I find it a little strange .

If classics is really what's missing, should they lobby the local schools to get that on the curriculum for those that want it? Wouldn't that make more sense in terms

(For those that don't know, not many of the lcoal schools are under that dreaded local authority control, they have all become academies now).

OhDearConfused Tue 18-Dec-12 16:21:02

yikes - typing!

Try again:

If classics is really what's missing, shouldn't they lobby the local schools to get that on the curriculum for those that want it? Wouldn't that make more sense in terms of use of scare resources in this day and age.

chloe74 Tue 18-Dec-12 16:37:07

Don't get me wrong I am all for free schools, and I expect most of the parent led ones will be excellent, even this one.

I was making a general point that religious discrimination should be banned. I certainly don't blame it on Gove, cant imagine there is enough votes in it yet for any politician. In time ...

My point about banning Creationism was related to religious schools and not free schools.

StockwellLiving Wed 19-Dec-12 09:48:40

I am also fairly local and curious to know more.

Interesting point about "hysteria from the Guardian" when one of the other people behind this seems to be Guardian journalist Laura Cummings! http://opencorporates.com/officers/48655211 ! wink

I'm with OP on this. Can't see the local need myself, and can't see why a "parent started" school should be "excellent" or indeed any better than any started by an academy chain or (heaven forbit) the local authority - unless one wants to gerrymander the intake in some way.

chloe74 Wed 19-Dec-12 10:20:27

As far as I am aware local people have to prove a demand for the school before it is allowed.

The amount of effort parents would have to put into starting a school demonstrates their desperation for a good education. That kind of parental pressure and involvement will ensure the school produces results. It would be completely illogical for parents to go to all that effort, then just step back and say "oh well, who cares if its any good".

Its all very well for parents to moan about education but to make a difference you have to stand up and be counted, not just drop the child off at the school gates.

Blu Wed 19-Dec-12 10:45:16

Lambeth schools as a whole outstrip the national average for achievement, even before you factor in the various social factors. Lambeth is in the top 10% of areas in which your child is most likely to attend an ofsted 'Outstanding' school.

There is, I think, an overall shortage of places in Lambeth, but there is a new secondary opening on the S Circular, and my guess is that this will have quite a wide catchment as it is within what is already the catchment for 3 other secondaries (Elmgreen, St Martin's, Dunraven) possibly 4 (I'm not sure how far the Evelyn Grace catchment stretches), and an area where some parents choose Kingsdale, Graveney or the Sutton grammars if they get a place.

If there is an overall shortage of places, I just can't, in principle, support any new school that restricts access to any sector of the community. (I see that if designated by the Diosese they will offer 50% of places on 'non catholic' criteria, and if not designated they will not include faith as a criteria) but I think scaremongering about creationism is a bit much. His book seems to do what many other people (with lazy intellect, IMO) have done, lay mass violence by horrible people and groups of people at the door of religion, where he lays it at the door of people using 'social darwinism' to try and justify their will to opress, denigrate and conquer. There is nothing which suggests that he rejects the Darwinian basis of evolutionary theory.

As an atheist I am as disgusted by people who have used Darwin's 'natural selection' principle to try and excuse eugenics, racism, genocide as I am by sectarian violence, The Crusades, etc etc!

StockwellLiving Wed 19-Dec-12 10:47:15

Lambeth Academy opened up because of just that parental effort (a long running pre-free school campaign) that was successful 8 or so years ago. No-one who sends their DCs there has a bad word to say about it and by all accounts a good school, just too diverse for too inclusive for the middle classes aspirational in the area.....

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.

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.

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....

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)?

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.

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.

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?

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?

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.

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

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....

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.

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.

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

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.

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.....

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.”

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.

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.

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

Oops, 27th February

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