Croydon Catholics (Croydon RC Schools)

(49 Posts)
ercroydonmum Sun 13-Jan-13 13:36:00

Hi All,

As one of several Catholic posters in the Croydon area, I want to know where you (the other Catholics) will be sending your kids to this autumn?

Will you go for John Fisher (even though it isn't selective any more? As some other posters have pointed out this school stopped selecting its boys via interviews, tests and exams in 1999/2000) or perhaps Thomas More (which I hear has improved) or will you go further afield to The London Oratory (which stopped selecting boys and parents with interviews in 2006).

Finally would anyone go the route of Sutton Grammars or Croydon Independents because of the lack of selective Catholic schools today?

penelopewellingtonbowes Sun 13-Jan-13 13:51:37

Erm..ER if we were still living close to Croydon JF could be an option? But no not really. For a couple of reasons:

a) the school no longer selects any of it's boys or vets parents with an interview, the school is much changed- there are no longer 4,5,6 applicants for every place
b) the school is much larger now than it was when I put my boys through the school when it was selective (1990s) as it went from 600 boys up to 1000+

Couple this with the fact many boys now go to the Grammars in Sutton it makes it hard for John Fisher to maintain the profile of it's intake, in the same way any independent school struggles when transferring to the state sector or a Grammar or other type of selective school would do.

I think if you are living in Croydon these days your only options are possibly the (Blair's!) Oratory in Fulham, one of the grammars in Sutton or possibly St Olave's (Kent). Only the Oratory is Catholic of course, but as stated is no longer selective. Good Catholic Indies would be Worth (at a huge financial cost) or Bishop Challoner (Bromley, around 10k a year).

Let me know if I can help.


surreydadcoolest Mon 14-Jan-13 13:50:38

As someone who attended The John Fisher School when it was very selective in the 90s I can confirm it was a fantastic school and full of bright articulate boys who wanted to learn in a pastoral & nurturing environment.

The school was renowned for its music, high academic achievement and prowess on the sports field. It was viewed as an alternative to independent schools and it's true that it was interviewing boys from all over the place as it could select boys from practically anywhere. In fact I subsequently went on to university with a boy who used to take a train from East Grinstead every day and numerous boys came from Kent having passed the religion test, interview and possibly some sort of music test or exam.

My son is only 3 so it really is pointless of me to comment as he won't be going to secondary school until 2021, but I would say there seem to be far less outstanding schools out there these days. For the masses at any rate.

AngelEyes46 Tue 15-Jan-13 20:44:13

My boys are at JF and are happy there (or as happy as year 9's could be!). I didn't really think about independent/private schooling as not really sure if I agree with it. DD at a RC all girls school and does seem to be more focused than the boys but is that the difference between girls and boys?

surreydadcoolest Wed 16-Jan-13 14:27:23

Angeleyes what is the school like today? I'm told there are many more boys from black and asian families and less prep school entrants in year 7.

AngelEyes46 Thu 17-Jan-13 22:35:55

My brother went in the 1990s and I have friends that went in the 80's. You're right that there are more boys from black and asian families now but it makes the school more diverse. There are less boys from the indi prep and PWB is probably correct in that they are choosing either Whitgift or Trinity. I know many families who have sent their DCs to RC primary schools but when it comes to senior school, sent their DS to independent but their DD to Coloma. Coloma seems to have maintained the 'old selection' whereas I don't think JF has. And we have to remember that schools should reflect the community that they are located in and Coloma doesn't do this. Private schools definitely do not but pleased to say that JF does.

Ladymuck Fri 18-Jan-13 10:05:49

"I'm told there are many more boys from black and asian families and less prep school entrants in year 7."

In fairness, I think that if you were to look at the boys at Whitgift and Trinity you would find a similar trend over the last two decades. Welcome to Greater London.

As an aside I see that the owners of Oakwood are now setting up a new Catholic independent boys secondary school, The Cedars, near Lloyds Park.

MordionAgenos Fri 18-Jan-13 10:28:00

@Angel Surely Coloma reflects the church community, just as it always did? Certainly in our day, what used to put people's noses out of joint was that they lived in nice big houses in Shirley and couldn't go to a school near them, while people like me from Waddon weren't forced to go to Haling Manor because of where we lived but were able to go to Coloma because that was the community we were part of........We always had people coming in from very far afield though, I remember that in your year there were people coming from Reigate and Streatham (especially after the merger with St Ann's) but they were there because they were Catholics, not because they were necessarily clever or posh....

AngelEyes46 Sat 19-Jan-13 22:17:21

Mordion - data from January 2011 - free schools meals:

St Joseph’s RC (boys) 10.2
Thomas More 17.3
Virgo Fidelis (girls) 12.1
St Mary’s Catholic High 19.9
Coloma 3.5

you and I (I know) are in agreement with faith schools (in principal) but these statistics speak volumes! Of course, I am delighted that my DD and DS's go to RC schools but should I be pleased that they are attending the 'better' ones?

MordionAgenos Sun 20-Jan-13 08:45:55

Coloma is 100% full of Catholics though, isn't it. I wonder if Thomas More and St Mary's still, even today, suffer frm being the 'ex secondary moderns' - ie people not wanting to apply there? Although Virgo Fidelis used to be really posh didn't it, in our day. Really really posh. Mind you I still maintain that if Coloma was using catchment area admission there would be fewer free school meals than now. It is after all situated in one of the poshest bits. That used to be the mean complaint - the people from Shirley not liking the people from Waddon (me) coming in on the bus every day to go to 'their' school.

What is st Phils free school meal percentage?

JakeBullet Sun 20-Jan-13 08:57:05

What a depressing thread...

"Parents not vetted by interview anymore".. God forbid you should have to mix with less privileged folk.
"More black and Asian boys" so shocked by this I am virtually speechless.

Lovely Catholic and may I say Christian sentiments. I am Catholic and would never select a school for my DS based upon some of the criteria which "matters" to some of the posters here. How sad.

JakeBullet Sun 20-Jan-13 08:58:24

Of course if I have got the wrong end of the stick here I apologise

surreydadcoolest Sun 20-Jan-13 11:09:35

Jake, what's all this? Are you trying to make a point?

No one on this thread is prejudice, only observing that many middle class boys go to the Croydon Independent schools instead of JF today or other schools (Olaves & Royal Russell). No one said anything about these black and asian boys and if they were prep schoolers or not.

Just go easy before jumping to conclusions.

idontgivearatsass Sun 20-Jan-13 11:22:33

Black and asian boys definitely not middle class only WASPs are. Great start to my Christian Sunday Morning. God bless you all.

littlecrystal Sun 20-Jan-13 14:25:49

Can I ask what's wrong with JF? That the children have some minorities or they come form working class rather middle class?
They still do well academically, by the way.
I find some of the comments very offending.

AngelEyes46 Sun 20-Jan-13 17:10:19

Mordion - I got the FSM data from a report about a prospective parent lodging an appeal with the adjudicators. The report concluded that Coloma's FSM and ESL should be higher so that it compared to other RC schools in Croydon. I'm not sure if I agree with you re: "if Coloma was using catchment area admission there would be fewer free school meals than now" as if that was the case, surely Thomas More would have lower FSM.

Surely, the fairest way to admit to RC schools would be the same as the normal state school, i.e. distance but practicing RC. In my opinion, the selective school should also follow this rule. For me, it would mean that my 3 children would be at Thomas More and I would therefore be promoting the community that I live in.

I understand that I haven't done this and perhaps if I was a braver person, I should have taken this route. However, you (and every other parent whose children are in year 6), knows it is not as easy as that.

Jake - interested to know - what criteria do you base on you choice?

Idontgivea - again interested to know - why are black and asian boys not middle class, and finally,

littlecrystal - I am very pleased with JF. I am happy that it is more diverse than in my brother's day (who was also a laylem lea boy). Is your ds at JF or are you thinking about it?

idontgivearatsass Sun 20-Jan-13 17:48:52

Angel - I am summarising the attitude that I am getting from surreydad! Surely not my view at all. He first said fewer prep school entrants and more black and Asian and then when challenged by Jack, he tried to backpeddle but only contradicted himself by saying middle class boys were going to independent while black and asians were going to RF. I was only left to conclude that black and asian cannot be middle class. Hence my post.

Now if you want my view on the matter, thank goodness it is more progressive, modern, open and diverse. Sorry if I caused you concern there!

MordionAgenos Sun 20-Jan-13 20:21:52

@angel the minute you start making distance the main determinant, you introduce selection by depth of pockets. And that's clearly completely inequitable especially when there is a croydon catholic parish which isn't actually served by a catholic secondary school (Waddon). I'd have no problem, if I still lived in Croydon, with not letting the kids from Caterham etc go to Coloma. I'd have a huge problem with adopting any system which disenfranchised the kids from Waddon. Since once upon a time, that was me.

penelopewellingtonbowes Mon 21-Jan-13 09:06:25

The problems is you have no middle class option in Croydon. Except for Coloma (girls only). So what you have seen from JF in recent years has been a white flight effect where those boys are going to Trinity, RR, Whitgift, Caterham and possibly some of the Sutton Grammars.

Shouldn't some young lads get a shot at going to a school like Coloma or JF (at least when it was exclusive) I just would not send any of my kids to a Catholic state school now except for Coloma or Oratory, possinlt Cardinal Vaughn.

littlecrystal Mon 21-Jan-13 10:19:30

I am speechless about pwb's comment. I'd like to make sure my children go to a more diverse school than selected by "middle class" definition.

pwb, I don't think you should even bother about catholic schools - why don't you go straight to indies if a middle class selective is above everything else.

Angel, my DS is in Y4. To be honest, I quite like Thomas More but it's considered not as good JF, and that rugby thing in JF bothers me a lot. DS is not sporty at all.

MordionAgenos Mon 21-Jan-13 11:02:58

I'd love the opportunity to send my kids to a catholic secondary school. Sadly, there are no catholic secondary schools in our LEA. sad

starlady Mon 21-Jan-13 13:53:22

pwb, are you for real? Or are you an atheist troll? Your views seem to be the antithesis of Catholic teaching. You give us RCs a bad name!!

My DH went to The Oratory in the 80's, you would have been shocked they let him in, as he is a) Asian, and b) FSM, living on a council estate.

CecilyP Mon 21-Jan-13 15:24:08

Shouldn't some young lads get a shot at going to a school like Coloma or JF (at least when it was exclusive)

You obviously think the wrong young lads get a shot of of going there - nice!

I just would not send any of my kids to a Catholic state school now except for Coloma or Oratory, possinlt Cardinal Vaughn.

So you wouldn't send your kids there because some other kids get a shot of going there and you do not like these kids?

MordionAgenos Mon 21-Jan-13 17:03:04

I grew up in a council flat. I went to Coloma. Looks like PWB will have to cross it off her 'acceptable' list.

AngelEyes46 Mon 21-Jan-13 21:38:53

PWB indeed comes out with some strange things. As other posters have said, surely what catholicity is about is sending your children to a catholic school - not about class. From other threads, I think she is inquiring for her grandchildren - I wonder if her grandchildren would be admitted to any RC school, i.e. do they attend mass, taken the sacraments etc or have they just been primed to give a good interview (which is illegal in state schools now anyway).

littlecrystal - I do understand what you are saying about Thomas More (although the results this year are fantastic). The onus on rugby is high in the beginning years at JF but it does settle down as your ds progresses.

JoanByers Tue 22-Jan-13 00:12:19

pwb hankers for the days when they would interview you to see if you were white enough for their school.

JakeBullet Tue 22-Jan-13 07:13:18

I apologise for my comments further bsck. Totally got the wrong end of the stick and shouldnt have posted what I did.

Someone asked what criteria I base my school choice on. It's "pastoral care" everytime as if they get that right then largely the rest falls into place if you have good teaching. My son's Catholic school has outstanding pastoral care and support. We are not in Croyden though and as DS was only baptized a year ago I doubt he'd get a place in a Catholic school there.

PWB .....perhaps my previous comments still apply where you are concerned.

surreydadcoolest Tue 22-Jan-13 10:27:43

We should all be careful about jumoing down PWBs throat what she says is wrong and her phraseology is a little bit out of date. But her heart is in the right place. This is something that young mums down at our local parish are actively discussing as in ''where do us Surrey parents send our kids when some of the schools we attended are no longer resembling the great schools they once were''.

On the whole racial thing I completely disagree with you PWB- but you are right to say that there has been a white flight. When I was at John Fisher out of the 100 boys selected I can remember 3 black boys, 5-6 asians and the rest were white. But this could have so much more to do with White English parents who were able to come across as more articulate, my parents were questioned about their professions and WMC people tend to be in 'higher-level' jobs. I'm not agreeing with all of these selection methods only saying that they were a feature of my school for ten years.

misscorkingdaleoftheshire Wed 23-Jan-13 10:06:44

In my life I have never seen such awful comments, so what if John Fisher is now a less selective, less exclusive school? If you really desire for your DS & DDs to attend highly selective schools then you will go for the Etons, The London Oratorys, the Colomas, The Winchesters, state or private there will always be selective schools to a greater or lesser degree.

Surreydad, just consider yourself lucky to have attended a selective school your parents did not have to pay for and everybody else just stop with all this nonsense!

GobnaitOlunasa Wed 23-Jan-13 14:01:39

I'm a bit confused re comments on the exclusivity of JF in the 90s; seems totally at odds with what I know about the school. Knew a guy who went there and he said that it was always considered a poor substitute for the London Oratory (he didn't get into the london Oratory as he didn't fulfill the catholicity element )

He never had to do an interview or prove mass attendance or any of that palaver to get in. Apparently it is really sought after now but not then.

Just to be clear, it is the John Fisher school in Purley that's being discussed, apologies if I'm barking up the wrong tree!

surreydadcoolest Wed 23-Jan-13 16:17:31

You definetely have the right school, but it's highly likely that your friend joined in 1990/91 or 99/2000 either side of the selection policy.

At the time the school was one of just a few highly selective Catholic schools which interviewed, tested or examined it's pupils and it was very oversubscribed, but since it ended its selection policy (and as you will no doubt have picked up from the previous posters on this thread) it is now no longer selective but still in relatively high demand.

On the London Oratory: it tended to have more London-boys and boys from Hertfordshire, Middlesex etc whereas John Fisher tended to interview and examine boys from further south (Surrey, some parts of Kent, East Sussex and South London) but of course there were boys from both schools who lived closer to one but still went to the other.

ercroydonmum Wed 23-Jan-13 16:25:05

Well 'Gobnait' I had my boys at Fisher's prep and he failed his interview and religion test for JF and we had to send him miles away to Worth (a Catholic Indie in Sussex)

This was a hugely stressful time for our family and my DS. I also know a number of boys who went to the London Oratory from Laleham Lea- to be quite honest both LO and John Fisher were highly selective and about at as bad as each other when it came to selecting its cohort.

Your friend either does not remember the interview or (as SurreyDad says) was there either side of the selection policy.

AngelEyes46 Wed 23-Jan-13 18:41:38

Not sure if this relates as to where this thread has moved onto but thought it may be interesting to share.

I asked my boys the percentage of black and asian in their year and they said about 20%. The school set and they span across the highest to the lowest sets fairly equally. When Surreydad attended JF it was 8% so although there has been an increase, there has been migration into Croydon.

It also may be true to say that if the same boys had applied back in the 'selection' period, they would have still got in!

idontgivearatsass Thu 24-Jan-13 15:44:29

Angel - Very good point

surreydadcoolest Mon 28-Jan-13 18:17:37

Look a lot of what is being written is here is irrelevant to the school back then. All the John Fisher selection policy did was offer 200 Catholic parents from the the SE the chance to get their kids into a great school on the basis of ability or interview selection at the end of what was a long and arduous selection process.

If you have a Catholic school with a 100 or so places up for grabs and 300-500 boys applying, their applications being screened and then the final 2-300 being interviewed- well... you were left with a very good crop of young boys.

What it did was provide parents with a degree of choice about whether to send their kids to super-selective faith schools like Fisher and Oratory, as well as the Tiffins and Sutton Grammars or to Whitgift and Trinity or other independents. There were boys from good families or musically gifted boys for that matter from some rough parts of London and SE and they were given the chance at a good education.

We go to church close to Reigate and believe me there isn't the choice on offer these days, with the lack of highly selective faith schools save for Coloma and Oratory as previously discussed some parents are starting to put their boys into prep schools in the hope of a Grammar school place or scholarship to an independent.

A number of girls are applying to Coloma for 2013 entry this autumn from Reigate so I imagine the competition will be fierce for LO & Coloma as usual- Coloma still offer scholarships at 11 and 16+

AngelEyes46 Tue 29-Jan-13 20:13:02

Surreydad - as far as I know Coloma doesn't offer scholarships, in fact, up to this year (2013 intake), their admission criteria was tiered, i.e. you gained more points if your DD was baptised under 6 months, then a year, then 18 months. This year, they have stipulated to under 6 months and any dd over 6 months comes down to distance. They have also taken away the criteria as to what you/your dd does for the church and wider community. They admit 150 so if there are 151 that apply with under 6m baptism distance will apply. I am sure that they will go out as far as Reigate assuming that the dd has been baptised under 6m but distance definitely plays a bigger part in their admission.

With you living in Reigate, I have heard many good reports on St Bede's and some of my friends DCs go there (and are delighted with it). Has St Bede's been talked about in your circle?

surreydadcoolest Wed 30-Jan-13 08:05:07

see link above, this is the music scholarship Coloma offers some of it's girls at 11+ and 16+.

Bede's is a good school in a nice part of the world; it was obviously never on par with JF or Coloma when they were selective schools but it is now certainly a match for JF. Some parents still send their boys from Redhill, Reigate and other parts of Surrey to John Fisher if they want single sex education.

On Coloma, I remember a friend's sister who used to travel from Brighton to get to Coloma every day.

AngelEyes46 Wed 30-Jan-13 22:55:28

I am amazed! I thought Coloma accepted girls who are non RC at 6th form but not at year 7. Looking on the link, I think a year 7 applicant would still need to meet the 'normal' admission criteria though.

When I went to Coloma there were girls travelling from all over the country but that was when they selected. Distance will play a much greater role due to the criteria being so diluted.

Bede's/JF/Coloma - all good schools with good results.

surreydadcoolest Thu 31-Jan-13 10:15:34

AngelEyes were you at Coloma when they were selecting by exam or by interview?

I'm actually interested in what an earlier poster said to PWB about her 'hankering for the old days' I have an idea for a new thread based on this, so watch this space!

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 31-Jan-13 21:17:56

@Angel I've namechanged recently but you will guess who I am. We had one girl join in the 4th year who wasn't a catholic. Other than that, until the 6th form, I can't think of anyone who wasn't. In fact, the non Catholics at St Ann's had to leave when the merger happened. IIRC there was a girl in the W form (after you all changed when St Ann's merged) who lived in Brixton, and one who joined your year in the 4th year who lived in Reigate (one of the singers). Actually, thinking about it, there was one other girl who joined your year in the 4th year who wasn't catholic, I think she specifically joined for the music plus she had just moved to the area. But other than that it was pretty much all catholic all the way.

qumquat Sat 02-Feb-13 18:35:22

I've found this thread pretty shocking. It seems that what most people here want is a selective school, not a Catholic school, with ideally as few non whites and non middle class students as possible. I teach in a Catholic comprehensive school where 50% of the students are black, and there's a state Grammar school down the road - I imagine if you lived in my area you would suddenly become less attached to Catholic education . . .

ercroydonmum Sun 03-Feb-13 13:22:49

Gumquat I completely agree, posters like PWB and her type want a return to some of the selection policies schools like John Fisher operated during the 90s or others like The Oratory did until very recently.

As a mother who failed to gain admission to JF I know it can be frustrating but over the passage of time you realise how selective schooling is unfair. We opted for an Indie in the end having failed to secure a place at JF: but if I could have my time over I would consider sending him to a lesser school like Thomas More.

Just consider how selective and unfair JF was in its admissions: the school banned any applicants from putting any of the grammars in neighbouring Sutton or any other schools as first choice, Fisher did not want to be anyone's back-up, it was taking boys from many miles away over Catholic boys living just a few minutes from the school. And the interviews were disgraceful, okay there was some 'catholicity' element to them, I recall some religion-based questions for sure, but most of the interview was contrived to see how well suited my DS was to the homework regime, what we were like as parents, what my child's interests were, how he felt he could contribute to the school.

Also (although I cannot prove this!) I suspect the school was looking at DS's SAT scores and judging boys on aptitude. Laleham Lea (Fisher's Indi Prep) was highly successful in getting boys into Fisher and making the most of the boys in their reports.

So that's interview selection tick, parental selection on socio-economic grounds tick, selection based on previous school attended tick. angry

Let's hope we never go back to selective faith schools.

Personally, I will rejoice when state funded faith schools are abolished.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 03-Feb-13 14:28:27

@Not I suggest you take the plank out of your own eye before worrying about the mote in others. Trinity is a far bigger blight on the education provision in Croydon than Coloma or Fisher.

I suggest you learn to read, Russians. If you could, you will notice that I said state funded. I don't expect anyone else to pay for my child's selective education, why should the state pay for a faith based education?

IMO any form of education selected on faith should be only available in the fee-paying sector. ie not state funded. State schools should be open to all.

BTW, I'm delighted you took the time to find out where my sons go to school. Tell me, being excluded from any of the faith schools and having a free choice, which would you go for: Trinity or Quest? Personally, I wasn't prepared to gamble my child's future on Quest - maybe you feel differently.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 03-Feb-13 16:56:24

It's well known that your kids go to trinity. You are all over the trinity threads every year! And so rude as well. Typical private school parent really. Buying privilege for yourself while peddling the lie that Catholics don't contribute to their schools - both Coloma and Fisher were founded and built by Catholics. The state wanted to bring them in to the system. The state probably couldn't afford to buy the land. The state gets the use of that land for free. Catholics have to pay 10% of the funding for their schools even though catholic parents pay as much tax (in my case, more) as other people.

surreydadcoolest Sun 03-Feb-13 18:14:44

I think what RussiansOnTheSpree wants is a selective school and Trinity provides that, she may well have been happy with JF or Coloma when they were interviewing parents about their occupations and their sons hobbies and interests!

AngelEyes46 Sun 03-Feb-13 18:48:06

Surreydad - she doesn't. On other threads she has said that she would love a faith school but where she lives there isn't one. I'm sure she sends her DCs to grammar but could afford to go indi.

I feel for ercroydonmum because her ds would get in now and she is no less catholic than she was then! There isn't that type of selection now (thank the lord) and to put the cat among the pigeons, I personally don't agree with indi schools anyway. It upsets the equilibrium and doesn't give a true picture of the community you live in.

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