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Just Moved to Isle of Wight

(6 Posts)
Mumoniow Wed 31-Aug-11 17:42:28

Can anyone give me a guideline on what schools to go for, we have just moved to West Cowes and have 4 children that need school places. The Years we are looking for are years 1, 4, 6 and secondary year 7.
It has made it much harder to check out schools due to the restructuring.
Would really appreciate some advice! Many thanks in advance

Dysgu Wed 31-Aug-11 18:32:02

I also live in Cowes and I am a teacher. The reorganisation is finally reaching completion so from tomorrow (!) we now only have primary schools for Reception to Year 6 and then all the 'old' high schools have become academies.

I imagine for your Year 7 child, Cowes Enterprise College is probably the obvious place to start. All the new schools are untried or tested but promising great things. The alternatives would probably be Carisbrooke and Medina - the new Head at Carisbrooke has been in place since June and has already done a lot of sorting things out! The County Press last week published results for A levels to give you an idea of how the high schools achieved - GCSEs will be published on Friday. If you have done your research, you will already know that results here are not great by a long margin!

Ryde School is the private school and a possibility that we consider for our DDs when they reach secondary level.

Within Cowes, at least now you can hope to get your other three DCs into one school although places in Cowes Primary, Northwood or Gurnard may be limited - you will have to check. We only have priority areas here on the island rather than catchment areas so that can make a difference, and it may depend on where in town you have moved to.

Northwood and Gurnard primaries are very good, village schools. Lots of people from town send their children there. Gurnard will be on split sites for a while before it all moves to the old Solent Middle School site on Baring Road. Until then, Gurnard and Northwood would probably require you to drive your DCs to schools, depending on where you live.

Northwood has a new, young head who has brought it lots of great ideas to what was already a good school. Gurnard has an excellent head who has been there for a long time and the school has always been well-thought of. Its new deputy head was previously head at Solent Middle.

Cowes has also recently had a new head - she will just be starting her third year there tomorrow. The deputy was recently announced too. They have a very active 'club' scene with lots of gardening, school goats, chickens and fresh meals provided by a private catering company and proper crockery! Standards, again, like Northwood and Gurnard are good.

I have left Love Lane - newly named as Lanes End - until last. If the other schools are full then this is the under-subscribed school. Historically it has struggled but I think it is now really going places. After too many different heads in too short a time, they have now had the previous head of Cowes Primary in place for the past year in a permanent position. She is really bringing a creative atmosphere to the school, getting parents involved and I think, personally, that this school may well turn out great. I appreciate that this may not be your first choice of school but to feel that, if it is the school you get, then it will not be a bad thing IYKWIM!

Last year all school apart from Love Lane were over subscribed. Love Lane is now 2-form entry which makes a difference to the allocation of places too, I imagine.

For Faith schools, Christ the King College (CKC) is the secondary school for you and has a catchment of the whole island - is was formed from the fairly recent amalgamation of two Middle Schools (Catholic and CE) and has moved solely to Year 7 onwards.

Holy Cross Catholic Primary is in East Cowes - don't know much about it but is small and friendly!

For the nearest CE, I think you are probably looking at Newport CE Primary - which again, I don't know too much about but it is very well thought of locally and I have heard lots of (only) good things about it from working in a school nearby!

Sorry for the essay but thought I would just give you some ideas - as a parent and as a teacher.

Good luck in finding places for your DCs, I hope you are enjoying living here on the island - feel free to ask if you have other questions - we have been here since 2005 and now have 2DCs.

Mumoniow Thu 01-Sep-11 11:22:51

Thank you so much for your advice, I have just applied for 3 places at Cowes Primary and 1 place at Cowes Enterprise College. All within walking distance. I believe the only place available for year 1 currently is Love Lane, and on viewing from outside was dismayed. I'm still not 100% sure what to do, I was considering home schooling the 5 year old until a place at another school became available, but the information you have given regarding the head at Love Lane, to be slightly reassuring. I think I would have to visit the school once the children return next week to get a better picture.
Many thanks for taking the time to help me, I truly appreciate it.

Dysgu Thu 01-Sep-11 14:16:02

Now that you have made your choices, I will own that DD1 will be starting at Cowes Primary in Reception and that I used to teach there.

Yes, I imagine that you would feel that way from the outside of Love Lane - although they are moving to the old Somerton Middle School site when it is ready for the younger children. Inside the building is MUCH better - we seriously did consider it for DD1 as I really think it is going to become really good. A lot of new changes were brought in last year.

It might be worth you giving them a call - I know for a fact that the Y1 teacher is in this week, for example, as she is a friend, so I should think the head or deputy will probably be around to give you a quick tour!.

For simplicities sake, you might still prefer to keep your youngest child on the waiting list at Cowes Primary so that you have them all there together. However, I would say - if the logistics of the school run work and the start and finish times at the two schools are different - see how your DC gets on at Love lane/Lanes End. (We also considered HE for our DDs - and still would if school does not work out for them but unless that is your preference, I would say to give Love Lane a try and at least call up and have a look round and meet the management team.)

Good luck

Mumoniow Sat 03-Sep-11 11:34:17

Thank you again, as soon as I saw your message we all went down to Love Lane and met with the head teacher, (who seems lovely). We had a tour of the school which we thought was lovely and bright, and I was pleased to hear of the small class sizes (possibly due to them being unable to fill the places) but all in all, I was pleasantly surprised and quite reassured. After such a success at that school, we then went and had a quick tour of Cowes Primary and have now met up with the Vice Principal at Cowes Enterprise college. Can't believe how relaxed the system is here, although I had only just applied online they have all assured me of places, given me all the relevant paperwork, I already have a lot of the school uniform and have all said see you on the first day of term. They have said they won't probably hear from the admissions till near the end of September. I think I will have to get used to such a laid back way of doing things!
Many thanks for your all help and advice, good luck to your daughter on her first day at Cowes Primary!

Dysgu Sat 03-Sep-11 22:23:14

Glad it has all worked out well for you and that you went to have a look at the school and are feeling reassured.

I think we have quite a lot of 'movement' into/out of and between schools here so can imagine the system is used to being flexible - on the other hand, there are always the 'odd' things that make the newspaper!

Hope all your children settle quickly into their new schools and everything goes well for you all.

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