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Claremont Fan Court school

(15 Posts)
bella5400 Tue 10-Mar-15 15:45:52

I Just had a really horrible 11 + experience with my daughter. They threw out 20% of the school year with any sign of difficulties even though they had been teaching them for the last few years! They were oversubscribed this year and so all the kids that weren't super bright had to go! Very horrible atmosphere also after the Daily Mail article today. Headmaster very arrogant so I cannot imagine he dealt with that well! They were happy to have all the kids before they got popular , so you will be fine if your kid ticks all the boxes. Shame as the facilities are great.

Waitingandhoping2015 Tue 10-Mar-15 18:31:43

I've always wondered how they manage to fill places. Everyone I know sees them as the last choice banker, that if you fail to get in anywhere else then you get into Claremont. I've known umpteen boys over the last 5 years get an offer from them only to reject it in favour of somewhere else - as we did 5 years ago!

papalazaru Tue 10-Mar-15 21:40:19

I have also heard that they were a lot more selective with this year's intake. It's a shame for the prep school kids coming up but I've heard it with a number of schools in the area that their prep kids won't have an easy transition. Waiting - I hope you didn't mean to sound so arrogant as the OP clearly didn't have success with their place.

bella5400 Wed 11-Mar-15 07:46:29

I think that has been the traditional pattern bright kids go somewhere else. However there is a market for the Middle ground and that is why we chose them . However Insall Reid is trying to make it into a Kingston grammar and so the poor kids that have been in the school for years now have to go. They fail to recognise that they failed to get them up to speed . It is so hard to have a child publicly fail at 11.
The worse thing is the prep school have no influence on the senior school and so they promise things they can't deliver.

TeddTess Wed 11-Mar-15 11:43:04

with all the excellent primaries in the area honestly what is the point of these preps if they can't get the kids into the senior schools? i thought that's what you paid prep fees for?

bella5400, where is your dc going to go? do you have an alternative?

TeddTess Wed 11-Mar-15 11:48:32

so did they wait for all the acceptance deposits to come in and then got rid of 20% from the prep?

Waitingandhoping2015 Wed 11-Mar-15 11:53:23

Yes sorry wasn't trying to sound arrogant at all, just pointing out the facts of how the school has always been perceived, the 'traditional pattern' as bella says.

It sounds absolutely shocking that they can do this to you and I hope you have an alternative. The school has failed completely in what it is meant to be, i.e. to prep-are children for the next stage. Absolutely shocking. You should ask for your money back!

castlesintheair Wed 11-Mar-15 13:05:17

That is quite shocking. I am sorry for you OP and your DD. Do you have an alternative school for her? I have heard many stories of prep school children getting no 11+ places anywhere this year and others not making the transition like yours. I really do not know what is going on in SW London/Surrey at the moment.

trader21c Thu 12-Mar-15 19:04:58

I'm sorry to hear this OP too - it's a shame the school can't stand by its kids that it's invested all this time in teaching. What are you going to do? I am sure you will find a good alternative.

Poisonwoodlife Fri 13-Mar-15 14:40:36

It is absolutely shocking and I feel for you and your DD. I have over the years known a number of parents who felt dissatisfied that the less selective 4/7 to 16/18 schools failed to prepare their children for the selective schools at 11+, you could assume an implicit aim of hanging on to their pupils right through, or more charitably that their school was one that aimed to avoid that sort of pressure, and if parents had chosen that ethos in the first place then it is fair enough to expect them to live with it, I am guessing from what you say you would not /did not have a problem with that. Traditionally Claremont Fan would have been one of those schools.

At the same time I have also known parents who had DCs in the preps for the more selective schools moan when they were told, sometimes after the 11+, their DCs were not going to be offered places in the senior schools. LEH used to make all their pupils sit the entrance exam so that although they had been made aware it was a possibility,it still came as a shock. As a result of parent dissatisfaction they now I believe have done away with the requirement to sit 11+ and pupils who are not going to be offered a place know well in advance, and can't really complain, they knew from the start a senior school was not guaranteed.

The problem is that you and your DD seem to have been hit with a double whammy, a prep school that didn't prepare them and / or didn't warn you that the Senior School was becoming more selective and might not be a possibility. Of course they will say that they had brighter applicants and it is true that some pupils might simply not have been bright enough to get into the increasingly selective senior school (and should have been warned ) but 20% were not bright enough to get to Claremont Fan? From it's Prep School? it sounds very much as if the preparation and / or selection process was at least part of the problem? It would be interesting to see what proportion don't get into the Senior School from St George's Junior School, another school that decided to ditch some of it's Junior School pupils in the relentless quest to become more academically selective but they at least They did / do it in full consultation with parents.

It would also be interesting to know how they designed their selection process, the most selective schools, like LEH, are looking for evidence of ability and personal qualities, not preparation, so it isn't first past the post. From having been on the inside of a successful Prep sometimes they surprise the Preps and offer places to pupils who would not come that far up in a race of attainment because though they are able they are not accurate, but have particular areas of talent. Creativity, lateral thinking etc are valued as much as accuracy.

I think Teddtess is wrong therefore, these schools are all looking for pupils with certain levels of ability who are right for their school. No amount of prepping is going to make a square peg fit a round hole. The added value of Prep Schools should be that they prepare children to pass the exam for the school that is right for them, and know the schools well enough to give sound advice on that. You obviously were let down.

I would now make very clear to the Governors of both Prep and Senior School how you feel about the level of communication, preparation etc. and how poorly it compares with practise at other schools, like St George's, LEH , you may know other parents who can brief you on the process in other schools, At least you can hope they can address the issues for the next set of parents.

It seems as though the schools that traditionally met the needs of those that did not do well in the 11+ for whatever reason are a shrinking breed. Are you in reach of St Catherine's? I am hearing of a lot of their offers being rejected. Worth getting in touch with all the less selective schools, including Surbitons which increased its year group. What has happened this year may be the result of the able pupils applying to more schools so places may still keep coming up, waiting lists exhausted even.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Fri 13-Mar-15 15:47:48

OP I understand completely why you would chose to send your DD to a lovely small nurturing prep school sitting in 100 acres with fantastic facilities where traditionally DCs have gone straight through to the senior school. I, like I expect most people, though it was a straight through 3-18 school and am surprised that they are not guaranteeing senior school places for the younger children.

I agree with Poison that you should write to the governors, but if you live anywhere locally you will know not to quote St Georges as an example, StG has by far the worst local reputation for chucking out particularly for children with SENs - a reputation it seems to nurture and take pride in as if it in some way makes the school more desirable. SHS is a better example because they do offer a guaranteed senior school place but will advise whether it's suitable and advise against if it isn't, advice most parents follow.

I hope you have a school place for September, have you looked at Notre Dame? The prep head has taken over the whole school now and he seems to be really shaking things up, if not Manor House run buses through Esher and surrounding areas. Similarly Box Hill run buses throughout the area.

Good Luck and I do feel for you, you made the right choice 7 years ago and a change of head has changed everything.

Poisonwoodlife Fri 13-Mar-15 16:57:36

cake My DD has SEN, she wasn't from the Junior School, but she applied for St Georges, with full details disclosed along with the Ed Psych report. They gave her extra time in the entrance exams and she was offered a place. I would not have applied if I had not been satisfied that they were positive both about SEN and with providing support. She didn't go there, in fact somewhere more selective but I know DCs who have gone there with SEN and done well.

I think you have to distinguish between junior schools that guarantee a senior school place like SHS and ones that do not and make it clear that a standard has to be reached / it is competitive entry, which are actually the majority of the more selective eg St Georges, Putney High, LEH. It is painful for parents whose children do not get a place but they can't really complain if a school decides to set a higher entry bar if it is open about it and honours promises made to parents when their DCs joined. I have heard a lot of complaints at schools like St George's, Ibstock (where the allegation of discrimination against pupils with SEN are well founded, The Head is open about it) who are openly trying to be more selective on ability / academic but they are being open with parents at least.

The issue here is that OP feels misled, and her child not adequately prepared, which is what she should raise with the Governors.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Fri 13-Mar-15 18:00:30

I agree the OP should definitely make a complaint, Claremont is very much viewed as a straight through school .

I have heard awful stories from StG parents which is a RC school and it is sad to be reading that Claremont, a christian science school, is heading the same way. Both these schools will claim to have a strong Christian ethos and I am not sure how they reconcile this with their admissions policy.

Txesko Wed 13-Apr-16 18:53:37

We are on the application process for Claremont and thought it was a fantastic school. We have three kids (ages 14, 11, and 10) that we plan to enrol. Some posts left us questioning some of the policies. We are quite confused so some experience from other mums will help us significantly....

qwerty2016 Wed 20-Apr-16 12:34:44

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

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