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City girls senior school internal problems??

(20 Posts)
Pearlington Fri 09-Feb-18 08:12:12

We noticed in the CLSG school magazine that twelve staff members were leaving. Then last night I heard that only 3 out of 4 forms in one year were getting regular science lessons then the other class had catch up lessons once that particular staffing crisis was over. Does anyone know what's going on there? Very significant consideration on results day for those of us considering this as a serious school option.

Sunbabies Tue 13-Feb-18 00:43:05

Also, was it not very weird that the Registrar left halfway through admission process? The busiest part of probably the whole year's work?
Frankly, going through this process with CLSG, I've found them to be not very responsive ("the best way to reach us is through email", however, my 2 emails were never replied including one for applying for scholarship audition) anda then when the offer letter came through, they added a very "cold" & "pressuring" clause about when they reached a requisite number of acceptances, they can make you on the waiting list (despite being offered a place!). Not morally nor ethically right and wondered whether this is a peek of how things are being run by the new head?! So perplexing!

LondonUSAmum Tue 13-Feb-18 03:28:08

The registrar left half way through the admissions process? Do you know if it was unexpected? I wondered why emails were delayed. I was told by the school it was due to an unexpected inspection and then staff illnesses. My DD loves the school and really wants to accept the offer she received. But the chaotic feel to the application process was less than impressive and that coupled with the rumours? of large number of staff leaving make me worried.

Pradaqueen Tue 13-Feb-18 05:51:34

Current CLSG parent here. Exceptionally happy with the school. If you want your DD to be independent and to learn in an environment where fulfilling your potential in whatever field you are interested in is important, accept the place. To put your mind at rest, A couple of points:
1. The original registrar left at the end of the Summer term 2017, she left to take up a more Senior position elsewhere. As I am not in the process, I cannot comment on her replacement as I have no contact experience.
2. My DD receives all of her timetabled science lessons. I have not heard of any year not receiving enough science?
3. The 'exploding offer' has been used by City for the past few years. If you have an offer and it is your first choice school, accept the place without delay, it is not a bluff! Over-offering is commonplace in all schools so city is no exception as indeed are exploding offers. The clause is there to be unambiguous so parents understand the process clearly. There was a whole thread last year about this..... the offer method I think is probably designed to discourage parents from holding onto offers at City whilst also holding onto offers from several other schools. At some point a decision has to be made, and really all research should have been complete before sitting the entrance exam, not post. From what I can see, that means that the year group is made up of girls where city was their first choice, not 'back up'. I would also observe that a large cohort of girls are geographically closer to the school in my DD's year, which I think also was encouraged by an exploding offer. This does make it easier to socialise outside of school.
4. Teachers retire, get promotions all of the time. I wouldn't read too much into it. The teachers I have met are inspiring and committed and enthusiastic in their field of knowledge.

The school values the arts very heavily alongside academic ability, so if you have a very musical/artistic/dramatist child, it is a great destination to fulfil that side too.

HTH! Good luck to you making your choices.

Sunbabies Tue 13-Feb-18 07:40:16

Thanks Pradaqueen for your helpful insight!

Pradaqueen Tue 13-Feb-18 07:58:42

I am sorry your experience didn't match my own. One of the reasons we chose City was the communication and the process was very efficient. It would appear that Isn't yours.

Re:inspection, I can confirm that as parents we also were told that the school was subject to an unexpected ISI inspection. From memory they received 24 hours notice at one of the busiest times for them which must have been stressful. They passed with flying colours.

Re: the 'new' head - she has been in place for three years and was a deputy head before. She is really fantastic, speaks three languages, teaches the girls, and above all, is visible. She really manages the welfare of the girls carefully and thoughtfully which is really paramount where bright girls with perfectionist tendencies can often develop issues. , as parents there are forums we can attend with really interesting speakers about raising young people. Homework levels are sensible and for year 7, the second week sees them go off on a residential where they get to know each other outside of the school environment- which of course is new and unfamiliar to them all. This above all, I feel helped by my DD really settle in given that aside from the prep girls, very few girls arrive with someone else from their primary school.

That said, the school expects parents to trust them to know what they are doing with their children so although you can easily communicate with staff, the girls are expected to manage most issues independently- I forgot my homework/kit/instrument.

AveEldon Tue 13-Feb-18 08:02:57

Teachers leaving mid year (unless on maternity leave) would concern me
End of the school year not so much

The admissions process was dire this year - emails unanswered, phone unanswered, voicemail box full

Sunbabies Tue 13-Feb-18 10:40:37

Pradaqueen,

Many thanks. I really needed to know more about the "new" head and that's reassuring to us knowing that DD will be in good hands and we've made the right decision, because from some other forums here, it seemed the over-offers and all the "exploding" admission started fairly recently (perhaps in 2016/17) and frankly it's not putting them in the best of light when you have to demote an offer to waiting list. Perhaps managing this aspect better (ie not to over-offer by that many) would have been fairer. Yes city is a great school but there are really other considerations for other parents, not as a back-up but rather, for example having an offer of scholarship from another nearer school which is just as good on the league table, etc which was something we needed more time to consider. Yes I've visited the other schools but my DD had wanted to go for their taster holders day to get to know the school and staff even better.

Anyway, decision had been made and I have no regrets now. Moving on to new beginnings! I've also emailed them about a "travel buddy", hopefully there's a senior girl coming from SE

Pradaqueen Tue 13-Feb-18 10:58:38

Ahh good to hear sunbabies! Yes my understanding is that less over offers were made this year as last year all offers were taken up really rapidly. Good luck with the travel buddies, my own DD ended up taking a slightly different route than the one we envisaged originally. She is really happy with the choice of people she can travel with. You'll also have a welcome picnic before the girls start which is a great ice breaker for families. PM me if you need any further info!

LondonUSAmum Tue 13-Feb-18 13:12:23

Well, the school has already withdrawn its offers as they full. Ridiculous.

LondonUSAmum Tue 13-Feb-18 13:21:19

Apologies for typos and early post. Ridiculous meaning not even three full business days to accept and when the revisit day is not in Feb 20 seems a bit much to me. We are disappointed but we were reluctantly leaning towards another school anyway but were really hoping to visit the school again on Feb 20th and ask a couple of very specific questions. And reaching the school via phone or email proved impossible throughout this process, in person was the only option. They did phone me once to apologise for the awful handing of the scholarship interviews but it all leads to me worry a bit.

But as brutal as it is I guess their admin process does work as they get their numbers and fast.

LondonUSAmum Tue 13-Feb-18 13:23:19

Pradaqueen, thank you for your insider information. Very helpful and wonderful to hear your daughter is thriving. This may feel like the one that got away from us. Or maybe it was meant to be.

Sunbabies Tue 13-Feb-18 16:19:08

LondonUSAmum, I concur and have also experienced the same in regards to a very chaotic admission process. And yes they should have allowed parents to go for a taster holders day so prospective girls can visit again and all more specific questions, before being "rushed" to accept the offer within 3 days. Which school would you end up with? I'm sure it's a very good school nonetheless. In any case, good luck to your DD in her future school.

schoolmadness2016 Tue 13-Feb-18 18:43:24

I was frankly very surprised by the communication with prospective parents from
City ( 7+ assessment ). Can echo the experiences above regarding shocking lack of communication or empathy from staff. I am sure the school is fabulous - but so are dozens of others in London - so I was definitely put off .

Pradaqueen Tue 13-Feb-18 18:59:58

LondonUSAmum - so sorry to hear of your experience. Even though the over-offer numbers were lower, it would appear that the places have filled as quickly as in previous years. I do hope you are happy with your choice of school, but bear in mind there will always be one or two families who accept the place and pay the deposit whilst waiting for HB offers/grammar offers on national offer day for state secondary. It may be that the waiting list moves so don't rule it out if. I can honestly say your experiences as described on this thread could not be further than ours. I do wish you and your DD all the best wherever she accepts.

MN164 Wed 14-Feb-18 16:56:37

The school chooses the exploding offer system for it's own convenience. That told me everything we needed to know when we got our offer. We let it explode and went somewhere that put the pupil's decision process ahead of it's own needs.

WombatChocolate Wed 14-Feb-18 21:08:54

The thing is, it does put the pupils they will have and the school first - simply not all of the others who are vaguely interested and not willing to commit quickly.
The school gains a cohort of people who are absolutely set on the school and doesn't need to go to WL which would otherwise be necessary - resulting in having some people who by then may accept as they didn't get their first choice or the school has to go lower down the waiting list making the school have a wider ability range. For the students in the school it is probably a positive move.
Sucking up to the many hundreds of prospective parents, many of whom are never serious about City but just want more and more places for security, just isn't their key concern. And they are popular enough to be able to do this and fill so fast. They don't need to do this pandering to parents who can't get heir acts together to visit and make their choices in advance.
In the end I think the timescales might just be shifting a bit and people will need to get a move on and not think sitting on multiple offers for 3 weeks, which really isn't needed, is okay. This idea that people have a right to ages to choose once they have their offers is daft because it impacts negatively on other families and the schools themselves. When schools are less popular then they have to indulge the parents more, but here there is simply no need.
The only people I do feel for in all of this are those who really would go to City if they didn't get their state school choice.

sothatdidntwork Thu 15-Feb-18 08:52:16

i've said this on the other thread, but one thing that occurs to me is that at the moment the 3 weeks seems to be to fit in with the state school offers day. So one answer might be to make the private school offers on the same day as state schools - so that those for whom private is a back up don't have to make a decision without full information.

Bekabeech Thu 15-Feb-18 15:48:42

i've said this on the other thread, but one thing that occurs to me is that at the moment the 3 weeks seems to be to fit in with the state school offers day.

But if you got a great State school offer - you could except that and turn down CLGS? You might lose one terms fees (and a deposit) but you'd still make a massive saving over 5/7 years?

sothatdidntwork Fri 16-Feb-18 09:24:11

Yes that's true you would bekabeech. pp have pointed out on the other thread though that the amounts involved are still a large amount to lose for many families - which is why those people have perhaps in the past waited until state school offer day to decide. If all offers were made on the same date then families could make a fully informed decision sooner. Which in turn would mean schools could turn to their waiting lists sooner.
(Actually it would all be later, as it would be put back to 1 March - state school offer day - but sooner in the process iyswim!)

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