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St Margaret's of Lee school - Catchment and what do you think of it?

(12 Posts)
angel1976 Wed 13-Apr-11 22:58:48

Hi all,

I'm new on this forum as DH and I are currently buying a house in the Lee Conservation area (we will be near the top bit iykwim). Head is spinning with primary schools, DS1 is 3 and will start reception next year, part of the reason we are moving. We were originally looking at Brindishe but catchment area is tiny (was told today by Lewisham Council the catchment is 135 metres!) so knew it was rather unrealistic to base our whole house search on that. Also, one small reservation (from walking around outside the school and Ofsted report) is the lack of outdoor space. DS1 is very active and needs 'exercising' grin). Then we widened our search area and started looking at St Margaret's of Lee. Will be visiting the school when we actually move but not yet. The school looks good on paper (mostly 2s in Ofsted report but quite a few 1s too) and we have spoken to a few people who have kids there who seem to like it.

The house we will be buying is about 350 metres from the school (as the crow flies). Lewisham couldn't give me the catchment this year as the lady I spoke to said as it's a parish school, the admissions was done by the school itself. My questions are:

1. Those who have kids in there at the moment, do you like the school and why? What is the outdoor space like?

2. Those whose children were admitted this year, how far do you live from the school and are you church-goers? (You can use this website to gauge 'as the crow flies' distance: http://www.freemaptools.com/distance-between-uk-postcodes.htm)

Many thanks!

Ax

VictoriaE Fri 20-May-11 20:29:06

I don't have kids there, but it has a great reputation locally. good outside space, though alas not much green space (not much around here - although Manor House Gardens makes up for it .. lots of after school running around to tire out your DS1). John Ball has excellent reports. My DS1 starts school next year too - be warned, I hear from many mums that they didn't get any schools on their lists. Schools v oversubscribed here. But don't let that put you off - it's a great area to live! Good luck

angel1976 Thu 26-May-11 22:27:39

Hi VictoriaE, Thanks for the heads-up. We are still waiting to exchange on our house purchase. Argh!!!!!! John Ball has been very highly recommended by everyone I speak to (and I have friends with kids there) but I really don't think we will make the catchment despite it being a bigger school. But St Margaret's sounds very good so far too. Thank you, we will pay a visit if and when our purchase completes!

fapl Tue 31-May-11 22:25:25

Hate to break this to you, there is info in the Lewisham starting school booklet available on their website about previous admissions. Furthest away child admitted was 243m. There were 4 admitted on the grounds of being committed members of St Margarets, 14 siblings, then only 12 open places available. Up to 10 places are there for members of St Margarets church, so are you interested in finding the faith? Trinity School which looks like it is likely to be really turning around want to open a primary on the old Ennersdale School site on Leahurst Road, it might not be open for 2012 though. Are you in the parish boundry for St Winifred's and be happy to baptise you kid? Otherwise it looks like your most likely option might be Lee Manor (but I don't know exactly where you are though). If you are not religious you might want to pray anyway there aren't too many siblings at St Margaret's.

Just checked previous year 19 kids got offered places on home to school distance and the distance was 303m. Cross your fingers they will take on a bulge class? Also, as Lee Manor and Brindishe had bulge classes this year that will probably effect distances because of etxra siblings next year. I wouldn't be surprised if there were any non siblings getting into Brindishe, or very few.

angel1976 Sat 04-Jun-11 22:19:31

Hi fapl, we just exchanged on our house so too late! grin We are on top of the conservation area, near Lee High Road, so technically St Margaret's is the nearest one to us. I plan to visit all the schools though before we make our final decision. Might consider going to church too when we move but I don't think that will make a difference as I think most churches will need at least 2 years of attendance before you are considered to be in the 'parish' but hey, it's worth a try, DH is CoE anyway... St Winifred's is only an infant school so not keen on that. I am not hoping at all for Brindishe as I found out that this year, the distance was 136m, which is ridiculous, you might as well set up camp in the school backyard! Lots to think about but I think we will move first before we worry about this!

fapl Sun 05-Jun-11 15:54:15

Ordinarily I think the school you would most likely got into would be Lee Manor. They have their summer fair on Sunday the 12th of June I think, so you might like to double check their website and go along to it. (I don't know your exact distance from the school though)

Just double checked admissions criteria for St Margarets, and it seems the religious admissions criteria is now less onerous. Only attendance at least fortnightly for only 1 year, but if your application needs to be in by the end of January 2012 it looks like you won't be able to fulfill that. It does make me think that it is more likely they will fill the 10 religious places, when they haven't for the past 2 years.

Also, bear in mind that both Brindishe and Lee Manor had bulge classes. That means Lee Manor's catchment was really wide this year, as extra kids got into Brindishe that would of normally gone to Lee Manor. Both schools catchment areas are going to contract accordingly because of extra siblings going to both schools that would normally live too far away. So nothing is gauranteed where you are moving too unfortunately. Funny position, close to lots of good schools but not quite close enough to feel safe about any. I think you will find kids living there go to different schools year on year depending on where there is extra space. The less desirable schools you would most likely be close enough to get into if you miss out on all the closer ones would be Brindishe Green (formerly Hither Green) or St Matthew Academy, so maybe as an insurance policy look at the less desirable schools too and put one down as choice number 6 just in case.

Still worth considering John Ball just in case they have a bulge class (you wouldn't get in otherwise), you never know where a bulge class might be allocated.

I am fairly familiar with my school admissions, I will be applying for my ds for entry 2013.

Congratulations on your house exchange, it is a nice area you will be living in. Just watch out for Pistachios though, lovely location in the park, not very clean though. A friend of mine got food poisoning from a crepe, and one worse story I won't repeat on the internet because it was a friend of mine and I am not sure if she wants the story repeated. I avoid it.

fapl Sun 05-Jun-11 15:57:30

Forgot to add, St Winifred's for anyone else reading this has a Juniors as well as an infants, it is on a different site. It would be too late your you to meet entry requirements based on religion though Angel1976.

angel1976 Sun 05-Jun-11 21:28:19

Hi fapl, thank you so much... I really appreciate your feedback. Will definitely try to pop along to Lee Manor summer fair. It's a difficult one isn't it. I know the people who sold us the house have both children in Brindishe but what they did was their daughter went to St Margaret's first and then they put her down for waiting list at Brindishe and she managed to transfer there when she was 6 and then her brother followed... It's something we will consider as we have 2 DSs but I have to say I don't think the vendors were that favourable about Brindishe when I asked her about it. She said it is a fantastic school, very well supported community etc but felt it was too small and close-knitted and that her daughter found it a real shock going into secondary. But I think it's easy to get swayed by results etc and not remember that every school has its issues. There is an excellent primary school near where we are living now but virtually takes no non-parish children. I know of the mums very well and she said she has issues with the school like everyone else.

I think we are almost definite about putting St Margaret's, Brindishe, John Ball down in addition to a few others in the area. I quite like the look of Lee Manor on their website. DS1 needs discipline and lots of outdoor space and I am keen to find a school well suited for him. Whereabouts are you? Maybe we can meet up one day. I have to say I am not keen on Pistachios (a real pity as it would be a gem if it has good food!). The staff is never friendly. I only got the odd coffee or ice-cream for the kids there... Thanks once again for your time. Much appreciated!

fapl Sun 05-Jun-11 21:58:18

There is a shortage of school places. I think catchments now are very different to 5 or 10 years ago, they keep getting smaller right across London. There has been a baby boom and I think because of the recession less people have moved away from London after having kids, I guess they want to stay close to the main job market just in case. Lewisham shut Ennersdale School on Leahurst Road only about 10 years ago and now they are going to put a primary school right back on the same site (Trinity Primary) with a 2 form entry.

Obviously I am nearby to where you are moving, send me a message when you move and we could meet by the swings in the park or something smile

angel1976 Sun 05-Jun-11 22:21:05

Sounds like your DS and my DS1 are very close in age too as my DS1 will be starting next year and yours the year after! Will definitely send you a message when we move and thanks once again for your advice. Schools advice seems to be advice that seems to be more confusing as you get more of it if you know what I mean! And through no fault of anyone giving the advice! One of my good friends is currently looking to buy in another part of SE London and she is having major issues with schools as well! It's never simple is it?

fapl Mon 06-Jun-11 12:34:22

Maybe you don't know part of the recent history of Brindishe Green, it had its name changed as part of a rebranding exercise. (In the last year or so Lewisham has renamed alot of school the other one locally is the secondary Northbrook/Trinity). The temporary head teacher about 2 years ago was caught with peado porn on his school laptop when he asked the IT guy to fix it. The head teacher of Brindishe was appointed joint head of Hither Green as it was known, and it has been turning around ever since. It is still a very different intake to Brindishe, lots of kids from over Catford way go there and it has a 3 form entry so it is a big school, but if worst case scenario your son was only offered a place there, it has had a bit of money thrown at it and it definitely has improved. Locally you might hear bad things about it because of its previous reputation, but it might be worth looking at and forming your own opinion. I think some parents that live between Lee Manor and Brindishe Green may actually start putting it above Lee Manor on their preferences form. Lee Manor is advertising for a new head to start September this year too, so there may be changes there over the coming few years.

angel1976 Mon 06-Jun-11 12:45:51

fapl Gosh, you have to be my new best friend! grin You have the best goss! It's such a minefield isn't it? Just no guarantees whatever but at least there are some choices where we will be, unlike where we are now, where there is ONE outstanding CoE primary and the rest are just s**t.

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