Richmond Borough Schools Chat 9(309 Posts)
This thread follows on from Richmond Borough Schools Chat 8 starting February 2016.
News and opinions on all the changes to schools in Richmond borough.
Richmond Borough Schools Chat 7 starting May 2015
Links to earlier threads (1-6), starting in February 2011
This is premature - the conversation continues on Chat 8.
I'm thinking of taking my son to an open event at Richmond upon Thames College this sat... will anyone else be going to them or heard anything good about the college? www.rutc.ac.uk/key-information/16-18/open-day-and-evenings/open-day-and-evenings-registration-form.html
Just noticed that the other thread was nearly full.
Labour councillors have today presented a petition to the Council to re-debate the Turing House permanent site, though apparently the debate cannot actually happen until after the local elections, wondering if a change of councillors may make a change to the decision on the Whitton site.
Surely there are rules that mean any councillor who's publicly expressed any sort of opinion on whether or not it should be granted, before even seeing the application or the advice of officers, would be barred from sitting on the committee making the decision? So even if Labour do get a councillor or two in Heathfield, it's not going to make much difference to anything is it? If they already know that then aren't they just trying to win votes by misleading people into thinking they can make a difference? And why aren't they addressing the question of where the school would go if not Whitton?
What a cynical ploy. Where were they when the Council was giving the central Twickenham school site to the Catholic Church and neglecting the provision of enough inclusive school places for the rest of us? Were it not for the hard work of the parents who set up Turing that resulted in providing 100 (oversubscribed) places, and the temporary expansion of places in the other comprehensives, the Council would not have had sufficient places to meet demand on the Middlesex side, as they have not on the Surrey side. It is all very well trying to enlist votes in Whitton but I am sure parents will take a dim view of any move to limit Turing's ability to provide the inclusive places in a good school that they want for their children.......
Just seen this in the Teddington School newsletter (via website - does not seem to have been emailed round yet...) re: Ofsted:
"The report has both positive and challenging findings but has identified areas for improvement that are already being addressed, for example in some aspects of behaviour and teaching and learning"
The report isn't published until next week, but this suggests a 'requires improvement' to me (and probably rightly so, speaking as a parent with a child there...)
The delays on the Whitton site though are not inconsiderable, as no planning yet submitted. The labour councillors, and I think Lib Dems want a better answer on why the Fulwell site was ruled out, which I think families in Fulwell and Hampton Hill would be interested in.
I agree with coldcoldsnow about Teddington School being told it is in the Requires Improvement category from its recent Ofsted inspection. Many local people will think that The school governors and overall Head will have some explaining to do. It has a fantastic catchment area and beautiful site. It has been a sought after school and in the past the school has been one of the reasons people have moved to Teddington. If Teddington School does fit into the Requires Improvements category it will put even more pressure on Turing House School
It's no surprise to any parents who have children at Teddington School that it (is rumoured, but imo very likely) to get Requires Improvement.
They have coasted for a long time, relying on parents who hire tutors and the generally well-off demographic.
In Yr 11 there are a large amount of bright children who have gone under the radar for 4.5 years, as the school focused their efforts on the (small amount) of low attainers not failing. They have ignored parents' concerns about issues (work not being set or not being marked) and now in Year 11 are panicking and setting up a million extra revision classes and interventions.
New head seems 'on it' but then I thought that about the previous one, who (if the Requires Improvement is correct) would have joined the school when it was rated Good, and then a few months after his promotion to head of the trust, it's rated as Requires Improvement. Questions I'm sure will be asked.
Saying that, even if by some miracle it is not rated as Requires Improvement, in many parents' eyes, it most definitely needs improvement. Just take a look at the Ofsted Parentview results. 22% of parents would not recommend the school to another parent. Other local schools barely go over 4%
I'm half joking but I think that Ofsted question should be re-phrased to something like "Bearing in mind your school will lose precious funding if it is undersubscribed, would you recommend it to other parents?"
The current Head of Teddington joined the school the term after the 2014 Ofsted (when the then acting Head steered the school to a good rating).
It has taken 3 years or so, under the current Head (now Head of the Multi Academy Trust) for the school to reach the state where it now Requires Improvement.
Given the catchment area and impressive buildings it should be an outstanding school. Questions need to be asked about what has bought the school down to this state of affairs and what has gone wrong with it's leadership and governing body.
Was it confirmed that it was rated as "Required Improvement"? Or it's still just rumour?
There are a few things that I noticed - I'm not a Teddington school parent (yet), this is just based on stats and speaking with local parents. I've also visited the school.
- parents in Teddington have really high expectations and demands. They almost expect state schools to be on par with independent schools... not only for results, but for facilities, teaching etc. Anything below outstanding is not acceptable / a disaster
- kids coming to Teddington sch are coming at a higher level from the local primaries, so this means a high Progress 8 score is much more difficult to achieve.
- however, when looking at the percentage of "Grade 5 or above in English & maths GCSEs" Teddington comes 2nd in the borough, and it's higher than both Orleans Park and Grey Court.
- for some reason - maybe this is the one that I don't understand fully, fewer students from Teddington enter the eBacc. However, I think this also correlates with the Attainment 8 score. I'm still trying to make sense out of it, I believe it's do to with broader choices that students at Teddington are encouraged to go for (i.e. they opt for non ebacc subjects - whatever interests them, not what makes the school score higher on government metrics)
- last but not least, all Tedd parents I spoke with are happy with the school. Of course, as with any school there are things to improve but so far I have yet to meet a Tedd school parent who is unhappy.
I don't know what the Ofsted outcome will be, I hope it will be a good one - with constructive improvement comments. I believe in all-inclusive community schools and I hope local parents continue to send their children there and support their local school.
I agree tw11 - parents do have high expectations, children come in on a high level making it harder to "add value" and there is no pressure to do the eBacc with high percentage of children doing one of the Art GCSEs or music or drama etc and not so many doing languages I think. I'm a now ex-parent whose dd left in summer 2017 after GCSEs. We were perfectly happy with the school and my dd was very happy there. I've got a lot of friends who still have children there. The biggest moan from them for the last couple of years has been about lack of/inadequate science teachers. The popular head of science went to live in Australia a couple of years ago and there seem to have been a lot of difficulties. There was also a lot of worry from parents about the leadership team, including the Governors, being overwhelmed by having to start a sixth form, deal with GCSE changes and take over Twickenham and Hampton all in 2 or 3 years.
bluesnowdog The Planning for the Whitton site is progressing with the appointment process for the contractors well underway. www.turinghouseschool.org.uk/site.php .
Of course there are questions to be asked (though Labour have been noticeably silent until now) about why the current administration sank the chances of the Udney Park site as well as the Fulwell site but it is too late now. It is not viable to have a school waiting thirty years for warring politicians to exploit divisions in the community to further their own ends as has, and is, happening with the RIverside site. I see plenty of Turing uniforms around Whitton. The update describes how Turing is actively seeking to make its new site a community resource with sporting facilities and even possibly a cycling track. They will also be addressing the transport concerns.
Speaking from Central Twickenham that looks like a positive for the community as well as an important development in meeting the urgent need for school places, in contrast to the new exclusive (in a wider sense, not just admissions) school we find in our midst.
Rondo - I wonder if it is too late. It's certainly later than ideal, but planning will not be submitted until after the May 3rd elections. If (and obviously it's an if) the council changes to a Lib Dem majority I understand that the Fulwell site could be back on the table. There are of course plenty of Turing uniforms in Whitton, but there are even more of them in Fulwell / Hampton Hill and a feeling (I believe) from both sides of the 316 that the Fulwell site is a better location as it is next to the identified area of need.
There has been so much delay already, I suspect that an extra year of delay to get the school in a more sensible location would not be deemed as unreasonable by many.
If you are right, and it is all too late, and Whitton is set to be the permanent site I would still like to see a proper explanation of why Whitton was selected over Fulwell.
I agree that the community facilities will be a good thing, but Twickenham Academy already has community sporting facilities, and I don't know that a bike track is enough to make a community welcome such a large new building that has it's main catchment point so far away. I think the news about Teddington (again if seen to be fact) will put further pressure on Turing places and may result in more of the school population living closer to the current 80% catchment point if parents feel nervous about Teddington's plans for improvement.
bluesnowdog You appear to be joining in with the Conservatives deliberate spin on the catchment issue. Admissions arrangements are reviewed year on year and Turing have made it clear that they will evolve in the light of changing location / nature of demand. It would be an unwise parent that moved to be near a point that is currently only there because it is furthest from existing schools and at the heart of what was an emerging black hole, which, based on current information, is likely to shrink in favour of the community Turing finds itself in when it finds itself there. The opening of Richmond upon Thames School has taken the pressure off demand for places for now and that will be another factor in the evolving admissions arrangements. I somehow doubt even a "requires improvement" is going to transform Teddington from a school that is undersubscribed, that would need around a 1000 parents a year deciding not to apply as a result
It's official... Teddington is "Requires Improvement"... one thing that strikes me: "The school’s official self-evaluation is not
accurate. It is too generous and
underestimates the school’s weaknesses.".
So the Richmond West Trust now has 3 schools to improve... but I guess its head would need to step down.
Personally, I'm not sure what to do. My child's in yr 5 and Tedd is (was) our first preference.
Try not to worry too much TW11 - hopefully this will be the kick up the backside the school needs.
There are a lot of issues raised in the Ofsted report that I agree with (e.g behaviour, lack of challenge for children in Yr 8 and 9, variable quality teaching...) but the comment you highlight above about underestimating the school's weaknesses has hit the nail on the head and this will hopefully translate into some concrete action to sort it out rather than the sort of woolly denial/fudging there has tended to be up to now.
Right. Well they already needed a kick to go from Good to Oustanding... not from Requires Improvement back to Good. It's a pity with all the great students coming from local primaries.
There needs to be change at the top. The overall Head needs to step down, and the Governors have been too accepting of the SLT and not challenging what they have been told by the Head of the MAT.
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