Move to Brighton - what schools for DD's?

(45 Posts)
looloolollie Thu 03-Mar-11 18:50:59

Hey
I am currently living in West London with 2 dd's as a single parent(7 and 12). Am planning a move to Brighton/Hove area but a bit confused about what schools could be good - I would probably base my search for rental around good schools. Currently oldest DD is at a very good CofE school (girls) which gets great GCSE results so I want something hopefully of similar standard to apply to and then hopefully little one will follow although tips on good primary schools would be really helpful too. I know Brighton quite well but nothing about the schools and some of the reviews I've seen have been quite poor! Any ideas? Thoughts? tips?!! :-)

saveoursouls Wed 25-May-16 14:47:43

Hello, I was wondering what the latest is on Dorothy Stringer and Varndean - are they both still allocated on postcode lottery, as I was under the possibly very misguided impression, that this was something still in the pipeline and due to be decided on by 2018?
We are thinking of moving to Fiveways, when DD is in Y5/6 and are wondering how on earth we'd ever buy in the catchment of Stringer to guarantee she gets a place there, if there is no actual catchment.
Also, Downs Primary School aside, which other primaries come very highly recommended in the Fiveways area?
Thank you flowers

Lavage Thu 19-May-16 20:47:53

Brunswick is a good school. My friend was a teacher there, a few friends have kids there. It is big (four forms) but I'm not sure that's such an issue unless you have a kid who is likely to struggle for some reason.

moonlightangel Thu 19-May-16 07:49:06

Hello, I am looking for a primary school. i can not find any reviews on Brunswick Primary in Hove, it is Ofsted Good, any mums would know how is the school like?thank you.

nrv0us Thu 15-May-14 16:40:55

Thanks for the comments about Longhill -- the new Ofsted report actually downgraded the school (now it 'Requires Improvement') although this report has kicked off a major effort at the school to get that verdict overturned, so that may change soon.

What is the latest on Hove Park? I know that Blatchington Mill is considered very good, but is HP narrowing the gap?

ponymad9 Sun 01-Dec-13 15:58:33

Hi nrvOus. My friend's daughter started at Longhill in Year 7 and is really enjoying it, a lot :-) My friends son went in age 14 had a ball but flunked his exams, not sure if that was laziness or changing at that age. He had to re-sit, but is now doing A'Levels at Varndean College and is doing fine. I visited Brighton a few years back and saw the kids from Longhill' choir in a local church and they were great, really nice kids :-))

nrv0us Tue 05-Nov-13 12:10:58

Re-animating this thread because there seem to be a lot of really experienced and knowledgeable people on it.

We are increasingly looking at Longhill, since Woodingdean makes good sense for us, price-wise, space-wise and proximity-wise. Our kids currently attend St Luke's which is fine (we are renting around the corner, but with house prices being what they are, it doesn't look likely that we'll be able to buy nearby).

I know Longhill has had its troubles, but it seems to be on the upswing. I'd be interested to hear about people's experiences with it -- also, there is a new Ofsted report due this week, so that'll be interesting to read.

beaufranked Fri 25-Jan-13 20:20:53

The new Bilingual Primary School (English and Spanish) is amazing too.

MrsPatrickJane Wed 23-Jan-13 17:26:11

Like you I'd heard bad things about Hove Park re: bullying etc, and knowing we were too far away to get into Blatchington, plumped for Portslade Community College (as it was then). My godson went there and was fine (he's quite a gentle soul) so I saw it as the better option for my rather shy and small-for-her-age dd.
Worst mistake I ever made! It is a terrible school whereas dd's primary school friends who opted for Hove Park seem to have had a much better time of it, plus their pass rate went up a lot this year, whereas PACA's went down slightly (though they still go on about 'continuing improvements' in the newsletters, they think we are thick). Mind you, we now have a 'new broom' Head who seems to be showing a bit of gumption (to collective wailing from those who think their little darlings should be able to go to school dressed like rock stars) so things could be looking up. Unfortunately he is only temporary so anything could happen.
With the benefit of hindsight I wouldn't have been put off Hove Park so easily and it appears to be still improving.

BBrighton Tue 22-Jan-13 10:16:04

Hove Park School is in 1% of most improved schools in the UK.
Yes, it wasn't very well managed school until New Head ( very strict ) was appointed in 2011 and he took this school from 29% GCSE to a 65%! in 2012.This year they are aiming 78%.Clearly the fault was in the previous managment not children.
You said that school looks tatty ...which one doesn't ? Funny enough I have seen Longhill school that have not very good opinion and guess what! It looks almost new,clean,sparkly and has the cleanest toilet I have ever seen in my life.
I have seen Blatchington Mill and had exactly the same feeling as yours about Hove Park.
Hove Park catchment area covers posh bits of Hove,wealthy Hove Park and middle class parts of Hove,Portslade,Hangelton and (from the previous years )bit of really wealthy Dyke Road Avenue and Preston.

impossible Mon 19-Dec-11 23:18:43

Thanks looloolollie for taking the trouble to update me. I can see schools will be a lottery if we move - rather scarey as like yours my dd is very happy in a good state secondary in London and doesnt want to leave.

cantspel Fri 16-Dec-11 01:08:28

You are way out of catchment area for Davisons and as it is always oversubscribed you are very unlikely to get a place. You are actualy last place on their admissions criteria for year 8 and come under 8. Other girls not resident in the Borough of Worthing.
And i know of girls within walking distance who qualify under rules 4 and 5 and still didn't get a place.

So dont go setting your heart on Davisons as it is very unlikely to happen.

On a more posative note i have friends with children at Hove Park and the children are doing well and happy in their school.

looloolollie Thu 15-Dec-11 14:31:26

That is a good point upthealdi, however I think the best option would be to make the schools better across the board so there's not such a desperation to get into a couple of schools! A longer term issue I guess!

upthealdi Thu 15-Dec-11 09:32:09

Seems to me whoever lives nearer should get the school place, as is the case with normal admissions.

If that happened to be the child who already had a school place, then they would free up a place at the school they are leaving.

I'd be furious if I'd been on a waiting list for a school and someone who lived further away got it becuse they had just moved to Brighton.

MABS Wed 14-Dec-11 19:43:37

Davisons is nice, have friends there, but isn't it really oversubcribed usually too? good school smile

looloolollie Wed 14-Dec-11 18:28:35

I'm looking at Davisons, which is a long way in East Worthing, but really nice. I guess its just something to get on with and not get too stressed about. I think you're right Javo in terms of persistence but it seems to be luck as much as anything. Its just funny the admissions dept seem to have no idea what to do or say.

In relation to the priority over newcomers upthealdi, I know what you mean, but it just feels that someone without a school place at all should be a priority over someone who has one as its very valuable time lost in education if people are waiting, but I can see your point. Its tricky for all though! Anyway, will keep trying and see how things pan out.
smile

upthealdi Tue 13-Dec-11 20:47:48

I am baffled why newcomers should get priority over people who may have lived here for years!

MABS Tue 13-Dec-11 12:41:49

what a nightmare for you, which schools are you considering in West Sussex? afraid you are correct re Hove Park from what i know.

javo Tue 13-Dec-11 12:32:23

OP I am sorry you have had problems. We had problems when we moved too - I had to wait 5 months to get my younger children into walking distance primaries. However when we moved here a few years ago we were told newcomers got priority over someone else living within the same distance etc of the school- so what I said in my post was what we were told at the time.

I have to say we did keep getting told different things all the time though about policy. In fact we lost out on places at the local schools we were told were becoming vacant and that we would be first in line for a few months after we moved here to other "newcomers" who haved just arrived.

I think the thing that worked for us was to keep phoning, it was stressful but moving from London was worth it. I have since met people (in my Dc's years) who had no problems and whose children just got easily into the oversubscribed local schools which we were told couldn't possibly take more children and who lived further away than us ?? so who knows what goes on at the LA.

I hope matters get resolved soon.

looloolollie Mon 12-Dec-11 19:46:06

Although its not all doom and gloom - we are loving Brighton!!!!!!

looloolollie Mon 12-Dec-11 19:44:11

Well, to update (and sorry for the essay)..... I moved to Brighton in November, which wasn't ideal timing but how the job went. I found B&H admissions useless and giving really misleading information. I couldn't find a 3 bed place I liked in the stringer catchment area, but found a house just outside it. I spoke to admissions and they said not to worry and that you can still apply for places outside your catchment area and that if the schools you like are full they can ask a school to go over its numbers for someone moving into the area with no school place. We were told to put down schools we liked so choices were made and the wait started. After weeks of waiting a place was offered for each daughter that wasn't on our lists. I am actually happy with the primary place although its not that near to the school, however there were no spaces in any of the schools near. I asked the admissions why they wasted my time asking me to make choices when it would have been easier for them to just tell me where there was a space but they harped on about parental choice (oh the irony).

Secondary has been a massive pain. We applied for Stringer, Varndean and Cardinal Newman (although we are in Blatchington and Hove Park catchment area) as they said to put down where we liked.

After calling frequently to enquire I was informed that they would likely approach the schools we had put down and ask for them to go over maximum numbers. After further waiting I called back and was told my daughter has been allocated a place at Hove Park - I asked to speak to the manager as I was really annoyed that from day one we were obviously going to be offered that as Hove Park is the only school in the area with spaces (not a great sign). The manager could not give a damn sadly and gave a half hearted apology for my experience. He said I can appeal, however I clearly have no grounds and he also said they are not allowed to ask a school outside your catchment area to take you unless they have a space, which was completely different to original advice.

I've looked round Hove Park and although I'm sure there's some lovely kids there and our guides were really sweet, I felt it was tatty and the children looked bored and unchallenged and there were quite a few classrooms with children standing outside having been ejected. There was little practical going on even in art and science etc which made me think the teachers were taking the easy route. The deputy head was pleasant but seemed to lack time to talk to us and so it was very rushed. I asked the boy who showed us round if there was any bullying and he clearly struggled to answer as he knew he was supposed to be encouraging us to come, but said it was "better than it used to be". Did not come away feeling very confident and my daughter said it felt like Waterloo Road.

I made enquiries about the waiting list for Stringer and Varndean in year 8 and was told that Stringer is 16 children over their published numbers in that year and has 18 pupils in the "reallocation pool" (is this some new term for waiting list?!), 8 of which are in the catchment area. Varndean are 4 over their numbers and there are 13 on the waiting list - 6 of which are within the catchment area. Am waiting to hear back from Newman as they have their own list. Blatchington Mill is also over set numbers. Given this, I cannot see how anyone in either of the main catchment areas and therefore travelling distance, applying for a place beyond year 7 would get any offer other than Hove Park as they are clearly needing to fill up the spaces and distribute them more in that area. In fact when I called Hove Park to arrange a viewing I said I had been informed that they had allocated a space for my daughter and I was told by the secretary she had been given a place in yr 9......I said, well thats not going to work as she is yr 8 (apparently admissions made a mistake), however the lady said it wasnt a problem as they have spaces in yr 8 too! I am currently in contact with West Sussex admissions who seem much more efficient and helpful, however the dilemma then is whether to send my daughter to a school that's better, but quite far away and a long train journey - she wants to make local friends but also wants to be challenged in school and not spend her whole time being disrupted. Anyone I ask about Hove Park usually pauses and looks uncomfortable before answering, like they want to spare you the truth!

What to do eh?!! Otherwise we go with Hove Park and maybe get a tutor or something - or leave her in London for longer and take the chance that she might get something decent before year 11. Quite tricky as she is currently in a really good school.

Anyway 'Impossible', hope that doesn't fill you with too much fear!!!!!! Also, 'Javo', I was constantly ringing admissions saying that I thought newcomers should have priority as it would seem silly for a space to come up for someone in the area who had a school place but wanted to move, when you had someone moving into the area with no school place, but I was told they do not give priority to newcomers and just deal with applications as they come in. (Although frankly I think they do not know the policies or information themselves - when I was given the place for my daughter in yr 4, I asked where the school was and the lady said she didn't know and that I could look it up!)

Good luck!!!!!! smile

pinkhebe Sun 06-Nov-11 10:06:33

The lottery is to be abolished

newsfrombrighton.co.uk/brighton-education-news/schools/brightons-school-lottery-system-is-to-be-banned/

as long as you live in the catchment area siblings will be linked.

upthealdi Sun 06-Nov-11 09:57:01

How does that work? Do you mean they keep some places back for newcomers? Or that when a place becomes available it is given to a newcomer rather than someone on the waiting list?

javo Fri 04-Nov-11 10:34:27

We moved from London a few years ago. My DD1 was in year 9 and started at secondary in February .Making friends was fine - a group of girls "adopted" her on day one . My DD3 had a slightly harder time in year 5 of primary - but this was because she really didnt want to be there - so it was hard for the children who had been organised to buddy up with her - she did make 2 very good friends after a month or so - who were quiet and disliked school in general like her and the school was very proacative in helping her.

Keep phoning the LA and hold out for local schools that you want - we were told if we moved to Brighton that we would be automatically offered Falmer ( now Aldridge Academy) although it was nowhere near where we were going to live, but after further chats it turned out that newcomers are (controversially) given priority for in year moves.

impossible Tue 25-Oct-11 12:57:41

Hi Looloolollie - just wondering how you got on in Brighton re schools (if you have moved there). We are in very similar circumstances and are terribly worreid about moving dd (yr 8) and ds (yr 5) from thriving local London state schools and particularly worried about them making friends (especially my ddd going into secondary school late and maybe not getting a local school). Any thoughts welcome.

looloolollie Sat 12-Mar-11 13:19:10

Thanks loads. xx

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