St Lukes primary or Newnham Croft primary

(10 Posts)
greeningthedesert Tue 28-Oct-14 08:40:56


We're about to move to Cambridge with our 3 daughters (who'll be reception and year 5 twins). We have the possibility to rent a house in the catchment area of St Lukes, but someone was recently raving to us about Newnham Croft primary and now we're dithering.

I've read the differences in terms of Ofsted reports, but I also know they don't always capture the real experience. Also, St Lukes' head has now been in place a bit longer, so perhaps things are different now. We're looking for something warm and friendly which will help our kids to continue to love school.

Are there any St Lukes or Newnham Croft parents out there who'd be willing to comment on their experiences please?

Many many thanks for your time

BikeRider33 Tue 28-Oct-14 09:08:54

I'm assuming you mean to go into the current reception class rather than applying for September 2015 - in which case have you checked they have reception places available?

If they are full even moving into catchment probably won't help you get a place due to the class size limit.

McDoogle Tue 28-Oct-14 09:52:33

Hi - i'm a current St Luke's mum and love the school. I have my son in year 1 and my daughter will be starting next year in reception. I only have good things to say of the school. You're right, the previous Ofsted wasn't great, however the current Headmaster had only been in place a very short period of time and has been working hard to improve the areas lacking. At the end of last term he had a very supportive, encouraging letter from Ofsted applauding all his positive changes. We're all expecting another Ofsted any time!
It's a very warm, nurturing school. In my son's class there are a number of high flying, high achieving children and a number of those that need additional help, they are all included and encouraged.
It has a village school feel as there is a single class intake, therefore keeping the school numbers small. There's a very strong community around the school - numerous events which you can be involved in or not. I too had reservations about the school based on Ofsted, but i can honestly say that we are very happy. The teachers are very able, kind and take no nonsense!!
However, like BikeRider mentioned St Luke's is over subscribed and unless you're in the catchment and apply at the right time, it might be tricky to get all your children in. However, the council will be able to advise you. Hope this helps

greeningthedesert Tue 28-Oct-14 10:51:17

Thank you both so much for your prompt replies. I was talking about registering for September 2015, sorry not to be clear.

If we rent my sister's house from her, we'll be in the catchment area for st lukes. I'd prefer St Lukes as it's a lovely little house in a lovely neighbourhood and I used to live there (decades ago), but I didn't want my preferences to ruin things for the kids. The only other thing which worried me a bit about St Lukes is that we're not Christian - I don't know how much of a church school it is. Does it matter if we're Jewish?

I'm really glad to hear you're happy there.

McDoogle Tue 28-Oct-14 11:39:02

Hi Lisa,
There are many, many different religions at the school and they are all celebrated. It's one of the schools strengths (as i see it) that it is such a culturally diverse place. They have strong "values" - treat others as you'd like to be treated etc - but they're not Christian specific. They have numerous parent assemblies (i was at the Harvest Festival on Friday), they spent the time singing about green beans and purple plums whilst discussing giving thier cans of food to others less well off - again, no prayers or hymns. I can only remember them going to church once last year - for Christmas carols. However, i'm sure you can discuss this with the school and other arrangements can be made if you don't want your children to attend. As this is a concern of yours, i'd recommend speaking to Mr Down - the Headmaster and he'll be able to tell you more about it. He's very approachable. They have a number of open mornings coming up, one specifically for reception. Let me know if you're interested and i'll dig out the dates.
Your daughter will be with my daughter in the reception class. My son ADORED Mrs Blake and still runs to her for hugs when he sees her in the playground, in fact she's regularly bombarded by little people hugs!
I don't know much about the Juniors (year 5) but all i do know is that they seem a happy bunch of kids, climbing trees and playing in the allotment after school. The small amount i do know is that other parents are happy with the teaching quality (new teacher last year). Hope this helps smile

greeningthedesert Tue 28-Oct-14 20:51:35

Hi McDoogle, thank you so very very much. You've not only managed to persuade me, but DH too (a far harder task). It sounds like a lovely school. I have no qualms about the kids learning hymns or carols - it's certainly what I learned as a kid. I was just worried they wouldn't accept our kids if we weren't regular church goers. It'll be lovely if our little ones are together in reception - even the Ofsted report singled out Mrs Blake for praise. My eldest still hug their reception teachers whenever they see them. Hope we get a place (or 3). Thanks again for all your help in this. Lisa

LocalEditorCambridge Wed 29-Oct-14 11:11:38

I've heard great things about St Luke's too.

I'm in the catchment area for Newnham (620 mtrs away from the school) - and neither of my DCs got in & we're 6th on a waiting list .... not sure if that influences your decision at all!

McDoogle Thu 30-Oct-14 19:03:31

Hi Lisa,
Sorry for radio silence - half term high jinks! Really delighted that you're thinking positively of St Luke's and I really hope you all have a great time there. Do, if you'd like, send me your email address and perhaps the girls can meet before they start, so they have a little chum. Any questions or if I can help further, please do ask.
Looking forward to meeting you all!
Many thanks and hope you're having half term fun too ;) Kirsty

Lizardc Thu 30-Oct-14 19:37:45

Not in the catchment for either school, but my son started reception in September so we looked at schools recently.

We don't live far from St Luke's and the parents I've met with children there seem very happy.

Newnham is a small school. The cut-off for catchment children getting in this year was around 320m from the school! Many who didn't get in ended up either at Barton Primary or Trumpington Meadows, neither of which are particularly close by (certainly not walkable).

greeningthedesert Sat 15-Nov-14 19:31:43

Hi Kirsty, I'm so sorry not to respond earlier. Thank u so much for all your help. I'd love our little ones to meet up, but unfortunately we won't arrive in cambridge until August. And, having spoken with the cambridge education dept, we may not get to chose the school because it's so late. It's fair enough, but a bit disappointing as I now really like the sound of st lukes. Hope we do get to meet in the end. But meanwhile, good luck with the application process. Kind regards, Lisa

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