primary schools in mill road area

(53 Posts)
goldpony Sun 25-Apr-10 08:52:15

We'll be applying for primary schools next year and would be really pleased to hear of any personal experiences with the schools around Mill Rd.

Atzan Fri 30-Apr-10 23:38:36

Goldpony, glad you found the map useful. I created it from the information provided in the County Council's schools information booklet. The council web site has their own map but there are a few discrepancies between it and the booklet: e.g. the map shows Orchard Street as being in St Matthew's catchment whereas the booklet lists it as being in Park Street catchment. I would take the booklet as authoritative. My map is, as far as I am aware, completely accurate.

The Council's guide to school admissions is also very helpful, although the admission criteria for each city school are also set out in the schools information booklet.

Regarding schools on and around Mill Road, the general thinking is that the town side of the railway line is fine, the far side more challenging. St Paul's is a very good school by all accounts. St Matthew's had a mediocre Ofsted report a few years ago but that was at a time when it was going through staff transition and had an acting headteacher. The latest report is much more positive, results have improved significantly and the school appears to be on an upward curve.

Over the bridge, the teaching at St Philip's gets a lot of praise but the school's results are held back by a higher number of children with learning difficulties and those without English as a first language, being situated in the Mill Road melting pot. Ridgefield is considered to be the weakest of the Mill Road area schools.

There's been quite a bit of talk about Park Street. It is a good school but, being far and away the smallest school in the city with a correspondingly tiny catchment area, it's also difficult to get into. The catchment is basically the town centre (i.e. shops), the ancient colleges (i.e. students) and two tiny residential areas: on the streets between Bridge St and Jesus Green, where many of the houses are college-owned student accommodation, and on Castle Hill, between Castle Street and Madingley Road.

From outside of catchment, places are awarded based on straight-line distance from the school. Practically, that means if you don't live in the De Freville area or the 'wedge' between Victoria Road and Chesterton Road, I should think you're unlikely to get a place. Of course, a mid-year opening might be the best opportunity, but pulling your kids out of school mid-year is a big decision, unless you're really unhappy with where they are.

I think Marmee has it right though when she says that there are very few bad schools in Cambridge. It's an affluent, cultured city and consequently many if not most schools are between good and excellent. Most likely, wherever your kids go they'll be fine.

Atzan

Atzan Fri 30-Apr-10 23:45:39

Smeeglemum, I meant to say, the Council's guide book to South Cambs schools is here. I'm afraid I haven't produced an equivalent Google map with SAT scores, Ofsted reports etc. I live in the city so it's not been a priority for me, and there would be many more schools to collate details for!

zoley Mon 21-Jun-10 22:20:17

Hi, I came across this thread whilst searching for something else and hoped that our experience might be useful. We live in the Mill Road area and started to read the OFSTED reports about a year before we had to apply. They are not that great for the schools in this area but before you write them off please don't just base your decision upon them, do take the time to visit the schools, meet the pupils and talk to parents who have sent their children there. We did this, spoke to the teachers, one head teacher, chatted to parents in Vinery and Coleridge parks and made our decision based on all of this information plus knowing our son and where we thought would suit him. We put down our catchment school St Philip's and are happy with it. The head is great and the school puts on some good extra curricular events, we really enjoyed international evening recently. Whichever school your children go to get involved in the PTA and make your voice heard. Also I have friends with children at St Matthew's who love it and have heard that Ridgefield is improving now it's part of the Parkside Federation which is making a real difference at Coleridge too. Hope this helps from one who went through the same process 2 years ago and is planning on sending another one to St Philip's next September.

zoley Mon 21-Jun-10 22:20:18

Hi, I came across this thread whilst searching for something else and hoped that our experience might be useful. We live in the Mill Road area and started to read the OFSTED reports about a year before we had to apply. They are not that great for the schools in this area but before you write them off please don't just base your decision upon them, do take the time to visit the schools, meet the pupils and talk to parents who have sent their children there. We did this, spoke to the teachers, one head teacher, chatted to parents in Vinery and Coleridge parks and made our decision based on all of this information plus knowing our son and where we thought would suit him. We put down our catchment school St Philip's and are happy with it. The head is great and the school puts on some good extra curricular events, we really enjoyed international evening recently. Whichever school your children go to get involved in the PTA and make your voice heard. Also I have friends with children at St Matthew's who love it and have heard that Ridgefield is improving now it's part of the Parkside Federation which is making a real difference at Coleridge too. Hope this helps from one who went through the same process 2 years ago and is planning on sending another one to St Philip's next September.

goldpony Tue 22-Jun-10 20:31:19

Thanks Zoley I really appreciate this. We've made appointments to see St Philip's and St Matthews and I'm looking forward to that. Talking to people in local parks sounds like a good plan too. Thanks for the suggestions.

Hooferoo Tue 21-Sep-10 11:33:26

Probably very late to this but I can happily say that Ridgefield has a new head, whose last school scored outstanding - and it was in a deprived area. DS#1 is in year 1 and has achieved a reading age of a 7 year old - thanks to the fantastic teaching in Reception. Read the Ofsted report. The league tables mean nothing in an area with a higher than average rate of non-english speaking families. The teaching means everything, and they have great teachers at Ridgefield. Personally I feel the only way is up!

Gunhilda Tue 28-Sep-10 14:07:03

And as of September 2011 there will be a new primary school in Cambridge on Gunhild Way. It has today been decided that it will be run by a federation group formed of Governors and the head from the already successful Queen Edith Community Primary School. The new school's catchment area will cover the existing catchments of Ridgefield, Morley and Queen Edith schools, so parents living in those catchments will be in the catchment of their existing school and the new one. It's a really exciting development and the buildings are being constructed brand new along eco principles.

jah1 Fri 29-Oct-10 12:40:07

We have kids at St Paul's and Parkside. Parkside is excellent and St Paul's is good. Kids at Parkside feeding in from St Matthews, Park Street , Newnham Croft and St Paul's all appear to have very similar previous educational experiences and school satisfaction.Not surprising as very similar middle class social catchment areas with minor differences overall. Park Street very small and therefore more cossetted and St Matthews larger and more rough and ready. St Pauls and Newnham Croft in the middle. Depends what your kids would prefer. Mine all wished they'd attended St Matthews from what their friends tell them !

zoley Tue 02-Nov-10 22:58:08

If anyone wants to look around St Philip's it's their open evening next Thursday 11th November 6-7.30pm, 2 Vinery Way.
It's a good chance to meet staff and pupils and get a feel for the school, DS really enjoyed it when we went along a couple of years ago and we had practically had to drag him and DD home!

coolma Fri 05-Nov-10 18:02:15

My eldest went to St Pauls followed by St bede's and loved them both.

cat40 Sat 13-Nov-10 21:27:58

I am both a parent and a teacher living and working in Cambridge. I've just been reading the remarks posted on mumsnet regarding schools in the Mill Rd area and was disgusted to see in amongst the tittle tattle a headteacher actually named. I think the comments made by those who were speaking from experience were fair enough but the comments shared based upon rumours and hearsay were irresponsible and nothing short of gossip. The headtecher named was praised but this is not the point. To name someone and pass judgement about their professionalism on such a forum is disrespectful and insulting. Please think carefully about what you share with others, who you don't know, in such a public way.

[On a seperate note, as another parent and teacher, PLEASE take the advise to go and see your local primary schools and get a feel for them rather than relying on SATs results and Ofsted reports! The former are only a snapshot of achievment (and, as a Year 6 teacher I know that they can be unreflective of real achievment) and the raw data does not show progress - a nice middle class school like some of those listed above may not add much value to their pupils compared to when they joined the school whereas a school may work miracles with the children in their care and they could make vast progress. The second are, ultimately, subjective assessments that may be out of date. Both are useful parts of the jigsaw but are still only that - talk to people in parks etc and go to look around! And whoever said get involved in the PTA / Governors is spot on - if you don't like what the school is doing then get involved and change it instaed of whining about it!
Can I also add taht both me and my wife, who wrote the first paragraph, teach at schools who came out very well on this thread, so it's not a case of sour grapes! Thanks for all the positive comments!]

HonestofMillRd Sat 15-Jan-11 22:31:45

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

ZigaZig Mon 09-May-11 21:27:58

Just to echo what zoley said re: St Philips. It's a mixed catchment, community C of E school. The head is well liked by staff, pupils and parents and was hired from a London school. In spite of a slight tendency for religious zeal, she heads up a school where pupils are happy, creative, encouraged to achieve and are supportive of their peers. Links with the community are excellent and it is a school which truly refelcts the diversity of the surrrounding community. Recent years' intakes have witnessed an increase in the St Phil's school gate`yummy mummy' - testament to the slow gentrification of Romsey and the fact that this could be the area's hidden secret.

Biased? Of course I am! I have 2 children at the school who are happy, have fantastic, dedicated teachers and who are in no way underachieving. Ultimately, an OFSTED report is just a snapshot.

Good luck to all those choosing schools. Do go and visit them. It's such a personal choice!

Vallhala Mon 09-May-11 23:52:43

"The headtecher named was praised but this is not the point. To name someone and pass judgement about their professionalism on such a forum is disrespectful and insulting."

I stand by what I said. The Head concerned was a fantastic one IMHO and if SHE were to complain or feel I was disrespectful or insulting I'd apologise. As it is, I don't.

I am a parent with experience of the school and I am entitled to voice my opinion on here in the manner in which I have - I don't believe that MNHQ has any rules to the contrary. As parents we probably ALL "pass judgement" on our DC's schools and teachers in one way or another and I see no reason why I shouldn't share an informed opinion based on experience in order to offer the OP some assistance in making their choice, which they and others are free to heed or ignore as they choose.

HonestofMillRd Mon 14-May-12 21:17:04

We have children at St Matthew's and quite honestly, it is a poorly run school in my opinion. In my youngest's class there has been a significant turnover of children and staff (some parents choosing to leave due to poor educational outcomes). Do not believe everything you read in the Ofsted report. This place is "outstanding" according to the inspector(s) but we would disagree! We summarise our experience as: v poor communication, overly "PC" senior management team, inconsistent teaching (in the same day my child was asked to do column addition and long division of very large numbers, then to add the missing numbers to a simple sequence 2, ?, 6, 8, ?, 12, 14 etc), too many of governing body not acting as "critical" friends, culture of denial, unwelcoming staff room due to ongoing/failed staff liaisons etc. Fine if you have no problems. Disaster if you come across an issue. Go private if you can afford it. Go somewhere else if not.

Petersfield13 Wed 16-Jan-13 22:55:48

I have children at St Matthew's and to be honest am fed up with a few very vocal and pushy parents slating what is a very good school. The school is vibrant, creative and friendly. If you have a bright child they will do well but not be overly pushed if you have a child who struggles they will be helped. The management are great and very approachable and the teachers are fab. There is very low staff turnover which says a lot. Parents I know are very happy but there are a few parents at the school who essentially want a private school education and can't afford it who complain about everything. It has a very diverse and vibrant catchment and a great creative curriculum. My children are very happy there. If you want an exclusive academic education choose a private school. If you want a more creative and stimulating environment for your children choose St Matts.

ResourcefulRose Sun 20-Jan-13 22:31:01

I agree Petersfield, I am very impressed indeed with St. Matthew's, and I have extensive experience in a lot of the local primary schools having been a supply teacher for many years.

mynameisnt Thu 24-Jan-13 11:19:16

I guess everything is subjective. If you are happy with your childs school, you will be positive, if you have problems, it will sour your opinion. Whilst it's really useful to get opinions and reports on individual schools, the only way to really know how your child will fit in, and how you will feel about it, is to visit, and ask all the questions you need to ask. <peacekeeper>!

Pufflesome Mon 02-Nov-15 12:28:13

Any more recent opinions on any of these schools, please? Trying to decide for next year. Thank you!

millroadster Fri 06-Nov-15 03:40:01

Hello Pufflesome!

I hope you get some more recent experiences to help you with your decision. The only thing I would say is good luck in getting a place in the school of your choice as the schools around Mill Road are very oversubscribed at the moment - just something to keep in mind.

Romster Sat 07-Nov-15 08:37:18

I can only give you my views from looking around as my child did not get into any of the local schools.
St Philip's- v friendly. at the heart of Romsey Town. children get to play after school on Romsey Rec. crowded.
Ridgfield- ruled firmly by head. small.
St Matthew's -feels huge, secular, children get to go swimming in Abbey pool every week.
As Pufflesome said getting in might be the problem if don't have special needs/siblings at the school and live further out in the catchment

woolly76 Mon 09-Nov-15 19:56:40

I have 2 children at St Philips. The Recepetion classes (x2) are really small at around 20 children with 3 members of staff in each who are all highly skilled and lovely. The class sizes are normal in year 1. Really friendly, great school, my children are both happy and achieve well. Never heard a word about any bullying or anything like that. It's a Church of England School which might put some off. One of the best things is that the children all pour into the park opposite after school and play for a good hour or two, especially nice in the summer. Nice community of parents. Need to be pretty close to the school within catchment to get in unfortunately

Pufflesome Mon 09-Nov-15 21:27:11

Thanks for these - very helpful! Is the religious ethos taken very seriously at St Philip's? I'm not sure how comfortable I would be with that.

woolly76 Tue 10-Nov-15 08:52:28

Hard to say really, all usual Christian stuff celebrated, Harvest feat, Easter etc but also Divali etc best to go an visit see what you think

MidsummerCommon Fri 20-Nov-15 18:05:22

"Ridgfield- ruled firmly by head. small."

DS is at Ridgefield so I am hoping that the above comment was meant to be read as a compliment to the school.

The head is fantastic, it is hard to go to school without seeing her. She has really turned the school around from when it didn't have a great reputation locally. All the staff seem to know the name of every child. There is a really lovely family atmosphere and DS has been so happy there.

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