Is this some kind of black hole for secondary schools?

(9 Posts)
MovingIsStressful Mon 17-Oct-16 08:01:33

DH and I are thinking of moving to Kent and looking at houses around Otford/Kemsing/similar areas. Lots and lots about the area that we like.

I am however shocked by the apparent lack of good secondary schools! What am I missing?! I thought Kent was pretty universally good for grammars at least.

I'm reluctant to have any opinion about Trinity as its so new. Knole gets very mixed opinions. The nearest grammars (St Olaves/Newstead Wood) are more than five miles away, so presumably even if the DC both passed the test they wouldn't get in as closer children would get the places.

Am I overlooking something? Any help welcome!

FrazzleRock Mon 17-Oct-16 14:04:34

We moveds to Kemsing in June and absolutely love it. DS1 started Knole in September and is really enjoying it so far (grammar stream which he didn't take the test for as we were moving at the time. They got his report from his previous primary school in London and based his abilities on that).

I think all secondary schools have good and bad points. We were attracted to Knole as it is easy to get to on the bus from Kemsing and it is not religious (like Trinity). DS1 also loves the facilities as he is very sporty. They also have a fabulous drama department. Wrotham is good too, but tricky to get there via bus from Kemsing.

Don't know if that is any help but all in all, we are very happy with Knole Academy and the area. Kemsing primary is also good if you have little ones. DS2 goes there, and DS1 did the last few weeks of term.

MovingIsStressful Mon 17-Oct-16 18:28:48

That's very helpful thank you!! The primaries look fine-apart from any other factor there looks like a lot more choice.

Really interested to hear any other opinions if there are other MNers around the area!

cuckoonest Mon 17-Oct-16 19:03:45

How old are your children, Moving? We live very close to Knole Academy, but we are a couple of years away from secondary schools. I hear nothing but good things from parents of kids at Trinity, and I believe that 50% of their intake is based on proximity not faith. We are atheist, but we will look at it seriously. Knole's results are less than brilliant if you look at league tables, but that doesn't take into account the very high number of children who go to grammar schools instead, so the school has a different sort of mix to a comprehensive school in another county, and appears to do quite a lot of vocational courses. They have had a lot of money spent on great new facilities. We occasionally use their sports and theatre facilities, and are impressed. They have a very expensive headteacher who will be expected to turn in results very soon - the school is only a few years into it's new life after merging two local single sex secondary moderns. And then, like it or loathe it, the area is likely to get the first new grammar -school- annexe, in 30 odd years, which will change the balance again.

cuckoonest Mon 17-Oct-16 19:05:08

Oh, and it is worth looking closely at the admissions policies around grammar schools - the trains and buses around here are rammed with kids heading to the grammar schools at Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.

FireAndHemlock Tue 18-Oct-16 10:31:02

You are correct, secondary provision has been a fraught topic here, and has been a direct cause of the grammar annexe opening next to Trinity, which is also new, and the massive reorg of Knole, also recent. Our kids are also some years off secondary, but I'm watching with a LOT of interest. Knole is definitely improving a lot, and has a lot of great facilities. The kids I know there all love it. Trinity is smaller, and it is run on religious lines, although they also work on catchment. Mixed opinions from current pupils. And then everyone else is packed on a bus or train for Tonbridge, Maidstone, Bromley, TWells! We do live between Knole and the main station, so theoretically an easy trip for wherever they end up...

MovingIsStressful Tue 18-Oct-16 15:15:49

The DC are very young yet, but having said that, DH and I are very very keen for this to be a long term move. We're trying to tick all the boxes in terms of what we/the DC will want until they leave home, basically. The thought of doing it again in less than ten years for schools chills us both to the bone! grin

The grammar annex might actually be ideal, but feels like a massive gamble. Any new school feels like a gamble to me tbh, compared to the masses of schools in North Kent with decades of results behind them. Does it seem risky to others or do you think I'm being too paranoid in thinking "not a new school"?

Peaceandloveeveryone Tue 18-Oct-16 21:36:45

I found it very interesting reading a local 11plus forum yesterday. People were asking those who lived in Sevenoaks which site they were putting as preference for their dc- the overwhelming majority said Tonbridge

PettsWoodMum Sat 22-Oct-16 07:23:29

I would point out that St Olaves and NW are not in Kent, they come under the authority of the London Borough of Bromley. However NW has a catchment of 9 miles and it goes on score not distance. St Olaves has no catchment, just score. Being closer is no advantage. We also have great comprehensive secondary schools, take a look at Bullers Wood or Darrick Wood. Orpington and Chislehurst are great areas to raise a family and a good mix of having links to London but also close to the countryside.

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