New Secondary Schools for Richmond 4(1001 Posts)
Welcome. This is the fourth (or perhaps fifth) in a series of threads about Richmond Secondary Schools.
The discussion was originally triggered by Richmond council's publication of its Education White Paper in February 2011. It started with two parallel threads here and here.
In November 2011 the most active of the original two threads reached 1000 messages (the maximum allowed) so we continued the conversation here.
That thread filled up in May 2012, and was continued here.
It's now November 2012, and once again we're at the start of a new thread ....
"they may employ fewer classroom assistants"
Thomson House's FAQs have some info on that: "Each Reception class will have a full-time teacher and a full-time assistant. They will be supported by a specialist Music teacher and the Head. From Year 1 onwards, each class will have a teacher and will share an assistant with another class. We will have specialist Modern Languages teachers from Year 4"
How the FT analyses exam results; Chris Cook & co. write:
. . For the past two years, the FT has had exclusive access to the National Pupil Database, which provides anonymous exam performance data for every individual secondary school pupil in England . . we have compiled an alternative set of statistics to the traditional measures . . we use this approach to explore the difference in exam attainment between: pupils from different demographic groups; schools in different geographic regions; the impact of academy chains and grammar schools; and the improvement of Londons schools.
This 5-minute audio explainer shows how this was done . .
Fewer teaching assistants but more specialist teachers higher up the school can be a good use of resources. It depends on the schools and the individuals - some teaching assistants are very well qualified and also bring a specialism. The head of Thompson House was a learning support assistant last year. I'm sure she was valued if she was able to teach music.
Chris - thanks for that link. The explanation implies that they've worked out IDACI scores for individual pupils (rather than the score for their school, which I assumed last time when we were discussing this work). That would need per-pupil postcode data. I'd have expected that to be classified as 'highly sensitive' and require the highest level of access on this scale. Or, perhaps the postcodes were re-coded into IDACI scores before they were supplied to the FT, making the data less sensitive.
I've just seen this Ofsted report on Batley Grammar School, a free school that used to be a selective independent school. It's been given 'Requires improvement' including for leadership, achievement and teaching. It's interesting in the debate on relaxing restrictions on schools premises because lack of outdoor space is specifically mentioned as hindering opportunities for outdoor play.
There are some strengths if you read the report in detail but the main problems are insufficient record-keeping and data on progress. Maharishi free school in Lancashire hasn't been inspected under the new regime but they failed to enter their pupils for SATs. It must be a culture shock for ex-independents to get used to the requirements of the public sector.
I think the new Ofsted framework is a challenge for any school but I agree that these ex independents may now discover how much leeway they had in their prior lives. There is no hiding now.
Went to a meeting about the new sixth form at Teddington School today. Was surprised to learn that Teddington has, on average, 200 out of 240 students going onto A-level each year, but that it will only have 130 places on offer. Soon (?) it will be compulsory to stay on until age 18. Apparently only 2 or 3 students don't go onto further education of some sort each year. So if Teddington has more applicants who meet the standard for the A-levels they want to do than it has places, current pupils will get preference and it could go to distance with some current pupils losing out. There were some slightly panic striken parents in the audience when they heard that. There will be very little on offer for those who don't want to do A-levels - a couple of "Level 2" courses. Made clear that the sixth form was for people who want to go to University which is most of the intake apparently - a lot of fighting talk about Oxbridge and medical/dental/vet school too! I'm sure similar meetings are taking place at the other secondaries!
Thanks LP, couldn't go to meeting tonight so interesting to hear, if a little worrying, was expecting an easy choice ahead for my Y7 son! Anecdotally in my Y11's cohort there are quite a few kids choosing vocational/BTec qualifications, and additionally as the A Level subject offering at the new Sixth Form is limited I expect Esher and Richmond will still be popular so maybe the places will be enough to cover at least in school applications. Would not relish the dreaded distance waiting list again!
Teddington will be offering 24 A-levels, possibly plus a couple more with "our partners" Waldegrave and Orleans Park. They had every subject I could think of listed apart from some languages, but there are probably some that I've never heard of! Likely to be a minimum requirement of a "B" at GCSE to study some subjects eg. maths and sciences.
There was mention of the relatively high drop-out rate in the colleges during Year 12 (this was initially raised by parents in the audience) - does anyone know the statistics?
LProsser As I highlighted in my previous post a choice of 24 A levels is a marked contrast to 10 at Twickenham Academy of which only 6 will be in academic subjects, no Chemistry, no MFL.
RPA is inviting interested parents in to meet current Y7 parents this evening at 6.30. A good chance to go and find out about all the improvements first hand
Heathclif - I agree that 10 A-levels doesn't sound enough. It doesn't sound as though there will be room for students to transfer from Twickenham Academy to the other local schools if they would prefer a school-based sixth form experience either. I suppose they are relatively close to Egerton Road so will they be able to split their studies if they want to take one or two subjects at each?
The RTT reports: Waldegrave school in country's top 100 schools:
Waldegrave School has been named among the top 100 non-selective schools in the country. The results are based on five or more good GCSE passes, including English and maths, and on student progress. Headteacher Philippa Nunn told staff she was extremely proud:
"This sort of level of attainment does not come easily without a great deal of commitment, care and hard work from both teachers and students. We are delighted to be named the best 11 to 16 state school in the country. We are certainly not coasting."
Waldegrave has also been ranked the top state school without a sixth form in the country, in the Sunday Times Parent Power Survey.
May I shamelessly hijack the thread for a cause close to my heart.
Gove has issued his proposals for curriculum reform for Key stages 1,2 and 3. and they are open for consultation. https://www.education.gov.uk/aboutdfe/departmentalinformation/consultations/a00221262/reform-national-curriculum
Teachers and academics are united in horror at what it proposes for History teaching and mobilising what is hoped will be widespread negative feedback from teachers, universities and parents . It will not affect our Academies and Free Schools, who are not tied to the national curriculum, and the local indies have made it clear they have no intention of departing from teaching History in the inspiring way that allows pupils to develop historical skills by studying topics in depth and from different perspectives. However as our primaries seem set to remain tied to the national curriculum for some time to come it does seem that the secondary schools will find 11 year olds already switched off History for life, and deprived of the chance to develop critical thinking skills, and to understand that "History" is actually many people's stories by being forcefed the dry facts of a politicised version of our island story It will undo all the good that advances in the teaching of History in the last forty years have done for the popularity of the subject in schools and universities and the development of children's skills in critical thinking, understanding perspectives, forming opinions on the basis of facts and articulating reasoned evidenced argument.
This is the view from the universities www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/12/round-table-draft-national-curriculum My History Department just sent off a similarly worded response to the consultation.
The Historical Association represents the view of subject teachers www.history.org.uk/news/news_1722.html The result of their poll is damning www.history.org.uk/resources/secondary_resource_6202.html
Please let Gove know what you think
Congratulations to Philippa Nunn and Waldegrave though whether it quite qualifies as non selective is another matter Parents of boys may have another view. However this is how they teach History in a school in the top 100 www.waldegrave.richmond.sch.uk/History
When looking at post-16 options, especially for those who are more practically inclined, don't dismiss alternative options. DS has had a brilliant time at Merrist Wood College near Guildford, (http://www.merristwood.ac.uk/Home.aspx) where there were a number of other Teddington & Twickenham based students. BTECs are available in Countryside Management, Animal Management, Equine studies and a number of other practical areas. No exams - not an easy ride as students need to pass 19 modules, but great for those whose inclinations are more practical and less academic. There are routes to University with BTECs, but also routes straight into work.
Thanks Bigbob. I don't know much about the alternatives but I hope somebody gives us a full briefing nearer the time. One possible problem with giving the schools sixth forms is that they will be trying to keep their pupils there to do whatever courses they run rather than laying out all the options at a variety of colleges. I have a bright child who is doing well but she doesn't really seem "academic" to me in the sense of loving learning - perhaps that is normal at 12 though!
The Turing House Steering Group report that they have been invited for interview by the DfE on March 8.
"The Turing House Steering Group report that they have been invited for interview by the DfE on March 8"
And here's an alternative link to Turing House news for people not on Facebook.
Well done Bay Jay! Fingers crossed for you on 8th March.
Sad to see on the cover of the RTT about the Corona Theatre School closing. Not that I had really heard of it but it obviously meets a need for 36 teenagers and all of those interviewed say they weren't happy in mainstream schooling. Presumably a lot of them live locally and will have to be found places in other schools at short notice.
The BBC reports: Corona Theatre School forced to close: . . The school first got into financial difficulties in July 2011 when it could not afford the lease on a building it was renting . . One of the children's parents offered a donation of £25,000 a month to keep the school open [which has ceased] . . Principal Mary Greco said she was devastated, adding: "Unless a miracle happens, we can't open after half-term."
A list of free school bids, including religious affiliation for two out of three waves completed so far, has been published.
The list is here. It's a bit confusing because some schools have changed their name since approval or on second application. Some schools have a religion in their name but not as a religious designation. And I think it's incomplete - I can't see Bradford Grammar School for example.
Michael Gove has published an open letter to the Information Commissioner and certainly sounds brassed off.
Hi muminlondon. Bradford Girls Grammar School is in the 'Wave 3' tab of the spreadsheet, for schools set to open in Sept 2013. See cell A37.
Thanks BayJay - must have got my tabs mixed up!
No surprises for Richmond - no detail we don't already know. I did do a search for IES and found out that the UK Manager has left to join another company.
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