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 ....
Muminlondon, it will have a comprehensive intake that reflects the local area. I expect some of the other state secondaries attract families from the private sector too.
And Radnor House replaced another private secondary school - St James' - so its not completely new capacity.
I would be surprised to see many transferring to non-selective state secondaries from private preps unless they are there temporarily and/or failed to get into a selective school.
More significant are the numbers staying on in state schools till Y6 - or beyond - while deferring the decision to go private and a bigger proportion may remain in the state sector. This must be putting pressure on prep schools - I see that Falcons Prep in Richmond has closed.
"I would be surprised to see many transferring ..."
Not many. But some. And the numbers will increase as the gap in quality between state and private schools continues to reduce.
That narrowing of the gap is a positive thing for everyone; or at least everyone who is able to access a high quality secondary. Hopefully that number will continue to increase too, not just with the provision of new schools like Turing House, but also with continued improvements in existing schools. There's no reason why we can't have high quality education across the board (though it obviously takes time, effort, and good strategy, and certainly isn't achieved by forcing people into schools they don't want to go to).
"... unless they are there temporarily and/or failed to get into a selective school"
Or because they've found the prep system too pressurised, or because they are feeling the pinch of the recession, or because they prefer the state sector but couldn't get a state primary place that met their needs, or because they've realised our local state secondaries are doing really well, or because they just like the ethos of a particular state school better than the local private options, etc etc etc.
I can accept that some prep school pupils can now apply to Orleans Park and Teddington where previously they were shut out because of the link system.
But there was a slight drop in numbers to Teddington so perhaps the effect was not so dramatic.
Collis is taking bulge class in 2014 120 kids
The Collis website makes it sound as if they are being pressurised into expanding to four forms of entry which the school has never wanted to but has been fairly widely predicted:
Have heard anecdotally that numbers applying to Teddington were a bit down this year due to more families giving up on being able to get in there from the Stanley Road/Fulwell/Hampton Hill area which has not really been in the catchment area for a few years (except for siblings). Also a few more going private than last year. I think there is a big demand for schools like Radnor House both from parents who think their children won't get into the more selective private schools from existing prep schools or who won't like them, and from those who are worried that their children from state schools won't get into the top sets at the local secondaries because of the high numbers of very bright children in the state sector locally.
muminlondon Speaking from experience of having children in the private sector I can assure you there is a lot of latent demand for good state school places amongst parents who have found themselves sending their children to private schools simply because they do not feel they have the chance of a good state school place. Of course there will always be people who will go private because that is what they want, and can easily afford. However that doesn't explain why Richmond has a higher rate of parents going private after Year 6 than the average of the ten most affluent boroughs in London. I am quite sure that is explained by the fact that up until recently large swathes of the borough were served by failing schools. Twickenham was insulated from that to some extent, the shrinking of the Waldegrave, Orleans and Teddington catchments is relatively recent.
I think the issue is that buyer behaviour lags behind product improvements. It will take a while for parent behaviour to catch up with improvements in schools. I am surprised that demand for Richmond Park Academy hasn't picked up this year but if you live somewhere where from 4 you have known that in all likelihood you will be going private or out of borough for secondary schooling it takes a while to readjust your attitudes and perceptions. I gather waiting lists for secondary schools are moving like never before and wonder if that is that parents who had not thought state an option, because they had gone private at 4 (either through choice or because they had no primary school), have applied and got into schools but then had second thoughts? This is perceived by parents as a very high risk decision, and perhaps the whole Catholic School debate has put it further forward in people's mind at an earlier stage.
One thing is for sure, Turing House is going to provide a school that provides what Twickenham parents want to see in a school. I am not at all surprised that they have parents from the private sector expressing an interest.
I suppose the issue is that actually between the people who are always going to go private and the people who really have no other options but the school place they are offered there is a large constituency in Richmond of what you might call floating voters. They are not going to be forced into an academy to justify investment or whatever but they are going to be attracted to a Free School with a proposition they perceive positively.
Richmond has never pursued a demand led educational strategy, indeed it has balanced the books through a deterrent strategy, but that has come at the cost to parents
Well in one part of the borough at least it doesn't look as if the product is improving, this has to be very disappointing for all concerned in Hampton www.ofsted.gov.uk/filedownloading/?id=2248809&type=1&refer=1, it remains to be seen how Twickenham Academy will fare as they have deferred the Inspection until the Autumn because of the late handover of their building www.twickenhamacademy.org.uk/news/principalsblog/principalsblog.5.587a38a713eee65143780004806.html
I think that only strengthens the case for a school that meets the needs of local parents.
Page 1 of the Ofsted report on Hampton Academy cited by Heathclif:
Hampton Academy 23 July 2013:
Overall effectiveness - This inspection: Requires improvement3
Achievement of pupils - Requires improvement3
Quality of teaching - Requires improvement3
Behaviour and safety of pupils - Good2
Leadership and management - Requires improvement 3
This is a school that requires improvement. It is not good because:
- The percentage of students attaining five GCSE A* to C grades, including English and mathematics, has been well below average.
- In 2012, the progress made by higher attainers in mathematics declined. There was an unpredicted decline in the percentage of students passing GCSE English. Performance in a few other subjects was low.
- Students, particularly girls and those of White British heritage, have not made enough progress in the past.
- Below average attendance contributed to the disappointing GCSE results, particularly those attained by girls.
- The quality of teaching is not yet consistently good enough to generate rapid progress. Some teachers do not mark work thoroughly enough or fail to set high expectations in lessons.
- Learning has not always been successful in the workshop style of lessons because some students find it hard to work independently.
- Senior leaders, managers and governors have yet to secure high standards in teaching and performance. Their determination and capacity to achieve these goals is evident in the improvements made this year.
- Some aspects of the style of learning promoted by the academy have not had the planned, positive impact on progress. Changes are in place to address this.
The school has the following strengths:
- The difference in the achievement of students eligible for free school meals and that of others is smaller than seen nationally.
- Standards, progress, the quality of teaching and attendance have all improved this year.
- Students enjoy many aspects of the imaginative curriculum which encourages them to work independently and to take responsibility for their progress.
- Students achieve high standards in the performing arts. Numerous successful productions are enjoyed by students and parents and carers.
- All students, including those who are disabled or have special educational needs, receive very good care and support to help them enjoy learning and make progress.
- Students behave well, feel safe in school and mature into thoughtful young adults.
It's very disappointing that OFSTED feel the innovative approach to independent learning taken in Hampton Academy is not working for some students.
It would be very interesting to know what the Academy leaders plan to do about this.
Disappointing but Twickenham and Hampton Academies are engaged in an educational experiment, so it is not really surprising.
The quality of teaching is not yet consistently good enough to generate rapid progress. Some teachers do not mark work thoroughly enough or fail to set high expectations in lessons.
It's not necessarily the approach to learning that is wrong.
If you read the report thoroughly OFSTED provide a full assessment of strengths and areas for improvement. They have mixed views on the approach, they see it as imaginative but also highlight problems, especially with some groups of students. Teacher concerns were always with how the approach would work with some of their students. OFSTED especially want to see schools able to adapt their approach to meet the needs of pupils who might not have traditionally done well in schools, the London challenge has shown that it is possible to improve the standard of teaching by doing this, and OFSTED's next focus is on schools in the suburbs who are not matching that level of improvement. You can see why this report would be disappointing for all concerned.
It's not necessarily the approach to learning that is wrong.
In the OFSTED report, there is specific criticism of the use of 'workshops' which are a integral part of Hampton Academy's approach to learning. (The idea is that students work independently in these sessions)
Specifically that some pupils struggle with that independent learning.
For many of us the only feedback we have on the approach is; the glowing endorsement of the Head at TA, mumblings from cynical teachers with a concerns about how it will work for their pupil cohort ( which may or may not be founded), the feedback of parents who are either satisfied with their DCs progress and experience at the schools or have been and looked and think that hours on end learning independently via a computer screen is going to be mind-numbingly boring for their DCs and have pursued other out of borough options for schooling (and would have appreciated the option of a school with a Turing House type of proposition). This OFSTED is certainly not going to persuade those parents round to the approach.
I am sure lots of prospective parents would be interested in any other feedback \perspective?
A few points have struck me about Hampton's Ofsted report. Firstly, there are a lot of strengths there. The head reported in her blog that the inspection referred to 2012 data - nearly a year out of date and which may not reflect changes lower down the school. Another point is that 'needs improvement' used to be 'satisfactory'. Some free school secondaries, even ex-privates like Batley Grammar, have been given a similar rating, although with the help of LA advisers (ironically) they have been reported to be improving.
And lastly, it's quite interesting that boys have done better at HA than girls. I've wondered before whether a less formal style of teaching would suit boys but perhaps the variety of styles of learning is more motivating. And there is the Waldegrave effect to consider in terms of intake.
All in all, it must be disappointing for staff and students - but as we know, it is possible to progress from 'needs improvement' (or satisfactory) within two or three years.
If Twickenham Academy sees improved GCSE results this summer Ofsted will take this into account. I think parents are also very influenced by actual results - one reason why it takes time to turn a school around or establish the reputation of a new school. Similarly, RPA needs to show much improved Ebacc results before parents will overcome their hesitation there. HA has a more convincing track record in that regard.
I think Turing House is likely to be popular and do well not because it is a free school but because it has a management team with experience of assessing and working in state schools backed by a steering group of parents who have also been actively involved in state schools. It obviously can't be a selective school.
In Richmond it will be important to look at the record of free schools on reducing attainment gaps, as well as SEN and EAL, particularly as RISC has highlighted the low proportion of disadvantaged pupils in faith schools.
A BBC report lists all the free schools inspected so far. Primaries are mostly good or outstanding. Two of the four outstanding ones are managed by Ark - rather strangely for London, they don't yet have a single pupil with mother tongue other than English and the other two 'outstanding' schools don't have any pupils considered disadvantaged or with SEN. Hampton Academy was praised in the Ofsted report for the narrower than average gap between FSM and other pupils, and the care and support for disabled and SEN pupils - as well as strengths in performing arts and an 'imaginative curriculum'.
Secondary free school inspections so far are more mixed - half good, half need improvement. West London Free School and Maharishi school are both 'good' despite very different approaches to teaching. The Maharishi school was previously visited by Ofsted as an independent school, however, when it was described as outstanding in some respects - so perhaps it is not as good as it is still claiming to be (there have been several complaints to the ASA about this).
mum I think Hampton Academy faces a particular challenge educating girls from the traveller community. I am not sure you can extrapolate the findings to a gender difference, as there are cultural factors to consider as well.
I gather that this year the exam boards are warning ahead of changes to grade boundaries (trying to avoid bad publicity later this month ) especially in Science.
Heathclf that is interesting - I wondered whether Waldegrave might take more of the girls than boys from more middle class areas near to both schools. Nationally the gap about 11% between boys and girls gaining English and Maths GCSEs - at HA more boys than girls achieved this. It's worth looking at 2013 results to see if Ofsted has identified a positive trend.
I get the impression the HA head knows the community and has been working hard for the school. However, I was quite surprised to see that Kunskapsskolan had been allowed to take on a fourth school within its chain before any positive Ofsted results for its other three schools had been published.
mum yes I have heard only good things about the Head, and the school is not undersubscribed, at least as far as we know from initial allocations.
I did wonder last year if OFSTED would be using the last year's GCSE results, branded a fiasco by the Conservative Council Cabinet Member of Education, to criticise schools. It seems unfair since the impact varied between schools, depending on which exam boards they used. However there are clearly underlying issues at HA. The problem with what is clearly a long term project of encouraging deflation in GCSEs (branded by one Head as moving the goalposts without a working GPS) is that it will make it increasingly hard to identify underlying issues in schools.
It is a long time since the Waldegrave catchment penetrated Hampton, it has even shrunk back from most of Fullwell. I gather that some of the Hampton families who were offered none of their preferred schools were allocated St RR.
The DfE statistics suggest Hampton is at the LA average on FSM (e.g. 15%), Twickenham Academy has a higher proportion of disadvantaged, whereas Teddington, Waldegrave and Orleans Park have a fairly similar profile below the average. Perhaps Turing House will sit somewhere in the middle depending on where it is eventually sited (its current admission point is near Waldegrave).
There seems to be a strong correlation between levels of FSM and of oversubscription (not necessarily with academic performance), however - one reason not to create too many surplus places too quickly. HA is now oversubscribed and has an average intake in terms of FSM whereas RPA has the highest proportion of disadvantaged and is undersubscribed.
There's an interesting graph of free schools relative to the FSM numbers in their local authority. Many of the first waves of free schools have opened in areas of surplus capacity - although the most socially advantaged are inevitably faith schools, e.g. Canary Wharf College.
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