Infant schools Send/Merrow/Clandon/Ripley - any input?

(28 Posts)
suitcaseofdreams Thu 16-Oct-14 18:10:16

Hello all,

I am in the process of applying for reception places for my twins. I am looking at Merrow Infants, Clandon Infants, Send Infants and Ripley Primary.

I work full time (half an hour away) and the childminder is located near work so I have no local mum friends and didn't go to any toddler groups here. Would really just like some input - pros/cons - on these schools from people who have children there already, or who are considering them for reception next year.

I am of course intending to visit all 4 and ultimately I know it needs to be my decision based on my own views and priorities, but would be great to get some thoughts from others as part of the process

Realise this is probably a long shot, but perhaps there is someone in this area who can help? Have also posted on Primary Education board

Feel free to message me if you prefer that to posting on the forum itself,
Many thanks

kingstoncherry Fri 17-Oct-14 10:30:18

Hello, we're sharing this post along with similar school queries via Facebook (to be broadcast Sunday evening).

Hoping you'll receive feedback shortly.

Worth keeping an eye on FB in case people respond to it directly.

Good luck smile

Local Editor

pea84 Sat 18-Oct-14 09:25:44

I know people who have children at Clandon Infants and are very very happy. They had a good OFSTED last year and have now become a direct feeder school for Bushy Hill Juniors. There is an outdoor swimming pool that they use everyday in the summer and often use the grounds of Clandon Park too.

Don't know much about the other schools but it seems Clandon have had a few children join from Ripley recently. A friend's niece is in a Reception class at Send and she has had 4 different supply teachers since September which doesn't sound great.

Best thing is like you said - visit them all and see which you like best. Good luck!

suitcaseofdreams Sat 18-Oct-14 21:31:24

thanks pea :-)
am working my way through the visits, but good to hear some feedback too!

inguildford Mon 20-Oct-14 16:34:44

Hiya, my initial thoughts after visiting a couple:

Clandon is lovely - feels like a country school in the nicest way. It is quite small so a great staff/child ratio. Only possible negative is that drop off collection may be a bit of a hassle as you are recommended to park at Clandon House and walk through rather than the wee ones just hoping in.

Merrow is very nice - a bit more professional with regards to set up (although Clandon was so personal). There are 2 classes in intake so bigger (up to 60 children in a year). Ofsted reported it Outstanding with good staff and active governors.

inguildford Mon 20-Oct-14 16:36:55

also without wanting to dilute the thread I would be interested in other opinions as there are quite a few schools nearby (Boxgrove, St Thomas etc).

Has anyone further thoughts on other schools in addition to those above?

Bekabeech Tue 21-Oct-14 20:08:19

Boxgrove is big but highly regarded. St Thomas's is also highly thought of. For both schools they have swimming lessons at Boxgrove.
There are lots of good schools around, you need to look and make your own decision.

suitcaseofdreams Wed 22-Oct-14 17:11:37

Thanks again to those who have commented :-)

Bekabeech - I am of course looking and making up my own mind, but I am interested in the views of others, especially those who have children at these schools already as there is only so much you can gauge from an Open Day vs having the actual experience of the child being there

I am not looking at Boxgrove because we are too far out of catchment and would never get a place. Same for Burpham. If I was closer I would consider both as they both have excellent reputation. St Thomas out for me personally as I do not want my children to have a Catholic education. But again, I have heard v good things about it and if you are Catholic it would make good sense.

Would welcome further thoughts on these schools, especially from those with children currently there (or having left recently)

Thanks all!

AddlestoneReVampPlease Wed 22-Oct-14 17:26:37

Which of them are you highy likely to be offered places in? There is a shortage of school places not so far from those areas and there is a ripple effect...

I've heard negative things about the juniors in Ripley and you may find it hard to get in elsewhere at the junior stage. I think it is Send that has poor wrap around school care provision if that's a factor.

suitcaseofdreams Wed 22-Oct-14 18:25:40

Based on last year (and I know that's no guarantee) we would get into all of Send, Ripley, Clandon and Merrow

I think Clandon would be pretty much guaranteed as they are always so undersubscribed. Merrow we would have got in based on past 2 yrs but not year before that, so just depends

Ripley has been undersubscribed/centrally offered past few years so I guess if I put that first we'd get in

Send we would have got into past 3 years but this year criteria have changed so we may be marginal depending on how many siblings across Send Infants/St Bedes. We are not in Parish of Send so we are low priority for Send even though it is infact our nearest school (by over a mile...)

Yes, Send has after school club but not until they are 5 (which would be Easter term for me...) and no breakfast club so not ideal - I would have to get a childminder...

it's all such a minefield isn't it?!

AddlestoneReVampPlease Wed 22-Oct-14 18:39:49

I think Send was also restricting how many timer per week etc. you could use it...

Who has had bulge classes nearby in the past 2 years as well, because if they don't have a bulge class again this year that is more children needing places!

Do put your 1st choice as your genuine 1st choice just esnure that you have down a couple of schools that you are "guaranteed" to get a place at as it's better to get a place at a local school you're not keen on than that you're not keen on that is miles away...

Bekabeech Sat 25-Oct-14 19:42:06

Send is still in a lot of upheaval, but could be sorting itself out. I don't know anyone there at present, and the only teacher I knew left fairly recently. They had a disappointing OFSTED and as far as I can tell haven't impressed OFSTED yet.
Clandon and Merrow both send onto Bushy Hill mainly I think (although some used to go to St Bedes. I'm assuming you aren't in catchment for Burpham.
Ripley, I don't know much about, but also I'm not sure where you would end up for secondary.
I have known someone from Send send their children to Raleigh in the Horsleys, I'm not sure how do-able that is.

School places are likely to be a premium this year.

suitcaseofdreams Wed 29-Oct-14 08:45:35

No, definitely out of catchment for Burpham Bekabeech. Ripley secondary sometimes get into George Abbott (as things currently stand that's where we would go), others go to Woking I think
Raleigh not do-able based on last few years at least - we are too far away (perhaps possible for in year entry when older but not reception)

what makes you think school places likely to be a premium this year?

AddlestoneReVampPlease Wed 29-Oct-14 10:17:59

It's been in the news that they are not guaranteeing school places for reception 2015 in Surrey as the birth rate is so high. Recently Pyrford took a bulge class. Basically Surrey is now having the ripple affect of the London issues, people moving out of London due to lack of school places, population is growing anyway, so now commuter belt has a lack of places. Certainly around us more an more residential properties are going up but no new schools!

Also around 6 years ago Surrey LEA shut a number of schools around here to improve education standards sell the land and make lots of money, the take up at private has been lower due to the recession - so all around the demand is higher than ever for fewer places.

Bekabeech Sat 01-Nov-14 21:49:16

It's even been on the national news that Surrey LA has said it may not be able to offer places to all this year.

From Ripley I would not holdout for George Abbot in future. The Primary school bulge hasn't yet hit the secondary schools, but not everyone from Send got into George Abbot this year. With Cobham Free school and the new one in South Woking, there may well be schools closer, so few children from Send and Ripley getting into George Abbot.

I would suggest you start to read the local papers, as what happened in the past may well change for the future, as pressure on places increases.

suitcaseofdreams Sun 02-Nov-14 21:57:23

Bekabeech - sorry, think my previous post was a bit confusing...we do not live in Ripley but in Clandon - as things currently stand we would get into GA without question based on where we live - there is no nearer secondary. However I totally understand that there is no guarantee this will be the same in 8 yrs time when my boys are of secondary age (also no guarantee we'll still be living here then either of course!) - there is little I can do about that right now...I am really just trying to work out which infant/junior would be best for them and we'll have to see how things turn out with secondary :-)

I did hear the news re Surrey LA - hence my concern that we may not get into either Send or Merrow (which we would easily have done for the past 2-3 yrs) we are, however, pretty much guaranteed Clandon - I am just not sure such a small school is going to be right for my twins...I think I'll post separately about that on the twins threads perhaps :-)

thanks again for all your input

Bekabeech Sun 02-Nov-14 22:07:44

If you want a school with 2 forms for your twins, you may be able to get into a further away school. Especially if you can get support from GP and Nursery for their need to be separated. I know this has earned a preference at Pewley Down, where it is the nearest 2 form entry school.
It's worth asking.

AddlestoneReVampPlease Sun 02-Nov-14 22:59:58

Is Pyrford too far? Again you may not get in but is 2 form entry and has previously had an additional bulge class?

Bekabeech Mon 03-Nov-14 06:19:12

Oh do remember the application is done on an equal preference basis. So you could even apply Boxgrove, Raleigh as your top two, then Send and Merrow, then Shere and then Clandon in sixth (I think you get six choices now). If no where higher had a place you would still get Clandon.

You should put Clandon there whatever, if you live in the village you should get a place, and being last preference will not harm that.

suitcaseofdreams Mon 03-Nov-14 20:50:41

hmm, not sure nursery/GP would argue they do need to be separated's very difficult with twins as there is no compelling evidence to separate or keep together. rather the research just says it depends on the twins! more likely to argue for separation if ID twins, which mine are not

and I'm not sure I would want a further away school anyway - would make logistics (as a single working parent) very tricky for me

Pyrford has fab reputation but I've ruled it out partly on distance (ie convenience) but also because we are just too far out of catchment

I think it's 4 preferences now bekabeech but I see your point - if there are others I'd prefer over Clandon I can put them first and just have Clandon as our 'insurance policy' in a way :-)

seeing Send this week and Ripley next so hopefully will have clearer idea what I want to do after that!

pea84 Fri 07-Nov-14 06:26:50

Let us know how you get on suitcase!

suitcaseofdreams Sun 09-Nov-14 17:13:28

will do Pea84 :-)

wasn't terribly impressed with Send. seeing Ripley on Tues but unless there's something amazing about it, I think I'll actually be putting Clandon first - which wasn't at all what I thought I would do at the beginning of this process!

AddlestoneReVampPlease Sun 09-Nov-14 20:13:44

I'm not surprised Ripley and Send don't have great reputations which is very strange as the housing is so expensive around there. Perhaps it's because they have a capitve audience so places are always taken.

Good luck!

suitcaseofdreams Sun 09-Nov-14 21:25:15

Send used to be excellent Addlestone but in recent years they have struggled with the Federation with the junior school and have had lots of changes in the senior leadership team including several heads/interim heads recently
give it another year or so and I think things will be back on track but I don't want to take that risk right I have to say the lack of wrap around care is a key factor for me as a single working mum (I know I could get a childminder but if there's a school that can offer me the option I'd prefer to use that)
am remaining open minded on Ripley until after I visit but local 'gossip-mill' has been somewhat negative...

AddlestoneReVampPlease Sun 09-Nov-14 21:40:31

I think the issue with Ripley is more the junior schools from my understanding. I wouldn't be surprised that there is a shortage of childminding wrap around care. I remember my friend having to pay ££££££££ in Ripley because demand outstripped supply for afterschool care...

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